“Don’t let toxic people rent space in your head.
Raise the rent and get them out of there”- Marc Chernoff
MAN, it is exhausting to absorb people’s fluctuating energies and moods! I do sympathize with people who may be going through challenging times, causing them to be more toxic. This negative mindset could be a result of illness, stress, or being deprived of emotional care and support.
However, it can also be a learned habit — some can be toxic without the awareness because toxicity is all they know. This is why it is important that you question the habits of those around you so that you don’t get sucked into these low vibrations. You need to protect yourself and your energy as a form of self-care.
There is another group of people who are intentionally negative. What I mean by intentional is that though you’ve told them to stop, they just don’t seem to get the hint. These people can be your family members, friends, or even strangers. You often notice that they emotionally bully most people in their lives. Sometimes, they might be bullying only you because they found something in you that they don’t have. Whatever the case, we can call these people emotional bullies — they try to always put you down, and use their mood as a platform to manipulate or intimidate you.
Toxic People Defined
In simple terms, they are energy draining individuals. You can’t be your authentic self with them because you have to be careful not anger them. They don’t really understand boundaries, or respect your personal values. They have a negative effect on your mind.
Feelings arise just thinking about them. Hold space for such feelings.
Before we go in further, we can pause to ask ourselves:
How do you feel around this toxic person?
Do you feel good once you finished hanging out with them?
Do they leave a positive effect on your mind?
Is this person respecting you as a person?
Are your needs being met?
Are they respectful of your time?
… And ask, why do I feel this way?
If most of your answers are filled with low energies and toxicity, are they really worth your time and energy?
Furthermore, it is often the case that just thinking about toxic people ca be quite disturbing. I have come to realize, even though I was away from a particular person, I was still affected negatively by them. Every time I saw them on social media or remembered their actions, my inner peace was disturbed.
Therefore, it is the thoughts we have about that person which usually holds us back from letting go and feeling ok! So, how can you let go of this person?
· Notice your thoughts about this person and how they make you behave
Inquiring and reflecting around your feelings is a helpful way to get started — just be curious and non judgmental. How are you without the thought of this person?
How would your life be without this person affecting you negatively? (use the prompts above as well)
What can you do next time to avoid or to feel okay around this person?
How can you change your actions/thoughts to focus back on yourself and have positive thoughts?
When you work on these question and notice and start shifting your behavior, you will become more present in your life and have new ways to invest in your energy.
Therefore, write it down and aim to create positive thoughts and behaviours for yourself.
For example: “They are not worth my energy and space in my mind, I hope that person finds peace, I’m finding peace now by letting go of that person, they no longer can affect me”
· Know you have a choice
You have a choice to remove them from your mind. And I say this because they still may be on your mind even when they aren’t in your life anymore. Similarly, a toxic person may remain in your life, but they don’t need to be on your mind.
You have a choice to not get affected by them. You aren’t weak for doing this, you are strong enough to stand up for yourself. Once you decide that you don’t want to be affected by this toxic person, plan your self-care and actions.
Do this by:
- Removing them off social media
It’s sounds so obvious and simple that many would think it to be of no use. However, this is really powerful. You don’t have to follow them and they don’t need to see what you’re up to.
- Keeping contact to a minimum
Place yourself first and prioritize your needs — if you are giving them more time than you should or if you do but don’t need to — decide today that you won’t tolerate any more of this person.
Imagine how your life would change by doing this — you can invest your time and energy on other things that make you happy, calm and confident. This is self-care.
By focusing on yourself and noticing your thoughts and behaviours, you can start to go off auto-pilot and begin to choose your actions.
· Don’t try to fix them
Again, trying to fix them means you are focusing on them and not you. It isn’t your job to fix them, simply focus on what you can do to help yourself not get affected by their actions.
· Don’t take their behaviour personally
You know it’s them — not you. They aren’t happy with their lives. If you are giving them all the respect, care, compassion and letting them know how they make you feel, yet they aren’t ready to listen or care, then please distance yourself from this person.
Sometimes people aren’t intentionally toxic — as you would know by now, I have talked a lot about past conditioned behaviours through conflict, relationships and the way you are brought up as a child.
Evidently someone may be toxic due to their past issues, therefore in this case, if they are receptive and respectful, you are welcome to have a chat with them and talk about how they make you feel, and how their behaviour may be damaging them as well. You want the best for them, make this intention clear.
If this person isn’t willing to make an effort to be respectful and appreciate your care and effort, you no longer need to invest your energy into helping them change or helping them see that what they are doing isn’t healthy or serving you.
That being said, there’s…
· No excuse for toxic behaviour
If someone is being toxic due to their illness or stress levels, you still don’t need to pardon their behaviour – help them see that what they are doing is negative and isn’t really serving them. Help them come up with positive coping strategies. Setting boundaries with these people is important as well. Just because something has happened to you, it doesn’t mean you have to start to become toxic with everyone around you — not everyone does this. Having genuine compassion for them to have a better mindset and placing your boundaries is a win-win situation.
· Don’t keep tolerating their toxic behaviour and pretend it’s OK — speak up
Lastly, some toxic people use anger to take control over you, interrupt your conversation or start speaking unkindly to something that you find important. You will be surprised to know that some toxic people aren’t ever confronted. This actually makes them more toxic because they know that no one is confronting them, which gets the other person sucked in very deeply. So, it’s a matter of time to break the cycle of continuous toxicity. Don’t be afraid to speak up, sometimes it may result in a person changing because they have become aware of the negative impact of their behaviour.
Here are some examples to help them realize:
I noticed you seem angry. Is something bothering you?
You seem uninterested, is the topic unimportant to you?
Your attitude is upsetting me right now, is that what you want?
I noticed every time I bring up a topic, I am interrupted by you — is something upsetting you?
If this does not work or you notice they revert back to toxicity during the conversation, try to shift the energy and change the subject smoothly. You don’t need to get sucked into their reality, because this is their trap in the first place. Stay in perspective and add in your good thoughts and ideas, keeping it neutral. You don’t need to agree, but you can also respect their opinion at the same time and then — get out of there!!!
If you apply self-care while trying to cope with a toxic person, this creates more chances for you to feel peace and find positive and productive ways to help you deal with them. You aren’t placing yourself in victim-hood and you are aware of your own behaviours and thoughts — this is crucial in helping you dealing with negative people in your life.
This also helps you not get sucked into their negativity, and helps protect your own reality and energy. I hope this helps someone; remember you deserve to be at peace. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.
Thanks for reading!