• Shona Dee

Learning to Deal Effectively With a Toxic Person

Dealing with toxic person

Do you have somebody in your life, perhaps an ex-partner or family member, whose actions seem to be nothing short of destructive? Perhaps even bordering on evil? Maybe this person is a narcissist, or at the very least a manipulative, unpleasant and all-round toxic person to be around.

Perhaps you’ve lost count of the amount of times that you’ve tried, in vain, to make this person see sense, to take responsibility for their actions, to become accountable for who and what they are. You have probably lost considerable peace and sanity due to this person, and if he or she is an ex-partner you may have even lost financially as the endless battle of wills played out in the Legal system.

Yet no matter what you do, the person and the situation fail to change. So you keep up the fight - you push and try harder to make the toxic person accountable, to make them see the error of their ways. Because you just can’t let them win, no matter what – it wouldn’t be right.

You rightfully – or so you believe - have the finger of blame pointed firmly at this person and are looking at THEM to change. As humans this is generally what we do. Sadly, this approach very often doesn’t work.

So how do we deal effectively with a toxic person?

By turning the situation around. By making the brave decision to look at ourselves and WHY we allow the person to affect us. Granted, this is not an easy thing to do. Yet when we consider that the only person we ever have any real hope of changing is ourselves, it is certainly the most sensible thing to do.

We then make the conscious decision NOT to partake in lengthy and drawn out battles that in all probability will affect us more than the other person – mentally, emotionally and perhaps financially. We teach ourselves to recognise that until we learn to reclaim our power in relationships, we will always be at the mercy of other people and what they do or do not do. Is this any way to live?

Oftentimes, simply acknowledging that the person you are dealing with is deeply flawed, disordered or ‘toxic’ and cannot be changed is enough to shift the energy between you and him or her, and lighten the load for you. Because why would we spend precious energy trying to fix the unfixable?

Would it not make more sense to change the way we perceive the situation? To work at creating space between us and them and to ultimately get to the point where what they do (or don’t do) has zero bearing on us or our lives?

Truth is, we are all flawed human beings. The extent to which we are flawed depends on many factors, such as our past experiences with giving and receiving love. I am flawed. I don’t believe I’m as flawed as some, yet I’m probably more flawed than many others.

When I’m forced to deal with a troublesome ‘toxic’ person – regardless of who the person is in relation to me – I remind myself that the person in front of me is human. Even when every fibre of my being wants them NOT to be human because labelling them as ‘evil’ or a ‘monster’ or ‘psycho’ is easier and ultimately takes the onus off me, and how I choose to react.

I have taught myself to look past the exterior and consider the pain that has driven the person to behave in the toxic and destructive ways that they do.

This does NOT mean that I’m required to love this person wholeheartedly, and allow them to treat me like rubbish and drag me through the mud for their own perverted amusement. It DOES mean that I make the conscious decision to NOT let the person have any power or influence over me, or my life, whatsoever.

It means that I am able to recognise the toxic habits of the person for what they are and let them - and their influence over me - go. For good. For my OWN good. INSTEAD of engaging in pointless arguments, fights and one-uppances that ultimately leave ME drained and depleted – mentally, emotionally, financially.

Next time YOU are forced to deal with a disordered or ‘toxic’ person, consider looking at the person, and the situation, from a different perspective. Choose to see the person for what he or she is – a deeply pained, troubled and flawed human being. Be grateful that you haven’t allowed your pain to take over your entire being.

Be grateful that you are capable of moving through life without the need to inflict pain, heartache and destruction on others. That you are capable of empathy, and of the giving and receiving of unconditional love. This is what I am grateful for - EVERY single day of my life. And as for the ‘toxic’ persons? I simply leave them be.

Have you had experience dealing with a toxic person? Did you struggle with it? Please, share your story in the comments ♥

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