How To Deal When A Relationship Turns Poisonous

Written by Sandra Chabot Weber

I’ve been let down by a lot of people in my life. Friends, family, boys, bosses — you name it. When it starts to be a recurring theme in a relationship, it becomes a source of emotional poison.

Mistakes and poor choices are bound to happen in every relationship. This is life, after all. But when someone continually refuses to take accountability for her actions, it can be devastating. When that apology never comes, it’s a good sign that it’s time for you to find a way to get of the emotional poison in your life.

You see, we cannot make other people change, but we can always inspire others to choose change for themselves.

This begins with us. Deep inside of us, we hold the power to relinquish emotional poison from our lives. What’s most incredible is that we can do this without shutting down and closing our heart to the world.

So when a relationship turns poisonous, we must channel our energy back to ourselves and follow these five steps:

1. Don't be afraid to feel the emotions.

I’ve felt my heart break over yet another disappointment. While this can be extremely painful, we can't turn away from experiencing our emotions. The trick is to set some space aside to do just that while working through the pain rather than letting it take over. Allow yourself to feel whatever comes up and then move on.

Solace comes in many transformative forms such as writing, listening to music, painting, or even just plain crying. Never be afraid to feel — it’s an essential part of being alive.

2. Refuse to eat emotional poison.

I discovered this powerful sentence on one of my cards from Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements” deck. It suggests that we have the ability to stand strong and protect ourselves from poisonous energy.

This can be done instantly by silently repeating an empowering mantra. One of my favorites is: "Negative energy simply passes through me while I remain happy and optimistic."

3. Distance yourself from the poison.

Sometimes you can’t just fully cut somebody out of your life. Thankfully, distance is always an option. Spend less of your energy on the poisonous relationship and more of it on doing activities for yourself that you enjoy.

Yes, this means embracing more solo time and treating yourself to plenty of TLC. Bubble baths, long walks, and meditation are easy and affordable places to start.

4. Honor those who are there for you.

Too often we focus on the negative instead of appreciating the abundance of good in our lives. No matter how bad things get, you're sure to have at least one or two amazing people who are beyond good to you.

Do not underestimate the difference that one person can make in your life. Give yourself fully to these people and work on strengthening these relationships. Send them a thank you card, treat them to lunch and give them lots of hugs.

5. Stay kind.

Admittedly, I’ve had to resist the urge to put people in their place. I’ve realized that that’s not the mark I want to leave on this world. Chances are it’s nothing personal anyway. The people who continually let you down are often stuck in a state of fighting their own emotional poison.

As one of my best friends has taught me, kindness changes everything. Though it might not always be easy to be kind within the difficult relationship, you can begin by extending your kindness to strangers. Hold the door for the person behind you, buy someone a coffee and pay people compliments. As you practice kindness, it will become a piece of who you are.

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