Removing Toxic People From Your Life…

removing toxic people from your life

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There’s a lot of information out there about toxins and their lasting negative effects on our physical health. We all know about the detrimental effects of artificial preservatives, additives, pesticides, and the like. But what about the negative effect toxic people have on our heath?

Can encounters with toxic people effect our physical, mental, and emotional health? If so, how do we protect ourselves from further harm? Then again, we survivors always struggle with putting our own needs first…Is it selfish to remove toxic people from our life?

Before you answer that hard question, ask yourself one more: Could removing such people turn out to be life saving?

Emotionally toxic people can ravage us from the inside out. Yet, what exactly defines a toxic person depends on who you talk to. In my life, I’ve found toxic people are those who:

  • take and never give in return
  • constantly complain
  • gossips
  • puts others down
  • makes others feel guilty
  • can only criticize

What all toxic people have in common is that they always leave us powerless, vulnerable, and depleted. And for us, feeling this way for long periods of time is devastating to our physical and emotional health. All in all, toxic people don’t help us, they harm us.

Just as with toxins in our food and environment, to keep ourselves safe, toxic people need to be avoided whenever possible.

On my blog, I’ve shared what works for me to keep myself, my sanity, safe whenever I’m in the presence of a toxic person. Since then, I’ve shared it countless times and helped others remove toxins from their lives too. So, below, I’ve shared them again, with you.

Be forewarned, though. Some of these tips are going to be hard to swallow at first. But try them out for yourself anyway. See what works for you. So far, following these guidelines has helped me not only be toxic people free, but also stress free. What a life saver…

Walk Away

Say, for instance, you are in a room full of people, and someone starts gossiping, ranting about this or that, complaining about anything and everything, and you know – you know – that no matter what you say, however eloquent, you will never change this person’s mind…just walk away.You do not have to be there to hear all of their negativity. Your presence is not necessary. They will rant and complain to anyone! Who says it has to be you anymore?Leave with your sanity intact! Save yourself!

Here’s what you do: Stand up, totally calm, grab your children so they can escape too, and nonchalantly leave the room. Come back only when you know enough time has passed that everyone else in the room has argued ’till they’re blue in the face with the toxic person, to no avail, and the topic has been changed.

Phew! You saved yourself from a toxic encounter!

Take Yourself Out of the Equation

How about this…There was a huge misunderstanding between you and someone and, had it happened between you and a person capable of having a normal conversation, it would’ve been resolved in a calm, adult conversation.Except this is a toxic person. They do not know how to have a conversation. They only know how to yell, scream, belittle. Nothing is normal about them. Instead of coming to you with the problem, they’ve been gossiping to everyone how you did this and you did that, bad mouthing you to everyone and anyone who will listen. It doesn’t matter if what they say is false or true, take yourself out of the equation.Don’t play their game. Don’t stoop to their level. Don’t counter act all their assaults. Remove yourself. If need be, say your bit to the toxic person – just the facts – totally calm and firm, and then let it go. You did your part. You’ve cleaned yourself of the misunderstanding. Now, let it go.

Chances are everyone else is just as fed up with this person as you are. Eventually, everyone will see that it’s just another one of this toxic person’s tirades and will start see your wise ways of getting out of the way. They too will remove themselves from this person’s path, seeing how calm and relaxed you are by no longer being involved with this toxic person.

If they don’t, it’s not your problem. Take care of yourself.

Take Responsibility

For your health! It’s your health. If you don’t take care of yourself, who will? No one.Are you going to continue to let this person shape your life for the worse? Allow yourself to feel the effects of their negativity so much that it is effecting your health? They take and never give.Who is to blame that this person is still in your life? Them? Nope, sorry folks. It’s no one’s fault but your own.  They are always going to do what they do. But what they do to you is up to you. No one else.

If you don’t want to be treated poorly, don’t allow it. Do what you have to do to take control of your life. If that means no longer engaging someone in a conversation because you know it’s going to turn sour, then don’t!

If you know that just by being around a certain toxic person brings you down and causes you to feel horrible for days, weeks later, then limit or restrict your contact with that person.

You are in charge of your life, of you. Don’t let others bring you down. You have to take care of your health so that you can take care of all the other things and people in your life you are responsible for.

I know this is the hardest one to swallow, but it’s true. Just think about it. You are in charge of you. You need to take care of you. You. You. You!

So, there you have it. My own ways of dealing with the toxins in my life. What works for you may be different, as there are many ways in which you can save your sanity and your health.

If you have any of your own ideas and tips, please share! We can all use additional tools in our arsenal against our toxic common enemies…

That said, here’s to taking great care of ourselves and removing toxins from our life!

Lia-Mack-400-400Lia Mack is the author of Waiting for Paint to Dry (Pen L, May 2015), one woman’s quest to reclaim inner peace, take back her life, and stumble into love… Mack has also seen her creative non-fiction writing in various publications such as The Washington Post, Nickelodeon Jr. Magazine, Advances in Bereavement Magazine and Nesting Magazine.

You can visit her online at


  1. dancingbaglady says

    Hi Lia,

    How lovely to have you here writing. I skipped over to your websites also. Enjoyed it very much. Can't wait to read more.

  2. ladyjtalks says

    Such a great article for me today. Having to live with toxic people is the hardest thing to do in life and more so once you have learned to thrive. My whole life it seems these last ten years seems to be a journey through the lives of toxic people. Walking away has been easier then finding ways to stay in the situations. I'd love to share more on that all later. Great tips for this manual

  3. Lezettehorace says

    I love it. Thank you so much for this post.

  4. I got a message today from my toxic person.  When I did an internet search for something to help me process it, I got this article.  Thank you for posting this.  Even though it is over a year old, it can still be read and help people because it’s searchable.  Your words helped strengthen my resolve to do what I need to do.

  5. Thank you so much!! You have helped me tremendously!

  6. Thanks so much for the reassurance I’m still sticking to the right life plan. Especially with the holidays so close; the ‘toxicitity’ always tends to fester in an attempt to gain more attention. But I’m determined that God will continue to give me strength to see their true light & also always protect my child from that same person’s toxic behavior.

  7. I always have to smile when a toxic person themselves starts to remove themselves from company.
    They don’t realise they do you a favour in saving you the bother from doing it to them, problem solved.
    It’s always hard when it’s the inlaws though. Particularly when it’s important to remain civil. Theres just not enough love around these days. We all have to put up ith each other to a certain degree. Those that can’ t do that can also be deemed toxic in my view.

  8. Great advice!  So glad to read it.  There are 3 “friends” in my life that are going to be removed, as they are full of put-downs, negativity.  I think they resent me because they knew my partner before we became a couple and so feel superior in their friendship with him.  I’m so sick of it that I’ve decided I am the one who has to be in control of me.  I’ve also had a work experience where two fellow teachers bullied me and my resentment for their behavior grew deeply.  I think I need to do more than avoid toxic people.  I need to stop them in their tracks when they are being rude.  No giant confrontation, just a simple:  “That’s really rude.”  This way I won’t feel so victimized.  I hate saying nothing and enduring their shots at me, their quips, their “jokes,” etc.  So much hostility is expressed to others in the form of “light-hearted” joking.  If you feel horrible repeatedly from somebody’s “light-hearted joking,” then clearly there is hostility there being directed at you.  Confront them, or at least remove yourself from their presence.  I just had dinner with my partner and one of these toxins and as I explained that I recently had severe carpal tunnel syndrome he dismissed me with wincing and laughing, like I was some wussy complaining about a splinter.  “Oh, oh, Jay, oh.  (Laughs.)  What would you do if you had a job?  (Laughs.)”  He dismisses my pain, implies I’m a wimp and insults me about still being unemployed.  THIS is a “friend”?  I told my partner I am done with these “friends.”  Life is too short to be around toxic people.

  9. It’s obvious that you did not read and understand this article. I have had toxic family in my life and am very thankful for this article. Those that are finally able to stand up to the toxins and be rid of them are strong individuals that will live a healthier and happy life!! Amen to getting rid of toxins!! Family or not toxins should be stopped!!

  10. Thank you for such sound advice.  My toxic people are my mother, who is narcissistic, and a long-time friend, who is self-absorbed, breaks promises, and judges me when she’s not in a good mood.  I do my best to take responsibility, avoid contact, and not stoop to their behavior.  Instead, I only share with them what I want to, because I then avoid conflicts and them ruining the good things in my life, which are many.  I have many people who are wonderful in my life, who love me unconditionally.  It’s sad that two important people in my life are this way, but now I’m putting myself and my feelings first.  Thanks for your support and suggestions!

  11. puertorican girl says

    thankyou so much, i have left all toxic people, blocked them from cell and email. I believe being around toxic people influence others and program others into becomming just like them. I will forgive and let go and just leave it to my maker to handle my worries.

  12. I am so glad I found this article! I had some toxic people in my life. Mainly just one and I had to walk away. I blocked her on facebook, I no longer speak to her. I will never have her in my life again. EVER!!! Someone who tries to have sex with another “family” member is one sick individual.  I understand she was molested by someone as a child and that was sick, but don’t try and bring your sick, toxic way of being into my life. You have been dismissed, you are never welcome in my life again. Get yourself some help! 

  13. A good book to read is called Toxic Parents.  I read this later on in my life but it did help.  I always was taught your parents only love their kids but that’s not always true.  I wasn’t beaten and I got enough to eat so I was grateful for that. 

  14. thank you so much for your advice about avoiding toxic people.  They will only ruin our lives.

  15. Create an email filter so messages from that person either bypass your inbox and go into a folder or deleted immediately. I had to do the latter a few days ago and it’s helped tremendously.

  16. Trishsingh47 says

    Thank you so much for posting this. Everything that is written here is so true. I have been trying to deal with toxic people for years. It’s time for me to walk away after all the anxiety and panic attacks I experience around these horrid people.

  17. Hard to do when you are forced to share a residence with a toxic perrson & others back this person up instead of you. This is what I am now dealing with. I have to completely close myself off into another room of the residence or go away from home to get any real relief. When I move out, I will NEVER have any contact with this person again since I have written & saved a letter that i will be giving to them once i am safely away for good.

  18. Thank you! I currently live with 3 toxic people. I’ve made excuses for them over and over and I’ve finally HAD IT. There is always a guilt involved when I decide to remove them but I think it’s really necessary so that I can grow and get better. There is nothing wrong with seeking GOOD people.

  19. Life it is hard to live easy to die it gets more toxic as we dig down the rabbit hole as someone that has limited freedom and been isolated for years and been depressed limited freedom when you’re alone you learn the ability who is toxicc

  20. Great article! It reinforces my decision to delete a toxic person from my life. I’ve been struggling with guilt for deleting this person, but I’m so much happier without her in my life.

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