Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Positive Ways to Overcome Interactions With Toxic People

When you have to deal with people so toxic you need a gas mask...
I have another site, Intrinsic Vicissitude, where I write a lot about interacting positively with toxic people. I guess because that's a recurring theme in my life. I decided to drop a short piece about finding a positive way to interact with toxic people here today, because dealing with emotional toxicity can be such a powerful trigger for overeating, and for the kind of depression that leaves you emotionally paralyzed and physically unhealthy.

Examples of Toxic Family Members

When the person who 'messes you up' emotionally (Mom or Dad!) is also one who claims to love you most, it's one of the most emotionally paralyzing things you can ever have to deal with - but you can deal with it. It just takes some work, and you have to kind of 'step outside of yourself' and look at that person with compassion instead of rage. (I know - it isn't easy - believe me, I know.)

Spouses also have a huge negative impact on your psyche if you get a toxic one. After all, who has more influence on your life than the person you interact with daily and you depend on, or should be able to depend on, as a partner in life.

Kids, are even able to be a toxic influence in your life, more as they grow older and pick up the behaviors of the negative people around you.

Really, any family member you care about has the potential to be the 'bringer of psychological toxins' - and it falls to you to learn how to build a protective shield around your psyche. The problem is - that's not an easy thing to do. 

Strategies to Help You Deal With Toxic People

  • Give yourself something positive to hold onto.
    • Focus on it for a few minutes every day - multiple times a day if you interact with toxic people a lot.
    • Find things you love about yourself or your life - this can be things you've done, your faith in a higher power, charity work you help with, being a good cook, being organized - anything that makes you feel positive. 
    • Write it on a little paper, or take a picture, so you can look at it any time you need a boost after dealing with the toxic person in your life.
  • Get a simple talisman to wear.
    • This can be a ring, a key ring, a piece of jewelry like a brooch or necklace, anything really. 
    • Focus on your 'positive thing' while holding the talisman, and let it represent that positive thing in your mind. 
    • Wear or take this talisman everywhere, and any time you are dealing with your toxic person, touch the talisman as a reminder that this person is nothing - that they have no power to control your emotions - because you claimed your own power and it is in your fingertips to use.
  • Practice compassion.
    • Normal, emotionally healthy people do NOT go around destroying other people - so if someone is being toxic to you - it is because they are not emotionally healthy.
    • They deserve your pity, not vice versa.
    • So, even if that person gets you upset and even enraged, try to focus on the fact that this person who is trying to hurt you emotionally is acting from a place of fear and pain.
  • Don't engage in the toxicity.
    • When you catch yourself reacting to another person's negativity, don't talk louder.
    • Don't argue with them.
    • Your negative reaction to their emotional abuse - and that's exactly what it is - emotional abuse - is what they feed off of - simply end the discussion, or smile sweetly and change the subject. 
  • Find some non-toxic people to be part of your life.
    • Not everyone sucks.
    • If you're surrounded by toxic people, give yourself permission to go somewhere positive people hang out. This can be church, or somewhere you can volunteer to do charity work.
  • Accept the unconditional love of a pet.
    • If you aren't able to have a pet where you live, or you don't have time for a full-time pet, you can always volunteer at an animal shelter to get your fix of unconditional love from a pet.
  • Write it out.
    • Write a letter to the toxic person, detailing how they make you feel and how angry it makes you - cuss - rant - rage - let it all out. 
    • Do NOT send it.
    • The toxic person does NOT deserve to know how you feel and they would just "feed" off of it anyway.
    • These are your words and thoughts about how you've been treated, and once you write them down, they are out of your heart and you have the choice to let them go so they are not - or do not have to be - part of your existence any longer.
    • I personally burn these letters in the fireplace after I write them, and picture the smoke floating into the sky carrying the hurt and anger away. (It's a little cheesy, but it works.)

Positivity Versus Toxicity

The most important thing is that you find positive ways to deal with the toxicity other people throw at you. It isn't an easy thing to do, overcoming the toxic behavior of other people, but it can be done, and most important - you can do it. Don't let someone else's negativity ruin your day - or worse yet -your life. Own the good things about yourself, and if you screw up, like every human being on the planet does occasionally, own it and move on. 

Someone else's opinion about you is just that, THEIR opinion - and honestly - if it's negative - it has more to do with how that person feels about themselves than it does with you. So, Mom, thank you for telling me four times yesterday that I'm stupid. Stupid? I went to college, worked hard, earned a degree and extra certifications, and graduated WITH HONORS - I'm not stupid! But - - It's good to know how you feel about yourself, Mom, but give yourself a break, you may be mean, but you aren't stupid, either.

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