Gone Walkabout...

This blog was going to be about my travels and impressions I had from them. But my attention span went walkabout. And like with any good walkabout I discovered unexpected things. I invite you to come explore with me...

You can contact me at teri-gonewalkabout@live.com

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More freedom - removing toxic people from your life

Yesterday I wrote about the clutter of possessions. But that is not the only thing that can own you. Most likely even more than things, the people you have in your life can drive you nuts.

Long ago I realized that there are people who are just ‘toxic’. They poison your life with demands, negativity, put downs, guilt, back stabbing, criticisms, never ending personal drama and they might even steal from you (borrowing things or money that is never returned is stealing).

The sad thing is these people come disguised as friends. As co-workers. As fellow church members. Like the saying goes, “With friends like these… who needs enemies?”

My question is: Why keep them in your life?

Just as when we were a child we learned it’s not smart to touch that hot stove, we also must learn it’s not smart to have toxic “friends”. Why should a person allow someone to bring havoc into their life and soul? It’s touching that stove over and over and over. It’s insanity.

A toxic person will hurt you as long as you allow them into your life. YOU are the one allowing the pain and frustration to continue.

There was a time in my life I had so many toxic people around me I should have been living in a hazmat suit! It was depressing… draining (emotionally and financially)… and irritating! So I started cutting them away. For sure there were guilt attempts by them to continue the relationship – big time! After all, THEY were the ones benefiting from the relationship. But I knew in my soul there was no reason to be guilty.

A friend is supposed to be a blessing.

I learned to say “no”. “No” to doing someone else’s responsibilities. “No” to allowing criticisms, put downs and back handed compliments to seep into my soul. “No” to always being the giver in a relationship and rarely, if ever, the receiver. “No” to listening to complaints and negative comments that drain the joy out of life. "No" to the person who cancels plans at the last minute because she "wasn't feeling it". "No" to the chronic late arrivers who think their time is more valuable than anyone elses.

No – nein – nyet – la – hapana – non – nao! NO!!!

I can guarantee if you set a boundary and do not let a toxic person manipulate you… they will leave your life. When you stop giving them what they want, they are gone to find a new “friend” that they can control.

I’ve seen mushrooming of toxic friends with the advent of “social networking”. Facebook is amazing for that. People who actively dislike me (and the feeling is mutual) are suddenly requesting to be my “friend”. Why??? Hit that ‘ignore’ button! And by the way, it’s alright to “un-friend” someone. If you do and they try to ‘friend’ you again, ignore them. If they have the nerve to ask why you deleted them and you don’t want to be blunt (“I don’t like you”), then just say you are cutting back on your friend list… so sorry… but you can email privately any time you’d like. (Don’t worry… they won’t be emailing you soon enough).

Some people use Facebook to peek into others lives... just like that nosey neighbor who watches everything you do from their curtained window. Or worse...peeking into your window from outside! Not giving them free rein in your personal life is NOT being rude. It is NOT 'keeping the peace'. It's NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS!

Remember… your friendship is a gift too. Choose wisely who you give it to.

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