One of the hardest truths I struggle to come to terms with is that my life is revolving door and people will walk in and out of continuously.
Some walk in, briefcase in hand, ready to get down to business. Yet somehow, they unexpectedly get cold feet and run out to never be seen again.
Then there are those who I feel like they’ve always been on the inside. They know the layout to my anatomy like it’s their own, and they’ve played a part in shaping who I am piece by piece.
Some stand at the entrance of the door as they try to gather the courage to walk right in, whilst others on the inside have been tiptoeing around the exit waiting for the right time to jump right out.
That’s another bitter truth I’ve come to terms with lately.
In the same way, I’ve learnt it’s not necessary to host every single person that strides in with assertion.
As a retired people pleaser who learnt the art of saying no late, I know now the importance of setting boundaries with people who are toxic. Toxic relationships are often all consuming.
They can be as passionate and thrilling as they can be poisonous and destructive.
I mean, if they weren’t why would we cling to them so much? Why would we need assurances on how to let go before we do?
We often have hope for them – for what they once were or what they could be. Yet often we forget what they currently are and what they aren’t. Whether they’ve always been in our lives or have just walked into it recently, our first reaction is usually the same.
We do our best to dance to their rhyme in hopes we can keep up to it without falling behind. We try to save and try to trust, we clean and clean after.
While I’m all for second chances and want nothing more than to be a gracious host to those who walk into my life, there comes a time when pulling the plug on a relationship that ruins one’s mental or physical health is the only option. Sometimes I find it’s important I’m able to be an “uptight” host too. The kind who kicks them out before the party is over or insists things be put back exactly as they were found.
Cutting a toxic person off can be incredibly difficult and requires a level of resolve that’s hard to reach. Nonetheless, it can be done or rather it must be done.
Here are my favourite tips on how to successfully cut off a toxic person from your life:
The alarm bells ring in your head. The lightbulb comes on seemingly without touch. A deep sinking feeling finds its way to your chest. In an instance you just know what you should have for a while now and the realisation sends shivers down your spine.
It sucks really but realising someone you love is not good for your health is a tough pill to swallow even on the best of days. It can feel like a slap to the face that triggers a reaction from every single bone in your body and causes you to clench your fist so hard your fingernails make your flesh bleed.
You may choose to shake it off like a rain of confetti and pray the dreadful feeling will disappear with a goodnight sleep. You may take on a mission to strangle the inner voice and choose compromise over confrontation. If the truth is too sour to taste, you may try to spice it up a little differently to sooth the tongue. But you can’t bend the truth forever; it always finds a way to straighten itself out.
So, how do you cut off a toxic person from your life? Well, the first step is always the most important. Accept the painful reality that person is toxic indeed.
Don’t Get Stuck In The Reasons.
Rhymes and reasons. As human beings it is second nature to try understanding the behaviours in front of us. We psychoanalyse, explain, investigate and question both what we see and what we can’t. We do this because of the hope we hold that if only we can crack the code behind a toxic behaviour, we may be able to fix the problem.
“It’s their childhood trauma…”
“He said he’d never do that again….”
“No one’s perfect, I’m sure they did not intend to…”
It is a fact that no one is perfect, but if you find yourself stuck in a maze of rhymes and sugar-coated reasons, maybe it’s time to reconsider a few things. When tears, cuts and bruises are recycled mountains of excuses and no changed behaviours is presented, it may just be the best time to run.
Talk That Talk.
It doesn’t always come easy to spill out unfiltered truths that weigh heavy on the heart. Confrontation comes easier to some than it does to others, but there are times when it’s undoubtedly necessary.
It might help to practice what you’ll say before hand in order to make the cleanest cut possible. Choose a comfortable setting and say what needs to be said.
It is normal to want to leave with the least damage possible. No one wants to turn the last scene of the relationship into a bloody crime scene. No one wants a cliff-hanger in the last page of the final chapter. We’re all looking for ‘happily ever after’ when we make long-lasting bonds and would hope we can just walk in different directions towards the sunset when we choose to sever them. But it’s almost never that simple.
Sometimes, it takes practice, boldness and a little bit of blood spilled right before the ending credits. So, it will be hard, and may be everything but pretty, however, you need to do it anyways. It’s better to escape a crime scene than to be stuck in one.
Let It Fade.
There’s also nothing wrong with letting things fade away naturally. There are times when you don’t need the great big breakup speech. When circumstances allow it, and you seek nothing more from the relationship, I don’t think there’s anything particularly wrong in letting the flame die out slowly.
The key though, is recognising when this is happening and letting it. No matter how many times you rebuild a house of cards in the midst of a storm it will always be likely to crumble each and every time. So let go of the cards as they fall and run wild with the wind. Your attention is best used somewhere safe and sound where walls don’t come down hard and fast.
Step Outside Their Orbit.
Toxicity spins and spreads like wildfire. It burns ruthlessly and tries to take every little thing in the way with it.
One reason why it’s extremely difficult to cut toxic people off is because they often never leave our sight. They are often part of our circle or social clubs, they go to the same parties and know all of our friends. It takes a lot of determination to decide a person is no longer welcome in your life and even more to keep them out of it.
You Will Find Your People, They Will Find Theirs.
We’re all villains in someone’s story. No matter how hard it is to believe it is a reality we cannot avoid. Even saints have people who wish harm upon them. Even the worst criminals have people in their lives who wish only the best for them.
It’s important we realise that while someone might be toxic in our lives, they may be perfectly well suited for someone else. People change, grow, adapt. They find new meanings in unfamiliar places and navigate the world differently in other environments.
So don’t cling to someone who’s toxic out of guilt and fear or responsibility and shame. Whilst you go your own way, they will go on theirs. Whilst you find your own way, they will find theirs. You will find your people. They will find theirs.
Your restless romantic roamer