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Right now, self-care seems to involve a number of things like staying in with your friends, saying no to plans you don’t want to make, treating yourself, and telling you to cut off people from your life without explanation.
Cutting people off, specifically, “toxic” people, has become go-to advice in the age of self-care, implying that a lot of your problems will end when you eliminate the relationships that you’ve outgrown. But is it really that easy?
You should have enough self-respect to cut people off who make you question your worth, lower your standards, and feel terrible but if there’s something that you don’t like in the relationship that makes you want to leave and you decide not to address it by ghosting someone, then you’re just not going to grow as a human being. You wouldn’t learn anything and while you may feel relieved that those problems are gone, you will keep having the same problem over and over till you face it or end up alone.
In some cases though where your emotional, mental, physical, psychological safety is being threatened then it is best to cut people off. But you may need to explain yourself.
The only time you shouldn’t feel the need to explain yourself is if talking to that person will cause more drama, they know what they are doing and are doing it on purpose, you don’t have any emotional attachment or memories that will make you accept them back in your life, they are dangerous to you or they are also narcissist & will make you feel guilty, beg you and still do it again.
If your toxic friend is none of the above, here are a few guidelines that will not only help you cut them off but will give you more reasons to and help you detach from the emotional attachment you share.
How To Cut Off A Toxic Person From Your Life
1. Identify the toxic persons in your life
A toxic person is anyone who is abusive, unsupportive, or unhealthy emotionally—someone who basically brings you down more than up. In some cases, you may begin to feel dependent on him or her for their opinion and doubting your own. Toxic people are draining and leave you emotionally wiped out.
Some people aren’t actually toxic you might just be having problems. And while some people aren’t toxic in their overall roles in your life, beware of toxic behaviors like negging and narcissism that may only be noticed after they’ve done their damage
Friendships have red flags too. It will also help to go back to before you were very close to that person and identify if they’ve always been like that. Toxic traits can be identified mostly when you’re not that close to a person.
Remember the friends you’ve hated before you became friends with? They still have the bad traits they had, you just accepted them for it and it could be blowing up in your face.
Decide right now do they threaten your emotional stability, hinder your growth, do they make you feel unsafe? If yes, keep reading. If not, read ….
2. Address your toxic traits
What have you contributed to the relationship that made that person toxic to you? How toxic have you been in their life? Recall the memories, where it all started. Maybe you did something or an event that happened that set off that person’s behavior in your life.
Toxic people aren’t necessarily bad people. Sometimes. Sometimes people will take a lot of your shit and at their breaking point start to give it all back to you.
If you are not the cause, however, then for the next 3 days do the rest of these steps.
3. Be kind to them
Everyone needs a little more kindness. You might not know what they are going through. It’s going to be hard to be kind to someone who is not kind to you but it’ll be worth it.
I promise you the moment you start being kind to someone and you reassure them of your kindness they will reciprocate it and it creates love on both sides. Be kind till you see a shift in you and that person. Smile!
Note: You’re not being kind so that you’ll fix the relationship al these are to determine whether you need to cut that person off yet.
4. Ask for your needs. What is their reaction?
In a relationship where your needs aren’t being met, ask for your needs. Sometimes we don’t even ask that’s why we don’t get it and that stems from low self-worth where we don’t believe we are worthy of being helped, being cared for, or even asked about our wellbeing.
And that makes us angry especially if we have been giving in that relationship be it with friends or family or a life partner. Look at what you’ve been giving and look at your needs. Which ones haven’t been met?
Sure, you shouldn’t have to ask for things and attention all the time but why not give it a try. If you are a giver it’s a character trait that you look like you have it all together and people find it uncomfortable to help you since you don’t need their help and trust me it’s hard having a friend you can’t help. So it actually doesn’t help either of you.
Ask and then gauge their reactions. Some will immediately help, some will help but be hesitant. Be firm with your asking. If they still refuse, more than once then that person is a taker that doesn’t give back and that is a huge red flag.
5. Speak to them
It’s not always that you don’t owe anyone an explanation for cutting them off. To some people you do. It doesn’t have to be a soft, kind explanation. It should be the truth as hard as it may be.
But this is where it becomes tricky because a lot of bad things could happen here. A good approach is to start with:
‘Is there something that I have done that has made you upset with me? Because I feel like (how you feel) and I don’t know if I did something to offend you. Let’s talk about it.’
If you approach someone with
‘YOU did something to me that has made me upset and YOU are this and that.’
Regardless of what it is, that person will get defensive and you will have a fight because they will defend their actions and you will feel that your feelings are being ignored.
You’re not responsible for any unkind behaviors towards you but just for peace’s sake and for you do that and that person will most likely get empathetic towards you and will talk about it especially since you were vulnerable first.
6. What are your boundaries?
Talk about your boundaries. Inform them of all your limits and pet peeves then and there and ask for theirs too so it will be beneficial to both of you.
7. Do not apologize or say sorry
Do not apologize for your boundaries or stutter or say sorry. Those are the limits that make you feel safe and no one should cross them.
8. Give them the benefit of the doubt
When you enforce those boundaries there will be changes but not immediate and sometimes there will be slip offs because of habit, therefore, take the relationship slower than usual and you’re not reconciled yet, you want to see if that person has your best interests at heart first.
9. Speak up for yourself
When that person crosses a boundary speak up for yourself. Immediately and if it’s in the midst of people, speak up then and in front of them. This is something you have to be serious about, without respect your relationship is going to fail.
It’s going to be hard especially if you’ve not been doing that that is why you need to practice. In front of a mirror, say it out loud ‘I do not ….,’ ‘do not speak to me like that’ ‘stop that’ and do not think of that person’s feelings because you spoke to them in private already.
10. Leave without notice
And if you spoke out that person disregarded your feelings again leave and ignore that person. Let them take the hint that you will not tolerate such treatment. You are better and you deserve better.
Convince yourself it is over and let the people in your life know you do not associate with that person anymore and let the help you with that too.
If they come around and apologize if you want to give them a third chance, fine because this whole post is you giving them a second chance. If they do it again, it’s a habit and they need help at this point and if you entertain them again, you will be needing help soon. Because just like you are teaching them how to treat you, by accepting them again, you’re learning how to accept toxic behavior.
11. Cut them off completely
At this point is where you cut them off. Delete their number, block them everywhere and avoid friends and places where you will cross paths. Believe that you have cut this person off.
12. Look at your life
Isn’t it better, more peaceful? Now you can be your best self without anyone bringing you down or belittling you. Thank yourself and never let yourself fall into
On A Final Note:
You have to remove the wrong people from your life to make room for the right people. Memories a not a cause for friendships to keep going, loneliness isn’t either.
This process shouldn’t be elongated. Why not do it in a week. Make it quick and painless and Sweety, you don’t need a week to know how someone treats you.
It’s now up to you to choose what you deserved. If you’ve done that it’s time you realized your worth so something like that doesn’t happen again.
The best thing you can do to protect yourself against toxic people, manipulative people, and narcissists is to set clear boundaries. No matter how hard it is for you if you are a people pleaser. Here are a few more resources to help.
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This is something I’ve struggled with. But man, I have to respect my husband, I’ve watched him identify a toxic person and just cold-turkey never speak to them again. Didn’t tell them he was angry, didn’t flounce, just ghosted, shrugged and walked on. It’s amazing to me.