I feel like this is such a taboo subject, and I totally get why. I don’t know many people who actually enjoy confrontation or having to embark on sticky situations with an unpredictable turnout. But here’s the thing: toxic relationship are just that – toxic. And quite honestly, life is far too short to be putting energy into people that don’t deserve it.
I want to break this down into a couple of points, because the situations as to why you should be letting go of certain relationships can be different. The first point can often be found in the misery loves company department. How many of you know someone like this? It’s draining, isn’t it? I’ve had relationships that revolved around negativity, and it was exhausting. More than that, when misery loves company, they’re going to take you down with them. It’s really just a matter of time.
So how do you break free?
For me, the misery loves company folk is easiest broken off by just fading away. Ghosting, some might call it. Maybe that sounds immature, but honestly not all toxic relationships require a heart to heart as to why you’re no longer going to be calling them back or agreeing to plans. Some may look at this as being cowardly, but I simply address it as a natural progression of life. People out grow each other, people change, people create different values that no longer line up with the company they keep. That’s okay! That’s life. So don’t be afraid to simply take a few steps back and let the relationship quiet itself.
- When they call you, let it go to voicemail
- If they text you, simply don’t respond
- If they follow up asking you where you are, you can reply with something along the lines of “good to hear from you. I’ve been preoccupied with work commitments, but thanks for checking on me.” It’s not a lie, it’s vague, and you aren’t promising something you don’t intend to keep (a call back or a hang out)
- If they ask you to hang out, simply reply with “I’m actually not available. But thanks for the invite.” Again, you aren’t lying. Emotionally you’re not available for them, and you’re not leaving room for alternative dates.
Now, the more unfortunate toxic relationships are the ones that are a bit more aggressive and vocal. I’ve had a couple of these in my lifetime, and they’re rough. Really rough. These generally tend to appear through those who are struggling in their own personal lives, and instead of seeking out help, they lash out at those who surround them. So unlike the misery loves company crowd, this breakaway is a bit more tricky.
Why? Well, generally this type of person isn’t afraid to tell you how they really feel. If they feel wronged by you because you’re not showing up as much, they will tell you – and most likely it won’t be in a gentle tone. They’ll also accuse you of being a bad friend, and if you let them, they can make you believe you’re right. So please be sure to go in this with a strong mental state, and understand that you’re doing this so that you’re able to live a life filled to the brim with positivity and unconditional love. You deserve that.
- The next (and possibly last) time you’re with them, have a sit down conversation explaining that you’re worried about them. Let them know that the way you’re trying to live your life is making it hard for you to relate and understand their whereabouts. Showing that you care can often times make the breakup much easier.
- If you don’t want to take that approach, you can always opt to write a letter or an email vocalizing your concerns.
- If you would rather not have a conversation and do the fade away, by all means. Just be prepared for possible aggressive follow ups, and know how to handle them.
Here are some tips:
- You are 100% entitled to block their number all together.
- Remember that you are not what they say. Don’t take it to heart.
- Respond gently. Don’t meet them where they are. (no matter how badly you may want to defend yourself)
- Use the phrase “I hear you.” It’s the perfect way to let them know you comprehend what they’re saying, without saying you agree.
As I mentioned above, I know this is a majorly taboo subject that not many of us enjoy talking about – because it’s awkward and uncomfortable, and the last thing we want in our lives is drama. But this is why it is so crucial to break free of this kind of energy as soon as possible. By hanging on to toxic relationships, you’re essentially letting a dark cloud follow you around every where you go. You aren’t able to live your true, best life that way – no matter how hard you try to convince yourself otherwise.
Unfortunately for me, I was given some serious perspective on my relationships after my dad passed away. Two people in particular showed their true colors during a time of need on my end, and it was a lightbulb moment for me. I think deep down I had always known that these relationships needed to be addressed, but I hadn’t had the energy nor did I have any real reason for doing so. It wasn’t until my entire life shifted, and I knew I needed to live differently, that I was motivated enough to take full control of my life and the people in it. We choose how we want to be treated simply by choosing the people we let into our lives. Dare I say it – this even includes your family.
One life. Only so many trips around the sun. That’s all we get.
Make it a beautiful one surrounded by people who lift you up, instead of bringing you down. I hope these tips help any of you who have been putting this on the back burner. That it helps to start one of the most important conversations of your life, and the beginning to some real, life changing stuff. The good news? Once you break free of your toxic relationships, you’ll notice how selective and careful you are as to who you embrace in the future. And most importantly, it opens up time and energy for the ones who treat you well. x