By COSS Blog Contributor Joann Homen &
excerpts by AJ Harbinger who is the co-founder of The Art of Charm
Is it OK to cut someone out of your life?
Many of us struggle with this very question but it is okay to cut someone out of your life.
Sometimes, it is necessary.
Although it isn't particularly easy, there comes a time in almost everyone's life where there's a person one needs distance from or that one needs to cut out of their life for good.
How to Know Who’s Truly Toxic
“Toxic” gets overused a lot these days, so let’s be clear about what we mean.
Some people in life are kind of a drag — annoying, difficult, demanding, or otherwise unpleasant. These people are not “toxic,” in the strict sense of the term. They’re just generally undesirable. With this (admittedly large) group of people, you might want to create a little distance, but you won’t have the same urgency to cut them out of your life.
Toxicity really exists on a spectrum. On one end, there’s your old friend from high school who won’t shut up about how you don’t spend enough time together. On the other end, there’s your ex-girlfriend who is still capable of manipulating you into fits of rage. Your friend might be frustrating, but your ex-girlfriend is probably toxic.
Of course, tolerance for toxicity is relative to each person — you have to decide when someone requires distance and when they need to be cut out of your life. Those lines vary from person to person. For example, your sister will probably get more leeway than a coworker, but everyone’s sister and coworkers are different, and everyone has a different threshold.
What we’re talking about here is true toxicity — the kind that infects, metastasizes, and takes over your life. Here are a few classic signs of toxic people:
Toxic people try to control you. Strange as it might sound, people who aren’t in control of their own lives tend to want to control yours. The toxic look for ways to control others, either through overt methods or subtle manipulation.
Toxic people disregard your boundaries. If you’re always telling someone to stop behaving a certain way and they only continue, that person is probably toxic. Respecting the boundaries of others comes naturally to well-adjusted adults. The toxic person thrives on violating them.
Toxic people take without giving. Give and take is the lifeblood of true friendship. Sometimes you need a hand, and sometimes your friend does, but in the end it more or less evens out. Not with the toxic person — they’re often there to take what they can get from you, as long as you’re willing to give it.
Toxic people are always “right.” They’re going to find ways to be right even when they’re not. They rarely (if ever) admit when they’ve messed up, miscalculated, or misspoken.
Toxic people aren’t honest. I’m not talking about natural exaggerations, face-saving, or white lies here. I’m talking about blatant and repeated patterns of dishonesty.
Toxic people love to be victims. The toxic revel in being a victim of the world. They seek to find ways to feel oppressed, put down, and marginalized in ways they clearly are not. This might take the form of excuses, rationalizations, or out-and-out blaming.
Toxic people don’t take responsibility. Part of the victim mentality comes from a desire to avoid responsibility. When the world is perpetually against them, their choices and actions can’t possibly be responsible for the quality of their life — it’s “just the way things are.”
Do any of these sound familiar?
They might help diagnose toxicity in the people around you, even if the toxic pattern isn’t always or immediately obvious. In fact, toxicity can easily go unnoticed for years until you stop to consider your own experience of a difficult person. Though our thresholds for toxicity are relative, that’s often because we fail to recognize the symptoms.
So how do you go about removing toxic people from your life?
Why Removing Toxic People from Your Life Is So Important
It’s rare for a toxic person to totally sabotage your attempts at self-improvement, but it does happen. At the very least, they will certainly slow your progress. More to the point, would you want someone in your life who’s actively opposed to making your life better?