Why We Go Back To Toxic People

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We’ve all had a toxic person in our life; who siphons the happiness out of us like gasoline for some demonic car. They use us for their own benefit, take out their frustrations on us, and generally make our lives suck. Be it a friend, significant other, or relative, it takes a while before we fully admit that a relationship we have with another person is toxic.

What determines a “toxic” relationship?

The boundaries for defining what makes a relationship “toxic” aren’t well-defined. Generally, I would go by how physically and mentally exhausting you find a person. If you’re in tears every other week over something that they said, WALK AWAY. I spent too much of my youth maintaining “friendships” with vindictive girls who made me cry, when I could have been spending my time with nicer people.

I would ask: “does all the drama in my life seem to be related to them?” Whether it’s a friend who’s always stirring up trouble or a boyfriend you’re constantly fighting with, this is the most important question of all.

Why do we keep these people in our lives if we know they’re bad for us?

This article from Thought Catalog says it best: “Say you do walk away—what then? We invest so much time and emotional energy on the other person in this type of relationship; either trying our upmost to keep them happy, predicting their next move, making up with them or crying to our friends at how we’ve being made to feel like crap because of them again that if we walked away from all that, what would be left in our lives to fill that void? Emptiness can seem far scarier than unhappiness.”

Also, it’s just human nature to like things that are bad for us. You know McDonald’s is a heart attack on a bun, yet I see people stumble through the door with it like clockwork every Saturday night.  Everyone sneers at the Kardashians, yet they seem to get more famous every year.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of our affection for the person.  Do we love them enough to overlook erroneous behavior just to keep them in our lives? When it’s a significant other, we always think it’s our fault; we must have overreacted or misunderstood. When it’s a friend, we just accept whatever reality we need to keep the friendship.

I knew a girl in high school who was, well, the kind of girl we all knew in high school: fake and manipulative with a mouth that ran a mile a minute; but possessed a certain charisma that caused many unfortunate souls to fall under her spell. As such, I had several friends become close with her, only to see her true colors a couple months later. I seem to recall one girl saying: “the problem with her is that by the time you finally see her true colors, she’s too deeply engrained in your life to just cut her out.” In other words, by the time you realize how unhealthy someone is for you, they are often so deeply involved in various areas of your life that cutting them out feels like cutting off a diseased limb.

Ever heard the expression, “when we’re good, we’re great?” Even the most malevolent people aren’t flying around on their witch’s brooms with snakes in their hair 24/7.  On occasion, they can seem nice and normal- isn’t that how they entered your life in the first place? The thing is, it compels us to fight through all the bad just to get to that one little bit of good.

So no, it’s not that easy to just stop talking to someone or break up with them, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. You’ll feel better afterwards. Promise.


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