Notes from this article.
Why do toxic people do toxic things?
Toxic people thrive on control… the type that keeps people small and diminished.
Everything they do is to keep people small and manageable… criticism, judgement, oppression – whatever it takes to keep someone in their place. The more you try to step out of ‘your place’, the more a toxic person will call on toxic behaviour to bring you back and squash you into the tiny box they believe you belong in.
…at the heart of their behaviour is the lack of concern around their impact on others. They come with a critical failure to see past their own needs and wants.
Even the strongest people… are likely to evolve into someone who is a smaller, less confident, more wounded version of the person they used to be.
Non-toxic people will strive to make the relationship work and when they do, the toxic person has exactly what he or she wants – control.
…we hang on to the belief that we have to stay connected and loyal, even though being with them hurts…When loyalty comes with a diminishing of the self, it’s not loyalty, it’s submission.
Why are toxic relationships so destructive?
…Healthy people welcome the support and growth of the people they love, even if it means having to change a little to accommodate…
…healthy families and relationships will work through the tough stuff. Unhealthy ones will blame, manipulate and lie – whatever they have to do to return things to the way they’ve always been, with the toxic person in control.
Toxic Relationships – Why they will never change
Reasonable people, however strong and independently minded they are, can easily be drawn into thinking that if they could find the switch, do less, do more, manage it, tweak it, that the relationship will be okay. The cold truth is that if anything was going to be different it would have happened by now.
Toxic people can change, but it’s highly unlikely. What is certain is that nothing anyone else does can change them. It is likely there will be broken people, broken hearts and broken relationships around them – but the carnage will always be explained away as someone else’s fault. There will be no remorse, regret or insight.
If you try to leave a toxic person, things might get worse before they get better – but they will always get better. Always.
Few things will ramp up feelings of insecurity or a need for control more than when someone questions familiar, old behaviour, or tries to break away from old, established patterns… when something feels as though it’s changing, they will use even more of their typical toxic behaviour to bring the relationship (or the person) back to a state that feels acceptable.
…For a toxic family or toxic relationships, that shape is rigid and unyielding. There is no flexibility, no bending, and no room for growth. Everyone has a clearly defined space and for some, that space will be small and heavily boxed. When one person starts to break out of the shape… toxic people will do whatever it takes to restore the space to the way it was. Often, that will mean crumpling the ones who are changing so they fit their space again.
Sometimes toxic people will hide behind the defence that…what they do is ‘no big deal’ and that you’re the one causing the trouble because you’re just too sensitive, too serious… too ‘whatever’…
If it hurts, it’s hurtful. Full stop.
Love never holds people back from growing. It doesn’t diminish, and it doesn’t contaminate. If someone loves you, it feels like love. It feels supportive and nurturing and life-giving. If it doesn’t do this, it’s not love. It’s self-serving crap designed to keep you tethered and bound to someone else’s idea of how you should be.
There is no such thing as a perfect relationship, but a healthy one is a tolerant, loving, accepting, responsive one.
The one truth that matters.
If it feels like growth or something that will nourish you, follow that. It might mean walking away from people you care about… the door left open for when they are able to meet you closer to your terms – ones that don’t break you.
Set the boundaries… and leave it to the toxic person to decide which side of that boundary they want to stand on… If the relationship ends, it’s not because of your lack of love or loyalty, but because the toxic person chose not to treat you in the way you deserve. Their choice.
…The choice to trample over what you need means they are choosing not to be with you. It doesn’t mean you are excluding them from your life.
Toxic people also have their conditions of relationship… they are likely to include an expectation that you will tolerate ridicule, judgement, criticism, oppression, lying, manipulation – whatever they do. No relationship is worth that…
… Sometimes choosing health and wholeness means stepping bravely away from that which would see your spirit broken and malnourished.
Walking away from a toxic relationship isn’t easy, but it is always brave and always strong. It is always okay. And it is always – always – worth it.
…Letting go will likely come with… anger and grief for the family… you thought you had… Keep moving forward and let every hurtful, small-hearted thing they say or do fuel your step.
…keep the door open on your terms, for whenever they are ready to treat you with love, respect and kindness. This is one of the hardest lessons but one of the most life-giving and courageous ones.