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Readers Respond: Tips for Dealing With Toxic People

Responses: 117

By

Updated October 25, 2010

Toxic mother

Growing up, I always felt like the adult and my Mom was the one I took care of. I was "groomed" at a young age (7yrs) to take care of her. I would make the meals, which was usually a sandwich or soup when I was younger. As I got older (parents were divorced when I was 7) the responsibilities mounted. Once I got my driver's license, I became the errand runner getting groceries and being sent to pay bills. Sometimes, I was sent to the door when a bill collector came knocking, and was told to lie and say my Mom was sick, etc. Fast forward 20 years. I have my own family now. My Mom is in and out of our lives. She has stolen money from our children's piggy banks, and even stolen items of ours to sell at a pawn shop. It had been 3 yrs since I spoke to her, and she just recently called me. I thought she had changed, but here we are on day 7, and already she is asking to borrow money and to move in to our home because she is basically homeless. Enough is enough. I need to break it off forever!
—Guest Cindy

What do I get?

The fact that I am even reading about this topic tells me a lot about my the sad state of my own relationships. Long story short, I am sick of putting others feelings first & trying to "go along to get along". I am 62 and have had it with certain family, friends, partners & co workers. Here is MY plan: 1. Good old Lou (that's me) is going MIA for a few days. 2. From this day forward & forever I will approach known toxic people with this attitude........"Me 1'st & What Do I Get?" "Toxics" can go to hell.
—Guest roadhog

Toxic Work Environment

I had to leave a job I loved due to a toxic work environment created by a high ratio of unhappy, domineering people. About 6 months before I left, I told my boss that there are two ways to cope with toxic co-workers who are allowed to flourish and dominate the workplace, you either become like them to survive, or you leave. The first option was not an option for me, so I ultimately chose the second. I felt sorry for these unhappy people, but I couldn't stay and let them infect me. It was a good decision as it turns out, but I still regret that I had to make it. With proper management, this workplace would not have become the toxic envirnment that it was.
—suzystaywell

Toxic Nightmare

Its so sad how toxic people accuse and lie..and than blame YOU for doing what they are doing! My now ex boyfriend was so toxic that I should've worn one of those protective white jumpsuits people wear when they have to handle chemicals so they won't be infected and/or get burnt! He wore me out to the point of mental breakdown and exhaustion....nasty emails, yelling at me, doing stupid things to get my attention, threatening suicide..you name it he did it! The guilt was huge if I left him for weeks than he would 'worm' me back! This time I have to dig in my heels and stay the heck away...or they will be digging me in an actual grave! My thoughts and prayers to all who aren't toxic but are running away from these sick individuals!
—lindab1968

Think Positive

Repeat or paraphrase the toxic person's comment and the past comment made and ask the toxic person if he or she realizes how they sound for it is negative. That toxic person needs to have the chance to be confronted on his or her behavior for the toxic person may not realize that the problem lies within them and then yet the toxic person maybe well aware and may not want to change. Challenge the toxic person to try to practice making a positive statement after making a negative one or tell them to practice smiling while saying a negative comment. Something has to change and since you cannot change a person, you can actually teach that toxic person how to treat you. Set boundaries of what you will and will not tolerate. If all else fails, then remove yourself or distance yourself from that person. That person has issues and if boundaries are not set, you well be left exhausted and really the best relationship to salvage and to take care of is the one you have with yourself.
—Guest Marsha Cobell

Family

Everyone in this support group appears to be looking at the this the wrong way...ever think you are actually the Toxic Person? How many people cut out a brother sister and thier own daughter out of their life? Toxicity appears to learned behavior if you look at it this way and this is what I would call disfunctional, not Toxic.
—Guest JRJIII

Toxic Relationship

Looking back, I have no idea why I stayed in a relationship which contained so much toxicity. I think at times, we all want to make it work, and we may think that the cause for such anguish may stem from ourselves. In reality, relationships are a two way street. After ending the relationship, I am so thankful I have done it! It's the biggest relief I have had in the last two years. I wish I would have done it before, however I was honestly afraid to get out of the relationship. He did not deal with my bipolar at all. He made me feel worse about it. He did come to the hospital and sat with me during my last suicide endeavor. Afterwards, he said that no one would love me due to my bipolar. Forward 7 months later, I am in the best relationship of my life. Honestly, I didn't know I would ever be so happy with anyone..ever. So, if you are NOT happy, do NOT deal with it. There are better things out there in life. Do not waste it with someone who drains the life out of you. Keep you chin up!
—Guest Vigilantics

It Scares Me

After reading... I realize that I'm not only Bipolar but I'm Toxic... and I'm embarrassed I have to admit it...
—Guest Me

Toxic Brother In Law

After my divorce from my husband, 7 years later I ran into his brother, my 'ex' brother in law. Years ago he had his head on straight, was amazing with business and work, a smart cookie and a wonderful husband and father. He married a very toxic woman, than after 30 yrs they divorced. He went downhill after that even though the marriage was wrong from the start. We became involved for three years and I am officially drained, hurt, exhausted beyond recognition, etc. I had to cut him off after his lies, abuse (not physical) and his addictions. I still am dealing with guilt, they are good at that believe me but I know I had to say good bye. For my sanity and for my children!
—Guest lydia

Other side of the story

I just realized that I may be a toxic person. I don't know what's wrong with me, but I feel like I all I am able to do successfully is make everyone around me miserable, even if that's the one thing I try to avoid. So please, don't treat toxic people as if they are worthless or less than you. Understand that they are reacting to self-loathing. They are trying not to consume themselves with hatred and feelings of inferiority. However, we realize that this is the wrong way to heal ourselves. Whenever I vent to my friends, I feel even worse, but I act more cheerful because I rationalize that it makes them feel like they helped a little, even if they really didn't. We realize that our problems are our fault and we are trying to keep the poison from leaking out of us but we can't.
—Guest Janel

Toxic people.

I have lived in my building for five years now, and recently made friends with some of the people in my building.....BIG MISTAKE! It started to feel like an extension of the toxic family I was born into. So I had to stop being so friendly and stay neutral and detached. People will mistake kindness for weakness and take advantage of the kindhearted soul. As for my family, I only call my mother on holidays and send her care packages, I refuse ever to spend any more time with her. I used to think "She's going to pass one day," and then I realized SO AM! Finally I stopped idealizing someone who never cared about me. I also avoid my twin brother who loves to drain me emotionally. It was a very bad co-dependent relationship. He never gave me his new phone number. It's been about five months now not speaking to him, and I don't miss him. I live in peace now and I have the freedom to take care of myself much better without him or my so-called mother.
—Guest Tina

Mothers Installed the Controls!

The toxic person who remains in my life is my mother. She said she will never change so I had to change my way of dealing with her toxic personality. Unfortunately, by avoiding her in person, I found the strength to live a more fulfilling life with my own family. It takes immense courage to remove a parent. It is sad but it is truly the best way to solve a most difficult dilemma. I will send her gifts, call her on the phone but I do not have the resilience for a face-to-face conversation. My digestive system has healed from its physical symptoms, headaches are gone, my mind is clear when I have phone chats with her and she cannot make me feel as poorly as she had in the past. I needed to realize she meant to hurt me to make her feel better about her own circumstances. People who know me understand my action. People who are only acquaintances really don't need an explanation for my action. Difficult as this may sound, my life is restored. Not recommended for everyone, however.
—Guest Nana Myself

poison people

My sister and I would always spend years not talking to each other then one of us calls and we are on the phone for over 5 hours catching up with each other.....then one of will say something that sets the other off...neither of us ever see it coming...then the war is on...I don't back down as she continues to tell me how awful I am and she always ends up slamming the phone down. The last time she hung up on me, I emailed her and said that was the last time...and I meant it..that she was too toxic for me and I just couldn't do it anymore...We haven't spoke to each other for over 5 years now. Too bad we could never figure out how to avoid the eventual fight...or more importantly...how to mend the fences.
—Guest lauralynda

Free at last

Well it's been a year and my ex-friend has finally left me alone. It took me almost 6 months before I could comfortably answer the phone without screening the ID. Life is so much better now.
—Guest ausgal

toxic avenger

Some chemicals just don't mix. Even pretty colors can explode. I kept saying its righteous to forgive him again but he enjoys my suffering. He knows what he does. The simplest answer to how could he do this if he loved me? Is simple.... he doesn't, he hates me.
—Guest runaway train

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