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These are my thoughts, yo.

When to Reconcile with Toxic People

jasmine banks

So you read Don't Welcome the Toxic Back and you are wondering...

Great Jasmine, so WHEN do I actually get to welcome toxic person back? I miss them...

Maybe never. Seriously. Get used to that idea and stop stalling your grief process. That person may never recognize their own damaging behavior patterns in your relationship with them. And guess what? It isn't your job to teach them. So let the reality of loss settle in. Beyond that reality there are two main factors for evaluating reconciliation and one necessary condition.

Are they willing to take responsibility for the harm they caused?

Confession and contrition, y'all. Don't settle for "sorry you felt hurt by what I did." NAWL. Taking responsibility, in this case, means your toxic person is proving they are no longer toxic by actually having a sober-minded understanding of the role they played and how their behavior was harmful.

REPARATIONS

No really. They must be willing to engage in low and high cost repairs.  They do not get to determine what those repairs are-- YOU DO. This means going back and shoring up the places in your relationship that their behavior damaged. If their behavior was SO destructive that it destroyed the relational foundation, you'll have to evaluate if building from the ground up is what you need or what they are capable of.

A low cost repair might be something like: "I need my toxic person to check in with me once a week." Low cost repairs are exactly what they sound like. They are behaviors and actions that don't cost the toxic person much to do, but are ever present in order to show the wounded person that they are valued. 

A high cost repair is where the real change takes place. These behaviors are things like:

finding a new job, after your significant other cheated with co-workers at their place of employment

a friend committing to vacation time to bond and support one another 

a parent refusing to allow abusive family members to share space with you during family gatherings

High cost repairs, by nature, require that the toxic person lose power in order to shift power to the wounded person. Not everyone is capable or willing to do this. Power is a commodity for some... an often can be what makes a person toxic in the first place. Regardless of what the low cost of high cost repairs are they must be agreed upon by both parties and engaged in consistently. The work of the toxic person is to provide proof that they are safe, while the wounded person simultaneously works to allow space for trust to be rebuilt.

 

The one necessary condition, yo.

That one necessary condition that I mentioned earlier is *drumroll* your wellbeing! Boom. Oh wait. You are underwhelmed? But really. YOUR wellbeing is what led you to place the strong boundary of being cut off in the first place. Take a moment to be present with yourself. I know it is hard, but do the work of honest reflection and ask, "can I handle the work that is required of me in the reparations/reconciliation process." If you cannot handle the toxic person and their slip ups and mistakes that will ultimately happen as they learn new behaviors without being triggered... do not reconcile."  You ain't ready, bro. You have to be honest about your abilities, maturity, and wounds. Once you agree to engage in reparations and reconciliation you agree to allow the person to ACTIVELY build trust. This can be a long process. Can you withstand the setbacks that are inevitable?  Engaging in the reconciliation process before BOTH of you are ready can mean cutting off from them again. Be sure they are ready and you are ready.

Listen to their ACTIONS more than their words.