I once lived with a couple (NEVER AGAIN!); she was my best friend and he was one of the nicest people I had ever met, but together they were like oil and water. Naturally they ended up getting married after a very volatile 12 years of on again off again dating.
Living with them was a big mistake because when they weren’t getting along, that negativity rubbed off on me and I always found myself caught in the middle, intentional or not. It was a toxic environment. Eventually the lease was up on the apartment we were renting and I moved out.
Is there anyone in your life – a relative, boss, friend, even your spouse* – who drives you crazy? Are there people who make you feel inadequate, unworthy, or just plain miserable? If there’s someone who is not supportive and does not wish you well, then you’ve got a “toxic” person in your life.
Even a good relationship may have brief periods of behaviors we could label toxic on the part of one or both partners. Human beings, after all, are not perfect.
Few of us have had any formal education in how to relate to others. We often have to learn as we go, hoping that our basic style of relating to significant others – often learned from our parents and/or friends – is at least reasonably effective.
Dysfunction is the norm in a toxic relationship.Ã‚Â The toxic partner engages in inappropriate controlling and manipulative behaviors on pretty much a daily basis. Paradoxically, to the outside world, the toxic partner often behaves in an exemplary manner.
If you are still uncertain whether you are in a toxic relationship, ask yourself these two questions: Does this person lift me up or bring me down? Do I feel better or worse about myself after I’m with this person?
Being around toxic people can be very draining, leaving you with a less-than pleasant feeling. Toxic relationships can actually damage your health. Migraines, stomachaches, depression, stress and tension can result from a toxic relationship.
Positive relationships, on the other hand, should leave you feeling refreshed, loved and secure. You should surround yourself with like-minded individuals who are supportive and provide helpful feedback and don’t try to hurt you, mentally or physically.
Once you have identified a toxic relationship as such, take steps to minimize your time with toxic people and lessen or eliminate their impact on your life. Take a stand, put distance between you, try sharing your feeling with the toxic person about their mistreatment, stop taking (and returning) phone calls and e-mails.
I believe that life is too short to deal with drama, especially other people’s drama, no matter how much you may have once liked them or enjoyed their company.
Toxic people compromise your growth and development and the sooner you learn how and when to say good bye to these energy suckers, the better.
Someone can be in your heart but not in your life.
*Note:Ã‚Â Any relationship involving physical violence or substance abuse is, by definition, extremely toxic and requires immediate intervention and, with very few exceptions, separation of the two partners. While these relationships are not necessarily irreparable, if you are in a relationship where you do not feel safe, seek out help from a therapist or a shelter. The phone number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline is (800) 799-SAFE.
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