By toxic people, we mean any human being who has a negative effect on you. That could cover any category: a colleague poisoning your day at work, a relative creating a Greek drama for every single decision you make, a neighbour letting his dog using your garden as a daily toilet. There is not a specific, single item that can exactly gather together these people in your life. But you know what I am talking about because the only vision of this person creates discomfort, they can make you even feel bad in a physical way or, a single text message popping up on your phone, it would make your inner self jumping from the place where was gracefully resting. “Now what?” is the exclamation your inside lets go, whenever you see their presence getting closer to you.
When I was a few years younger, I had no idea what was this all about. I used to believe that if I was experiencing some uncomfort-ability, the reason was for sure coming from myself. So I can well remember forced friendships, forced relationships, forced behaviours which I punctually used to keep (and not to question about their origins), only because I didn’t know myself that well. I was in constant change and in seasons of my life when everything looked very unsure. I wasn’t able to fully realize which things came from the external world – thus, uncontrollable – and which ones were only up to me.
I am pretty sure that each of us has one “toxic person” close to him/her. The problem is not that real when this person is your neighbour, or your above said colleague who is giving daily speech on her epic migraine, which no doctor has ever diagnosed. Even your auntie, or your brother, are easy people to let go if belong to this category. At the end of the day, you have no power of decision on their presence or absence. If all your family is having a Christmas dinner, the least you can do is setting a physical border limit that is the maximum allowed, before being considered at your next door’s dining table.
When these people are already inside your life, by all means you can avoid them in a polite way. Greet, ask how’s going and when their negativity starts to pour its spells on you, gently cover up yourself with an imaginary cupola. It can last 30 mins, one hour or 3 days but you’ll eventually manage how to get rid of it. The last thing you want to do here is being their personal sponge and absorb that moldy mixture they are so good in making up for the occasion and the victim in charge – you. Let slide it off your skin, with the same mastery they are able to (try to) pass it onto you.
But what if the toxic one is someone you chose in the past? Let’s say, your girlfriend or – like in my personal experience – one of your best friends? This has nothing to do with the above description. It is way more difficult to accept inside yourself that this person is the problem. No fire exits, no middle terms. You’ll try to get along with it though, you’ll try and do your best before reaching the perpetual conclusion (after the confusion), that maybe there is nothing you can do about it.
The thing is – there are no problems in anyone’s life. Unless it’s a matter of starving or upcoming death, things are kind of manageable. We have to adjust our inner machine and the way we want to live our days, the effort we truly want to put in things we don’t like or we want to change.
Trying to help someone with no problems has the same effect of trying to help a fake blind person to cross the street at the traffic light. They already know where they are going. Toxic friends are friends who YOU will never call if something happened because you know you will have to deal with your momentary thing and their own negativity. If I reflect carefully, I know who are the ones I want to look for if I need to talk but I never reached out of her in every past such instance.
Her negativity has dried me out for the whole time I was forcing myself to chat to her on Skype. For all the times I swallowed those WhatsApp conversations with endless complaints and endless hopes on her life. For all the countless times she was accusing me of not seeing her problems while making a list of my accomplishments. But an inexplicable comparison – which shouldn’t exists, especially between two friends – is not all.
I’ve come to believe that this category of people live happily on your disgrace. The change I’ve seen in my friend is that she can’t joy of any good thing that happens in my life. She reaches me out when she knows something bad happened, just to see how I deal with it. Her disappointment grows and grows at the sight of my well-being and positivity, which she can’t explain because she doesn’t have a positive mindset, even just for thinking.
I was – am one of her best friends. We grew up together, we have pictures of me, her and my brother holding hands when we were 4 years old. We were going out during our high school years, scoring guys and talking about our first sex times. We grew older and shared college years, sleepless nights going out, sleepless nights studying (or pretending to). Almost a life together, till two months ago.
Since I started my detox plan, I feel new, I feel so good.
I know this can’t be friendship cause I don’t miss her. According to my personal experience, I believe there is no solution nor how-to for such cases. You just need to get over the person.
Since we stopped talking, I can’t feel any (familiar) negative impulse in my life anymore. I don’t feel threatened in my peace of mind and above all, I don’t feel in duty of pretending to be that person she was making (me) up.