Traverse City Record-Eagle

August 11, 2012

Mental Wellness: Time to say goodbye

By Joseph R. Sanok, Local columnist
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---- — We've all experienced people that are toxic. Some may have snuck into our lives, others we may have invited in, others may have shown up and we didn't notice until it was too late. However it happened, they are in your life. Or maybe, they are in the life of someone you love. Either way, when it is time to say, "goodbye" it can be really hard.

Decide what you want

Sometimes it is not discontinuing the friendship, but rather, discontinuing the type of friendship that has occurred.

Defining what you want in the friendship is the first step.

Maybe it is to remove sarcasm, midnight phone calls, or feeling manipulated.

Either way, once you define what you want, you can present it to your friend.

They will either receive the feedback or make your decision easier.

Saying "No"

A while ago I heard, "If you say 'no' to one thing you are always saying 'yes' to something else."

When we say "no" to a specific behavior, we are also saying "yes" to less stress, a better attitude, and probably better sleep.

The tough thing is that the "no" is usually in your face, whereas the "yes" is often harder to see.

Make time for people you like

If you schedule events with people you enjoy, you will have less time for the toxic people in your life. By doing this, you are essentially saying that your needs matter.

There are times in life where we know we need to step back from the unhealthy relationships and focus on the healthy.

When we start to recognize the people in our life that are toxic, unhealthy, and full of drama we should start with talking about our expectations and hopes for the relationship.

If the other person doesn't see or respect your thoughts, it may be time to step back or say "goodbye" to the relationship.

It is never easy, but in doing so you will be saying "hello" to a healthier life.

Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC is a licensed therapist and owner at Mental Wellness Counseling. He helps angry kids, frustrated parents, and distant couples. Access his free parenting newsletter at www.mentalwellnesscounseling.com.