How Do You Identify Someone Toxic?

May 2, 2018

Granted, every kind of relationship has its ups and downs. There are differing opinions and debates between friends, family members, business associates, and of course, between you and sweetie pie. Life naturally goes on in a series of discourse and discords. We aren’t preprogrammed Stepford wives and husbands in some perfect little suburbia. So how do we identify that toxic person in our lives and render them ex communicado?
Your inner circle is wary of them
There isn’t a clear, consistent line of communication between you and this person, and you can’t put a finger on what feels off about them. Your close friends aren’t keen to be around this person, and even mummy dearest isn’t too pally with them. Your closest circle of family and friends know you best, and their subconscious is inevitably letting you know that this person isn’t good for you.
You are the target in their blame game
Let’s say this person is the newest inductee into your group. All are having fun and this particular someone does or says something that makes the smile slide off your face. It doesn’t feel right. You exchange a look with someone else. Note this: a toxic person is seemingly blameless. This person will project their own faults onto you. You’re always late. It’s your fault for ordering all the good food, now I’m gonna get fat! You, you, you.
You’re being emotionally blackmailed
An insincere person makes use of your time, your presence, and how they stand to gain from you. Do you feel drained after every meet? Do you feel that this person withholds their affection and availability depending on what you can do for them? Say you can’t go to a social event, this friend may ignore your calls, or show you the cold shoulder until you change your mind. Their love is conditional, and based on conditions that can be downright ridiculous. A healthy relationship is when two people understand that availability varies over time. They communicate openly as two adults.
So you’ve pointed out this person in your life. Perhaps you did try to address the elephant in the room, and this person needs to be weeded out. We say it’s time to eliminate the toxicity of it all and return to a clean slate. Clinical psychologist Linda Blair, has a simple 3-step guide that might help.
1. Create distance
Distance yourself from that person remotely i.e. via text, email or a letter. This allows you to be completely open with them, and also tell them about your further intentions. This will seem difficult, but just make a mental note to yourself that if you meet up face-to-face, you will probably get sucked back in and find yourself unable to be completely free of them.
2. Keep it simple
You don’t need to justify your actions by explaining further. More talk, more debates! Be very definite about your message. You don’t want to leave open ends when resolving the friendship. More importantly, this enables you to take back control.
3. Cut all communication
This is the final and most important part, as you need to keep the breakup clean. After all, a clean slate is what you are after, am I right? Your friend will attempt to contact you initially. Hold onto your hairnet, for your feelings will get buffeted about like laundry in a windstorm. Because if you do give in and respond, you’ll be sending the okay that they can take over once again.​

This toxic friend situation is more commonplace than people realise. We certainly hope that that helped you to identify this someone and let them go. Life is a short enough journey and time is a precious commodity. Say sayonara to the bull hockey today. Trust me, you’ll feel a whole lot better doing just that.

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