How often are you pursuing or persisting in toxic relationships? Relationships come in all shapes and sizes. What about the relationships in your mind? In other words, the people you give your power to by thinking about them (or what they do) without possibly ever speaking with them. Toxic relationships cause us to feel drained or negative – before, during or after the interaction. Occasionally this happens in all relationships, however when toxicity (the way we feel as a result of interacting with a particular person) is consistent, that is our clue; and yes we may be the toxic one. Of course, none of us like to think of ourselves as toxic. Yet at minimum the unhealthy interactions we allow in our mind can cause us to be toxic. Also consider the possibility we all are toxic at times and in fact may be all the time to certain people. After all, knowing that can be the view we have toward others seems likely they may have toward us as well, yes?
Whenever we choose to pursue or persist in a toxic relationship it is a choice, conscious or unconscious. Typically we are motivated by some sort of payoff or benefit when we maintain such a relationship. What’s right for one may be wrong for another.
The key is awareness in choices making, what it costs you, what you gain and the results achieved. Awareness is the critical component that nets ownership instead of excuses. Ownership empowers and allows a person to create the life and results they desire. Excuses lead to blame and functioning with “victim thinking”.
Step 2 – Excuse Maker
Believed outcomes in my life were not in my control
Step 2 – Recovering Excuse Maker
Believed I control every outcome in my life
(From 12 Steps of an Excuse Maker/12 Steps of a Recovering Excuse Maker poster)
Some common payoffs . . .
- Working with a toxic boss because you love what you do, the other people you work with and the steady paycheck/benefits
- Interacting with a toxic family member in order to be able to connect with other family members that might otherwise be prohibited
- Staying with a toxic significant other because the person has a trait we wish we had; thereby living vicariously
- Maintaining toxic friendships for things they do for you
The terms “toxic boss,” “toxic family member,” “toxic significant other,” and “toxic friendships” are all relative terms. In other words the emphasis here is which relationships in your life work well for you and which are having a negative impact. Name calling puts the focus on others which leads to blaming and excuses. The subtle shift from labeling other people to taking full responsibility for the relationships in your life has a significant difference in results.
When choosing one of the above payoffs or something else, in order to succeed at minimizing the impact of negativity or drain to you, you must keep your focus on the payoffs. As soon as your attention shifts to the toxicity, you have surrendered your power and become toxic yourself; whether expressed inwardly or outwardly.
Also, recognize every time you think or talk about that toxic person, you are choosing to inject yourself with more toxins. Here lies a root cause of blaming and poor effectiveness known as disconnect; the inability to link thought, word or action implemented with results experienced. Disconnect is often evident by language such as: “I can’t help it”. . . “I just want to tell you what happened” . . . “Well, it’s true.”
- Tips to overcome disconnect . . .
- Change “can’t” to “won’t” and at least empower yourself by being accountable for choice you’re making
- Stay in tuned to your emotions. If you (or who you’re telling) are reactionary and in any way fueled with emotions, you are no longer “just telling what happened,” you are feeding the toxin
- Consider how thinking or stating the truth helps you or the situation. What if instead your thoughts or conversation were about something uplifting?
Change will only occur when we decide our cost becomes more than our payoff. In the meantime, as long as you choose to continue in a toxic relationship, having a high commitment to a healthy means of releasing any detrimental effect would be essential to avoiding the toxins from taking root in you. The detrimental impact shows up in our lives as costs such as: time, energy, peace of mind, unpleasant disposition, carryover into other aspects of life as well as side affects.
Then, when you’re ready to move beyond the toxic relationship, what if you simply viewed you and the other person as on different frequencies or wavelengths rather than identifying either person or the relationship as good or bad? Why? Remember, what’s toxic for you may work for someone else and this approach also prevents judging and other destructive characteristics.
How do you make the change once you decide? Imagine each person or relationship as a radio or TV station. Some you like and tune into while others you dislike and bypass altogether and still others you may be totally unaware of their existence. How often do you tune into something you dislike and continue watching or listening? More than likely you simply change the station or refrain from visiting the channel. Notice who makes the adjustment, you do! The frequency always exists; you take ownership for your tuning in and therefore your experience. If you continue to think or talk about a channel you dislike, you feel, . . . . well, however you felt that triggered you to change or skip a particular channel.
A person or relationship is the same way. Sometimes we’re on different wavelengths that are, for whatever reason, misaligned. Neither is good or bad, right or wrong, simply misaligned. Think of oil and water. Separately they both serve tremendous benefit in a variety of capacities. Together however, they’re unable to blend well.
What toxic relationship (or relationships) are you currently sustaining? What are your payoffs? What are your costs? Which is greater? How are your choices working for or against you? What adjustment could you make? What will you implement? Share your action step and take yourself and your business to the next level!