Nothing changes except what has to change. And change will not come unless the pain of our current circumstance becomes unbearable.
*Toxic individuals are emotionally immature and it is easier for them to run away and avoid the mess they make. For those around them, this is a lesson in setting healthy boundaries and ceasing co-dependency. If we enable those who are toxic, they will never feel the pain they need in order to change.
You must feel the pain of your choices and behavior.
2. Be honest with yourself
Recognize you have a problem.
You must realize that you are the common denominator in all of your relationship issues. This requires humility. The ego will do whatever it can to protect itself. Once you recognize that, you can take a step forward.
3. Don’t fall into magical thinking
Playing the victim and thinking this is the hand you’ve been dealt is a defense mechanism. Poor you. The pity party is sooooo attractive. It allows you to justify why your way is right and everyone else is wrong. Excuse me while I go vomit.
Seeing life as black and white doesn’t help anyone, unless you are a photographer.
Somebody that I used to know viewed himself as a mythological character. The trickster archetype. He wholeheartedly believed he was the way he was, in order to shake everything up, to change everyone else, to hurt them because in the long run they would learn from interacting with him. Meanwhile he couldn’t change unless it happened organically. He managed to come up with this fantasy so that he could find meaning in his brokenness and cope without having to put forth the effort to do the work.
Friends, I say this with love…that is delusional.
4. Get humble and Ask for help
We can’t do it alone. We just can’t. We were made to live in community, to give and accept help. Each person has strengths, challenges, gifts, and talents.
Help comes in many forms.
In this case I am telling you to seek professional counseling or therapy. Find an individual who specializes in toxic thinking and behaviors, such as Narcissism, as well as holistic health and Mindfulness.
5. Own your sh*t
Admit the truth to those you’ve hurt. Let them know you are working on it with a professional.
Apologizing and asking for forgiveness are powerful, however, many individuals see a true apology as something more. They need to see a behavior change. Let them know you are working on that.
The key here is to be genuine in what you are saying. If you say the words just to say them, but have no intention of acting on them, all you are doing is perpetuating the problem and alienating those who are rooting for you to get the help you need and deserve.
And in the end, they will have learned not to trust the words that come out of your mouth.
6. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the non-judgmental awareness of the present moment.
When we stay in the present moment, we empower ourselves to respond instead of react. For someone who may be toxic, they typically react out of learned behavior patterns that blame or shame everyone around them. “Those people are the problem, not me.”
It’s as if you’ve given your power away.
Being mindful allows you to sit in that space between a stimuli and habitual reaction. In that space, you get to choose something different, it allows you to practice a healthier way to respond and act. Practiced enough, a habit forms. This new habit replaces the old dysfunction. Working with your counselor will help you learn healthier responses.
7. Fight yourself
In any kind of growth or change, sometimes we screw up. Maybe its the “two steps forward, one step back” dance. Lasting change rarely happens with the “cold turkey” concept. Give yourself grace. This will take time. If I’m being honest and realistic, it will probably take longer than you want it to.
Picture yourself in a boxing ring, new you in the left, old you in the right. This competition has a winner. You get to decide which one stands at the end.
There may be times when “new you” gets knocks out and you fall down, barely breathing. That’s OK. Take a moment. Put forth the effort to get back up. Old you is stronger at first. But new you has the heart of a warrior.
You must put forth effort in every moment. It may be uncomfortable, it may be painful, challenging, hard, or disheartening. But it will absolutely be possible.
You are worth it.
Jen Moff is the founder of the #BeMindFULL Movement, a safe and like-minded community that inspires others to live mindfully and find healing and fulfillment. Jen teaches women to identify toxic relationships and to blossom into the best possible version of themselves. Jen’s favorite pastimes consist of visiting Disney World, making lip-sync videos, and photo-bombing. Connect with Jen on her site, via Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Follow the BeMindFULL Movement here.