Dr. Karin Anderson Abrell
Toxic People . . . You Can't Help Them, But They CAN Hurt You
Toxic people creep into our lives all the time.
Initially they may seem a bit needy or fragile—which pulls at our heartstrings. We were raised to be kind, warm, and giving.
So we let them in. We want to help them out.
But then, the tables turn.
Do they take our kindness for weakness? Yes.
Do they violate our boundaries? Yes.
Do they try to make us feel guilty when we can’t meet their irrational expectations? Yes.
So we distance ourselves from them. We have to. And oftentimes, we feel bad for doing so.
Because like I said, we were raised to try to help hurting people. And toxic individuals are certainly hurting.
But we CAN’T help them. They need professional assistance—therapy with a qualified and seasoned counselor.
In fact, our friendship won’t be healing for them whatsoever. All our kindness, warmth, and generosity won’t help them one bit. They don’t know how to have healthy connections.
But maintaining a friendship with them WILL hurt us.
I’m a Christian. I was brought up to find ways to meet others’ needs. But even in the Bible we learn to, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
So let’s apply this to toxic relationships.
When we let our kindness be taken for weakness are we loving ourselves? No.
When we let our boundaries be violated are we loving ourselves? No.
When we allow ourselves to feel guilty for refusing to meet irrational demands, are we loving ourselves? No.
Wish them the best. Pray for them. And let the professionals take over.
Because getting hurt by toxic people doesn’t help anyone in any way.
Photo credit: Mason Wilkes, Unsplash