post written by: Marc Chernoff

7 Behaviors to Stop Tolerating from Others


7 Behaviors to Stop Tolerating from Others

It is better to be alone than in bad company.

Your dignity may be attacked, ravaged and disgracefully mocked, but it can never be taken away unless you willingly surrender it.  It’s all about finding the strength to defend your boundaries.

The manipulators of the world will test you from time to time to see if you bend.  Don’t let them intimidate you.  When you catch them pushing on you, push back.  All it takes is once, and if they get away with pushing you around that once – if they know they can treat you like that – then it sets the pattern for the future.

You are stronger than them!  Stick up for yourself and stop tolerating…

1.  Bullying.

Bullying is not OK.  Period.  There is no freedom on Earth that gives someone the right to assault who you are as a person.  Sadly, some people just won’t be happy until they’ve pushed your ego to the ground and stomped on it.  What you have to do is have the nerve to stand your ground.  Don’t give them any leeway.  Nobody has the power to make you feel small unless you give them that power.

It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but just as much to stand up to your family and friends.  Sometimes bullying comes from the most unlikely places.  Be cognizant of how the people closest to you treat you, and look out for the subtle jabs they throw.  When necessary, confront them – whatever it takes to give yourself the opportunity to grow into who you really are.  (Angel and I cover this in detail in the Adversity and Relationships chapters of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

2.  Physical abuse of any kind.

If you have survived the wrath of a physical abuser, and you tried to reconcile things… If you forgave, and you struggled, and even if the expression of your grief had you succumb to outbursts of anger… If you spent years hanging on to the notions of trust and faith, even after you knew in your heart that those beautiful intangibles, upon which love is built and sustained, would never be returned… And especially, if you stood up as the barrier between an abuser and someone else, and took the brunt of the abuse in their place…

You are a HERO.

But now it’s time to be the hero of your future.  Enough is enough!

3.  Supporting hatred.

As Gandhi once said, “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.”

Regardless of how despicable another has acted, never let hate build in your heart.  Fighting hatred with hatred only hurts you more.  When you decide to hate someone you automatically begin digging two graves: one for your enemy and one for yourself.

Hateful grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something.  Forgiveness, on the other hand, is for those who are strong enough and smart enough to move on.  After all, the best revenge is to be unlike the person who hurt you.  The best revenge is living well, in a way that creates peace in your heart.  (Read Buddha’s Brain.)

4.  Negativity.

There are plenty of people in this world who will be generous when sharing their negativity and ignorance.  And while they may seem quite eager to feed you their rubbish, please remember it’s not the diet you need.  You need positivity.  So be cautious with whom you let feed your mind and soul.  Do not let the negative opinions of others destroy your inner spirit.

Throughout your life you will meet two kinds of people: those who are a drain on your energy and dreams, and those who give you the energy to pursue your dreams.  Avoid the first kind and cherish the second.

5.  Lies.

If someone fools you once, shame on them.  If someone fools you twice, shame on you.

If you catch someone lying to you, speak up.  Some people will lie to you repeatedly in a vicious effort to get you to repeat their lies over and over until they effectively become true.  Don’t partake in their nonsense.  Don’t let their lies be your reality.

Remember, an honest adversary is always better than a friend who lies.  Pay less attention to what people say, and more attention to what they do.  Their actions will show you the truth.  (Read In Sheep’s Clothing.)

6.  Disparaging remarks about your potential.

Never let someone’s opinion of you wash away your truth.  Never sacrifice who you are or what you aspire to be because someone else sees things differently.

Sometimes even your closest confidants will carelessly crush your potential with smiles on their faces.  They will discredit your ideas, exhibiting zero emotional support, and inadvertently persuade you to forget part of the person you are, along with the person you are capable of becoming.

Don’t let weak minds convince you that you aren’t strong enough.  You are.

7.  Attempts to decide for you.

When you feel out of control or a little lost it can be tempting to look for someone willing to take charge of your life for you, just to alleviate the pressure.  But before you do consider this: if you put a collar around your own neck and hand the leash to someone else, you’ll have no say about where they lead you in life.

When it comes to exercising your inner genius, you must listen to your inner voice.  Try what you want to try, go where you want to go and explore the depths of your own intuition.  Don’t accept false choices just because someone else doesn’t feel what you feel.  Don’t let others leash your dreams and your future.  If something feels right, it probably is.  Give yourself the fair chance you deserve.

Final Thoughts

This is your life.  You may not be able to control all the things people do to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.  You can decide not to let their actions and opinions invade your heart and mind.  And above all, you can decide whom to walk beside into tomorrow, and whom to leave behind today.

Your turn…

What would you add to the list?  What’s one behavior you will not tolerate from others?  Please leave a comment below and let us know.

Photo by: Alpha Designer

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96 Comments

  • Numbers 4 and 6 ring especially true in my life. I’m sick of being surrounded by negative people who do nothing but tell me what I should do, or that what I do is not good enough.

  • I don’t really have anything to add to this list but I’d like to ask you two and the readers for your opinions. How do you deal with negativity from family?

    Both sides of my family are incredibly negative and I find myself drained, unhappy, and very unproductive when I am around them. I’ve asked a similar question before in the “Toxic Friendship” article.

  • Vincent,
    I would say your tactic will depend on whether or not you live with them. If you don’t, just think of yourself as a healthy duck, and the negativity is merely water that sheets off your feathers. It wouldn’t be easy at first, it will take time to train your mind to accept this. Understand that the negativity is not your burden, but theirs and let it be theirs. If you live with them, I haven’t a clue, unless you can move away.

  • I gotta say, this post is awesome.

    I’ve been trying to cut a few people out of my life recently, some people who I thought were “mates,” but they’re actually backstabbing, nay-saying anchors. A drag on my life and happiness. And after having seen the bottom of the barrel two years ago (lost a child, a marriage, a house, a father, two uncles, an aunt and my dignity), I’m now back on the road to smashing life out the ballpark. But these people continue to do the same ol’ same and can’t understand why I won’t sink into oblivion with them. Their lack of understanding lead to bullying, physical confrontation and deceit.

    And what I’ve done is forcefully push them away as they’ve crossed the boundaries of honor and decency and friendship.
    Unfortunately everyone else around me has questioned my actions and some of them have said “Get off your high horse” which has led me to question my innermost values. I did what was right, I KNOW I did what was right. And reading this gives me reason to smile and stay firm.

    In the saddle of course.

  • This is a wonderful article and at the moment I have nothing to add to the list. I have found that family is a stronger positive or negative force than any other. I have tolerated things from a couple of family members that I would refuse to tolerate from anyone else. It’s hard to close people you love out of your life, but just now at 36 years old, I’m learning how. I also feel I have a good ability to see both sides of things. I don’t think they truly want to hurt me or cause me stress, but as I grow as a person, they feel insecure. So, in their struggle of losing the bond or connection of the person I was, they bring negativity into my life. For my sake and my daughters, I have had to push them on the back burner and give them time to decide if they are ready to grow with me.

  • P Delfosse, I do actually live with them and I do try my best to avoid them. It’s sad actually because I’ve only started living with them last July. I used to go out in the living room all the time to spend time together. After a month or so, I realized how negative and critical they were of the world around them. With this realization, I distance myself when I can and avoid staying around when I can avoid it.

    I wish there were a better way around this.

  • I’ve been bullied throughout my life, but it was my brother who actually was the biggest bully. He also fits 4, 6, and 7. I decided that after my mother passes and the estate is divided that I will say adios to him.

  • Vincent, that sounds like a really rough situation. Have you talked to your family about it?

  • Triple love this morning’s post!! I’ve had to deal with #s 3, 4, and 5 in the past. I’d add manipulation to the list which your introduction mentions. After engaging them and giving them what they wanted, I finally realized the best thing to do is to just walk away with my head held high. No Contact. No Engaging. I can honestly say I can take on anything/anyone now and my capabilities are endless. I love when I read something so validating :)

  • Overall, I really liked this article - all of these are great points.

    One thing though, not forgiving is worlds away from hate. The push and pressure to forgive others can be supremely damaging to victims of all sorts of trauma. It’s all well and good to choose to forgive, but one can live a perfectly content life without forgiving atrocities, but simply moving on from them.

  • This could not have come at a better time for me. I am struggling daily with negativity from family & loved ones I see on a daily basis. It is so hard to still stay true to who I am and see the happiness and positivity in life. I am so grateful for finding this website :) I think the thing I struggle with the most is when others are discouraging and in a cranky mood themselves, taking a step back and realising it’s about them and not me. It’s easier said than done somedays and it gets me down. But reading these articles and others help, as does my amazing supportive husband :)

  • Carrie Ballard
    May 13th, 2013 at 7:25 am

    Interesting perspectives, but some of this all sounds a bit too positive for me. Are you proposing to surround ourselves with only the positive? Some of the best lessons we get in life come from criticism, confrontation, and ‘negativity’. Why would you walk away from someone who confronts you with your own outdated ideas based on your past that are dragging you down? Chin up, think about what they said/did and why you allowed it to hurt you. Then you are dealing with the dark side of gold.

  • I refuse to have anyone in my life who doesn’t add value to it. It makes for a much better world for me.

  • Great post!

    The most important insight for me is: my life is not ‘about them’, but it’s about me. It’s about the choices I make, the people I choose to hang out with, the plans I make, the dreams I choose to follow.

    My life is about me, finding my way and building a great life and a great world. And on this way, I choose to hang out with the people who choose to support this dream.

  • Curious Walker
    May 13th, 2013 at 7:28 am

    Great words to ponder.
    I have soo much respect for your advice and this blog!

  • My negative husband & I are divorcing & it will be a relief to have this toxic presence gone . Sad but my son is acting hateful and disrespectful towards me. He is my only child and love him but can’t stand more years of contempt and resulting depression in my life . I need to move on with happy life - time to cut off relationship?

  • Hey Vincent.

    Just wanted to reach out and let you know that you are not alone in this. I live at home as well and like you, the atmosphere is not the best.

    I’m not going to say that I’ve found a solution because I have not but here’s how I like to look at things : you now know what you do not like and what you never want to be like as a person.

    Character building you may say(:

  • #7. the inner voice knows. Once you take time to listen to it, everything becomes more clear.
    #5. What people do is also very important. Doing takes more effort and is a more reliable indicator. I am working on this one. I try to “walk the walk” and not “talk the talk”.

  • Vincent,

    True peace is being around chaos and still having peace. Sometimes we can’t control our environment but we do have full control of what we put out. And right now I’d just tell you to give out love. Be yourself, be positive, and just love.

    I don’t know your full story of why you’re there and for how long but you are there at the moment. Take all this in because maybe this is part of your own personal growth.

  • I work for a teacher who repeatedly is vicious while smiling the whole time. People think she is so nice; they don’t know who she is. It is not in my nature to be unkind back; that’s not who I am. I love the students that I work with, so I put up with her and three others who are her puppets. I just do my job and do my best to not allow them to ruffle my peace. I’m not quick with come backs, so I don’t know how to back them down.

  • Strengthen yourself on the inside….meditate, pray - focus on yourself and the people that you truly want to have in your life. You will find that gradually you have internal boundaries that do the work for you and people will fall away from your life. Family will not disappear necessarily (even though we think we would like them to) you will just find that you are in different relationships with them and the things that used to bother you become less and less.

    I realise that I did not have boundaries and let anyone into my life and allowed people to tell me what to do. After four months of recovery from an abusive relationship, I a m starting to see the fruits in the form of me making conscious decisions about who I want to be around. I’ve never done this in my life before. Mostly, I clung on to whoever was around!!! This list is so useful in getting clear on how we are allowing others to treat us. It used to be when I read a list like this I would say “that’s not happening to me” because I felt that the form of bullying or lying was a mild form and therefore did not matter. Not any more!! That so called “mildness” was creating hav0c in my life. There’s no such thing as a little bit of lying, or a little bit of bullying - it’s still lying and bullying.

  • Negativity can be such a strain and the people that are always like this don’t even realize it.

  • Just what ‘I’ needed today to pass on to a very dear friend, who has just left. All you mention here I have been practicing for years, for obvious (past related) reasons they have benefited me ENORMOUSLY & still do. Deistancing yourself from negative people WORKS & doesn’t even cost any effort at all, just willingness, determination, love, awareness of yourself.

    I have, literally, no one in my daily life is toxic.

    Happy Day, Life, LOVE Sue xxx

  • Disrespect. I have no tolerance for it.

  • Ignoring me while professing to care about me.
    I’m going through a lot of emotional pain right now, but hear nothing from anyone at my church during the week.

  • Vincent,
    First of all my heart goes out to you. I never really experienced a toxic family until I got married. I choose to look at them as teachers to show me how I do not want my life to be. the other point is if they are in front of the TV all the time they are being negatively programmed without realizing it. It is THE most destructive drug on the planet. You can drop down into your heart anytime and let your heart guide you. Perhaps the reason you are back in their living space is because your light/love are what they need to wake up!

    The duck analogy above is what my father always told us when we were growing up. Also tell them you love them, I know this will be difficult at first, but trust me, it is worth the effort. Bless you and take good care.

  • These are all so timely for me and this list brought such perspective by seeing it in black and white. Sadly it appears that 3 through 7 hit quite close to home. The problem is, I brace myself and try to ignore or question/challenge the (4) negativity, (3) supporting hatred, (5) lies (I suspect), (6) disparaging remarks and (7) overriding of my decisions … (they don’t all happen at the same time nor all the time) that eventually it becomes so pervasive and perhaps has become a pattern of behavior, that it wears me down and I feel manipulated and, honestly, humiliated. Where do you draw the line and break the cycle in a committed, long-term relationship, and say enough is enough? And can anyone suggest books or resources that might help retrain the mind (as P Delfosse suggests).

  • Exactly how i have been treated by people i considered friends..just because you are a friend and i have known you a long time it does not give you the right to treat me like a child and discredit my entire life.

  • Excellent as always; you two are angels. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.

  • #4 definitely hits home for me. There are two people in my life whom I’ve known for a long time and they are emotionally draining with their limitations and constant criticisms. I have come to realize that it is their own insecurity that has made them so miserable and I choose not to partake in it. Yet they love me so they always want to hang out. I don’t want to ignore them but I have to.

  • I’ve recently ended a relationship/friendship that I found out was based totally on LIES! At first it was difficult to comprehend how a person that you’ve communicated with every day for a couple of years could spew LIES that long. I was truly fooled but not anymore. I don’t hate the individual but I do feel sorry for him. I know he had a good friend in me and I’m sad the frienship wasn’t reciprocated. Thank you for this post today.

  • Vincent: I’m so sorry to hear what you’re going through, especially since I’ve experienced that myself. I moved back in with the parental units after my divorce, and while I”d changed my ideals and views on many things, they had only become more cynical and critical than before. While I loved them deeply, I realised it was time to cut the ties to them. The negativity they emitted was totally draining. I looked for lodgings elsewhere as soon as I could. Once I relocated I felt so much better. Perhaps you should think of finding a place of your own, or sharing a flat with a compatible person. I wish you the best of luck.

  • Vincent,
    I can relate very well, having both parents and in-laws who were/are negative. I fortunately married the most positive, supportive person and he has helped tremendously. My father is in a nursing home and I’ve had to come up with strategies of dealing with his negative, angry ways, for when I visit. He does get to me at times, but I remind myself that he chose an angry, unhappy life and I’ve chosen differently. He has dementia so I can redirect the conversation but I do remind him that nothing is worth getting angry over, and there’s always another side to the story. Your parents are teaching you something, unintentionally - as mine did. Good luck and stay strong to your beliefs.

  • It can be difficult to strike a balance, reducing your exposure to negative people while being kind enough to let them know you care for them. It may be necessary to speak plainly to them about their negativity, possibly framing it as a suggestion that they try to be more positive rather than giving them a reprimand. I like to make statements such as “I used to think and act a certain way, but found it was making me unhappy. I’ve gradually formed a habit of thinking, speaking and acting more positively and kindly, which has helped me as well as others in my life.” This or other statements can be altered to suit the situation and people involved. If nothing is said, it may be that nothing can be expected to change.

  • @vincent nguyen: as much as i love my parents, i have to admit that my dad is an increadibly negative and judgemental guy while my mum is constantly worried and waiting for a catastrophe to happen. i had this technique when i was still living with them to take notes of every single opinion or remark i heard. it’s too easy to just let them slip into your mind when you are distracted. but when you read them later in your alone time you can notice the absurdity of some of those remarks, think and decide for yourself if you agree or not. it sometimes takes time to hammer it into your head that some of those opinions you dont agree with, especially then they have to do with your dreams or potential. but its possible, and when you hear it once again you will be like: yeah, whatever, your opinion not my business. and at least for me it helped to stop being so constantly angry with my folks. i dont know it would work for anyone else or am i just strange, but anyway - good luck!

  • Great list!

    The one behavior I would add to the list is constant whining and complaining and blaming. While it’s true that you need to vent your feelings in a healthy way, constant whining and complaining and blaming gets old after a while. How long can you continue to blame your parents, childhood, government, etc.? To quote Pastor Joel Osteen, “Get over it.” His sermon “Get Over It” is powerful. You may want to download it.

    Tune-out the whiners and complainers in your life. You’ll feel lighter. :)

  • This post has incredibly touched me today! Thank You!

  • Vincent, I believe focusing too much energy towards a group of negative thinking people is a general waste of time and energy and can be incredibly exhausting. You probably already know that trying to change another is impossible, but simply trying to protect yourself from a constant barrage of nay-saying and inane complaining can be soul-crushing. Trust me, I know.

    I’m by no stretch of the definition an expert. But I would suggest, if you don’t have one already, finding something that truly makes you happy, reinforces your own positivity, and provides a feeling of release when you need it. And then focus on that above the negative people around you. For example, I run. I love it. It makes me feel good. When I’m stressed, it’s meditative. And when I’m overwhelmed, it’s therapeutic. These positive effects help when I’m confronted with negativity, both internally and externally. And the changes in me are undeniable. To my surprise, some of the positive attributes running has sown in me can be contagious even though that is not at all my goal and I spend zero energy actively trying to change anyone around me. I guess it’s like that “be the change you want to see” type idea. It’s not always easy not to be distracted by negative forces around us and success varies from day to day. When being inundated with negativity from those around you, sometimes all you can do is get away from it and move towards whatever it is that makes you feel stronger. I’m still working on this as well. Good luck.

    I recently read something that I totally agree; “It is better to be alone than in bad company.”

  • Vincent: get the heck out of there.

    S.T.: My guess is your not on a high horse, its just a horse, and they are still on the ground. You have forced a change, and they are still working through it.

    I would add a change in perspective. I reread this where I am doing these things to myself. A double eye opener for me. My inner critic does a lot of things, and man am I over tolerant of it. Talk about a bully!

    I would also add “Anti-change Agents,” those people who sabotouge, disable, resist, and berate any attempts to change. Every comment above has them listed out. They are everywhere. They like things to the same, no matter how much they complain, because the FEAR of change is worse than what they experience now. The formula they use to run their lives only works if nothing changes or everything stays the same. If you change, they change by default, if only by perspective.

    When I moved to Georgia and then Texas, nobody was on my side. Two best things I ever did.

  • The one thing that I would add is a little ray of light for those who are coming out of a bully/abuse relationship. Rock on with your awesome self. OR Atta Girl/Boy. OR I hear ya, I’m with ya, I love you.

    I like what you have written here. It is so clear and good. AND sometimes tiny steps are in order. So the message can be to feel great with every effort we each make towards the goal of living in a stand-strong-trust-our-intuition culture. We aren’t there yet, though your post shows that we are getting closer. Imagine someone writing an article one hundred years ago encouraging us to “stop tolerating physical abuse of any kind”, or to warn against “fighting hatred with hatred”. Where would the advertising biz of the ’50s and ’60s have been if we all took your advice to “Try what you want to try, go where you want to go and explore the depths of your own intuition.”

    So we are moving and crowing as a whole. We can have a lot of hope. And if some of our tribe is just beginning to throw off the shackles of abusive relationships to learn their courage, we can all stand with them and send them our cheers and hugs.

    There is no shame in our first tiny steps. When we are first “taking off the collar and leash”, when we are first holding our own power, we deserve lots of love, naps and green, leafy vegetables. And sweet companionship.

    Thanks for saying all of these brave, creative words out loud.

  • Hey Vincent, P Delfosse, Donetta,

    Have a look at the tapes from Caroline Myss. She is a genius of a healer, and has a lot of powerfully helpful material on strengthening our insides to deal with toxicity on the outside. ALL her stuff is AMAZING. One of them, “Self Esteem, Your Fundamental Power” talks about how family can cut you up and how you can escape that and create a healthy self inside yourself. She also has one on helping the Caregiver stay healthy (Essential Guide for Healers). That one is about in spite of giving over to others, not losing yourself through their sickness.

    Her work is part of the tapestry that saved my life, literally.

    Have courage, Vincent. Some day you will rise up from the ashes like a phoenix, and nobody will be able to stop you.

  • Thanks! For sure, this post is an insightful boost of motivation to move with this week in a better direction.

  • @maga and Greg are onto something important - taking the toxicity OUT of yourself, and being immersed in behaviors that separate yourself from the madness. This is healthy, beautiful, affirming, uplifting, strongly healing.

    Vincent, look at all these posts and this stream of love and support you have generated! Looks like your family members have not succeeded in knocking it out of you after all.

  • First of all, thank you SO much for all the support you guys are giving me in response to my question. That really means a lot and shows how caring the community both Marc and Angel have created together. That’s beautiful.

    @Patrik: I have several times but my family isn’t the type to communicate or take feedback. They’re well aware of what I think of their attitudes towards everything and none of them have put in the effort to work on it. This has caused to several arguments but nowadays I find myself just ignoring everything.

    @Ashley: That’s true! It really brings some perspective.

    @Joy: The basic story is that I’ve always lived with my grandparents for my whole life. Not really sure why, but that was a choice I made as a child. Maybe I knew better when I was younger? Anyway, since I never really lived with my parents, I idolized them and never saw anything wrong.

    So I decided to move from Southern California to Arizona last July to attend college over there. I love everything about that state because I’ve got a great life, but the only thing wrong is the terrible family environment. I am back in Southern California now until late June so right now I’m just enjoying the freedom along with the company of my old friends.

    @Joyus: I actually had that thought very recently, Joyus! They give me a measure of what I do NOT want to be like and it is indeed a valuable lesson.

    @Bridget: Definitely will be finding a place on my own as soon as it is viable. :)

    @Jan: Thanks for sharing your story, Jan. I’m glad you are consciously working on your reaction.

    @Maga: That is a great idea. I’ve only been taking mental notes but perhaps it’s good to have something to refer to when I need to. That definitely helps and I thank you for sharing what works for you.

    Oh, thanks for reaching out to me by email as well, Maga!

    @Greg: I definitely have countless rituals that help me maintain my sanity through all this. Aside from social activities with friends, there are a lot of therapeutic things I do for myself. Meditation is one of them, taking the occasional walk to recalibrate, tennis (I guess this falls under social, but this is the most liberating), and writing.

    Lately I’ve also been covered in work which I absolutely love because I am passionate about it. Perhaps I’m lucky I have so many escapes.

    @David: Will be as soon as I can!

    @DW: Thanks for the recommendation. I haven’t heard of her but if she specializes in this sort of thing then she is worth looking into.

    Thanks again everyone. I really appreciate your support!

  • Vincent..I’ve lived a life with a negative and angry mom. I’ve always believed that my mom had issues due to her own difficulties of her past. It was always hard to not take things personally. This weekend my mom expressed her sadness. This is the very first time in 60 years that she actually expressed inner feelings to me.

    Compassion …be compassionate. If I do my half in being a compassionate family member and be the best that I can be, I will not take it personally. It is my hope that through my compassion, Mom will come out of her shell and start to love herself.

  • You inspire me to be the best possible me, you make me happy to be the forgiving kind person I am. Although my family sometimes tells me being forgiving & kindness is a weakness you make me feel that it’s OK to be me & that I am not alone in looking for the bright side of life . Thank you for being there!!! For making me feel good about being me :-)

  • If people around you are doing any of the above, and you don’t want to completely sever them from your life, you might first try establishing and maintaining solid boundaries. There is an excellent 4-step process in “Coach Yourself to Success” by Talane Miedaner that I highly recommend.

    Personally, I would cut people out of my life only as a last resort, especially if they are family. Sometimes the negative people in life are there to teach us things, if only to give us an example of what to avoid becoming…

  • Hi,

    I woke up today with a dull mood since I just had a rough break-up yesterday. I tried and tried to make myself happy and look forward to the positive things in life. But my mind just continued and there was these battle of positive and negative perspective on the break-up raging inside my head. Unfortunately the negative side was winning. And then I checked my mail as I always do a voice inside my head was wishing that some new post from Marc and Angel would be lying in my inbox. And there it was perfect post. Just what I needed. Thank you so much. I rigorously read all your posts and they are like my lifeline. They always show me silver linings when I fail.

    Thank you.

  • A great reminder for those of us who forgot to speak up for ourselves.

    The best revenge is to live your life better than those who hurt you and still show them respect because you are not them hence, you don’t act like them.

    Never give your leash to anyone!

    Now, we just have to act it out.

    Thanks Marcandangel

  • So true. Such a great reminder that we all need to maintain boundaries, especially with those who try to walk all over us.

  • Great post. I would add disrespect and mistreatment from those who are supposed to love and care for you. It is very common that people treat their family worse than people they don’t know at all!

  • Getting away from negativity is huge. If you spend too much time around negative people it becomes a drain on your entire life, mind, and body.

    “You become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

    Ignore the negative, celebrate the positive.

  • @Brady “Getting away from negativity is huge. If you spend too much time around negative people it becomes a drain on your entire life, mind, and body.”

    OTOH, if you ARE the most negative person in your life, you may be beyond help.

  • I would NEVER let some devalue what I VALUE in life. What I consider important may not be what others consider important and that’s fine. Just don’t let others ignorance about what is crucial to you cripple your thinking about what you hold important in your life. This means, people, animals, beliefs, or a lifestyle.

  • I have recently cleaned house and got rid of a few toxic friends.I am so glad that I don,t have to subject myself to their negativity anymore.But what do you do when you have to work along side a toxic negative person? All day long this person whines and complains to me about other co workers and her kids and her ex.nothing is ever good enough.I have told her many times to get over it,lets move on,try to see the glass half full,etc etc.by the end of the day she has sucked all the life out of me.This is a excellent paying job so quitting is not a option.I have talked to my supervisor and they had a chat with her but it did nothing.I am afraid that one day Im going to slap her.any suggestions?

  • Cheers to standing up to the negative people around us, and smiling anyway.

  • I will not tolerate people that are negative and I work with quite a few of them. I am such a positive person and it is really toxic for me to be around those people, so I search and find the best people to be around. I am currently working in aged care and you need to have a positive attitude around the oldies, but some don’t and it really frustrates me, but I just do what I have to do.

    I love receiving your life inspirations everyday. Thanks :-)

  • Your words are so valuable!

    I would add to your list one thing - don’t be party to anyone who attempts to dump responsibility for his or her own actions and their consequences onto you.

    I am struggling in my life right now. After a highly traumatizing childhood of my own, I lived for decades accepting and moving beyond the chaos of endless crises, and extreme emotional and mild, but threatening physical abuse from my adult child, trying to help her gain a more viable foothold in her life. She recently turned 50 and I’ve finally accepted that my attempts to help are futile and I have to let her find her own way, wherever that takes her. I’m left with an emotional wreckage of my own to deal with now, compounded by health and age issues.

    Thank you for the nourishing loving work you do. It gives me light and hope.

    ps To Karen — People in pain can’t benefit from hearing you say suck it up, get over it. If you’re saturated, let her know kindly that you feel overwhelmed by her pain and wish you could help, but she needs more than you can offer and you need to focus on your own well being. Be kind. She is in pain. Maybe, if you want to extend yourself more, if you find a good program (maybe Adult Children of Alcholics in Alanon fits her profile) or some healing words to share from these articles or in Carolyn Myss’s work, or any number of other resources - you could share a few words of soothing inspiration or direct her to help. I think part of taking care of yourself involves monitoring to make sure you haven’t buried your compassion and human kindness in the process. I wish you good luck and hope the situation gets better.

  • This is such a wonderful website, and an astounding article that seems so simple yet speaks volumes to those who are willing to listen! We are greater than anyone is able to predetermine! We are free to fly, live passionately and achieve greater goals than ever thought possible. I stand firm in who I am and I honor, love, respect my mind, body, soul and heart. I will not allow another to control my state of well being! I am empowered because I know who I am and I am amazing! I love myself unconditionally and I know that I am human. Live fully my friends!

  • I enjoyed reading all of the comments. It is wonderful seeing so many people offering advice and encouragement–proof that we really are here to help one another in this lifetime. We are here to learn from one another.

  • As for the one who has moved into a negative family experience, you can try being the uplifting one and challenge their beliefs in a friendly way. It may take some practice. Otherwise it’s probably a good idea to make your own family outside of where you live. They’re are plenty of people who feel or understand what you are going through and also need a more positive influence in their lives.

  • I work in an environment that is designed to kill your very soul. The invitation to leave if you don’t like the way things are (item #1). Every mistake no matter how small is kept track of and added to the HR record (item #4), Being told they don’t see the quality in me that this position demands (Item #6). If I wasn’t only 2 years from retiring, I would move on to something else, but at this point in time, I feel that if I can just hang on for those 2 years, all will be okay. It’s a shame I will remember my final working years in such a negative way. On the positive side, I enjoyed my first 32 yrs working. It’s only been the last 8 that were like this. So many have not had as many good years as I have had.

  • Love this post! so right on… love the care you took, Marc and Angel, to let those who have suffered physical abuse or been in between the abuser and others, know they are ‘heroes’, and that now is their time to be heroes of their own life. Affirming and beautifully stated. Love all the comments, so much additional wisdom and resources. I took 2 boundaries classes in 2011, if those are in your area, and you can use help to set boundaries, I highly recommend them - with a counselor who can talk through attendees situations with wisdom and grace. Bridgette, your response is wonderful. We could all adopt your embracing of self! (still knowing we are human as you said). Your post reminds me of Nelson Mandela’s quote:

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

  • I have about a hundred people added on Facebook, much less than everyone else I know - it seems like a silly popularity contest. It’s great that most added are people I actually do know and do care about. Behavior I don’t tolerate are those who divide others for their own gain. Be like Venus, the peacekeeper.

  • My life has been in a dash a miserable hardship with whom my inner core of heart and mind interfere to the infinity actions that are beyond my scope of living; it takes me a long time to control all these issues and cope with them. But I’m slowly getting the hang of it.

  • I love this site and all the people in our “community” here. You can feel all the love and support that we all share together. Imagine what could happen if this could keep growing!

    In dealing with toxic family members, I had to find a way of lovingly detaching from all their pain and negativity. My answer came when I realized that my dad was an alcoholic and that he was sick. I found a way to compassion when I realized he was sick, that he was a broken human being that still needed love and understanding. That didn’t mean that I had to accept unacceptable behavior, I had to make boundaries and mean what I said. I had to learn to not react to his negative words and actions, then he had nothing to point to and justify his bad behavior. I had to take responsibility for my own feelings and not blame them on him. I had to learn to not take anything personally, it wasn’t about me, it was about him. I can’t assume anything about him or his motives, only my own. I came to realize that he was doing the best he could and try to remember good times instead of only the bad. I had to look for the good qualities he had. I had to visualize the change I wanted for him and me. I had to either learn to live with it or let it eat me up. It was all up to Me. I chose to start the spiritual journey of finding myself. And my life began… the answers are out there, you just have to look for them. This site is an excellent place to look for and find answers, give voice to our thoughts and share our Strength and Hope.

    Thank you Marc an Angel for this special place. Peace to all of you out there.

  • I love what I read on here. Sometimes I find myself looking for something to help me get through the day or the rough moments that life hands us. My relationship has recently ended and I look for answers on here all the time. I cant see how it got to this point and I feel like I’m to blame although I am trying to be honest and positive and not be bullied.

  • For me its really just closing the door and not letting people Willy-nilly walk through my mind and heart. Easier said than done, but necessary nonetheless.

  • At the end of my patience
    May 14th, 2013 at 2:45 am

    My marriage ended, courts illegally took my 1 year old son from my custody. Moved back home to very little support, left 8 months later to try start a new in my homeland…got diagnosed with cancer. Went for treatment alone. Flew back to my parents home exspecting support, negative comments awaited me. Mocked for wanting to marry again. I took up my current job where I face verbal abuse, am trying my hardest to stand tall & fight back saying I wont be silenced or laughed at. Emotionally im a mess, miss my child, dont eat properly & my hair is falling out. My strength is my faith & a dear friend who bends backwards just to make me smile & invites me to a few family lunches on my day off.

    I pray no one faces the sorrow I feel.

  • Wow!! No other article was nearer to home than this one!! I could actually say that I have been experiencing every one of the points mentioned above. Easier said than done - to put aside those people whom you love most and yet hurt you the most. But you can definitely decide to be strong enough to love them in spite of the fact that they try to impose their opinions on you and cannot accept the kind and forgiving person you are or whom you choose to be with. It is time for me to get on with my life - after all we only have one life!!!

  • This article came at the perfect time for me to read!

  • Well hello Marc, my pet hate would have to be people who are contrary. By this I mean those who ask to be shown how to do something then start to argue with your answer! Why ask if you already knew the answer… getting irritated just thinking about all those that have met this criteria…

  • I believe in self-preservation. I have a strong inner-core of faith, personal strength, positivity and confidence. I succeed in careers and friendships.

    However; when you love someone who is toxic for you; it drains the colors out of your life. Moment by moment. Day by day. Year by year.

    There’s an old poem; ‘my life is slowly losing it’s sparkle and it’s shine; a life of broken promises and empty bottles of wine . . self-pity overwhelms me; I’ve begun to lose my mind . .” - - Hell of a mantra.

    If he were ill with a physical disease; I would not ever consider to leave him. So why then make the choice to leave when it’s a spiritual or emotional disease? Don’t you have faith enough for both of you? Strength enough for both of you? But then; when is enough, enough?

    It’s just so tiring and so many lost moments of true happiness and shared joys. That’s what breaks my heart more than anything.

    Why can I succeed so well at inspiring teams and leading them to success and fail so miserably in inspiring someone I love; someone I committed to, to love himself and maybe someday be able to show me love?

  • I am still learning to stop tolerating things from others. I have on my wall the Desiderata by Max Ehrmann to remind me, this statement: Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. Helps me the most. I believed for a long time I had to put up with these people, I don’t anymore.

    Thank you for your post Marc.

  • @Vincent Nguyen: Honestly, I agree with all of the responses given already. The bottom line is that toxic relationships with family ties must be dealt with more delicately, but must still be dealt with. Perhaps distancing yourself from them is necessary. Perhaps an honest confrontation is more fitting. It all depends on your specific relationship. There is a solution though. You don’t have to be drained by the toxicity of others.

    @P Delfosse: Spot on!

    @S.T.: Stick to your intuition. If it your decision feels right to you, it probably is.

    @Donnetta: I agree. It’s all about given your loved ones a chance, but at the same time not letting them walk all over you.

    @Ali: That’s a tough pill to swallow. You have our best wishes. I hope it works out for you.

    @Jenny: Yep. Sometimes all you can do is walk away.

    @T: While I agree with you perspective, I feel that there is less emotion burden if you forgive and move on, instead of just moving on. You aren’t necessarily giving the other person another chance, but you are letting go of your emotional grudge.

    @Carrie Ballard: I completely agree that you shouldn’t walk away from someone who challenges you. We have to draw a distinction between a person who challenges you and one who drains you emotionally on a daily basis. The latter is not acceptable.

    @Ellen: I love your position on this. I couldn’t agree more. Spend time with people who make you life a little brighter simply by being in it.

    @Linzy: I think with the right amount of distance during this hectic time, and lots of kindness going forward, you can reconcile the issues with your son. Don’t force it. Be cordial and loving, give him space, and watch as time heals.

    @Gillian: Great reminder about setting boundaries. Thank you.

    @Susan: That’s quite a feat. =)

    @Marilyn: Sometimes people literally don’t realize the issues others are going through unless they are discussed openly. I’m sure there’s someone around who wants to listen, it’s just a matter of finding them.

    @Argo: In my opinion, you draw the line when the negativity begins to hurt your growth as an individual. In your situation, it sounds like it has. I suggest reading You Can Heal Your Life and Emotional Vampires.

    @Amber: Maybe just a little distance – commit yourself to spending one evening a week with them and no more.

    @Mrs. Bell: I know that’s hard to deal with. But it certainly sounds like it time to move on.

    @Bridget Lee and Jan: Great advice.

    @Mimi: I couldn’t agree more. Communication is essential. A person cannot change if they don’t know something is wrong.

    @maga: Such a wise idea. I’ve never used that tactic, but it’s certainly something to think about. Relatable to many situations…

    @Amandah: Spot on as always! =)

    @Greg: I personally use the method you describe on a regular basis. Instead of focusing on the problem (person, situation, etc.), focus on a passion or joy in parallel. Free your mind from negativity by refocusing it on a positive alternative.

    @David Rapp: Wisdom… change is continuous. The ultimate and more harmful addiction in the world is the draw of comfort.

    @ Robinsunne: Step by step will get us there. =) Thanks for the positive reminder.

    @DW: Great recommendations. Thanks.

    @Judith: When it comes to supporting someone who has lost faith in themselves, I agree, passion is the best medicine.

    @Darcy: I agree. Create some healthy space, but don’t necessarily sever all ties.

    @Leah: Stay strong. It will get better. Thank you for sharing your story.

    @Stan: I admire your positive outlook. In some situations, like yours, making the best of it for a short time makes the most sense.

    @Lisa: Lovely insights and quote. Thanks.

    @Carol: It sounds like you’re on the right track. Thank you for the kind remarks.

    @At the end of my patience: Hang in there. When we concentrate on being our best and feeling our best, in the healthiest way possible, we eventually attract others and create opportunities to reconcile negative situations from the past. It sounds like you’re in a hole right now, but the light is still shining above you. Climb steadily, for yourself and you own well being. My heart goes out to you.

    @Tina M: I hear you. A decision like this is rarely easy. Be open, be honest about your love, communicate clearly and be patient. Only you will know when enough is enough. Ultimately, you must not let your relationship permanently dim your inner spirit. You will know if and when this is beginning to happen, and if it is, this is the point where change is necessary.

    @All: As always, my heart goes out to you all. Thank you, thank you for being a part of this community, for sharing your thoughts with us, and giving us hope. We are truly honored to be a part of your lives.

  • Beautiful post.

    Thank you for spurring me on. I know i can achieve great things when i put my mind to it. :)

  • Great read, once again!
    Almost all of these points (except 2) apply to a friend of mine. She’s really hard to talk to and has a razor tongue. If your opinion is against her, you better watch out. She has at some point humiliated me in front of her as well others whom she sees as a threat. And, she can’t stand to see anyone better at looks, grades, talent,etc than her. She’s turned into a real headache and now I’m trying to slowly pull back from the loop. She seldom calls me(unless she needs my help) so that’s good. I’m reducing the time we spent hanging out together too.

  • I don’t see any reason to add to this list. I think I got this message at the right time too, when I actually had to stand up and say,” Stop!” Thanks very much!

  • Hi marc and angel. I wonder how u know what i need exactly today… Wonderful. I’m being surrounded by a lot of negative poles and recently trying to get rid of those.. Number 1 is esp gonna work for me..

  • Complaining over something that we keep doing it. We have a choice to close our mouths and make changes with things we complain about. So what’s the point of complaining when we don’t even try to make situation any better. This is something we should all work on, always.

    I know it takes courage to do all that you mentioned above, but it is very liberated. Thank you for the sharing thoughts Marc and Angel :)

  • This is a great post and a great list. I don’t really have anything to add to the list, but I do want to say I think negativity is hard to get away from. I let my self become a complainer for a while. Then I realized I do not want to live my life that way.

    I want to appreciate and enjoy my life, not spending half my life complaining about what I do and don’t have. This is something easier said than done, but I am doing it, and my life is much happier now.

    Keep up the great post, I really liked the post on 5 things you should be an expert at also.

  • I grew up with such a dysfunctional family, that I didn’t realize what they were doing until I started to change in my early 30’s. Once I started “catching on”, especially with one family member that bullied, lied, stole and manipulated me all my life. I started confronting that person in particular and they became worse. Finally, I couldn’t stand the public insults etc. and I walked away. My life has never been as quiet, peaceful and many more benefits than had I tolerated their behavior a moment longer. I missed something at first, but soon realized that I needed to find another past time other than be abused. Sometimes, you just have to walk away, no matter who the person is.

  • Really enjoyed the article. Very good list that everyone should be aware of. It is part of empowering a person’s personal authority.

  • This is a great article. We need to be reminded of certain influences people can have on our spirits, minds and hearts. Especially when you are working toward being the best person you can be.

    I have been having a difficult time setting boundries with people in my life. It would be great if you had a few suggestions or “how to” when setting and keeping healhy boundries.

  • I support #2 .. Any kind of physical abuse should not be tolerated. Forgiving abusers can really motivate them.

  • A few weeks ago, an occurrence at work struck a chord with me, and through further reflection I desired to be able to share it with others, so if you happen to stumble across this and have the time to read it, I hope it sticks with you as well.

    I just started working at a large company, I am working under the management faculty, learning about the best ways to deal with the issues that are guaranteed to occur within a company. One day, a mix up occurred in assembly in which the wrong parts were being assembled together, about eight boxes worth, and were set to ship out the following week. Luckily the mistake was caught by Quality Assurance before the customer could receive their order, potentially jeopardizing the company’s relationship with their biggest client. The General Manager of the company, who I worked directly under, was exasperated, for some of the employees (the assemblers on the shop floor) had realized the mix up but did not want to be pegged with a large scrap count, and had pushed the order through, in which the mix up was guaranteed to be eventually realized. The manager had realized this, and the magnitude of what the repercussions might have been. Later, when out of earshot of the assemblers, he turned to me and said “Never punish mistakes, punish behavior instead.”

    Now at the time I took his advice as something wise to take into account in the workplace when and if I ended up in a similar position, however, when I got home, I got to thinking just how much this advice fit into our personal relationships as well. How many times, had I let others get away with disrespectful or thoughtless actions, yet I would get upset about petty things, like being late or miscommunication?

    I guess what this all comes down to, and what I plan on examining thoroughly from now on, is whether a “mistake” is actually a mistake, or if it is an excuse for bad behavior. Chalking up something as a mistake is the easy way to get out of something, it means one was not trying to be malicious but instead simply careless. But we need to all take a step back and acknowledge, even if it may be hard to do this, that the offender may just have an idea how this is taking a toll on yourself, or anyone for that matter. What we are essentially getting down to here is a person’s character, and whether or not they essentially give a shit if their actions hurt or disrespect you. Don’t get me wrong, everyone makes mistakes, there is not one person out there who isn’t flawed in some way or another, and this is one of the biggest things all humans have in common with one another.

    One more thing I would like to address is the word “punish.” In this case it does not mean seeking revenge or some sort of maltreatment, it simply means not allowing someone to continue an influential role in your life (yes, I acknowledge that in the work world punish can mean other things such as giving a penalty or firing someone but in relationships we must treat this word differently). We are singly hurting ourselves when we let others continue on with their bad behavior, especially when it directly affects us. Ultimately, how we let others treat us is a direct reflection on how we view ourselves. I think it would be beneficial to all of us if we took a step back and observed if someone is genuinely sorry, or if they simply want to get away with it, and I think listening to your intuition will genuinely push you towards the right answer. Remember, this all comes down to how much you respect and love yourself.

    - “Never punish mistakes, punish behavior instead.”

  • Setting boundaries would be a good one. Also one on controlling.

  • I would add defensive people. People who are defensive will put you on the defensive and it’s hard to fight against. When you are to busy overly defending your self you cannot be open to the world around you and what it has to offer.

  • Here’s some lines from the movie The Pursuit Of Happiness..
    “You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.”

  • A lot of great comments. To them I would add The Sometimes Friend. I’m sure we have all experienced friendships with people we genuinely care about and feel close to, but who from time to time drop us out of their lives with no explanation and then return as though there had been no problem. Whether that is an abuse of the friendship (ostracizing) or merely passive aggressive I am not sure. I have found for me it is helpful to release the emotional chord, while maintaining an objective or distant relationship.

    A true friend is someone who is not afraid to deal honestly with you. If one is being negative and not aware of it, a friend would have the courage to say ” I hear you. I have noticed that you are…whatever…and I have to say that your negativity affects me…so and so.” This can actually help people who may be stuck in an emotional rut, to motivate them to taking action against their problems.

  • Putting up with toxic family members because people say you have to because they are ‘blood’ or ‘family’…. I let go many years ago, and avoid the ‘toxic’ people in my life, including my family.

    My health, sleep, and body is so much better as a result. Just do it!!!! That, and the “Power of Now” by Eckhard Tolle (sp?) changed my life.

  • Saying Yes, when you really mean or want to say NO! Feeling obligated to say Yes to your spouse, partner, friend, can cause a strain on your relationship. Short term it seems alright, but long term the “feeling” of losing oneself can become overwhelming.

  • You two are the most beautiful people…this is my favorite blog ever. Thank you for your good work.

  • Quite good. I think the “hatred” thing needs more clarification. There are lots of things we should hate. Injustice, poverty, abuse … these are just a few. People want to cut negative persons out of their lives - not because they love the negativity, but because they hate it.

    Hatred of nations, people groups, specific individuals - that is certainly a wound that can only be healed with forgiveness. But hatred in and of itself can be a helpful motivation to do good. As a matter of fact I think there is a verse in the Bible that says, “Your love should be sincere. Hate what is evil, but cling to what is good.” I agree.

  • I agree with Terri. I have witnessed so many atrocities by my siblings through my mother dying and now my father’s dementia. Denial, Denial, Denial. The could have been seeing he got proper care with a specialist, but no, they knew better. He’s only a little confused.
    Now two months later, he is incontinent, doesn’t now who or my husband is from time to time and is so angry because no one ever talked about this before.

    Even my own Sister told the nurse when my mother was dying of brain cancer to not give her too many pain meds because it affects her consciousness!!!! She was dying….I wish she could have done it with dignity instead of selfishness. It makes me sick. :-(

  • I have one final thought, and it’s not about behaviors to not tolerate in others. It’s that *you* also have to take responsibility for your own behavior.

    If you look at yourself and recognize that you are guilty of any of these, you need to:
    1) stop immediately,
    2) apologize, and
    3) make amends, if possible.

    There’s a word for people who don’t tolerate in others what they do themselves: hypocrites.

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