Toxic relationships can be as venomous as a rattlesnake. They are exhausting and slowly kill you from the inside out. There comes a time when being nice and trying to please others backfires on your own happiness. You may not always be able to recognize a toxic person until you are already trapped within their clutches.
Understand the different types of toxic people
This person does not regard any feelings of others. They live for gossip and spread it around like butter on toast. Often they will even spread rumors about you behind your back and deny they did such a thing.
The fair-weather friend
This type of friend takes advantage of you and does not repay their debt. Friends are meant to be there for you in fair and foul weather. This friend will often confide in you in times of their trouble but will suddenly disappear when you are facing a challenge.
Narcissists seem to only see themselves when they look at others. Life is all about them and their own feelings and needs. There is no room for any of your thoughts or opinions when they are around. And if things don't always go their way, you will never hear the end of it.
The pessimist never sees the silver lining in a cloudy day. In fact, even on days with clear skies, all they can do is complain about the lack of shade! When those who are constantly wallowing in their own self-pity disregard your offers to help or do not try to improve, their negativity rubs off on your own life.
These people share their opinion of you much too often (and not out of love). There is a difference between watching out for someone and constantly accusing them of making the wrong choices. The judger often lifts themselves up and looks down on you from their high horse.
Whether it be your personality, your quirks or your clothes, these people throw negative comments at any part of you they see. They do not accept you for who you are as a person. Instead, they constantly try to "improve" you. Nothing is more devastating to your self-esteem than not being able to be loved for being yourself.
Most of us go about life trying to lift others up and to make them happy, but there comes a time when you need to care about your own happiness as well. People who do not appreciate you and continue to drag you down are no good for you. Whether it be someone in your family, an ex-boyfriend or a long-time friend, if you are constantly exhausted with trying to please them, it is time to move forward and take care of yourself.
Limit your time with the toxic person
If you cannot avoid all contact with a toxic person, be sure to set boundaries for yourself regarding how often you are with them. If they do not recognize the turmoil and exhaustion they place on your shoulders, set a goal to further remove them from your life as time goes on.
Do a digital detox
Don't constantly stalk this person on their social media accounts or relive old text conversations saved in your phone. If you must, delete their number, unfollow them on social media and erase all contact with them. It is hard to do, but doing so will lift so much weight off of your shoulders.
Do not allow any unnecessary anxiety or toxicity to enter your life through any means.
Focus on you
Give yourself time.
Detox your mind and body by exercising and eating right. Find a new hobby and pursue your goals. Do not let those in the past hold you back from your true potential. Meet new people, travel, change up your day-to-day routine and discover yourself. Exercise your mind and soar to new heights. Focus on your strengths and find what makes you ultimately happy.
Learn to say no
Sometimes, you just have to say no. Even if you live to please others, saying no is essential to your happiness. Telling people how you truly feel can be hard at times, especially if you disappoint them. But it is worth it.
Saying no does not mean you are a horrible person. If you are feeling stress from agreeing to things you would rather not do, be bold and say no.
Constantly place yourself in an uplifting environment. Whether it is with friends or family, surround yourself with people that love you for who you are. There is nothing like counteracting a toxic relationship by strengthening the healthy ones in your life. By doing so, you will not only be free of toxins, but you will also realize who your true friends are and just how blessed you are.
People can change. That is a statement that rings truth. But people can only change if they choose to do so. You cannot change them if they do not have the desire. If they are not changing for you now, let them be. In time, they will figure out what they need to change in themselves.
In your desire to be a good friend to others, be sure to be a good friend to yourself as well. Do not exhaust yourself with solving others' problems. Do not worry about things that are completely out of your control. In a healthy relationship, you can offer your full support to another while still taking care of your own needs.
Give yourself time and allow yourself to breathe and relax. By detoxing your life, you will find joy and peace within your reach once more.
Chakell Wardleigh has a Bachelor of Arts in English. She spends her days silently (mostly) correcting others' grammar. She adores all things nerd, such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Shakespeare, and anything else that whisks her away from reality. She currently works as an editor for the FamilyShare team. You can usually find her with her nose in a book, laughing too loudly, or belting out songs from Hamilton.