Updated: Nov 17, 2021
Humans are social animals. Most of us live and breathe for our connections. But how do you draw the line between being tolerant and protecting your well-being and health? That can be more clearly defined when you are in an abusive relationship or involved with people with addictions. Outside of things like that, it may not be as easy to determine when a relationship is not working for you.
You can identify a toxic relationship by comparing it to those interactions you have that leave you feeling good, where the person cares about you, and they show you compassion and respect. Ideally, you feel warm fuzzies in their presence because you share decision-making, communicate freely, and feel safe there.
When we hear the term toxic relationship, we often think of romantic partnerships that involve control, jealousy, passive-aggressive manipulation, dishonesty, and other troubling behaviors.
But what about your friends, what about the people you spend a lot of time with, what about family? Can these also be toxic?
Of course, they can! But how do you recognize relationships that are detrimental to your well-being, and what do you do about it?
First, ask yourself if the dysfunctional treatment you are receiving is ongoing or if it rarely happens because no one is perfect and everyone acts poorly at times. But does someone consistently put you down, use you as an outlet for their repressed anger, abuse you in some way, or try to possess you? These are toxic traits.
Toxic relationships can be two-sided, or there can be one culprit. Is your concern for someone one-sided, based on need, and feel like an addiction? That is often termed codependency, is not healthy, is draining, and impacts your self-esteem. It is up to you to seek help to get out of those negative relationships and change your codependent mindset.
How do you get out of toxic relationships even with family members?
Getting out means leaving and letting go of someone. That can be short-term until the relationship shifts in a positive way or long-term if there is no change. Leaving can be more challenging the more your lives are entwined or the longer you have known someone. If you don’t think that leaving is your best option, try communicating how you feel. People who discard your feelings or won’t change are likely the ones you should leave. Look at their historical behavior toward you and decide whether or not they are worth your time.
Leaving family can be heart-wrenching, but consider this. Maybe your ultimate purpose in being in a dysfunctional family is not to learn tolerance but to learn how to stick up for and love yourself. Just because you are related to someone does not mean you have to accept destructive behavior or abuse. Again, this is a decision only you can make. Just know it is okay to leave anyone, including family members.
You must determine where your boundaries lie. It is okay for you to decide that someone is not good for you no matter what. Few people are experts at relationships, so it is up to you to trust your intuition and decide for yourself.
Why is it important to surround yourself with people that are good for you?
We are energetic entities. Have you ever known instinctively when someone was looking at you and looked back? Have you ever felt dread when meeting someone? Animals sense these things, and so do humans. Your intuition is that voice in your head that waves red flags or nudges you forward when you find a good match. Meditation and hypnosis are excellent tools to help you get in touch with your intuition, so you pick up on the signals.
We automatically adopt some of the behaviors of people we share the most time with. If they are negative, you might take on that negativity. And if they are positive, the opposite is usually true. Look at people’s levels of positivity. I think you will find that positive people are the most successful in life. You can’t help but be influenced by people around you. Make that influence a nurturing one.
Surround yourself with people who elevate you, who challenge you, who encourage you to get out of your comfort zone, who care, who get you, and who support you. Life is too short for anything less.
Improving the quality of your relationships may take time, but it is worth it. Join groups that tweak your interest, such as Meetup, Toast Masters, yoga, hiking, or a MasterMind group. Group opportunities are endless, and in them, you can begin friendships with shared interests. As you get to know people in the groups you join, like-minded people gravitate toward each other.
To find good friends and partners, you have to be one yourself. So continual self-evaluation and development are necessary. Take an honest look at your actions and make sure you are not a perpetrator of abuse or that you exhibit toxic behaviors. And if so, then it is up to you to do the work to change. Again, meditation and hypnosis are powerful tools to help you gain clarity and move beyond bad habits, reactions, and behaviors.
Even if a relationship doesn't meet the toxic level, it is still okay to leave if you choose to. You have free will. Use it to build healthy relationships with people who deserve you and are worth the time you give them.
Feeling stuck or looking to expand your network and community? Become a Best Lifer for only $11.11/mo - Find out more