Everyone has had a toxic person in their life. Toxic people are manipulative, discouraging, and guilt-trip those around them. Having someone like this around can take a huge toll on your mental health. I first struggled with a toxic friendship when I was in a freshman in high school. Looking back now, the signs of toxicity were very clear. Unfortunately, most people with a toxic friend don't recognize the severity of it until the relationship has ended. First, learn the signs. Then, start eliminating.
The first thing you need to do is to own your own life. That's easier said than done, especially if someone else is trying to control it. Make it clear to them that you don't feel comfortable with anyone dictating what you do, who you're with, or where you go. You are your own person, and you deserve to feel independent and in control of your life. Anyone who respects you will understand this. A toxic person won't, so it's clear they can not remain a part of your life.
The next step is to make it very clear as soon as something hurts you. The old "eh, just ignore them" is not a healthy way to deal with toxicity. Ignoring the problem gives them consent to continue. Stick up for yourself, and say something as soon as you notice this behavior. A real friend will realize they've been hurting you and stop, so if you lose someone then you know they weren't real.
The last step is to begin to surround yourself with people you know care about you. They will show you what real friendships are supposed to be. Before I knew my current friends, I felt like I only had one person in my life. That's what toxic people can do. They can make you feel isolated and trapped in their "friendship", and even convince you that you have no one else. Find people who make you feel loved and free to be your own person.
Getting away from someone who has hurt you is hard. You probably really care for this person and feel guilty about cutting them out of your life. But you are not responsible for their happiness, and even if you want to, you can't change them. The best thing you can ever do is to put yourself first. I hope you don't have a toxic person in your life, but if you do, I hope you have the courage to remove them from your life for good.
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