The phrase ‘toxic people’ is a very particular one. Like any victim of poisoning, you may not know the toxin is killing you at first. It might be hidden inside a sweet wine or delicious cake. But, eventually, it will get you.
Poisonous people are those who through their actions towards you or to others while around you are ultimately bad for you.
They may constantly be getting you into fights or creating drama. You might know someone who plays all of your mates off against each other, or gangs up on you with other friends to feel superior.
It could even be a family member.
Toxic people may even have good intentions, but have you hooked on Class As or a dangerous lifestyle. Either way, if you’re looking to improve yourself and your core confidence, you will at some point have to create distance between you and them.
Knowing how to cut people out of your life seems like quite a negative skill to have, but it could actually be the one thing you need to progress. We are also highly sentimental creatures and find concept of separation far harder than it actually is.
There are a few things to consider when it comes to sucking the venom out of your social circle:
- ACCEPT REALITY – HOWEVER BRUTAL
- MAKE A CLEAN BREAK
- BE OPEN AND GET CLOSURE
- SEEK NEW BEGINNINGS
- BE SELFISH
Know this going into the rest of this post: you will never have access to your full potential if the people around you are eroding part of it.
Accept reality – however brutal
If you’ve known someone for a long time, or if you’re wondering how to cut off toxic family members, it takes a lot of honesty to face the facts.
There comes a point, however, where you really have to sit down and define yourself in the relationship. Do they dominate? Do they always take sides against you in group arguments? Do they really add anything to your life, or simply detract from it?
After you’ve really considered how they see you, and if they are healthy to have around, you can then make a decision with more confidence as to how to get rid of a toxic friend.
It can be easy to over-sentimentalise a long relationship, but ultimately people change. The people who fulfilled your needs and gave you a healthy, reciprocal relationship at age 15 may not be in a position to do so at 25 or 35.
Take off the rose-tinted goggles and have a look at your life from the outside.
Then, when you make the decision…
Make a clean break
Truly coming to terms with the reality of the situation is central to the process of cutting harmful social influences out of our lives. It provides the conviction to act quickly and definitively.
Removing toxic people from your life shouldn’t be any more drawn out than removing a wasp sting. You don’t have to sink to their level in dragging out any narcissistic games.
Simply break it off.
If that means avoiding a haunt at which you normally hang out, or a group of people you normally see with this person, then so be it. Changing habits is hard, and a friendship is often a shared habit that requires some discipline to break.
If you’ve come to terms with how harmful their presence is in your life, this severance should be regarded no differently to starting a diet or giving up nicotine.
Some people ‘go ghost’, removing any trace of themselves from a person’s life and blocking all contact without a hint of explanation. However…
Be open and get closure
If this toxic figure in your life is out to harm you, talking behind your back and putting you down to your face, then you owe them nothing in terms of holding back in your approach to breaking contact. If they are simply acting in a harmful way, but not to you, talk to them about their behaviour – maybe they really are loo how to cut someone off king to change but no one has yet bothered to take him or her to task.
Either way, going ghost achieves nothing and will leave you with plenty of your own ghosts hanging over your head.
If only for your own benefit, make sure you let them know that their actions have hurt you and you do not want to be in contact with them anymore.
It also gives you the moral high ground. You don’t have to plan and write some scathing diatribe that gives you your triumphant Rocky freeze-frame, but if you don’t speak openly with them after making your decision, you’ll have unresolved resentment for a long time. No toxic relationship is worth that.
Seek new beginnings
There is zero point in burning old bridges if you don’t build some new ones.
The great thing about redefining old relationships is you get to set the rules for the new ones. The same way I talk about with my clients looking for girls: you don’t have to settle. Only invest in people who seem ready to invest in you. If you tend to keep your personal and professional lives separate, perhaps it’s time to get to know a few of your colleagues.
There will doubtless be plenty of good people in life that you have been tragically overlooking whilst in the hold of this toxic relationship. Start paying attention to them. Or, simply be open to new people.
As with everything, there are exceptions here. Sometimes you are simply looking to reduce the flab – excess weight that doesn’t give back. You don’t just want to heap on more flab in its place.
However, you should not let your bad experience here dictate your future relationships. Each person has his or her own benefits to give you, and needs for you to provide. It’s up to you how much you gain from it.
And on that final note…
You have to make some decisions that benefit only you should want to achieve core confidence.
You may well be called it anyway by the toxic person in question in a bid to lash out, but ultimately everyone should be surrounded by people who support them and have their best interests at heart.
If you truly believe you are selfish for wanting the same in your own life, then feel free to be selfish. If your ‘friends’ are trying to hurt you, getting rid of them is no more selfish than taking penicillin.
Your friends are the family you choose.
Make them count.
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