The other day I was talking to a colleague of mine, and although he has been a good friend of mine this past year, I realized I have never really known him. He quite often demeans and criticizes other members of the team, but when he did the same to me, I realized what he is: a toxic person. Many times in our life, we fail to recognize people’s true nature, and when we do, it’s too late. Even if we end all relations with such people, the vitriol they have put into our life continues to affect us and our connections with other people. The turmoil I went through forced me to write this article so that you, my readers, don’t have to suffer the same.
Identify the Toxic People in your Life
The first thing you need to do is identify the toxic people in your people. Though it is sometimes quite challenging to do that, there are some telltale signs that you can use to pick the bad apples in your life. Toxic people, although appear to be emotional, sensitive, and very caring on the surface, are, in reality, practical, pragmatic, and cunning. This can be identified by their constant craving for attention, the tendency to play the victim card after every five minutes, and the quest to prove other people around them wrong.
Every person wants to be proven right in the world, but a toxic person with his/her demented logic thinks that if everyone except them is proven wrong it automatically means they are right. A toxic person doesn’t contribute anything to a relationship -whether it is love or friendship- and essentially sucks the energy out of the other person leaving him emotionally drained out. In case of an argument they will never accept their mistake and will try until their last breath to prove that they were in the right. Relations, as you know, are not built on right or wrong, but on the care and emotions underlying them.
Stay Miles Away From Them
Once you identify the toxic people in your life, make sure you keep your distance from them. Toxic people, as I said, believe in draining you out of energy, and having any kind of relationship with a toxic person is not only counterproductive but also impractical. People with poisonous personalities tend to put themselves first in a relationship and only care about what they are getting out of it. This might lead to a heavy emotional as well as mental investment from your side and only vitriol from the other side. Of course, keeping a distance from such people is quite tricky since they always present themselves as quite charming and charismatic. But you have to keep reminding yourself that even if they give you a sense of adventure in the short term, in the long run, they will act as a slow poison for your mental and emotional health.
Deal Professionally with Toxic People
Of course, however, much you try to avoid people you don’t want to deal with, sometimes you are forced to do so. Whether it be a nagging relative, a jealous friend, or a workplace colleague bent on destroying your peace of mind, sometimes you have to get on the wrong side of these toxic personalities. In case you absolutely have to interact with the toxic people around you, you should do it professionally. A toxic person loves talking bad behind other people’s back, and if you indulge in this routine of theirs, it won’t be long before you also become a target of this poisonous outlet. It is better to set your boundaries at the beginning itself and make it crystal clear that you don’t want to have any interaction with them other than what is absolutely needed.
I, as a rule, follow three steps of interactions when dealing with toxic people. First, I try to have a healthy and loving conversation, if possible. If that’s not possible , I limit the interaction to a need-to-know basis, talking only about what is absolutely needed. After that, if the person is still bent on destroying the peace of my mind, I speak to them in the same way they talk to me.
Smell the Manipulation Soup
Toxic people are bullies and master manipulators. They have a tendency to control people around them, are needy, and make sure that with the time, you become totally dependent on them for everything from life advice to emotional support. However, at the end of the day, you will be the only one investing emotionally into the relationship, which will inevitably make you drained up and exhausted. To keep you under their watchful guise, toxic people use the tool of manipulation. They start by criticizing your friends and coming up with their individual weaknesses in order to change your opinion about them. Gradually you start becoming dependent on them, and after that happens, the toxicity starts increasing with the occasional abusing and arguments. The constant belittling makes you lose your self-confidence and question your every decision. The toxic beast continues damaging you emotionally and mentally, not bothering about how deeply their words hurt you until you are totally under their control. So don’t fall prey to their toxic schemes and avoid being manipulated.
Be with an Empath
Remember when your mother told you to keep a good company and stop hanging out with those good-for-nothing friends of yours? Well, guess what? She was right. When a toxic relationship is taking its toll on you, it is essential to talk to a person who, without any judgment, will lead you to the path of healing. Empaths can naturally sense that something is not right with a person and tend to good advice when it comes to handling a relationship with care as well as brutality depending on the situation.
Whether it is an old classmate, a close relative, or your mother, you need to have one person in whom you can confide every secret of your life without worrying whether he/she might use it against you. In my personal experience, I have always found family members with a sane mind to be good listeners who can pull you out of any toxic relationship. So pick up the phone right now and talk to someone who can tell you right from wrong and cares a lot about you.
Don’t be a Toxic Person
When I was in the final year of my graduation, almost all of my classmates were ragging the juniors left, right, and center. But some of my friends and I had decided long back to not give in to peer pressure and stop the ragging chain from passing on. Just because you have been dished a rotten one by destiny doesn’t mean you give it to others. It’s the same principle with toxicity and avoiding toxic relationships.
Just because you have been in a toxic relationship or have been through misery previously, doesn’t mean you do the same with others. It’s how the famous saying goes: If you want to improve the world, start with your home. So the next time someone takes out their toxicity on you, don’t be a tool of destiny and keep it to yourself so that you don’t become a toxic person for someone else. Be kind, empathetic, and, most importantly, stay away from toxic people.