I’ve Started Cutting Toxic People Out Of My Life — And It’s Made A Huge Difference
No one needs to understand why except for you.
I got a much-needed text from an old friend last night after we met for dinner. It said, “Good things will happen when you get rid of things that aren’t right for you.” Even though we’d sat for almost two hours and I told her about how I ended my three-year relationship with my boyfriend, she somehow knew I needed that reminder.
“I’ve watched you twist yourself into a pretzel to try to make things work with him and you just had to wait until you were ready.” She nailed it. I did have to wait until I was ready to let him go. But why do find it so hard to cut certain people out of my life? I’ve always been this way. My younger sister told me I was “loyal to a fault” as she watched me cling to a marriage I didn’t want to be in that wasn’t working for me any longer.
I’ve stayed at a job that was toxic and literally made me sick because I felt like I couldn’t walk away. I’ve gone to social gatherings I didn’t want to go to because I felt like I had to and wondered what people would think of me if I didn’t go.
I’ve spent time with my mother — something that is extremely difficult for me — on special occasions like Mother’s Day and Christmas when I didn’t want to see her. There have been times I’ve broken out in hives. I felt I had to spend time with her because she is my mother.
I know I’m not alone in this. I have friends who have put up with similar situations and say things like, “Well, they are family, I can't just get rid of them,” or “We’ve been married for ten years, it’s not that easy.” I hear that loud and clear.
However, I’ve gotten better at cutting people out of my life and nothing but good things have come of it. In my last relationship, I found out my boyfriend had a gambling addiction and he was a really irresponsible drinker. It got in the way of our relationship and alcohol seemed more important than me. He got an OUI and then swore to me and my kids he’d never drink again. I stayed with him through all of that, even though there was a big part of me that wanted to leave.
Then, he started drinking again and blamed me. He said I was controlling and I didn’t know how hard it was to quit and he should be able to drink when he wanted to. As he was saying this to me, I sat there wondering how I was going to get through this. Then I realized: I didn’t have to. I could cut him out of my life instead of letting him continue to cross boundaries I’d set, then try and figure out how I could fix the situation (again).
I think many of us think we need to stay connected to people because we are related, or we’ve invested years of time or we have things in common.
But I’m starting to realize if someone is damaging your nervous system simply by having them in your life regardless of the memories you’ve made, how long you’ve known them, or if you are related to them, that’s a steep price to pay.
The hardest part is giving yourself permission to get away from people and situations that are affecting your life. Think about it: is it fair for you to constantly dread seeing someone? Is it fair for you to feel like you have someone in your life who doesn’t appreciate you and is constantly taking from you? Is it fair to make sacrifices and get nothing but negativity in return?
It’s not. So why are you bending over backwards and willing to give so much of yourself to someone who would never do the same for you? It doesn't have to be nasty and you don’t have to include other people and try and convince them why you need to be done with someone.
It's more than okay to cut someone out of your life so you can be your best self. And no one needs to understand why except for you.