So today, it's gonna be a very, very personal show from me. There is no script. My words may sometimes crack, it's a very personal subject for me. So I'm gonna deliver this in the best way that I can and it's entitled "Delete, Delete, Delete." And it's about deleting toxic people in your life. And why would you wanna do that? Well, what is a toxic person? A toxic person is somebody who no matter how much help, how much love, how much you try to change yourself to make them feel happier, to make them feel better, no matter what you do in yourself, they always have a problem. They always have a narrative that they're more invested to do, a negative narrative in their head of negativity, negative narrative of victimization that they would rather keep than the narrative, than the story of change and transformation. Toxic people will take, will take, will take.
They are value-takers. They will take all your value. They are like vampires. They will suck every last bit of blood out of you until you may come into that relationship, be that husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, friendship, mentor-type relationship, and you may come in healthy with beautiful, red and white blood cells, but by the time you leave, they will have literally, if you allow them to, sucked all of your blood, all of your vitality out of you. Like, you come in, perhaps like a ripe piece of fruit, and if you stay in it too long, you'll leave as a rotten fruit because you see, the toxic person doesn't want help. They can't be helped. They don't believe in help.
They would rather pull you down into the hole and have you experience that toxicity, that negativity, then allow you, no matter how strong you may be, to pull them out of that dark hole. For me in my life, I don't have a lot of people that I allow to get close to me, I have, say, self-protection mechanism. The people that I do allow to get close to me, have had to do their due diligence and, you know, have had to do a lot of fucking hard work to get there, for me to put my trust and trusting them and believe in them. It is not an easy road for people to get there. So when I do have people in my life that have gotten through all those boundaries, that have gotten through all of those doors only to not understand the lessons that I've taught them, not accept my gift of trying to pull them out of a hole, not accept my gift of boundaries, not accept my help for want of a better word.
And like I said today, I'm gonna go off on tangents from time to time and I'm gonna lose my way and I'll come back and around to it and give you some tips as well. But I've been in relationships in the past where, I know my train of thought. I know where it's at right now, has been people not getting close to me. I was telling you a little bit about my story. And folks, this is not about a poor me story in any way, shape or form. You know, I don't do that victimization bullshit. I'm just sharing a little bit of my soul here with you today. So I hope you make that distinction. This is not a woe is me by any way, shape or form. I do take responsibility for my life.
But here's the thing. I've been in relationships in my life. Again, whether they be romantic relationships, whether they be friendships, whether they be professional relationships or relationships with clients, that I have desperately wanted to help people. And I have used every ability, every skill I know as a human being, not just in change work to help people to a point where I would at times have to dull down some of my gut reactions and my gut feelings to things. Because being in relationships in the past, I wanted to make somebody else feel better, to feel more secure, to feel more comfortable. I'd made changes, and changes, and changes because I figured that if I just did this for this person because that's what they want, or if I just did this with this person, then their insecurity would subside, then they would stop taking, and they would stop being so toxic and secreting that.
If I just give a little bit more, and if there were fights or if there was arguments, there was always a part of me that would come away and accepting full responsibility for my life. I'd be like, "How did I create that? How did I create that fight?" That I'd always have this, I somehow created this fight. I somehow created this toxicity in its relationship. So even when it wasn't me, I would take full responsibility that it was. And I did that time and time and time again in my life, because I generally, whether it be a client, whether it be someone that...once you do get into the inner circle with me, I'm the most loyal person you'll ever meet. I'll take a bullet for you. I'll face a lynch mob with you, for you. That's the level of loyalty that I have in friendships, in relationships with people. I hold loyalty to be the highest possible value in any kind of relationship that I have with anybody. And it's a double-edged sword often times because people don't have the same quite the same values as me or demonstrate them in the same way. Now, in my life, I've had to ruthlessly delete people from my life.
And I'm not just talking for a day or a week, or a month, or a year. I'm talking about an eternity. Not because I'm some kind of hard ass, not because I'm some kind of masochistic son of a bitch, but because I knew that no matter what I would do, even when I accepted full responsibility, that I could totally change me, and I could totally change my approach to stuff and my behaviors and my triggers. But if the other person wasn't willing to do that and put no effort in changing their triggers and their behaviors, nothing was ever gonna change to a point where in my life I've cut out family members, friendships, past romantic relationships, and it hurt. It hurt like hell to cut those people out of my life because, like I said, I don't have a ton of people. I'm hard to get to know and get close to because of the barriers I put up.
So when I have to cut someone out who has gotten to that level of me, it's heartbreaking. It's almost emotionally nothing worse for me. And I've had to do that time and time again in my life, not because I wanted to, because believe me, I didn't, but because no matter how much time, or effort, or love, or change, or flexibility in behavior, or patience, or lessons taught, after a while when you realize that you're the only one that's shifting your behavior and the other person isn't doing a damn thing to invest in their change. I always say, "Don't tell me. Show me. Don't ever be sorry. Don't be sorry about anything. Show me. Show me of your behavior, consistently. Prove every single day to me that you're not a jerk." That's the high standard I have for people in my life, and it's a high standard I expect from the people that I call my friends in my life. And otherwise, romantic relationships and even with clients, it's what I expect from them because it's what I will give to you.
So when I have to delete people, it's fucking heartbreaking. There's no other word to do it. And the amount of people that I've had to let go in my life because I knew my value, I knew what I brought to the dance, and I knew how much time, energy, I invested in desperately trying to turn something around, in accepting full responsibility. But I realized that I could accept sort of full responsibility for a relationship, but guess what? There's at least two people in a relationship, and if the other person isn't willing to make a shift, then they are just a vampire, a toxic person that will keep feasting on you. And as long as you give them any energy, any attention, any emotion of any kind they'll feed off it, just like a vampire would of your blood until there's no blood left. The toxic person, again, coming back to it is far more invested in their narrative of their victim-hood story than looking for a solution to a story with hope or change. Or a story where behavior could change, but accepting responsibility for themselves.
And being someone with a huge fucking heart, if I do say so myself, I will give. I will give, I will give, I will give, I will give, I will give, and I will give through professional relationships, through friendships, through romantic relationships because I believe in a world different from what I've seen growing up and the experiences I had, I always hang onto the belief that things could be different. To quote Rocky Balboa, Sylvester Stallone in Rocky IV when he beats Ivan Drago, when it's in the hate hearts, excuse me, in the middle of the Cold War of America against Russia. And when Rocky Beats Ivan Drago, Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren, he gets on the microphone, realizing that he's in a hostile environment of Russia, he was an American who's beaten their beloved son, and said, "If I can change and you can change, then maybe the world can change."
I said, that's the way I've operated for much of my life is even though I saw such stuckness and saw so many people that were stuck, I believe that if I could change, I know that I could change because I've seen it. I've seen myself change and I didn't have any reference points of other people changing, but like, if I could change, if I can make that shift in me, if I can turn this around, then I can help other people and they can turn themselves around. That's why I do what I do because of that belief. Even though through much of my life up until the age of 16, 17, I did not have any reference point, but I had to have that belief that people could change. And here's the thing, the toxic person will never change. They'll never change. It doesn't matter how great a change worker you are, and I like to believe I'm a pretty good change worker and maybe my ego gets involved sometimes. And I know no matter how good I am, even I couldn't help someone change. And that's fucking heartbreaking to me. It's heartbreaking to me as a professional in what I do, it's heartbreaking as someone with a huge heart. It's heartbreaking for somebody that desperately wants the best for people. It's fucking heartbreaking. But the thing about a toxic person is they will continue to take, and take, and take.
Stay Tuned For Part 2 Soon!
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Luke Michael Howard Ph.D