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?