If you’ve ever suffered at the hands of someone you badly want a loving relationship with, you’ve felt real pain. Anna Rogers bravely explains why it’s ok to cut that toxic person out of your life.
Sometimes a person close to you can dampen your sparkle. Sometimes they can make you cry. Sometimes they can get so under your skin it’s hard to know who you are anymore. You forgive them, because you love them and you try to forget but it keeps on happening and you keep on being hurt.
Sometimes enough is enough.
What do you do when someone has been in your life for such a long time but they’ve been toxically abusing your relationship and, most importantly, you?
You are not to blame for emotional, mental or physical abuse
Abuse from anyone is shit. But abuse, be it mental, physical or sexual, from someone you’re supposed to trust and love can be even harder to handle and identify.
It hurts and you blame yourself, because it shouldn’t be this hard. You shouldn’t have to keep on saying ‘it’s ok’ when it’s not. You shouldn’t have to justify in your head and your heart the reasons why you want to walk away.
What if it’s the one person you want to and should feel the most safest with and close to? Even writing this now, I have the voice of this person telling me in my head that ‘ I’m being dramaztic ‘ and ‘it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was’ or that I’m ‘making it up’.
This is exactly why you should walk away from a relationship with this much toxicity in it, you shouldn’t be doubting your feelings. You’re you after all, and no one knows you better than you.
Toxic family members
Family can be the worst type of relationship to have this tangled situation with.
There’s even more expectation to make things better and to forgive, placing you with the responsibility to continuously accept the abuse because, well you’re family, and it’s so much easier to pass off abusive behaviour as acceptable. Or sometimes you just don’t spot the signs as quickly because of who they are to you and their role in your life.
I’m almost thirty, and only just starting to fully come to terms with the abusive relationship I endured as a very young child until well into my late twenties from a family member very close to me. After eventually seeing counsellors, I realised I had – and to some extent will always have – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, because of how toxic this relationship was.
Why has it taken me so long to cut that toxic person out?
Because I didn’t want to let go of the relationship despite how badly I was treated.
I felt sorry for her and desperately wanted her to get help.
I was mostly scared and deeply full of guilt at having to be that daughter severing a tie with her mother.
I felt like a failure. I felt lost. I felt responsible for her. I felt like it was my fault.
I was made to think these things about myself for years, so to break the abusive pattern and cut her out of my life has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to.
Don’t be afraid
Why am I writing this? Simply to say you ARE strong enough to (even if you don’t feel it) and it is OK to cut someone toxic out of your life regardless of their role and position, be they family, a partner, a friend, or a colleague.
Abuse in whatever form is bullying and you don’t have to put up with it.
It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about your decision to remove this person from your life, all that’s important is how you feel after doing this and whether it has made a difference to you.
At first it’s fucking hard and you may, like I did, tell yourself all sorts of shitty things that over the weeks, years you’ve learnt to believe are true about you . But they aren’t true. It’s all controlling crap designed to dampen your spirits. I learnt that these afterthought feelings are just a part of the process of accepting the huge decision you’ve made. Being extra kind to yourself and allowing yourself to heal for however long it takes you to is absolutely the way forward and to just feel whatever emotion you need to feel at the time.
Accepting the emotion for what it is has really helped me.
I’ve gone through them all: Anger, sadness, fear, relief… you name it, I’ve been there. The key is to let yourself grieve and go through these emotions when they crop up. I find when I give in to them, I actually come out of those moments much more quickly and oddly feeling much stronger.
Over time, I began to teach myself how I personally need to get through those moments when they attack me. I’ve started to actually listen to me for a change, instead of other people and their opinions on the subject and ‘what’s best for me’. And it’s seriously refreshing.
It can take months, even years to finally feel ready to make the step and that’s ok. It has to be when you’re ready. Sometimes you may go back and forwards with your decision. I definitely did this and it took me a long time to finally see that things were not changing, no matter how many times I forgave. In the end the decision did lie entirely with me because it’s me in control of my life, and I didn’t want this relationship to continue harming me.
As a Mum myself, this journey has been even harder to go on because I’ve not only cut out my Mum, but my children’s Grandma. But it’s the best decision I’ve made so far for them, because they have a stronger, happier Mum in their lives.
I still have wobbles. I still wish it didn’t have to be this way, it still sometimes feels abnormal to cut a family member out and I am still figuring it all out in my head. But I did it and now I couldn’t be prouder of myself. It was the strongest and bravest decision I’ve ever made and it took guts.Whether it’s the small things or the big things that make you feel like you are in a toxic relationship of any kind, you deserve better.
Removing the toxic person reminded me who I was again. And if that’s not a good enough reason to do it, I don’t know what is.
Have you ever struggled with feeling ok to cut out a toxic person from your life? Let us know in the comments below – we’re here to support you.
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