We all know the dark poison of a toxic friendship. They bring out the worst in us, inspiring pettiness, mean-spirited behavior and suppressed anger.
They disrupt our spiritual wellness and sometimes grow to an unmanageable size before we see the monster they’ve become in our lives.
Often, these relationships begin with an intense fever that we mistake for affection, mutual closeness or an “instant” bond. But really, the heat of this illusionary intimacy is a prelude for emotional sickness.
Paradoxically, they also tend to be among the hardest to leave.
People hang on to negative friendships for years after they go sour.
Don’t! The sooner you free yourself from failed relationships, the faster you turn to working on the ones worth building.
Your Craft stands ready to help you let go & move on.
Please note: If you are in an abusive relationship or the victim of a stalker, seek help immediately. There are numerous organizations equipped to meet your needs and get you help. This is NOT a guide to dealing with criminally abusive behavior.
But for those of you just dealing with a garden-variety mean girl, here’s a guide to mobilizing your witchcraft practice to move her along.
What is banishing?
In witchcraft, banishment is the ritual removal of someone/something from your life.
Most often, banishing spells are deployed to overcome addictions, toxic relationships or even places (I banish you, oh dentist’s office!)
Today, we focus specifically on the banishment of a toxic relationship.
The following method is extremely effective if you really want it to be.
Which brings me to my next point . . .
Make sure you really want this.
Banishing someone from your life means you want them gone. Period.
It’s not for casual use, or something to do impulsively in anger.
Really consider your motives. If you still feel a lingering need to cling to the relationship, or you don’t feel fully committed, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Assuming you’re not dealing with a straight up stalker (in which case, you should seek professional help immediately), most of the time, when banishment fails, it’s because you reconnected.
You either reached back out to them, or they reached back out to you, and you responded, and the cycle begins again.
So if you don’t feel fully committed to removing someone from your life in a permanent way, step back, take a breather and reevaluate the situation at a later date.
Resist revenge seeking.
The temptation to seek revenge in a toxic friendship sometimes feels overwhelming.
But typically, engaging in revenge-seeking behavior or backstabbing only fuels the toxic nature of the relationship.
This negative karma becomes cyclic, feeding into itself and boomeranging right back to you.
If you succumb to the urge to “get even,” you never actually do.
This is not a lecture on the 3-Fold Law or the Left-Hand Path. It’s just the kind of common sense that comes with experience, and if you’ve been down this road before, you know it’s true.
Think of a toxic relationship like a grease fire.
The kindling is negative energy. Feed it, and it burns brighter and longer.
Then again, trying to throw water on a grease fire in the form of kindness or openness usually just makes it spread out into other parts of your life. Because the truth is, it feels fake and you resent it.
And in the end, negative relationships rarely get better no matter what you do.
If you’re humble and put your best foot forward, you might make up for a while, and go through a honeymoon period.
But in end, all the same problems arise again.
To begin to let go of a toxic friendship, we first need to own our own role in it.
This does not mean you need to take responsibility for anything the other person did. That’s on them.
But denying your role in the toxic cycle of the situation usually results in ending up in the same situation again with someone else.
The spiritual process of self-ownership feels painful. Like any other deep wound, cleaning out the infected junk of your own heart hurts. But it’s the only way to begin the process of healing.
It also takes maturity, grace and insight.
Even if all you did to contribute to the cycle was let them back into your life after you ought to have known better, it’s important to recognize that.
If you’re struggling, try pulling a one-card tarot reading.
Or, just ask yourself some questions.
- How did I end up in this relationship? What drew me into it, and why have I allowed it to infest my well-being?
- In what ways have I fed the negative cycle?
- Did I allow the toxic energy of this relationship to spill over into other parts of my life, or effect other people?
- In what way is the other person better off without me?
Once you determine where this path went sideways, it’s time to change course.
If you want to use your witchcraft skills at this point, there are many ritual ways to disengage from your toxic relationship.
Gather all the items that remind you of the friendship and put them in a box.
If they are literally combustible, burn them under the dark moon with some dried rosemary.
If they’re biodegradable, bury them with a clove of garlic somewhere far from where you live or work.
And if they’re neither, throw them away in a dumpster or disposal site off your property.
Once you completed your disposal method, walk away and don’t look back.
Let The House Burn
At this point, if at all possible or practical, notify your friend that you wish to discontinue this relationship.
Don’t explain, or justify. Don’t ramble on about why. Trust me, they already know why and any attempt to explain yourself only gives them a foothold to argue with you.
You do not owe anyone, including your mutual friends, an explanation. It is your absolute prerogative to decide who is, and isn’t, in your life.
Keep it simple. “This isn’t working. I no longer want to continue a friendship with you. Please don’t contact me again.”
Don’t take the opportunity to say everything you’ve thought or unload on the person.
Less is more. Your goal is to move on, not rehash it.
Then, and this is crucial, discontinue all contact. Block them on your phone and all social media profiles. Do not respond to, or even read, their emails.
Any further contact only delays closure.
If they’re sane, and relatively stable, they’ll respect your decision. They might even be relieved.
If they’re not, you might be in for a longer haul.
The more resistant they are to your choice to discontinue contact, the more important it is that you actually do. This kind of behavior is a dead giveaway that they have no respect for your boundaries.
The longer and more involved your toxic friendship, the longer it takes for the person in question to recognize and believe that you mean business.
It sometimes takes months, or even years, for them to truly accept that the relationship is over. This is particularly true if you’ve had many friendship “break ups” followed by “make ups.”
Whatever happens, no matter how destructive or antagonistic they become, whatever they say, do or try, do not engage.
Come what may, let the house burn.
In the absence of negative fuel from you, they will eventually burn out.
You might look around yourself after such an experience and find yourself surrounded by ashes.
Or, you might feel a sense of relief and renewed energy.
Either way, it’s a great time to try energy clearing. Use your skills in the Craft to eliminate any residual negative energy from your life.
And accept that it takes time. Clear your personal energy as many times and in as many ways as you need to to feel renewed and released.
The road to healing from a toxic friendship isn’t always a straight one.
So how do you know when it’s over?
The best indication is when you stop caring about the past.