Whooosh. That’s the sound of air deflating from a balloon and what it feels like inside when you are around a toxic person. They suck the air out of the room, they make you feel small, They make you leak your power.
- Don’t believe what they say or imply about you
Remember that even though a toxic person speaks words of blame or criticism toward you, the reason behind their behavior has little to do with you. Rather, what they say and do is motivated by THEIR need to regulate THEIR own view of themselves.
What’s the implication? You can’t change what they say or do, but you CAN change how you respond to it.
Your mission? Don’t let it in. Don’t let their words penetrate your skin and start spreading their poison within you. Let it wash off you like water off a duck’s back. Inside keep repeating: “This is about YOU not about ME!” and “Just because you said it doesn’t mean I need to believe it.” And if you start to believe it, it is only because you are looking for validation outside of you – that’s something that you can control.
I have a friend who’s in a business partnership with another woman. Every time my friend does another amazing thing, her business partner belittles her and tells her how wrong she was. My friend used to believe her and her confidence was in the sinkhole, she even started to get depressed. But after our discussions, my friend is back ‘in her power’. She’s seeing her business partner’s criticisms as the kind of attack a toxic person makes when they feel that your achievement makes them feel ‘one down’, and they need to ‘feel one-up’ again by putting you down. She’s focused on doing what’s right to bring the company higher and her new product launched with a total bang.
- Kiss all your expectations goodbye
Don’t expect them to be different or cooperate. Don’t expect them to apologize. Don’t expect them to see you for who you are. Don’t expect them to use a civil tone. Don’t look to them to help you feel good about yourself. (You can see this is not the kind of person who makes a good ‘friend’!)
To be less upset about others’ behavior in the future, your mantra is “Accept others’ level of evolution… and work on your own!”
- Protect yourself from their negativity
What if you could get your imagination working to help you deal with a toxic person? If you remember the American cartoon character Charlie Brown, you’ll certainly remember how he tuned out his teacher speaking, making it sound like “blah, blah, blah”.
Maybe you can imagine holding a shield in front of you like a Wonder Woman character and their criticism just bounces off the shield. Maybe you can imagine a glass cone or rays of white light surrounding protecting you from the toxic person. Crossing your ankles and your arms can be a physical reminder of keeping their negative energy out of your energy field.
- See them as your teacher
You know those people in your life who are really wise? Every one of them has had a toxic person in their life who served as a “teacher”. By dealing with the toxic person’s negativity and not absorbing it, they learned lessons that made them wise. They became wise by learning that they couldn’t get validation and love from a toxic person who couldn’t appreciate their ideas and contributions. They came to understand why toxic people are insensitive and learned to cultivate a sense of compassion for that person, and themselves. They had to move through moments of hurt, so they learned to have a bigger picture perspective and see that people and events often come into your life to help you grow. You can become that wise person too!
- Don’t try to change them, be thankful you are not them!
Even if toxic people don’t seem to be aware of their impact on other people, their behavior limits their happiness and fulfillment in some part of their life. It could be derailing their career or leading to loneliness in personal relationships. Trust me – it’s showing up somewhere in their life.
Be thankful that you may have only limited interactions with them, while they have to live with themselves all day, every day.
Kill them with kindness. Use it as an opportunity to practice your ‘compassion meditation’. Be glad for who you are.
- Stand your ground
Choose your battles. Decide where to draw your boundaries. There are some situations when you’ll want to stand your ground with the toxic person. And there are other situations where it’s a wasteful leak of your power to devote any energy to them.
- Limit your time with them
It’s important that you have a bag of tricks to deal with toxic people. Be prepared to deal with them so you don’t waste your own power and energy reacting to them. The best thing you can do is steer clear of them. The more you ‘raise your vibration’, the more those people will ‘fall away from your energy field’ because they are ‘at a lower vibration’. As the famous writer Gertrude Stein said, “the best revenge is a good life!”
The insights of this article are the opinions of the writer.