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Toxic People: 5 ways to cut off and deal with them

Do you often feel manipulated, confused, guilty, and unheard of in a relationship be it with your friends, family members, your partner, or at work?

Chances are you are surrounded by toxic people, who exhibit toxic behavior. At some point of time in our lives, we all come across such people and deal with behaviors that sabotage our mental wellbeing and question our self-worth.

A toxic person includes someone who is exhibiting unsupportive and unpleasant behavior, being manipulative, judgmental, controlling, and self-centered. Such people and their behaviors can be a major cause of your mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, lack of self-confidence, etc. as these behaviors induce unnecessary negativity, doubt, and stress.

A toxic person can be your closest friend, someone you have known all your life, or someone who came into your life abruptly like a colleague or college friend and was suddenly very important to you. Often people tend to have blind spots for such people and usually ignore their toxic behavior regardless of how bad and unpleasant they often make them feel.

Simply put, a toxic person is someone whose behavior, actions, and words add negativity and stress to your life.

How to recognize a toxic behavior – 

Recognizing a toxic person is the first step in dealing with them, and it may be more than just observing what they do or say but also noticing how they make you feel. When interacting with a person showing toxic behavior here’s how you can assess how you feel around them. Do you…

– Feel confused and unsure of yourself

– Notice that your boundaries aren’t being respected

– Experience guilt for saying ‘no’ or hesitate to express your feelings

– Feel dominated and like your emotions aren’t validated

– Feel drained, angry, and anxious after a conversation most of the time 

Apart from that, toxic people often show these signs or traits such as they often lead lives filled with drama, people who judge too easily and have a tendency to play with words, always blame others for their issues, or in case of toxic positivity they maybe so optimistic about everything that they are often in denial and refuse to admit when challenges actually exist.

Here are some ways to cope, cut off, and deal with such people –

1. Always create healthy boundaries even if it makes you feel guilty – Drawing the line is critical, without feeling guilty. Boundaries make our expectations clear, so stay calm and communicate your boundaries. Someone who values you will always honor you. At times it may create guilt, but it might be helpful to remember that no matter how much ever effort you put, it may not be enough, so stand your ground. 

2. Avoid getting involved in their drama/manipulationAs humans, we are naturally curious and easily drawn to negative/dramatic circumstances of others’ lives. To avoid getting swept up in the chaos, consider ignoring your curiosity when necessary and communicating with them about their troubles.

3. Communication does the trickSometimes a person who exhibits toxic behavior might not be aware of his/her behavior. In such a case have a heart-to-heart conversation and if you notice their behavior is triggered by underlying mental health issues or perhaps a personality disorder, then it’s best to encourage them to seek professional support

4. Only spend a limited amount of time around themAnother way is to start limiting your time around them. So if suppose you used to spend a few hours of your every day with them, start meeting them once in 2 days or once a week. Gift this time away to yourself to reflect on the bond, and this will also allow you to process your emotions and see if there’s scope for a positive change or not. 

5. Be compassionate, but realize that it’s not your job to ‘fix’ themLastly, remember it’s not your job to co-parent or take the sole burden of making things right all the time. It’s simply exhausting and not lasting. Instead, remind yourself that you tried your best, and it’s not your fault. In such cases cutting ties and moving on is the most liberating option. 

Have you come across toxic people/situations at the workplace? If so, how did you deal with them? Share it with us in the comments.