How to handle toxic relationships

How to handle toxic relationships

This is the fourth article in a four-part series on decluttering your life.

Do you have relationships that drain or discourage you? It may be time to reassess if they are a good fit for your life.

“I think even the wisest among us can stay in difficult relationships for a long time for various reasons,” says Angela Buttimer, MS, NCC, RYT, LPC, a licensed psychotherapist at Cancer Wellness at Piedmont. “Perhaps we are people-pleasers or are not quite aware of how painful a relationship is until we get away from it.”

The people around us can influence us significantly, so if someone is putting you down, is constantly negative or isn’t supportive, it may be time to reduce your interactions with them.

Managing toxic relationships

“The first thing I have people think about is the frequency and length of engagement with a toxic person,” she says. “You may not want to remove someone from your life completely, but you may want to alter the timing and frequency of how you often engage with them.”

For example, if you talk to a family member on the phone every day and the conversations leave you drained or upset, perhaps you can cut back on how often you call him or her. Or if a friend frequently insults you or isn’t supportive of your goals, perhaps you reduce how often you get together.

When relationships grow apart

Then there are people who are no longer a good fit in our lives.

“As we all evolve and grow, we may take different paths in life and there is no longer a supportive dynamic in the relationship,” explains Buttimer. “It doesn’t mean you or your friend are good or bad, it’s simply means you are choosing different paths.”

Preserving your love and energy

When you make adjustments to toxic relationships, you preserve your love and energy for people who support you and who need your support in return.

For additional decluttering tips, check out the rest of the series:


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