Relationship Toxicity and its Cures

by Jeph Johnson



The Urban Dictionary has a definition of "toxic" that looks like it hits the nail on the head:

Used to describe a person who is tainted by a subconscious malevolence or psychosis that affects the lives of those who come into contact with them.


But upon deeper analysis consider the following:

1. How does someone subconsciously wish ill will towards another?

2. How does one not subconsciously disassociate from reality? Reality is the antithesis of subconscious.


One person's toxin is another's medication. Even too high of a dose of the much needed chemicals H2O can kill you, especially when that's all they're getting (it's called "drowning").


Or even air, as the band The Sweet so succinctly put it:


"Love is like oxygen
You get too much, you get too high
Not enough and you're gonna die" 

Each person requires different levels of chemicals, seldom does a relationship blossom where no toxicity is present. One must learn to combat the toxins the same way we wash our hands before we eat and avoid toxic situations like drunkenness or addictive drugs in order to live in harmony with all people.


People are not defined solely by the fact that certain elements of their being presents to YOU as toxic.


Yes, fleeing the toxin by cutting the person out of your life is often the recommended thing to do. But if the person you begin to recognize as "toxic" is also enriching your life, you eliminate the nutrients along with the toxins when you do that.


People aren't letters and numbers on a periodic table of elements. People are living, breathing, changing entities who deserve our compassion and (dare I say it?) our empathy.


Is it taking responsibility by eliminating a toxic person from your life?  Sure. It can be. But all you learn from doing that is how to run away.


It's easy to dismiss someone as "toxic" especially when others who've only heard the experiences through your filter recommend that. But suppose there are toxic elements present in your character too?


This is why couples counseling is so important. A neutral party can pinpoint the problems coming from both ends of the partnership.


No one person is completely toxic, just as no one person is completely non-toxic. 


In the animal kingdom different chemicals in some plants and animals are toxic to different species, where as to others they are perfectly benign.


Instead of always running away from the person consider that it may be the relationship itself that is toxic. Work on that first, because you still have the option of leaving at your disposal afterwards.


If you leave without resolving the relationship, all you've done is left a relationship (and likely torn apart another person) and you've little hope for reconciliation and/or making that relationship better (ie: less toxic). In fact I would add you've created more toxicity for certainly that relationship, but also for future relationships because you haven't worked on improving your relationship skills.


I do NOT recommend this tactic for anyone who is in physical danger or facing an unrepentant toxic person, in those cases it's best to leave.


But too often I see people cutting off a finger to eliminate a wart when all it would've taken was patience and some wart medication.


Then, if it still doesn't work out, you at least have a completely intact middle finger to hold high in the air!

Author's Notes/Comments: 


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