Toxic. Isn’t that a gross word? Not mean, not cruel, but toxic? And while there are truly toxic people in the world, truly evil, mean, selfish people, I think it is way too easy to label someone as this.
It is way too easy to rule that someone who did something mean becomes that thing they did to you. They become “toxic.” This is a word that defines someone to the core, and I think in many situations, it defines them too harshly.
Have I ever met a truly toxic human? Let’s be honest, I don’t stick around long enough to find out, but I will say with confidence, that I have been in many toxic relationships.
What’s the difference?
To me, a toxic person is someone who is selfish to the core. From a psychological position, I think there is a lot of internal factors to this, internal mental illness, and internal lack of appropriate empathy. This drives them to be both consciously and subconsciously destructive in the life of others.
A toxic relationship, on the other hand, happens on a different scale. It is one where anyone inside of the relationship does not have the other’s best interests at heart. It is a relationship where one’s triumphs always results in another’s jealousy. It’s a relationship where one person takes your win as a loss, even if your win took absolutely nothing away from their own life. I think toxic people can, most certainly, cause toxic relationships. However, I don’t think toxic relationships always point to a toxic person.
Odds are, you have been or are currently in a very toxic relationship, even if you and the other person involved are both truly good people.
The bottom line is, these relationships are not healthy, and you need to find a safe and practical way to separate yourself from them.
There are wrong ways and right ways to deal with these relationships. There are truths about them, and there are lies. I’m no expert, and I’ll never claim to be. But after years of handling myself, and these relationships, poorly, I’ve learned a thing or two.
You Can’t Always Talk It Out
We live in a society of people who think you can talk anything out. If current political warfare has taught us anything, it’s that this is simply not true. Sometimes two people will never find common ground. Sometimes one person has a lot of inner demons to conquer before a coherent and productive conversation can even take place. You can’t reason with crazy.
No matter the situation, if you have left these “heart to hearts” feeling beaten down and defeated, or if you start to recognize that these dang talks are happening ten times a year, then girl, give it up.
It’s time to call it. It’s time to create the necessary space so that your worlds intertwine as little as possible. Don’t do anything crazy. Don’t refuse to talk to them ever again, or block them on social media. Just take a step back. Text them a little less, and make fewer plans to go out of your way to be together.
Let our good friend, time, handle the rest.
They Aren’t Toxic to Everyone
Beautiful girl, I can not say this loud enough.
I think it is a feminine instinct to run that yapper of ours in this situation. We need affirmation, we need justification, and underneath it all, we need an ally.
But the thing is… you really don’t.
Just because you’re in a toxic relationship with someone, it does not mean they are a toxic person. Just because the relationship with them is not healthy for you, it does not mean that they are not a strong a necessary piece of someone else’s life puzzle.
If you are in a relationship with someone, even a toxic one, odds are you have some mutual relationships in the mix- mutual friends, mutual family, mutual teammates, mutual co-workers. Do not force these neutral bystanders to sit in the middle of it all. You’ll do nothing but alienate the people you care about.
You do not need an ally. You need to seek your own security.
Sometimes, You’re Just as Toxic
And this is the hardest one.
No… not me right? I am the victim, not the oppressor. Yes, you. You whose blood boiled the minute you heard their good news. You, who immediately thought, “what did they do to deserve this?” when something good happened to them.
Let me make this clear, if you do not have someone’s best interest at heart, if you are incapable of feeling joy during someone else’s triumph or winning chapter, if your mind instantly goes to all the bad that they are, all the bad they have done to you when you hear the news of their engagement, their promotion, their baby, then you, my friend, are a toxic factor in that relationship.
I’m sure this could happen on both sides. They might have the exact same reaction to your triumph, but you can’t control them. You are not the keeper of their emotions or their motivations.
You are the keeper of your own soul, your own integrity, your own unkind thoughts, and that in itself is a full-time job. You can’t defend this. Don’t tell me all the mean things they’ve done and then explain that this is why you feel the way you do. If you are unable to be happy for someone in their winning season, you need to take a step back, because you are now a hurtful aspect of someone’s life. This is a moment where you need to focus on you, your own soul. Stop worrying about theirs.
Bottom line- toxic relationships cause belly aches. No one needs that. Life has a way of handling these things through time. Your interference only causes more damage.
Don’t blow up. Don’t attack. Don’t gossip. I’ve done it all, and I’m here to say it is NOT the way. It does not turn out as planned.
Just take a step back, take a breath, and let nature handle the rest.