Toxic people. A header in blog posts nowadays. You see everything from “Why You Should Get Rid Of Them” to “How To Get Rid Of Them“. It’s all good trying to get rid of negativity in your life, to maintain a positive atmosphere and all that zen but then why is the go-to decision to eliminate them.
I happen to be friends with someone who used to be very toxic and no I didn’t sentence them to an eternity of doom in hell. I love people and I believe if you try to see and understand how and why people become the way they are, you may be of help to them. I also understand that some people do not want to be helped. Those are special circumstances. Without further ado, here are ways you could save a toxic person:
A toxic person is often manipulative and has already exerted some form of control over you, your emotions and actions.
First, REALIZE THEY’RE TOXIC – Once you accept the fact that these people are not normal, average, well-adjusted members of the society and are often struggling with some form of deep emotional injury. When you have come to terms with that, you can now realize that your defenses have to be way stronger than they normally are
Next, TELL THEM WHAT YOU DISCOVERED – Whether they be significant other or just friends, you have to tell them that they are toxic, not necessarily their entire being but their behavior towards you is. Tell them like you mean every letter of the words you speak. Do not hesitate or sound unsure, otherwise, you may open a new window for them to hurt you emotionally with some sort of guilt.
Now, you have to ESTABLISH EMOTIONAL BOUNDARIES and EMOTIONAL DISTANCE. This may sound really harsh but it is tough love and it works. This way you can see things objectively and be able to deal with them. Most toxic people manipulate you emotionally so creating emotional distance can help you break free from the grip they may already have on you.
Once this is put in place, there are certain things you should always keep in mind:
- They might get worse at first before they get better.
- They may never change, don’t expect it. If this happens, it’s your cue to leave.
- They should be treated with empathy. Don’t judge them.
- You don’t have to explain yourself all the time. ( The temptation might arise from guilt trip).
- You don’t have to help them through EVERY crisis.
- You should understand the cycle of their behaviour.
- You should FORGIVE but don’t be NAIVE
With this in mind and their best interests at heart, here are some more ways you could be of help:
DON’T NORMALIZE ABUSIVE BEHAVIOUR
This may be difficult to do at first, because, you may be oblivious to the behavior and you may be used to it. Don’t let abusive behavior continue and definitely do not make excuses for it. Let them know what is abusive and how you feel and never let it repeat. It’s a process so work on it every day. Squash negative talk. Never let it get to you as before.
Learn to pick up the cues and know when you’re being abused
USE SUPPORT SYSTEMS
A lot of these times, these people who have become toxic to us are people who happen to be very close to us and we lean on them for some sort of support. In cases like this, new support systems have to be formed to enable them to lose their power over and you and enable both of you to fix what is broken and heal properly.
Finally, pick your battles wisely and try as much as possible to rise above every challenge you may face. At the end of the day, it’s always a personal decision for someone to change. You can only do so much. If you see no improvements and no willingness to change, pack your bags and leave. That’s right, I went there. Take care of yourself because no-one else will do it for you.
Please share with someone who may need to hear this. I hope you stay negativity free.