Helpful Ways To Deal With Toxic People

Do you have someone floating around the outskirts of your life who can only be described as toxic? Someone who makes you feel bad, brings you down, is an emotional vampire and generally has nothing positive to offer you or your otherwise peace-loving, positively fuelled, happy life!

You might be thinking, why would you have this person around anyway? Well, they are usually there out of necessity. They might be a work colleague or worse, a family member and the only reason they’ve remained part of your life is out of loyalty or a sense of duty. Maybe it’s to appease your partner or keep the peace.

So, instead of grabbing them by the hair and thrusting their head into the closest concrete surface, which BTW, I seriously don’t recommend; what’s a better solution to your toxicity problem? Sure, it might feel good to attack them, but rest assured, when you release them you’ll kick yourself for being manipulated into behaving like someone you aren’t.

There are always much better solutions to dealing with the token toxic person in your life and we’d like to give you some tips before you find yourself in the above scenario.

1. Honour your feelings

It’s ok that you don’t like everyone you meet. We each have a unique personality and sometimes personalities aren’t compatible. Don’t avoid what you are feeling or try to alter your feelings on account of others. Suppressing thoughts and feelings will only escalate a situation and make things worse.

2. Set boundaries and enforce them

Don’t allow yourself to be used as a personal doormat by anyone; including family members. Establish your boundaries and respect yourself. Be assertive in enforcing the boundaries without being nasty. It will be much harder to set boundaries during an established relationship, so get ready for the fallout! Keep emotions out of it and no matter how hard they push, remove yourself from the situation and don’t bite.

3. Don’t expect to receive emotional support from them

Toxic people don’t care about your wants or needs. Regardless of what they say, if you don’t expect anything from them, you will avoid the disappointment they can cause.

4. Be aware of their agenda

Toxic people aren’t interested in giving you their time or attention. Be prepared for them to lack interest in your life. Try to be one step ahead of what they want from you and only give them what you are prepared to have taken. This is not a reciprocal relationship and you need to be fully aware of that.

5. Don’t expect to be able to please them

No matter what you do, you won’t be able to please them. No amount of giving will be appreciated and they may neglect to remember what you’ve done for them. The best way forward is to stop trying to please them and accept them for who they are.

6. Refuse to be manipulated

Toxic people are very successful manipulators. It’s probably their best skill. They are used to getting their own way and don’t care who they hurt, disappoint or destroy along the way. Their lack of empathy for others allows them to take advantage, without any guilt or remorse. Don’t allow manipulation to undermine your integrity or alter your personality or behaviour.

7. Avoid criticism

Toxic people find fault in others, however, they don’t take constructive criticism or feedback very well. In fact, they may use criticism from others as a way to manipulate empathy. In you need to have them in your life try and find something positive about them. In some cases you may need to look exceptionally hard.

8. Protect yourself at all times – physically, emotionally, mentally, financially and spiritually

The only way you can have this person in your life is to thoroughly protect yourself. They will ask for more than you can afford to give, in all aspects of your life. If you don’t protect yourself, you will get lost in their negativity. You can become that  person you don’t want to be or even like, for that matter.

9. Stay away from them whenever possible

The only way to sustain a relationship with a toxic person is distance. If they try to manipulate their way into your home because they have nowhere else left to go; save yourself the heartache and torture. They won’t appreciate it and they will use you up and spit you out when they are finished with you. If toxic people are in your life, don’t invite them into your inner circle. This is where they will do the most damage. Keep them on the outer, be polite and live your own life.

10. Make the decision about having them in your life

Over time, this person will wear you down, emotionally, physically, mentally, financially and spiritually. You might result to behaving like someone who isn’t you because of the server stress they cause. Before it gets to that, regardless of how this person exists in your life, you need to make a decision to either tolerate them or walk away. If you are tolerating them for the sake of others, you need to be honest and state that you just can’t do it. It’s unhealthy and no-one should have to live with the level of toxicity some people provide.

No matter how hard you might try, at the end of the day, it ultimately takes two people to make a relationship work. If one party isn’t willing, you will need to resign to the fact that no amount of effort on your part will change it. In fact, the harder you try, the worse it can get.

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December 4, 2014

Want World Peace? Start By Connecting With Your Family

I’ve often thought: How do we achieve world peace when families who share similar genes don’t even get along. Not all families mind you; some can weather the toughest crises and remain intact. Others, however, are completely disconnected. There are a few basic reasons why. Once we understand this, we can reconnect and move onto greater cohesion.

The reasons families don’t get along is very similar to why world peace is so difficult to achieve. These things include being exceptionally similar or total opposites, strong personalities, assumptions about people without actually knowing and understanding them or the possibility of mental illness.

Firstly, people who are similar often clash. People assume they should get along but sometimes this isn’t true. The easiest way to ease the conflict is for both people to acknowledge the similarity and understand why a person makes them feel uneasy. In many cases, this is easier said than done. People with similar characteristics can readily identify faults in others but are often unwilling to see these faults in themselves. If this is causing a lot of conflict for a family other members may intervene and act as mediators as they work through their issues. Alternately, family counsellors could be a useful resource to reduce the stress on the family unit.

Another common cause of issues between people is being complete opposites. Yes, opposites can attract but, generally, total opposites don’t understand each other. For example, introverts prefer to steer clear of attention, while extroverts seek it out. It is therefore understandable that polar opposites may find discomfort in each others company. Being tolerant of others differences is imperative to getting along.

Strong personalities breed strong personalties, so it’s no wonder tempers flair. Loggerheads usually occurs out of sheer determination and a strong will to get one’s own way. It’s very easy to say the best way to have a cohesive relationship is to compromise, however, there are people who just won’t budge. If this is the case, good luck!

There is no ideal solution to this because it takes two people to compromise. The best option you have is to choose which battle or war to win – and leave the rest. This will reduce the friction which occurs over small issues.

Not really knowing someone, or assuming you know them, can cause a great deal of heartache. No one appreciates being judged. If you have a problem with someone who you really don’t know or understand, you have two options. Either take some time to actually get to know them or reserve your judgement. They maybe nothing like what you imagine them to be and you are condemning them based on ignorance.

If you are feeling judged by others, confront them and tell them how you feel. If it continues, as a last resort, you may need to decide to save yourself the pain and surround yourself with people who understand and appreciate you.

Lastly, mental illness can put tremendous strain upon families. This is exacerbated when people don’t understand it or know how to help. Acquiring diagnosis, knowledge and support will reduce the impact of mental illness for all effected. Visiting a GP about mental illness is an recommended starting point.

“What can you do to promote world peace. Go home and love your family.” Mother Teresa

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By Kim Chartres

August 17, 2014