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Dear Chronic Illness Warriors: It's OK to Remove Toxic People From Your Life

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OK, fellow warriors. Listen up – you need to hear this!

It is completely OK to remove people from your life who do not support you the way you need to be supported.

Let me break this down for you.

I know how difficult it can be to feel obligated to another person.

“I can’t cut them out, they’re family,” “He/she doesn’t understand and I can’t cut them out because of it – that wouldn’t be fair to them,” “We’ve been friends for years – I can’t just let them go!”

I’m here to tell you yes – yes you can!


Our lives as people with chronic illness, both physical and mental, can be so incredibly difficult to handle. It is not our responsibility and duty to ensure that everyone around us understands every single aspect of the life we live. You do not have to explain yourself to anyone.

Now I want to clarify that I am in no way, shape or form telling you to cut out every single person in your life who does not know the full extent of what you deal with. Man, would that be a lonely and isolated way to live. What I’m hoping you will take from this post is that it is more than OK to remove yourself from toxic relationships, regardless of the circumstances. I’m speaking of relationships/friendships with other people in which you feel you have to either:

1. Constantly hide your pain because they don’t react well or seem to understand or…

2. Constantly receive negative feedback as a result of trying to confide in that person.

I know firsthand how difficult it can be to feel obligated to keep someone around out of loyalty, duration of friendship, heck – even genetics! At the end of the day, what’s important to realize is that our lives are ones that need 24/7 understanding. That understanding doesn’t have to all come from one individual, one friend, one spouse, one sibling, etc. I don’t mean that – that’s way too much to ask of one person. (However, I am blessed to have friendships in which this is the case, and if you do too, you hold those people so, so tight!)

What I mean to say here is that you should feel confident in your day-to-day dealing with your illness knowing you have friends and family who support you in the way you need to be supported. I don’t expect all of my friends to call me or text me or ask how I’m doing every single day – that’s a lot to ask of others. But what I’ve come to realize in the past few months is that toxic relationships are only toxic if we choose to continue to allow them to be.

You are not obligated to keep people around who are toxic to your health. You are not responsible for the thoughts and actions of other people. However, you are responsible for choosing how you react and how long you allow yourself to be a part of it.

Say goodbye to the toxicity in your life the best you can because you are at constant war and the last thing you need is a traitor in your ranks. Trust and value the soldiers who stand by your side, who fight both for and with you. Thank those people, love those people, surround yourself with those people and don’t accept anything less. You are a warrior!

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Thinkstock photo via m-imagephotography.

Originally published: June 15, 2017
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