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Relationships can be challenging, but nothing is more challenging than dealing with toxic family members and friends.
They are extremely draining, to say the least. The emotional and psychological impact of these relationships can seriously affect your well-being, making it increasingly difficult to remain positive and proactive in day-to-day life. ]
Having dealt with my own personal experience with these types of relationships, I can tell you first hand they require a great deal of strength and self-reflection.
The first step is to understand what toxic behaviors look like. By increasing your awareness of toxic behaviors, you will be better equipped to manage them and set boundaries in your relationships. Let’s learn how to recognize and handle toxic behaviors.
Step 1: How To Recognize Toxic Behaviors
One of the first methods toxic relatives and friends often use is manipulation. Toxic individuals often resort to these tactics in order to control others in getting what they want.
This can include tactics like guilt-tripping, gaslighting, or even use emotional blackmail in order to get their way. Some can go as far as even trying to isolate you from your loved ones or try to control your personal decisions.
2. Constant Criticism
Have you ever noticed with some individuals in your life (no matter what you do) tend to have a tendency to be unnecessarily harsh and judgmental?
Yup, unfortunately, this is another sign of toxic behavior.
Granted criticism, delivered in a healthy manner is needed throughout our lives to help us improve.
But toxic individuals, tend to negatively criticize your every move, belittle your accomplishments, and even question your appearance. This type of negative criticism can lead to feelings of worthlessness or inadequacy.
3. Lack of Empathy
Individuals that tend to display a lack of empathy towards others (including themselves) is another sign of toxic behavior.
This can be seen in their failure to consider your feelings or needs, and they may even go as far as dismissing your emotions entirely. It’s not uncommon for them to invalidate your experiences, as they show little concern for your well-being. Or simply not care at all.
This behavior can be extremely damaging, as it leaves you feeling unsupported and emotionally neglected. Remember, your feelings and needs are valid, and you deserve to be treated with respect and empathy by those around you.
4. Drama and Conflict
Oh, the drama! Toxic loves drama. And, no I’m not talking about the typical girls/guys talk from time to time.
These individuals have a tendency to create unnecessary tension, stir up arguments and engage in passive-aggressive behavior with the sole purpose of keeping the focus on themselves.
As a result, their behavior can lead to very unnecessary drama for those around them, causing stress, anxiety, and even damage to relationships.
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5. Jealousy and Envy
Another behavior to recognize is feelings of jealousy or envy towards your accomplishments and relationships. These individuals actively try to undermine your success or sabotage your happiness.
It’s also important to remember that just because someone is a family member or friend, it doesn’t mean they have a right to bring negativity into your life. It’s okay to distance yourself from toxic people, prioritize your own mental and emotional health, and surround yourself with those who support and uplift you.
6. Boundary Violations
Toxic individuals tend to ignore and overstep personal boundaries that you set for yourself.
This behavior can manifest in various forms such as infringing on your privacy, pressuring you to do things that you are not comfortable with, or blatantly disregarding any of your boundaries when it comes to personal space or physical contact.
Violation of your boundaries tends to leave you feeling taken advantage of or having second thoughts about your own identity and personal values. It is essential to remain steadfast in setting your boundaries and protecting your emotional, mental, and physical well-being.
7. Emotional Drain
Dealing with toxic individuals is an incredibly difficult task that can take a huge toll on your emotional and psychological well-being.
You find yourself drained around these types of individuals.
Managing toxic relationships will leave you both mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted steaming from. Prolonged emotional stress will have you experiencing negative attitudes, constant complaints, and manipulation.
You now recognize the behaviors that
Toxic individuals tend to display.
Now that we have gone over the behaviors displayed by toxic individuals, we can move on to the second step in being able to counteract these behaviors.
Step 2: How To Handle Toxic Individuals
1. Seek Professional Help
Seeking professional help is the first step everyone should do. Trained mental health professionals will help with navigating toxic relationships, especially if you are unable to handle them on your own. Sometimes we don’t realize being around toxicity long enough, we normally tend to pick up these habits as well because that’s what we are used to.
This is where therapists come in. They assist with helping you identify unhealthy patterns and help you set your boundaries by developing effective communication skills.
Additionally, your therapist will help you process your emotions by developing coping strategies needed in order to manage the stress and anxiety that arise from dealing with toxic individuals.
Remember it is a sign of strength and self-awareness to recognize when you need assistance by taking the steps to prioritize your mental health. Do not feel any shame in this
2. Seek Support
Outside of seeking professional help, it’s also important to seek support from trusted people in your life.
Another way to seek support is through support groups with individuals who have had similar experiences. Groups are a great way to help lighten the feeling of being alone.
Just having someone to talk to and confide in can provide a sense of validation and relief. Don’t be afraid to seek guidance from those who are willing to help.
3. Practice Self-Care
Toxicity is poisonous to the soul. This is where self-care is VERY important.
Prioritizing self-care activities that promote our well-being is an amazing way to detox from toxic behaviors our psyche may have absorbed. Self-care is all about including a variety of engaging activities that bring us joy. Examples of self-care can come as a nice soak in the tub, reading a book, painting, watching a movie, or pursuing a hobby.
Practicing mindfulness and meditation is also extremely beneficial in reducing stress and increasing over all happiness. Regular exercise is another vital aspect of self-care, as it can literally burn away the main hormone cortisol (responsible for stress), improve our physical health and boost our mood.
Additionally, going hand in hand with seeking support from positive influences from supportive friends and trusted family members is a form of self-care.
4. Limit Contact
This is another extremely important step to understand is you may need to limit or end contact with toxic individuals.
Unfortunately, as difficult as it may be, limiting or eliminating contact may be the only resort we have in protecting ourselves from toxic individuals.
If you feel as though it does not matter what you do, this person just gets worse or their influence is having an extremely negative impact on your life, then it’s time to wish them the best and cut the cord.
Understand you have every right to limit contact with these individuals. At the end of the day, you have to choose your well-being over these types of individuals. Choosing to take care and protect yourself is not selfish, it’s necessary.
5. Set Boundries
I can’t emphasize enough on the importance of setting clear boundaries.
You HAVE to communicate your limits (aka boundaries) assertively AND consistently enforce them.
Boundaries are all about protecting your peace. This may include limiting your contact, avoiding certain topics, or simply refusing to engage in unpleasant behavior that may arise from their end.
It’s important to make a note that setting boundaries is not a sign of weakness. Instead, it’s a sign of strength and self-care. You have to be able to define your limits and protect yourself.
6. Focus on Personal Growth
Lastly, take the time to reflect on your experiences and the lessons learned when dealing with toxic individuals.
By doing so, you have the opportunity to build resilience. This way you are able to work on understanding and perfecting your boundaries and limits for future relationships.
In life, you will notice with every challenge is an opportunity to learn. This situation is no different. Take this as a chance to grow, evolve, and take charge of your life. With every challenge comes an opportunity, and this situation is no different. Rise above the negativity and give yourself the chance to become the best version of yourself. You got this!
Dealing with toxic family members or friends can be an extremely exhausting process.
Toxic individuals tend to leave you feeling stuck in a people-pleasing phase trying to constantly please them.
Remember, your own mental and emotional well-being should always come first. Make sure you surround yourself with positive people who will support you through this difficult time. Extricating yourself from toxic relationships by limiting or completely stopping toxic relationships is a form of self-care.
Be patient and forgiving with yourself as you heal and work on removing toxic influences from your life. Above all, always make it your priority to protect your mental, emotional, and physical health so you don’t lose sight of the unique and special person that you are.
Thank you for reading! Don’t forget to leave a comment down below and share this with someone you know that may need a little help dealing with someone toxic.