Seven Strategies for Dealing With Toxic People
Are there people who constantly criticize you, say that you do not know how to do something, make you feel bad about yourself, even yell at you? They are toxic people. Dealing with them is never easy, but they are such a difficult problem that it is worth considering some strategies that you might consider.
This post was originally published on the Zen Habits site .
I was reminded of this problem recently by a reader who asked, “What if toxic people are my family? How can I close them? What if I don’t have the courage to rise above them? “
I confess there are no easy answers. I’ve used several strategies in my life and I’ll share what I’ve tried.
1. Practice self-compassion when you feel bad.
This is always my first step these days as I found out how useful this method is. Think about it: If you feel bad about someone else’s behavior, you may show your anger or irritation in your actions and words, and this will only increase the likelihood that that person will be toxic. Your bad feelings are terrible not only for you, but also for the situation. So try this when you find yourself feeling bad about someone else’s actions / words: turn inward and pay attention to your feelings instead of avoiding them. How do they feel in your body? After a minute, try to induce a feeling of self-love. Wish yourself happiness and an end to suffering. Wish yourself a life of joy and peace. It won’t magically heal the pain, but it’s a good place to start .
2. Talk to other people
I’ve found that when I’m in pain, I often don’t want to admit it to other people, but when I talk to someone about it, I inevitably feel better. So take the plunge and talk to someone. Share your feelings, ask them to listen, maybe even give advice. Advice is not as important as communication and listening.
3. Practice empathy and compassion.
Try applying the same method of compassion to the person who is upsetting you. Deep down, wish them happiness. See that they, too, go through hardships, as you do, and that is why they do that. I wish you an end to their suffering. Wish them joy and lightness in life.
4. Talk to a toxic person.
As soon as you begin to feel more compassion for the other person, talk to them. Yes, they may not be compassionate and peaceful towards you, but you can get better. You can see that they are suffering in some way and acting inappropriately because of this suffering. Try to contact them , share what is difficult for you, ask for their support. It may not always work, but if you do it in a spirit of communication, they may be open to this discussion.
5. Model the behavior you want to see
Often times I get mad at other people for being mad at me, and then I do the same thing that they do, behave badly because they misbehaved. Even if I feel that it is their fault, my behavior makes the situation worse. So I try to show how to deal with disappointment, I try to treat them with compassion, I try to show a positive way to deal with things. And often this can have a great effect, even if not immediately.
6. Find More Positive Friends
If that doesn’t work, it helps you find other people who are more in agreement with the way you want to live. People are creative, enterprising, self-sufficient, passionate about things, positive, healthy, happy. Find them at your local running club, yoga or crossfit class, or volunteer organizations. Find them online in various positive communities. Take the plunge and lend a helping hand , develop relationships. Buy someone some tea or coffee and start a friendship. One by one, develop relationships that positively affect your life and have a positive impact on their lives. I’ve done this in my life and it makes a huge difference.
7. Cut them out
It’s tough, but when family members don’t support me, if they constantly criticize and get angry … and none of the above works … I’ll just stop seeing them so often. I will mind my own business . See other friends. Of course, this is more difficult to do when they live with you, but even then you can go for a run, go hiking and see nature, meditate, create. Don’t let the thought of toxic people be what you focus on all day – focus on more peaceful, creative, and positive places.
7 Strategies for Dealing with Toxic People | Zen habits