Should we keep toxic people out of our life or should we be available to anyone that needs our help. I have a person in my life that I love very much but she has a crisis a minute and it is making me feel weary. Every other day there is a phone call with a new problem or a variation of an old issue Most of her problems stem from arguments with her boyfriend. I am left feeling exhausted and frustrated.
My first sponsor in Alcoholics Anonymous was a wonderful woman who helped me immensely. If I were to present her with this problem she would tell me that the person is toxic and I can not afford people in my life who drain me. Staying sober has to be our first priority and anything that compromises that has to go.
I have always been the type of person who can’t just listen to someone with a problem, I have to try and fix it or I internalize the issue and literally begin to feel as I imagine the other person is feeling. It comes as no surprise that I would feel weary.
In order to be an effective, I need to learn how to listen and when to offer advice. I can not join that person in beating a dead horse. A case in point; the other day I was in a group therapy session and one member of the group was once again talking about the same problem he has had for awhile. The therapist presiding over the group offered suggestions and welcomed feed back from the rest of the group. At the end of the session she said to the man, you now have many tools to fix this problem so there will be no reason to discuss it at the next group as well. I thought the therapist handled the situation in just the right way. She did not take the man’s problems to heart and yet offered suggestions that should alleviate any need to bring it up again. If the therapist had allowed this to go on and on it would have become toxic for all of us. There are people that thrive on chaos, however we don’t need to join them to be an effective listener.