How to Tell When it's Time to Amputate a Toxic Relationship
Have you ever had to cut someone out of your life?
I have. Many times. Too many times.
Over the years, I've had to let go of a lot of people—both friends and family.
It’s a sad process. Sometimes, even years later, I still grieve their loss.
It is a bit like phantom limb pain, the mysterious condition where people will will feel pain coming from a limb that is no longer there. Even after the hand or leg has been removed, they still continue to feel pain from the place it used to be.
Relationships can be like that too. Even though they are gone, even though they had to be amputated, they still sometimes hurt.
It’s never easy to say goodbye to someone you care about. Yet, sometimes we must. Sometimes it’s just too detrimental to keep them around.
Like an infected limb that threatens to kill us if we insist on keeping it, sometimes our relationships become too toxic to keep.
Cutting Ties with Toxic People
I had to cut ties with friends and family that were just too toxic.
Every interaction I had with them left me feeling shamed, blamed, or condemned. They were full of put downs.
They robbed my happiness, and drained my strength.
They left me feeling powerless—unable to do anything right, unable to grow, and unable to hope.
They were people who partnered with the lies of the enemy. They refused to fight their own demons, so they tried to sabotage me when I fought mine.
Simply having them in my life held me back, and kept me from growing. It kept me imprisoned to the past, unable to find a better future.
Cutting Ties with Crabs
Apparently crabs are quite good at escaping captivity. An individual crab can easily climb their way out of a bucket.
Yet, when crab catchers gather a group of them they don’t bother to put a lid on their cage. Why? Well, because crabs have a way of pulling each other down. In their frenzy to escape, they sabotage each other, they pull the other crabs down. No crab can escape because the others will pull it down in an attempt to lift themselves up.
Their selfish actions ensure that no one can escape their fate.
When a relationship acts like this, it becomes an agent of death.
Our loved ones are supposed to champion us, to lift us up. Our relationships should help us live better, and become better people. They should provide a healthy reciprocity, where together we all rise.
Healthy relationships don’t leave you struggling with toxic narratives that sabotage your soul or kill your dreams. Your relationships should be a source of life for you.
How do you know when it’s time to amputate?
First off, ask yourself if this is a relationship that is lifting you up or pulling you down.
If they are holding you back, they still may salvageable. But, they aren’t likely to heal on their own—they will probably require some kind of intervention, some kind of surgery in order to get them functioning correctly.
Then, there are the connections that we need to consider amputating altogether. They are the ones too toxic, too infected, to save.
These are the people who laugh at you when you tell them your dreams. Or they tell you that you are too stupid, broken, or damaged to live a better life.
They saddle you with shame. They make you feel small. They cripple you when you try, they mock you when you fail.
They keep you from living the life that God created you for. They undermine your destiny.
Cut them loose.
Amputate them or else that infection will spread. If you allow that toxin in your life, it will affect every area of your life. It will infect your soul.
Cut off contact with those people. Break ties with their lies.
There have been some amazing advancements in prosthetics in recent years. Bionic tech now blends digital technology with customized bio mechanics. It’s amazing.
When it comes to amputating infected relationships, something better always comes along. But, we usually have to let go of the old thing first. The new and better connections can’t come until we have cut ties with the old.
It’s an uncomfortable step of faith—cutting off the old, not knowing what the future may bring.
But it’s a step we have to take.
Sometimes we are better being on our own than being burdened by people who hold us down.
Sometimes people are just too toxic to stay in touch with. Just like an infected dying limb, we need to amputate in order to survive.
It’s never easy. But it is sometimes necessary.
We have to cut ties with the toxic people who hold us down, so that we can truly live.
Are the people in your life lifting you up, or holding you down?
Is there a person in your life who needs purging?
What dying relationships need to be amputated so you can thrive?