• Desirée Strother

From Toxic to Freedom

You have toxic people in your life. You feel obligated to them, but at the same time, you know those relationships are holding back your healing.

This is one of the most common struggles I hear about. I dealt with it. My husband dealt with it. The majority of my clients have dealt with it. And it feels terrible.

You feel guilty for wanting them out of your life. But you feel so much pain because they are in your life.

  • The belittling.

  • Minimizing your experience - or outright denying it.

  • Invalidating your feelings.

  • Manipulating you with their emotions.

  • Gaslighting you.

But you just can’t help yourself. You keep reaching out, because we’ve all been taught “it’s the right thing to do.”

  • Family comes first

  • Be the bigger person

  • Just forgive them

  • Why are you so sensitive anyway? (more invalidating)

But also, part of you wants to keep reaching back out. The most toxic people in our lives are often family members or very close friends. So not only do we feel obligated to them because of the status of the relationship in our lives, but we deeply desire to be loved by them in particular.

  • We want their validation.

  • We want their love.

  • We want a relationship with them that is actually fun, happy, and peaceful!

Those desires are healthy desires AND you cannot make them heal. You cannot make them want healing. You cannot make them want the same things you want.

Because that's their business. And YOUR healing is YOUR business.

I bet you already know that, but you don’t want to believe that. You’ve tried to set boundaries, but you keep reaching out again in the name of “seeking closure” or “clearing the air.”

If you really believed that was true – That your needs and desires are worthy of being met AND that you can’t make them heal – then you would understand that you truly have permission to walk away.

By continually trying to “do the right thing” and “seek closure,” you are re-submitting yourself to the trauma of that relationship over and over again.

And that is keeping you stuck. Stuck on your journey, stuck in your life, stuck in your ability to feel safe and happy, stuck in your ability to heal.

Here’s the Truth: You are allowed to be done with a relationship that is harming you. You are allowed to leave it without having a nice and tidy “closure.” You are allowed to feel deeply hurt by that. You are allowed to heal and move on.

For me personally, I went through this with my father. He was an alcoholic, abusive, and constantly denied my reality. Eventually, I decided one day that for my own health and wellbeing, I just couldn’t try anymore. Without explanation (because I didn’t owe him one, and he wouldn’t understand it anyway), I stopped talking to him one-on-one. I wouldn’t even be in a room alone with him. And in mixed company, I had an extremely limited list of “approved” topics I would discuss around him.

One day he asked me, “Why don’t you talk to me anymore?” I told him, “You have hurt me a lot (and I listed the ways), and you’ve never acknowledged or apologized for any of it.”

He told me, “I don’t think I have anything to apologize for.” I said, “I know. So this is how our relationship is.” And that was that. He never sought healing. He never sought reconciliation. And a few years later he passed away.

For whatever reason, it was never safe enough for him to stop changing the narrative to favor himself. It never became safe enough for him to acknowledge things he had done wrong. And that’s okay. It was never mine to hold or force into reality.

That does not mean that we are not allowed to have healing. And what does the other side look like?

It looks like freedom. Like your whole body relaxes and starts to learn how to rest. You no longer feel jitters or cold sweats or dissociated thinking about having to be around that person. Your body begins to heal. Instead of feeling depleted in energy, you have energy to give to explorations you want to pursue!

I say this because everyone ALWAYS tells me they’re scared. They tell me they can’t imagine going through with it. But then when they get to the other side, they ALWAYS feel relieved. They ALWAYS wish they’d done it sooner.

Because everyone always wishes they’d started living their life in freedom, sooner.

If this sounds like something you know you’ve been needing to do, but haven’t known the next step, you are always welcome to message me directly. I can help you create the safe space where you can heal even when the people you want closure from REFUSE to offer it.

You don’t have to be stuck anymore.