Why Simply Cutting Out “Toxic” People Will Never Work
In the self-help community today, there’s a lot of hype around cutting out toxic people in your life. I started practicing it myself, and the “healthier” I became, the more I began to isolate myself from the “negative energy” of others. I had to realize that maybe the problem wasn’t necessarily the people around me. Maybe I was part of the problem too.
It was necessary for me to take a break from “toxic” people for a while. It helped me see things more clearly, to analyze the unhealthy patterns I had been part of for years, and to develop my own healthy habits. But eventually I realized that isolation and avoidance was one of those patterns. It’s a pattern of the collective. I had avoided negative encounters with people for so long that I realized I didn’t even know how to handle them in a mature and healthy way. Instead of handling conflicts with others as they arose, I became quick to shut down and shut others out.
When a toxic person comes into your life, there is a spiritual reason for it. They are trying to teach you something. If we continue to shut certain types of people out, the same type of person will appear in our lives with a different name and face, until we have learned the lesson.
For me, these people resembled family members who I had been avoiding conflict with for years. They started showing up as roommates, as coworkers, as employers, and as romantic partners… I continued to avoid the conflicts, or partake in them in unhealthy ways, until I was completely isolated. Yes, these people did have negative energy. But it was up to me to choose how I responded to them.
Of course, if you are in a dangerous situation, it’s important to leave it. Your health and wellbeing is the most important thing to consider. But once you feel strong enough, you must figure out why you chose to be in that relationship in the first place. This is not about victim blaming or shaming. Abuse is never acceptable. It’s about accepting your role in the abuse. It’s about confronting the fact that you allowed someone to treat you in a way you did not deserve.
We get into these abusive relationship cycles as a way to resolve trauma from our families of origin. This is our soul’s journey. This is our karma.
Most relationships do have some form of toxicity in them. It’s up to us to see it for what it is, to witness our role in the patterns from an objective, emotionless standpoint, and to change our behavior. We cannot directly change the behaviors of others, but watch how quickly your relationships shift for the better when you start to recognize your own boundaries of what is acceptable versus unacceptable behavior from others and from ourselves. This might mean cutting someone out temporarily or permanently while we figure things out. That’s ok. It’s not about whether or not you cut them out, but the intent with which you are cutting them out– if you promise yourself to work through the issues on your end during this period of separation, perhaps you will come back together in a more healthy capacity. If you do not work through these issues at all, and simply cut the person out, the universe will step in and send someone your way with the same relevant issues for you to resolve.
In some cases, cutting someone out, whether temporarily or permanently, is necessary. More often than not though, other people are not as scary as we think they are, and they will be open to hearing you out, especially if you can claim your own role in the abusive behavior from an emotionally neutral standpoint. It might be difficult, but you will have to hear the other person out as well. No more “You did this to me!” No more reacting. No more blaming others. Instead of letting go of the person, we let go of the pattern. It’s time to consciously shift our own behaviors, which will have the effect of shifting the behaviors of those around us. Because we are all connected. We are all one. We are all just trying our best to grow and to be loved.
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