Sometimes, people enter into our lives who just aren’t a good fit. And sometimes, these people end up being very toxic. We are left with a choice: deal with their toxicity, or cut them out. It sounds simple, but this choice is one of the hardest decisions I ever made. Why? Because the toxic people I’ve cut out were people I cared about, some of them I even loved. It’s really, really hard to just drop someone cold turkey when you’ve been friends with them for an extended period of time and let your guard down with them. I shared a lot of memories with these people, whether I knew them for just a few months or a few years. But when it came down to it, no amount of memories were more valuable than my well-being, and that’s why I said goodbye.
What does toxic mean? To put it simply, toxicity is anything that is unhealthy in your life. It looks like cruelty, manipulation, lying, betraying, and fear. Toxicity is living every day in anxiety, just waiting for the next way that person is going to hurt you. It is thinking you need that person in your life because you will be nothing without them, no matter how mean he or she is to you. Toxicity drains you and warps your perception of yourself, and if you aren’t careful, it will leave you with a lower self esteem than you ever thought possible.
Toxicity weighs down on you like the world on your shoulders. It makes you think, say, and do crazy things, things you never imagined yourself doing or putting up with. I had standards, I had expectations for myself, before I entered into friendships with some of these toxic people. The further I got into these relationships, one after another, the further I strayed from healthy expectations. My eating disorder got worse in some of these relationships because I was constantly led to believe that I was dumb, insignificant, and a doormat. I was treated harshly, but then these people would tell me they loved me and would do anything for me. Unfortunately, this “anything” included the bad as well as the good.
Finally, with each and every one of them, I forced myself to face reality. I am Tara DeAngelis, and I am smart, brave, strong, kind, and determined. I am the daughter of a King. I am worthy of love and good treatment, and I owe nothing to the people who brought so much toxicity into my life. But I owe myself a lot, and that’s why I cut those toxic relationships off.
Cutting out toxic people feels like a huge loss at first, but in reality, you are opening up so much room in your life and your heart for people who truly love and care about you. When I cut these people out, at different points in my life, I allowed new friendships to form and others to grow deeper. I have amazing friends and family and the reason why we are so close is because I no longer devote wasted energy to people who don’t have my best interests at heart. This is a huge win, and I no longer feel like I’ve lost something.
You, too can cut toxic people from your life. First, you have to admit that they are not healthy for you. Second, make a list of all the reasons why your life would be better without them and what you are losing by keeping them around. Third, get rid of them. I chose a variety of methods for cutting my toxic relationships. Some, I met one on one to try to work out our issues, and when that failed, told them I wanted no further contact with them. Others, I slowly weaned off and reduced contact over time until it just seemed natural to stop talking all together. I’m not saying there’s one right way to do this, but the important thing is that you recognize when someone is hurting you and that you value yourself and your loved ones enough to end it if it cannot be fixed. Let it go, be free, and be loved.