In relationships, it can be easy to just have enough. I know I have dealt with some toxic people in my life. I am dealing with some even now. It can be easy to write people off and behave in a way that isn’t respectful. While this is the easy way to handle it, it is probably not the right way. One thing I have learned as I have walked through some of these rough relationships as of late is that my kids are watching everything. They are watching to learn exactly how to handle situations with friends and people they deal with on a given day. It has become very clear that I need to teach my children how to handle toxic people.
Handling Toxic Relationships
I have been dealing with some really difficult relationships over the last few weeks. While I love the people I get to do life with, there are those that are just sandpaper people. (They just rub me the wrong way.) I have had to learn to deal with them and I think there are important things to consider when you are dealing with a toxic person. Maybe some of these will help you to teach your children how to handle toxic people as well.
Is the person healthy to be around?
Often we tell kids to solve a problem and move forward. Not only is this not healthy, sometimes it can be the wrong answer. When dealing with a toxic person, it’s important to look at what makes them toxic. If they are being abusive in their actions or words, it is best to take time apart from that person. You are valuable enough to take time away from someone who doesn’t see your value.
Does it need to be said?
Does it need to be said by me?
Does it need to be said by me now?
Ask these three questions when dealing with a toxic person. Your first instinct can be to respond or defend yourself. While sometimes defending yourself will be productive, sometimes it will just cause more conflict. If you can answer the three questions above with a yes, then proceed. Make sure that your integrity isn’t compromised by engaging with this person. If you are dealing with a toxic person, they may not care what you say anyway.
Can you take space without ending a relationship?
When looking at a relationship, ask yourself if it is actually toxic to you. If the relationship in its current form is toxic, do you need to take a break or get some space? Sometimes taking a break and getting some space can help you both decide if the relationship is salvageable.
Does the relationship need to end?
If someone is genuinely unhealthy to be around the relationship may need to end. It can be very damaging to you to stay in a relationship with a person who can not treat you with respect. Ask yourself honestly if that person is healthy for you and beneficial to invest your time in.
People are meant to be in our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.
People who are there for a reason have one thing to teach you and then it is time for them to move on.
People who are there for a season may be a part of your life for a longer period to teach you important things.
People who are lifetime people will be with you for life because you have too much to learn from each other.
Conflict comes when we try to make reason and season people into lifetime people. That is not their purpose and it is not healthy. When you try to change the nature of the relationship and make them something they are not, the relationship can quickly go from healthy to toxic. If you think a person is toxic, ask yourself if they are a reason or season person that you are making into a lifetime person. It may be that a reason or season person may be a part of your life again later in life but they don’t fit where you are now.
Can the relationship be ended peacefully?
There are people who you just have to stop being involved with. They are not healthy and if you stay in that relationship you will be unhealthy. However, there are ways to end a relationship without it being brutal and painful. If you are dealing with a belligerent person, consider blocking the person on social media and on your phone. I have had to do this in certain relationships as of late and it has brought a great deal of peace. I wish it didn’t come to that but my health and the health of my family was the priority.
What are your kids seeing?
With some of the toxic relationships I have dealt with as of late, my kids have been watching. They watched the disagreements, hurt feelings, and anger. They watched every reaction. They were learning exactly how to handle toxic people in their own lives. If you are dealing with a toxic person, please consider what your children will see. What will your reaction to this person communicate to your children? If the relationship has to end, is there a way to communicate it to them without trashing the other person? Is there a way to maintain the relationship with the children?
It is important to ask if they will be exposed to that toxic behavior continuously.
Are you dealing with a toxic person in your life? What are your choices communicating to your children?