Dear person who is reading this,
Ever found yourself in a relationship that hurts more than it comforts? I have. You may have this relationship with a friend, family member or someone you’re romantically involved with – it could be anyone. I’ve had my fair share of toxic relationships, and they made me feel horrible about myself. They made me feel insignificant, self-conscious and humiliated. It took me some time to identify that I was in a toxic relationship to begin with. But once I realized that, every little thing they said that used to bring me down, mattered less. And then lesser. And lesser. It took some time, but the damaged & ugly image of myself that they had crafted so precisely, that portrait of myself that I once believed to be true started to blur. And it blurred some more. And more. Until it disappeared.
You see, toxic relationship are venomous – for your soul, mental health. They poison your thoughts with self-doubt, rust your confidence and disrupt inner peace. Imagine being yelled in your face that you’re worthless. How much value would you really give to their opinion of you if the person yelling at you is a stranger. Not much. It would be disturbing, maybe you’ll think about it for a short while. But, you’ll get over it. After all, they don’t know the real you, it’s not like you guys are friends. Now, imagine the person yelling at you is someone you love dearly, you hold their opinion close to your heart and hang on to every word they say. It would sting & hurt your feelings for sure. That is what these relationships do, except they’re thinly veiled in sweet promises of love, security & empathy. But if you look close enough, you’ll see it. You just need the strength to do so.
But how do you know it? Here’s some tell-tale signs:
- They don’t take you seriously…they don’t value your interests, likes or dislikes, hobbies, aspirations etc. Say, you dream to be a famous musician, for instance, and this person laughs at the notion because they think it’s ridiculous, impractical or impossible. That’s toxic. What are the chances that you’ll be world-famous? 50-50. Maybe you will or maybe you won’t but if someone’s making fun of you because you believe in yourself – you need to remove them from your life. You don’t deserve to be told that your dream’s too big! Hearing this enough times will shatter your hopes. The brooding cloud of uncertainty will loom over your head and it will stomp and strangle and destroy your spirit like the monster it is. Being patronized is NOT healthy, there is no reason for your opinion to be any less important than someone else’s. Stand up for yourself and don’t let the words of an ignorant person bring you down.
- They pass snide remarks on your looks…it could be about how you look, dress or about how ‘ugly’ your shoes are. (Yep, that one is from a personal experience.) This is not healthy. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and they have the right to express it BUT that is never ever the same as bullying. If you have a friend that picks on how bad your outfit is or how you need to lose the ‘extra pounds,’ they are toxic. Especially if these comments are being made in front of a large group, being friends with that person is not only toxic, but they are also showing the signs of being passive aggressive.
- Ulterior motives…they need a shoulder to cry on as soon as something bad happens but had completely disregarded your relationship prior to that. I have had friends that would literally only contact me when they needed some kind of help, & I wouldn’t hear from them otherwise and it used to hurt me so much. Learn to say no. What’s the worst that’ll happen, they won’t contact you the next time they’re in trouble and ultimately stop being ‘friends’ with you? I say good riddance! You’re better off having no or one good friend than 2 that are toxic.
- They make you feel like you’re a bad person…toxic people like to compensate for their nasty behavior by making us feel like we’re the bad guy (unless you’re a serial killer and someone tells you that you’re a bad person, you most likely are, sorry). If your friend was in trouble & you couldn’t get to them in time because of important reasons, don’t beat yourself up. It’s okay. You’re not the spawn of Satan. It’s natural to get caught up in your own thing every once in a while.
I believe no one’s toxic because they want to be. I mean, I don’t think a person wakes up one day and thinks to them self, ‘Oh, I’m just gonna be grade A bitch to Samantha today from 3-5pm because I’m just sooo evil! Better mark it on my agenda before I forget like last time.’ I feel that it could be because they’re bitter over something…maybe they’re insecure about themselves and being insensitive is their coping mechanism. It’s not a conscious action on their part & they don’t realize the reality of it all. Maybe I was once toxic for someone & I never realized it? I’m not some high & mighty angel fallen from the heavens above. Im flawed. This is one of the many reasons why we should be mindful of what we say. Words are important. They can make or break someone. Don’t let your words break someone.
How do you deal with a toxic person? Don’t take their crap! It may seem useless or pointless but it isn’t. You don’t necessarily need to get into a fight with them! They think you’re stupid for liking Star Trek? Tell them you liking it shouldn’t have to do anything with them. Be harsh if you have to. Tell them off in the beginning so they’re not encouraged to belittle you in the future. It’s better to nip it at the bud. If you’re in too deep, end that relationship. And if it’s someone you can’t possibly break ties with, a family member for instance, confront them. I know, I hate confrontation too. But it will make you feel so much better afterwards. If you feel like you can’t speak up, that’s okay…text them. You don’t have to do it in person. Just let them know that you don’t appreciate being made fun of.
I hope this helped.
A flawed person
Art Source #1: No Life Doodler on Facebook
Art Source #2: Deviant Art, Hito76