Has politics, Covid-19, and other events caused you to re-evaluate your relationships?
If yes, then read on …
Life is too short for the toxic relationships in our lives, but there are healthy ways to deal with them. Everybody has either experienced an unhealthy relationship or is currently a part of an unhealthy relationship. These relationships are often with friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, or even significant others.
While these relationships come in different degrees of toxicity, they’re characterized by conflict, jealousy, lack of support, lack of honesty, disrespect, and other similar signs.
No matter where the toxicity comes from, it needs to be dealt with. Otherwise, those unhealthy relationships will leave you feeling taken advantage of, emotionally drained, and lacking in self-confidence.
Learning to manage toxic relationships effectively is often difficult and can be tricky, depending on the situation. Toxic relationships between family, coworkers, and friends may require different paths you must take to address them. Regardless of each relationship’s nature, you can start by asking yourself the following questions:
- How is this person affecting my daily life?
- Is this person aware of how they affect me?
- Do they know when they’ve made a mistake, and do they show remorse?
- Does this person respect any boundaries you’ve put forth?
- Has this person shown interest in improving relations?
Once you begin to learn more about the relationship’s nature, you can start to find solutions. And here are a few to consider:
Reflect and Decide What You Want from the Relationship
Before you work on any relationship, you have to know what purpose it serves. It may sound selfish to ask yourself what you want from a relationship with someone, but you must do so when the relationship has been toxic.
For example, if you have an old friend or coworker that only brings negativity and stress to your life, why keep the relationship going? Instead, you can limit your interaction, reduce your correspondence, and gently wean that negativity from your life.
On the other hand, if you have a toxic relationship with a family member you genuinely do not want to let go of, you’ll need a different course of action. However, even in this case, it’s still not OK for the family to hurt, abuse, mistreat, or create harmful emotional or physical experiences for you. PERIOD!
Set “HEALTHY” Boundaries
First and foremost, you must set healthy boundaries. And these are boundaries set up to ensure your mental and emotional wellbeing and stability. When you’re involved in a toxic relationship, the detrimental aspects often come to light when boundaries have been crossed. These experiences are hard to miss. So don’t give people passes, excuses, or worse, deny what’s happening.
For example, maybe one of your family members tries to get into other aspects of your personal life, and you find it intrusive. You must let them know exactly how you feel, what you’re willing to tolerate, and what you are NOT willing to accept. If you don’t, they won’t stop doing it, and you’ll continue to feel negative about it.
Setting boundaries is easy—sticking to them is the true test. If you are honest with yourself first about what works and don’t work for you, the rest gets easier to do. But you must be strong, persistent, and honest with the other person too. Let them know when they’re making you feel uncomfortable, and don’t let them walk over you. Stick to your boundaries and make it known that your boundaries are here to stay.
Understand When to Say No/Take Time for Yourself
Relationships cannot be one-sided. If you’re involved with a significant other or a friend where it seems as though you’re always forced into something you don’t want to do, you need to learn how to say no. No relationship is healthy when you’re constantly doing things you don’t want to do or think you shouldn’t be doing. And in this instance, perhaps you need to re-evaluate this imbalanced relationship. No healthy relationship should ever make anyone feel forced to do anything.
At some point, you’ll discover with some relationships, you may need to walk away, or at the least, take a break. Often, when toxic relationships exist within families, people need a break from each other. They need to separate, reflect, and attempt to grasp the root causes of tension and anger and address the problem.
Taking such a break allows all parties involved to recover from stressful times and regroup from a neutral point of view. Ultimately, you may find the other person to be more level-headed, understand your boundaries, and be respectful of your wishes.
On the other hand, If the relationship is overly toxic and a break isn’t plausible, you may need to separate yourself from the situation completely.
Don’t Let Fear/Guilt Stop You – EVER
Leaving a family member, an old friend, or a lover is never easy. You’ll have doubts, second thoughts, and maybe even regrets directly after your decision. But, don’t let the fear or guilt hold you back. You may think if you leave, something worse will come, or that you’ll hurt the other person too bad.
What’s truly important is your happiness and wellbeing. Again, I repeat – YOUR HAPPINESS AND WELLBEING is your priority! You must always put yourself first when dealing with toxic relationships. Yes, your life will change, and yes, you may be worried if it was the right decision. But, in the end, you’ll experience less drama, stress, frustration, and, more importantly, less all-around negativity.
The Bottom Line
Living with and managing toxic relationships is NEVER easy. If you’re currently involved in one, reflect on it, ask yourself the questions mentioned above, and begin to assess your options. Additionally, reach out to friends and family whom you love and trust. Invest more time into those relationships instead of any unhealthy ones.
The power of positive relationships cannot be overstated when it comes to handling the bad ones. Positive relationships can help you through the tough times and show you what a real relationship should be like.
Remember, life is too short to lose sight of what healthily supports your mental and emotional wellbeing. So while you’re still here, consider making decisions that will grant you peace of mind in your heart and soul.