According to Dr. Phil, “The only thing worse than being in a bad relationship for a year is being in it for a year and a day.” I asked my Facebook friends to tell me what a toxic relationship is. Here are some quotes. “One that will make you sick.” “One that diminishes and devalues you.” “If the relationship is NOT enhancing then there is no need for me to stay in it.”
I think we know in our guts when a relationship is not good for us. For some reason, we choose to stay. If you’ve had enough, here’s how to end a toxic relationship.
1. Starve it. You starve the relationship by refusing to give it anymore attention. You stop taking the calls. Stop responding to text messages and stop being available for lunch. This may seem like you’re avoiding a conflict, but a toxic relationship is conflict. When you end the relationship, by whatever means you choose, you are not avoiding conflict, you’re ending it.
2. Have the talk. Most people are not rotten to the core. You may want to have a talk with the person. Tell him how you feel about the relationship. For example, you could say something like this, “Whenever we talk, you make unkind comments about my children. I don’t like that. “You always seem to be against me. I feel that our relationship is damaging my mental health.” If you have to maintain some minimal relationship with the person, and you think the person will accept what you have to say calmly, this route might work.
3. Cut it off abruptly and completely. Back in the day, you had to change your phone number. Now, you can just block people so that they cannot call or text you. This is a good method for a relatively new relationship. You’ve invested a few weeks, and you know for whatever reason that the relationship is unhealthy. You don’t really owe the person an explanation. Just get out and protect yourself.
We can’t require perfect behavior from friends and acquaintances, but when there is a clear pattern of selfishness, comparison, unreasonable expectations and other negative acts, you know it’s time to end the relationship. Choose a method and execute.
“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” Maya Angelou