How To Detach From Toxic People Who Are Unavoidable


Toxic people are all around us. They meet us in the form of friends, family members, colleagues and neighbors. They may not consider themselves to be toxic; they can meet you most warmly and even can be good friends.

They focus on themselves; they are obsessed with their own pains and pleasures and are always on a look out for a person who falls an easy prey to their ambitions.

Some of them are highly toxic; they spit their venom all the time while others are endurable. But difference in their degree doesn’t make them any pleasant.

While I write this, two persons come to my mind.

One was so good and fun loving that I was surprised to see her negativity when I met her after a gap of ten years. She was a very dear friend who was also my classmate. I knew her well; we had spent six years of our life together. What had changed her so much?

When I tried to analyze, I could understand that it was the toxic atmosphere of her home and the attitude of the person whom she had married, which had metamorphosed her into a toxic person.

I tried to help her see the positive aspects of her disappointments but couldn’t do much as she had fallen into the deadly abysses of pessimism.

The second one met me as a colleague, who claimed to be my friend but was the fiercest rival. She would shift all the blame, criticize every sane looking person, take even a casual remark personally, think that nobody could do any job better than her and manipulate each and every person and situation.

Have you met such people? Can you recognize their traits?

“Watch out for the joy-stealers: gossip, criticism, complaining, faultfinding and a negative, judgmental attitude.” – Joyce MeyerToxic People

If they happen to be in our families, it becomes very difficult to maintain distance from them.

They may not just wallow in self-pity and talk negative; they want our attention; they expect sympathy and try to influence us.

“We would do ourselves a tremendous favor by letting go of the people who poison our spirit.” –Dr. Steve Maraboli

How to detach?

Ignore them:

Wherever you happen to see them, the best option is to avoid them. If they don’t get your signal, don’t respond to their overtures of establishing any contact with you. If they become overbearing, there is no harm to tell them candidly that you don’t want to hear any gossip or negative talk. They might feel hurt but there is no need to feel guilty because this is the only way to close your door and convey that they need to mend their ways.

Never argue with them:

As Mark Twain said, “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level”, similarly If you try to point out to toxic people that they are being unreasonable, you would be wasting your breath. Toxic people move in a straight line, their own line of make-believe. They never deviate from that path as it is always against their self-esteem. They don’t believe in respecting the opinion of others. If you try to challenge their beliefs, they can harm you inconceivably.

Keep your distance:

It is better to maintain some distance if they happen to be your colleagues, more so if he/she is your boss. Be cautious because they would try to provoke you, take advantage of you or assign you their own work too. They may even try to belittle you if you don’t respond to their unreasonable demands. Don’t get intimidated by their behavior. Face it and send the message that you are not going to take it.

Don’t feel guilty:

I have eliminated all the toxic people out of my life. It took many years to reconcile to the fact that they were toxic, it caused immeasurable pain to let go, the guilt lingered on for many days but it brought greater freedom and peace. It also brought the realization that when we cling on to certain people who are not adding any value to our life, who keep on pushing us down and shifting the blame of all their failures on us, who keep feeding on our goodness, we lose a part of our personality. We start doubting our selves.

Wish them well:

When you detach, stop thinking about them, have positive wishes for them in your mind, which would surely reach them. If they are the family members, they might consume a large chunk of your time and energy. Don’t let them gnaw at your emotions. Just accept the fact that they are not worthy of your love and concern.

Do you know such people? How do you deal with them?

If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Thank you for your support. Please share your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

Balroop Singh.

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29 thoughts on “How To Detach From Toxic People Who Are Unavoidable

  1. You are so right, Balroop, when you say that toxic people “focus on themselves; they are obsessed with their own pains and pleasures”. This self-centricity is really quite oppressive and energy sapping. It can feel as if we’re drawn into a vortex of negativity and egocentricity that is deeply unpleasant. Perhaps on occasions it is possible to draw self-centric people out of their mind-set, though usually, it has become so deeply conditioned within them that all efforts are in vain. The advice you give above is sound in my humble opinion; and I particularly like the idea of wishing such people well regardless of the circumstances. Whatever the extent of a person’s negative psychological traits may be, we can always show compassion, or hold them in a compassionate regarding; they are, after all, suffering deeply.

    1. Hi Hariod,

      I have always felt compassion for toxics…as you say, they need it because they are suffering deeply. Some unsaid words, some unresolved issues and some insecurities keep threatening their own happiness and contentment. They try to shroud themselves with confidence, which becomes the coffin of their personality.

      They seem to be oppressive but they themselves feel guilty, deep down. So they keep on repeating certain maxims, which they invent for their own satisfaction. Yes, negativity is the hallmark of their positive garb, that is why we have to wish them well!

      Thanks for finding my words ‘sound advice’ though for me, they are the lessons of life.

  2. Loving this advice and the quotes to go along with your wisdom, Balroop! Ooooh boy, do I have some detaching to do. 🙂 You described someone in my family to a tee. I’ve tried everything but to no avail. However, writing about it is my last therapeutic attempt after that it is letting go and wishing them well. Great post and thanks for the message as it’s exactly what I needed to hear.

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for liking this post and I am glad that it reminded you of somebody you have to detach from! The most difficult to detach are the ones you hold dear to your heart but there comes a time when we have no choice due to their continued and excessive manipulations. Wishing them well is essential for our own serenity, our own satisfaction and our mental health. when we detach, we don’t have any heavy baggage to carry to move on with our life.

      Stay blessed, dear!

  3. Good post. I no longer associate with negative people except when necessary (work and some family members), and I’ve learned how to detach myself to an extent. I admit, they sometimes still get to me.

    1. Hi Suzi,

      Thanks for your kind words. It takes a long time to detach from the people you have mentioned and then also they tend to keep entering our life in one way or another…the unavoidable ones! A strong will power and inclination to look beyond those relationships is the only answer.

  4. My mom is a bit of a toxic person, though much of it comes from a lifetime of dealing with being bipolar. Still, the techniques you mention above are much the way I’ve had to learn how to deal with her. I’ve learned to be concerned about her, but not consumed by her.

    1. Oh! Jeri I am so sorry to hear about your mom…when the dearest anchor, the real loving person in your life seems to be unbearable, it is so heartbreaking! But being born bipolar, she can’t be held responsible for her behavior. Such persons need all the more love and attention. My heart goes out to such children who happen to live with such a parent. Slowly they learn to cope up and I am glad you found the ways.

      Thanks for sharing your own story.

  5. This is absolutely awesome, Balroop, and I love the use of the word “toxic”. I would also include narcissist and emotional vampire as two other traits that can often be intertwined into these people. For the most part I’m very blessed with not having those people in my personal life…though I HAVE had them. I do have some through another area on life that I steer a wide path around. How ironic, I was JUST discussing this very topic about a specific person with a buddy of mine two hours ago. I hope you are having a great week! 🙂

    1. Hi Mike,

      I know our vibes do meet somewhere!! So the topic reaches you much before I post it here 🙂

      I love the expression – ’emotional vampire’. I wish I had known it earlier to use it here! Thanks for adding it. It is good that you have kept these vampires at an arm’s length.
      Thank you dear friend, your continuous support is much appreciated.

  6. I do know people like this and appreciate the advice, Balroop. I feel like I can do many of the things you mention including keeping my distance and ignoring them. I also feel I can develop more as a person if I can learn to love them, be compassionate towards them and then learn to detach from them in my life I’m not there yet but working on it.

    1. Hi Vishnu,

      It is good to be compassionate as toxic people need it all the more but there comes a time when they start demanding it as their right. You may not have experienced the intensity of their negative range and how it affects your own mental health! I have! Once we learn to detach, all emotions vanish.

      Thanks for sharing your perspective, much appreciated.

      1. You’re right, Balroop. There are some people whose negativity and hostility makes it impossible to be around them. In those circumstances, we can only keep them at a distance for the benefit of our emotional and mental well-being!

  7. Hi Balroop,

    Loved your post indeed, and don’t we find such people all over! 🙂

    I don’t think there’d be anyone not having dealt with toxic people or even toxic relationships. I can so well relate to your first example, as I also had a friend who changed after marriage because she was surrounded by such people, and this certainly has a negative effect on your attitude.

    Nothing works other than keeping them away from you, detaching yourself, as you mentioned, and ignoring them without feeling guilty about it. Yes, if they are within your family members, it becomes tough, but you can still manage for peace of mind.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

    1. Hi Harleena.

      Thanks for liking this post and feeling related to friendship that gets ruined due to changed attitudes. It becomes very hard to detach from those friends with whom you have spent a lot of time but when they start getting on your nerves, it becomes almost unbearable!

      The only choice is to avoid…what else can one do? I have tried to be nice and understanding but I guess the one track mind of such people refuses to see reason! Thanks for your continued support! Love it 🙂 Have a blessed week.

  8. I think that we all know such people Balroop. And detaching us from them can be very tricky. But for our own sanity, we ought to try as much as possible.
    I tend to ignore them. I felt guilty for a long time. But I think I am done with it. I mean it has nothing to do with me.
    And I do keep them in my prayers.
    Less I think about them, better my life is. It feels much better!
    Thank you for this great insight. Sending much love to you.

    1. Hi Marie,

      You are right! When we feel we are done with such people then there is no point of guilt! Even when they cross our path, we can say – may God bless you! That helps and the guilt melts.
      Yes, it is good to bless them in your prayers, that gives much peace.
      Thanks for sending love! I am sending the same 🙂

  9. A nice topic which we face so often. We need to identify such toxic people with an unbiased view and then switch-off smartly from their reach 🙂

    1. Thanks Dilip for visiting me and taking out the time to share your view!
      Yes, smartness and being discreet is the only answer but emotions too play a spoil sport!

  10. Thanks balroop for the briefing on dealing with toxic people. We all need to navigate our way through such characters by limiting our exposure to unavoidable minimum and cutting them off for the most part. Showing compassion is the most difficult part since the toxic element keeps nagging our consciousness and coming in the way of compassion; yet we need to refine our minds to allow compassion that will come only by forgiving and true forgiveness happens only if we are able to forget and regard toxicity in isolation from respective individual, considering the issue in a spirit of humanism. It is the same as praying for one’s enemies…best wishes…raj .

    1. Hi Raj,

      I have also struggled with compassion and forgiveness for a long time, trying to detach…there is no doubt that the ‘nagging’ keeps on creeping up, your mind may question – why me? Is it possible to isolate toxicity? How can you pray for your enemies? Albeit I have wished them well but I am still learning to deal with these questions.

      Thanks for standing by and contributing to this discussion in such a meaningful way.

  11. Thank you Balroop for offering such honest words and sharing your experiences with two people. Some people perhaps have negative attitudes because they have been hurt in the past and are trying to lash out at others as a sort of revenge… I only hope they understand that it is best to be peaceful than engage in warfare. Hugs!

    1. Hi Christy,

      Your view always brings great sanity to the topic! Yes, hurts do cause a profound damage and sometimes it is quite difficult to shake it off.
      Negativity does not serve any purpose, so we have to train our thoughts in the right direction. If only people could understand the import of peace, if only they quit warfare! This world would be such a nice place!
      Thanks for sharing your insight. Love always!

  12. Excellent post… I much appreciate that you wrote on this topic…
    The features you highlighted plus the effects of their behaviour give us a general pattern that can help`us understand the topic and at least be aware of them,… Also to avoid becoming a toxic person even when we might not realize it. The passive subject also defines the toxicity I guess. And sometimes the victim might be the toxin person as well… Best wishes. Aquileana 😛

    1. Hi Aquileana,

      Thanks for the appreciation, greatly valued!
      I am so glad that you have found this post useful in understanding people. Yes, that is also so significant – to avoid those pitfalls, which creep in unawares. Sometimes those who behave in a negative manner don’t even realise that they are hurting others with their behavior. You have added a good point to this conversation. Stay blessed!

  13. log in to complete my respomse. Strange sometimes no longer recognized me. I had to let go with a few negative people, also as you mentioed. It was in severe guilt but time was letting me see how fwe growing moments I had to give up a long lasting friendhship. The effort was taking a toll

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