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    Posted April 27, 2015 by
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    It's OK to walk away (when your loved one is toxic)

    It's ok to walk away

    As parents, we have a responsibility to lead, love and protect our children. When other relationships hinder our ability to do this, we must remember - we are parents first.

    But what if the ones you are needing to protect them from are your own parents? Or sister, brother? You must find your courage to face the truth that it's ok to walk away.

    As children, even adult children, we will always have a longing desire to be loved by them. But as a good friend once said to me - you cannot expect rational behavior from irrational people. Or, in the case where severe mental illness or abuse are the driving wedge in a healthy relationship - they simply express love as they understand it themselves.

    It's ok not to depend on them, it's ok to make decisions based on reality instead of fairly tale thinking, and to have respectful boundaries. If in fact it's an adult child in a negative relationship with their parent - boundaries can still be respectful to that parent. If handled properly, it may lead to motivation for change. I say 'may' with caution. We cannot allow our eternal hope of healing to falter our judgement at the first sign of progress.

    Children need to see examples of healthy relationships. They also need to see healthy conflict and demonstrations of self respect. If a relative visiting (or even living) in the home causes emotional distress on your child, no amount of 'good intentions' is worth the cost.

    If a loved one would attempt to drive a wedge in your position as a parent, or between your marriage, or steer you towards faulty judgement under the umbrella of guilt or their false entitlement - you must align your priorities where they belong and also assess where your true responsibility lies - and where it does not. The future success of your children in life (and how they thrive in their own future relationships) depends on how much you allow these negative influences into their lives.

    If your loved one needs mental health support or substance abuse treatment, encourage them to seek it, provide them with resources, celebrate their progress, but by no means take the walk towards recover for them. This is something they must do for themselves. Their determination must come from within them, otherwise no change will be a lasting one.

    Love sometimes requires us to make a hard decision or to speak a hard truth. In doing so, we may never fix that relationship but we will save countless others to which we have the highest responsibility towards. We must resolve to accept that.

    By respecting ourselves with healthy boundaries, we assert our value and self worth. Also, we shield ourselves from certain future harm in that toxic relationship. It is difficult to heal and even more still to forgive if we continually subject ourselves to the damage of negative relationships. To remain in such a cycle is to condone such behaviors and to sub-consciencely feed into thoughts of lesser self worth. It is to declare that such abuse is deserved and/or acceptable also in our other relationships. To break the cycle, we must be the change. We must express true love towards them, but never sacrifice our love and responsibility to others.
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