A few years ago, I went through a mental spring cleaning, so to speak. My mind was full, it was clouded and I found myself slipping into negativity. I would often pause and think back to the person I was just a few years earlier. I was someone who smiled often, fell back on being silly and carefree, and had this whole ‘Glass Half Full’ outlook on life.
I sat back and reflected on a bunch of things going on in my life.
After a lot of reflection, I realized it was some of the friendships in my life that were altering how I viewed the world and myself. Some of my friends had this way of changing my whole mood, which changed how I viewed things and how I thought about things.
It’s important for a lot of people to realize that you personally define what is toxic to your mental state. I think when a lot of people think of a toxic relationship, they think about abuse or neglect. There are so many other little things you may not realize are sinking the ship of your happiness.
I realized a lot of the friends in my life are overly dependant on me. There is nothing wrong with that, everyone needs a shoulder to cry on or someone to lean into when times are tough. Yet, when I thought about it, for so many of my friends, times were always tough. No matter how well things were going in their lives, they always latched on to that one thing that was going poorly and looked to me to encourage them and lift them up.
There is nothing wrong with being someone’s moral support. This can be as beneficial to you at times as it is to them, but if you look back on your relationship and realize the only time they reach out to you is when they need you to lift them out of the emotional hole they had dug themselves into, it’s important to note that maybe they view you more as a therapist than as an actual friend.
Relationships like this can be taxing and can leave you feeling worn and used which is not good for you.
A lot of my relationships were like this, and all I did to clear the space in my mind and my life was stop reaching out to them first to see if they really valued me as a friend or thought of me outside of their problems. Another thing I did was took a day or two off from responding to their SOS text messages. If they messaged me when their crisis was over, then I knew they were friendships worth holding onto.
When I was pregnant, I was emotional and a lot of those sad days were brought on by the thought that I didn’t have a friendship circle. I have one real and true friend. That’s it.
I have a few other friendships that I would consider more of an aquaintanceship. They are there, and I reach out to them on occasion, but days, weeks, or even months could pass without speaking and neither one of us really has a problem with that.
When you become a parent you think about whether or not these types of relationships are worth it, or whether it is just better to move on and make new friends. People grow, and because of that, it’s not uncommon for people to grow apart.
Any relationship that weighs down on you, makes you feel negative or used, or holds you back from things you hope and dream for would be a toxic relationship.
If you are hoping to hold onto these people and continue to have them in your life, the best thing to do is to speak to them. Let them know how your relationship makes you feel and that they are important to you, but that you can’t continue on in this relationship the way it is. You need a change, and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about wanting to free up some mental space and improve your mental health.
Whether this is someone you are in a romantic relationship, a platonic relationship, or even if you are related, you have every right to want something more out of your relationship, especially if it makes you feel bad.
Although people do grow, it is difficult for them to change. Some people may hear what you are saying but revert back to how they were after a few weeks. Don’t be afraid to pull away if that is what you need.
Toxic relationships can really change the way you live your life, but it is still your life. Surround yourself with people that enhance your life and the way you live it.