We don't need movies or TV shows to tell us that relationships can get messy. Whether it's a friendship or an intimate relationship, everyone has had their moments where they said something they regret or "made a huge mistake" they wish they could be forgiven for. Whether or not the people in these relationships work on the situation and move in whichever direction they need to, the relationship is based on how strong their foundation is and what they needed to do in order to work through it. But, sometimes, "I love you" turns into "I forgive you" more often than it's wanted, and there comes a point where we can't give out anymore free passes for the other person's actions.
So, where do we go from there? If we find ourselves in a situation like this, what the heck do we do and how do we know it will be for our own good?
Unfortunately, we don't know if the actions we take will lead us to the best possible outcome. But that's what life is all about - it's about growing and seeing what fits best and will have a positive (and healthy) impact on us. Although I don't know exactly what works for you, here are seven things I've learned from dealing with toxic relationships, and hopefully this helps anyone who needs it.
1. Sometimes you have to do things with YOUR best interest at heart.
For many of us, we overlook so many red flags the other person raises for many reasons - the most common one being that no matter how many times the person crosses the lines we draw, we still believe that they will change. Sometimes, people do change, but other times, if the toxic person doesn't have an internal understanding of how their actions are affecting you or why they should change their ways, they probably aren't going to.
In other words, if you sit and try to talk to them about the things they do that make you upset or hurt you and they just casually brush it off or "don't see the big deal" about it, the odds of them actually changing their ways are slim. You start to feel like you're a record on repeat, but you're not being heard. Something that once brought you so much joy and happiness starts to turn into something exhausting, draining, and even frustrating. Sooner or later, you see the situation for what it truly is, and now it's up to you to do what's best for yourself.
2. It's one thing to be misunderstood and another to be invalidated.
Misunderstandings happen all the time and can usually be resolved with clear and proper communication. Being invalidated, however, is something that should be discussed. In a toxic relationship, though, you probably just end up being shut down or not given the chance to talk it out. Being invalidated by the one you love and care about is so painful and can be so difficult to walk away from because you want to help them see what you're feeling and why, but they just don't give you the chance. Cherish the people who value you, not the ones who invalidate you.
3. When people start talking, just keep walking.
People like to be storytellers and fabricate things to fit their own story, oftentimes victimizing themselves. When this happens, stay true to yourself. Know your own intentions and learn to understand that they're doing this to either get a reaction out of you or to put all the attention on them. If the people you trust all of a sudden start to act weird or push you away from them because of a story they heard from someone else, try to explain the story from your side. Or, honestly, just don't if you really don't feel like it. Just understand that you don't need to justify yourself to everyone who doesn't understand.
4. People are a luxury, not a necessity.
Think about when you first met this person and how old you were. Now, think about all the years you never knew this person and all the times you didn't need this person to feel happy. You did it once and you can do it again. In the words of Cher, "A man is not a necessity, a man is a luxury… like dessert."
This goes for any toxic person you may come across in life. Not all people who enter your life are going to be worth keeping around forever, especially if they treat you like you're beneath them. Stepping back and seeing how people are making you feel at the end of the day can help you evaluate who was really in your life genuinely and positively, and who was there to drain you and put you down. People come in and out of your life, but the good ones stay the longest and help you enjoy it, not dread it.
5. Don't hold on to something that's doing more harm than good.
This seems pretty obvious, but this toxic person (or people) is not the only one you will ever meet. Yes, this person probably clicked with you in a special way, and sometimes relationships can take a turn for the better. But for the people who are holding on to something that is doing more harm than good, it may be time to let go. This person just might be holding you back from finding the right one, whether or not that's a friend or partner. Keep in mind, letting go of something you care about and put a lot of your time and energy into may not happen overnight, but it is possible. You have it in you to power through it.
6. Have a support system that will always be there to help you through a difficult time.
Develop a support system for yourself and reach out to people you trust, whether that's a friend, parent, or adult. Trust me when I say that bottling up your thoughts and emotions inside will only make you feel worse. Surround yourself with people you can talk to; sometimes talking things out can really help when it gets tough to bear it alone. Know that you're not alone and that there are people who will be there for you.
7. This ending might just be the way to a new beginning.
You aren't going to bounce back right away, so give yourself some room to feel your emotions. No one walks away from this kind of situation unscathed, but don't get frustrated with yourself when it's been two weeks or even a couple months and you're still upset over this person. Sometimes people still have bitter moments even a few years down the road, but understand that there will always be opportunities for new beginnings.
Every relationship is different. This is in no way to tell you how you should handle a similar situation or relationship. These are simply suggestions that stem from personal experience.