COCOSpirit: When It's Time to Put Yourself First and Let Go of Toxic People

I used to attract toxic people into my life all the time. Many sensitive, introspective people have this issue. Maybe because we always want to see the good in folks or we're attentive listeners -- maybe because we don't like conflict and have trouble saying no.

At first, I'd feel like I was being a positive influence but eventually I would end up feeling drained and stuck with an energy in my life that wasn't good for me. I couldn't separate myself from other people's feelings and I couldn't bare the guilt of saying no or walking away.

It doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to suffer while people and situations in your life lower your vibration and throw you off course. Look for places in your life where you need to set firmer boundaries and be more protective of what you allow in your space. There will be people in your life who push you and may even try to manipulate and guilt you into being how they want you to be. Here are a few approaches to look out for:

They'll roll their eyes, maybe even call you names. They'll be closed to your efforts to explain your needs and your journey. They may even have trouble understanding those who are different from them and what they don't understand they judge and reject. Remember you can't control another person's personal growth or emotional intelligence. You have to decide, based on your relationship with this person, if it's worth trying to work through it, or if it's better for you to distance yourself.


This person knows you well and will try to use this against you. Maybe they will use your past self against you or try to discredit you. Perhaps there was a time in your life when you weren't self-assured and you allowed this person to have their way with you. Now that you are speaking up for yourself, they don't like it and they'll try to get their control back. They are skilled at getting in your head, but remember that you're not that person anymore. You know how to handle yourself and you don't need to create space for anyone who doesn't respect that.


Some people will give you the cold shoulder. They take your need for space personally and they want their resentment to be a punishment to you. Recognize this for what it is and don't let it drain your energy. If you love this person, make that clear and let them know that you see their resentment and you're not returning it. But you refuse to feel guilty for honoring your needs.

This is the neediness, the clinginess, the "I can't do this without you." It's all about the comfort you provide to them and not what you need for yourself. When someone you care about comes to you in distress, it's an awful feeling to not be able to give them what they need. But you have to recognize when your boundaries are not being respected and when your kindness is being abused. Trust your intuition. Relationships are built on love and mutual understanding, not guilt.

As you observe how people respond to you, take note of the people who never make you feel guilty even when their needs and boundaries are different from yours. They know you and love you for who you are and not who they want you to be. It’s up to you to protect your peace of mind and know when it’s time to let go.

GG Renee is an independent author, a creativity coach, a feeler and an overthinker. She writes for women who crave honest dialogue and inspiration for the joys and challenges they face every day. Blog // Twitter // Instagram