A big part of prioritizing your mental health includes identifying and eliminating toxic people from your life. Whether your narcissistic friend is dismissive of your mental health issues or your sibling emotionally manipulates and gaslights you, you need to cut them off for your own well-being.
It doesn’t matter if the toxic individual is a family member; you can’t allow anyone to ruin your peace and disrupt your life with their words, actions, or behavior.
Here are some tips to help you deal with toxic people in your life.
1. Understand How They Make You Feel
One of the first steps when navigating a toxic relationship is understanding how the individual makes you feel. Start the process by identifying what they’re doing/saying that doesn’t sit well with you.
This could potentially include manipulation, gaslighting, passive aggression, narcissism, abuse (verbal, emotional, physical), and criticism, among a wide range of other toxic traits.
Understand how their actions make you feel to take the right measures accordingly.
Do you feel unworthy? Anxious? Self-conscious? Unloved?
Unpack your emotions and determine the best way forward that rids you of these feelings. While we strongly suggest cutting toxic people off, that isn’t always possible. If it’s a family member who you can’t distance yourself from for the time being, set rigid boundaries. Avoid speaking to them if you can’t physically distance yourself.
These measures will help you maintain a healthy mental and emotional state.
2. Don’t Delay Action
In many cases, we cling onto hopes of redemption. This is especially common among people who are in a toxic relationship with a partner, parent, sibling, or close friend/family member.
Nobody wants to wipe the slate clean, especially when they have history with someone. However, it’s the only way forward sometimes.
Instead of making excuses for them, hoping they’ll turn over a new leaf, and delaying action, cut the cord. People are creatures of habit. If someone has hurt you once, the chances are they’ll do it again. Even if they won’t, you’d rather not take that chance. And if they’ve hurt you in the past, it speaks volumes about their personality and love and concern for you—or lack thereof.
Have enough compassion and respect for yourself to understand when a relationship isn’t serving you anymore and let go.
3. Protect Your Mental Health At All Costs
Letting go of someone you were close to isn’t easy. Prioritize yourself and indulge in some much-needed me time to ensure your mental and emotional health stays on track.
We suggest reading motivational books, opting for therapy, practicing acts of self-love, and taking the time to connect with yourself.
Ralph Sanders’ insightful books, “Held Hostage” and “Break Loose,” navigate the complexities of a toxic relationship and the many ways to escape one. He narrates his own struggles in a toxic relationship and outlines how he found the strength to prioritize himself and find a way out and forward.
4. Connect With Other Wholesome Individuals
While self-reflecting and connecting with yourself following the termination of a toxic relationship is important, it’s equally essential to connect with wholesome individuals who inspire, uplift, and motivate you.
Find solace in your support system to heal your heart, mind, and emotions. This is important; it’ll help you tend to your wounds and replace the band aid every day so the wound heals properly.
If you prefer to heal on your own, that’s completely valid too.
Find a healthy balance for yourself. As long as you know you’re doing good and recovering from the toxic relationship, you’ll be okay.
5. Understand Your Worth
Toxic people have a tendency to reach out after they’ve been shown the door because guilt is a strong emotion. Once they know you’re gone, they’ll begin to realize their faults.
However, it’s important to note that this is uncommon; many toxic individuals revel in their complacency and emotional unintelligence, and never own up to their mistakes. Either way, understand your worth so you can prevent yourself from reentering a toxic situation.
Once you’ve closed the door, seal it so you don’t end up inviting disruption back into your life. Move forward in a healthy manner so you can let go of resentment and practice indifference with regard to the toxic individual. When their name pops up on your phone, you should feel nothing at all. That’s the best indication of truly moving on.
In his recent autobiography, “Halftime Hustler,” Sanders recounts the many adversities he faced in life. He also dives deep into his refusal to let his circumstances control himself. Instead, he developed grit and resilience, and created a beautiful and healthy life for himself.