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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kent State chapter.

“Toxic” by Britney Spears may be great, but having toxicity in your life is not. 

Not every relationship that ends badly is toxic, but there are some circumstances that can make it that way. Some of these circumstances could be the person lying, manipulating or always thinking they are right. A huge red flag that they are toxic is if they play the victim and pin things on you. These are just some characteristics, but truly it is up to you to decide if they are toxic or not. 

If the relationship is mentally draining or you are in physical danger, it is okay to cut ties. You do not need to explain to that person why you cut ties or why you think they are toxic. Maybe explaining is best for your situation, or just avoiding that person for eternity is the best thing for you to do. Only you determine how to cope with and handle ending your relationship.

Normally, toxic people don’t realize that they are even being this way. Sometimes though, if you call them out, they do this thing called “gaslighting.” In simple terms, “gaslighting” refers to how someone manipulates you and makes you question your own sanity. They may make you think things that happened didn’t or they didn’t occur the way you remember. This is definitely not okay, and you should cut ties with someone who treats you like this.

Anyone in your life can be toxic. The relationship does not just mean significant other. It can range from friendship, co-worker or family member. Someone being toxic is not your fault, how they are to you doesn’t reflect you as a person. Toxic people are this way to make themselves better. 

It can start out small and get bigger or it can even just start big. 

bored woman looking out the window
Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris from Unsplash

An instance that happened to me started when the person insulted my career and told me to think of a different one. This caused many more small and petty arguments that eventually snowballed into a falling out. They would always turn everything on me and would play the victim. They made me think everything I did was wrong and said that I never respected them or cared for them. 

This is an example of how small things can grow and affect you. I know what they were saying was not correct, but it still hurt me. It still made me overthink everything I did and said. They get in your head and never fully leave. This person is out of my life after months and months of arguing, crying and feeling worthless. I feel better mentally now that they are finally out of my life. This person was a family member, so it was hard to deal with and see at first. But I learned, family isn’t always there for you, and sometimes blood isn’t thicker than water. 

During the pandemic, we all had a lot of time to reflect on ourselves and the people around us. True colors were revealed during this time. This could have made us realize how the people around us truly acted. This could have been a friend that treated you differently or even a family member you were around more often. 

Depending on the circumstances, more time together can open your eyes more to how people treat you. As well as the opposite, spacing yourself from people can make you truly see who they are and how they treat you. You could have been around toxic people this whole time and never realized it. When people are comfortable or used to a situation, they never think anything of it. Removing yourself can cause you to reflect on it and realize something was not correct. As well as re-adding yourself. If you were in a toxic household and left because of college and then came home because of the pandemic, you may realize what happened in the past is happening again. This doesn’t make it okay. The pandemic truly helped show toxic people in your life, whether you knew they were toxic or not.

Politics can create really bad arguments. You can disagree on the small things, but disagreeing on bigger issues can become toxic. If you are in any form of a relationship with someone who disagrees about major issues, know what to do. Think to yourself, is this conversation worth is? Is this person worth is? Truly run these through your head and decide. A bad argument may not start off as toxic, but it can become toxic down the line. Know when to draw the line on the person and the conversation. 

November is coming protest signs
Photo by Rosemary Ketchum from Pexels

The biggest piece of advice I can give is to know when to cut them off and when to try to rebuild the relationship. It is okay to cut people off, as the title says. But– it is also okay to try again. Some relationships can be saved after time apart and time to reflect, not all, but some. Know this difference between a stronger relationship and a dead one. Don’t water dead flowers and don’t beat a dead horse. There are better flowers and horses to come. 

It’s hard to cut off toxic people, but just remember you are looking out and benefitting your future.


Alexandra Golden

Kent State '23

Alexandra is a junior journalism major with a minor in criminology and justice studies. She wants to pursue a career in investigative journalism or in magazine writing when she graduates.
Junior at Kent State, with a mojor in journalism and a minor in fashion media. I like to write about fashion, lifestyle and Harry Styles.