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

Thriving, not just surviving, is *key* to healing trauma

Thriving vs Surviving: The basics
This is my first post, so first I would like to thank Angela Shelton for the opportunity and including me as a contributor. As some of you may have heard in our recent conversation on Social Media Hour, we discussed resourcing tools for women recovering from trauma. We discussed the importance of using the language * thriving* instead of just surviving, how turning the language even further towards empowerment is one of the key points during a woman’s recovery process.

I understand this both through my work and from my own experience. I am a survivor … and a thriver. I have worked with thousands of women on this topic and understand the difference between the two.

For purposes of educational experimentation, we might look at survival as a woman just getting by. She is victimized and in major pain. She has not gotten to the point of fully resourcing and feels depressed. The trauma has taken over her, instead of her taking over it.  She has lost control, she is out of control and she feels like dying. Anyone who has ever experienced this degree of trauma can relate here.

Although not all trauma is like this, I think you get the gist of what I’m saying. Survival is a way to look at your trauma, however it might not the be the best way to sync your mind around healing it. For example, we could say survival is a part of getting by while fighting your demons. I respect that part and am not saying surviving is *bad* or unjust. It is necessary. My aim is more about honoring the victim side while at the same time giving you power to change how you think about it.

I also understand that this may be hard if you are at the beginning of your process, or have not fully recognized your power, but nevertheless, wherever you are, I invite you to begin.

Thriving is taking the bull by the horns and driving it home. Not an easy task, especially given the fact that the bull is no small or innocent animal. It is fierce and overwhelming, which is why it is so important to begin to understand how to *change* your thinking about it. Changing thoughts is only one part of the Thriver manual (to be posted February 2010)

For the purpose of the conversation I begin with you here today, the key is to begin to think of surviving as not just getting by, but as a way to notice that you are at the beginning and have taken the first step. Some of you may disagree, and if so, perhaps you can instead think of this as an exercise in semantics. I’m offering a new word, a new definition and thus a way to think about it differently.  My aim is to educate and inspire you to take control, to take charge of your inner beauty by being fierce in your recovery. This means beginning to understand that the things you *say*, to yourself and others, *matter*. So, if you think of yourself as just a survivor, you are in fact limited to that belief. Survivors just get through. That is not what I believe any of the women reading this are doing. In fact, it is my belief that we are all thriving, and if you don’t feel like this, allow me to give you some evidence that you are, indeed, a thriver.

1. You are either part of this website, a visitor, or have come across this blog and am thinking about what I’m saying.

No matter what your reaction is, that is okay. You can have it! This still means you’re thriving even if you don’t agree. Point is, by reading, writing, talking with friends, or listening to others share their stories, you are *engaging*. Although you might not be *active* or *good at it*, or *perfect* yet, none of that matters. What matters most is living *right now* outside of denial. You can’t be in denial if you are reading this. Part of you at least has to be actively conscious to even be interested in this point.

2. I ‘ve seen many people come to me over the years and I will tell you all of them are incredibly brave, bold and scared out of their minds. The point is that in order to thrive,  you *must* be scared. It is part of the territory of overcoming your demons.

This is where I hope to come in. Overcoming your demons and moving *through* your trauma is something with which I can help you. Again, the first idea is to begin to change your *thoughts* about the *word* surviving and move into a place of recognition (even if it is just a little bit) in yourself that you just might be a thriver. A thriver does not have to be someone holding a sword above their head, (although i like this image), but anyone who is even *thinking, feeling, reading, or even slightly engaging* in any type of discourse around their pain of trauma. My job is to educate you on how to think differently about what you are currently undergoing without losing touch with what actually happened. I’m here as a resource for you and am happy to listen, encourage, respect and honor you and your process wherever you are.

So that’s our first lesson – a lesson in language and how changing the words can change your thoughts. We’ll certainly return to language through this process, and in my next post I’ll share ways on how you can take action in doing this. I honor your process wherever you are in it and tip my hat to everyone out there having the courage to thrive instead of just survive.