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“Sometimes it’s better to end something & try to start something new than imprison yourself in hoping for the impossible.” – Karen Salmansohn
This quote is reflective of the idea of letting toxic people go from your life, and either focus on the healthy relationships you have, or develop new ones that help you grow as a person. The same women said something that I repeat often with patients:
“Sometimes you don’t get closure, you just move on.” – Karen Salmansohn.
No one loves this fact when I share it with them, but that does not make it any less true. So many people walk around hoping for that great apology, the closure they need to hear to finally move on. That the person was wrong, that they treated them badly, that they wished the best for them, and just wanted them to be happy.
That would be wonderful, almost utopian, but sadly this is not how things go, and we end up hurting more than ever. Learning to find our own closure, and focus our energies on the positive people in our lives in one of the healthiest choices we can make for ourselves.
How to Surround Yourself with Positive People
Can you find closure with a toxic person?
That apology almost never comes, and people end up feeling worse about things than they did when the conversation started. We cannot control anyone but ourselves, not matter how much we may want too. We only have control of ourselves, and our own desire for growth and change. Part of that growth and change is deciding the type of person we allow in our lives, and the positive impact they can have on us.
No matter how much we want someone to change, know they need to adjust their own behavior, only they can make the decision to make any alterations in their lives. It hurts us to see people be self-destructive, but they must see that what they are doing is not working, and that they need to look for alternatives.
It could be argued that we are being self-destructive by keeping them in our lives over people who lift us up. We need to know that we did not deserve the poor treatment of toxic people, and that the best thing we can do for ourselves is to move on and genuinely know in our hearts that we deserve better. When we know we deserve better, we tend to attract better and healthier people.
There are so many types of toxic people in our lives, and weaning them out will help us to get our personal relationships in shape.
To “cut the fat,” is to speak up, and to appreciate and embrace the people who build you up and make you the best version of you. Toxic people are often competitive, negative, resist and even sabotage your growth and change. These people may have a number of motives. Some of them think that you will no longer want them in your life if you are to grow and get healthier as a person. For the context of this conversation, that is mostly true. They might feel like your improvements point out the areas of in their life that need serious work of their own.
Or, sadly, they might simply be jealous of your successes. Those are the friends who cannot let you have your moment in the sun. The ones that have to tear you down to build themselves up, as the truth is that they do not feel very good about themselves. Positive people build you up, encourage you, and celebrate your successes.
Surround yourself with people who support and encourage your happiness and development, as opposed to trying to sabotage it.
You know who treats you poorly, you know who tears you down instead of building you up. What you may not know, is how to remove these toxic people from their lives. This is another frequent topic that comes up in sessions, actually as a two part question. First, people want to know if it is acceptable to let these people go from their lives. They want permission of sorts, especially if the person has been in their lives for a long time, or sometimes they can even be a family member. The answer to this question is always, “yes,” you can let anyone in your life go who treats you poorly, tears you down, and does not have your best interests at heart. This is about what is healthiest for you, and a person’s lack of willingness to change.
The second part is always the question of how you let this person go from your life? There are direct approaches where you tell the person directly why you are removing them from your life. However, they may not be open to hearing this, and the explanation may be more for your closure than it is for them. This is the simplest way to go, but you have to surmise for yourself if this is someone who you can be so direct with, and that this will not blow up in your face. A letter is another option, as many of us express ourselves better in writing than we do in the spoken word. You can also edit writing and be certain you are saying what you want and need to say.
Another method is what I like to call “successive approximations.”
The name is based on a famous psychological term, but I have put my own twist on it for toxic relationships. By successive approximations, I suggest to the person that they cut the person out of their lives little by little until they are gone. Take longer to return calls, e-mails, and texts. To be unable to meet up when they would like too, and to hope that eventually they will either get the picture, or just give up. This might be surprising advice, and it might be advice that does not work well with people lacking introspection, but it can be a safer route for some people and certain dynamics.
If you decide to go the route of addressing things head on, keep things as brief and clean as possible.
You do not owe them some long and drawn out explanation, and the fact is that this will likely not go well if you did. Simply let them know they will not be in your life and why. Do not argue, do not engage, so state your point and move forward. My suggestion is do this in a public place to hopefully avoid a scene. If possible, block them from being able to get a hold of you, meaning block their phone number, e-mail, and of course social media! Close the avenues with which they can contact you and abuse you.
Now focus your energies on the people that you want in your life, and those that you may have had there all along, but did not appreciate.
No matter what route you decide to take to cut toxic people out of your life, I can guarantee one thing, you will feel so much better once you have done it. We build up so much tension and anxiety leading up to an event that I always encourage people to deal with things as quickly as possible. I can also guarantee that you set yourself up for a future full of potential and greater happiness by making the conscious decision to only surround yourself with positive people in your life.
When you create a world where you only allow positive people into your inner circle, you create a life with unlimited potential, and a system of support. May you be blessed with these kinds of people in your life, may you live up to the potential of your resolutions, and may you have the happiest year yet!