We’ve been hearing a lot of references to “toxic” people lately. We often throw that word around to generally refer to bad situations or people we don’t particularly like, but what does it really mean to be toxic? And what should we do about the toxic people in our lives? Here’s what it means to us to be “toxic” and some suggestions for how to deal with these kinds of issues.

Toxic people are those people who not only don’t serve any positive purpose in your life, but they actually unnecessarily add to your stress. It’s normal not to love everyone around us every day at all times. Even our family members can get the best of us at times. However, if there is someone in your life who is particularly damaging and makes you feel as though there is always a black cloud over your head when they are around, it may be time to reconsider that relationship.

Here are some ways for you to evaluate whether you are in a toxic relationship:

  • Do they bring out the best in you? When you are with them, do they inspire you to be a better person? Do they talk about their own life with a purpose? Good people are hopeful and optimistic about their own lives, which can be contagious. It makes you feel hopeful and optimistic, too. A good partner makes you want to do better for yourself and enjoy being you. They make you feel like you can conquer the world!
  • Do they make you feel good about yourself? A good partner or friend makes you feel loved and special. They are genuinely interested in you, the real you, otherwise why would they be spending time with you at all? They encourage you to go for your goals and commend you when you exceed your own expectations. They don’t want to see you fail. Your successes are their successes, too.
  • Do they encourage you to do better? A good friend or partner encourages your goals for the future and doesn’t shoot them down. A good partner tells you that you can do it, whatever it is. If it’s going back to school, or applying for that promotion, they’ll tell you all the reasons why you will succeed, rather than give you all the reasons why you may fail. Only a toxic person would respond negatively to make you feel like it’s silly of you to even think you can do better.
  • Do they minimize your successes and accomplishments? Do you ever feel like you can’t tell someone about your bonus or that stroke of good luck you had because they’re just going to be jealous? That’s a toxic person! You should never be afraid to share your success and accomplishments with another person in your life. Even if that person is feeling down, they should be genuinely happy for your good fortune. When you experience a stroke of good fortune, you should be allowed to shout it out to everyone without guilt or fear.
  • Do they criticize your friends? Toxic people always seem to see everyone’s negative qualities, but they never focus on the good qualities people have. If someone you know is constantly criticizing your friends and pointing out all of their flaws, consider this: what purpose does this achieve? Are they telling you this for any legitimate reason, or is it just to complain? None of us are perfect. We accept our friends with the good and the bad. If someone is continually pointing out the flaws but never really offering any compliments, they may be toxic.
  • Do they complain all the time? Just like criticizing everyone all the time, constantly complaining about every situation without ever seeing any of the good things is a marker of a toxic person. It may be just healthy venting if it happens occasionally, but pay careful attention to those people who seem to complain about everyone and everything all the time.
  • Are they holding you back? Are you afraid to do better because your loved one might not like it? Are you afraid to be successful because it may make your loved one feel as though you have left them behind? Nonsense! You should be able to move full throttle towards your goals without worrying that your partner is going to be jealous, or feel bad that you’ve left them behind.

So what do you do with toxic people? What would you do with a bad car? You would get rid of it, right? You may try to repair it, but if it’s beyond repair, you would replace it with something newer and better. Don’t complicate things by making excuses for toxic people. You can’t control their thinking, you can’t control their actions. Unfortunately, you can’t change them either. Consider whether this adds anything at all positive to your life. If they don’t, consider how that’s affecting you and your mindset.

If you need help getting out of a bad situation, we can help. Email or call us (732) 479-4711 today for a consultation.

“It is easier to criticize than to do better.” (Swiss Proverb)

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