Last week we talked about the 5 Types of Toxic People to Stay Away from. If you haven't read it yet, be sure to check it out first so you can identify the toxic people you have in your life right now.
While last week's article was valuable, my background working in continuous improvement tells me that I cannot present you with a problem without giving you the solution. Therefore, in addition to the 5 types of people to avoid I'm going to give you 4 ways to avoid and deal with these types people.
1. Distance Yourself
The saying birds of a feather flock together might just be true in these cases. Katherine Schreiber of Psychology Today agrees that "the single most important thing you can do is minimize contact." Toxic people tend to be draining, and like any other abusive relationship your first line of defense is distance. Stop answering the phone. Stop texting back. Avoid small social settings where you know they will be in attendance - it's that easy.
However, if you work with this person or need to be in constant contact with them distance may not be an easy option. So our next few tips put the ball back in your court.
2. Be Positive
The late great Martin Luther King Jr. once said "Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." The best way to get over a toxic situation is to build a positive one around you. Make friends with the smiling person you bump into on the train everyday or your bubbly coworker that you haven't gotten to know that well.
The law of attraction states that we tend to attract the things we think about the most, so take some time to understand what about you is not only attracting this energy but welcoming it to stay. Focus your attention on the things and people that make you happy, and take it from the things that do not.
3. Know Your Vulnerabilities
According to Cambridge dictionary, the word vulnerable means able to be easily hurt, influenced, or attacked. The most dangerous toxic people know the most about us, and thus know exactly what to say to push our buttons. In my See It Coming course, we spend half a class talking just about vulnerability because it's a key part of the intersection of dating violence.
Understanding what your vulnerabilities are can keep you prepared for the moments when a toxic person decides to use it against you. Also be careful of how quickly you share some of those vulnerable moments or experiences with people you don't know that well. Vulnerability is a necessary part of healthy relationships, but only for those who have earned our trust.
4. Control Your Emotions
Would you argue with a person in a mental ward? That's what you're doing when you choose to argue with any of the people we've described in the previous article. Majority of these characteristics can be linked back to personality disorders, and the behavior has nothing to do with you. Remind yourself that it's all about protecting your mental health, not about winning the argument. The more you feed into the behavior, the more it will intensify. Stick to the facts, and know when to let it go for your sake.
Most impotantly remember that you will always be your answer to life's problems, so focus on how you can bring the best you to everyday. You have control over who is and is not a major factor in your life, make sure you are not giving that decision away to someone else.
Gabriella Payne builds teams and communities through inspiration and strategic confidence development. She works with universities, athletic groups, and corporations to help students and recent graduates transform their mental thought patterns by teaching new, healthier habits. She is also an advocate for the prevention of domestic abuse and teaches a series called "See It Coming".