7 Tips for Dealing with TOXic People

Worth reading from off the web – WRITTEN BY: MARC CHERNOFF

7 Smart Ways to Deal with Toxic People

Don’t let toxic people rent space in your head.
Raise the rent and get them out of there.

Surviving the ups, downs, and lightning storms of other people’s moodiness can be quite a challenge.  It’s important, though, to remember that some moody, negative people may be going through a difficult stage in their lives.  They may be ill, chronically worried, or lacking what they need in terms of love and emotional support.  Such people need to be listened to, supported, and cared for. But whatever the cause of their moodiness and negativity, you may still need to protect yourself from their behavior at times.

And there’s another type of moody, negative behavior: that of the toxic bully, who will use his or her mood swings to intimidate and manipulate.  It’s this aspect of moodiness that inflicts enduring abuse and misery.  If you observe these people closely, you will notice that their attitude is overly self-referential.  Their relationships are prioritized according to how each one can be used to meet their selfish needs.  This is the kind of toxic behavior I want to look at in this post.

I’m a firm believer that toxic mood swings should not be inflicted on one person by another, under any circumstances.

So how can you best manage the fallout from other people’s relentless toxicity?

1.  Move on without them.

If you know someone who insists on destructively dictating the emotional atmosphere, then be clear: they are toxic.  If you are suffering because of their attitude, and your compassion, patience, advice, and general attentiveness doesn’t seem to help them, and they don’t seem to care one bit, then ask yourself, “Do I need this person in my life?”

When you delete toxic people from your environment it becomes a lot easier to breathe.  If the circumstances warrant it, leave these people behind and move on when you must.  Seriously, be strong and know when enough is enough!

Taking care of yourself

Taking care of yourself

Letting go of toxic people doesn’t mean you hate them, or that you wish them harm; it simply means you care about your own well-being.

A healthy relationship is reciprocal; it should be give and take, but not in the sense that you’re always giving and they’re always taking.  If you must keep a truly toxic person in your life for whatever reason, then consider the remaining points…

2.  Stop pretending their toxic behavior is OK.

If you’re not careful, toxic people can use their moody behavior to get preferential treatment, because… well… it just seems easier to quiet them down than to listen to their grouchy rhetoric.  Don’t be fooled.  Short-term ease equals long-term pain for you in a situation like this.  Toxic people don’t change if they are being rewarded for not changing.  Decide this minute not to be influenced by their behavior.  Stop tiptoeing around them or making special pardons for their continued belligerence.

Constant drama and negativity is never worth putting up with.  If someone over the age 21 can’t be a reasonable, reliable adult on a regular basis, it’s time to…

3.  Speak up!

Stand up for yourself.  Some people will do anything for their own personal gain at the expense of others – cut in line, take money and property, bully and belittle, pass guilt, etc.  Do not accept this behavior.  Most of these people know they’re doing the wrong thing and will back down surprisingly quickly when confronted.  In most social settings people tend to keep quiet until one person speaks up, so SPEAK UP.

Some toxic people may use anger as a way of influencing you, or they may not respond to you when you’re trying to communicate, or interrupt you and suddenly start speaking negatively about something dear to you.  If ever you dare to speak up and respond adversely to their moody behavior, they may be surprised, or even outraged, that you’ve trespassed onto their behavioral territory.  But you must speak up anyway.

Not mentioning someone’s toxic behavior can become the principal reason for being sucked into their mind games.  Challenging this kind of behavior upfront, on the other hand, will sometimes get them to realize the negative impact of their behavior For instance, you might say:

  • “I’ve noticed you seem angry.  Is something upsetting you?”
  • “I think you look bored.  Do you think what I’m saying is unimportant?”
  • “Your attitude is upsetting me right now.  Is this what you want?”

Direct statements like these can be disarming if someone truly does use their moody attitude as a means of social manipulation, and these statements can also open a door of opportunity for you to try to help them if they are genuinely facing a serious problem.

Even if they say: “What do you mean?” and deny it, at least you’ve made them aware that their attitude has become a known issue to someone else, rather than just a personal tool they can use to manipulate others whenever they want.  (Read Emotional Blackmail.)

And if they persist in denial, it might be time to…

4.  Put your foot down.

Your dignity may be attacked, ravaged and disgracefully mocked, but it can never be taken away unless you willingly surrender it.  It’s all about finding the strength to defend your boundaries.

Demonstrate that you won’t be insulted or belittled.  To be honest, I’ve never had much luck trying to call truly toxic people (the worst of the worst) out when they’ve continuously insulted me.  The best response I’ve received is a snarky, “I’m sorry you took what I said so personally.”  Much more effective has been ending conversations with sickening sweetness or just plain abruptness.  The message is clear:  There is no reward for subtle digs and no games will be played at your end.

Truly toxic people will pollute everyone around them, including you if you allow them.  If you’ve tried reasoning with them and they aren’t budging, don’t hesitate to vacate their space and ignore them until they do.

5.  Don’t take their toxic behavior personally.

It’s them, not you.  KNOW this.

Toxic people will likely try to imply that somehow you’ve done something wrong.  And because the “feeling guilty” button is quite large on many of us, even the implication that we might have done something wrong can hurt our confidence and unsettle our resolve.  Don’t let this happen to you.

Remember, there is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.  Most toxic people behave negatively not just to you, but to everyone they interact with.  Even when the situation seems personal – even if you feel directly insulted – it usually has nothing to do with you.  What they say and do, and the opinions they have, are based entirely on their own self-reflection.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Relationships” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

6.  Practice practical compassion.

Sometimes it makes sense to be sympathetic with toxic people whom you know are going through a difficult time, or those who are suffering from an illness.  There’s no question about it, some toxic people are genuinely distressed, depressed, or even mentally and physically ill, but you still need to separate their legitimate issues from how they behave toward you.  If you let people get away with anything because they are distressed, facing a medical condition, or depressed, even, then you are making it too tempting for them to start unconsciously using their unfortunate circumstance as a means to an end.

Several years ago, I volunteered at a psychiatric hospital for children.  I mentored a boy there named Dennis, a diagnosed Bipolar disorder patient.  Dennis was a handful sometimes, and would often shout obscenities at others when he experienced one of his episodes.  But no one ever challenged his outbursts, and neither had I up to this point.  After all, he’s clinically “crazy” and can’t help it, right?

One day I took Dennis to a local park to play catch.  An hour into our little field trip, Dennis entered one of his episodes and began calling me profane names.  But instead of ignoring his remarks, I said, “Stop bullying me and calling me names.  I know you’re a nice person, and much better than that.”  His jaw literally dropped.  Dennis looked stunned, and then, in a matter of seconds, he collected himself and replied, “I’m sorry I was mean.”

The lesson here is that you can’t “help” someone by making unwarranted pardons for everything they do simply because they have problems.  There are plenty of people who are going through extreme hardships who are not toxic to everyone around them.  We can only act with genuine compassion when we set boundaries.  Making too many pardons and allowances is not healthy or practical for anyone in the long-term.  (Read Who’s Pulling Your Strings?)

7.  Take time for yourself.

If you are forced to live or work with a toxic person, then make sure you get enough alone time to relax, rest, and recuperate.  Having to play the role of a “focused, rational adult” in the face of toxic moodiness can be exhausting, and if you’re not careful, the toxicity can infect you.  Again, understand that even people with legitimate problems and clinical illnesses can still comprehend that you have needs as well, which means you can politely excuse yourself when you need to.

Off the web, from: http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/12/08/7-smart-ways-to-deal-with-toxic-people/

What are you stuffing?

hamsterStuff

“New Weight-Loss Trick Revealed!”

 Do something for me – will you? Close your eyes and slowly bring a few fingers from your non-dominant hand to your lips, and gently touch. Leave them there for a few seconds. 

The very first emotionally soothing act since leaving the womb was touching your lips and tasting nourishment. Our initial experience also taught us to “marry” eating and emotional soothing. It’s an imprint that continues to sooth us throughout life.

And what about pacifiers? They cleverly distract us from our needs, thus creating another mouth/anticipation-that-your-needs-will-be-met coupling. But I’ll get into addictions another time.

If you struggle with weight chances are you are unconsciously stuffing your feelings. You are trying to gratify a need or want that you don’t know how to get met otherwise. When you begin to understand what prompts you to use food as a way to fulfill other needs, you journey into a deeper, more respectful place within yourself. Rather than instantly changing your relationship with food through a new diet (which you may know doesn’t last), get to know yourself.

Are you stuffing anger? Learn about Assertiveness. Not only do you have a right to your opinions, wants and feelings, you have a right to express them. Are you avoiding a decision? The belief that one wrong move can mean a disaster can be paralyzing. Learn how to accept the possibility of making a mistake. I find that most are repairable. Do you feel a need for control? Over what? Is it true that you need this? Maybe you need to learn about authentic responsibility. Pick up some tips from a book about Codependency.

I strongly recommend journaling to better understand yourself. Meet yourself. Listen with compassion. Then get objective. The solution is there.

Therapy can be instrumental, in fact, it can be invaluable. We often need a witness other than ourselves to delve into the unknown aspects of Self. Get the help you deserve, privately and confidentially.

The “secret new weight-loss trick”is finding ways to better satisfy all your hungers — physical and emotional.

5 Steps to Forgiveness In Any Relationship

Unresolved conflict in any relationship does more than just hurt your feelings. We start becoming blocked in communication, building unconscious walls between us. The spontaneity is forsaken and time together eventually can become, well, dull. What you “let slide” just may do you in over time. Here are some steps that will keep the relationship safe from built up resentments or overly cautious communications.
Couple-Disagree

Step 1: Know What the Issue Is About

It’s common to have hurt feelings and be disappointed – but not know exactly what it’s all about. You must take the time to figure out what happened. Write the answers to the following questions to get clarity.

What happened?  What did you hear or see happen that led to the upset? These are the facts.

What does it mean to you?  Write about what the behavior means to you. This is where we interpret, draw conclusions, or tell ourselves a story about the other’s actions. This is your perception.

How does it make you feel?  When you think ______ do you feel angry? Hurt or sad? Are you afraid of losing something, or afraid of what the behavior might mean?

What would you like to change?  Try to get clear about what it is you want to be different. If its minor, you can formulate a request. If the situation is more serious (He burns dinner when he drinks too much, she spends too much money so bills can’t get paid), then you have to take more serious measures. For situations like this, I recommend therapy. Go with or without your partner, and you will learn how to take care of yourself until he or she has better self-control.

Step 2: Know How to Approach the Other – Explaining it from your perspective.

One way to be sure to make it worse is to tell the other how you feel as though it were FACT. Why? People become defensive when you assume to know what’s going on for them. And how can you? All you can know is your own perspective. The way you word it is more important then you probably think.  If someone who cares about you has hurt you, he or she probably doesn’t understand how you feel.

Try writing down your experience using “I” statements to practice how to say it in a clear, respectful manner.

Practice with the sentence-structures here:

“I felt  ____________ when you ______________________ because I think it means _____________ . I’d like it if you __(request)__.”

Or:

“When you ______________ I thought ___________ and felt __________.  I want you to ___________.”

 

Two-people-talking-1024x1024When you feel clear, you are ready to talk. You will probably feel some anxiety about talking, and it will be less so someday. But for now, accept that you will be somewhat anxious. Do it anyway!

Step 3: Know The Other’s Version of What Happened

It’s important to understand how the other person saw the situation. This also keeps the discussion on a more respectful level, with both of you discussing the problem rather than one person accusing and the other defending.

You may learn that s/he had a completely different take on the situation. When this happens, the solution can be that you have just learned more about the other, and s/he knows and understands more about you. The result is often an increased sense of closeness and compassion.

Step 4: Know You Have a Solution to the Problem

“Okay – So what are we going to do about this?”

If the issue isn’t resolved by understanding each other, then you need to emphasize what you’d like to see change. Remember that it is worth the time it takes, because it will prevent this from becoming a recurring problem. If someone is very hurt, or very defensive, it may take a few discussions to resolve this problem. If you can’t solve it together after a few tries, seek the help of a counselor. You are worth it.

Step 5:  Be Sure Your Forgiveness Is Real

Forgiveness does not mean the other’s behavior was okay. It means you understand because you recognize that all of us are fallible human beings. The good news is that you are willing to do what is necessary to fix the problems, and then forgive each other.

This can be as simple as looking into each other’s eyes and saying “I forgive you.” What’s important is that you communicate that the air is cleared, the hurt forgiven, and the problem is over. You won’t be able to do that honestly if you haven’t done the previous steps.

When both of you take responsibility for fixing these misunderstandings and/or mistakes in the relationship, your trust in each other will grow, and where trust grows, so does love.

Psychotherapy and Why it is Good for You

Psychotherapy and Why it is Good for You

I am always surprised when I hear people speak about their mental health issues and they say they would rather see a psychiatrist and take the prescribed medication. They don’t see the point in “just talking”. They assume that psychotherapy or counselling is about someone telling what you do.

No.

No.

And, no.

I have always talked to these people (or, tried to) to try and explain psychotherapy – what it is, what it is not and why it should be explored as an option.

There is nothing wrong with taking psychiatric medication. It has been scientifically proven, however, that the best way to treat mental health issues or disorders like anxiety and depression is with a combination of medication and talk therapy.

In Malaysia, health insurance does not cover counselling or therapy sessions. Unless accessed at the often under-staffed psychiatric units in public hospitals, it can be expensive. Many people avoid psychotherapy for this reason. I can understand that. But, if someone prioritised their mental health, or saw enough value in investing in these sessions even twice a month, they can make allowances in their budgets for it. For example – anyone living in KL will know that a night out at your favourite club(s) or pub or restaurant can very quickly hit the RM200 mark. Just cutting back on two nights a month covers two sessions of therapy. Just reconsider some of the things you do in your life and make some minor and temporary changes. The results will be so worth all that time and effort!

Why does psychotherapy cost so much? Because the people who do this work are specially trained. Training itself is expensive. Many people have to get the training abroad as these courses are not always offered locally. Training takes time. And, effort. A lot of it. Plus, the training is continuous. So, what you are paying for is quality and trained care and services.

Coming back to the topic on hand, I stumbled upon this website that also espouses the value of psychotherapy. It provides 5 reasons for choosing psychotherapy. These are:

  1. You learn to work through your own problems.
  2. No one is taking a side, except to help you.
  3. Your secrets are safe.
  4. Long term value can’t be beat.
  5. Psychotherapy works!

Its pretty cool stuff. The site also has two videos by the American Psychological Association (APA) that very simply explains the value of psychotherapy. The videos may feature American statistics, but the reality in Malaysia is not too far away.  

So, the next time you visit your local GP for stress, ask for a referral letter for a clinical psychologist. On your next visit with your psychiatrist, ask for clinical psychologists or counsellors that she can recommend. Search online for private practices; call them and ask them their rates and charges. The charges differ based on experience and qualification.