On my facebook timeline I'm always seeing posts of affirmation. Of women urging each other to stay away from toxic people and relationships. I begin to think of toxic people in my life who have hurt me and either deserve or who have already gotten the boot. One affirmation took the extra step of defining what a toxic relationship was, and to my chagrin I recognized that it described me.
I had a friend that I had not spoken to, intentionally for nearly a decade. Living in the age of social media and instance acceptance, I reached out. Over a couple of years a pattern emerged-we reconnect, we reminisce, then we both regret that contact was ever made. We only remember each other as teens, and trying to reconcile how or even if we fit into each others lives as adults caused turmoil. The friend backed away. The friend blocked me. A year later, I would reach out again and the cycle would repeat itself.
Last month, I recognized that I am toxic for this person. Every time they cross my mind I want to reach out and say hello; ignoring the barriers that they have intentionally setup to prevent contact. And I shrug them off, knowing that eventually I can get back in. I had to take a couple of weeks and to be honest, and still accepting that I am no good for this person. I am accepting my responsibility for putting them through something, the way that others have put me through hardship. And my heart cries out, "It's impossible! You are a good person, YOU can't be toxic!" But my mind reviews the interactions in a logical way and only comes to one conclusion: stay away. It is painful for me to accept that I hurt this person and I find another excuse to reach out-to apologize. But I cannot. I make excuses on how much I am hurting, how much I need to say and therein lies the toxicity. My utter inability to just let them go and let them be.
Whenever this person crosses my mind, I write a letter to them. It's one that I know they may never read but I write it anyway. I write it to relieve my anxiety about whatever made me think of them that day and then I throw it away. Because I don't want to be a poison in their life. I am empowering them, to create a safe space for themselves, even if that means that I am not included. I have come to accept that at the heart of toxicity lies selfishness. And I am choosing (struggling but choosing) to no longer add any undue stress. A saying states that if you love someone let them go and I realize that I must let this person go. Because the best way that I can show them the love they deserve is by being absent.
I have a B.A. in Political Science, an A.D. in Nursing and a keen interest in writing about the whole person