Motivational Monday 3/13
8 week “Life Work” Series (week#6)
As we get older we realize that it matters very much who we spend our time with. If we spend a lot of time around people who bring us down and make us feel bad about ourselves, that feeling persists even when we’re not with the mojo-crushing person. This general group of people — whom we can safely call “toxic” — might resent your progress for any number of reasons. Perhaps they think you’ll no longer be in their life if you improve too much. Maybe they feel like your improvement exposes their own shortcomings. Or perhaps they’re just threatened by the idea of change. It’s rare for a toxic people to totally sabotage your attempts at self-improvement, but it does happen. At the very least, they will certainly slow your progress. More to the point, would you want someone in your life who’s actively opposed to making your life better?
The answer, of course, is no. And yet that can be hard to accept, until you begin to recognize the effects of toxicity within you.
an old myth that frogs will pull down other frogs trying to escape a pot of boiling water. That’s Removing Toxic People from Your Life | Why It’s So Important
Under the influence of a toxic person, you might second guess yourself on an important decision. You might feel sad, uncomfortable and downright ashamed about your own progress and well-being. You might even take on some of the same toxic qualities you resent in others — something that happens to the best of us — because toxic people have a peculiar way of making you toxic yourself.
How to Cut Out the Truly Toxic People
First, a quick warning: Cutting toxic people out of your life can blow up in your face. That’s part of the disease. With that said, it’s absolutely crucial to remove these people from your life in a healthy and rational way.
So how do you go about removing these toxic people from your life and reclaiming the time and energy you’ve been giving them?
Accept that it might be a process. Getting rid of toxic elements isn’t always easy. They don’t respect your boundaries now, so it’s likely they won’t respect them later. They might come back even after you tell them to go away. You might have to tell them to leave several times before they finally do. So keep in mind that distancing yourself is a gradual process.
Don’t feel like you owe them a huge explanation. Any explaining you do is more for you than for them. Again, tell them how you feel, which is a subject not open for debate. Or, if you prefer, keep it simple: Tell them calmly and kindly that you don’t want them in your life anymore, and leave it at that. How much or how little you tell them is really up to you. Every relationship requires a different approach.
Talk to them in a public place. It’s not unheard of for toxic people to get belligerent or even violent. Talking to them publicly can significantly diminish the chances of this happening. If you run into problems, you can just get up and leave.
Block them on social media. Technology makes distancing more difficult, so don’t leave any window open for them to bully or cajole you. You’ve set boundaries. Stick to them. This includes preventing them from contacting you via social media, if appropriate. Shutting down email and other lines of communication with a toxic person might also be in order.
Don’t argue — just restate your boundaries. It’s tempting to fall into the dynamic of toxicity by arguing or fighting — that is precisely what toxic people do. In the event they do return, make a promise with yourself to avoid an argument. Firmly restate your boundaries, then end communication. You’re not trying to “debate” the person into leaving you alone. This isn’t a negotiation. You can, however, make it less and less attractive for them to keep bothering you. “Do not feed the trolls!”
Consider writing a letter. Writing yourself a letter is a sort of dress rehearsal for an in-person conversation. You’re clarifying your thoughts and articulating your feelings. You can also refer back to the letter later, if you need to remember why you made the decision to cut someone out. Because toxic people often do everything they can to stay in your life, you’ll need all the help you can get.
Consider creating distance instead of separation. Remember the person we talked about above — the one who’s not toxic, but just a drag? You don’t have to cut these people out of your life completely. You just need to create distance by occupying your time with other friends and activities, and agreeing not to feed into their dynamic.