Do you feel that no matter where you go toxic people seem to find you? Perhaps, you find yourself in repeated situations where people seem to be manipulating you, leaving you feeling wronged and doubting if anyone has sincere intentions. After a while, being surrounded by such negative people can create mistrust in your own ability to assess people’s intentions, and you may begin to wonder if you are the problem. While you may not be the problem you may be indirectly contributing to why toxic people keep entering and staying in your world. It may be necessary to change some of your behaviors to try and safe guard against the toxic people you encounter.
Try these helpful tips:
- Make the distinction between empathy and sympathy. Though these words are often used interchangeably they mean different things. Sympathy is feeling compassion for another and empathy is putting yourself in the others situation and feeling their feelings. A toxic person may count on your empathy and manipulate you to try and take part in their feelings. As a result, you may find yourself consumed with negative feelings and lost in the problem as if it was your own.
- Watch your people pleasing skills. It can be rewarding to please someone else but a toxic person may never feel pleased and as a result you find yourself in a habitual cycle of doing more and more to try to earn someone’s approval that is not looking to give it to you.
- If you avoid confrontation, a toxic person may use this to their favor. If you tend to do anything to not deal with the discomfort from conflict you may find yourself struggling with a toxic person. Some toxic people not only feel comfortable in conflict but actually invite drama, and chaos to the relationship. If you are someone that will not address the person behind this behavior then it may go on indefinitely.
- Limit the amount of time you will devote to listening. If you find yourself in a conversation that is always about you listening and the other person talking you may have to set a time limit or stop the one-sided conversation all together in order to avoid a toxic person taking your great listening skills for granted.
- Do not be too understanding. It is great to give people the benefit of the doubt but at some point, when a person continues to repeat the same inconsiderate behaviors, you may have to ask yourself if they are sincerely sorry or are exploiting your understanding nature.
- Choose wisely how much intimate details you share about yourself. You may be a very open person who readily shares their most inner, personal thoughts. While there is nothing wrong with this, it may be a recipe for disaster if you share this with a toxic person. This individual may appear to be listening but it may not be for the reasons you would hope. It may be for the opportunity to understand your vulnerabilities and use them against you.
It may feel uncomfortable to have to set firm boundaries with other people. It may seem selfish to refuse to have or maintain a relationship with another, or to not offer help to a person in need. However, if this person is a toxic individual you must prioritize yourself to safeguard against the dysfunction that can come from this person. It can be a matter of self-preservation. There are plenty of wonderful people in this world and your time and energy will be much better spent investing in these relationships. You deserve it!
If you or someone you know is looking for help, please contact me to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation.