Have you ever been in a toxic relationship? I’m sure you have, but, maybe you were fortunate enough to realize it in time before any lasting effects occurred.
Toxic relationships can take form in a number of ways: Friends, spouse/significant others, siblings, co-workers, even parents.
The best way to determine if you are indeed drowning in a toxic relationship is by asking yourself:
Can you be yourself around this person or do you have to act like someone you’re not?
Does this person want you to be successful and when you are, celebrate your successes with you?
“Some relationships constantly drain your energy, in both obvious and subtle ways. Several types of people will exhaust you or deter you from your path to living a fulfilled life. Life coach Cheryl Richardson describes six types of toxic qualities in people.
This person likes to hear his own voice. He constantly complains about what isn’t working in his life and yet gets energy from complaining and dumping his frustrations on you.
This is the needy person who calls to ask for your guidance, support, information, advice or whatever she needs to feel better in the moment. Because of her neediness, the conversation often revolves around her, and you can almost feel the life being sucked out of you during the conversation.
This person can be hazardous to your health. The shamer may cut you off, put you down, reprimand you, or make fun of your or your ideas in front of others. He often ignores your boundaries and may try to convince you that his criticism is for you own good. The shamer is the kind of person who makes you question your own sanity before his.
This is the person who discounts or challenges everything you say. Often, she has a strong need to be right and can find fault with any position. It can be exhausting to have a conversation with the discounter, so eventually you end up giving in and deciding to just listen.
This person avoids intimacy by talking about other behind their backs. The gossip gets energy from relaying stories, opinions, and the latest
“scoop.” By gossiping about others, he creates a lack of safety in his relationships, whether he realizes it or not. After all, if he’ll talk about someone else, he’ll talk about you.”
Being in a toxic relationship doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up and walk away. Instead you could try to confront the other person. “Once you have identified that you have a toxic relationship in your life, there are specific words that you can use to confront this family member or friend in a graceful, loving way. Your goal is not necessary to sever all relationships, it’s to set boundaries with this person. If you feel the relationship can be healed, follow these steps.
Step One: Set the stage.
“In an effort to honor our relationship, I need to tell you the truth…”
Step Two: Follow up with how you feel.
“When you _______ it makes me feel ______…”
Step Three: Then ask your family member or friend.
“Are you willing to stop doing that?”
“In an effort to honor our relationship I need to tell you the truth. When you complain about your boss every week, it leaves me feeling drained of energy. If you’re willing to do something about the situation, I’ll support you 100%, but I can no longer listen to your complaints. Are you willing?” Then… “If you forget this conversation in the future, I promise to support you and our relationship by asking you to tell me how I can support you in taking action to fix the problem.”
“In an effort to honor our relationship I need to tell you the truth. When you put me down I feel angry and hurt. In order for us to continue seeing each other, I need to ask you to stop. Are you willing?”
“In an effort to honor our relationship I need to tell you the truth. When you criticize me I feel drained and upset. I’d like to ask you to stop doing that so we can move closer instead of further apart. Are you willing?”
The worst thing about toxic relationships is how much they cripple your growth. By nature, we are meant to evolve. There is pure beauty in being yourself and loving who you are. The hardest part of getting a toxic relationship under control is the confrontation. Once you have made the effort of letting that person know how you feel and where you stand, it is then up to them to take charge and realize how their behavior has affected you and do what they can to change it. If you don’t see progress, it is time to distance yourself to provide ample room for maximum growth and happiness. Don’t let another person’s behavior or treatment destroy your well-being. It is yours and yours alone. A person’s well-being is the determining factor for success, happiness and love. Surround yourself with those who love and support you.
Thoughts, comments, questions? Email me, JennKaysen@gmail.com
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