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Readers Respond: Tips for Dealing With Toxic People

Responses: 117


Updated October 25, 2010


toxic, and dealing w/them. this is so funny, however not really. It's all about my family, as I have no friends being BP. But my family is really toxic towards me 100%. they talk about me, they think I'm doing this on a whim, they feel i'm acting out . they are all very selfish, if mom is there to babysit, give them money, or do what they want i'm just fine.. but i can't be sick. when i don't answer the phone they go nuts. if i don't open the door they pound and pound i do not have to give in to these spoiled kids.. i have my own troubles. they are all grown up now, youngest is 34. they can find the help they need by not using me all the time.
—Guest piper

two parts to this story

These comments are a huge help. I'm realizing that so many of the ill effects that we let toxic people have over our lives can be avoided or at least assuaged by *identifying* the behavior in the first place. I think especially in close family dynamics (which we grow into when we are most vulnerable i.e. as children who are just beginning to understand ourselves, and how we relate to the people around us and vice versa) it takes time to sort it all out. Personally, I was raised by a highly critical mother, who had many good/creditable and therefore "credible" characteristics, so it made sorting through the intricacies of our dynamic more challenging; I've only recently identified the very specific ways in which this individual has indeed been a very toxic influence in my life. She has also been hugely positive in many ways. That's the challenge, that unless we are dealing with cardboard boxes pretending to be people, we are often dealing with people who have a lot of wonderful qua
—Guest Vandesa

Toxic Husband

I've been married to my husband for about a year now. And he is the most toxic person I've ever met. I cant believe how bad it got after we got married. He was constantly accusing me of cheating. Very manipulative and controlling, and not to mention arrogant but very insecure and self absorbed. He has done nothing but try to turn my own family against me and his. I have isolated myself from him and family. I regret ever meeting this man. My family cannot stand him. They tolerate him because of me. But everytime hes around them he chews me out. I have had him steal my cell phone checking my emails.
—Guest Lori

Trying to remove myself from my family..

I am so sad inside.... it's like all the toxic people in my life have hurt me to the core. I just want of hide under the sea ....
—Guest Me

toxic sister

i have a sister who is a doctor and she is the pride of the family.i watched her study hard but always with a beer bottle or glass of wine in her hand. She has been drunk her whole life and people just look the other way or join her in her druken escapedes. I don't drink and am often ridiculed by her and put down. When she comes home to visit it is a drunken party at my family, all except for me. I now stay away because they're loud drunken ways are too much to bear, its ok if you are drunk too. but i am sober and it is anoying to say the least. She has given her 15 year old grandaughter booze and is trying to get her to fallow in her drunken footsteps. She is a lovely young girl and i have begged her not to be pressured into drinking. When they are all drinking and laughing and losing their drinks and talking non stop, they see me as the toxic sober one. That is how i am treated. So i have come up with vacations to be on when the alchoholic visit from my sister begins. It is sad tru

how to avoid toxic people

to avoid toxic team mom who text you and just you about your parenting! is to never talk to that person again.you can change people but you can change the satuation your in.
—Guest teresa

Stay Away

I work with a large number of toxic people (all men), who do nothing more than talk about everyone else, complain and are crude and vulgar. I have chosen to stay away from them, and only interact with them when I have to. I foresee something drama filled occurring with one of these individuals, and the less I know, the better I'll be able to minimize my degree of fallout, and keep a job I really like. My solution is be polite, direct and emotionally distant.
—Guest chris2009

ID and Avoid

I like your answer, Jenn because a lot of times, toxic people may not realize they are toxic. I appreciate just about any affirmation that I am an okay human being, so I just respect boundaries and I don't try to spill my problems onto others. CATE

Heart In the Right Place

When I first moved in with my mom, I was in a panic because I was losing control of my mind and losing control of my life. What didn't help was my mother treating me like a child- dispensing my meds, taking me to appointments, & just always in my business. It made me angry, & it made me paranoid, which only made me behave more strangely. Even though we have reached an agreement, I still get paranoid that she's encroaching on my privacy. I'm 38 yrs old & I have had to relinquish a huge amount of independence, at least let me keep some of my privacy. Finally, with my therapist, we came to the agreement that I can be trusted to take my meds, go to my appts, & if my mom feels my mood is 'off' & I'm not taking care of it, she is to come to ME first, not go behind my back to my therapist or doctor. This has helped. I don't know if I'll ever be well enough to live alone, but just remember that I am not a child.

relief from your blogs

this blog is a life line when I am in the throes of a toxic attack. walking away emotionally, physically, psychologically takes awareness and preplanning. some days i am caught off guard. the exhaustion comes from being hypervigilant, always 'ready' to protect oneself! I've learned to trust that I will be OK, that the toxic person cannot hurt me unless I let him, that what I do or say utlimately has not caused his behavior, nor am I a 'bad' person for being 'graced' with such an individual. It is life, and I can decide how to respond in my best interest.

moonstruck toxic mom

My mother is a nag who complains to get what she wants. I give it to her and pray to god for more money.
—Guest anna

I agree...life IS too short.

I agree with many posters on here that the best thing to do is cut the person out. You might be sad to lose them but you can deal with your pain and move on. The likelyhood of these people changing and making you happier is minimal and it truly is out of your hands to change them. The only thing to do is change yourself and make yourself happier. I'm not advocating selfishness just self preservation.
—Guest glowingkate

Toxic magnet

Reading this, I realized I've been a magnet to toxic people all my life. I saw so many familiarities in the responses here. My mother was toxic; negativity, running others down, narcissistic, psychologically abusing me. Long-time friend; called and I spent the call doing "uh, huh" while she complained about everything. My husband; moody, dysthymic, glass-half-empty all the time. My lover of five years; bipolar and borderline, incredibly toxic. I cut the long-time friend off for years, then would spent X amount of time listening and get off. I was hypomanic when my mom died--I realize now, relief. Sent my lover back to England where she came from and ended the relationship. Threatened to leave husband unless he got therapy; he did and life with him is wonderful. But I realize NOW, it's dealin with toxic people on phone trying to solve bureaucratic problems that ruins my day, I end up in tears, depressed, frustrated, and that can't be avoided. Otherwise, I've learned how to deal. Victory
—Guest NIkovich1

Walking Away Again

I'm glad I found this blog. Several years ago I had to distance myself from a toxic person. I could not avoid them altogether, so I limited exposure to large gatherings of our friends and in that way I would be able to "escape" by moving on to talk to someone else rather than being trapped in a one-on-one situation. Recently that person contacted me with a perceived slight at one of those gatherings. And then it was on, all over again, with her escalating it beyond all reason. I suddenly realized two things: She had invented the whole thing in order to get negative attention from me, since she was no longer getting my positive attention. And I also realized that I had given her the power to begin the cycle of sucking the life out of me all over again. So I decided today to do what I did before: walk away and realize her problems are not my prolems.
—Guest Annie

Toxic Sister

My sister lost her husband and for years she has basically been a bully towards me with unfounded jelousy. It's to the point that she would be happy if my husband were dead because her's died 5 yrs ago. She is in therapy but doesn't want to heal and use the tools given to her. Through much pain I discovered that this is a classic toxic relationship among siblings and I have decided to cut her out of my life. I am civil and polite but distance with her. I miss my sister and what we had when we were little. I left the past go long time ago and as adults our relationship is toxic. She won't change and I have tried to help her. She knows how I feel but she doesn't care. Her life revolves around her and I have let her go. I am truly much happier without her in my life and it took a lot of courage and prayers to get to this point. I am truly a much better person and I don't deserve her bullying me and lowering my self esteem.
—Guest aclflower

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