What is a Toxic Relationship?

What is a toxic relationship and who are the people who create such relationships?

We know them. We have them in our lives. They’re the people we call “toxic.” We don’t like being around these people because they demand things of us, make us feel bad, and “pull” on our energy. If they’re family, it’s even harder to avoid them.

The word “toxic” is, well, toxic. I find it to be a harsh, judgmental word.

Well, Uma, but that’s who they are, you may argue.

He’s always complaining.

She gossips about her colleagues all the time.

She wants attention and will do anything to get it.

Agreed, they are people who push our buttons, test our patience, and make us want to pull out our hair in clumps.


there are things we can do to recognize where we’re allowing such people free entry and permission to invade our lives.

According to Human Design, 53% of the population has an undefined emotional center. I am one of them.

If you have no idea what an “undefined center” is, read my post here.

People with an undefined emotional center are empaths. We have the ability to deeply understand and feel with others. The downside is, we can also absorb other people’s emotions and make it our own. When we do that we act out in crazier ways than the people we judge as “toxic.”

It’s so easy to use the passivity and excuse of saying “I’m an empath” and feel holier-than-thou. Somehow we feel better about ourselves and the toxic people are less than.

I’ve been there, done that. Now I know better and I live my life with a different level of awareness.

There are wounded empaths and healed empaths.

In other words, empathy is a gift, not a weakness as I’ve heard many speak of it. Empathy is the ability to jump into a hole that someone has fallen into and be with them in a way that’s comforting.

A wounded empath gets stuck in the hole with the person they’re trying to help and is unable to climb out. A healed empath is able to be with and help the other find their way out of the hole.

There’s no judgment of empaths here; just an invitation for us all to recognize where we’re wounded and bring awareness when we’re trying to rescue or save others.

When we’re self-aware, we have the ability to understand that some people are energetically incompatible with us and we give up the need to judge them as toxic.

Every center in the Human Design body graph speaks to the importance of clean and clear boundaries. The reason why we let energetically incompatible people “pull” on our energy (and then complain that they do) is because of our own inability to create and communicate our boundaries with them.

Boundaries are your soul’s sacred NO.

People who consider themselves “spiritual” shy away from creating boundaries because they’ve bought into a belief that boundaries are unspiritual. 

If I’m spiritual, I must love everyone, always.

Here’s how I understand boundaries and live by it. My boundaries are set from a place of deep self-love.

My first responsibility is to myself.

That requires me to love and care for myself. When I do, I have a clear understanding of what’s good and not good for me. Those are my boundaries.

I cannot love anyone well if I don’t love myself well. 

Anything I do for them will be from a sense of duty or obligation which will make me resentful and bitter and call them toxic because they make demands on my time and energy.

The reason people drain us is because we give them permission to pull from us. If this doesn’t feel true for you, let it go. My only intention is to share what works for me.

Everything always begins with us.

If you struggle with boundaries and ask yourself what they mean, how you can set them, and communicate them, my masterclass may help you.

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