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Silver Conversationalist

Removed or limited contact with someone "toxic" in your life?

Recently decided to stop contact with someone. Dreaded every time they called or texted. If that's not the definition of a toxic relationship, don't know what is.  Worried  it was rude to just stop responding. But, had tried the gradual approach of never initiating contact.  Then delaying response.  One of the fundamental problems, was this person thought we had a closer relationship then we did.  They would share very personal and intimate details of their life, and I wasn't at that level.  Also if texting me a question, it would lead to another question, and another. Captive! There were many other things too.  It never had the potential of being a mutually enjoyable relationship.

 

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I understand your situation. Yes, I dreaded every time my friend called. Finally, she didn't something that I believed unforgivable and I bailed out. She apologized, but I was done because she had done the same thing two years prior. We were so close that I included her in my trust as a co-trustee. Now I have to update the trust and remove her name. 

As if that is not enough, I have a 20-year-old relative who thinks she can live in my house without paying for anything. The requirement is for her to pay for utilities. But her excuse is that she lives in one room, which means she doesn't use much. She doesn't think living room or kitchen or laundry facilities, transportation, etc. are worth any consideration. 

It's easy to turn one's back on a friend, but a relative living in the same house?

Wanjiru Warama
Silver Conversationalist

@WanjirusBits Sorry for my late response.  It sounds like she isn't appreciative of what you have offered,  based on her attitude about utilities.  She either pays what you think is reasonable, or the alternative is a clear deadline for her to move out. Your house, your rules.  Otherwise, she will continue to take advantage of the situation, and you will resent her.  Unless she has extenuating circumstances ( a disability, health issues ) she can earn enough to cover what you are asking.  She needs motivation ( a foot on her backside ) to move forward. Good luck, and I look forward to updates.   ---  Christine

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Thank you for your reply. She earns more than enough to contribute. But she prefers "blings," clothes, uber, and eating out. We had the talk about contributing or the boot on the backside. Promised she'll do better.

Wanjiru Warama
Silver Conversationalist

@WanjirusBits A "promise" are just words, needs to be back up by "action,"  This girl needs real consequences.  So, you need to be specific.  This much rent _______ or you need to move out by  a certain date.  Then follow through. She clearly has the money, but chooses to not respect the worth of what she is receiving.  You can do this.  She needs to grow up.  ---   Christine

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I hope this ‘toxic’ person isn’t the victim of domestic violence because you could well be the only person she had to ‘dump on’. I worked d v my entire life so, for anyone who encounters one of these victims, realize they really have no one close to them from whom they could gain mental strength to help change their situation. Even after utilizing d v shelters and the limited counseling available to them, still they return to their abuser. I liken the relationship to a beaten dog who still obeys its abuser...I’ve seen women with no real family, friends, confidant end up murdered by the person who is supposed to love and protect them and never have any of these women had anyone in life who truly cared about them. If you encounter a woman like this, please be honest and tell her it’s a burden to listen to her ‘toxic talk’ so she won’t call you again; honesty can’t hurt you and guaranteed she’s been dumped before. If on the other hand, your annoying caller is just self-centered and not someone who respects you then just never answer your phone, message will be clear. That’s how I handled a woman who depressed me by calling to brag about her adventures around the world when she knows I will never be able to travel out of state due to a health condition...it was as if she enjoyed pouring salt into my wounds. I now talk weekly with a lady whose situation is worse than my own and maybe, with what I learned after all these years, she will be able to help her loved one. 

Silver Conversationalist

@kb4949 I appreciate you putting that vital info. out there. Volunteered for three years at a woman's foundation ( hope to go back post-covid ) and a large part of our clientele, were in/or had been in some form of domestic abuse.  The person I am referring to, is not in a situation like you have mentioned.

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You did the right thing Christine. Sometimes when you are a nice person it's a hard thing to do what you know needs to be done, especially when it can make YOU feel guilty. No one likes to be the one to cut communication off but relationships are hard enough without being toxic. They are a two way street.

Silver Conversationalist

@postman29 , I appreciate your response, thank you.   Yes, we want to be a nice person, not hurt the other person, and oh right, not be a door mat, but also not feel selfish! Quite a quagmire this relationship thing.  🤔 Better for both of us in the end, and let it go. 

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My wife and I had what we thought were our "best married-couple friends", people that we worked with and took may trips with for over 20 years. Unfortunately their negativity became too much, especially when they made snide comments because we were able to retire a couple of years before them. Instead of being happy for us they chose jealousy. It's awful because we had a lot of really great times together but sometimes you just have to "weed the garden". 

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@postman29 

 

I have read similar stories before of the very same situation. Unless they are all yours, postman!

 

Glad you weeded the garden.

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@postman29 ,I'm sorry than your long friendship turned negative.  I think it's much rarer to find friends who celebrating your good new, rather than just support you through the difficult periods. You nailed it postman, jealousy. When the jealousy continues, bitterness. "Weeding the garden" is a great way to look at it.

Bronze Conversationalist

In my world there is a concept of "energy vampire" -- a person who just sucks the life out of you with their over-sharing neediness or negativity, who makes those of us with good boundaries feel in the wrong for not wanting to interact with them. When we don't have strong boundaries, we can get sucked into trying to fix them, to getting them to be aware of their effect on others. When we do have strong boundaries we see it as not our responsibility to fix, and not our role to support the continuation of their dynamic. FWIW, it sounds like you did the best thing in existing gracefully.

Seeing this from the other side, sometimes the best lessons we get in life are when people distance from us because our energy is incompatible with theirs. Sometimes it takes getting that lesson multiple times before we get the message and look inward to change ourselves. 

 

Just a thought. 🙂

 

Silver Conversationalist

@DeahWA ,Thank you Deah,  "Energy vampires" exactly!  I think it's healthy to decided how much "emotional energy" to invest in a friendship.  You're right, sometimes we are the ones who are the energy vampires.  Always good to look at our friendships and see if we are contributing in a good and healthy way too.