And how personal growth came with it
A couple of years ago my life was spiralling out of control. I was embroiled in a messy divorce and denial of contact between me and my three children. I was at rock bottom.
For several months I spent most of my days wallowing in a state of depression and hopelessness.
I reached out for help. I reached out to my friends and family. I received a range of responses from some of them. They ranged from ignoring me to the most toxic of replies.
These responses exacerbated my depression further.
No need to discuss the content of the conversations, texts etc. That is not the purpose of this story.
I felt betrayed by members of my own family. I also felt betrayed by individuals I believed to be good friends of mine.
Something had to give.
I survived my depressive episode. It was the darkest time of my life. I still live with depression. The analogy I use to describe depression is that of a dark cloud.
This dark cloud never completely goes away. But at this present time, this dark cloud is a safe distance from me.
There is enough conflict in the world. I will always disengage from unnecessary conflict. If this option is available.
And this is exactly what I did with the toxic people in my life at that time. I purged my life of all the individuals that had stepped forward to reveal themselves as toxic.
Was this the right decision? Absolutely. We cannot change people. We have little to no control over the behaviour of others. Some people will always argue black is white regardless of the evidence presented.
Toxic relationships benefit only one person. And that is the toxic individual in the relationship. Be it a sibling, ex-partner etc. It makes no difference how you define that relationship. The instigator of the toxicity is the only beneficiary in such a relationship.
You do not get to choose your family. As such, when removing family from your life, grief will raise its ugly head. This is a normal reaction.
I found this also true of former friends. Albeit to a lesser degree.
From this grief and the associated trauma, I’ve experienced personal growth.
I now have a much wider social network. I am no longer constrained by toxic restrictions.
Of the family and friends that stuck around, I love, respect and appreciate them even more.
Originally published in Medium publication ‘Hopes & Dreams for Our Future‘ 05/06/19.