As we near the end of 2022, it’s common to find ourselves in a major reflection period. So much has happened over the past twelve months and so many lessons learned. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned (again) is just how important relationships are in our lives, and how necessary it is to cultivate solid, healthy, meaningful relationships. Toxic relationships (ones with manipulators, abusers, or narcissists) will drain you, confuse you, and make you question yourself. In 2023 I’m committing to releasing myself from relationships that no longer serve me to make way for healthier, more stable ones.
The truth is, we all have relationships that can be difficult. It is especially hard to heal from unhealthy relationships with people who are very close to us such as family members.
Here are four things to remember that will help you detoxify from dysfunctional relationships:
1. Don’t take things personally.
When someone invades, abandons, or abuses you, it is never about you. It is always about them. Although their behavior is not about you, be present to your emotional response. Learn how to recognize negative relationship patterns. Reach out for support, and while you work with anger or resentment, please take care of yourself and NEVER remain in a situation that places you in danger. You aways deserve to be treated with respect; it is your right.
2. Realize you can’t fix it.
You cannot change another person. The only way that another person can change is if they truly desire to change. Although you cannot expect another person’s behavior to change, the energy of the situation will change when you no longer accept the negative behavior. This changes you.
At the end of the day, it is important to accept people for who they are. We think if we are kind enough, patient enough, generous enough, beautiful enough, that people will change or treat us well. It is important to speak your truth but have zero expectations that the other person will change.
If they are not treating you well, and they are not taking steps to change their behavior, you can decide to send them your love from afar, and give yourself enough space where they cannot continue to hurt you. When dealing with someone who you love but cannot fix, this doesn’t have to impact your love for them. Send good energy to that person through prayer, meditation, or any other way you feel connected to the universe.
3. Set clear boundaries.
Realize that setting boundaries can be the greatest good of everyone. When setting your boundaries ask yourself, am I setting boundaries that honor everyone, or am I trying to control the situation? Am I taking care of myself in the boundaries that I am setting, or am I making the situation less free than it needs be?
There are times when we must practice the art of compromise. It is important to compromise on things that do not diminish you but enhance the whole. Always make sure you are not denying you.
4. Don’t feel bad about it.
We all have had relationships that we struggle with, whether with family members, romantic partners, friends, or co-workers. I often say, people come into our lives for a reason, season, or a lifetime. Remember there are many people who are here for just a season to teach us something. Do not feel bad if someone is not meant to be in your life forever.
And from my mom, Barb, for all of you who are mothers: we often carry a lot of stuff that we don’t realize we are carrying. We can hold a tremendous amount of guilt from trying to be a perfect parent. It is difficult when there is a strained relationship between a parent and child. Simply noticing and naming the feelings that come up for you around these strained relationships can start to untie the knots and release the pain. There is no such thing as perfection; we do the best we can grounded in love.
Dysfunctional relationships are layered, and it can take time to heal from them. The first place to start transforming your relationships is with yourself. Notice your own emotional reactions and behaviors, feel what comes up for you, and be patient with yourself. Take care of yourself, and reach out to others for as much support as you need. We are all in the same boat here; you’re not alone
Sending so much love, Michelle
Michelle is Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life's Creative Director and resident writer. She has a degree in Journalism from Indiana University and is also a certified holistic health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and registered yoga teacher with trainings with Anuttara Yoga Shala and Strala Yoga. Michelle has a deep desire to help people find happiness in all areas of their lives, and truly believes the Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life movement will bring lasting change to the world. Michelle splits her time between Florida and New York City and loves connecting with people from all over the world. If you'd like to contact her, she can be reached at email@example.com