When Someone You Love Is Toxic ,, How To Let Go Without Guilt.
If toxic people were an ingestible substance, they would come with a high powered warning and secure packaging to prevent any chance of accidental contact.
Though relationships can feel impossibly tough at times, they were never meant to ruin.
All relationships have their flaws and none of them come packaged with the permanent glow of sunlight, goodness and beautiful things.
In any normal relationship there will be fights from time to time.
Things will be said, done, forgiven and occasionally rehashed at strategic moments.
For the most part though, they will feel nurturing and life giving to be in.
At the very least, it won’t hurt.
Why do toxic people do toxic things?
Toxic people thrive on control.
Not the loving and healthy control that tries to keep everyone safe and happy, buckle your seatbelt, be kind and wear sunscreen but the type that keeps people small and diminished.
It is likely that toxic people learnt their behaviour during their own childhood, either by being exposed to the toxic behaviour of others or by being overpraised without being taught the key quality of empathy.
In any toxic relationship there will be other qualities missing too, such as respect, kindness and compassion but at the heart of a toxic person’s behaviour is the lack of concern around his impact on others.
They come with a critical failure to see past their own needs and wants.
Toxic people have a way of choosing open and kind people with beautiful, lavish hearts because these are the ones who will be more likely to fight for the relationship and less likely to abandon.
Even the strongest people can find themselves in a toxic relationship but the longer they stay, the more they are likely to evolve into someone who is a smaller, less confident, more wounded version of the person they used to be.
Non toxic people who stay in a toxic relationship will never stop trying to make the relationship better and toxic people know this and count on it.
Non toxic people will strive to make the relationship work and when they do, the toxic person has exactly what he wants,, control.
Love and loyalty don’t always exist together.
Love has a fierce way of keeping us tied to people who wound us.
Our survival would have once depended on believing in everything they said and did.
Resisting the need to challenge or question that we might deserve better.
The things we believe when we are young are powerful.
They fix themselves upon us and they stay at least until we realise one day how wrong and small hearted those messages have been.
At some point the environment changes and we grow up but our beliefs don’t always change with it.
Why are toxic relationships so destructive?
In any healthy relationship, love is circular when you give love it comes back.
When what comes back is scrappy and stingy intent under the guise of love it will eventually leave you small and depleted, which falls wildly and terrifyingly short of where anyone is meant to be.
Healthy people welcome the support and growth of the people they love even if it means having to change a little to accommodate.
When one person in a system changes, whether it is a relationship of two or a family of many, it can be challenging.
Even the strongest and most loving relationships can be touched by feelings of jealousy, inadequacy and insecurity at times in response to somebody’s growth or happiness.
We are all vulnerable to feeling the very normal and messy emotions that come with being human.
Why a Toxic Relationship Will never change.
Reasonable people, however strong and independently minded they are can easily be drawn into thinking that if they could find the switch, do less, do more, manage it, tweak it, the relationship will be ok.
The cold truth is that if anything was going to be different it would have happened by now.
Toxic people can change but it is highly unlikely.
What is certain is that nothing anyone else does can change them.
It is likely there will be broken people, broken hearts and broken relationships around them but the carnage will always be explained away as someone else’s fault.
There will be no remorse, regret or insight.
What is more likely is that any broken relationship will amplify their toxic behaviour.
Why are toxic people so hard to leave?
If you try to leave a toxic person, things might get worse before they get better but they will always get better. Always.
Few things will ramp up feelings of insecurity or a need for control more than when someone questions familiar and old behaviour or tries to break away from old and established patterns in a relationship.
For a person whose signature moves involve manipulation, lies, criticism or any other toxic behaviour, when something feels as though it is changing, they will use even more of their typical toxic behaviour to bring the relationship or the person back to a state that feels acceptable.
When things don’t seem to be working, people will always do more of what used to work even if that behaviour is at the heart of the problem.
It is what we all do.
If you are someone who is naturally open and giving, when things don’t feel right in a relationship you will likely give more of yourself, offer more support and be more loving to get things back on track.
Think of it like this.
Imagine that all relationships and families occupy a space.
In healthy ones, the shape of that space will be fluid and open to change with a lot of space for people to grow.
People will move to accommodate the growth and flight for each other.
For a toxic relationship, that shape is rigid and unyielding.
There is no flexibility, no bending and no room for growth.
Everyone has a clearly defined space and for some, that space will be small and heavily boxed.
The shape might wobble and things might feel vulnerable, weakened or scary.
This is normal but toxic people will do whatever it takes to restore the space to the way it was.
Often, that will mean crumpling the ones who are changing so they fit their space again.
Sometimes out of a sense of love and terribly misplaced loyalty, people caught in a toxic relationship might sacrifice growth and change and step back into the rigid tiny space a toxic person manipulates them towards.
It will be clear when this has happened because of the soul sucking grief at being back there in the mess with people who feel so bad to be with.
But they do it because they love me.
They said so.
Sometimes toxic people will hide behind the defence that they are doing what they do because they love you or that what they do is no big deal and that you are the one causing the trouble because you are just too sensitive, too serious, too weak, stupid, useless, needy, insecure and jealous.
The only truth you need to know is that If it hurts, it is hurtful. Full stop.
Love never holds people back from growing.
It doesn’t diminish and it doesn’t contaminate.
If someone loves you, it feels like love.
It feels supportive, nurturing and life giving.
If it doesn’t do this then it is not love.
It is self serving crap designed to keep you tethered and bound to someone else’s idea of how you should be.
There is no such thing as a perfect relationship but a healthy one is a tolerant, loving, accepting and responsive one.
The one truth that matters.
If it feels like growth or something that will nourish you, follow it.
Set the boundaries with grace and love, leave it to the toxic person to decide which side of that boundary he wants to stand on.
Boundaries aren’t about spite or manipulation and they don’t have to be about ending the relationship.
They are something drawn in strength and courage to let people see with great clarity where the doorway is to you.
If the relationship ends, it is not because of your lack of love or loyalty but because the toxic person chose not to treat you in the way you deserve.
Toxic people also have their conditions of relationship and though they might not be explicit, they are likely to include an expectation that you will tolerate ridicule, judgement, criticism, oppression, lying, manipulation or whatever they do.
No relationship is worth that and it is always ok to say no to anything that diminishes you.
The world and those who genuinely love you want you to be as whole as you can be.
Sometimes choosing health and wholeness means stepping bravely away from that which would see your spirit broken and malnourished.
When you were young, vulnerable and dependent for survival on the adults in your life, you had no say in the conditions on which you let people close to you.
But your life isn’t like that now.
You get to say.
You get to choose the terms of your relationships and the people you get close to.
There is absolutely no obligation to choose people who are toxic just because they are family.
If they are toxic, the simple truth is that they have not chosen you.
The version of you that they have chosen is the one that is less than the person you would be without them.
Walking away from a toxic relationship isn’t easy but it is always brave.
It is always ok.
And it is always worth it.
This is the learning and the growth that is hidden in the toxic mess.
Letting go will likely come with guilt, anger and grief for the person you thought you had.
They might fight harder for you to stay.
They will probably be crueller, more manipulative and more toxic than ever.
They will do what they have always done because it has always worked.
Keep moving forward and let every hurtful and small hearted thing they say or do fuel your step.
You can’t pretend toxic behaviour away or love it away or eat it, drink it, smoke it, depress it or gamble it away.
You can’t avoid the impact by being smaller, by crouching, bending or flexing around it.
But you can walk away from it so far away that the most guided toxic fuelled missile that is thrown at you won’t find you.
One day they might catch up to you not catch you, catch up to you with their growth and their healing but until then choose your own health and happiness over their need to control you.
Sometimes there are no two sides.
There is only one.
Toxic people will have you believing that the one truthful side is theirs.
It’s not and it never was.
Don’t believe their highly diseased and stingy version of love.
It has been drawing your breath, suffocating you and it will slowly kill you if you let it, and the way you let it is by standing still while it spirals around you, takes aim and shoots.
If you want to stay, that is completely ok but see their toxic behaviour for what it is, a desperate attempt to keep you little and controlled.
Be bigger, stronger, braver than anything that would lessen you.
Be authentic and real and give yourself whatever you need.
Be whoever you can be if the small minds and tiny hearts of others couldn’t stop you.