Wednesday, January 8, 2014

You Can't Stop the Trainwreck

I said I wouldn’t jump on the resolution bandwagon this new year, and I didn’t. However, 2014 has already brought with it some important life changes. Although we’re only a week into this glorious new beginning, I have noticed big differences in my daily routine, my outlook on life, and my view of the people around me.

It sounds cliché, I’ll admit. And, no, it’s not a change caused by the wheatgrass drinks that I have been drinking every morning since Christmas—although those are awesome, and I highly recommend them. Seriously, drink it…but, I digress…

This new outlook is simply caused by the fact that I have removed some toxic people from my life.

This was not a resolution—or even a conscious decision really. Instead, as if by fate, a highly toxic friendship ended shortly before Christmas, leaving me angry and upset. As the time has gone by, and we have moved into 2014, I have found peace with the situation and have developed a new and brighter outlook.

The simplicity in letting go of the people who are not good for you is powerful. The fact of the matter is that there are toxic people—the kind who do nothing but tear you down, encourage bad decisions, use you, make you question your self worth, and restrict both happiness and personal growth.

Sadly, these people are often the “trainwreck” people. They are the ones who are hurting. They are lonely, in need of someone to “be there for them,” or broken. Somehow, they draw people into their mess. Convinced that they just need someone to help them out, we step up to the plate. We offer that shoulder to cry on, that emotional support, whatever they may need. Unfortunately, this often becomes a cycle, and if we’re not careful, those of us with big hearts get easily caught up in this crazed disaster.

We try to stop the trainwreck. But, in the meantime, we get thrown right into it. A pattern develops of the trainwreck individual constantly needing approval, attention, and reassurance that they have purpose. They begin to develop an unreasonable amount of dependence, calling you with every need and constantly bringing you down to their level of hopelessness. It becomes a one-sided friendship—a complete takeover of your time and energy. And, no matter how hard we try, we cannot convince someone that they have purpose, or that they matter; nor should we be required to do so.

This is unhealthy, and when friendships become this dependent and disproportionate, people get hurt all too often.

Toxic people suck the life and happiness out of those trying to help, and they bring others down to their level of self destruction and doubting. Because of this, I'm taking a stand in 2014 and refusing to get caught up in helping them. 

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t help those who need things, or that true friends don’t ever have breakdowns. This is not the case. Friends have rough times, and we are there for them during those times as we should be. I’m simply stating that if someone is intent on being a trainwreck, there is nothing you can do to stop them, and trying to stand in the way will only serve as a detriment to you and actually hinder them from making any improvements they need to make as well.

The people who deserve to be in your life are those who inspire you, make you laugh, will be there for you—whether you need a buddy for beer and wings or whether you need a good cry, challenge you, try new things with you, encourage you, want you in their life—but don’t depend solely on you for their happiness, grow you, respect you, and trust you. On the flip side, that means that to be a good friend, we must be all these things as well. However, we should not put up with anything less. It is a matter of self respect as much as it is a matter of preservation of one's sanity.

Having said that, here’s to a year of walking away from unhealthy friendships and not standing in the way of an impending trainwreck. 

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