There is no such thing as a toxic relationship

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Let’s face it…we’ve all had at least one relationship (and probably a lot more than one) that we’ve labeled as “toxic”, “unhealthy”, “codependent”, “draining”, etc.  It makes us feel better to be able to label it something so that we can push it away, leave it behind, or some how properly deal with it.  We break up with toxic boyfriends/girlfriends, we can move out of codependent family situations, and not hang out with friends that we deem as energetically draining.  But when we simply leave it behind because it doesn’t feel good, we fail to grow.  And when we fail to grow, we repeat the SAME patterns OVER AND OVER AGAIN…

So here’s a little bit of truth that I’ve picked up after spending my entire life judging and labeling my relationships…

No one is sent to me by accident.  I have something to learn from everyone I am in relationship with, whether it’s a partner, friend, family member, student, boss, or coworker.  If we see that people are all lessons, there’s no more need to label good, bad, healthy, unhealthy/toxic, functional, dysfunctional, codependent, etc.  They all serve a purpose.  Our souls call in the people, the teachers, and the lessons we’re ready for.

When we call a relationship or a person “toxic”, it creates shame and guilt around seeing that relationship as a “mistake.”  We judge them and ourselves instead of really seeing the truth about experience as it is.  They’re on their path and so are we.  We attract the people for which we need the lesson and the lesson is never “good” or “bad”.  It just is.  And it’s always necessary.  It’s always exactly what we need in that time.  All those lessons, or experiences, whether big or small, fun or not so fun (and let’s be honest, not too many of them feel good or fun at the time) make up our life’s curriculum.  And what we do with that completely depends on us.

Do you see how none of that is about the other person?  How it’s ALL an inside job?  Do you see how we have all the power the moment we decide to stop judging, labeling, and shaming ourselves and others and just start seeing what is?  What’s here for us in this very moment?  That it’s all so perfect, so divine, that it couldn’t possibly be any other way?  Of course this is all a process, it takes practice to not judge and really SEE.  Just be gentle with yourself and watch what happens.

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11 thoughts on “There is no such thing as a toxic relationship

  1. I absolutely love this article, Katie. I’m certain that all my partners have showed up on my path for a reason, and they were all exactly what I needed at the time. People were quick to tell me when I should leave certain people- however I carried the belief that if the connection was destroyed too quickly, it could only leave a scar. I believe our souls know what they’re doing, and it’s important to trust them and listen to what they want us to experience. I’m not sure where I heard this, but it said “Love is not measured in length of time, but in the amount of transformation that occurs because of it.” I’m so happy to see you’re sharing an evolved perspective of relationships 🙂

  2. Hi Katie, Yes! I agree with you on this wholeheartedly. I have learned so many things from my relationships, so much about myself as you say. No matter what has happened, and even if there were elements that were very painful, I am responsible for what I create. And that gives me all the power i need to try again and again to create what I want. Even when it is hard. All my love to you, Katherine

  3. Katie, I will admit I was very intrigued but, felt a tad of apprehension when heading in to read this article. I did however like the direction you took us down. I agree with this philosophy of avoiding labels, judgement, shame and blame. Seeing all interaction as intended life lessons so that we can learn, grow and evolve into the “what / who” we were destined to become. However, I also believe that we need to “leave” some of this and the responsibility for some of these behaviors “with” the other person. It is a tricky thing when trying to stay out of shame / made a mistake mentality and at the same time not placing the ownership for the action where it belongs. Very tricky. I have been through the University of hard knocks and can say first hand that though I “accept” that they Universe has given me exactly what I needed to learn, grow, toughen (in my case) and strengthen my resolve + character, I have no reservation about “calling it” what it is when I see it and allowing “them” to deal with it as they see fit (or not). Sometimes we just need to put it right back in the hands of those who were attempting to dish it out. Much love gorgeous and appreciation as always for all that you are and all that you bring! xo

    1. Penny, I absolutely agree that we need to learn the lesson, set the boundaries, and move on from certain relationships. Part of our medicine is accepting what we needed from it and also recognizing what is THEIR healing process, and therefore not ours. Thank you so much for your comments!! ❤

  4. Apparently I’ve had a number of relationship lessons! Thankfully my relationships are much more even keeled these days. I don’t seem to need so much drama in order to grow these days. I would certainly rather see these relationships as lessons rather than “shameful mistakes”. Yuck! Thank you for this lovely post Katie :).

  5. I’m totally with you on this Katie! Very well articulated! I used to discount certain relationships and experiences or judge them as ‘not enough’, ‘not mature’ , and even ‘not real’ etc… when, yes, they were simply experiences and lessons needing to be learned and thank you to all the participants and to myself for getting in the game and learning, participating in life!

  6. It’s interesting timing for this post. I’ve struggled this week to have anything positive to say. Normally I agree wholeheartedly with what you’ve expressed so articulately here, but this week, it’s been challenging. Six days ago, I ran into someone who literally tortured me for days and who tried to kill me. It’s been over a decade since, and I’ve done a lot of work around it in just about every tradition I’ve ever heard of, but a lot of old shit came up in a completely new way, and I feel stunned by it all over again. Stunned that no matter how much I transform or release, there’s more poison left to bubble out. It leaves me wondering whether, in the moments between the crises, believing that they’re necessary isn’t a bit like covering a toxic waste dump with topsoil and trying to grow a garden. And in a few days, I’ll probably be back to believing that it served a purpose and that eating the glowing carrots from my garden makes me stronger, even supernaturally so, but right now, it seems as much a soothing story as any religion or fairy tale or comic book plot, something to rationalize a chaotic, impersonal event and make it controllable. And maybe that’s good and necessary and healthy, but it also makes me wonder, if you remove one half of a dichotomy, doesn’t that negate the other half, as well? If there are no toxic relationships, are there also no healing ones, because shouldn’t the onus of the transformation be completely dependent upon the individual then, as well? Or is there a spectrum, some kind of gradient between personal and impersonal or good and bad? I think there probably are no absolutes. I don’t know, though. I suspect there’s no definitive answer within this chemical soup or beyond it.

  7. I love what you are saying here, Katie. And I agree! I especially resonate with practicing not labeling a relationship or experience in a way that makes it good/bad or shaming. It all just is. And how are we are going to work with what is? I have found it a challenging and satisfying experience to engage my life this way.

    One piece that came up for me is that I do believe we can leave a relationship behind, move on and set boundaries with awareness if something doesn’t feel good while still learning about ourselves, being self-reflective and owning our part in how and why we co-created the relationship. All without judgment.

    As someone who spent many of my younger years in painful romantic relationships way longer than was healthy for me, I eventually realized that staying in those relationships was a way of avoiding learning and growing as I repeated the same patterns over and over. It has been an important part of my journey to learn to let go more quickly, step back from unhealthy dynamics and take responsibility for myself on my own.

    Thank you for this valuable post that has me really feeling into it all. ❤

    1. Yes, absolute Carrie! I whole-heartedly agree that we can (and need to) leave a relationship behind, learn the lesson, set the boundaries and move on. That’s our medicine, right? ❤

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