Insights and Inspirations: How Do You Deal with Toxic People?
We asked some of our experts, our WU World Changers what they do when faced with a toxic person, and we received some really inspiring answers! Read what they had to say below!
Be sure to connect with each WU World Changer directly!
Toxic people are in all of our lives, in some form or another.
No matter what we do, whether they are someone we “picked” along the way (like a friend), to the people we did not get to choose (like family), the dynamic of the relationship can make it difficult to say goodbye to them; and just simply unrealistic in some cases.
Have you had to experience a toxic person before?
- What did they do that made them toxic?
- How was your life affected by this experience, and how did that person make you feel?
- What was the relationship with this person?
- What action did you take to deal with the toxic person, and what was the outcome of the situation?
What advice could you offer to someone that is dealing with a similar situation? What do you suggest that they do so they can find their way back to balance and well-being?
“The issue is often we do not recognize that we are surrounded by toxic people. Those of us who are evolved might think, ‘Maybe it’s me. If I am truly a good person, I should work harder to try and embrace this person. What have I done to make this person respond this way to me.’ I must admit I allowed toxic people to stay in my life far too long as I questioned my own humanity and kindness. Equanimity we are taught in the yoga sutras is the ability to embrace those who have harmed us.
But recently, I have learned a few new ways of looking at toxic people and situations. Here are some kernels of wisdom shared with me that might be helpful to you.
- When you are saying yes to others who don’t care about you, you are not serving yourself. This is harmful to yourself. Ahimsa is the yogic word which means no harm and it must start within you. Self-Love means saying no to toxic people and situations
- When you really spend some time analyzing toxic situations, you might come to realize that you are involving your own ego in the situation. In other words, you are trying to win over someone who probably does not even have a role for you in their lives or play. So, stop trying to be an important factor in someone else’s life. Live your own life. Write your own script.
- When you remove toxic chemicals and toxic people from your life, you will stay feeling healthier. Healthy equals happiness.”
– Andrea Trank
E-RYT Yoga Teacher, Ed.S. Curriculum and Instruction, M.Ed. Science Education, MBG Functional Nutrition Graduate, and Functional Nutrition Lab Digestive Intensive Graduate
“I grew up and surrounded by toxic people. From close family members to friends. Of course, then I was unaware that there was the term ‘toxic’ in which I could refer to these individuals and I was also unaware that I could remove myself from any negative and uncomfortable situation. I felt I could not say no, and I felt stuck! This affected my life in many ways in my personal relationships and socially.
It took me years to realize that I could change my circumstances and my environment. I did not have to be around people that did not empower me, believed in me and gave me positive constructive feedback. I realized that it was okay for me to remove myself by putting some distance. I started screening calls, limiting the time spent with them and even moved away for a few years.
To me, this opportunity to move away was a gift from God. It gave me a chance to get to know my true self and meet new people of my choice. Nobody I ‘had’ to spend time with, but I ‘wanted’ to spend time with. I also learned how to say no, and this was liberating. It is okay to say no when it does not serve you. I always felt obliged to attend socials and family get-togethers even when it was not convenient for me to do so, or else I would hear about it.
Toxic people are everywhere, and you do not have to be a part of that circle and toxic environment. Always do what is best for you and feels right in your heart but always try to be kind and polite and not to judge toxic people do not recognize that they are.”
– Samantha Cervino
WU Ambassador, Energy Healer, Coach, and Writer
“The best advice I can give to handling and dealing with toxic people is to have a strong foundation of self-care and self-love within yourself. Setting strong energetic boundaries are important to prevent toxic people to from invading your space both consciously and unconsciously.
It all starts with us individually. As an empath, the discernment has been a skill that I have consciously developed for myself over decades. I steer clear of those who are toxic, stuck, and unwilling to change themselves. I send them love and appreciation energetically from afar. It is my choice not to interact with them on the physical, and they are not allowed to interact with me unconsciously at all.”
– Dr. Dolores Fazzino
Nurse Practitioner, LifeStyle and Wellness Coach, Speaker, and Author
“In order for me to address the issue of peoples’ ‘toxicity,’ I choose to first define it, in a way that may or may not fit other peoples’ definition. For me, ‘toxicity’ has three key features:
- The toxic person complains a lot (often enough manifesting bitterness) and does little if anything constructive to improve their unpleasant/unhappy situation in life.
- More often than not the person is not sensitive to or respectful of my boundaries on the time and emotional accessibility fronts.
- When things are going well for ME, the person demonstrates a relative lack of enthusiasm or enjoyment of my good feelings.
So, how have I dealt with people like this who have been in my life? Or anyone like this who may still be in my life? I do my best to go first to compassion, but with an additional piece, called a constructive challenge. Meaning, assuming my heart is still in the relationship, and no matter how frustrated and disappointed I may feel, I will let the person know that (in so many words) it feels clear to me that they are having a really rough time emotionally and psychologically. I would tell them that I feel really bad for them and that I certainly have had these periods of time myself. Assuming at that point I am not being received with defensiveness or denial, I will then encourage the person to muster up the courage and go get some professional help. I always add that I am someone who has consistently over the years, whenever I’ve needed to do so I have most certainly practiced doing what I professionally preach.
The other thing I will make sure to do is to let them know that I am clear they still have very positive and likable qualities, and that the relationship means a lot to me. Only if a person essentially over the months ahead changes virtually nothing about themselves and their lives will I know that my own psychological well-being requires me to set limits and boundaries, not only on the time I give to this person, but what I share with them of personal/emotional significance. In other words, I may not cut the person off entirely, but I will certainly cut down what I give to them and what I can expect in return (I.e., very little of benefit to me).”
– Dr. Sidney Cohen, Ph.D.
“Toxicity is a matter of perception and part of the illusion we’ve created for our experiences here, in this time and space on earth. On a recent meditation I felt my father’s energy come through; an energy we might call toxic today. I saw him as his soul expression in physical form, playing a role of the abusive, absent, angry, narcissistic, uncaring father. He only asked for my forgiveness in the heart-ache he caused me throughout my life.
I admit I was surprised by this interaction. When he’d passed away, I had felt nothing. I’d made no room in my heart for him. My father has not been on my mind. Yet, without further hesitation, I forgave him. In fact, seeing him in this way, forgiveness was an easy thing to do. I was surprised at how easy it flowed from my heart. Forgiveness provides us with an opportunity to override toxicity, and perhaps even see it for what it really is – an expression of the soul that plays a role for you in your life.”
– Rosemary Levesque
Licensed Spiritual Healer
“Avoiding Stress Carriers. We all know some of them. They scatter stress like Tinkerbell scatters fairy dust. They are stress carriers. They often appear friendly or helpful, but they make others feel inadequate or upset. They also are adept at shifting work or worries to others. They are easy to recognize because you tense up every time they are near and are relieved when they move on. The best approach is to avoid them as much as you can.
Avoidance may not be possible in the workplace. You don’t want to apply hostile to overly negative. You can try humor by saying something in a teasing way like, ‘are you trying to shift your assignment to me?’ Or you may need to be a bit more direct. Changing how you react is another option. If you can recognize the situation, you can erect an emotional stress barrier. When you are successfully doing this, the stress carrier will usually move on to a more vulnerable person.”
– Elizabeth Clark
Experienced CEO, National Leader, Author, and Speaker
“Toxic people are what I call ‘energy sappers.’ A ‘Lifestyle Energy Sapper’ (one who uses the energy of others almost exclusively, as a way of life) is a person who has never grown up emotionally. We are ALL born as ‘energy sappers,’ because we have to use the energy of others (usually parents) in order to survive the time, we have a brain and body that are not fully developed. If we don’t have someone to ‘represent us’ (put our energy through so we’re effective in the world), we will die. When we are born, we NEED others. When we are fully mature, we WANT others to be involved and help us, but we are okay if they don’t cooperate. I’ve examined Energy Sapping for over 45 years. I\’ve since realized that my estranged husband had ‘used me,’ and I discovered he couldn’t have done that unless I was also ‘using’ him! We are actually meant to grow out of Energy Sapping, just as we grow out of bed-wetting, though few people realize this.
Others can use our energy only when we allow them to. We allow ‘toxic people’ to use our energy because there are ways in which we are still draining energy ourselves, rather than operating as a full adult. The best way to stop attracting Energy Drainers into our lives is to stop our own energy draining (needy) behavior patterns! This usually means spending time alone, connecting fully with ourselves, as well as learning to set and keep our personal boundaries. Toxic people don’t like to be alone, can’t see others fully for who they are (they’re afraid to be fully separate), don’t take full responsibility, promise things they don’t fulfill, tend to be controlling (even in very subtle ways), have an uncanny knack for finding someone’s weak points, and see others as ‘bad, wrong, or crazy’ if those others don’t fulfill their needs.
To stop ‘toxic people’ from coming into our lives, it’s not necessary to get anyone else to change–only necessary to change ourselves. When you grow yourself out of your own Energy Draining (Toxic) patterns, Toxic people are no longer attracted to come into your life! You are able to live your life as a fully responsible adult and set boundaries for yourself, so you don’t give away your energy to anyone else, unless you clearly and deliberately choose to do so!”
– Ilene Dillon
Emotional Mastery for Life
Thank you for joining us for this week’s Insights and Inspirations where our experts shared how they deal with toxic people. Please join us next Monday for another installment of Insights and Inspirations, where our WU World Changers share how the repel and reformat negative thoughts!
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