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Almost everyone has dealt with a toxic presence in their life at some point or another — perhaps you’ve even been the toxic person in your relationship with someone else you know and care for. Regardless of your experiences in the past, dealing with someone who manifests toxicity into your relationship can be a difficult hill to surmount personally. Even if you love somebody, the time may come when you realize you need to cut ties with them for good. Whether they’re a family member, a friend or even a romantic partner, no relationship is worth more than your health and happiness. If you’re already in the boat of needing to press go, here is how you can cut ties with someone toxic.
1. Recognize The Situation
The very first step in solving any issue is recognizing the problem itself. This doesn’t just involve naming the problem and admitting that the person is toxic — though that’s a big part of it. But it also involves recognizing the specific behaviors that hurt you, and the ways that they can be prevented in the future with other relationships. Of course, that specific person may never change, but knowing what you need in order to feel respected is a great way to build healthier relationships in the future.
2. Communicate Your Boundaries
Both before and after the “breakup” it can be incredibly important to communicate your boundaries about the situation. Make sure you are clear and specific about your needs, and stand your ground even if they argue with you about your needs. Remember — someone who argues with your boundaries is not someone who you want in your circle. If they respect them, great, but if they don’t, remember that it’s still important to communicate your needs so they know what to expect.
3. Don’t Waste Energy
While you should absolutely communicate your boundaries, needs and expectations, remember that toxic people will often use any means necessary to manipulate you into going back on your word, feeling badly about yourself or getting you to feel bad for them. Remember that your energy isn’t worth wasting on someone who is trying to run you in circles. You are cutting this person off for a reason, and communicating your boundaries is one thing — trying to make them see eye to eye with you or admit wrongdoing is entirely another. This person, whoever they are, will likely not change their behavior. Don’t try to force them.
4. Make It a Clean Break
When you need to cut ties with someone toxic, it’s important to stand your ground. Especially if this person plays an important role in your life — or they have in the past — it can be painful to break things off with them. You may be stepping into the world without someone whose presence you’re extremely used to. Using techniques like having a full conversation face to face can help bring a bit of closure, but resist the urge to keep lines of communication open. Usually, this can cause even more hurt than you need. Toxic people often find their way back in when given the chance, and you deserve the peace you’re working hard to create in your life.
5. Process Your Emotions
Even though it probably isn’t appropriate to process your emotions with that person, processing in general is one of the most useful tools you can rely on in a situation like this. Whether you have a therapist, a close circle of friends or a thriving journaling practice, think and process the situation however you need to. You can even try methods like meditation or a cord-cutting ritual to feel emotional relief. Toxic relationships are often complicated and have a lot of moving parts to them — it makes perfect sense that it may take a while to hash everything out with yourself.
6. Acknowledge Their Impact On Your Life
When we cut ties with someone toxic — even if it’s absolutely for the better — the urge to rip them out of every aspect can be tempting. While distracting yourself can be a healthy part of healing, it’s also important to acknowledge their presence in your life and the way that it impacted who you are today. It’s even okay to acknowledge the good things they brought into your life, as no situation is ever completely black and white. This can be a part of processing your feelings about the situation, which is extremely healthy.
Cutting Ties With Toxicity
Cutting ties with a toxic friend, family member, partner or colleague can be difficult, but ultimately rewarding in your life. It’s all about being brave and standing up for yourself. You know what you need to do, and you have the strength to go out and do it!
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