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10 Things I Learned When I Moved On From All the Toxic People in My Life

TL;DR: I learned that self-awareness is key. I don't assume I'm always right and the other person is always wrong. I try to be humble and willing to change to be a better friend, family member, and lover.

    1. Sometimes I miss them.

    Disconnecting myself from people I care about, no matter how negative they were, was emotionally challenging. I was never easy. They were in my life for a reason, and each time I've moved on from a negative person I've felt a hole that takes time to fill.

    2. But, I don't miss the roller coaster ride.

    At the same time, I prefer having a drama-free life. Investing time with toxic, negative people is fun when they're in good spirits and treating me well, but puts me in the lowest of doldrums when they unfairly judge me and use me as if my only value is to cater to their needs.

    3. Toxic people rarely, if ever, apologize.

    I think this one is the most consistent characteristic of every toxic person I've known. These people simply don't think they ever do anything wrong, but if things aren't good it's YOUR fault, not theirs.

    I believe this fact is because toxic people lack self-awareness. In their minds, no matter what they do, they are right and the world is wrong.

    4. I learned where 'The Line' is and now I don't stick around when someone crosses it.

    While it's still painful to end a relationship with a toxic person I care about, I do it with greater ease and swiftness now. I used to hang on forever until almost invariably they ended the relationship first.

    I chalk this one up to life experience. The moment I realize someone is going to be a greater drain on my life than a valuable addition, I cut the cord. There is no better teacher than 'been there, done that.'

    5. They made me feel like *I* was the toxic one.

    Again, this comes back to toxic people's lack of self-awareness. If they aren't happy, and in their minds, it's not their fault, then they drop the blame on you.

    6. With some time and distance, I've realized some of my own flaws.

    When I reflect on toxic relationships gone by (friends, family, lovers), I recognize I'm not immune to being flawed. I keep mentioning it, but again I believe the key difference is self-awareness. I can think of many, many occasions when I screwed up with a toxic person, but I always took a step back, apologized, and tried to do better (even if I often failed).

    7. We are all susceptible to toxic behaviors. All of us.

    I think toxicity exists on a spectrum, which means, yes, all of us are susceptible to toxic behaviors. But if we can be self-aware, humble, and willing to change, then we can reign in our toxic traits and treat others with kindness and respect.

    8. I appreciate the positive people in my life more than ever.

    The positive feeling of connecting with someone who energizes me rather than drains me is stark.

    9. As painful as it was, ridding myself of toxic people was the right thing to do.

    The loss of some relationships still hurts to a degree, even ones that ended two, five, even ten years ago. Still, I know I am 100% better for it now.

    10. At the end of the day, we're all human beings trying to figure out how to get through a messy, unpredictable world.

    With some perspective, I can now say that it's hard to blame anyone for their negative behaviors too much. We are all born with different inherited traits we didn't ask for, raised by parents who may not have cared for us the way we needed it, or came up in environments that taught us rewards for negative behaviors more so than positive ones.

    As hard as it is sometimes when someone is being a jerk, I find that having a little compassion goes a long way.

    After all, as the saying goes, 'Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.'
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