Take Out the Trash

toxic relationship

Do you have toxic relationship in your life? Maybe someone in your family or a co-worker is negative all the time or you have a friend that only calls you when they need you. Any relationship can be toxic if you allow it to be.

A toxic relationship is defined as

A relationship that is characterized by behaviors on the part of the toxic partner that are emotionally and, not infrequently, physically damaging to their partner.

Do you have anyone in your life that fits this definition? If you can’t think of anyone, I’m going to give you five examples of toxic people. I’ve named each of these types as a means of helping you remember them. In no way, shape or form are these names indicative of people in my life. Nor are they a way of targeting someone in your life with that name. They are simply a name being used to help you remember the types of toxic people out there. And, as a reminder, these types of people can be male or female.

Sally Sucker

Sally is the type of person that sucks the energy (and the life) right out of you. You may spend time with her, and have a lot of fun, but when you part and head home, you’re left feeling completely drained. Sally is also the type of person that takes, takes, takes…and never gives or reciprocates what you do for her.

Convenient Connie

Connie is the type of person that only reaches out to you when she needs something. She never invites you to the BBQ or party she’s having but she’ll call you when she needs someone with your expertise.

Negative Nelly

Know anyone that never has anything nice to say? That’s Negative Nelly. She never has anything good to say about anyone or everyone. Nelly is always complaining, she’s always had a bad day and life is never good enough yet she doesn’t want to do anything to try and make it better.

Shadow Shannon

They say copying someone is a form of flattery, but Shadow Shannon takes it to the extreme. She copies everything you do, wears the same types of clothes you wear, says yes when you say yes and can never make decisions for herself.

Momma Mary

Momma Mary means well, but it comes across just wrong. Mary tries to mother you all the time. She corrects what you say, criticizes you on your actions and decisions and is completely overbearing.

Do you have any people like these in your life? If you’re still not sure, here are a few characteristics to watch out for. Keep in mind, this list is not all encompassing.

  • When you’re around a toxic person, your emotional feelings change.
  • Your self-esteem and self-confidence decreases when you’re with someone that’s toxic.
  • You’ve been happy-go-lucky all day and when you encounter a toxic person, all your thoughts turn negative.
  • Think of yourself like a battery. When you’re with a toxic person, that battery gets drained quickly.
  • Sometimes a toxic person will say something that is very concerning to you.
  • You have other friends that tell you to watch out for the toxic person.
  • You are the first person to congratulate or support a toxic person, but they are never there to support you.
  • When you share stories, the toxic person always has to one-up you and make their story bigger and better.
  • Usually toxic people are negative, but occasionally the toxic person is a little too friendly or too positive. Everything is puppies and rainbows all the time and nothing is ever wrong.
  • A toxic person believes that you are perfect the way you are and they never disagree with you because they think there is no room for improvement.
  • Toxic people love to gossip. It makes them feel better about themselves, they love to see others suffer or they just feel like spreading the news because sharing is caring.

Now can you identify anyone? I bet you can. Even though this list isn’t every characteristic, it’s enough to identify the toxic relationships you have in your life. If you have identified someone (or even a few people), how do you remove them from your life? There’s two options.

Option 1 – Talk to Them

This option is my first choice because having a conversation with the toxic person could ultimately change the entire relationship. Tell them how you’re feeling with a situation but be careful not to place blame or be confrontational. When you apply blame, the toxic person can immediately become defensive and shut down, which isn’t helpful for anyone.

Make sure you have facts and examples of situations that have made you uncomfortable and always put the onus on yourself. Let them know how you were affected by their actions and how things could be improved. But be ready for the backlash that may come. The toxic person may become hurt or upset but if you remain calm, cool and collected, you can get through the conversation on a positive note.

This conversation may lead you to learning more about the toxic person and finding out reasons for their behavior that you may not have been aware of. Their explanation may turn into an apology and an opportunity for growth.

Option 2 – Slowly Distance Yourself

This option also works, but doesn’t allow for any room for improvement. This is probably easier than Option 1 but doesn’t change the toxic person for the better. No, it’s not your job to change a person and no, you cannot change a person, but I do believe you can leave your mark on this planet and do good in the world.

When you choose this option, you need to force yourself to fill up your calendar in order to decline invites from the toxic person. Those calendar appointments don’t need to include the toxic person either. Ultimately, you both just go your separate ways and move on with life.

The key to removing toxic relationships from your life is to have confidence. Remember that you’re closing one door in order to open another. You are making room for something new and something better. You’re leaving behind something that isn’t serving you anymore.

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