Sunday, December 12, 2010

Toxic Relationships

I've often wondered why some are so reluctant to end their relationships with toxic people.  I've had friends who continued to let people back in their lives over and over again even after these people repeatedly turned their backs on them.  When it inevitably happened again they were genuinely surprised and hurt.  I never understood their surprise, as whatever the person had done this time around was completely consistent with his or her past behavior.

Now don't get me wrong.  I believe in giving second chances.  Everyone makes mistakes and in general people deserve to be forgiven.  For me the problem is when the same person repeatedly engages in behaviors that are hurtful to me in some way.  At what point do you say enough is enough?  At what point do you decide that you don't want this person in your life anymore?

Relationships and/or friendships with some people are simply toxic.  The longer you maintain the relationship the more toxicity you allow into your life.  Here are some of the qualities of a toxic relationship:

*Most of the conversations you have with this person end with you feeling unhappy, hurt, angry, put down, guilty, etc.  In other words, the person makes you feel bad more often than he or she makes you feel good.
*The person always seems to want something from you, be it money, a favor, a ride, to borrow something, etc.  Healthy relationships as a rule involve give and take.  In this relationship it's mostly about you giving and the other person taking.
*The person is rarely - if ever- there for you when you need something.
*The person is constantly criticizing you and putting you down.
*The person never expresses happiness for you when something good happens in your life.
*The person is frequently verbally or physically abusive to you.
*The person is always getting angry at you for reasons he or she refuses to share with you.  As a result, he or she often goes weeks without speaking to you because he or she is "mad."  Then, he or she tries to pick up the friendship or relationship right where it left off a few weeks later as if nothing happened.
*The person always seems to be in a crisis that he or she wants you to help fix.

These are just a few examples.  The point is, if you have a friend who resembles the descriptions I gave above you might want to ask yourself if it is healthy for you to maintain a friendship with this person.  There comes a point when the costs of maintaining certain friendships far outweigh the benefits.  When this happens it's probably time to think about ending the relationship.


  1. Good post. Toxic relationships will drain the life out of you...

  2. I think the term toxic says it all. Strange analogy, but it's like intoxication from drugs or alcohol. Only that person becomes a drug. It's something you can never admit, and feel ashamed when you tell people. It's sad. I wonder if the "victim" actually realizes that the other person is the drug they can not shake.


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