Last week I spent three days trading the Handmade Fair at Hampton Court. It’s our fourth year at this busy show, and this year I met the lovely Kirsty Allsopp who presents things which made my day!
One morning, I had coffee with a friend who I haven’t seen since last year. She used to do shows week in week out, and I miss her bubbly energy and warm, sweet nature.
As is often the case with old friends, the conversation soon turned to our love lives or in my case, lack of them!
I couldn’t help thinking how challenging relationships can be as she described the ongoing difficulties with her ex-partner. She still cares for him and probably still loves him, but the anger and constant jealousy became too much.
When a relationship becomes toxic, whether it’s a partner or a friend, then you must take decisive action to resolve things. This can be in two stages. First, you might tackle it head-on with the other person, thereby attempting to change the behaviour.
If this fails, as likely it will, then you are left with only one course of action, and that is to distance yourself from the person or relationship.
Of course, you are going to wish things were different; you hoped the person would change. But in your heart, you know they probably never will. People are people and change is exceptionally difficult. Especially when it involves learned responses and behaviours they have adopted over many years.
When you find yourself in a situation that is not making you happy, where another person is affecting your mood, your well being and most likely your self-worth then sadly often the only course of action that works is to cut that person out of your life.
Don’t allow them to keep upsetting you. This is a hard choice, as the forgiving part of you will always want to give one more chance in the hope that they can change. But those extra chances lead to a lifetime of unhappiness. You are not their shrink or their social worker.
You have a responsibility to yourself and your wellbeing. Sometimes the best kind of friend you can be is to distance yourselves from people who drain your energy, sap your will and bring negativity to every interaction.
Not an easy pathway, but in your heart, you know what must be done. Together, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.
5 thoughts on “Toxic People”
Thanks for your post of toxic people Luke. Came at just the right time. My toxic ex husband still has control over me and my life even after 9 years apart. His negative behaviour (stalking, nasty comments about me to our children and generally being bitter and difficult) was threatening to spoil my new relationship and new found happiness. Reading your blog made me realise I need to cut him and his negativity out of my life. Thank you for your positivity and blogs. I read them all. You are an inspiration.
I love your blog and found it interesting to read your views on toxic people . In my journey through life which has included a divorce and being bereaved of my second husband , I have also learnt that in relationships often people behave towards you because of learned behaviours or ways of reacting to certain situations . They know what buttons to press to make you react -and vice versa. We cannot change other people but we can change ourselves . Sometimes their reaction is because we are part of the problem but can’t see it ! I have learnt to step back and look at what is happening . Are you using particular words or phrases that annoy them or always getting back to the thing that annoys you and you won’t let drop? You can change your reaction or comments or sometimes the enviroment where you meet .Do not get drawn into their game . It has sometimes surprised me what can happen to move a relationship on. If they can’t change then maybe you do have to walk away .
Luke, you are so right. Each of us owe ourselves a duty of care and that includes protecting ourselves from toxic people. Sometimes this is hard because we feel guilty, but if a toxic person will not change we have to take the initiative and step back from them. We only get one chance at life and life is too short to let another person mess up your head with their constant negativity and nastiness. We grow with light and positivity not with darkness and negativity. We must be brave and free ourselves when we can.
People are like ships, some are passing through, others unload, and the real people in your life anchor.
This blog really resonated with me as, after 50-something years I finally made the decision that I no longer want my brother in my life. Right or wrong, his morals and behaviour do not fit with my own sense of integrity. I realised that after every contact with him my sense of emotional well being was disrupted and I felt unsettled for days after. We still have to have contact as we are executors of my father’s estate and my elderly mother is still alive, but I feel much better that I have made this break clear. I am determined that eventually I will cease to be affected be his judgements and behaviour.