This blog post is going to be a little bit of a departure from what I’d normally post on here.  I’ve been getting into writing more lifestyle-related content that is practical for day-to-day life.  The topic for this post is ‘toxic people’.  There seem to be quite a few articles kicking around on the internet about this subject and so I wanted to share my thoughts.  

Toxic people are a fact of life that we all have to deal with at some point.  What makes such people so difficult to do business with is that they behave in an irrational way.  I have been lucky enough to not have to deal with many toxic people in my time but I thought I’d share my thoughts on this subject regardless.  

Defining A Toxic Person 

First of all, it is important to not confuse ‘toxic people’ with ‘negative people’.  The main distinction is intent.  Negative people can be draining to be around but may not mean any harm by their behaviour.  Perhaps they are going through a tough time or just simply have a negative disposition.  From self-pity to catastrophising, I’m sure we can all admit to being a negative nelly at some point and have seen sense and snapped out of it.  However, toxic people are malevolent.  

The hallmarks of a toxic person are: 

  • Gossiping and lying about others to feel better about themselves and gain currency with people equally as toxic. 
  • Act nice as pie but will make insidious remarks. 
  • Hypocrisy. 
  • Give it out but cannot take it. 
  • Always assessing what they dislike in others but don’t judge themselves against the same criteria. Eg. Complain about how they hate it when people eat with their mouths open when they do it themselves. 
  • Bigoted/backwards views. 
  • Secret self-loathing. 
  • A track record of falling out with people, perhaps even estranged from relatives. 
  • They seem to attract drama/conflict. 

What You Can Do

Understand. 

I feel genuinely sorry for toxic people because life really is so much better when you do have a positive/rational outlook.  When you treat others with respect, wish people well and really mean it, don’t presume yourself better than others than any reason – it’s liberating really. Being nice feels great.  You don’t need to tear someone down to bring yourself up, it’s quite the opposite. 

Toxic people make it embarrassingly obvious how bored and dissatisfied they are with their own lives.  If you really are happy, you wish others well too and are too busy living life to notice, or indeed care about what others are up to.  Let alone discuss and gossip or belittle. 

“Confidence is silent, insecurity is loud”.

I’ve noticed that without fail that the most toxic people (when they let their guard down) are riddled with insecurities and baggage, so no wonder they behave the way they do.  Be empathetic to how awful it must be to be in their headspace.  It is understandable that some people have been through difficult things, however, I have little sympathy for those who believe that it justifies malevolence or nastiness.  

Let’s face it, we’ve probably all behaved in a toxic way at some point in our lives and realise that it doesn’t feel good nor do you feel proud of yourself for doing so.  With a bit of ownership, therapy and lifestyle changes you can usually snap out of it.  However, toxic people lack the moral compass to feel particularly bad about their actions – being unpleasant is part of their identity and they enjoy it.  

Avoid.  

The quickest way to disarm a toxic person is to simply expunge them from your life.  Of course, there will be exceptions where it’s not possible, so instead simply create distance.  If they have a problem, don’t make it yours.  

“I don’t care about what you think of me, I don’t think of you at all.”  

When you are faced with such people, always be civil and polite, keep yourself to yourself and never sink down to their level because it’s exactly what they want.  They will find it immensely triggering when they realise they simply don’t have any power over you.  

“It takes grace to remain kind in cruel situations”. 

Set Boundaries.

It is amazing how you assimilate to the mood of the people around you.  Life is way too short to deal with unnecessary drama.  Your peace and mental health are worth everything whereas the opinion of someone you don’t care for is worth nothing. Don’t make excuses for them and don’t be afraid to say no.

 “The only way to win with a toxic person is not to play”.

Don’t Take It Personally

Life is so much easier when you learn not to take things personally because 90% of the time, someone’s issues have nothing to do with you.  Perhaps they are miserable or hate their lot in life, you just don’t know what is happening behind the scenes.  Chances are you are not the only person who feels this way about them.

Negative and hateful feelings are a massive burden and are terrible for both physical or mental health.  Remember, the person who suffers the most from the consequences of a toxic person is the toxic person. 

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