Bad relationships suck! We all go through them at some point in our lives but we don't need to let them get the better of us and consume our happiness. Whether it's a friend, a family member or boyfriend, either way we need to let some people go and delete them from our lives for good!
I had this friend that used to only talk about her own problems every time we met and would never listen to any issue that I had going on at the time. I didn't grow up with her so I didn't really know her background that well but I soon figured out that this girl was the most materialistic person I have ever come across! All that she cared about was her looks and what's "in" right now.
She would look down on others and be really condescending which would drive me absolutely mad. Obviously it didn't take me too long to realise that her behaviour was down to her own insecurities but it still wasn't pleasant having to put up with her on a regular basis. After she had insulted me one too many times I knew I needed to cut her out of my life, for good.
I'd never cut anyone out of my life on purpose before and didn't really know what to do without looking like a right cow.... I decided that the best way to do this was to just not be available every time she called or text. I still had to meet her now and then but on a much less regular basis and on my own terms.
Each time we met I would be a little distant towards her (no hugs, using her full name rather than a nickname etc.) and I always had a back up escape plan so that I could leave at a certain time and not get caught with her for hours. It took a few months to work but eventually the relationship just fizzled away and we are no longer friends.
On a side note - I didn't plan on completely ignoring her at social events etc, (it's not that hard to acknowledge someones presence with a nod and smile) but instead I just get blank stares now and then, which I'm fine with cause I have no feelings towards her anymore and I don't have to make awkward small talk with her.
What didn't go away for a good few months was the feeling that I was the one in the wrong and the guilt and anger that I had towards her. Even though she was no longer part of my life she was still taking up quite a lot of room in my head. That was worse than having to put up with her! We had a few mutual friends and I was concerned that I would look like the bad one for excluding her from my life. Who knows what stories she was feeding to people behind my back!?
So, one day I talked to someone who I thought was quite close to this girl and I told her my side of the story. To my amazement it turned out that I wasn't the first person to have experienced this with her, in fact there was a long list of "ex friends" who were in similar situations. The relief that I got from that one conversation was unbelievable and I was finally able to let go... it was only then that I realised that I wasn't the problem!
I did feel sorry for the girl a little bit but then I remembered how negative things were when she was part of my life and those feelings were quickly quashed! Now I look back and feel nothing. No regrets and no guilt. Just happiness that I am no longer in that meaningless friendship.
While the fading out method worked for me in this situation it won't work for every kind of relationship. I do believe that honesty is the best policy in all relationships - but, sometimes you can get away with not having that confrontation. I did!
However, if she had been a very long term friend that I had grown up with or someone who I had once highly respected I would have gone differently about letting her go from my life and I would have confronted her an explained that I just don't want to be friends anymore (or something along those lines).
Sometimes friendships can be even harder to break than a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. After all, friends are the family we chose for ourselves. Sometimes there can be a feeling of failure when a friendship doesn't work out the way we wanted it to but you have to remember it happens to everyone at some point in their lives...You are not alone! Think about how you felt as a teenager going through a breakup - you probably felt like the world was literally falling apart and your heart was physically sore....so did millions of other people on that same day...
*news flash darling: it's part of growing up!*
Anyway, back to the point in hand - you need to think of the harm that this person is doing to your mental health. Would you keep putting toxins into your body if you knew it was doing harm to you? No! So why let a toxic relationship into your life? You're better than that!
Here are some ways you can go about eliminating the toxic relationship from your life
Be Brutally Honest - this is probably the scariest one but it's what works for most people even though they are terrified of the initial conversation. It can feel like you're back in school and psyching yourself up for a "fight". Treat it like a break up and follow through with your intentions to end the relationship. Have your points ready if you need to and be stern and confident in what you are saying. Let them realise that you are not happy with their behaviour and you don't want to continue to be in that kind of situation.
Assert Yourself - the toxic friend will probably try to manipulate you into feeling sorry for them or make you feel like you are the one in the wrong. Stand your ground and don't allow them to overpower you with their negativity. They might say something like "there's no need to take things so seriously" and laugh at your reaction (like when you're angry and someone tries to tell you to "calm down"...it never calms me down!) but all you need to say is "you might not think it's serious but I do and I'm not putting up with it any longer". Remember this is all is all about how you are feeling, not them!
Don't Apologise For How You Feel - this person has mad you feel crap in the past, but not anymore. Take control of how you feel and respect yourself first. While it can be natural to apologise and blame yourself rather than hurt someone else's feelings, this is not a good idea when trying to cut someone from your life. That will only feed their ego and not show them their actions that have put you in this position. Tell them the things they have done that you don't like and let them know that you are no longer going to put up with it.
Get On With Your Life - So you are no longer in the toxic relationship, now what? You may experience feelings of anger, guilt, frustration, regret, sadness. These are all normal feelings when ending a relationship. A friendship break-up can be just as hard as breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, after all you may even have been friends with this person for longer than your relationship with your ex.
- Allow yourself some time to grieve the friendship but then look towards the future. You might not think it now but you will meet people from all walks of life as you grow up and your friends will change just like you will. There are so many people that will come and go in your lifetime and it's up to you to chose how they treat you.
- Learn from this bad experience and use it so that it never happens again. If you recognise signs from the last toxic relationship be quick to nip them in the bud and assert yourself so the same thing doesn't happen again. If someone wants to speak negatively all the time they will soon learn that you are not interested and will change their opinions and how they speak around you.
Before you go and say anything to your friend you might need to ask yourself a few questions....
1. What are you going to say if the friend apologises and begs you to forgive them?
2. Are you willing to forgive them for how they have behaved and made you feel either now or in the future?
3. Are you looking to fix your relationship or leave it for good?
4. If you're going about it the "subtle"/fade out way...will the friend even realise it's happening or do they need/deserve to be told straight out and honestly?
5. Will you still see this person on a regular basis in the presence of others? What effect will this have on your mutual friends or boyfriends/girlfriends?
Letting people go from your life is never an easy decision but make sure it's the right decision for you before you end something that could have been fixed.