Knowing it’s Time to Let Go of Toxic Friends or Family


Most Empaths have at least one person in their life who cause them to experience negative emotions, just by being in their presence. These people, who may be friends or family members, seem to spew acid when they talk: they complain about everything, appreciate nothing and only look out for their own interests.

It is quite normal for an Empath to experience heightened emotions and feel another’s buried pain, and we want to help others out with their problems when we can, but we are not supposed to be someone’s emotional punch bag or toxic dumping ground.

Toxic people can drain your energy within a matter of minutes of being in their presence, and even self-protection techniques may not work to prevent their dark vibes seeping in. 

Typical sensations experienced when with toxic people:

  • Anger or feelings of bitterness: This can last for the duration of being in their presence and up to 10 days after. Depending on their negative traits 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.
  • Apathy: Losing all previous zest and optimism.

If you have a toxic person in your life, you  may have already tried helping them, by sharing what has helped you in dealing with the rigours of life. Sadly, they did not want to listen and have no intentions of making any changes to themselves, preferring to continue to offload their negative rants on you.

The Empath generally avoids hurting or causing unnecessary pain to others, and it is for this reason many keep in their lives those who cause them unhappiness. Yet, one must always put the emotional health of self first.

If a food or substance made you violently ill, or caused you to feel depressed, you would likely avoid it; the same should be applied to those who cause emotional turmoil.

We have a responsibility to keep our body and mind healthy. If another continually causes stress that we cannot cope with (all stress eventually leads to illness) the only option is to remove them from our life.

I am not talking about having the ego dented by another’s random disrespect. Everyone have people who offend, hurt or make them angry, by their lack of understanding. And we in turn will no doubt, unknowingly, do the same to others. This issue is about those toxic friends, or family members, who repetitively (and often intentionally) bring us down.


The point comes in all toxic friendships when you have to decide if it is causing more harm than good.

Here are some questions to ask that may help you 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 have 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?

There are many reasons we encounter toxic people. A common reason being the Mirror of the Empath. Certain encounters act as a mirror and show us weaknesses or issues we need to resolve within ourselves.

Any undesirable behaviour that repeats, in any type of relationship, is something that needs to be investigated. Repetition highlights flaws or issues that need to be worked on and learnt from.

We all learn from the bad situations presented in life. Yet, if the same emotional scenarios keep playing out, no one is gaining, learning or growing from the situation and it is time to cut the cord.

Once you have learned from an experience you don’t need to re-learn it over and over. You may learn from bad experiences, but you don’t need to keep experiencing other people’s negativity to grow.

This is not about being spiteful or uncaring. You can be grateful for all they have shown you in life and send them love. But when it feels time to let them go, it is.

If you want to learn the secrets of being an Empath, find ways to restructure your life and harness your hidden power, this may be of interest to you.

Hope this helps on your Empath Journey.

Until next time…

If you have found my work to be helpful please consider donating here


©Diane Kathrine at Empaths Empowered

Also posted on Awakening People

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.

24 thoughts on “Knowing it’s Time to Let Go of Toxic Friends or Family

  1. Thank you so much!!! I associate impathic with the Goddess, not to say men can’t also be impathic but the maternal line of my family has been carrying this for, who knows, forever. I can guarantee they’ve been carrying it since the discovered the Americas as the Wives of Conquestadors. And this whole time I wrote it off on them surviving because of “they had to be” and “genetics”. But I had MS, the man’s version. Purely Spinal Lesions and brain. But I responded to a medicine that failed in a test of 32. 32 people, and reading the excuses they came up with… It couldn’t get through to the spinal cord. I was dying and a Woman Doctor sent me to a Dr who’s still trying to make this medicine work. And boom it worked. I know that this medicine will probably never cure anyone else and I’m sorry, only way to truly know you have MS is a Spinal Tap. And curious me watched a video and no no no nothing will make me willingly take that. Even if it costs me my marriage, he’s a good man but his God is God. I thought it was a joke that men actually are this clueless, oh some men truly are. Thank you for allowing me to realize what impathic people are. Because my eldest minime has begun her journey with empathetic abilities because she’s becoming a woman and I’ve got a three year old girl and a two year old girl. The two year old is already showing empathetic signs with with the three year old starting. Husband gripes they won’t call him dad now, “must be her speech issues”. He has to get use to being Mom for a few years until their speech and knowledge can understand to just call Dad as being polite. Anyhow back to topic. How does one who is empathetic, who’s stuck in a BS religion that says all traits of an empathic people are rooted in Satan, get rid of the one person, whom I should be able to turn to, my toxic person out of her life?

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  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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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  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. I had to distance myself from a relative yesterday. I find this posted today. Like Ann, I feel your timing to be perfect.

  11. 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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