Toxic People, we all have them in our lives…The people who drain the life out of you when you are with them come in all varieties; selfish, negative, demanding, demeaning…
I am no expert but I would hazard a guess that a large percentage of the population who struggle with anxiety and depression can attribute it to ‘situational’ depression…Along with financial hardships; toxic people would be the top causes of situational depression. I have been lucky, in that, I have not had a ton of toxic people in my life…Yes, my dad was toxic but I don’t have a specific story to tell…I have had some co-workers and supervisors who have been pretty toxic and am going to share about the most toxic supervisor I have ever worked for…
To be clear, Marty (not her real name) was good at one part of her job…she was great a running a non-profit, that is the business side…She was not great at the people side…Marty was unpredictable, demanding, and unreasonable…Everyone had a ‘Marty’ story…People were quitting, searching for new jobs on the job, and having physical symptoms of stress (sickness, stomach problems, mental health issues, etc…)
At one point in my employment I was given a 4,000 raise in exchange for an increase in caseload, and responsibility…this was of course AMAZING for me, as I was able to handle the caseload at the time…About six months into my new salary, the budget became tight, and without any advanced notice my pay was reduced…This to Marty seem fine, to me and the others it affected, not so much…
Marty eventually left for another agency and the positive change in the atmosphere of the office was tangible…We actually considered having a party after she left…
This example is tame compared to other stories of toxic people but it shows that the toxic people in your life don’t have to be extreme to make a huge impact…
The definition of a ‘toxic person’ is going to be different for everyone…for myself, someone who I don’t consider to be ‘genuine’, ‘authentic’, or ‘safe’ would be toxic to me…
Definition of Toxic People A toxic person or relationship can simply be described as any negative impact on the other either physically, mentally, spiritually, financially or emotionally.
Traits of Toxic People Toxic people will come in various forms and shapes. They can be very draining and can basically live by feeding off your good virtue(s). Moreover, you could be left feeling battered or emotionally drained of your all your energy..
Toxic people will rob you of your life if you allow them and you may end up mirroring their image as well as behaving just like them….
Toxic people may...
Gossiping uncontrollably about you
Will put you down
Projects a lot of anger
Joy and dream killers
Very Disrespectful (Source)
Find your journal or scrap of paper…
- List all of the possible toxic people in your life.
- Next to their names write how they are toxic to you.
- Identify how you feel after interacting with a toxic person. (hereis a list of feeling words)
- Consider yourself. Is it possible you are toxic to someone?
I want to give you some ways to protect yourself when dealing with the ‘toxic’ people of life…
What did you discover yesterday? Were you able to identify any toxic people in your life? How are they toxic to you? Do they tear you down emotionally? Do they wear you out? Are they impossible to talk with? When you identified how the toxic people in your life made you felt, were you surprised at what you wrote down?
I am going to share with you from an article by: Eduard Ezeanu…
- Avoid toxic people:I believe the best way to deal with toxic people is to not deal with them at all; to avoid them. In some cases it may not be an option, but more often than not, it is. This is why I encourage you to really think about the options you truly have with every toxic person in your life.
It is common to think you have to deal with someone, when you actually do not. It is also common to believe you can get a toxic person to change while interacting with them. My experience is that unless you are a professional, you will not get them to change and trying it simply is not worth it.
- Anticipate toxic people:It is harder than usual to get out of relationships with a toxic person. Toxic people tend to have this ability to make you feel bad for avoiding them and to attach to you like a leech. This is why it’s important to be able to spot them quickly, and start avoiding them before the relationship truly develops.
The best way I know to do this is to come up with a list of clues which you believe might indicate a toxic person. Then, every time you meet a person and a significant number of these clues are there, distance yourself from that person.
- Set firm boundaries:Toxic people will often use you, one way or another. The may complain to you all the time while you listen hopelessly (?), or they may constantly get you to get them out of trouble. This is where boundaries come in. Boundaries are reflections of what you are and are not willing to do.
Setting firm boundaries means not allowing toxic people to use you in any of these ways. It means refusing to listen to them complain, refusing to get them out of trouble. When you have firm boundaries, there is basically nothing bad any person can do to you.
- Get over your guilt:Most toxic people are very skilled at making others feel guilty when they don’t do what they want. This makes it particularly hard to set and maintain firm boundaries with them. But, there is a way out of this dilemma: getting rid of your guilt. It is your own guilt which toxic people use to break down your boundaries.
When you can set and maintain boundaries with them without feeling guilty, the weapon they have against you is gone. Realize that your guilt is irrational, pointless, and it is used against you by toxic people. This is the best way to get over it.
- Do not defend yourself:When you avoid toxic people and you set boundaries with them, they frequently resort to accusing you, complaining and playing the victim in an attempt to get you to change your behavior.
One of the worst things you can do when this happens is to defend yourself. It is usually a futile action and it only keeps an immature dialog going which eventually helps the toxic person get what they want. You won’t get anywhere with them by defending yourself and your actions.
Unfortunately, toxic people are everywhere. And they tend to attach themselves to those persons who are kind and have the most to offer.
As for helping toxic people change their ways, I encourage you to leave/pass this task to the professionals in this area.
I agree with the above 100%…however, I also believe that it can be incredibly difficult for people to learn how to set and enforce healthy boundaries…so next week our topic will be BOUNDARIES…one of my favorite self-care techniques…Do you have a story about how you identified, and protected yourself from a toxic person in your life? Would love to hear your story, and maybe you can encourage someone else…