Do you have toxic people in your life?
Do you have a friend that’s a drama queen or a family member that’s always negative? Do you have people in your life that cause you untold worlds of stress? These are just a few signs of a toxic person. These people are difficult to deal with and can sometimes defy rational logic. They can’t be called out on their behaviors because very often they don’t see anything wrong. Check out my last article on How to Spot a Toxic Person for more information.
Once you can recognize these toxic people and their behaviors, what do you do about them?
How to Deal With Toxic People in a Healthy Way
One of the most integral first steps in dealing with a toxic person is to realize that they are bringing toxicity in to your life and corrupting it and you need to set some strict boundaries.
Setting boundaries and limits enables you to control what you accept into your life and what you won’t tolerate. The key here is to start with a small boundary or limit and continuously reinforce it every single time the toxic person tries to step over your line in the sand. This allows you to build confidence with setting bigger and bigger boundaries and lets the toxic person know you mean business.
The more you set boundaries and pull yourself back from the toxicity you’ll begin to notice patterns to the toxic person’s behavior. The further removed you are from the behavior the easier it is for you to be logical thereby enabling you to know where they might strike next and get out in front of the behavior.
What boundaries might you consider setting with the toxic person in your life?
Rise above the chaos. The reason toxic people get their way is because their behavior is so irrational and crazy making that you start to question yourself and your sanity. Now, in extreme cases this can lead to Gaslighting Behaviors which is an article for another day. If you don’t engage emotionally with the toxic person’s chaos, if you remain unmoved and logical, you can shut down their behavior. Don’t try and beat them at their own game by engaging in debates or arguments. They’ll kill the horse dead and then beat you with it until you give in.
Maintain emotional distance. Distance requires awareness of what your hot buttons are and how you react when they’re pushed. If you know that a coworker’s inability to take accountability for themselves will send you through the roof then cut that reaction off at the pass and create a new pathway forward to deal with that reaction.
Stop pretending the toxicity is ok. Toxic people know that their behavior gets them what they want because other people find it easier to just tolerate them rather than call them out and set limits. Just remember puppy training; if you don’t set limits on the new puppy he’ll be howling for food at 2 a.m. Don’t reward bad behavioecr bause it will continue. Decide right now that enough is enough and stop making excuses for their toxicity.
Stop keeping your mouth shut. Speak up and stand up for yourself! Toxic people are out for Number 1, themselves, at the expense of others. Don’t accept this behavior! A bully usually backs down once confronted. Now, if you’re being abused in some way don’t confront them and simply reach out for help.
Toxic people and abusers can use anger as a way to influence you, they also may not respond to your attempts at communication, they will interrupt you and suddenly start talking negatively about something you hold dear. When you speak up out against this negative verbal diatribe you will find that the toxic person is outraged and even surprised that you’ve trespassed on their negativity. Be prepared to continue speaking up! Challenge the behavior up front and directly.
Defend Your Boundaries. The toxic person may attack your dignity, your beliefs, and your boundaries so stay strong and defend the boundaries and limits you’ve set in place. Show them that you won’t be bullied or belittled. End toxic conversations with plain abruptness that demonstrates that their behavior is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated.
Don’t own their toxic behavior. Know that this is about them, it’s not about you. Their behavior has everything to do with their inadequacies and their need to over power and control you. They will try their hardest to make you feel guilty because it makes them feel good. Their behavior isn’t personal to you, they are toxic with everyone.
Move on without them. A toxic person isn’t likely to change their behaviors, they aren’t likely to stop being negative and toxic. You can’t hold on to the relationship in hopes that you can change them. If you are suffering because of their behaviors and becoming stressed or ill then perhaps it is time to consider a move. Ask yourself, Do I need this person in my life? What value do they add consistently to my life? Sometimes you just have to move on without them to save yourself. Letting go of a toxic person doesn’t mean that you wish them ill or hate them, it just means you value yourself and your mental health more.
Self-Care. When you deal with toxic people regularly you’ll find yourself mentally and emotionally drained leading to physical exhaustion. Taking good care of yourself is just good sense. Get plenty of rest, eat healthy nutritious foods, take moderate exercise, and most of all, de-stress. Read more about self care here.
Remember, a healthy relationship is always reciprocal; there should always be give and take, not take and take.
JoyWork Suggestion: Identify the toxic people in your life and create strategic pathways forward to ending that behavior. This could mean picking one tip from the article above and trying it out for a week. It could also mean booking a coaching session to help you find your way forward.
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