When I think about all of the time and energy that I put into trying to fix an unfixable marriage, of course it hurts. Of course I would like to have that time back. Of course I would have done things differently in hindsight.
But this is now, and I have never felt more alive in my entire life. I’m picking up where I left off when life was light and fun before having spent most of my adult life in an unhealthy relationship.
Getting to this point was anything but easy. I am lucky to have met a therapist who forced me to see my situation for what it was and address it head on rather than making excuses and thinking, “But it will get better!”
It was never going to get better. The relationship was never going to get better because I now understand that toxic personalities will always make their problems into your problems.
When we take on other people’s problems and try to fix them, we are not helping them at all. We are enabling them.
This sounds like a paradox, and maybe it is, but the only way we can help toxic personalities is by not helping them. Toxic personalities will always be toxic personalities until the human being behind them learns to help themselves.
Unfortunately, you can’t afford to sit around and wait for someone toxic to figure it out and turn themselves around.
You have to realize that things just aren’t going to get better on their own, and you can’t feel guilty about wanting to break free from the negativity to find your own joy in life again.
Even with someone you love, there comes a point when you have to look out for your own well being and realize that staying in any kind of relationship with them will only cause harm to the both of you.
Saying goodbye is hard, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. What I learned was that once you rid yourself of the toxicity in your life, you are free to resume being a positive, nurturing human being.
This is an excerpt from 40@40: Beware the Toxic Personality.
In celebration of my 40th birthday, I decided to write 40 blog posts to reflect on 40 of the most important lessons I have learned throughout my life. You can follow the full series here: