How to Cope with Toxic Relationships

How to Cope with Toxic Relationships | Positively Smitten

How to Cope with Toxic Relationships | Positively Smitten

By Lyndsey Fought

In our lives we’re not only going to run into loving, caring, nurturing people, but also venomous, pessimistic people. Even people we are closest to can spout some pretty unforgivable things to us. We all need coping mechanisms to deal with everyday people, but sometimes it’s helpful to keep in mind techniques for dealing with people who are truly unhelpful in making your life peaceful and happy.

The Ex

Most of us will have one or two exes that truly drain us of all happiness. Usually when you’re into your late twenties you find you can generally get on with most of your exes but there are still some soul sucking devils out there.

  • Remember blocks on social media exist for a reason. If you’re being tormented by an ex, utilize the block functions. Even if your phone provider charges you to block them, it may be worth it for your peace of mind.
  • Some exes get friends and family involved. You don’t owe an explanation to anyone on why you don’t want to talk to a particular person, but sometimes it’s necessary. If so, make it short and to the point — tell your friends and family you don’t want contact from this person. (This should be enough, but if it is not, keep in mind that these people should be respecting your boundaries. No one should be forcing you to interact with your ex especially if they were abusive towards you.)
  • If your ex is/was abusive and they are using techniques to stalk you and trying to keep tabs on you, please look into getting the authorities involved. These are serious matters and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Your Parents or Relatives

Moving on to hopefully a less serious type: the relative. Sometimes relatives like to give their input, no matter how much it’s not wanted. We usually have to put up with this at family dinners and phone calls. Sometimes you can roll your eyes and deal and other times it’s more difficult to handle.

  • Sometimes parents give critiques under the guise of advice. It’s good to keep in mind they probably think they are helping.
  • Parents and relatives push us to where they think we “ought” to be going. “Oh, when are you getting married?” “Did you major in something useful?” “When are you having children?” Remember these are society’s norms and you don’t need to follow them. It’s better to be yourself and (sadly) deal with these gross questions than just listen to everyone else’s input and end up unhappy all your life. Do you.
  • When things get really toxic, don’t be afraid to cut off communication for a while. When you get back in contact, say you were busy. If possible let them know certain “suggestions” for your life are not needed and you don’t intend to follow that path.

Your Friends

We all have different relationships with different friends and some are more bare-faced and honest than others. Sometimes friends forget that some things really dig at us, though.

  • We all generally joke around with friends, but if a friend is really taking stabs at you, tell them to stop. I’ve been in a situation before where I had to tell a good friend to stop making comments about my number of sexual partners. They might think it’s a joke, but sometimes it feels like judgment. Call them out on it.
  • Let your friends know your boundaries. If you don’t want to talk about your job, don’t. This goes for all subjects.
  • If a friend is consistently “forgetting” your boundaries or is subtly taking shots at you, this isn’t a friend. Think long and hard about whether you should keep this person in your life.

Strangers

For some reason, strangers think they have some power over your life. It’s probably our culture where we think it’s normal and needed to pass judgment on every living thing.

  • You don’t need to deal with this. Really.
  • If a stranger is saying something about your life, your weight, your job, your beliefs — tell them to f— off. You don’t owe an explanation for living. You don’t need to feel bad; this is a true reflection of them, not you.
  • “I don’t need your permission/approval to exist.”

About Lyndsey:

I have too many interests and I get easily distracted, so I haven’t completed a single thing in my life. Yay, hyperboles! I have been to culinary school and I like baking cupcakes. I write the beginnings of too many novels. I am driven by ambition and delayed by perfectionism.

I would like to travel the world, learn from others, write some best sellers, and have a restaurant or bakery someday. I am a Slytherin. I like the tenth Doctor best (followed by ninth). I am too obsessed with Downton Abbey and the whole etiquette of that era. I never forget to be awesome!

1 Comments

  1. My mom and I always loved the quote, “you teach people how to treat you”, and we reminded ourselves of it whenever we felt we were suffocating from certain relationships. I think that’s what this article is about.

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