Spring is here, and that means it's time for a little spring cleaning. But instead of just dusting off shelves and purging old clothes, why not take this opportunity to clean up your relationships too? Yup, now’s as good of a time as any to recognize and address toxic patterns with your friends, family members, and significant others, and here are a few things you should consider…
What are toxic patterns? Well, they can come in many forms. But they all have one thing in common: They make you feel bad. Maybe it's a family member who constantly puts you down, a friend who always criticizes your choices, or a significant other who is dismissive of your feelings. Whatever the case may be, toxic patterns can wreak havoc on your emotional well-being, and it's important to address them head-on.
How do you recognize them? The first step is to pay attention to how you feel when you're around the person in question. Do you feel anxious, stressed out, or drained? Do you find yourself constantly second-guessing yourself or walking on eggshells around them? These are all red flags that there may be a toxic dynamic at play.
How do you address them? Addressing a toxic person in your life can be a difficult conversation, but it's important to approach it in a calm and non-confrontational manner. Start by expressing how you feel using "I" statements instead of "you" statements. For example, instead of saying "You're always so controlling," try saying "I feel like I'm not being heard when you make decisions without considering my feelings."
What else can you do? It's also important to set boundaries. Let the person know what you can’t tolerate in the relationship. If they continue to engage in toxic behavior despite your efforts to address it, it may be time to consider ending the relationship altogether. Of course, not all relationships are salvageable, and that's okay. Sometimes, the healthiest thing you can do for yourself is to walk away and apply the lessons you’ve learned to future relationships.