“As painful is it may be at first, sometimes the main purpose of a relationship may be to teach us how to gracefully let go.”

-Rose Caiola

How to deal with toxic relationships

Toxic relationships are a hot topic these days. But how do we identify them, and what do we do when we find ourselves in one? Rearranging your life can feel overwhelming, especially when we have certain patterns of behavior tied to work, family and friendships that are closely identified to how we see ourselves on a day-to-day basis. Here are some factors to consider in identifying toxic relationships and practical ideas to distance yourself from them.

The first step is to recognize if a person is harmful to you, or if you need to change something within yourself to deal with the person.

Here are some examples of toxic people, shared by peers and patients:

  • That ex-partner or lover who you obsess over. A love interest who pays you no attention. You can’t move forward, yet you can’t be with the person.
  • A friend who makes you feel drained and as if you need therapy, after spending time together.
  • Any person in your life who is hyper-critical, judgmental or abusive. The naysayers – people who tell you all the reasons you can’t, rather than the reasons you can.
  • Anyone who, when you take a step back to assess, you dread speaking to or meeting up with for any reason.
  • A person who spreads rumors and gossip behind your back, but is nice to your face.
  • An employee, business partner or client who brings negativity and stress to you and your work on a regular basis.
  • A family member who is an energy leech, puts you down constantly or is generally toxic. This one is tricky, but do your best and apply tight boundaries with tough love if nothing else.

As with any change, you need to know yourself. Are you a cold turkey person, or do you need a gradual process? If you are the cold turkey type, you press delete and that’s it. History. If you are a gradual process person, you need an action plan in place.

In this modern world of technology there are hundreds of ways to stay connected, even when you don’t want to be. If you don’t have self-discipline these days, you have the plight shared by a friend recently, “I now have 15 ways to be haunted by this person every minute of the day.”

If you focus on something it grows, so the key is to take your focus off it.

Here are some tips to help you remove a toxic person out of your life:

  • Don’t talk to the person. If this is not possible permanently, do it for a set amount of time, and figure out plan to lessen your contact with this person on a long-term basis.
  • Avoid all social medial platforms updated by the person. If you can’t resist checking this person’s updates, stop following them all together.
  • Don’t talk about the person. You are trying to set a new pattern. If this is too difficult and you need some support, talk to only one trusted friend or therapist.
  • Avoid places frequented by this person. Avoid places that you make you nostalgic about the person. Avoid any toxic environment period.
  • Don’t listen to music that reminds you of the person. Music triggers memories and makes them more real in the present moment. This is a good time to create new music playlists.
  • Say yes to new people and new situations to refocus your mind in a different direction. Make new friends and find new people to work with if possible.
  • Avoid reading old emails and texts from this person. If you can’t resist doing so, press delete. This applies to photographs too. Fill the void and newfound time with things that are good for you.
  • Remove yourself physically from your routine for a day, weekend or week, as possible, to reset in a new environment. Insert a new perspective to your life, and ease the transition process.
  • Exercise and eat well. Sweat, movement and a good diet helps move the old toxins out of your body and mind.
  • Surround yourself with people and places that love and uplift you.

The next time you feel brought down or held back by your relationships, use these tips to remove toxic people from your life, and move forward into a more healthy, peaceful existence.

This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post and is republished here with permission.

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