Conversations with Your BFF: How Do I Deal with Toxic People?



BY REBECCA COOPER

 

I think we would all agree that it is important to give our bodies a break from ‘toxic’ food and alcohol. We know that fast food every day isn’t good for us and downing a bottle of wine or a six pack every night isn’t a wise choice to stay healthy. But what about taking a break or removing toxic people from our lives? Isn’t your mental health as important as your physical body? Is it even possible to get those who would bring you down and spew their negativity out of your life? Well, I’m glad you asked!

Toxic people can do a number on your head and your heart and, unfortunately, you may need to let them go to stay sane and mentally healthy. Whether the person is a family member or a friend, you do not have to stay in a relationship with a person who is manipulative, selfish or abusive, physically or mentally. It doesn’t get any worse than to realize that a loved one is a poisonous presence, but it is also very necessary.

We all have relationships that are challenging, with personality conflicts, but if a relationship is hurting you and affecting your well-being, that’s not okay. You have to accept that not everyone can be ‘saved’ with love and kindness and it’s not your job to change someone or help them see the need to make a change. Remember, no one changes anything about themselves because someone else points it out; they change because they see a need to make that change. In all cases, toxicity exists on a spectrum. On one end is the friend who won’t let the conversation go on how you don’t spend enough time together doing things, then there’s the ex who is still able to manipulate you into a rage. Your friend may be irritating and frustrating, but your ex is definitely toxic. You have to make the call on who requires distance and when they may need to be cut from your life completely. To make these calls, you may need a litmus test to understand true toxicity.

Toxic People Want to Control You

This may sound strange, but people who aren’t in control of their own lives, love to try and control yours. A toxic person will seek ways to control you, either through overt actions or subtle manipulation, sometimes even making you think it was your idea or choice.

Toxic People Don’t Accept Boundaries

Toxic people can drain your emotional ‘gas tank’ by constantly pushing you to work harder to please them, making you compromise more and more. This is exhausting and pushes the boundaries of any healthy relationship. Don’t let your ‘tank’ be on empty before you put a stop to this!

Toxic People Take without Giving

Give and take is just a part of a true friendship. Sometimes you need a hand, and sometimes your friend does, but in the end, it evens out. This isn’t the case with a toxic person – they are often there to take what they can get from you as long as you’re willing to give, but don’t expect them to be giving to you – the concept of reciprocity is lost on them.

Toxic People Are Always ‘Right,’ but Rarely Honest

Some people are always going to find ways to be right even when they are not, and then they rarely admit when they’ve blown it. Toxic people usually have issues with being honest; not the little white lies, but blatant and repeated patterns of lying to better serve themselves.

Toxic People Love to be Victims

A toxic person lives to be a victim of the world. They will literally seek to find ways to feel oppressed and put down in ways they clearly are not. The world is against them, and they will make every excuse or rationalization to convince you that the world and everyone in it is out to get them. It gets tiring being on the listening end of a toxic person’s list of ‘woe is me.’

Toxic People Don’t Take Responsibility

Going along with the victim mentality is a desire to avoid responsibility. When the world is against you, the toxic person’s choices and actions can’t possibly be responsible for the quality of their life…they believe ‘it’s just the way things are in this unfair world.’ They have nothing to do with their plight in life – again, it’s someone else’s fault.

If you take a good hard look at yourself, hopefully, you see a caring and kind person, striving to treat everyone equally. That effort is admirable, but it doesn’t mean all relationships are equal. Great people will make important contributions to your life, and your happiness, joy, and success will be increased because of it; however toxic people tend to create a lot of problems but contribute little, or sadly, nothing, positive to your life, only sucking the joy out of it. You don’t have to be mean to toxic people; you can treat toxic people with respect without giving them the attention they do not deserve. To preserve your sanity, stop treating all relationships as equal and start giving your time to those who are truly worthy of it. Value yourself enough to know when others don’t value you.


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