One of the relational challenges in leaving Mormonism is toxic people. Toxic people are those who can not let you leave their presence with your dignity intact. They will control, demean, attack, or guilt you out. Everyone in a relationship at some time will be upset, but this negativity is not within the normal range of behavior.
A Toxic Relationship Features Ongoing Manipulation.
When you leave the Mormon church, it is difficult for those on all sides. The people who are in close relationship with you and still believe the church is true will not understand your choices. Their hearts are broken. Therefore, it is completely normal and expected for you to clash or for them to be upset. However, a relationship is toxic when someone is trying to manipulate you and make you feel guilty on an ongoing basis. A relationship defined by this is very harmful.
Everyone says things they regret, but the relationship becomes toxic when someone is constantly tearing you down. Chronic, consistent negativity, manipulation, controlling behavior, or disregard of boundaries are toxic in a relationship. Disrespect of boundaries is a common problem. For instance, someone may feels like they can come over and try to get you to change your mind or talk to your kids when you are not home. This is toxic and unacceptable.
The Importance of Setting Boundaries.
How should you deal with these toxic relationships? You must set boundaries. For some people this is uncomfortable and too confrontational, but it is unavoidable. You need to create boundaries that are respectful and self-honoring for both you and the other person, whether they be a spouse, family member, or a friend. This can be hard. The closer you are to the person, the harder it is. Nevertheless, setting boundaries is important and crucial.
What Type of Boundaries Should You Set?
First of all, do not let a person walk all over you. Address others’ concerns, fears, and worries. Let them know that you understand they are upset, but be self-honoring and do not talk to them while they are screaming at you or calling you names. Teach others with your actions and words how to treat you. If you just sit there and take abuse, you are teaching them that they can dump verbal sewage on you and you will tolerate it. That is a toxic situation and you will have trained them that it is okay and normal. Just remember, no matter the situation or the person, it is completely legitimate to withdraw yourself from toxic incidents.
When you set boundaries, it is not about controlling others’ behavior. You cannot control how they treat you or how they speak to you. However, you can control how you respond. When others mistreat you, leave the room, but explain why you are doing so. You can use positive wording and let them know that you will continue the discussion when you can speak to each other respectfully. Nevertheless, leave the door open and follow through. By doing so, you are showing them that they have valid feelings, but are also setting guidelines for how your next conversation will go. You are retraining the relationship process on how you are going to discuss difficult subjects that are emotionally challenging.
Others May Set Boundaries for You.
It is important to realize that other people may set boundaries for you as well. When it does occur, all you can do is pray for them and respect the boundaries they have set. This is a way of potentially helping them build trust in you so that someday the boundaries might be removed.
You will meet toxic people on your journey. When you run into them, do not panic or despair. What’s important is how you handle these incidents. There are great ways to get through these situations.