On the TV Show Two and a Half Men, Charlie Sheen’s character, aptly named “Charlie,” was a real playboy. He was characterized as a ladies’ man, a real player addicted to empty, meaningless sexual encounters, alcohol, and basic “bad-boy” behavior. The “comedy” here (if you can call it that) was the conflict he and his more stable brother, Alan, repeatedly experienced while living together in a dreamy bachelor pad on the beach in Malibu.

Alan was a divorced dad trying to raise his child to become an active, productive member of society, but then Charlie’s actions continued to sabotage his brother’s efforts.

This story comes from the creative minds of a roomful of writers, but do situations like this really exist in families? The answer is a big, resounding YES.

Life is filled with dramatic moments, some more pleasurable than others. However for many people, those dramatic moments become the central focus of their lives. It’s the only thing they know. As a result, they become trapped in the endless cycle of dysfunctional behaviors and relationships. To them, there is no clear line between “what I enjoy” and “what I’m addicted to.” Charlie Sheen’s character suffered from sex, alcohol, and gambling addictions, and these are all very real addictions.

Here are several examples of toxic people.

  • Negative Nellies: These are the people who, no matter how good their lives are going, always find some way to focus on the negatives. They bring others down with their words and behavior. They are the party poopers and emotional vampires. Stay away from them! You can’t outsmart negativity, even though your ego may say you can.
  • Drama Kings and Queens: These are the people who always have to make some sort of scene. They are constantly inserting themselves into others’ conversations and lives, even when they aren’t invited, using this as a way to draw attention to themselves. Sometimes they even claim not to like drama, but they’re often the ones who bring it!
  • Co-dependents: These people tend to feel empty when they’re alone, so they search for someone or something to fill up them up emotionally. They often end up choosing partners who are equally empty, and together, their dysfunction grows and they don’t take the steps they need to fix the issue.

Are you in a relationship with people who exhibit some or all of the above behaviors? If so, here are some tips for dealing with your situation:

  • Love yourself enough to know what feels right versus wrong. Turn your attention inward and begin working on YOU.
  • Every day for the next 30 days, ask yourself one of these questions:
    • How can I love myself more today than yesterday?
    • How can I be more kind and loving toward myself?
    • How can I be more feminine/masculine?
    • How can I get more in touch with my feelings?

Leaving a toxic relationship isn’t always easy, but it’s possible. It definitely takes work and greater awareness. And awareness begins with something very simple: A willingness to see.

We must learn to love ourselves enough to see what is. To love what is. And walk away from something negative when required for our well being.