Relationships and friendships can be poisonous. Some dynamics can eat away at the very core of your seemingly unbreakable, titanium plated being and break you down enough to make you feel like the smallest, most insignificant germ. Toxic relationships are obviously, incredibly detrimental to your mental health.
It takes courage to get people. out of your life, deciding whether they fill your cup or empty it takes some consideration and telling them you think so takes gumption. It’s a massive thing to decide to cut people out, standing up for yourself and your own esteem is terrifying and potentially hurting someone you used to think had the sun shining out of every orifice can be stressful.
Yet, in order for you to become truly self-actualised, for your full potential as a kick-ass human being with soul and fire to be reached, you have to throw the garbage out.
You just have to learn how to differentiate between a toxic relationship and a normal one.
1. Success is a no-no.
The person does not view your success as a good thing, unless they are more successful. Toxic relationships consist of one person trying to maintain the upper hand and chances are it’s not you.
2. They try to contain you.
They try and gain a level of control. Phrases such as “I know how to handle them” are used in reference to you (because apparently you’re an animal that needs to be contained) and manipulation tactics are used to make you feel guilty about being yourself.
3. Your personal decisions are unnecessarily criticised.
Any criticism that isn’t constructive should be a red flag. A true friend will tell you not to go out in a crop top and tiny shorts because you look like a slut and they see your full potential as a classy gal, a toxic friend will ignore the sluttiness and go straight to the fact that your shorts are from the charity shop and your legs aren’t tanned enough.
4. You can not be yourself around them.
If you are you see it as a form of rebellion. You find yourself trying to be perfect every time you see them. Going out becomes a nightmare as you have to look respectable, bodily functions aren’t allowed at all, everything has to be pristine.
5. You’re terrified of conflict between the two of you.
Whether it’s because you know they won’t act rationally or they’ll manipulate the situation so you feel guilty about what they’ve done that’s upset you, conflict is avoided. You keep your issues to yourself and hope they’ll forget about themselves.
6. They’re support and belief in you is limited.
They’re shocked when you’re successful as they “didn’t think you could do it”. There is no evident support from their side, only blatant surprise and regret that you’ve had your self esteem boosted.
7. You make the effort most of the time.
It doesn’t matter if they’re in the area with nothing better to do, if they want to see you then you have to put in the effort. You spend your free time running around trying to cater to their busy schedule despite no effort being made for you.
8. There is an extreme level of possession towards you.
Despite the fact that you’re a blubbering idiot with no sense of style, or whatever the latest criticism is (see point 3), and no effort is made by them to maintain the friendship (see point 7), when someone else comes into your life and begins to hold your attention the toxic friend becomes jealous and possessive, blaming everyone but themselves for the reason you’re pulling away.
9. No effort is put in towards the end.
When you finally pick up the red flags, when you decide life is quite a joyful affair without them in it and you pluck up the courage to tell them how they make you feel they immediately react on the defensive. No apology is issued, no effort to fix the situation is offered, the only regret they have is probably that they are no longer able to boss you around.
But congratulations! You are free, you have managed to achieve a higher standard of living by recognising that you deserve better. It is not a crime to look after yourself, never feel guilty for putting your own feelings and well-being first, because no one else will.
Once you have a taste of what it’s like to be surrounded by positive people who support you and love you exactly for who you are, you’ll never want to put yourself in a poisonous position ever again.