Friday, October 22, 2010

Toxic relationships

One of my resolutions for this year was to de-junk - eliminate clutter from my life. This includes excess stuff and toxic people. When I read Dr. Elia's article today in MormonTimes I was reminded and I need to learn to set and enforce boundaries better.

"A toxic relationship is based on negativity, criticism, addiction, and emotional and verbal abuse. Feelings of unworthiness and low self-esteem are quite common if we're exposed long-term to someone who is toxic for us. Often it is someone who is significant in our lives: a spouse, parent, child, sibling, a colleague at work or a so called "friend."

These relationships are typically co-dependent, controlling, dysfunctional and destructive. The best way to know if you have such a relationship in your life is to ask the following questions: How do I consistently feel after I've had an interaction with this individual? Do I feel down on myself? Do I feel stressed, fearful and anxious? Do I feel drained of energy and void of good feelings? Do I feel resentful — and do I want to go and eat some chocolate?

If the answer is "yes" to most of these feelings, then certainly you are involved in a toxic relationship. I'm not talking about getting into an argument with someone we love because those feelings will also likely come up, but if these negative feelings are the usual pattern we have in most of our interactions with that person, then it qualifies as a toxic relationship."

This is tough duty, but I really liked what he said: "Life is way too short to keep "friends" like these around." I agree. I have trouble trying to keep everyone happy and in the end nobody's happy - myself included. Some people are just that - toxic. Nothing I do will change it but I can give the gift to myself of creating healthy boundaries. I need to surround myself with people who uplift and make me feel good and capable.

Now, on the action part...
Abraham said to Lot on their parting of ways, "Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me. ... Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee ... for we be brethren."

You might be brethren who strongly dislike each other and think the other is crazy, but, still — in the eyes of the Lord — brethren.

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