The Secret to Setting Boundaries to Deal with Toxic PeopleSep 21, 2022
Why is it that we often give away our power and let others steal our peace?
Dear ones, without boundaries, you will sacrifice your emotional and physical health. Before you throw in the towel with that toxic person that’s getting on your very last nerve – know this – setting boundaries is like putting on a life preserver. Let’s get into the meaning of ‘toxic.’
Consider this insightful definition of toxic from Mariam Webster Dictionary: extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful, i.e., toxic sarcasm
What is a Toxic Person?
By virtue of the definition above, it’s fair to say that toxic people are NOT fun to be around. In fact, they are truly harmful to your health and peace of mind.
They tend to be creators of chaos and dysfunction and thrive on disrupting and getting a reaction from their targets or victims.
Suffice it to say that a toxic person is any individual whose behavior adds negativity, upset, anxiety, or strife to your life.
What Makes a Person Toxic?
It is said that hurting people hurt people, and in the case of toxic people, truer words have never been spoken.
Many things can make a person toxic.
- Toxic family systems
- Past trauma or abuse
- Falling on hard times
- Negative mindset
- Mental health disorders
- Emotional instability
- Mood disorders
- Personality disorders
- Drug addiction
- Or they are just plain miserable and enjoy projecting their darkness onto others.
No matter what has made someone become a toxic person, it’s not your job to be an emotional doormat or to FIX them! You just need to learn how to deal with them by setting boundaries or by letting them go.
In What Settings Do Toxic Relationships Occur?
It may surprise you that toxic relationships are not reserved for romantic relationships. People experience unhealthy toxic relationships in all walks of life and in many settings:
- Family patterns with spouse, children, siblings, parents, and relatives.
- In the workplace with superiors or coworkers, or clients.
- With neighbors, friends, and acquaintances.
- In groups or on boards, committees, on social media or volunteer endeavors.
You may run into someone who tics all the boxes for being labeled ‘toxic’ in any place you have contact with people.
When a person is toxic, it has a negative impact, and it is particularly challenging to maintain a healthy relationship when they bring such poisonous behaviors to the table. Toxic relationships are emotionally and physically exhausting for the party being victimized by the problematic individual.
There are a variety of toxic traits that can help you identify the toxic people in your life.
- Takers, not the givers
- Lack of empathy and compassion
- Pattern of lying
- Silent treatment
- Passive-aggressive behavior
- Abuse of power
- Highly manipulative
- Victim or hero mentality
- Disregard your feeling of concern
- Minimize what’s important to you
- Devalue you
- Chaos and lots of drama
- Needy and demanding
- Have trouble maintaining relationships
A toxic relationship is challenging because it is confusing and hurtful, and you are often manipulated into believing it’s all your fault when nothing could be further from the truth. In some cases, the behavior is so toxic it is actually abusive, in which case you may choose to go ‘no contact’ and detach completely.
You are worthy of having kind, loving, and mutually respectful relationships.
Is Your Body Sounding the Alarms?
It’s time for a wake-up call: pay attention to how you feel when you are with a toxic person, talking with them, or being given their silent treatment!
Even if you are consciously unaware that a person is toxic, your body is telling you so that you will get the message.
Heed the warnings…
Your body is essentially your boundary barometer; pay attention when the alarms are blaring.
How does the toxic person make you feel?
Everyone experiences these internal warning signs differently; you may experience a racing heart or chest pains, nervousness, stomach upset, cramps, headache, neck pain, or a general unease around this individual. Many will feel energetically depleted after spending time with a toxic person; if that’s the case, they can also be defined as an energy vampire.
If your body could talk, it would have plenty to say about this problematic person.
Now, what do you intend to do with this intel?
Hint: your boundary barometer has indicated it’s time for action to protect your own emotional and physical health. Set boundaries, PRONTO!
Setting Healthy Boundaries with Toxic People?
Setting healthy boundaries is a game-changing experience! Once you’ve identified the toxic person or persons in your life, it’s time to take swift and determined action for self-preservation.
Boundaries are about deciding what we will and won’t allow in our lives. It is about setting limits and standards around the behaviors of others and what you will and won’t tolerate.
The time has come to draw a line in the sand, set boundaries, and let the boundaries be made known. And most importantly, once boundaries have been set, stick to them!
Express your limits
- “I will not answer calls in the middle of the night.”
- “I do not answer work calls outside of regular business hours.”
- “I’m so sorry you’re struggling with addiction; I have faith that you can take steps to overcome this on your own. While I can point you in the right direction, your chosen path is your choice.”
- “You may not speak to me in a disrespectful tone from this day forward.”
- “I will no longer tolerate your unacceptable behavior; you must take accountability; it’s not my job to fix you.”
- “NO, you may not bring your abusive boyfriend and his dog to Thanksgiving dinner.”
- “This is your 5th DUI; STOP asking me to fund your legal defense; I’m out.”
- “You are a 35-year-old adult; you need to get a job, move out of the house, and live your own life. I am not responsible for providing housing forever.”
- “You have a responsibility to your family, stop working 16-hour days and show up for your family. Our daughter is in a play tomorrow at 6, and I expect you to be there, no excuses.”
- “Your mother is meddling in our relationship; you need to talk with her about coming over unannounced multiple times a week and strolling right in. I will be changing the locks.”
- “I’m not an ATM; if you need money, work some overtime or cut down on your expenses.”
- “I’m a helper, NOT a rescuer; you need to do the work for personal growth and stop relying on others to save you.”
- “We love you! We have paid for your drug rehabilitation ten times, and now that you are 28 years old, you will have to figure it out on your own. You need to get serious about recovery.”
- “You just totaled your car; you cannot borrow mine.”
In addition to the above suggestions, it would also behoove you to limit your time with this person. Also, restrict phone conversation frequency and length. Remind yourself to stay out of the fray and avoid drama.
Kick guilt and shame to the curb and set boundaries with authority because YOU can, and you deserve the peace that comes as a result. If it’s in your best interest to set a boundary, do so without guilt.
Once you experience the benefits of setting healthy boundaries, you’ll never look back. And you will no longer tolerate the intolerable. Let others know your limits unapologetically!
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Here’s to peace of mind and your health and wellness!
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