“The thing about a toxic person is that they are like vampires. They drain your energy. They drain your joy. They are people that when you are with them, you feel stressed. And when you leave them, you are exhausted.” – Chris Lee
We all have them. Those toxic vampires that always seem to leave us feeling drained. If you’re anything like me, you probably struggle to say goodbye to them. Logically I know that something needs to change. The stress I feel on a regular basis from this situation trickles down to my family. When I feel sad, frustrated, or angry with the situation, my husband and my son feel it, too. I can’t be the best mom possible if I’m always dealing with this negative situation. I know it’s not healthy for any of us – And I refuse to accept negativity anywhere else in my life – so why is it so hard to say goodbye?
Whenever I’m struggling with something in life, I typically seek out articles, podcasts, or books to help me figure out how to deal with it. I recently listened to a School of Greatness Podcast with Chris Lee about this very topic. I found myself nodding YES throughout the entire thing and scribbling down notes like a crazy person. Everything just clicked. It all made perfect sense.
Whenever I learn something new, I feel an obligation to pass it on to you guys. I want to share it with the world so that you can benefit from this information if it relates to your life. Chris Lee began by talking about WHY it’s so hard for us to say goodbye, even when we know we need to:
- HABIT. These people become ingrained in our daily routines. They are involved in our lives so deeply that it feels too difficult to remove them.
- FEAR. You may have a fear of being alone. You may feel like you are better off WITH them than WITHOUT them. You probably make excuses for them and you may even tell yourself that this is what you deserve.
- FAMILY. Maybe the toxic person is a family member. This takes things to another level and creates more stress around the situation.
- FINANCIAL. Does the toxic person help you out financially? Maybe you’re afraid of cutting them out of your life because they help you pay your rent or they provide a certain kind of lifestyle for you.
This question really stood out to me: “Are we more committed to our comfort zone than our joy? Or are we ready to be more committed to our joy and our happiness and our freedom than our comfort zone?” I know that I want to be more committed to my joy and my happiness, but it’s not always that easy. I do know, however, that toxic people create drama and stress, and if you don’t manage your stress, it will destroy everything.
In the podcast, Chris shared 10 action steps that will help you identify and break out of a toxic relationship. These were incredibly helpful for me to hear, so I hope they help you, too. It’s time for us to take responsibility for our lives and either break free of these relationships or learn how to manage them.
- Identify if you’re in a toxic relationship. The first step is to figure out if you are in a toxic relationship. Here are some ways to identify one:- You’re feeling less than yourself when you are around them.
- You feel like you have to be someone you’re not.
- You’re not being the authentic you when you’re with them.
- You feel drained and exhausted around them.
- You ignore your intuition and you don’t trust yourself.
- They make you feel like you can’t do anything right.
- It’s all about them.
- You don’t feel like you are allowed to grow around them. They start attacking you and judging you for your growth and achievement. They don’t like it when you evolve.
- Take notes. Keep a record of all of the times that they subtract from your life. Write down the event and how it made you feel. This is about being aware, not about keeping score. After some time, you can look back at your notes and make a decision about whether or not they are toxic.
- Identify the rewards of being in this toxic relationship. There are payoffs to every relationship, whether it’s toxic or not. Maybe they are helping you financially. Maybe they keep you company and keep you from feeling lonely. Do you find yourself saying, “at least I’m loved, at least I’m not alone, he’s paying for rent, etc?” These are signs that you are making excuses and justifying the behavior because you are getting some kind of reward from it.
- Give up the excuses. Realize that you are in a story, you are the author, and you get to decide where to take it. It’s your choice. Stop justifying their behavior with excuses like “they don’t know better, they don’t have the tools, that’s just the way they are, etc.”
- Get clear on your vision for your relationship. Practice writing the following sentences down and filling in the blanks:- My vision for my relationship with _______ is _______.
- How I want to feel when I’m with _______ is _______.
- What _______ adds to my life is _______.
- What I add to _______’s life is _______.
- Have the conversation. Now it’s time to have the conversation. Here is where you will decide whether or not you need to break it off completely or learn how to manage the relationship. There is always the possibility that you will be able to mend the relationship- but if the person you are speaking to does not receive what you are saying well – it’s probably time to end it. To have the conversation you must:- Create the right kind of environment to have it. No distractions. This should not be done through text, email, or over the phone. Having it in person is ideal.
- Talk about your feelings. Tell them how it makes you feel when they do the things they do and let them know that it’s not okay with you.
- Express your vision for your relationship. Use the sentences you wrote out from step 5.
- Take the opportunity to grieve and mourn the loss. Often times, the person you are ending it with is a family member or close friend. This can feel like a major loss in your life, so it is important that you take the time to grieve and mourn the loss that you are experiencing. Do not stuff it down inside and do not continue to speak to the person after having the conversation. It’s time to move on.
- Write down the lessons you’ve learned. Take the time to evaluate the situation, what went wrong, and what went right. Ask yourself, “what have I learned and how can I keep this from happening again?” The goal is to surround yourself with positive, uplifting people so that you don’t have to continue to identify and remove toxic people from your life.
- Fill the emptiness. You might be feeling like there is a big hole in your life after removing the toxic person. It’s time to find a hobby or get back into something you enjoy doing. Fill in that hole with things that bring you joy.
- Self-love. It is important to really see who you are and see the gift that you are. You are valuable. You are important. The only thing you deserve is joy and love. Any person or situation that takes away your joy is somebody that doesn’t deserve to be in your life.
More often than not it’s really difficult to end a toxic relationship, but it’s more tough to stay in the relationship. Keep in mind that on the other side is freedom and joy. This podcast really helped me and I hope that it makes a difference in your life, too. Click here to listen to the podcast!