- Angelica Bennett
Toxic Family Members
We go through life accepting that we have to put up with certain people - out of obligation, out of shame, or out of guilt. Jordan Peterson says it best. "If they are not on the side that is good, walk away". If there are people who are bringing ruin to your life, distress, chaos, negativity, judgements - you can choose to either live your life around them and say goodbye to your own peace, or you can choose to honor yourself and your right to peace and cut them out of your life.
Think about it. What do you owe them? What drives you to accept and allow other people to bring that kind of calamity to your life? Why don't you have the right to peace and prosperity?
Take parents and children for example, since these are the people most humans struggle with the most. If your parents or your children are bringing strife to your life, there is a point where you have to choose your own happiness and consider what it is costing you. You have the right, and really, the responsibility to cut people out when they are toxic. It does not matter how much they apologize, or how many chances they want, or their inability to even acknowledge that they continue to lie, or cheat, or fake their way through life.
If you choose to continue to have them in your life, you are also enabling their behavior. You walking away and cutting off a toxic person is also helping them move through their own negative behavior and possible mental illnesses for themselves, because one thing is for sure -- they will continue these patterns of behavior with other people around them. You are saying, "it is ok that you mistreat me, and everyone else". That is simply not ok. That is different to trying to help someone when they are down - when there has been a long established pattern of behavior from a toxic person, where they keep making selfish, negative life decisions, and it is costing you too much -- it is time to cut them off for good.
They will test this boundary by emailing you, by calling you, perhaps trying to guilt you into having them in your life, but this just perpetuates their toxicity. Ultimately people are responsible for the consequences that they have created for themselves, and that is truly it. When someone is on an incorrigible path, that is the right thing to do. There is a term called "incorrigible teenager", and at the end of the day, they have to be on their own and make their own decisions, owning all of their behavior and their own wellbeing. They are aiming down, and they are bitter. It goes back to the example of a lifeguard. One of the things that lifeguards are trained to do is how to approach someone who is panicking and drowning. They are taught to put their foot out between them and the person drowning, and push forward with your hands and your foot. They tell them that before they can be saved, they have to calm down. If they cling to you in panic the lifeguard is taught to push them away, because then both of you drown and die. That is complete failure.
Same thing with your family. If you have done everything to help them out, and they are on a downward path, you've made your best efforts, and they are not paying attention, they are not changing and in fact perhaps getting worse with their choices and their incorrigibility-- if you offer words of wisdom and they treat that with contempt, then shut up because you are demeaning your genuine desire to help by throwing your words away. There is scripture that speaks to this, it is Matthew 7:6 "Do not cast your pearls before swine, otherwise they will trample them under their feet and then turn and attack you".
Even Jesus says that enough is enough sometimes. You have the right to peace. You have the right to close the door, to end a relationship, and live your best life. God wants you to have peace, love and success. Own that.