Relationships are not always the easiest. They all need different levels of work. Then there are the toxic relationships you just want to escape. These are people you dread talking to or spending time with. The ones that leave you feeling drained, angry and depressed, and doubting yourself and what you believe in.
Everyone comes across these types of people at some time in their life. You can walk away or cut off ties with these types of people when they are casual acquaintances or friends. But how do you cope with the toxic people you cannot cut out of your life?
Part of the problem is recognising toxic relationships. Here we explore the signs of toxicity and how to deal with different types of people that make your life a misery.
Toxic colleagues make work a nightmare
You spend a lot of your life going to work so it should be a place you enjoy. But when you have toxic colleagues, it can make going to work a nightmare. When you have a job you enjoy, toxic co-workers can destroy your work environment.
We are not talking about colleagues that are obviously awful. Toxic people are truly insidious and more difficult to recognise. As it turns out, there are two main types of toxicity in the workplace.
The arch enemy
You may have come across someone at work that becomes an arch enemy. You know that person who:
- Undermines you.
- Behaves poorly towards you.
- Makes passive-aggressive comments.
- Fills you with anger and sometimes you do not even know why.
- You spend too much time obsessing about.
- You complain about to friends and family all the time.
There is really not much you can do about this type of colleague. It is more about how you react to this person. Reflect on how you can stay calm in their presence and not take what they say or do personally. Avoid them as much as you can but when you have to interact with them, keep it short and polite.
It is time to stop giving the situation your negative energy by complaining about them. This is not worth your time or energy as it will not change anything.
The negative Nancy, Debbie downer or pessimistic Pete
There is usually a negative Nancy, Debbie downer or pessimistic Pete in every workplace. They are enough to drive you crazy and bring you down. Everything is negative and they never seem to see anything in a positive light. These are the colleagues who:
- Never stop complaining.
- Are always, and I mean always, negative.
- Forever gossip about someone else.
- Dislike change and work hard to resist it.
- Are never positive about new ideas.
We all need to vent with our colleagues from time-to-time but these people are so toxic you feel depressed in their presence.
While you may want to resign to escape their influence, it is not feasible and you should not have to resign because of one toxic person. Even though they may be intensely irritating, there is no point wasting your time complaining about them. It is not professional.
The best thing to do is to avoid conversations with them unless it is essential for work. Be polite. Cut the conversation short when they stray into negative territory. Let them know you are busy and have to get back to work.
Toxic bosses can be impossible to please
There is nothing worse than a toxic boss. They make you dread going to work and you may even take more “me” days off to avoid dealing with the situation. A toxic boss can be impossible to please. You can recognise them as people who:
- Create a hostile work environment by playing people off each other.
- Make inappropriate comments to you or talk about topics that are not acceptable in the workplace.
- Always belittles the work you do.
- Spend most of the time talking about themselves and their achievements especially in meetings.
- Are personal space invaders.
- Get angry and are often unreasonable about things that make no sense.
- Demand your attention and time even when work is over for the day.
- Never acknowledges your work.
- You dread have a meeting with.
- Makes you feel nervous when you see or think about them.
Toxic bosses will make you want to quit. But this is not always possible especially when the benefits and pay are good. You have four choices. You can either deal with the problem, solve it, find ways to feel better about the problem or do nothing.
Deciding to deal with the problem is daunting. You need to find ways to be heard without crossing professional boundaries. When faced with talking with a toxic boss, use a tone that is firm, professional and understanding. It is also wise to be non-judgemental. Instead of saying, “You make me feel …” say “I feel …”. Or instead of “You need to …” say “Would you be willing to …?
Dealing with a toxic partner is difficult
Dealing with a toxic partner in life is difficult. They can make you feel unappreciated and worthless. But maybe you put up with this because you the love the person. You can recognise a toxic partner as a person who:
- Does not put effort into the relationship so it is one-sided or unequal.
- Often treats you with no respect.
- Has no interest in growing the relationship so it stagnates.
- Is more interested in themselves than you.
- Constantly criticises you.
- Displays a lack of trust.
- You change your behaviour for to meet their expectations and desires.
- Is jealous for no reason and tries to control your life.
So often we yearn to meet someone who completes our lives. Someone who will love you just for you. There is nothing wrong with desiring unconditional love but it can cause you to jump into relationships too quickly, before really getting to know the other person. All of a sudden you feel inseparable but then that can lead to unrealistic expectations.
One step to fixing a toxic relationship is to spend more time apart. This helps to strengthen a relationship over time. It allows you to better fulfill each other’s emotional needs.
Too often we can get caught up in a whirlwind romance and rush through the motions. This can cause you not to be open or vulnerable with each other. It can turn a once wonderful relationship toxic. Spending separate time from your partner balances the relationship and gives it depth.
Coping with toxic in-laws
When your in-laws are against you they can make your life incredibly difficult. Sometimes you can be lucky and inherit in-laws who love you and make life easier when you marry their child. Others set out to make life a misery. In-laws are toxic when they are people who:
- Try to turn your partner against you.
- Undermine you to their child to create a divide.
- Constantly remind that you are not good enough for their child.
- Interfere in the decisions you make as a couple.
- Give you the cold shoulder.
- Gossip about you in negative terms to other family members.
- Become offended when you do not agree with or fulfill their every desire.
- Talk about your marriage as if it is only temporary.
- Talk down to you and treat you as if you are a child.
- Make passive-aggressive comments about how you look and everything you do.
- Invade your personal space.
Dealing with toxic in-laws is no simple thing. It is a delicate balancing act especially if your partner does not agree. And your actions can risk alienating your partner.
Sometimes you will need to choose your battles wisely especially when they continue to meddle in you and your partner’s affairs. Also set boundaries when something is important to you.
When an in-law is abusive this is more serious. You may have to sit them down for a serious discussion. Also talk to your partner about their behaviour to get their point of view. Let them know it is not acceptable and how they behave needs to change if they want to maintain a relationship with you. Ask your partner for support.
Dealing with a toxic friend you trusted
Everyone experiences it sometime in their life—that one friend you always thought you needed in your life but turns out to be toxic. Someone you trust and care about but often leaves you feeling frustrated and not feeling so good about yourself. A toxic friend is someone who:
- Nearly always plays the victim.
- Makes you feel as though you should always be there for them.
- Surrounds themselves with drama.
- Is self-centred.
- You cannot trust not to gossip about you to others.
- Puts you down in front of people.
- Can be possessive of your attention and time.
- May be totally self-involved.
- Makes you feel unhappy and drains you.
It can take time to recognise a toxic friend. You may give them the benefit of the doubt especially when the friendship was originally healthy. But unfortunately they will eventually show you who they really are.
They will have little respect for your time or feelings. For example, they initiate meeting up but cancel when something else comes up. Sure, there are times when this is unavoidable, but a toxic friend will do this with monotonous regularity.
A toxic friend has no interest in what you want to achieve in life unless there is something in it for them. They are only interested in getting what they want and having you meet their needs. And try saying no to a toxic friend and watch the drama unfold.
Talk to them about their behaviour and how it makes you feel. Set boundaries and do not let a toxic friend overstep them. When this does not work or they do not make an effort to change, you will have no choice but to distance yourself from the relationship or completely cut them from your life.
We are here to help
Mental health issues may be hard to overcome. Dealing with the challenges of mental health is tough. But is it even tougher when trying to deal with toxic people in your life. Even when you have support, you may feel people do not really understand or it is not enough. And when you are taking medication, sometimes you may need something more or to clear your head.
If you are struggling, consider reaching out. When you are not coping, contact us to find out how we aim to help get your life back on track. But if you reach a crisis point, call us immediately. We are here to help support you through a crisis and we may be able to help you quickly deal with things better.
We can work with you over the phone, via Skype or in our Spas. Book in today for my Emotional Empowerment Program. I have an introductory offer for just $79 so you may start taking back control of your life. We aim to support you to help you cope with any mental health challenges and toxic people in your life. Our help may alleviate the effects of mental health issues so you look forward to a life filled with happiness and joy.
Let me help alleviate the effects of mental health issues
My Emotional Empowerment Program has helped many people like you deal with all types of mental health challenges for more than a decade. We may help you move through and deal with depression, stress or anxiety which may be stopping you from dealing with toxic people. My aim is to help you replace mental health symptoms with a new hope for the future filled with happiness, peace and contentment in weeks not years. Listen to what Kate has to say about my program after only a few sessions.