Toxic Shock

“Regardless of how anyone treats you, you stand to benefit. While some people teach you who you do want to be, others teach you who you don’t want to be. And it’s the people who teach you who you don’t want to be that provide some of the most lasting and memorable lessons on social graces, human dignity, and the importance of acting with integrity.”

There is an illness called toxic shock syndrome that is a physical illness.  But I think that it could be applied to toxic people as well. Have you ever been around someone who is so toxic that you just feel terrible and exhausted when you are around them?  I think that is because these people are so horrible that they are a shock tour system – thus what I call Toxic Shock Syndrome.

These days I am very happy, even joyful.  It was not that long ago that I was unhappy and miserable, mainly because of grief.  But I have come out on the other side and have learned quite a bit through the journey.  One of those lessons is that happiness is a lot of work, but so very worth it.

“The moment you feel like you have to prove your worth to someone is the moment to absolutely and utterly walk away.” – Alysia Harris

Because I have learned who to keep keep in my life, and from whom to walk away.  This is a very powerful lesson to learn, no matter what age or place in life. When you are grieving, or going through a hard time, you have very little energy.  So what little bit of energy you do have must be spent wisely.  There is no time for unnecessary drama. The people who cause chaos in your life are emotionally abusive and will suck every bit of life, energy and air right out of the room. That is why it is so important that once you identify who these people are, you get them out and keep them out.

“Know when to leave the table when respect is no longer being served.”

Sometimes these people are friends or associates, sometimes a boss, sometimes a coworker. And because of that they can be hard to get away from.  Even if you cannot extract them from your life, you can choose to limit your time with them. And results are worth it.

But what about when these toxic people are family?  That is unfortunate, but if it happens then you need to walk away from them too. Especially if they are family. Because family knows how to get to you, they know your buttons and how to make it hurt. Because our families know us so well, we are extremely vulnerable to them.  So if they are the kind of people who are abusive and manipulative, they will have no problem hurting you to get what they want.

Unfortunately, this is something many people can relate to, including myself. My closest sister in age and location is extremely abusive and toxic.  Flinging around hurtful accusations, causing drama, refusing to help with anything.  She refused to be there when Mom died, she refused to help take care of Dad, has refused to help take care of the family compound and has so far refused to help pay for any upkeep of the property as well (even though she makes almost 6 figures more than I). Maybe that is why she has time to accuse me of things like keeping her from seeing Dad for 2 years before his death (Odd, because her kids remember her spending time with him on his birthday, her birthday and Christmas). Also accusing me of plotting to take all of her kids’ inheritance away (something I have no power to do, even if I wanted to, which I don’t). She seems to forget that the executor of a will has no power and can only do what is specified in a will.

The result has been a permanent divide.  I cannot have that kind of drama and discord in my life, caused by such hurtful and emotionally abusive accusations. Being in contact with her is extremely detrimental to my mental and emotional health.  So I choose to leave the table.  To stay would teach her that what she is doing is not only OK, but acceptable as well.  Which it is not.  While this kind of treatment is very normal in her world, it is not in mine.

“Sometimes walking away has nothing to do with weakness, and everything to do with strength. We walk away not because we want others to realize our worth and value, but because we finally realize our own.” –   Robert Tew

We teach people how to treat us.  If we let them think it is OK, then they will continue. So, if you tell them that whatever they are doing is not OK, and they continue, then they have shown- through their own actions – that they do not care. And if they do not care enough about you to treat you in a way that is kind and not hurtful, then why should you care enough to have them in your life? Know your worth. Know you have the right to be treated with kindness and love and have the right to walk away when someone is abusive to you or toxic to your life.

Why do nasty, toxic people insist on causing drama and pain for others?  I don’t know.  Maybe they are so miserable that they cannot stand to see others happy and feel the need to make others miserable as well.  Maybe they are truly so selfish that they are oblivious to the rest of the world past their nose.  Maybe they have been abused themselves, and think that their behavior is normal.  Maybe it is a combination of these and many other reasons. But you cannot concern yourself with why they are the way they are, only whether you are willing to accept the havoc they wreak on your life and emotions.

And when we get these life sucking vampires out of our lives, it is a weight lifted.  There is peace, there is calm, there is room for good things. That is because dealing with these people takes so much energy, time and emotion, that we may not even realize how much until they are gone.  And when all of that energy is not being taken up by their ridiculous drama, there is room for positive interactions with positive people.

Live is too short to have toxic people in your life.  Cut them out, leave them behind and let them make someone else miserable.

“Knowing when to walk away, is Wisdom. Being able to, is Courage. Walking away with Grace, and your held head high, is Dignity.” – Ritu Ghatourey

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