I have to share with you that I am feeling better this Friday afternoon than I have felt in several weeks. This is because I kicked a toxic person out of my life a few hours ago. I have now released the breath that I’ve been holding for the past six months as I walked on eggshells knowing that if I breathed wrong she’d unleash a torrent of venomous wrath on me. I took it and I took it, but today I reached my limit.
A fellow blogger wrote a piece a while back about toxic people. It reminded me of a book I had read a long time ago called, “Toxic Parents.” My blogging buddy also mentioned this book. When I read it years ago, I was trying to understand many things about my past and I believe it was the-best-counselor-I-ever-had who told me about that book.
Since that time, I have discovered that toxic people come in many shapes and forms. This particular toxic person I met through a congregation I attended for several years. From the moment I met her, she continuously tried to undermine my faith. No matter how much I talked to her about my faith and about what God has done in my life, she wouldn’t listen to me. She’d nod with a smile plastered on her face, but she never believed me. She knew of my various illnesses and to her way of thinking if someone has “enough” faith, they will be healed. Tell that to all the people who seek “miracle cures” around the globe, whether from “healers” or from places where miraculous cures are said to occur.
I got away from her once before and was quite thankful to God, but circumstances arranged for us to become involved in each other’s lives again. I have learned many lessons from this second involvement with this toxic person., such as:
1. If someone is convinced their spiritual beliefs are the right way and the ONLY way, you’re never going to measure up to their standards and they will never listen to you until you agree to believe as they believe. Until then you are always in the wrong.
2. If someone doesn’t understand what mental illnesses are, even after you’ve explained it in every possible way you are able, they never will understand. When severe depression is seen as “lack of faith” or, when the true colors come out, “wallowing in self-pity” these are big, red flags telling you that you are in the presence of a toxic person.
3. If you tell someone who says they are your friend that you have cancer and they don’t react in the way a friend should, this is another red flag. If they later call you, crying, begging you not to die and then add, ” . . . because I don’t have any other friends . . . ” you can be certain they care more about themselves than they care about you.
4. If you’re afraid to be around them because they cannot control their anger and you never know when that anger will be unleashed, but you do know that if you’re in the vicinity the anger will be unleashed on you, it’s a good bet they’re a toxic person.
5. If someone helps you and you thank them each time they help you, and, instead of acknowledging the “thank you,” they say, “It’s my Christian duty,” and/or “I’ll receive my reward in Heaven” this is another red flag.
6. If their faults are glaringly obvious, but you ignore those faults because they claim to be your friend and you are trying to be their friend, but they point out every flaw in you, including some only they can see, and if they do this four times out of every five encounters you have with them, this is a great, big red flag flapping in the breeze, trying to get your attention.
7. If you normally don’t talk bad about those who claim they are your friend and suddenly you discover to your horror that you have let slip some not nice comments about that person to others, this is a red flag that the toxic individual has been in your life for far too long. They are now greatly affecting you for the worse.
8. If you dread a phone call or a visit from this person, and the dread grows ever larger as time passes, yes, you guessed it — another red flag.
9. Screaming emails; phone calls so bitter you want to wash your ears when the call has ended; when they hang up the phone on you again and again when they are the ones who called you in the beginning and have been calling back again and again; emails that tell you how wrong you are living your life; sermons given along with every “Christian duty” help they give; when they think every thing you say is an indictment against them because their whole world revolves around themselves; receiving an email entitled “last word” because they just have to get in the last word and unleash all their venom on you; all of these are signs of a toxic person.
10. When you find yourself asking God over and over again to please remove this person from your life, that’s your spirit, soul and body all telling you this is a toxic person and you do not need them in your life.
Since God has indeed given me what I needed to kick this toxic individual out of my life — this person who has never been my friend because I don’t think she knows the meaning of the word — maybe now He’ll have the room necessary to work in my life.
The stumbling block is gone!!
I can breathe again!!
Thank You, God!!!