Toxic people. We all know one or two of them.
They are insidious people, who lie, manipulate, cry, gossip, hurt, and insult others. Everyone is out to get them; everything is a problem. You are the problem. But, they are “flawless.”
How does one handle these people?
Lucky for you, I grew up with one. My mother. Now, she was not always toxic. I remember fond memories of her. She used to laugh and take us to the park all the time. However, these days I never see her laugh – except when I see her talking to someone in public (toxic people are great at keeping up appearances).
- You are not responsible for anyone else’s emotions. Toxic people will make you think that their negative, disgusting attitude is because of you. Nope. Don’t fall for it.
- Keep your distance. Toxic people will not become nicer. I used to do all kinds of things to help my mother. I would go above and beyond to make her life easier. Guess what? It didn’t matter. The second she found something that didn’t meet her arbitrary insane value system – she would start screaming. If you can’t create physical distance, create emotional distance – it is not worth the pain.
- Be steadfast. Often times, my mother would go on rambling conversations about how my father was terrible, how I was terrible, etc. In this case, engage respectfully. Her rambling had nothing to do with me – she would ramble to herself even if I left the room.
If you follow these two steps, you should be OK. However, toxic people might still find weaknesses in your armor. When you feel bubbling anger towards the toxic person, periodically say your two cents to prevent a burst of anger. If you must have a burst of anger, go ahead – you are a imperfect human who is allowed to have anger.
There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time. – Malcolm X
Additionally, (even) toxic people have redeeming qualities. If you can, recognize the good.