When is it healthy to leave a relationship?

rob333December 4, 2012

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. How do you know when it's time to go? It can be leaving a friend, a job, a significant other... Son and I were watching Intervention last night. He couldn't believe it was healthy to keep a good distance from self-destructing family members. I could see it, but then, I've lived it. There is a huge difference between being "there" for someone and being in the relationship both feet. For instance. I can't see it so clearly when it's just a regular relationship. Do red flags show up easily for you?

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"When is it healthy to leave a relationship?"

When it is too toxic to stay.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 8:55AM
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So what things, to you, are toxic? There is putting up with someone and then there is getting walked on. What's crossing the line for you LuAnn? What is toxic for work may not be for home, and vice versa. Or is it the same?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 9:17AM
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I don't know if my 'test' would work in this situation, but I will pretended to myself that I have made a decision about something, then I've assessed how that felt.

If you're dealing with a individual, there's an exercise with two chairs. You sit in one and ask the other (imagined) person questions, then you switch chairs and 'become' the other person to answer (and ask). It's a back and forth, discussing feelings and needs. This helped me to set boundaries with an overbearing MIL.

There's drawing up a list of pro's and con's. (You need to be 'self'-ish, seeing it from just your own needs and wants.)

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 9:37AM
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I like that idea chisue! I saw that done last night on Hoarders (right before Intervention) and boy did the mom's eyes open up when the daughter "played" her mom's role. She got the picture pretty quickly when the facilitator replied, you may not have said those things, but that's how you seem to her (totally paraphrased). It's a good test. Wonder how that would work with an employment situation? Being selfish and work don't mix. :/


    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 9:43AM
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This is a tough question, all around. For example, I have difficulties with my SIL. Can't do much about thiss as it is my husband's only sister that is left. He is not really in touch with other relatives in the family. Not much I can do but do my best. Every time I see her, I have to warn myself to "behave" take a deep breath and monitor myself when I am there.
With friends, sometimes you can just let things take there course. If you are no longer looking forward to spending time together or get upset when you are together, then just take the space you need. If this is the type of person that you can talk to to change the situation, then you can try that, but I am guessing if you are saying toxic, this person would be very dfficult to approach.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 10:02AM
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My 'conversation' with my (absent) MIL helped me give myself permission to set some limits. I couldn't make myself love her, but I decided that I owed her certain respect simply because of our familial relationship.

This should apply to a work situation too. It isn't necessary for the other party to know about the 'conversation'. The exercise is about YOU recognizing the situation and what YOU can do in the relationship.

Once *I* was on my own firm ground, it was amazing to me that MIL never pushed boundaries again. I'd expected it would take some time, but it was immediate!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 10:29AM
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I did that with my ex. Once I found my healthy limits, he realized he lost his power. I think that is what it is about in a toxic relationship. It's harder to find in greyer areas like ellendi is talking about. You can't leave the situation, you owe it your best, but how much to give/take is harder to decipher.

I was totally kidding about work. That one is such a hard area I don't think it can be touched. It may deserve its own category. Probably.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 11:20AM
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Maybe when you ask yourself that question!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 12:16PM
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It was a general idea for anyone, but thanks kat! I'm not in any spot right now.

Son and I were discussing it because of the show. There was a daughter on who just decided what she'd do was distance herself from the mom forever. She wouldn't feel anything about her or for her. That's not healthy either. Her fear/hate was eating her alive. Her mom tried to commit suicide and she never even went to the hospital. She obviously didn't know where the healthy line is. As my son and I talked, it became fairly clear that the line was hard to describe to him. Like describing the taste of potatoes to someone who hasn't eaten them. Or what love is. I don't think kids can really get that all too well until they live it. And I was just pondering the thought as it relates to the universe in general. Thinking about things just becasue. Nothing to solve, but there you go. Althouhg, I think others, adults even, probably don't truly know even when they should. Life is a tough thing to get through sometimes.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 1:35PM
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Yes, I know, I was just saying that for anyone. lol

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 1:37PM
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(grin) It was a good answer!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 1:41PM
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There obviously is no definitive "line" as when to leave. Much depends on the situation and your beliefs.

In the case of a friendship, I use the test of do I feel better being associated with this person?

On a "relationship" it depends on your morals and beliefs. Today, supposedly religious people have adopted the "till 'irreconcilable differences' do us part" attitude. Some believe in their vows and will work to make something work. Some take an easy exit.

Impossible to answer since the situations and people are never consistent.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 1:50PM
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In my case, when we moved (as a family) from one city to another about 2 hours away, our old neighbors never and I mean never contacted us, even with Christmas cards and they had all the information. We also chose to leave the relationship with them due to what had been going on. Would make a good soap opera. Enough said. Do I miss them? No, but still wonder how things turned out.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 3:37PM
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I go to 'life coaching' and it is all about 'boundries' for me, with family. With friends when you start making me not want to meet with you and are not a true friend when I need one~~I am done!

In the last couple of years I have put up many boundries around myself with family, because of toxic people~~I can be nice to a point, but if you cross over I will leave!

I limit my time with alot of people so as not to put myself in uncomfortable situations, those are the family ones, that are almost impossible not to have to deal with once in awhile~~~with friends I just dump them.

It took me a long time to get to where I could do all this, does not sound like much but was a lot of work for me!!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 4:06PM
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See? I'm dumb. I would've found them again like an idiot. It's ok to assume some of the work, but not all of it. That's not right. Or fair. You're better off out of that soap opera marie.

You're wrong. It is a A LOT of work. You done good yogalady! I think it's such a hard thing to gauge, hardly anyone can know what that line is, even for themselves. For me, it is hard not to say, "I'm just in a bad mood" and play it off, rather than accept that a person really doesn't have the ability to stop doing what they're doing that is wrong. Yes, wrong. I've gotten better at it, but it's taken a long time. It's very hard work. Feel proud.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 4:44PM
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If I find myself dwelling on the relationship obsessively while I'm in the shower or in the car or pretending that the person is in the mirror and I'm yelling at them it's time to get rid of them. For me, that is the toxic level. I don't have the temperament to deal with people like that and am also finding that the older I get the less I will tolerate toxic people in my life.

I got rid of a very good friend of mine when I realized that she had a habit of criticizing my husband and one of my sons. Nobody is going to do that. And I also dumped my MIL - kept the husband but dumped her. My husband still sees her, she lives 10 minutes away from us, but I only see her on Christmas day and I spend a week gearing myself up for the visit and winding up with a stress headache that takes a week after to dissipate. She is not a nice person.

When I got rid of those two people it was like a great weight had lifted and I literally never thought about them again - except at times like this - but I no longer dwell on them. When I noticed that I realized that it was the best decision for me.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 6:44PM
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Do red flags show up easily for you?

Apparently not... it took me 36 years to go. and I was married "only" 38 years. LOL

But once out... yeah! I feel good.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 7:21PM
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Not all flags are red....some are gray inwhich you never see the true colors. I am in a situation right now...even thugh it is not toxic i am having a very difficult time knowing if i should stay or go. Wish i had the answer myself.

your resident dj

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 9:02PM
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Dwelling on them is a good indicator something is amiss. I hadn't thought of that one. Yep, I have had those shower and car conversations with them. Oh, the snappy come backs.

oklamoni- you're a riot! You're ok in my book. Don't think of it all as wasted. Surely there were some good times? I hope so! :)

(((samkaren))) Sounds like a little distance might give you an idea. And if you've already done that, maybe let go? It is so hard to tell.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 8:02AM
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When it's someone in a close relationship, it is difficult, but if it is someone out on the periphery of one's social relationships, one can distance one's self from them more.

To me, I'd have a hard time psyching myself up to spend part of a day with someone with whom I'd had a rocky relationship, then suffer a headache for a week afterwards!

Sometimes it's useful to discuss the situation with the person who gives us the trouble, for, as one person suggested, when she laid down some new guidelines with her mother-in-law, the person went along with them, without causing further hassle ... and did not transgress, later.

I like the idea of the musical chair situation - putting your words into the other person's mouth, and theirs into yours: different viewpoints to your liking, anyone?

How do others who know the two of you relate to the situation? Sometimes when they are willing to be forthright, it gives one a different take on the relationship.

Hope you find your way through to a more stisfying relationship.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 3:04PM
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Dear Abby said it's simple. Ask yourself one question. Are you better off with him/her or without him/her?

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 4:21PM
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