Throughout my therapy sessions over the last 6-8 months I’ve been learning about who the toxic people are in my life and how I need to make some changes to distance myself from those that aren’t healthy for me to be around. What I’ve realized though is that while there can be blatantly toxic people in our lives, the most toxic aren’t always the most obvious ones that come to mind.
A toxic person is one who tears you down, doesn’t validate you, doesn’t care about your opinion, belittles your accomplishments, and just doesn’t make you feel good when you interact with them. Of course those who are physically or verbally violent to you are clearly toxic as well.
There are some people I can think of off the top of my head that I need to put an ocean’s worth of distance between, and I am taking steps to do that. It still isn’t an easy thing to do when you’ve known these people for a long, long time. That reliable old guilty feeling keeps showing itself, trying to make me put the blame on back on me instead of them.
Establishing boundaries for those who are toxic is a must if we are to heal. The reason we need boundaries is not because of anything we did, but because of what others did or do to us.
I think I’m a very intuitive person and I can see right through people most of the time, but trying to decide if some are truly toxic or just not thinking before they speak at times, isn’t as easy as I think it should be.
For example, there is someone I know who on the exterior is very gruff, vocal, loves the sound of his own voice, and just generally thinks he knows everything. But then are times when he’s genuine, real, and actually seems to be concerned for me. Is that a toxic person?
What about people that you joke around with but sometimes they take it too far? What if I’m the one that plays along and laughs about what they say about me or someone else in an effort to not stir up controversy. Don’t get me wrong, I will stand up for someone or something I believe in, every time.
However, sometimes when I’m around certain people they bring up things that I’ve done in the past, it still hurts inside. Even if I do outwardly shrug it off and laugh. Are those people toxic?
Is my mother toxic? Maybe that’ just a stupid question based on past posts that I’ve written about her. I’ve talked to some that say she is toxic, like it’s a no brainer. I can certainly see that, but there comes that old guilty monster rearing its ugly head again trying to tell me that I’m an ungrateful son and I should appreciate my family more. I swear it’s a burden that just never goes away.
In some cases I can’t fully get rid of toxic people because I have to be around them regularly either at work or elsewhere. So since I can’t just avoid them I have to make up my mind to take the high road, not dwell on what they say, and keep reaffirming to myself that I’m worth standing up for. I don’t need their approval for anything, I’m fine the way I am.
It’s one thing to confront someone about how they make you feel, and it’s certainly not a bad thing to do. I think you have to pick your battles though. For example, in the workplace you have to be very careful what kind of controversy you stir up because that can get you into a lot of trouble even when you didn’t mean for it to happen.
Same goes for a family member or friend, you can confront them and state your case and ease your mind that you voiced your opinion. Perhaps they take it to heart and change and perhaps they don’t. We can’t control the way that someone will react, and it may very well blow up in our face and because they invalidate us even more.
I guess for me, like I said it’s picking your battles and realizing that sometimes it’s just OK to let it go and know that we are fine and some people just are who they are.
The world is full of toxic people and always will be, both obvious and not so much. If we want to heal we need to be proactive to establish and maintain healthy boundaries. You don’t have to be perfect at it right away, but the fact that you take the time to heal and build your self worth back up, shows that you are on the right track.
We’ve been through enough trauma in our lives. Our minds and bodies have taken more than enough abuse. Wanting to stand up for ourselves and believing we are important and worthy of being treated with respect is not a negative mindset to have. It’s a healthy mindset. We deserve to surround ourselves with people that we respect and who respect us back.
You are worth it, I am worth it, we are worth it!
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