As a very public practitioner of positivity (say that three times fast), I receive many messages from my readers about the toxic people they deal with and how they wreak havoc on peace of mind, personal space, and overall emotional wellness.
Their messages are filled with sentences similar to these real examples:
“She’s my mother so I don’t have a choice…”
“He’s really a good person otherwise…”
“I know with patience I can change her…”
At this point, I’m ready to put my hands on their shoulders and give them a not-so-gentle shake.
Instead, I take a deep breath and pour myself a cup of coffee because I know my reply is going to take a while.
It saddens me that so many of us go our entire lives taking and taking the negativity that others dish out…but we do.
Why do we allow others to steal our sense of self and cause chaos in our lives? It’s time for that foolishness to stop right now. You deserve better from the people around you.
- No one – no matter who they are or what position they hold in your life – has the right to infect your environment with negativity, make you feel bad about who you are, cause you to feel fear or hurt of any kind, or try to force you to live the life they think is best for you.
This includes your parents, your children, your spouse, your best friend since first grade, and your boss. Association and/or familial ties does not equate to ownership of you, your feelings, or your needs as an individual.
You have the right to remove these toxic relationships and people from every area of your life. Yes. Despite what you’ve been told or raised to believe, you absolutely do have that right.
- If you feel the need to excuse a large chunk of someone’s personality –you are already consciously aware that something is very wrong with the way they interact with others.
You are essentially saying, “They treat me badly but I have to deal with it. I don’t want others to be upset with him/her for how rude/judgmental/condescending they are because that would embarrass me.”
You are not responsible for the actions of grown people capable of taking responsibility for themselves and their behavior. Take a step back and ask yourself if your time is best spent excusing inexcusable behavior – or if there are areas of your life you’d rather spend it on.And remember: you don’t have to deal with it yourself either.
- Most important: a person who is toxic cannot be changed by you. We can change ourselves but have no control over how others live their lives. A toxic person is the only one who can alter the way they deal with people and situations.
Spoiler alert: the chance of that happening is slim.
Change for toxic people is not impossible. Change is always possible for those who recognize a negative trait within themselves or realize they are moving in the wrong direction.
Sadly, for some toxic people, this self-realization doesn’t come until they find they are completely alone. For most, this ah-ha moment never happens.
The reason the toxic person in your life isn’t likely to suddenly become a supportive, non-confrontational human being is a little depressing – but no less accurate. Toxic people rarely see their negative behavior for what it is, take responsibility for their actions, or consider their actions to be the cause of the problems in their own life.
Is Someone In Your Life Toxic?
The primary characteristic across all “types” of toxic people is complete self-absorption. Their needs, wants, and emotions are the only ones that matter. Any effort on your part to change their focus is almost always futile because they will bring it back to them, their problems, their misery, their anger at the world.
For example, your statement, “I had a really rough day at work…” is answered with, “You should have been at my job today! First, the boss told us…” This becomes a ten-minute rant about the woes of management, customers, and co-workers.
If your original statement is ever addressed, it is likely downplayed something like this, “Anyway, I’m sorry you had a rough day but at least you don’t work in my office. Be glad about that.”
The toxic relationships and/or people in your life will eat up your time, your resources, and your sense of well-being – leaving nothing behind. Much like a locust does to crops.
Munch, munch, munch until you have nothing left to give.
Most toxic relationships end for one of two reasons. Either the non-toxic person finally realizes that nothing will change and walks away or the toxic person becomes offended over a perceived slight or petty misunderstanding and cuts the non-toxic person from their life like a puzzle piece that no longer fits.
That’s right – for all their issues, toxic relationships and people are the most judgmental and unforgiving personalities you’ll ever encounter. If you make a mistake, they won’t forget it. They may “forgive” you but the repeated references to that thing you did ten years ago sort of defeats the purpose, don’t you think?
Negativity Is Contagious
By allowing yourself to be subjected to unhealthy relationships, you are inviting unnecessary stress, fear, guilt, self-doubt, and sadness to take up permanent residence in your life.
When you purposefully remove toxic relationships and toxic people from your life, you take back control of your emotional happiness and prevent stressful relationships from affecting you physically.
Stress and worry affect your sleep quality, blood pressure, and total body health. In other words, toxic people can make you sick.
You deserve to surround yourself with people who accept you unconditionally, support your plans, encourage your dreams, and make you feel happier simply being around them. Don’t wait another day – your moments are valuable.
Make them count.
Shayne McClendon is an author and positivity practitioner. Shayne believes love crosses all boundaries, social castes, races, genders, and belief systems. If you are lucky enough to find soul-deep love, you should fight for it. Life-certified, reader approved.