Knowing It’s Time to Let Go of Toxic People

To the Empath being in harmony with people in life is essential to their health and wellbeing. Toxic friendships can cause untold pain and damage to the Sensitive one.

If there are people in your life who cause you any kind of emotional pain, which lasts long after you’ve left them, it may be time to evaluate the relationship and perhaps release them for your toxic image

Before we can really help or be of service to others we have to find balance within and that means taking care of our physical and mental needs and stop exposing ourselves to that which is toxic, in the form of food, substances and people.

Most Empaths will have at least one toxic person in their life that can cause a wave of intense, negative emotions to rain down, just by being in their presence. These people, who may be a friend or family member, seem to spew venom when they talk which can be felt in any of the main energy centres (chakras), especially on the front torso, in the form of an ache or pain. To some, it can feel like hot lava is being poured over the solar plexus area (seat of emotions) with an intense burning sensation. It is normal for toxic people to talk negatively of everyone and everything, which can drain the life force within a matter of minutes. Even after trying every trick in the book for self-protection, nothing seems to stop their venom seeping into the Empath’s physical and energetic body.

 Typical sensations which can be felt by being with toxic people:

  • Anger or feelings of bitterness embodying you: This can last for the duration of being in their presence and up to 10 days after. Depending on the negative traits they carry will depend on what you feel.
  • Fatigue: Struggling to keep your eyes open, especially if they are venting.
  • Being out of sorts: A range of strange feelings wash over you, from being spaced out, to nausea.
  • Negative talk: Finding yourself talking negatively of others, even though it is not a typical trait of yours. Overly toxic people can easily lure the unvigilant Empath into their judgemental behaviour.
  • Apathy: Losing all previous zest and optimism.

A toxic friend will probably be a family member or lifelong friend and because of this you have a natural fear of letting them go, not least because you probably love them. Chances are, you have already tried helping them by sharing what has helped you, in dealing with the rigours of life. Sadly, they do not want to hear or listen to what you have to say about any kind of self-help, preferring to offload their negative rants on you. You may have also tried getting them to see situations from different perspectives, hoping they may recognise that by changing their attitude and outlook, it would change their whole life…to no avail.

The Empath would never want to hurt or cause unnecessary pain to others and it is for this reason, many keep in their lives, those who cause much emotional pain. Yet, one must always put the emotional health of self first. If you know a food or substance made you violently ill or caused you to feel depressed, you would avoid it; the same should be applied to those who cause emotional turmoil. We have a responsibility to keep our bodies and mental wellbeing strong and healthy, and if another is causing us damage (all stress will eventually lead to illness), it is our duty to either confront the said person or remove them from our life.

I am not talking about having our ego’s dented by another’s random disrespect. We all have people who offend, hurt or make us angry, by their lack of understanding, at some point. And we in turn will no doubt do the same to others. This issue is about those toxic friends or family members who repetitively bring you down and do immense energetic damage. It can be so intense that you know exactly when they are having negative thoughts about you.

For the Empath, navigating friendships can be a grey area, as most people will invoke an emotional response within. It is often the kindest of people in whom we feel the most pain. Yet feeling another’s pain is nothing compared to what some can make us endure. The point will come in toxic friendships when one has to decide if it is causing more harm than good. Here are some questions to ask yourself that may help evaluate your friend/relationship and hopefully help you see if it is a healthy one:

  •  Am I taking anything from this friend/relationship?
  • Does spending time with him/her make me happy?
  • Do I dread being in his/her presence?
  • When was the last time I enjoyed being in his/her company?
  • Do we have any of the same interests?
  • Is it a one-sided friendship with me fitting in with his/her needs?
  • Does this relationship affect my emotional health?
  • Do I feel ill, emotionally drained or intense negative emotions after being with him/her?
  • Am I being used as an emotional dumping ground?
  • Does he/she have a lot of negative thoughts or anger towards me?
  • Am I learning anything from spending time with him/her?
  • Is being in this relationship making me grow spiritually, emotionally or other?
  • Is this relationship beneficial to either of us?
  • Has he/she become dependent upon me?
  • What are my real reasons for staying in this relationship?

From my experience there are many reasons why we encounter toxic people in our lives. One of the most common being the mirror effect. Certain experiences or encounters with others act as a mirror and show us weaknesses or issues we need to resolve within ourselves.

You may already have seen a pattern of behaviour in family and friends towards you. Examples are: others being either overly needy of you or not being there for you when you need them. If you have noticed any such behaviour being a trend in others actions towards you, it is most definitely not happening by chance and will be an area where, when questioned and understood, a wealth of knowledge will be attained.

Another reason we may endure difficult relationships with others could be we are there to highlight flaws or issues within their life story, that they need to work on and learn from. We all learn from experiences and situations presented to us in life. Yet if the same emotional scenarios keep playing out with another and all that comes from it, is you being left with their emotional baggage to clear up, that they have refused to take responsibility for, no one is gaining, learning or growing from the situation and it may be time to cut the chord.

Empaths take on and feel others emotions and energetic attributes. Some people show up in our lives to press our buttons or to make us aware of patterns of behaviour in self that needs addressing, which in turn helps us make the necessary changes to ourselves. Beyond that, we have to see the lesson we may need to learn from a relationship is about having the courage to let it go. It can be in loss that we and others learn and grow the most.

We can learn a lot from bad people and bad experiences, but we don’t need to keep on experiencing other people’s negative emotions. It is not helping them or us. Once we have learnt from an experience, we don’t need to re-learn it over and over.

Our repetitive painful emotions can and will turn into illness, if we continue to let them occur. If another continuously leaves us with a painful energetic imprint, simply by being in their presence, it is time to let them go. This is not about hating or turning against them, we can be grateful to them for all they have taught and shown us in life and in the long-run, will benefit both parties.

Empaths can powerfully project their emotions out and this includes that which we take on from others. We are each responsible for the energy we put out into the world in the form of words, emotions and thoughts. If being in another’s presence is causing our emotions to fluctuate so profusely that we emit negative vibrations, it is up to us to stop being in said person’s presence, until the time when we know they cannot or will not affect us.

I have attached a link to an article I came across quite randomly whilst writing this post and offers another writer’s perspective on ways to deal with toxic people, and although it is not written with the Empath in mind, it is worth a read.

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©Diane Kathrine at Empaths Empowered

Also posted on Awakening People

22 thoughts on “Knowing It’s Time to Let Go of Toxic People

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  3. This post spoke to me immediately. Last year I had to purge a few toxic friends from my life. One person in particular had been dragging me down for too long and I’m disappointed to report that the end was not pretty. But, I feel so much better with having her and the others out of my life. I had to really dig deep inside myself with questions about how and why I let the friendship go on for as long as I did. I tried hard to distance myself from her but when that didn’t work, I resorted to a dramatic act that had ugly consequences. Though it was a tiring experience I was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Things in my life have tremendously improved. Thanks for this!

  4. I just found your blog while googling about empaths. I had no idea until recently, but I am one.. I am almost 45 years old! Thank you so much for your blog!

  5. It’s unbelievable after reading this article realizing that after losing my mom at the age of 39 and finally being able to breath to be happy to find out I’m an Empath I finally understood the severe consequences of being that Toxic dumping ground I was. Not to long after and really unknowingly (until this article) I finally said enough is enough to my closest lifelong friend who was just killing me with his dysfunction and energy vampire ways. Then just within the last 2 or so months I stopped the same kind of relationship with one of my brothers. It’s amazing after my mom died this all just fell into place. Powerful stuff. I will never get tiered of these wonderful Ah Ha moments, they just seem to revitalize and energize me in my new journey of self discovery!

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  7. This is perfect timing for me too with the post. All of the bullet points seem directed at me too. However, this particular friend has been a friend for 30 years. It has just been in the last couple of years that it has become toxic. Her husband is at home with her and is terminally ill. She also thinks that my yoga and meditation are silly, but says she understands my empathy abilities. She has become softly demanding of me. I think her present toxic behavior is from her present circumstances. Is there any way to get past this toxic period and stay friends with her?

    • Hi Fiona,

      If you want to try to save your friendship it may be as well to confront your friend. I have attached a link to an article I came across quite randomly whilst writing this post and offers another writer’s perspective on ways to deal with toxic people, and although it is not written with the Empath in mind, it is worth a read and gives you pointers on confrontation, which can be a tricky area. I had initially put it on my blog post, but when I clicked on it, the link did not work, so I took it off. I have since checked it and the site is back up running.

      Hope this helps.

    • It sounds like your friend may be undergoing what is called “caregiver stress”. It is very real and can completely change the way that someone acts, speaks, and treats others. She may need to find a counselor to talk to. The alternative may be that she drowns herself (and those she connects with) in misery. My father did that while caring for my mom. It didn’t break until almost two years after she died. I finally called him on his daily behavior, speech towards me, general daily attitude, and doom and gloom outlook.

      This is a difficult situation to deal with at best. And I bet that you aren’t the only one who has noticed. She may find it difficult if not impossible to be happy or enriched right now (I know my dad did!). Hence, your yoga and meditation won’t be appealing to her at all. No matter! As long as it appeals to YOU. I found myself waaaay to sensitive to my dad’s opinions while all of this was going on. Ultimately, his negativity was his own and I needed to stop owning it. Once I realized that, I just kept my interactions short when he was having “one of those days”. I tried to stay positive and remind him to do things for himself that he enjoyed. He wanted nothing to do with most of that. lol Being mired in miserable is sometimes a personal choice. Until they “decide” differently, nothing will change. Ultimately, it hurt me to see him down. I *wanted* him to feel better. But I couldn’t MAKE him feel better. I had to let that go. Feeling better was his job, not mine. Make sense?

      It was a hard lesson for us both but we are better for it. Best of luck to you with this!

  8. Sounds wonderful in theory, but reality is something else when it comes to family. Especially if they are living in the same house, are adult children, and are living home due to the employment situation….unemployed.

  9. Thank you so much for this! This is has given me the clarity and confirmation on somethings I have been feeling, sensing and experiencing for a sometime. Blessings, Peace and Light to you.

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