You don’t really notice how toxic people can affect you until you get older. The quote by Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Doesn’t make sense until you start removing certain people and notice a difference in your life.
It wasn’t until I started working that I noticed my so-called friends weren’t really my true friends. Then when I moved to Maryland in December and had a disturbing conversation with my mother that I knew I had to eliminate family too.
Our plans to move to Maryland all failed and when I was reaching out to family and friends for help. It didn’t bother me that nobody could help us. It was Christmas time and everyone was strap for cash preparing themselves to enjoy the Holidays with their loved ones. However, to hear my mother degrade me about my decision to leave Pennsylvania with the assumption that I had no plans or goal in mind pissed me off. Even prior to moving to Maryland, my mother and I had a strange relationship and I hadn’t heard from her in months until I reached out to ask for help in moving. Of course she had every excuse in the book to not make show up after telling me she would. To me this was normal and a standard routine of how my mother always worked.
The things she had said was hurtful, but not because of the fact that she thought of me as a horrible person, mother, daughter, etc. But some of the things, she had said was only told to one person that I thought I could trust. My sister. After I cried my eyes out and took a walk around to clear my thoughts. That’s when i realized that I had to remove the toxicity in my life. The very same people who I called family where dragging me down, being judgmental in the choices I made in my life whether it was parenting, religious, career, etc, demanding in what they needed from me rather like money or a sitter with nothing in return and if I didn’t follow through or said no. Again, I was the horrible person and I would get the cold shoulder.
How can you tell who are toxic people?
Toxic people try to control you. My mother didn’t raise me. I was adopted by her sister when I was 7 years old and she took care of me until I was 15. I left home and provided for myself by working and living in my own apartment. Even after I left and started my own family. I felt like I couldn’t say, do, or be who I was without her opinions on it. If I shared this information with anyone on social media or my blog, I had to remove it instantly. This is where I had the fear of what people thought about me.
Toxic people won’t respect your boundaries. Having so many people live with us. It took years for me to understand that people were overstepping their boundaries and usually don’t have no care about respecting them regardless if you are opening up your home to them. Recently, we had people staying with us and we had mentioned before they moved in that what the rules were and how our home was. They completely disrespected those boundaries and tried to flip them around on us because they felt they “pay” enough to do as they please. Not knowing that it was 2 families of 6 living in one house.
Toxic people take without giving. In my case, I couldn’t get a job due to legal issues. I opted to take on babysitting for my sister and we had an agreement on payments. Well, being that we are siblings, I felt obligated to take what I can get even if she wasn’t paying me what we agreed upon or didn’t pay me at all. I couldn’t get a job so I felt like well, what else can I do?
Toxic people always have to be right. This reminds me of my mother-in-law. She can never admit when she’s wrong about something even if she is wrong. She will find a way to always be right in any situation.
Toxic people aren’t honest. Integrity doesn’t come easy for these people. They will be dishonest about everything and not just when it comes to their words in white lies or straight out lies. Their actions will also be dishonest.
Toxic people pretend to be the victim. I’ve had so-called friends who will find any opportunity to degrade, downplay, and create a different picture in their minds about who I am to other people that have no idea who I am. They will find a way to make themselves out to be a victim in the situation even if the ‘stories’ they tell don’t add up.
Toxic people can’t take accountability. With also playing the victim and having to always be right. These same people can’t hold themselves accountable for what happened. Instead, they will just chalk it up as you are the problem.
Does anyone in your life sound like this? Can you relate to some of these examples? I know it can be difficult to accept that some toxic people can be family. Some people may feel like you have to keep toxic people around including family members. Daniell Koepke said it best and allowed me to let go of that guilt for removing family from my life.
So how do you remove toxic people from your life?
Five Ways to Remove Toxic People
Be careful. Removing toxic people from your life can backfire. I know from personal experience that people won’t and can’t accept accountability. They will try to slow the process in self-improvement. However, this is a great sign that they are toxic people who need to go.
Know its going to be a process. I had my moments where I was ‘missing’ them. Its truly like a drug where your ego wants to get fed. You think you miss them, but really you just miss the feeling of validation, gossip, negativity, and dram they gave you even if it wasn’t good for you. Its easier said then done, but don’t allow yourself to fall trap into their games.
You don’t have to explain yourself. You don’t owe anyone an explaination. I love how my husband’s answer is, “All is good.” He doesn’t provide more than that. If they need more information as to why he doesn’t bother. He ignores them and allows them to conqure up their own conclusion. Even if you do give them an explaination, they will try and find a way to come out as the victim.
Block them on social media. I didn’t block anyone on social media, but I did unfriend them. When they try to message me, it goes to my ‘other folder’. I just hit the ignore button and go about my day. They were also apart of group messages and I just gladly left the group message. Its plain to see that I left the group so they know, I don’t want to be involved or included in the shenagians.
Don’t argue with them. Arguing only feeds the fire. That’s what they want so that you can feel guilty and bad. They don’t want to be held accountable for their actions or words. They rather you just brush them off under the rug and continue the same toxic relationship.
Be firm on your boundaries. Stating your boundaries and what you won’t stand for can be difficult. They will keep testing the waters and disrespect your boundaries. This is how you can create more distance especially with family if you feel as though you can’t completely cut them off. Be aware of when they are trying to test you because then you can fully see the toxic people for who they really are and not the picture you painted of them.
You may not even have to do anything at all. Its really about creating a space between them and yourself. Its easier to remove friends from your life by not calling or texting them as often. However, with family it can be more difficult to cut them out of your life. For me it was an emotional distance at first and I only interacted with them during the holidays. As my decision to start working created even more space that even holidays and other events didn’t permit or want me to be associated with them. Eventually it made my decision to move out of state easier as I had no ties to keep me in a toxic environment.
Just remember when stated your boundaries and creating space between family. You are telling yourself that you are valuable and you are worthy. Just be careful as you may come off as the scapegoat and the topic of the gossip at family gatherings which can paint a picture in other’s heads about you. However, you are making you a priority and there’s nothing wrong with self-love. Once you are aware of the toxic people in your life, you will see the signs quicker and won’t allow them back into your life. Especially when meeting new people.
Have you removed toxic people from your life? How did you go about doing it? I love to hear about other people’s experiences.