How Do You Deal With Toxic People In Your Life?

woman sitting by the water

 

 

Isn’t that a million-dollar question? We all seem to encounter at least a couple of them throughout our lives, but how can you handle it when it’s a close family member? This is a very sensitive topic, but one I feel it’s important to discuss. 

By no means, I am not a professional. This post represents strictly my own thoughts on how to deal with certain difficult people we all have in our lives. I’ve done some reading on the subject, but I am in no place qualified to offer advice. I am open to having constructive debates about the subject in private if any of you feel strongly about it.

 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been constantly torn between loyalty to the person, and the need to cut them off completely. Because they are so close to you, you can’t help but think that we should make an effort, that maybe they will change. 

Yet the vicious cycle never breaks, and you carry on with tremendous guilt and unhappiness. 

Do you often feel as if you’re always trying to walk on eggshells around these people? you just never know when the switch gets turned on, and you somehow did something to offend them? Yet again? You’re left feeling inadequate, hurt, and at a loss at how to make things better.

 

When is it time to finally cut the cord and put yourself first?

I really wish I had an answer, but I don’t. At least not a clear-cut one. 

 

Another question that makes me wonder is: do these toxic people realize that they have a negative impact on others, or do they simply not care?

 

Where does this behavior come from?

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Most often from extreme feelings of low self-esteem, but in extreme cases, mental illness. One of the most common diseases, narcissistic personality disorder, for example, is very difficult to handle for loved ones.

Other issues are caused by deeply rooted personal issues that, again, were not dealt with correctly. 

It comes from a place of insecurity and undealt trauma from their childhood. They often get pleasure out of putting other people down to make themselves feel better. 

 

So, what characteristics make a person toxic?

 

Being Right

There are a few out there but the number one is the need to be right.

Being right sounds great on paper, but when they always point out your mistakes over and over, it makes being around them downright unpleasant. 

After being in their company, you feel emotionally drained and exhausted.

 

Moody

You never know which side of them comes out, so you’re always on your toes. One day they are very pleasant and fun to be around, then they get into a dark mood at the drop of a hat. 

This is where most of us tend to try to justify our behavior or bend over backward to ease the tension. Is that a good idea? Probably not, because they are master manipulators. The more you try to please them, the more often that toxic behavior occurs. 

Stop doing everything in your power to change the atmosphere, and don’t engage in their game. Eventually, they’ll notice that their manipulations stopped working on you, and they might rectify their behavior, or move on to someone else.

Either way, you’ll get your peace of mind.

 

They sometimes resort to threats in order to get their way. Not always as straightforward as it seems. Nonetheless, if you don’t give in to them, the consequence is they make you feel guilty.

 

Guilt Trips

They are the masters at guilt trips. You end up giving in but afterward left with a bad feeling. Mostly because they paint such a pretty picture beforehand, that the disappointment is so much greater when things are completely the opposite of how they are supposed to be. 

You are typically the only one who contributes to the relationship. They give off that feeling as if you are indebted to them. They will often do things to purposely hurt you, then blame you for causing them to act that way. 

 

Jealous of Your Accomplishments

Displaying jealousy when things are going well for you, and doing something to sabotage your happiness. Sometimes just a simple inappropriate comment can ruin a special moment.

Jealous people, in extreme cases, have the potential to become violent, so when you encounter someone that demands you to account for your time, don’t walk, run. It doesn’t usually get better with time. 

 

Compliments?

They give backhanded compliments that are really about them, not the person receiving the compliment. An example here is a public display for someone’s birthday on social media that is way over the top when they haven’t even spoken to the person in months. It’s often about making themselves look better. 

 

Never Own Up To Feelings

Another typical characteristic is that they don’t own up to their feelings. They will act as if you’re the one with a chip on your shoulder, all the while they’re the ones acting weird. But nothing is ever their fault, the blame always falls on you. It’s called projection. 

They feel entitled to certain behaviors, but if you act the same way towards them, big arguments occur.

 

woman with bandaid over her mouth, shushing

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Playing the Victim

Often they play the victim when they are the ones who created the problem, to begin with. And they’ll wait for the opportune moment when you’re busy with a commitment before they spring “the problem on you”. That way, you feel obliged to cancel whatever you had planned to deal with their pressing issue. If not, you are the person that victimized them. A no-win situation to find yourself in.

 

Defensive

Overly defensive, they always justify everything. If you ever voice your opinion about anything, they override it with a ‘better’ way of seeing things. Hence, they make you feel inadequate or wrong.

You get the feeling that you’re not good enough whenever you speak to them, as they make themselves feel superior every chance they get. 

 

Sometimes you may be trying to resolve an issue, but they will bring back something that happened months or years ago in order to avoid fixing the issue. And, of course, that is always your fault, so you just keep going in circles. 

 

Never Apologizing

You will never get an apology out of them either. Even when they mess up royally, they always turn it on you. They will twist the story so much, that they’ll actually convince you that you’re imagining things. 

 

Everyone makes mistakes, it’s part of being human. But toxic people will keep reminding you of your mistakes over and over. You may put a lot of effort into something that’s important to you, and the most minor setback is flashed by them. But when you’re doing good and improving, they pretend like it’s no big deal, or they simply ignore it. 

 

How to deal with them?

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Cutting them off completely will not always be feasible, but may be the only option in some cases. 

At the very least you can create some distance between yourself and them. Only schedule short “dates’, or meet while other people are around. For example at a coffee shop, or for a specific activity. 

When they are so bent on arguing and keep on lying, just let it go. Ignore them, or go do something else. Arguing with them will get you absolutely nowhere fast.

 

Can you change them? The answer is obviously no. But you can always change your reaction to them. 

Stop constantly adjusting your behavior to please them  If they continuously take issue with everything you say or do, it may be time to part ways. 

 

Concluding words

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At the end of the day, remember that you’re not responsible for how someone else feels. Whatever issue they have, it’s their issue, and they need to deal with it. If you can’t seem to do anything right, just walk away. Easier said than done, but you deserve better. Having peace of mind is priceless.

 

I hope you enjoyed this non-bookish post, and that it didn’t come on as preachy, but rather informative. Let me know in the comments if you enjoy this type of topic in the future.

Until next time, friends.

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