You are allowed to ignore phone calls and leave texts unanswered.
You are allowed to keep your home address to yourself, because you don’t want them stopping by for a visit.
You are allowed to avoid eye contact and turn the other way when you see them in public.
You are allowed to tell them that you want to be left alone, that you wish they would respect your privacy.
You are allowed to cut toxic people out of your life — even if they’re your parent, even if they’re your partner, even if they’re your best friend since kindergarten.
Don’t let someone toxic guilt trip you into keeping them around. And don’t let people who know nothing about your situation try to convince you that you should be more forgiving and stop pushing others away because they’re family or because you two have history or because life is too short to hold grudges.
None of those arguments should stop you from doing what you need to do.
The blood you share or the time you’ve spent with this person doesn’t matter. All that matters is whether this person holds you back or pushes you forward. Whether conversations with this person make you smile or make you want to slam your fist into a wall.
If every time you read a text from them, you get more stressed or anxious or suicidal, then they don’t deserve a place in your life. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re a bad person. It just means they’re bad for you.
And if you love yourself, you’ll let yourself close the door on them. You’ll give yourself the freedom to live without them.
It might be hard to do that. You might feel like crap for not wishing them a happy birthday or helping them with their bills or waving to them when you happen to cross paths.
But if someone is toxic, you don’t owe them anything. You don’t owe them your time, your respect, or an answer to their text. You don’t have to accept their Facebook request or invite them to the party you’re throwing that everyone else is going to attend.
You don’t have to include them in your life anymore.
Some people might call you a bitch for putting yourself first, but it’s the healthy thing to do.
That doesn’t mean you should say goodbye to someone the second they show up late or cancel plans or insult your haircut. But if they’ve done something truly unforgivable, if they have a habit of hurting you over and over again without making any changes to their behavior, then you already gave them enough time. You tried for long enough. And now, it’s time to let go.
Remember, you are allowed to say goodbye to someone, even if they don’t want to let you go.
You are allowed to say goodbye to someone, even if you still love them.