How to deal with Toxic People

“Toxic relationships not only make us unhappy; they corrupt our attitudes and dispositions in ways that undermine healthier relationships and prevent us from realizing how much better things can be.” — Michael Josephson

What is a toxic relationship? It’s one that diminishes you, that erodes you, that defeats you.

We all experience conflicts, disagreements and difficulties in our interactions with others. That’s a normal part of relationships, and one of the things that helps us to grow, learn patience, acceptance and better communication skills.

Sometimes relationships cause us to feel bad because we have hurt someone, or let them down. Sometimes we just can’t see eye-to-eye on something. That’s normal too.

What’s not normal or healthy are the sort of relationships that are poisonous to you – the ones that inevitably leave you feeling upset, angry, unloved, despairing, stressed or drained. The ones that leave you doubting yourself, giving up on your dreams, feeling stupid and unworthy and changing or limiting yourself because of someone else.That’s a toxic relationship.

How do you recognise a toxic person? A good yardstick is to simply use your own feelings. But here are some personalities you may recognise:

  • Look at ME, Look at ME, Look at ME. These people are self-absorbed.  They thrive on drama and being the centre of attention. They have an ability to turn everything back to being about them. You could be telling them your husband has just been diagnosed with cancer and they’ll say, “Oh my God, how terrible. You know, I knew a woman once who was diagnosed with…” and suddenly your important sharing is lost as this person plays one-upmanship, offering no true compassion or empathy. Sometimes they suck you in with pleas of needing help, but you’ll find that they are never really interested in taking action on their problems.
  • Manipulators.  These people are usually narcissists.  They are skilled at using a combination of flattery or friendliness followed by anger, judgement and put-downs if they don’t get their own way.  They see themselves as better than/superior to you.  They are Masters of emotional blackmail. They disempower you with insidious put-downs (often in front of others), insults, belittling, shaming and embarrassing. They may threaten certain consequences or behaviours if you don’t conform to a certain way of behaving yourself. At the extreme end of the scale they may suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and you may get trapped thinking it’s your problem, and that there’s something wrong with YOU, when actually it’s them with the issues.
  • Criticisers and Comparers. These people assure you that they love you, and then they try and ‘fix’ you.  You are never good enough, and they always know how you should be doing it. They have a fixed idea of who you should be and how you should behave and it will make you feel devalued and misunderstood. No matter how you try to explain yourself they can’t accept your position or choices in life. They may be know-it-alls or bullies.
  • Perpetual Downers.  These people suck the joy out of life. They are often angry at the world and down on everything. They believe that the world is against them and they have a victim mentality.  They can’t keep their promises, and life never works for them, but it is never their fault because there is always something or someone else to blame.
  • Crazy Makers.  Crazy Makers are unstable. They may be emotionally immature,  suffer from mood swings, behavioural issues, undiagnosed or uncontrolled mental illness, or substance abuse. You can’t rely on them because from day to day you don’t know how they will react or behave.
  • If it suits me.  You’re their second best. If there’s a better option, you’re always dumped. They are in this for what you can give them. There is no respect. They are insincere. You want the relationship more than they do, and they know it, and take advantage of it.
  • Abusers.  Whether it’s physical, emotional or intellectual abuse, abuse is abuse, and no-one deserves that. Get help, or get out. Or both!

In almost every situation, the best thing to do with a toxic person is to remove them from your life, or to remove yourself from theirs. It’s not your job to save them, or fix them. And you sure can’t change them – that’s something they have to want for themselves, and do for themselves.  It’s your job to look after YOU. In the workplace, report bullying, and get support.  Here are some posts that can help you work out if moving on might be an option for you:

Using Your Internal Compass to Navigate Life

Writing Your Way Out of Stuckness

Knowing When to Walk Away

People Will Be Who They Are

Are You Too Nice?

Listen with your Eyes

But what if they are family? What if this is a situation where you can’t just unplug and walk away?

The truth is, sometimes even with family, we need to cut those ties. It might be for a short time, it might be for good. A skilled counsellor will be able to help you get clear about your options. In the end, this is YOUR life, and you deserve every chance at success and happiness.

If you need to stay, here are some strategies to help you cope better:

  1. Stop needing them to be something that they are not. One of the most important reasons that we feel unfulfilled in family relationships is because we needed the other person to be different. Accept them as they are, and come to grips with that. Grieve that loss if you need to, and then look for the guidance, love, acceptance and support you’re seeking elsewhere.  Once we let go of wanting our mother to be wise, or our father to be accepting of us, or our sister to share their emotions with us, or our brother to include us, we let go of being constantly disappointed. You can get to a place of grace with this, so that you can truly understand that this is just who they are, and sit without judgement on that. Acceptance is something we all want. You can love them without liking their behaviour.  Often by getting to this place of unconditional love, the dynamics of the relationship actually start to change.
  2. Limit your exposure.  Find reasons to stay a shorter time, to end the call sooner, to avoid one-on-one time.  Meet in public places if necessary.
  3. Put on your psychic raincoat. Visualise yourself surrounded by a shielding bubble of light before you connect with the other person.  Let it all wash over you – their words and behaviours. There’s no need to change them. There’s no need to engage. Just come from kindness and be polite. Listen a lot and talk little. Direct it all back to them so that they are the one talking. Maintain your privacy and create strong boundaries.
  4. Find a relationship counsellor.  Trained professionals can give us strategies for better handling conversations, confrontations and expectations. Instead of being ‘handled’ and manipulated by others, we can move back into a position of balance and empowerment.
  5. Bless them and release them.  This doesn’t mean walking away.  It means that mentally we bless them with love, and we let go of any and all expectations and responsibilities. They become like a stranger to us. We treat them with respect, and love, but not with intimacy and deeper connection.

Your life is YOURS to live. Life is too short to waste it being someone you’re not, doing things that don’t make you happy, and spending time with people who are posionous to your self-worth. By stepping away from unhealthy relationships we make room in our lives for new, better connections. We renew our hope, restore our freedom and open ourselves to fresh possibilities. Today I’m wishing you strength, real friendships, and true love.  Bless ♥ xx

How You Can Change the World

I’m here with some good news.  You are powerful, and you can make a difference in our world!

Have you noticed that much of the world media is focussed primarily upon the negative, and it builds a vibration of fear and uncertainty around our futures?  Many of us are reeling under the constant barrage of bad news, and the latest market crash, tragedy or monstrous act of violence.

It is easy to feel that we are insignificant in the scheme of things.  But this is not the case.  Many people have changed the world through their thoughts, and actions.  And you too can play a part in lifting the vibration of our world to a place of Harmony and Peace.

At the core of our distress is always lack of Love.  When we live from our Hearts, violence against each other, and senseless acts of greed and inhumanity within our communities and environment dissolve.  Why? These are not products of the Heart, but of the Mind.  They arise from our sense of disconnectedness from ourselves, our families, our communities, our environment and God/Source Energy.

So what can you do?

Firstly, focus on all that IS good in your life, and in the world, no matter how small that detail may be.  Do not give your attention to the bad news around you, and the unwanted things in your life.  Focus purely on what is going well, and what makes you feel good.

When you pray or meditate, bring that beautiful Divine Love and Light into your body and heart.  Fill yourself up, and allow the Love and Light to continue to flow through you and to the people around you.  Picture people and situations, and send healing energy and Love to them.  Surround them in white Light and wish them only Love and Good, no matter who they are or what their actions might have been.  See people and situations only as you wish them to be – full of harmony, wellness, love, creativity, joy and peace.  Don’t dwell on negativity – always choose Light.  Choose forgiveness of yourself and others

Within your immediate circle, practice acts of love, kindness and compassion.  Move outside your own needs, and begin to understand and reach out to meet the needs of the people around you.  Strengthen relationships within your family, friends and community.

Create a network of support for yourselves and others. Speak well of people. Treat others in the way you would wish to be treated, and always, always send and practice Love and Kindness.  Where people hurt and upset you, send them more Love and Kindness.  And when you are hurt and upset, connect with Love and Light to heal yourself.

Be true to yourself.  Practice self nurture, and allow yourself the time and freedom to enjoy your life and your relationships.  Use the gifts that you were blessed with to do the things you are passionate about, and that you most enjoy.  Doing this puts good energy back into the world, and allows you to grow and flourish at a Soul level, making ever increasing amounts of positive energy available to you and to those around you.  You will have a positive impact on your immediate environment, friends and family just through your personal energy and state of mind!

Reach out to others whenever you can.  We are social creatures, and it is when our connections with others begin to weaken and fall apart that we are most capable of harming ourselves and others.  Practice a spirit of tolerance and inclusiveness, but most of all, BE Love.  Remember old people and children.  Help them to feel loved and wanted.  Find a way to give back to your community or a charity of your choice.  Lead by example.

Accept healing and nurture from nature.  Spend time in natural environments, and with plants and pets.  They are all here to give us Love.  Introduce nature into your home and work environments and try to spend time in the fresh air and sunshine.  Yes, it does make a difference!

Slow down!  Take time to breath, to feel, to rest and relax.  Reduce your stress, and the stress you impose on others.  Eat well and look after your health.  Support products, services, organizations and individuals with integrity and who treat the world and its inhabitants with Love and Respect.

Finally, strive for Love and excellence in all you do, and in all you are.  When you raise your own vibration, it has a positive cascade effect on all around you.  So, don’t buy into fear – choose Love.  Like the saying goes, “Be the change you want to see in the World.