It is possible to love someone who is toxic and to not keep them in your life and I am living proof.
A few weeks ago I received a phone call from a person in my family who has been extremely hyper-critical, hyper-cutting, judgey, angry, sarcastic...toxic to the extreme for many years. Interestingly enough, my extended family (aunts and cousins, et al) have always adored that sharp personality of hers.
We used to be incredibly, incredibly close. Those years ago, as time went on I saw that she was simply killing me from the inside out. I talked to her many, many times and she knew her behavior was hurtful and harmful and she knew that I was telling her what I needed from her. Yet she could not change.
The burden of change was on me.
Keep that in mind; the burden of change is almost always on the person who is capable of seeing things clearly.
I told her that, in spite of loving her, I would not remain in the same room with her. I would move my life outside of the door of her life and hope that she could become a person of kindness. About ten years ago, I did this, I closed the door and moved on. She continued to try to reconnect for awhile, then she started smear campaigns of me whenever she could...
It was painful, but I was grateful to myself for closing that door.
A few weeks ago she called me, these many years later, and she asked for my forgiveness. She told me that she knew that she had treated me appallingly and she knew that those years of her life were lived in serious anger and derision. The intervening years have been good and bad and have taught her many lessons about what is truly essential in her life.
Her tears and insight were remarkable and hopeful. I told her that I forgive her completely (because, why not? Why ask for more than her sincere growth and her sincere apology?)
She said, thank you, you just forgive me?
Yes, I said, fully.
I remain hopeful for the people who carry such hatefulness and cruelty and anger and pain-causing emotion in their hearts. But the door is there for a purpose. When I closed that door (and I would do it again if necessary) I was able to move forward, to see our history clearer, and to feel strong about the door's existence.
I didn't expect her return; that is a hopeful new chapter; I am happy for her!