I've often seen the notion that because you've known someone for a long time that it suddenly makes you responsible for helping them when they've strayed from who they once were, but it completely fails to recognize the impact that a toxic individual can have on you after too much exposure.
People romanticize friendships and relationships based on how much time they've known each other or what people have gone through together and disregard the negative aspects of these relationships. It's time we start protecting ourselves and weeding out the people from our lives that show to be more negative influences than positive. As a disclaimer, I'd like to say that there are differences between someone undergoing a rough patch, and someone constantly being negative.
I personally have always been someone who has valued friendships more than my own family; simply because my friends that I've selectively kept in my life are my chosen family. Sometimes it's been difficult to convince myself when a friend is becoming toxic to myself.
I'd like to go off on a tangent before continuing and define toxicity in my own personal terms: a toxic individual is someone whose values and actions not only conflict with your own but tend to cause stress and demand a lot of time from you. Going back to what I was saying, I had a friend that I knew for a decade whom I valued very much and always made sure to emphasize the duration of our friendship as something of value to others when describing our relationship.
Time for me meant that we stuck it out through and through and that we were in it for the long run as good friends. I failed to recognize that this person was racist, selfish, inattentive, and close-minded because I subconsciously ignored the negative aspects of her since we knew each other for so long and usually had a good time together.
Eventually, I came to realize that being with her was exhausting for me. Hearing about rehashed problems I had already provided advice to, being brought into drama I wanted no part in, witnessing behavior I couldn't agree with - I started noticing that these behaviors weren't temporary, but seemingly permanent.
After long contemplation, I attempted to reconcile my feelings with her by admitting what I began to witness, but after being brushed away or given false-promises, I made the best decision I could have ever done: cut her off of my life. Now, do I still care about this person? Very much so. Is this person someone I should be actively engaging with? Most definitely not. If it comes to a point when you're not happy being in someone's company and your health deteriorates in the time spent together then that is grounds for leaving them behind.
Our culture now is so focused on squads and ride or dies that when someone tries to put an end to a friendship because of toxicity, they can be blamed for not sticking through it. For example, take Ariana Grande and the late Mac Miller (may he rest in peace.) Ariana Grande left Mac Miller because she said that his life decisions were beginning to take a toll on her. She loved him so much that she did not want him to be consuming drugs and witnessing it was too damaging for her sanity and personal health.
When she decided to break up with him, people were outraged at her decision for not helping him through it, but it's not her responsibility to stay in a relationship with someone that is essentially hurting you mentally and emotionally. Mac Miller had been unfortunately abusing drugs for a while, and Grande came to the conclusion that it was time to put her own feelings first after attempting to be with him for quite a period of time.
As a person, you might feel an obligation to help another, and that is okay, but once that other person is negatively affecting your life, it's time to reassess priorities. If you are dragged down by another person, there is no way you can help them. The concept of "ride or die" is cute until the situation has become too complex to summarize as such. Allow yourself to overcome feelings of guilt of leaving someone who is not good for you.
What you don't feel is guilt, it is sadness. As negative as someone can be to your life, you are still close to them and of course, leaving them is still a jab to the heart for both parties; but it is a necessary act. You tried to help and it doesn't always work, but do not feel guilty, because the attempt was made and now it is time to make the decision. Allow yourself to let go of people who no longer make you happy.
Toxic people are always hard to work with, but you will find that once that toxicity is gone, you will feel and grow much better as a person. Don't let society shame you, and don't shame yourself for knowing that sometimes friends do not stay in your life. Remember, it's better to be alone than in bad company, and though being alone can be scary, it's better than disliking who you've become because of the actions of other people. The friends who you do keep and prove to positively impact you will become even more valuable.
- Letting Go of Toxic People in Your Life | The Treatment Center ›
- It's Okay To Let Go Of Toxic People ›
- Letting Go of Toxic Relationships & Rediscovering Yourself ›
- Psychologists Explain 5 Ways To Let Go Of Toxic Relationships ›
- Empaths and Letting Go of Toxic People - Awakening People ›
- Letting Go Of Toxic People | HuffPost ›
- HOW to let go of toxic people. - YouTube ›
- When Someone You Love is Toxic - How to Let Go, Without Guilt - ›
- 8 Crucial Reasons To Let Go Of Toxic People In Your Life ›
- Letting Go of Toxic People | Psychology Today ›