Letting Go of Toxic People

2744040362_6265e8f9f3_zLove includes being codependent. We love too much from time to time. The urge to be codependent is always rooted in selfish motives. Sometimes we want to be codependent because we don’t want to look at our own behavior. And sometimes we choose to be codependent so we can keep another person close. This means we are willing to trade our self-respect for the fleeting relationship of someone who is probably out the door. From time to time, we have to clean house.

1.  From Happy, Joyous and Free: “It’s Happened Again”:

Two strikes and you’re out. For good this time. Two days ago during a stressful work event I organized, my friend and colleague melted down on me, speaking to me in such a disrespectful manner, I immediately knew I would end this friendship. This is not the first time he has done this. In fact, it’s not the second or third.  But it is the last.

After the last time, in which we did not speak for 3 months, we made mutual amends and had a long talk about it all. I honestly felt he had learned my value as his friend and would never jeopardize our friendship. I know how much I meant to him, and that he loves me as I loved him. But what I forgot is that he is a severely untreated al-anon. And has no coping skills and he does what addicts do. Lash out and destroy even the most important relationships. So I am done. And I am OK with being done.

This ability to let go of a toxic person so immediate is a glorious gift. I am free. I may be hurt and sad, but I am free.

2.  “Necessary Endings” from LeadingSmart by Tim Stevens:

Four years ago Dr. Henry Cloud wrote Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, And Relationships That All Of Us Have To Give Up In Order To Move Forward. It didn’t influence my recent resignation, since I only discovered the book this summer, but I’m so glad to have read it as it is filled with wisdom and insight and will give me a great foundation for my future leadership. It’s one of those books that I found myself saying “That’s right!” and “Oh my” over and over.

A few of my favorite quotes…

  • Getting to the next level always requires ending something, leaving it behind, and moving on. Growth itself demands that we move on.
  • Without the ability to end things, people stay stuck, never becoming who they are meant to be, never accomplishing all that their talents and abilities should afford them.
  • Endings are not only part of life; they are a requirement for living and thriving, professionally and personally. Being alive requires that we sometimes kill off things in which we were once invested, uproot what we previously nurtured, and tear down what we built for an earlier time.
  • Even the most gifted people and leaders are subject to feeling conflicted about ending things, so they resist.
  • Some leaders think all of life and business is a start-up. “More, more, more,” is their mantra. That can kill a business that could have had very good life if someone had seen that sowing had to stop and operating had to begin.
  • For companies that operate like a family: Sometimes the commitment to being a family gets interpreted in two destructive ways that often remain unspoken. The first one is that “we will put up with you no matter how you perform, and you will always have a place here.” Second, in these companies, it can also be implied that “if you give yourself to us, we will take care of you, almost for life.”
  • False hope buys us more time to spend on something that is not going to work and keeps us from seeing the reality that is at once our biggest problem and our greatest opportunity.
  • Recommitment does not make a person who is unsuited for a particular position suited for it all of a sudden. Promises by someone who has a history of letting you down in a relationship mean nothing certain in terms of the future.
  • You cannot fix people who will not take feedback, because from their perspective, they do not have a problem. So as far as they are concerned, there is nothing to fix.
  • The fool tries to adjust the truth so he does not have to adjust to it.
  • We get comfortable with our misery, as we find ways to medicate ourselves, delude ourselves, disassociate our feelings, or get enough distance from the problem that it does not touch us directly.

I strongly recommend this book for anyone who is feeling stuck in a relationship or work environment–or for any leaders who need help identifying business units or employees with whom you may need to part ways.

Photo credit.

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