As a personal trainer and wellness educator for the last 12 years, I get a unique view into the types of relationships my clients have with others.
Whether it is through general conversation, or through a questionnaire designed to see if they have “supportive” people in their life, I often get the inside scoop on what is really going on in my client’s relationships with others.
Sometimes I am the only person in their life encouraging them to make the “change” they desire. Often my encouragement can met by fear from the other people in their life.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Sometime your trainer is the only one looking out for you
Even though I warn them that this may happen, it is very painful to realize the people you love may not be looking out for what is best for you. Depending on their level of insecurity in the relationship, it can become a toxic situation quickly. It is often very difficult (if not impossible) to move forward if you have a toxic person close to you.
I want to take this opportunity to offer you three signs that can reveal if a relationship is toxic.
As you read the examples, keep in mind that it is nearly impossible for a toxic relationship not to affect you mentally, especially when the person is very important to you.
So how can you tell if your relationship is toxic?
You are encouraged to stay the same, or to be less of yourself.
You are meeting up with your friend for a drink. You are so excited to see them. You’ve been making such positive changes lately, and are pumped to share your story.
From first greeting, your friend notices the change in your weight. “Oh wow! Are you still eating?”
“Yes I am.” You reply proudly, though you start to feel the sting of her judgment. “ My trainer has me cutting back on sugar.”
“Well don’t get too skinny.” They reply. “ I think people worry too much about how they look. I’ve tried everything to lose weight. I’ve told my husband, I’m just going to stay fat.”
The sting starts to feel deeper.
You order the chocolate cake for dessert, so that she isn’t eating it alone.
You remind yourself to be more thoughtful. Maybe you should have worn a less form fitting dress.
Actions you take to make your life better, are “sabotaged”.
You have purchased training sessions, so you can put your fitness first. You keep your phone in your pocket “just in case”.
You arrive excited about the workout and are ‘killing it’ with your trainer.
You feel your phone buzz in your pocket. It’s your spouse. You shake your head with irritation. Don’t they know this is your only time to yourself?
You feel your phone buzz again. Maybe it’s an emergency. You apologize to your trainer, and step away to take the call. It’s not an emergency. You get off the phone and place it on a ledge off to the side, so you can finish your last 30 minutes in peace.
10 minutes later you look up, and see that your spouse has walked into the gym, and is headed right for you. Your trainer sees them coming, and steps away to let you talk.
You realize that this is causing a small scene, and you become embarrassed. You decide it is best to just exit quietly. You walk over to your trainer and apologize.
You decide to forfeit your remaining training sessions, to spare yourself a situation like that in the future. You decide you should just workout at home, instead of being so selfish.
You cater to their needs, at the expense of your own.
You woke up this morning and you didn’t want to move.
The To Do list for today is overwhelming. When did you become the only capable person at work?
Why can’t people just pull their weight?
Maybe you can just call in sick. You have sick time.
No. The mountain of work will just get bigger.
As you search your mind for a reasonable excuse, you feel your mind shifting into submission.
“This is my life,” you say. “I had better just get used to it.”
Do any of these stories resonate with you?
If so, I encourage you to take a closer look with me at what else is really going on. This is the first step in regaining control of your mental health. At first glance, this might just seem like the way life is. That there will always be someone who you answer to.
But this is not how it has to be. You can choose yourself over others. The problem is not the toxic person. The real problem is that you are allowing someone else to speak over your life.
You have not kept clear boundaries.
There is no consequence for their behavior. In fact, your response to their toxic behavior reinforces it.
So how do you get out of this situation?
The good news is there are many different ways. But the very first thing is to commit to the idea that it is your responsibility. Take all of your focus away from fixing the toxic person behavior, and put all of the focus on how you respond to them.
If you have a friend who makes you feel guilty about your accomplishments, because it reminds them of their failures… it is not your responsibility to make them feel better about their decision to give up. Your responsibility lies in your continued success.
If you have a spouse who sabotages your efforts to make a change your life, because they are jealous or scared of the time you are taking for yourself…it is not your responsibility to forfeit your time to them. Your responsibility lies in maintaining your separate identity, while in a relationship.
If you have a job that is more work than what you accepted, because you have taken on extra responsibilities...it is not your responsibility to float the company while drowning yourself. Your responsibility lies in communicating your ability to complete the demands, so that the company understands the true needs of their business.
You have the power to take back your mental health. Do not wait for the people around you to change.
Take responsibility of your reaction to those people, and you may see them change for the better, as they realize they have been placed behind a healthy boundary.
Connect here with Watchfit Expert Maile Inouye