At Silent Mind, we always share how mindfulness practices have benefits that trickle down to all areas of life. After some time living in the present moment, it’s normal to note that a lot of discomfort and suffering is tied up in toxic relationships.
Do you need to detox your relationships? Here’s how to spot toxicity and clean it out the healthy way.
How do you know a relationship is toxic?
Increasingly, we describe people as “toxic”, but what does this mean? Generally, it means they have unfavorable or outright-negative qualities that they refuse to correct.
Here are a few signs that you have a toxic relationship with someone in your life:
- They don’t react positively when you share good news with them (they’re “the naysayer”).
- They are jealous or resentful of your achievements or other relationships.
- There is a basic lack of respect (refusing to call you by your name, blowing you off, etc.).
- You don’t feel like you can be honest with them.
- The relationship is one of pluses and minuses - if one does something nice for the other, it gets held over their head.
There are many more telltale toxicity signs, but these five are some of the most common. And unfortunately, many of us don’t immediately recognize these as toxic behaviors because we were raised in households where it was the norm.
What if your family is toxic?
It may be understandably more difficult to cut off a toxic family relationship. To be clear, any instances of abuse warrant a clean and permanent break to end the cycle. But for many, boundaries are the answer to better family relationships.
Boundaries are where we cut off the air supply to toxic behaviors, not the entire relationship. Common areas where you might lay down firm boundaries with family members:
- Unwelcome questioning about your marital status or family planning
- Unsolicited advice or pushiness about career choices, appearances, or parenting
- Showing up at your home unannounced or persistent phone calls
- Taking the lead on decisions or purchases you plan to make yourself
Setting a boundary is as simple as voicing your intention and sticking to it. It is not about bargaining, fighting, or freezing anyone out. Those are toxic reactions to boundaries. Every healthy relationship with love, gratitude, and compassion also has boundaries.
The one mistake that keeps toxic people in your life.
The solution to detoxing your relationships is inside of you. You cannot guide anyone else through it or fix the issue by remedying someone else’s behavior.
It’s simple. Talk to anyone who has cleansed their lives of unhealthy relationships. Almost universally, this was a natural bonus benefit of their own self-development journey. They chose to focus on themselves, and the things that weren’t serving them disappeared.
Remember this when you’re frustrated over a toxic relationship. Talking it out with that person or “helping” them isn’t always productive.
In the end, staying the course with your mindfulness practices and protecting your own energy detoxes your relationships. But we want to know what you think - how do you feel about setting boundaries? How do you enforce the boundaries? Share in the comments below.