How To Recognize & Deal With Toxic People

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Over the years, I have constantly worked on being a calmer and better person by improving my mental state of mind. One of the first things that I had to do in order to achieve this was to take a closer look at the people I surround myself with. As someone who immensely believes in the vibes that people give out, this was more than necessary. We might not realize this often, but the kind of people we become is usually influenced by the people around us. Habits, frame of mind, reactions and thoughts usually get rubbed off people. This is a dangerous predicament, but not something that one can't handle. Once you put yourself first, you will start seeing the true colors of people and my oh my, what a color palette that is! I'm no expert on the human mind or even people for that matter, but, with time I have come to recognize the ones who are good for me and the ones who are toxic and need to be cut off at the earliest.

Based on my own experience and the people I have interacted with, these are the kind of people who have proved to be toxic for my well being and I take pride in having nothing to do with such people anymore.

~ The I, Me, Myself

These people are narcissists and think that your life should only revolve around them. The only thing that they can talk is about themselves and if and when you manage to insert a general topic for the sake of conversation, they manage to make even that about them. Now you may think that there is nothing wrong in being someone who is so full of themselves, but when you take a closer look you realize that they are people who are not doing anything for your own well-being. Worse, they can influence your thoughts in the way they want to. When people have the 'My way or the highway' attitude, they are never there for you when you want someone around, which adds to a sense of gloom and loneliness. But, if you are stuck in a genuine situation and aren't able to make it for them, all hell breaks loose. Self-centered people like these are more toxic than they seem.

~ The Cribbers

A few years ago I got myself out of a friendship that was pushing me onto the verge of depression. I normally am a pretty sorted and happy person and have no qualms with the life I'm living. But these people complain so much about their lives and the crap they have to deal with that you start imagining invisible problems in your own life. They ensure that you do. They tend to find a fault in every happy scenario of your life and make you sit together and complain with them. They enjoy the round-table cribbing conferences and everyone walks away feeling more troubled than before. They dwell in that. No matter how good anything is, they dissect it to dangerous levels to find something they think is wrong and ensure that everyone around only sees that. These people never let you be happy. Even if you are, they find a way to complain about it. No one needs such people in their life.

~ The Pointers

What do you call a group of people who talk about each other behind their backs, assassinate their characters, the way they look, their choices, their lifestyle and yet act like all is well when they come together? Relatives. These people ignore the crap in their own backyard and point fingers at other's lives. Anything you do is wrong for them and whatever you do becomes the sole point of discussions in social gatherings and daily phone calls. They try to isolate you from everyone else, keeping age old fires alive for centuries. There is an old saying that goes like this; People who are not happy within their own homes, look into the homes of others. Enough said.

~ The Champions

These are the people who are highly competitive and want to beat you in every aspect of life. They compare their lives with everyone and do things just to prove a point to others or to gloss up their social media feed. Even if it is a group activity with no winners, they declare themselves the best. Their lives solely depend on comparison and how to up everyone they know. They have no interests or passions themselves, but do things just because someone else is doing it well. They think that they are the champions of everything, but we all know what a Jack of all trades is.

~ The Control Freaks

This is a grey area and you have to tread carefully with such people because there are more of them than you will ever know. They can be your immediate family, your distant relatives, your friends and if you are terribly unlucky, even your spouse. These people want to control everything happening in your life and expect to be informed about the smallest of things. They don't like it when you disagree with them and won’t stop trying to convince you that they are right and you should do only what they say. Even if it is wrong. They look at your life through a microscope wanting to know the minutest of details. No matter how personal. These people will go after your mental and emotional freedom until you have nothing left. These people are dangerous.

~ The Drama Queens

There are adorable drama queens who do things with a sense of humor and then there are drama queens who are only about the drama. Something is always wrong for them and they create a huge scene over it. They want your time and support but not your advice. Even if you manage to find a solution to their problems, they prefer to ignore it. It is almost like they do not want to solve the issue. I have met enough people who claim to have had a bad life, because of the cards life has handed them, but they are not willing to do anything about it. They feed off melancholy. They need the pain to thrive. That is what keeps them going and this is usually followed by bursts of hysteria and attention seeking. Even if you drop everything to be with them at random times, they only want you to complain with them and not offer an antidote. Toxic to the core, such people are.

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There are more kinds of toxic people apart from these, but these are the most common ones out there. They gaslight you and drain every ounce of your energy. Being around such people makes you more negative by the day and you tend to ruin your otherwise good life. They make you think and overthink until you can find something to feel bad about. They isolate you from the crowd and itch you in areas that shouldn't even be touched in the first place. Sometimes you might think that they are not aware of how they are behaving, but trust me, they are more than aware. They say misery loves company and such people make that their sole goal. How do you deal with such people?

You don't! Yes, you don't! You have to cut them off as soon as you can. You might be kind enough to think that they are going through a rough phase and might change with time. That might happen too, but what if it doesn't? You owe it to yourself to protect your own sanity and relationships. I have cut off enough people from my life and I do it the hard way. One straight chop! I'm not the one to go about gradually on this, but if you think that that's the way to go, then by all means go for it. Just ensure that you do cut them off, even if eventually. These people not being there in your life will make no difference to you. But them being there, will make one hell of a difference and I don't mean it in any good way. Toxic people can be everywhere, there is no skill to identify them on the spot but as and when you do, be cognizant enough to understand how they will impact you. I'm not even talking about the people on social media here. That is for a whole other post.

If you are feeling emotionally drained, dread seeing or meeting people, tend to be affected by other's problems, feel negative after meeting people, or feel that your basic needs are not being heard, it is time to take a closer look at the people around you. Be it your family, your neighbors, your spouse, your colleagues, your friends or anyone else who you might just run into casually; spare no one. You owe that much to yourself.

I'm a much happier, positive and calmer person today thanks to cutting people out at the right time. I feel good about the small circle of people I surround myself with and I in turn feel good about myself. Accessing the people around me has been my first step to self-care and it has worked out beautifully. You need to be in a sound state of mind to live well and the right crowd around you matters. If you feel good about yourself, you will be able to do good for others. You cannot pour from an empty cup, they say. My life today is so much simpler and better thanks to eliminating certain people from my life. Trust me, we all need a people cleanse every now and then.

16 comments:

  1. Soumya! This is what I have been thinking about a lot lately. You see the true colours of a person when you put yourself first and stop making time for them. That is so true. Though I surround myself with very few people, people who I truly need and believe in, there have been times when I have been surrounded by the types you mention here and I have decdied to declutter such people from my life. And the reaction from them, when I'm not available for their nonsense, is just priceless and let's me know how right I am to keep them at bay.

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    1. You cannot deal with toxic people, Naba. The best you can do it cut them off.

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  2. This post has come at the right time for me. I have been friends with a toxic person so toxic that all the above mentioned personalities belong to him! The ability of toxic people to make everything a mistake of others and make others feel insecure and insane is deadly.They are indeed evil and one should stay far far away from them !

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  3. I have been doing the same - cutting off toxicity IRL and on social media - to the extent I can anyway. And it's helped me be more calmer, with more brain space to focus on and enjoy the things that matter.

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    1. We need to do everything we can to take care of our mental space, Shantala. Cutting wrong people out is the first step.

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  4. Ah well said, Soumya. In my case I noticed that I am quite sorted when it comes to the circle of friends and family that I have. Perhaps because I had some really shitty relatives when growing up that I have been quick to run away from people who were toxic. But I found that I was saddled by this breed online. For the longest time I stuck with the wrong kind of people but now I have put my foot down. You are right. They suck out your energy and enthusiasm with their constant vile, venting or cribbing. Sigh!

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    1. You have been smart, Rachna. I have toxic relatives too and I have stayed away from them since childhood. Growing up, I made the wrong set of friends and learned the lesson the hard way.

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  5. This post makes me so glad that at this point of life I only have a handful of friends. And they all are here after years of filtering and cutting of ties. We need friends who uplift each other, and not throw that backhanded comments, which years later still sometimes bother me. Life is too short to make yourself miserable on account of others. I wish my parents could do that but they are too old fashioned to adopt this way of living. They often feel sad due to the odd comment that someone close to them would make and they just let it slide.

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    1. The lesser the number of people, the lesser the drama. This is a vital lesson that I learnt last year.

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  6. I also avoid people who meet up only to pay attention to their gadgets.

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  7. I've seen some of every kind you have listed here. Initially I tried telling myself that it was okay and just kept quiet. But now, I've just cut them off. It feels so much better.

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    1. So glad you did that. There is no other way with toxic people.

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