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10 Ways to Deal with Toxic People

It’s tempting to want to live your life completely alone when there’s too much happening in this world. It never exactly came with an “off” switch. And you entered it just as fast and messily, like the flooding of a stream with no warning —no how-to manual —nothing. Just so completely and utterly pure until each experience and interaction gradually kicks it out of you.

Unfortunately, you don’t have much control over who you cross paths with. Sometimes, these people, whether they’re your co-workers, family members, friends, or lovers, can be the worst things to happen to you. They are disguised and masked by titles that are supposed to add color and liveliness to your life, but in fact, only do the opposite by bringing you down with their difficult, harmful behavior. Psych2Go shares with you 10 ways to deal with toxic people in your life:

1. Know who you are —inside and out.

The more you develop a strong sense of who you are, the less power someone has to bring you down. If you find yourself often uncertain of what your strengths and weaknesses are, it gives someone else a chance to define who you are through their lenses. And when that person is toxic, what they see in you will only prevent you from growing into who you are meant to be. To prevent losing yourself completely, delve into hobbies that bring meaning to your life.

Join clubs and meet like-minded people who share the same passions as you. Your interests, dreams, and goals are what will help anchor you when a toxic person decides to call you out on your flaws. When you are sure of what excites you and what you’re talented at, it makes it easier to block out their toxic opinions, because you realize at the end of the day, all that really matters is what you think of yourself and how you will drive yourself to live and establish the life you are striving for.

2. Be aware of the destructive patterns and cycle.

Toxic people are good at getting what they want, and they do that through clever, calculated behavior. The only way to break free from their destructive patterns is by recognizing them. Initially, toxic people are charming. They’ll be attentive and try to impress you, making you feel loved and respected. But, once they gain your trust, that’s when things take a turn for the worse. They’ll begin to demand a lot from you and pull your emotional strings.

When you feel like you’ve been doing all of the work, only to reach a wall instead of getting anything in return, and you’re ready to leave, they’ll do something to get your attention, making you think that they’re coming around, only to have the cycle repeat itself. But that’s how they get you —when they occasionally give you what you want, only to keep you coming back for more. Don’t be fooled by their tactics. Most importantly, know that you deserve more than just games from someone.

3. Forgive, but never forget.

You can’t undo the past and the hurt that they’ve caused you, but you can still work on moving forward and letting go. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean accepting their toxic behavior. Instead, it means not being controlled by it any longer. It means forging a path of your own and abandoning the old one you were walking on towards the dead end trap that the toxic person intended you to take.

Ultimately, you have to do what’s best for you, which is to let go of what once restrained you. But, never forget the behaviors and actions that damaged you. Instead, use that knowledge and awareness to help you live with a wiser perspective.

4. Find support elsewhere from people who respect and nourish your individuality.

This is especially important if the toxic people are those whom you call your parents or coworkers that you can’t easily stray from. Seek comfort and acceptance elsewhere, whether it be through an amazing group of friends you can spill your guts to or your lover who loves you to the moon and back. It’s unfortunate that certain people may take your existence for granted and want to sabotage you for their own benefits, but understand that their actions are formed from a place of hurting. And know that you don’t ever have to wait to receive the love they’re withholding from you in order to feel whole.

5. Don’t expect change.

Don’t let your optimism blind you. While it’s great that despite all the wrongdoings, you can still see the goodness in people, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to change for the better anytime soon. Toxic people know that you have a big, open heart, and they will take advantage of it every chance they get. The relationship you have with them will always be about them. Don’t give into their ways, and don’t try to change them either. If they really wanted to cherish you, they would’ve done that from the very beginning.

6. Learn what not to become; be the bigger person.

This is something I can strongly resonate with. Take note of the kind of behavior and actions toxic people in your life have expressed and allow them to make you a better person. Learn to be understanding, compassionate, and open-minded. Doing this doesn’t necessarily stop the toxic behavior from happening, but it can help control the amount of toxicity from spreading in your life when you’re choosing not to take part in it yourself.

7. Limit your time and interactions with them.

If possible, try to minimize contact with them as much as possible. If your coworker is toxic, ask for desk rearrangements if they’re in close proximity to you. If the two of you are assigned to work together on a project, ask your boss or manager if it’s possible to work with someone else. If your family members are the ones who are toxic, try to spend most of your time outside of your home as much as possible before you can be financially independent.

8. Say no. Say it loud, proud, and clear!

You can help them out during times of trouble, but you don’t have to help them out every step of the way. It doesn’t make you a bad person, nor does it make you any less of a person. Learn to say no and stand your ground firmly, no matter how much they try to guilt trip you. It might be initially difficult to do when you’re used to giving frequently instead of setting boundaries. But once you say it more often, it’ll get easier over time.

9. Don’t feel obligated to explain yourself all the time when they rarely give you that in return.

The thing about toxic people is that they constantly demand things from you, explanations being no exception. Realize that you don’t owe them anything, nor do you need their approval on how you want to live your life. Understand that the more information you give them, the more power they have over you, because they want to use it against you. Be selective about what you choose to reveal to them.

10. Focus on problem-solving, rather than the problem itself.

It might be tempting to ruminate over what is upsetting you, playing the bad actions over and over again in your head. But, this prevents you from moving forward. Moreover, it prevents you from figuring out solutions to the problems. Instead of being fixed on the bad behavior in itself, learn how to manage and cope with them. You may not being able to change the past, but you still have the power to shape your future.

How do you deal with toxic people? Do you find these tips helpful? Psych2Go would love to hear your thoughts! Please be sure to leave a comment down below!

 

If you enjoyed this article, you may also like 10 Ways to Deal with Toxic Parents, 10 Ways to Deal with a Toxic Sibling, or 10 Ways to Spot a Toxic Person in Your Life from Psych2Go.

 

References:

Mathews, A. (2017, August 26). Dealing with Difficult or Toxic People. Psychology Today. Retrieved November 7, 2017.

Schreiber, K. (2017, May 2). How to Handle the Most Toxic People in Your Life. Psychology Today. Retrieved November 7, 2017.

Young, K. (2017). Toxic People: 16 Practical, Powerful Ways to Deal With Them. Hey Sigmund. Retrieved November 7, 2017.

Catherine Huang
Catherine Huang graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a BA in English. She has a penchant for storytelling, ramen, and psychology. Catherine is a writer for Psych2Go and looks forward to reaching out to its growing community, hoping to encourage others to tap into self-examination and confront life's challenges head on with the most difficult questions.

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