Thoughts on Toxicity

No one wants to face the possibility that they might have hurt someone.
No one wants to hear that their good intentions didn’t have a good impact.
No one wants to be the toxic person in an unhealthy relationship.

As someone who’s been on both ends of the conversation, addressing the most recent source of toxicity in my life wasn’t easy.

It wasn’t easy, but it was necessary. I’d sacrificed my own health for far too long.

I’d sacrificed my own health because I wanted so badly to reciprocate someone else’s “good” intentions.
I’d sacrificed my own health because I’d internalized what happened when things weren’t peachy.
I’d sacrificed my own health because I felt responsible to make someone else’s life as easy as possible, with little regard to what strain it put on my own life.
I’d sacrificed my own health because I worried was the one who was incapable of maintaining a healthy relationship.

So,

I’d try to grin and bear it.
I’d try to bend myself to the mold of someone else’s expectations.
I’d try and tell myself that the straitjacket it felt like I was wearing wasn’t there.
I’d try and tell myself that someone’s good intentions should guarantee a good impact.
I’d try and tell myself that each friendship is different, and that the constriction this friendship brought me was simply its way of distinguishing itself from my other friendships.

(I mean, I was technically right about that last one.)

“You never realize how toxic someone is until you breathe fresher air.”

I’m tired of feeling responsible for someone else’s well-being at the expense of my own.
I’m tired of feeling like I had to contort myself in ways I don’t bend so someone else could feel comfortably at rest.
I’m tired of feeling guilty about the relief and freedom I’d feel when spending time with others.
I’m tired of questioning if I’m the problem for not reciprocating something that was literally killing me with its “kindness.”

I understand that there might have been a better way to address this.
(But there’s never a “right” time to do so–the struggle of the last few months has proved that.)
I understand that I might be “the bad guy” for a long time.
(But this is a two-way street–and responsibility needs to be taken by both sides.)
I understand it might be difficult to deal with.
(But the sooner we come to terms with what contributions we’ve made to that toxicity, the easier it’ll get.)
I understand a “friendship” might have been lost.
(But when that friendship was a source of toxicity, healthiness is gained in return.)

I’m looking forward to maintaining healthier relationships.
I’m looking forward to unlearning the bad habits this toxicity had forced upon me.
I’m looking forward to the freedom gained on both ends.
I’m looking forward to better self-discovery and self-improvement on both ends.
I’m looking forward to applying all the lessons learned from this.

I said “I” a lot in this post, but it’s about darn time I started doing that in this situation.

Further reading on toxic/unhealthy relationships:

Bustle: “9 Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship That Are Easy to Miss”
Tiny Buddha: “6 Helpful Things to Consider if You’re in an Unhealthy Friendship”
Our Everyday Life: “How to Detect a Bad Friendship”
Life, Hope & Truth: “Toxic Friendships?”
World of Psychology: “What’s a Toxic Person and How Do You Deal with One?”
Hey Sigmund: “When It’s Not You, It’s Them”
The Art of Charm: “Removing Toxic People from Your Life”
ThoughtCatalog: “Check Yourself: Sometimes You Are the Toxic Person”
Huffington Post: “When Helping a Friend with a Mental Illness, Know Your Limits”
Mindful Construct: “End a Codependent Relationship the Healthy Way”
CNN: “Is it time to end that friendship?”
SelfGrowth.com: “Emotionally Needy Friends: Where Do You Draw the Line?”
Reclaiming Your Future: “It’s OK to Walk Away from a Friendship”
Maya Elious: “The Reason No One Cares About Your Intention”

Featured image by yours truly, featuring Rae, July 2016

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