Stop Playing Nice

Good morning, dear Reader! The weather is such a tease here this week. A little thunder, a little lightning. A few gusts of wind. And yet…nothing. So anti-climatic. Sigh.

Nonetheless, it’s just cool enough to want to lie here in bed and write all day instead of getting up and getting dressed. Yesterday was just as bad, and admittedly…it was a ‘dry shampoo’ kind of day. For reference, I hardly ever do dry shampoo. It’s not my jam. But getting up after a week of vacation was also not my jam. And yet…here we are.

The vacation was lovely and much needed. Thanks for asking. I’m sure there’s a post or two in my brain – especially since I had an incredible spiritual reading while there – but that juicy bit of info will have to wait until later. March is coming to a close, and I promised you a post on HOW to let go of a toxic relationship. We covered the ‘why’ part here – and throughout the fall of last year. So…(I am the Queen of the Ellipsis, am I not?)

Grab a drink. Settle in. This will be short and sweet. (Like this whiskey I drank all last week.)

I wish I could say that leaving a toxic relationship was as easy as saying, “Go fuck yourself,” (Hello, Boston! I miss you!) but it isn’t. At least, it hasn’t been for me. I wager that if it were that easy, the relationship didn’t have time to get too terribly toxic, but then again, I’ve always had a high tolerance for bad behavior. The keyword there was ‘had’ – as in past tense.

But let’s get to the list, shall we?

1) Don’t ignore a gut feeling. When you know, you know. Stop second-guessing yourself. There’s a big difference between someone having a bad day and being a toxic asshat. During COVID lockdown, I know some of my friends were complete assholes. That’s not the same. Stress is one thing. Personality is quite different. Funny story: I recently had someone reach out to me about one of my exes. She asked me if she should ignore what she was feeling about a few things. Not wanting to sound like the bitter ex-girlfriend, I spared her the details of that relationship and simply replied “Good feels good. Bad feels bad. If you think it’s a red flag, I say trust your gut.” Then I blocked them both. I don’t need that kind of drama.

2) Don’t let your past cloud your judgment. Listen…anyone can keep their shit together long enough to take a selfie. In other words…sure, it was good in the beginning. It always is. That was then, this is now. And if you need more coaxing, read number 1 again. Now, I give everyone the 90 day probation period because Day 91 is, sure enough, when bad behavior will start to surface. By then you’ve seen them lose their shit at least once and you know how they react to stress. Like I said, I used to tolerate all kinds of nonsense well into anniversaries one, two, and three. Nope. Not anymore.

3) Don’t place unnecessary blame on yourself. Here’s the thing, Lovely…take responsibility for what is yours, but don’t carry around someone else’s garbage. Please repeat after me: I made the best decision I could with the information I had at the time. Toxic people are great at pointing their fingers at you, and if you’ve been under their influence long enough, you might even believe their narrative. I promise you, if you’ve let them get away with it for too long, that table will never turn. So, forget about turning that table, babe. Flip that fucker.

4) Remove yourself from the relationship. As someone who struggles with the ‘no contact’ philosophy, I get it. It’s hard. I, too, just wish everyone could simply get along. But honey child…you have to do it. Block those people and stop your creeping. As soon as my tenure with the volunteer organization I chair is up, I’m entirely off Facebook for good. People cannot ruin what they don’t know about, so be selective about who you trust with your deets. Feel me, dawg? You may have unfriended and untagged, but that shit is still around, and flying monkeys will not hesitate to give up your information. Don’t feed the monkeys…or the snakes. (While you’re at it, stop petting the elephants and donkeys, too.)

I know this is short, but I don’t know how else to put it. Toxic relationships will do a crap ton of damage. I’m all for couples counseling and working shit out…but come on now…what are the odds of that happening? Right. Babe, you’d do better playing the horses in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

I’m digging up an oldie here, kids, because this song seems fitting for today’s theme. Essentially, as I learned in Salem, sometimes the person you need to forgive is yourself, not anyone else. It came across on a random playlist while I was sitting in DFW waiting for my delayed flight. It set me back a bit because I understand how alluring the pull and push of a toxic relationship can be. AND loving a person with mental health issues is hard. It really, really is. But sometimes the truth is: In toxic relationships you just have to realize that, no, we can’t just play nice. And sometimes you have to decide that you come first and you need to close that door.

Did you hear me?

You come first.

FFS, repeat this over and over until you believe it:

I. Come. First.

You might stumble as you leave, but you’ll regain your footing. I promise.

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