There is the moody and negative behaviour of others that all of us have encountered at some time: that of the toxic bully, he will have mood swings and try to intimidate and manipulate. It’s this aspect of moodiness that inflicts enduring abuse and misery.
So how can you best manage the fallout from other people’s relentless toxicity?
1. Move on without them: If you know someone who insists on destructively dictating the emotional atmosphere, then be clear: they are toxic. “Do I need this person in my life?” When you delete toxic people from your environment it becomes a lot easier to breathe. Seriously, be strong and know when enough is enough! Letting go of toxic people doesn’t mean you hate them, or that you wish them harm; it simply means you care about your own well-being. A healthy relationship is reciprocal; it should be give and take, but not in the sense that you’re always giving and they’re always taking. If you must keep a truly toxic person in your life for whatever reason, then consider the remaining points…
2. Stop pretending their toxic behavior is OK: If you’re not careful, toxic people can use their moody behavior to get preferential treatment, because… well… it just seems easier to quiet them down than to listen to their grouchy rhetoric. Decide this minute not to be influenced by their behavior. Stop tiptoeing around them or making special pardons for their continued belligerence. Constant drama and negativity is never worth putting up with. If someone over the age 21 can’t be a reasonable, reliable adult on a regular basis, it’s time to…
3. Speak up! Stand up for yourself: Some people will do anything for their own personal gain at the expense of others , Do not accept this behavior. In most social settings people tend to keep quiet until one person speaks up, so SPEAK UP. Some toxic people may use anger as a way of influencing you, or they may not respond to you when you’re trying to communicate, or interrupt you and suddenly start speaking negatively about something dear to you. If ever you dare to speak up and respond adversely to their moody behavior, they may be surprised, or even outraged, that you’ve trespassed onto their behavioral territory. But you must speak up anyway.
And if they persist in denial, it might be time to…
4. Put your foot down: Your dignity may be attacked, ravaged and disgracefully mocked, but it can never be taken away unless you willingly surrender it. It’s all about finding the strength to defend your boundaries. Demonstrate that you won’t be insulted or belittled. Much more effective has been ending conversations with sickening sweetness or just plain abruptness. The message is clear: There is no reward for subtle digs and no games will be played at your end. Truly toxic people will pollute everyone around them, including you if you allow them. If you’ve tried reasoning with them and they aren’t budging, don’t hesitate to vacate their space and ignore them until they do.
5. Don’t take their toxic behavior personally: It’s them, not you. KNOW this. Toxic people will likely try to imply that somehow you’ve done something wrong. And because the “feeling guilty” button is quite large on many of us, even the implication that we might have done something wrong can hurt our confidence and unsettle our resolve. Don’t let this happen to you.
6. Practice practical compassion: Sometimes it makes sense to be sympathetic with toxic people whom you know are going through a difficult time, or those who are suffering from an illness. There’s no question about it, some toxic people are genuinely distressed, depressed, or even mentally and physically ill, but you still need to separate their legitimate issues from how they behave toward you. There are plenty of people who are going through extreme hardships who are not toxic to everyone around them. We can only act with genuine compassion when we set boundaries. Making too many pardons and allowances is not healthy or practical for anyone in the long-term.
7. Take time for yourself: If you are forced to live or work with a toxic person, then make sure you get enough alone time to relax, rest, and recuperate. Having to play the role of a “focused, rational adult” in the face of toxic moodiness can be exhausting, and if you’re not careful, the toxicity can infect you. Again, understand that even people with legitimate problems and clinical illnesses can still comprehend that you have needs as well, which means you can politely excuse yourself when you need to.
The floor is yours…it is up to you now to say NO to toxic people in your life.