HJ: There is an almost addictive quality to unhealthy relationships/people that can make it hard to remove them from your life, even after you have the realization that it needs to happen. This is usually due to the fact there are emotional loops being setup which play on your weaknesses and/or your natural compassion and desire not to unduly hurt someone who at one time you may have enjoyed a fruitful, mutually beneficial relationship with. These unhealthy relationships/people will often oscillate back and forth between a state of neediness and manipulation in order to keep you from ultimately becoming frustrated enough to let them go once and for all. However, the consequences of not cutting ties/cords when they desperately need to be can be uncomfortable and even painful.
All of our actions and choices build momentum in certain directions and the longer we postpone taking needed action, the harder it becomes to do so. We may become emotionally numb to the situation as a coping mechanism, again embedding us further in the drama of the unhealthy relationship. And furthermore, if it is an extreme relationship, in which there is great emotional manipulation or ego dramas being played out, removing yourself from the situation may involved confrontation, which most people avoid like the plague. It takes courage to do what is needed in these situations, but the rewards are .
Detoxing an unhealthy relationship or person from your life is powerfully liberating and can feel like a weight is being lifted off your chest. Often times these people are holding you back from reaching your full potential and this realization can be clouded by their presence in your life. Hindsight is always 20/20.
Below you will find guidelines for identifying toxic relationships/people in your life and tips on how to remove them successfully, which can be easy or challenging depending on their tenacity and your relationship to them.
How to Detox Someone Out of Your Life
Detox has become a fad word lately. Do a few shakes, stay off the booze, stop processed food, have a few green juices and you feel brand new.
This may come as a surprise, but toxins aren’t just found in air pollution or your poor food and drink choices. To really feel that desired sense of relief, clarity and glow, you have to look at all parts of your life. You must evaluate what is toxic specifically to you and cleanse out what doesn’t work. You have to not only look at what you are eating, but what (or who) is eating you.
The first step is to recognize if a person is not good for you, or if you need to change something within yourself to deal with the person.
Here are some examples of toxic people, shared by peers and patients:
1) That ex-partner or lover that you obsess over. A love interest that pays you no attention. You can’t move forward, yet you can’t be with the person.
2) A “friend” that you always feel drained after spending time with and almost need therapy just to recover from.
3) Any person in your life that is hyper-critical, judgmental or abusive. The naysayers, people who tell you all the reasons you can’t rather than the reasons you can.
4) Anyone that, when you take a step back to assess, you dread speaking to or meeting up with for any reason.
5) A person that spreads rumors and gossip behind your back but is nice to your face.
6) An employee, business partner or client that brings negativity and stress to you and your work on a regular basis.
7) A family member who is an energy leech, puts you down constantly or is generally toxic. (This one is tricky, but do your best and apply tight boundaries with tough love if nothing else)
Just like with any cleanse program, you need to know yourself. Are you a “cold turkey” person, or do you need a gradual process? If you are the cold turkey type, you press delete and that’s it. History. If you are a gradual process person, you need a cleanse action plan in place.
In this modern world of technology there are hundreds of ways to stay connected, even when you don’t want to be. If you don’t have self-discipline these days, you have the plight shared by a friend recently, “I now have 15 ways to be haunted by this person every minute of the day.”
If you focus on something it grows, so the key is take your focus off of it.
Tips to get you started to cleanse a toxic person out of your life. Apply the ones that are relevant to your specific situation:
1) Don’t talk to the person. If this is not possible permanently, do it for a set amount of time and figure out plan to lessen your contact with this person on a long term basis.
2) Don’t look at the person’s Facebook page or anything related to the person on Facebook. Turn their notifications off in your newsfeed. If you don’t trust yourself to do this, delete the person from Facebook.
3) Don’t talk about the person. You are trying to set a new pattern. If this is too difficult and you need some support, talk to only one trusted friend or therapist.
4) Avoid places frequented by this person. Avoid places that you make you nostalgic about the person. Avoid any toxic environment period.
5) Avoid all social medial platforms updated by the person. If you can’t resist checking this person’s updates, stop following them all together.
6) Don’t listen to music that reminds you of the person. Music triggers memories and makes them more real in the present moment. This is a good time to create new music playlists.
7) Say yes to new people and new situations to refocus your mind in a different direction. Make new friends and find new people to work with.
8) Avoid reading old emails and texts from this person. If you can’t resist doing so, press delete. This applies to photographs too. Fill the void and new found time with things that are good for you.
9) Remove yourself physically from your routine for a day, weekend, or week based on your schedule, to reset in a new environment. Insert a new perspective to your life and ease the cleansing process.
10) Exercise and eat well. Sweat, movement and a good diet helps move the old toxins out of your body and mind.
11) Surround yourself with people and places that love and uplift you.
The next time you feel you need to “detox,” consider looking at more than just your diet and remove toxic people from your life as well.
Follow Dr. Karuna Sabnani on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DrKarunaSabnani