It’s no secret that it’s important to remove toxic relationships from your life. But that may not be easy depending on the person in question. You may not want to completely remove this person from your life, and it’s important to question why they have suddenly become toxic. Because life situations aren’t always black-and-white, we don’t always know why someone has become toxic, and we can actually do more harm by removing a person who is in desperate need of support and understanding.
Sometimes a better option is to take a step back from the relationship, but still continue to offer support to the person when they’re in need of it. Because obviously your mental health is very important, it doesn’t matter whether the person is family or a friend. You have every right to be happy, and if removing that person from your life is what will revive and create your happiness that’s what you should do. But it’s important to take the time to evaluate the situation before making any big relationship changes.
I have always been extremely close to my mother. I considered her to be one of my best friends throughout most of my life. She was always someone I could reach out to when in need of a shoulder to cry on. A lot of upsetting things happened to her over the last four years, and I’ve watched her change due to her depression and anxiety, and even her fear.
The question is: exactly when does a toxic relationship become so bad that you have to remove it from your life? And is it important to be selfless in situations where someone’s toxicity comes from their pain?
It can be so hard. It can test the heck out of you. You may feel like this person doesn’t give a shit about you. It really is a battle of your emotions when you are pushed that way by someone you care about. Just know that every time you choose to be selfless and put that person before you, you’re only improving your own character. You’re growing and changing for the better. So when you feel completely defeated by their toxicity, you need to remember that you are worth it, and they are lucky to have a person like you in their life.
All that you can do is try your best to be a good friend. If it gets to a point where you are feeling sick from stress or having a hard time day after day, then it is time to move on. If this is someone who has always been there for you, and you can see they are in a bad place, hang on. But in the end, it’s up to you. As much as it is important for you to be there for someone, it’s important to take care of yourself.
I know that it can be difficult to listen to someone’s toxic thoughts and feel their energy, so I suggest taking these steps to ensure that your interactions don’t escalate to something really negative.
1. Keep Contact Via Email or Messenger
Don’t put yourself into a situation where you can’t leave. Because you want to stay in contact with this person and make sure they are alright, it’s much better to do it in a way where you can be there for them, but not feel like you can’t end the conversation and walk away when you need to. This will also brighten their day if they wake up to or come home to a supportive and encouraging message! So it’s a win-win!
2. Plan To Do Activities That They Enjoy
When you do get together, make sure to plan things that will keep them distracted from their issues. This will help them to let go for a little bit, and will enable them to really enjoy themselves, rather than finding ways to be bored and think negatively. Find something you both used to do together and reminisce about old fun experiences you shared. It may remind the person of how positive they once were, and that there is still reason to enjoy life.
3. Limit Phone Interactions
One thing I can say from my own experience is that phone calls can turn very quickly. Whether I express my feelings or not, the minute I hear a negative voice tone over the phone, my mood is ruined (and sometimes my day). I instantly regret making the call. So my advice would be to allow your toxic friend or family member call you when they are in the mood to talk. You can answer and be supportive, and you instantly take the helper role over the defensive role.
4. Find someone new to spills your guts to.
This may be hard because they may have been your go to confidant for years, and it’s not always easy to feel comfortable telling someone your feelings, upsets, and desires. I found that when someone is toxic, it’s hard for them to listen to or care about other's feelings. In the end, you feel really hurt and worthless. It’s better to realize that while they are dealing with their issues, they may not be the best option for you when it comes to venting your own frustrations.
5. Speak up if you are hurt.
Now as much as I think it’s important to let some things slide when someone is dealing with a lot, it’s also important to stand up for yourself. If this is someone you can absolutely not remove from your life, you should tell them when they are affecting you. It doesn’t help your relationship in any way if you keep things seriously bottled up. All that will result in is an explosion of emotions, a fight, and maybe an unrepairable relationship. So make sure to sit down with them and have a cordial conversation about your feelings.
I really hope that some of this can help you to find some peace with yourself through this time. Like I said, it isn’t easy, and you should pat yourself on the back for caring so much that you are willing to put your emotions aside to help someone who is in need of a support system more than ever.