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 Meyer
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?
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?
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