The term "toxic" is used lot when we talk about people whose presence in our life isn't positive or supportive. It seems that as a society we're increasingly aware of negativity in our lives and want to release it.
The good news is that any relationship that doesn't make us feel good or contribute to our well-being doesn't have to be tolerated. We can exercise our right to limit these relationships or eradicate them altogether. Doing so can be empowering and wonderful.
I recall a very specific case of disconnecting with a girlfriend I had in my early 20s. She consistently made comments to me about my other friends, things like, “That girl is a user,” or, “You should watch out, Jenny is sooooo competitive over men.” It made me paranoid, especially as I didn't agree with her. As a result, I started questioning everyone’s motives.
Enough was enough when she talked badly about me to a mutual friend. He told me immediately after telling her bluntly that he didn't want to engage in sh*t talk. That was the final straw for me. I let our friendship dissolve from my life completely. Even though it was hard at the time, I'm still happy years later that I did. In fact, if anything, I could have done it sooner.
Life is stressful enough without additional drama or stress brought on by taxing relationships with our friends and relatives. This stress is felt more than it's seen, heard or discussed. And it isn't healthy for our minds or bodies.
It's your life. It's your energy. It is your precious time. If a relationship isn't serving you, and isn't elevating you toward your highest self, you're completely entitled to limit the extent that you are exposed to it. It doesn't mean that you don't care about the person involved or will ever stop caring for her. It just means that your dynamic and closeness will shift. And that's OK.
In other words, you can love or care for someone but you don't have to hang out with him or her.
Here are five ways to disconnect from love:
1. Think loving and compassionate thoughts toward the person in question.
Hating, resenting or being angry will only hurt you. Perhaps the toxic person is unkind or rude because they are afraid, lost, feeling insecure? Our external condition and behavior is always an expression of our internal condition.
2. Say no.
When you're invited to something where the toxic person is involved and you don't want to go, to politely decline. A simple, "Thank you but I can't make it" will suffice.
3. Talk to this person about needing some space in a loving way.
Tell the person that you value them and you just need a little break for your own reasons. It's up to you how much you want to share. If you don't want to get into it, this is explanation enough.
4. Speak kindly of this person to others.
Disconnecting with love doesn't mean cutting someone out of your life and then talking trash behind his or her back. If the person in question arises as a subject in conversation, you can change topic or say something short, honest and kind, "Yes, I have not seen her in a while ... I hope she's doing well."
5. Remember, you come first.
No one will treat you with love or respect unless you do so first for yourself. Releasing non-supportive relationships are one of the first ways to do this!
Then relax, breathe and enjoy being in control of your life and your environment. Don't waste a second feeling guilty about putting someone very important first ... you.
How have you successfully managed toxic relationships in your life?