Surveying the scene

a non-toxic, actually quite life affirming relationship...

Toxic relationships.  You know the kind.  People who are fun enough or nice enough some of the time which convinces you that that part of their being is their true being and the part that barbs at you or puts you down or is negative is, well, accidental- just a sometimes affair.

I can tell when a relationship is toxic for me by how it makes my stomach feel.  If my stomach bubbles with trouble when I am with a person, it is not the right relationship for me.  And I can also tell when a relationship is toxic for me if I find myself making choices to act contrary to my true essence (for example, let’s say I am with someone who is being negative and I find myself being that way, too (something along the lines of ‘oh yes, I see what you are saying.’).  When I do this, I have figured out, it is because I am secretly hoping to hurry up and draw that particular conversation to a close but even that desire to end the negativity doesn’t excuse my strategy.  Let’s be real here: if I said, “I just don’t see it that way at all”, I am sure the conversation would end quite quickly.  I am trying to make nice while making myself more and more uncomfortable and less and less authentic).

I’ve been thinking about the question of healthy relationships for the last few days because I had the honor of being part of a Twitter chat last week and one question we asked was “in what ways do you still need support for your journey this year?”  In the follow-up conversation of that question, we had a great conversation about how we sometimes need to let go of  relationships that are toxic for us.

That observation has had me thinking about past relationships that I’ve had to let go for that very reason and how choosing who we surround ourselves with can be really affirming and empowering (or, sometimes, disempowering).  Years ago, I realized how significantly I was affected by negativity and started shifting how I formed my relationships so that I wasn’t in toxic environments.  Last week’s chat reminded me of that effort to shift the energy in my life and also has reminded me how fortunate I am to have the friends that I have  and to work with the Circle de Luz board.  I am blessed to be in a pretty, positive, life giving environment, and it adds to my overall sense of wellbeing.  I can especially appreciate that because I haven’t always be in such an environment, and it’s gratifying to see what deliberately assessing a life and then creating what you need and want can yield.

Have you ever had to end a relationship because of the toxicity in the environment?  How did you handle it?  What environment are you in now?  Are you happy in it?  Does it fulfill you?  What insight do you have on creating relationships that most nurture you?

Related Posts with Thumbnails

7 responses to “Surveying the scene”

  1. Sarah

    A problem I’ve noticed with some relationships is reciprocity. I love to hear about other people’s experiences, but sometimes this can lead me to become close with people who talk and talk and talk but literally never ask me about my own life. When I try to be assertive and share about my own thoughts and experiences, I get hardly any response. This kind of relationship is really draining, and I also feel strange about the whole situation because I know so much about the other person but they know next to nothing about me. Don’t they ever wonder what I’m thinking? What my background is? What I struggle with or what I’m proud of or enjoy doing?

    I realized how bad it can get when I told a “friend” of mine that my mom had cancer. He was concerned but never asked me about it again. When I referred to it a few weeks later in a conversation, he didn’t even remember that I had told him in the first place. It was hard to believe. After all the times I had supported him, he totally dropped the ball when I really could have used a friend. It was a wake-up call for me. Now, I’m trying to recognize and accept people’s limits and not get too close if I know they won’t be able to return the level of attention I’m giving them.

  2. Sarah

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply! Fortunately, my mom is doing great. We’re lucky she found out about it early on. Finding balanced, empowering relationships is a new goal for me. In the past, I’ve assumed I was close to someone because they shared so much with me about their life, but now I’m realizing it has to go the other way too. They need to be curious and interested in me as well. It’s one of those “duh” ideas that can make a big difference when you think about it. Anyways, I enjoy your blog and look forward to future posts 🙂

  3. Katesome

    Great post. I have struggled with these relationships my whole life. I don’t think I’ve had a friend (until recently) where this wasn’t the dynamic. My ‘friends’ have been more bullying and aggressive than you have described here.

    I recently cut all ties with a long time toxic friend who has been bullying me for 17 years. It has been hard and also so liberating and freeing. I feel like a huge ugly weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I am now also open and emotionally available for new, better, more nurturing and caring relationships.

    My therapist once asked me to compare how I felt after a phone call with the bully, verses how I felt after a phone call with my new non bully friend. I realised I always felt such self doubt and anxiety after calls with the bully, I would run the conversation over and over in my head. I never had that with my new non bully friend.

    However, I think there is a kind of thrill I got from being friends with a bully. You get a kind of protection. The person who could destroy you is protecting you. That’s a feeling like no other, especially for someone with a long history of being bullied. However, when that person turns on you, and they always do in the end, it is destruction of a nuclear kind and almost impossible to reconcile. I spent 17 years in a struggle to get out from under that relationship and my only regret is that I spent so long being dragged down by her.

    The reality is, the real strength, the real protection, is found in yourself, not in any friend.

    Thanks for this post Rosie! Sorry for the rant!


  4. Katesome

    Oh, and totally off topic, but the twitter chat? I came upon it by chance and I had NO idea the questions were posted before and it totally freaked me out the way everyone had these amazing, thoughtful, clever answers to the questions tweeted only seconds before!! Very glad I figured that out, not feeling quite so inadequate. 🙂 xx

  5. JuditH

    I like your guiding system “Stomach bubbles with trouble”. It is great to have a guiding system that alerts us when we are dealing with toxic people. I agree with you that it is important to seek out positive life affirming environments. Positive uplifting people and environments help us to be happier
    To answer your question about how to create relationships that nurture us, I believe it starts with the relationship with ourselves, it starts with self-love, self-acceptance and self-worth. We need to nurture ourselves, to love ourselves; then our relationships will reflect back to us love and support.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge