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Emergency Kit for Dealing with Toxic People

Who are the people in your life that push all your wrong buttons?

People who trigger a lot of negative emotions and regularly push you in a whirlpool of destructive, cynical, argumentative thoughts and inner dialogue, tension and even conflict?

What if you cannot immediately eliminate them from your life? What if you are expected to be polite or grateful to them, when you secretely fantasize about dumping them in the desert (deep, deep inside the desert, without a mobile phone), or making them into a boxing bag?

How do you deal with this?

Finding myself in the (apparently unavoidable) presence of such people for quite a long time, i realized that there is a big downside to it: I become nasty myself. It takes a long time and a lot of self-control to swallow your anger and get over it, when you are exposed to this on a daily basis. The longer you need to do this, there are higher probabilities that you will  become either a) wise, patient, controlled and diplomatic  or b) angry, cynical and irritable, a lot like the person you want to distance yourself from.

For a long, long time i used to get as angry as a bull in Pamplona, ready to charge and attack. It took me great amounts of energy to control my fury and swallow my damaged pride. After a while it got to me, mentally, emotionally and physically, as the negative feelings made me literally sick.

Several books and secret tears later, i got a few ideas of how to handle this better, to at least minimize the effect on my health.

The best thing you can do is to avoid these people. There is no doubt about it.

If you cannot, then minimize your contact with them; spend as little time as possible in their company and reduce communication to the minimum social requirements.

Remember that these negative emotions are YOUR reaction to people/events in your environment. It is really our choice to react upset, or just let it go peacefully. It is ALWAYS, always our choice to not take it personal, not give importance to these issues or even respond humorously, and to re-focus our attention and priority on other constructive matters and activities.

Distance yourself physically from the person/event, if even to another room, where you can breathe deeply for 5 minutes, practice EFT (it really works), and do some positive affirmations (such as “I release, i let go of all anger and resentment.”, “I am surrounded by loving, caring people who support me at all times.”)

Do stand up for yourself and your beliefs, even if it leads to conflict. There are respectful, yet firm ways to disagree, it just takes time and you’ll get better with practice. They call it assertiveness.

Keep in constant touch with people who inspire, encourage and uplift you. Get unbiased, constructive support. Get professional help too, from a coach, counselllor, therapist.

Ask God persistently to take care of this matter, to bring peace (and blessed distance…) between you and the irritating person.

But, as others wiser than me have said, do remember always that we are roughly the average of the five people we spend most of our time with. Yes, we are the average of the five people we spend most of our time with. They do affect our mood and development.

By all means, as a philosophy of life, our target is to be happy and “want what you already have”, instead of postponing happiness until you have everything you want. But at the same time, toxic relationships are just that, and you’ ll be better off without them at any given time.

Posted by Alina on Feb.24 2015

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PoZitivistas photos by Lia Nichifor