Updated: Aug 4, 2020
I believe that people are good. That many have good hearts and want to help others. I choose to see the best in people. It is sad but true some people, even with good spirits, are still working through their own story. They may not realize that their behavior is toxic. Does this mean they are bad people? No, not necessarily. Like many of us, they are hurt and are working at their own pace to heal their wounds.
Just because a person is healing does not mean that they have the right to treat you poorly.
If someone you care about has traits of a toxic person, you hope that they are on a path of self-discovery and improvement. If they are not, you may accept that, sadly, there are people who are inherently selfish and may not have what it takes to be in a caring, respectful relationship. Learning how to identify the difference between people who are healing and people who are toxic is vital for your wellbeing.
How to identify a toxic person:
Takes advantage of other people’s generosity
Thinks only of their own needs
Puts other people down
Doesn’t listen to others’ needs
Gaslights you- Makes you think it's all your fault
Does not apologize
Gets angry when others do not agree with them
Does not respect others’ opinions
Talks without listening
Thinks the rules do not apply to them
Drains your energy
Does not take responsibility
You have a choice. If you are in a relationship with a truly toxic person, RUN away. Find a way to distance yourself from the friendship, business partnership, or relationship. The question becomes: what do you do when you're dealing with a kind person but has traits of a toxic person? If you cannot leave, a relationship learning how to set firm boundaries will help protect your wellbeing.
You can still be a friend with firm boundaries.
How do you stay a good friend while still protecting yourself? Here are some excellent rules:
Make it clear: First, you and YOU alone need to decide what you will accept and what you will not. Other people will have their opinions, but you need to decide for yourself what you consider acceptable behavior.
Don't take it personally: You can choose to laugh off a comment, leave a room, or tell the person that criticism is not appropriate. But do not let it affect you.
Zip It: No unsolicited advice. That means unless the words "what would you do" are uttered. Just listen, let them figure out a solution.
It's not your problem: Do not go in and try to fix someone's problem. It is not your job to save the world. Let the other party make their own choices and handle the consequences.
Take Care of Yourself: You have the right to think about your needs. Do not let anyone tell you that taking care of yourself is selfish.
At some point, you will deal with people with toxic traits. We also need to be humble enough to review our own behavior to verify that we are not exhibiting toxic characteristics.
You cannot change those around you, but you have control over yourself, practicing self-care and setting healthy boundaries will give you the strength and confidence to choose how you want to deal with the toxic people in your life.
Stay strong, stay brave, and always stay true to yourself.