I recently came across a really insightful post by Lakshmi Raman which is the inspiration behind this post as I relay to you some really insightful details about letting go of toxic relationships & being true to yourself…
Since I was younger, I have always been a people pleaser. I was painfully shy growing up & as equally sensitive.
The most important thing to me was making sure I was liked & that other people were happy with me, I had their validation & I had reassurance.
Unbeknown to me, as I got older, it’s exhausting how draining this can be. I found myself saying yes to people, but saying no to myself.
For example, I never used to drink or go clubbing. I didn’t enjoy it, I felt insecure & uncomfortable & just wanted to get back home to my comfort zone – but i’d get called boring if I didn’t go or friends would rely on me to drive them – so i’d tag along & look miserable & on edge for the entire night – just to humour these certain ‘friends’.
The game changing period became soon after I split with my first long term boyfriend of whom was in a boyband & was extremely dedicated to his music, fame & everything except me. Now as ridiculous as this may sound – this was all my own doing. He was fiercely obsessed with me in the beginning, he waited over a year to see me again after we first met & he worshipped me & our relationship. I was only 16 at the time & as most 16 year old girls are, I went through stages of insecurity, unsure of myself, who I was & pushing people away, going within myself completely. It was a trying time. I would test him & push him away. I was immature & niave. Our relationship changed but lasted another 7 years. Inevitably he became more confident as he became more successful & I slowly slipped into his shadow, sad & anxious about being left behind, I was a poor example of my former self & my spark had gone out but instead his was brighter than ever.
Being in an upcoming boyband, his ‘image’ was something that was really important. What was reflected to media was that he was available, gorgeous & talented – free of a girlfriend appearing more in reach for fans.
He was on tour, i’d have to walk behind him as if I didn’t exist. For the ‘image’ I was invisible…& I really started to believe I was.
One really poignant moment was one January. It was snowing. Thick. The biggest snowfall we had seen in years & years. I lived about 40 minutes drive from him. It was the usual day we would see each other before he would have to leave for the recording studio for another week. For this reason I risked everything by driving in the snow on ghostly empty roads just to be with him. Yet I spent the evening sat waiting for him to finish at the gym, then waiting for him to finish on the piano. I was bored constantly & lonely. The following day on my return drive back home, my car skidded on black ice & my car spun horizontally down a hill towards an on coming car. I still to this day have no idea how I missed hitting it, but that was a big realisation in what the hell I was doing going to such lengths for someone that really didn’t deserve it anymore.
Yet again I was saying yes to him but saying no to me.
We ended up finishing our relationship & my eyes were open to the world around me that I had been missing out on whilst being with him. Regretfully he did come back, he found it hard to let go once he realised I really was gone & it took years of anonymous Valentines, Birthday & Christmas cards going unanswered before he did eventually move on.
Those experiences changed me dramatically & there was no guilt there because of that. I realised that I was unstoppable & just as important as anyone else. The confidence was amazing. I started a modelling career & socialised with my friends more. I was a different person.
I had really come out of my shell.
Now this experience opened my eyes to other relationships that were exhausting me of happiness & peace of mind too. Relationships with close family in particular.
There seems to be an unwritten rule that no matter what happens, family means everything & you have to stick together. God forbid a family member abuses you (I use the word ‘abuse’ lightly to describe the toxic nature in which they treat you) & you call them out on it & cut them off!
It’s safe to say I do not agree with that. As an example, people say “you only get one mum” – true – but she also only gets one of YOU too.
If a friend, colleague, boyfriend/girlfriend etc treated you with utter disrespect, bullied you, abused your trust, made you upset & anxious time after time, would you put up with it? Would you continue to go back for more? Would you make excuses for them continuously? No. You’d have to address it & say goodbye.
So just because you may be connected by blood does not give family the exception to proceed in toxic behaviour towards you either. You may think “but she’s my mum/sister/aunt etc” – but see it as you also doing them a favour. They can go on & find someone else who enables their behaviour & is able to connect with them in a way you can not & will not put up with.
When you start being selfish – in a positive way – people pick up on that energy & can see & appreciate you for who you really are.
Letting go of people can be really hard. Especially if you are a sensitive soul, or an ‘over thinker’ like I am. A call, thought, or memory is enough to reel you back in, make you emotionally vulnerable & wrack you with guilt.
If you have considered letting someone go, ask yourself these questions:
- Does this person have your best interests in mind?
- How do you feel when around them or after leaving them – drained or alive?
- Do they belittle you when you share your personal thoughts & feelings?
- Is everything about them & do they have to be the centre of attention regardless of anything else?
- Do they make promises & never follow up?
If you answered yes to more than one of the above questions, it might be time to move on to make space in your life for healthy, happy friendships/relationships.
You will always be faced with resistance when trying to let go of toxic relationships, but one way to gain mental clarity, confidence in your actions & strength to be true to yourself is to be unapologetic when it comes to your feelings.
No one can deny you your feelings or say they are a lie & not reality. Most of the time people who try to do the above will do so out of guilt for what they know they have done to you, what role they have played in you feeling this way.
I think one of the best ways to articulate yourself when discussing your honest feelings is to write. Write them down. Write a letter & take your time. This way you are free of negative confrontation & no one is interrupting the flow of you expressing how you truly feel.
One thing my dad has always taught me is to have no regrets. Know that you have been the best version of yourself. Know that you have done everything possible on your part to salvage a relationship & make it work. Never walk away knowing you may think ‘what if’ in the future.
If you do the above, express your feelings, be honest, be open & constructive & you still get hit with the same toxic energy from that same person then why an earth would you feel guilty about cutting ties?
Over the last year or so I have learnt about Narcissists. Narcissism is an illness & people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) will always be a victim, will always feel the need to have constant attention & god forbid they are ever held accountable for their actions!
If it is a narcissist you are dealing with, be prepared for the feeling of hitting your head against a brick wall time & time again. They do not listen, for anyone’s opinion that isn’t their own is irrelevant. They deny you your feelings. They relish in drama, being the centre of attention, always, ALWAYS being “in the right” & again, the victim.
It’s never easy to let go of the past, but when the pain of holding on is far greater than the pain of letting go, it’s time to take the leap.
Some great advice that was given to me was to get clear on what you need & want to feel in your life & within your relationships.
This is how I want my life and relationships to feel:
Filled with laughter, fun & positivity
When you get clarity on what you need to feel for you to take care of yourself, you won’t accept anything less.
You want relationships that better you. That inspire & encourage you in love & in life & that push you towards dreams & goals that you’d otherwise ignore. When you find someone, a friend, a partner, who helps you become a more courageous, well rounded, happy human being – that is sacred. Hold on to that & give it back ten fold.
Start to fill your life with what makes you happy. Make sure you are grateful for the positive people around you & continue to make an effort with those closest to you.
You’ll start to attract healthier relationships into your life & you’ll be happier because of it.
A Life Coach & friend of mine gave me some great advice. Always be thankful, always be grateful. Even to the negative people that have hurt you & the toxic relationships you have been subjected to. Be grateful because they have all taught you lessons. Taught you what you do NOT want in a relationship, taught you how to treat others & taught you how to behave with clarity & confidence in your own feelings. They have taught you the kind of people you want to associate with & the kind of negativity & abuse you will not tolerate. For those reasons you can say ‘a big, honest ‘THANK YOU’.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses”
This final outlook & continued positive way of thinking will help you to heal further, for you will have an insight & a wiser outlook on the situation. All of a sudden you are able to look at the situation from a higher perspective.
The saying that ‘you have to love yourself first’ is proven to be true when you realise how your life will be turned around the moment you take care of number 1 & remove anyone & anything that brings you harm & distress. You will become the best version of you & everyone around you will benefit.
Time is something you can never get back, so do not waste yours on people who don’t deserve it.
I hope this has been insightful & helpful to anyone that needs it. Lakshmi Raman’s original post really provided me with so much insight & clarity that I felt really inspired to relay & work on for this post.
So remember –
Letting go of toxic people is not an act of cruelty, it’s an act of self care.
Stop saying NO to yourself & YES to someone else.
Don’t feel guilty for the unwillingness to put up with being repeatedly hurt by someone.
Don’t let anyone make you feel like you or your feelings & views are irrelevant or not reality.
Remember how important you are, how you are worthy of being loved & treated with respect & support – the same way you give to others.
It is time to take the love that others take for granted & invest it in yourself. You are deserving of it.
I’ll finish with a quote –
“If anyone ever dismisses you for being too sensitive, ask yourself this: who is more fragile? The person who is brave enough to share when something hurts? Or the person who cannot apologise or admit having caused pain? Sensitivity, empathy, compassion, these are badass superpowers”
– Nanea Hoffman
I hope you all have a happy weekend,
Blogger, Jewellery Designer, Artist, Dancer, Model, Candle Addict & Animal Lover