We have all dealt with toxic people in our life. Whether it be through work, a family member or within our friendship network, toxic people are hard to avoid.
They are the type of people that leave you emotionally drained and questioning yourself. You may even dread spending time with them. Ideally, these are the type of people you avoid becoming overly involved with, if at all. However, sometimes cutting this type of person completely out of our lives is not an option. In these circumstances, we need to develop coping strategies to minimise the personal impact of dealing with toxic people.
It is important to be able to identify a toxic person. Some signs include:
- They are manipulative.
- They are always the victim.
- They are judgemental.
- They are surrounded by constant drama.
- They are selfish and don’t listen or seem to care about what’s going on for anyone else.
- They lie or bend the truth.
- They always need to be right.
Unlike healthy relationships, our relationships with toxic people can cause undue stress and long-term emotional damage if left unchecked. Effectively managing your relationship with these people is paramount to your own wellbeing.
Here are some tips to dealing with toxic people:
- Go with your gut. If your instincts tell you that someone isn’t genuine or acting in your best interest, pay attention.
- Set boundaries. Determine what behaviours you will not tolerate and what is important to you. Do not compromise yourself for the sake of a toxic person.
- Be firm. Don’t buy into their games or manipulations and talk straight when dealing with them. Don’t let yourself be railroaded.
- Be civil and polite. Don’t lower yourself to their standards. It will only make you feel worse.
- Don’t share confidences with them. Even if they seem sincere, don’t lower your guard.
- Follow any agreements up with written confirmation by text or email so that you have clarity and piece of mind. A toxic person will often go back on their word or deny verbal agreements.
- Have a break. If dealing with a toxic person is taking too much of a toll on you and your other relationships, try to reduce or eliminate contact with them, even if it is only for a short period of time so that you can regroup.
- Look at the toxic person as a life lesson. They are teaching you more about the person you want to be and how to be resilient.
Some toxic people are probably not even aware that they have this effect on others and do not see anything wrong with their behaviour. Others will intentionally act in a way to cause trouble or do harm. In either case it is imperative that you maintain self-awareness and take steps to protect your own emotional integrity.