How to Fire Toxic People

We can all be cowards when it comes to getting rid of anyone whom we have an emotional investment in! The longer we have known them, the harder it’s going to be to get rid of them; and unless you’re totally heartless, it’s just never going to be pleasant to kick someone out of your life. Let me point out some of the important things to consider when walking away from a toxic person.

1. Know what the reaction will be
They are not going to be pleased with what you have to say, and will therefore act in the usual ways that toxic people act:

– Denial. “I never said/did that!”
– Passive aggressive behavior. Talking behind your back or saying things to others in a way that you will find out about, i.e. Facebook comments.
– Playing the victim. “I can’t believe you would be this disrespectful when I am so hurt/weak/sick/sad/depressed.”
– Trying to prove you wrong, usually by involving others who will agree with them and stand against you with them.

2. Release your attachment
No argument, no tone of voice, no way of pouring your heart out, or any way of rational reason will ever change the mind of a toxic person. Why? Because this is what constitutes a toxic person to begin with, a complete and utter lack of self-awareness or ability to take responsibility for their own actions or words. All toxic people are victims and have been wronged, always! Therefore they must point fingers and always accuse others of being at fault to maintain their ability to function and continue on.

3. There is no logic
Another defining characteristic of toxic people is the lack of rational thought. Psychology is based on statistics. Most things in life are based on numbers. Not for toxic people. They are usually quite lonely, because most partners/spouses, friends, co-workers, family members, etc. have walked out on them. Whereas a healthy person can look at their own behavior, analyze and recognize their own role in an argument or situation, a toxic person is never to blame, and will always deny or claim they didn’t get it. They always insist that someone else started it, or did something to them. Either way, you will not win any type of rational conversation.

4. Look at their friends!
The friends who surround toxic people come in three categories:

– People who haven’t been around for years (hence, they are not as fed up yet).
– People who have known them for a long time and stick around due to history (also the ones who usually avoid them as much as possible).
– The type who are exactly like them, i.e. other toxic folks. This is because they have successfully alienated and gotten rid of most sane and healthy people.

5. Be kind and honest but firm!
There are certain people who will say or do something to you that is so offensive and hurtful that you might lose it. Others take years of wearing you down with their negativity, self-pity, anger, manipulation, etc. But if at all possible, do not bottle up your emotions and suddenly lash out. You have to understand that no matter what angle you choose, they will neither get it, nor apologize, nor understand a single word you are saying anyway. But if you lose it and go off on them, you just gave them more ammo to continue their accusations, whining and victim mode, not to mention that you just gave them more excuses to receive more sympathy from the herd. “See! Look at the hurtful words… she/he said to me!”

“Toxic” people are called that because they are mentally unstable and not healthy. Because they have a way of dragging you down with them, it is vital that you keep your own sanity by establishing firm boundaries, by being clear with your intentions and by stating what your actions will be as a result of their behaviors. Once you declare how you feel and what you will do, stand by it! The worst thing you can do is to be wishy-washy or go back on your word. Declare whatever is important to you. Here are a few examples:

“When you behave in x, y, z ways I will not engage in conversation with you.”
“I will not/no longer participate in your game/will not be manipulated by you/etc.”
“If you have nothing nice to say to me, I will hang up on you.”

Remember to state your feelings in a calm and firm manner! Don’t get roped into their emotions, don’t lash out in return and don’t let them pull you back in by trying to get a rise out of you.

Finally, be prepared for the consequences. You must be aware that your integrity, honesty or care for such a person will not change them or rescue them! This means that when you state how you feel and what you will do as a consequence of their behaviors and words, you will get attacked and probably bad-mouthed, and there is the possibility that you will never see or hear from that person again, because by design it is actually the toxic person who is a coward!

If you are not prepared to lose someone for good, no matter how crazy or sick they are making you, you might be better off avoiding them as much as you can and never confronting them. Toxic people have a way of sometimes making your life hell when you try to get rid of them. But know that this will pass. Once they notice that they cannot get a rise out of you and that you will not respond to them, they will have no choice but to give up. Also, a lot of them have a way of quickly finding replacements for you, namely people that are not as challenging as you are and people who will support them in their toxicity. That is OK! If you can look at yourself in the mirror, knowing that you did the best you could, learning to do things differently if you did screw up, you will be fine. Remember that light attracts light, always! And life is too short to waste it on people who are making you miserable and contributing nothing but pain, worry, anger and hardship to your life.

What do you think – what’s the right way to get rid of toxic people?

16 thoughts on “How to Fire Toxic People

  1. cw

    thanks to everyones contributing comments: i really have been struggling to set boundaries with most relationships in general – romantic; friendships; family members; even co-workers– i seem to always be the one who gets hurt, or walked on and disrespected, or made to feel guilty about “not being the person who they always expect me to be “-in any situation dealt-in- hand that makes Them feel as though They’re the ones whove been wronged and its my lack of complete obedient empathy thats caused the situation to stumble and get dirty, and its Me who really has the deeper seeded issues, which they simply cant- without a reasonable doubt call on any equal grounds of reconciliation, or mutual understanding of why I might feel the way I do, too- because they cant Possibly conceive of the idea that their feelings-& of what and how the way things should be handled, would stand anywhere near being outside the realm of the way They’ve already determinded to be preceive things to be. naturally, being an empathy& complete martyr to most parts of my life, i am consequentially subject to the automatic -& sometimes harsh ridicule of undeterministic false sense of practicality& morale of what a supportive friendship Should resemble, and its as if ive lost defense over mycharacter & any chance of the toxicity to dissipate

  2. Regret

    As a person who is (at least) partially “toxic”…..once you’ve realized all the epiphanies, heartaches and lost relationships you’ve created and the loss of time, emotions, etc….it is too late to correct those that you harmed the most….especially if you’d like to attempt to rekindle a previous old relationship…..the recipient doesn’t know you anymore or know that things have changed drastically and moved on wanting nothing to do with you!
    Part of healing for a toxic person (no matter their reasons how they got there) is a very extreme reality and can be viewed as a “get what you deserve” response.
    Fortunately, some toxic people are capable of change – unfortunately, it can take a long time for that self realization that certainly helps your existing and future life; but, cannot correct past Bad Kharma…..
    Many Soulful Regrets

  3. Carmen Hexe

    Thanks, all! I am writing about things that are often a struggle for me. By writing about them, I can remind myself about what is important in life, where I need to make adjustments/still grow and where I can let things go.

    Knowing that my own struggles inspire others helps me to keep going 😀

  4. misskrystal

    Diana-I also appreciate Carmen’s work.
    I hope she continues to write for us.
    Self love is first and foremost…Miss Carmen does a fantastic job in all of her articles reminding us of just that….Bring it on, Miss Carmen!! We are all waiting for more..
    Your fan,
    Miss Krystal

  5. Diana Navarro

    Excellent article. This is extremely common and needs to be addressed. I predict this topic is only beginning to create great interest. I would love to see more on it, including more specific scenarios. I assure you, your readers will be eternally grateful.

    Thank you for this.

  6. misskrystal

    oh my lol having computer glitches
    I wrote- she would put signs on the fridge lol (not sure how that came out that way)

  7. misskrystal

    Hi Carmen, my post just disappeared lol
    I will try, again-I think you will like this one..So my mom is a straight shooter sag…Growing up, as a teenager, should would put signs on our fridge that said, “If someone does not care about the way you feel, they don’t really care about you.” lol what do you think???
    Miss Krystal

  8. misskrystal

    As far as toxic step kids-that is a hard one because it breaks my heart to see couples break up over it…
    especially, with folks like mine, who are from a different generation (my folks are elderly)-Most mothers do not want to see their daughters play “back door” to a man’s children….It’s a fine line. I do think some tolerance is needed ON ALL SIDES for this big issue….Hugs, Miss Krystal

  9. misskrystal

    that is excellent advice for family members and in laws, gina rose. we have to see them and this is a great way to handle them- if toxic….miss krystal

  10. velvetoversteel

    Great, great article! I had a toxic person in my life ever since I moved to my current state 5 years ago. You described what I went through and continue to deal with, perfectly. She doesn’t get it! Frist I was naive, I had always been friends with everyone I met. But she was different. Then I tried to back away; and she did things behind my back & making my life hell. Then I tried to be friends using the excuse, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” That was more stressful, draining, toxic and dangerous than I cared to deal with. Finally, I got stronger and stopped being scared of her (and I had a right to be) but stopped giving her ‘my power’.
    It has been over a year now since I completely stopped having anything to do with her. She still stalks and contacts me. From phonecalls, messages saying she has done nothing wrong to emails telling me all the things she feels she’s done for me, how she’s never done any of the things that I know she has and trying to make me feel guilty. Now she has somehow found my blog, I don’t know anyone she does. She keeps sending emails telling me that she has found it, etc. etc. Still no rise out of me or response to anything. She drives by my house often, but lives in another town now. I even caught her looking in my house windows when I was coming home late one evening.
    See what I mean by stalking?!
    Thank you for such an accurate post and including examples and suggestions! I know this will help so many people like me with a toxic person in or around their life!

  11. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    Hi Carmen,
    I receive more calls about toxic relatives , rather than toxic friends.
    But the same rules apply for toxic relatives too……which involves more of a battle concerning guilt.

    I copied one of the points in your article below, Carmen, which are excellent guidelines to follow concerning a toxic relative….. I actually use the following guideline below in dealing with a toxic relative in my own family……and it does work.

    “When you behave in x, y, z ways I will not engage in conversation with you.”
    “I will not/no longer participate in your game/will not be manipulated by you/etc.”
    “If you have nothing nice to say to me, I will hang up on you.”

    But here is the key : you need to follow thru consistently…..eventually they will give up,….. and go look for another target to push their buttons.

    Blessed Be )O(
    Gina Rose ext.9500

  12. misskrystal

    I hear ya hun. All you can do is look back and be honest with yourself-as you are doing…I was close to a girl for about a year. I did a lot for her, but it appeared, that after a while, it was not a friendship. Friends need to have fun. Seemed all I was there for was her problems….She could find the $$ to buy drinks at the bar, but could not even find some change to meet me for lunch….She always played the victim. It got old…
    Once I set my boundary, she was arrogant-She’s gone now. lol But I am fine…It’s more peaceful now.
    We can’t worry about what they think….We should not care at all, as they did not respect us.
    The key, is, to nip it in the bud as soon as it starts. However, one of the reasons I carried on for a year was because we had a few mutual friends. She lives even down the road from me….I don’t care. No convenience lol I would rather drive an hour for a real friend….Don’t worry about what they think of you. You know what they did to you-And where does it come from? ahuh?
    I just remind myself of that. And it helps. So many people do not want to believe that someone doesn’t really like them….When that happens, we are not really being true to our self….
    Honestly, if we really observe how much value and respect they have for us, we will see it CLEARLY…Yes, it’s nice to have a lot of people like you, but we need to be our best friend and be honest about that…If they treat you so poorly, and then you seem them treat someone else so much better, AHUH again…Answers everywhere if we just look and put our feelings aside.
    God bless you,
    Miss Krystal

  13. Carmen Hexe

    Ugh, Miss Krystal. You spoke straight from my heart! These are the EXACT feelings I have held about some of the toxic people I have gotten rid off.
    For me, the sadness would become unbearable. I’d sit there wondering why in the world they would tell me that I am the one to blame, that I was the one who treated them unkind, harsh or unfairly, when they had been dumping on me, taking and bringing me down sometimes for years. What was even worse is how the “herd” would come to the rescue. People I considered “friends” who would always wonder why I surround myself with these “losers” and “downers” were the first ones to come to their rescue and turn against me. I had to learn that it is the least challenging to have toxic friends, because while they are not offering anything to you in terms of friendship or support, they don’t really expect anything back in return either.

    I am not good with the boundary thing. I am learning right now 🙂 And you are right, every time I did set boundaries and confronted them, I’d get a huge list of whining, insults and them running. I remember one of them, whom I confronted last year. When I told her how mean and judgmental she was towards me (of course, after she was accusing me of that), she told me to “f*** off” and never spoke to me again. We had been “friends” for about 4 years at the time.

    My biggest problem is being such a huge empath. I feel their misery, I want to rescue and fix it and instead of them learning anything at all, I get my heart torn into pieces. Toxic people are dangerous, that is all I can say.

  14. misskrystal

    I agree, Carmen..It’s like they never want to believe that there is a part that they played or the drama that really started -not only that, they never stop and look at all that you have done for them(being there for them, helping them-letting them dump and dump and vent)-I don’t think some of these people allow themself to see where THEY went wrong…..They have excuses galore….Especially, as to why they could not “give back” and continue to keep taking etc….Big self deceivers…They will put up with all kinds of junk from the people they are obsessed with, but God forbid, not the ones that are good to them.. A lot of their egos are so inflated.

    They look for nice people that have big hearts….And when they find out that you are stronger than they had anticipated, then they really have anger about you….It’s just like how you talk about the Class A Jerk….Toxic people are kinda like Jerks…

    A lot of these types of people (most) are really easy to test…Most of the time this will work…..All you have to do is set a big boundary-most of the time that will send them away-because down deep there is a part of them that really doesn’t respect you-There are some exceptions, of course…But I have found that most of the time this will work…

    Great article..
    Miss Krystal

  15. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    well Carmen, another great article…….kudos!

    Firing toxic people is never easy……but it is a good exercise for developing self respect and boundaries.

    Toxic people wreach havoc and cause stress in a persons’ life…we all know the damage that stress can do…mentally, emotionally and physically speaking.

    So, as a well-known person on TV, who used to have her own show, would say : “Stop The Insanity”!!!!!!!


    Blessed Be )O(
    Gina Rose ext.9500


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