I’m not sure you know the term “toxic people”. Nevertheless, I’m sure you have met these people many times in your life, as I have in mine. They seem to exist everywhere. You can find them in your workplace, among your friends, even in your family sometimes. But what does “toxic people” mean and how can you deal with them?
Generally, we can characterize as “toxic” any person that affects our life and, above all, our emotional world, in a negative way. Toxic people consume our energy and make our lives miserable in many ways.
He/she may be always living in a drama, always seeing the negative in everything. You will find him/her always complaining and never seeking any kind of solution. You are the lucky one, when he/she is so unlucky.
Another form of toxicity is the kind of person that is always angry, yelling or bullying you in any way. You are never good enough, or you are always to blame for everything that goes wrong. He/she may be a member of your family or your boss or even a coworker.
There are also people that are so selfish, they are always seeking attention, they may even try to get credit for what you have achieved. They are needy and they are always right!
And then, we have the ones who are constantly lying. They will mislead you in any way they can. They will try to withhold information, in order to achieve their goals. They will twist every situation in any possible way. They may ever lie about you to others without any remorse.
And what about the people always gossiping behind other people’s backs? We all may have been caught up in gossiping from time to time (not that I approve of that), but I am referring especially to those who are doing it systematically every day. They know who went where, with whom, they are making an effort to invade in other people’s lives. They are always criticizing everyone. They are even running around telling stories about others. And make no mistake. These people have no boundaries and no friends. They come to you with other people’s stories and then they go to them and they gossip about you.
Those are the main types of a “toxic” person. Of course, you can include any other type that makes you feel unhappy, depressed, awkward, ashamed of yourself or even scared every time you are near this person.
The best way to deal with such a person is to distance yourself. The ideal thing would be to remove these persons from your life. But that is not possible most of the times. You may have to work with them or they may belong to your family.
In that case, you have to stand up for yourself. Set some boundaries. Try to speak to them and tell them how they make you feel. Express your feelings and ask them to stop hurting you in any way they do. Depending on the kind of relationship you have with that person (work, family, friend), choose the right language, but make things clear. If they don’t seem to understand, or even if they do, but they don’t change their behavior, protect yourself from them, without feeling guilty for doing that. Toxic people take advantage of our guilt. Don’t let them get into your mind and into your soul. For instance, if they are always complaining for everything, try not to listen to them. Make an excuse and leave, if you can, or try to change the subject. Think of something positive, something that makes you happy and stick to that thought.
Always be polite, but stand up for yourself, hold your ground! Do not allow them to take advantage of you in any way. And as Greek history teaches us, you can do what Alexander the Great did with the Gordian knot: if you cannot undo a knot, just cut it! If you cannot change a person, move forward with your life. Unfortunately, you cannot help everyone, especially if a person does not want to be helped. You can try, but without losing your soul.
Have you ever dealt with toxic people? What did you do? I will gladly read your comments!