Don’t let toxic people rent space in your head.
Raise the rent and get them out of there.
Surviving the ups, downs, and lightning storms of other people’s moodiness can be quite a challenge. It’s important, though, to remember that some moody, negative people may be going through a difficult stage in their lives. They may be ill, chronically worried, or lacking what they need in terms of love and emotional support. Such people need to be listened to, supported, and cared for (although whatever the cause of their moodiness and negativity, you may still need to protect yourself from their behavior at times).
But there’s another type of moody, negative behavior: that of the toxic bully, who will use his or her mood swings to intimidate and manipulate. It’s this aspect of moodiness that inflicts enduring abuse and misery. If you observe these people closely, you will notice that their attitude is overly self-referential. Their relationships are prioritized according to how each one can be used to meet their selfish needs. This is the kind of toxic behavior I want to look at in this post.
I’m a firm believer that toxic mood swings (like chain letter emails) should not be inflicted on one person by another, under any circumstances. So how can you best manage the fallout from other people’s relentless toxicity?
1. Move on without them.
If you know someone who insists on destructively dictating the emotional atmosphere, then be clear: they are toxic. If you are suffering because of their attitude, and your compassion, patience, advice, and general attentiveness doesn’t seem to help them, and they don’t seem to care one bit, then ask yourself, “Do I need this person in my life?”
When you delete toxic people from your environment it becomes a lot easier to breathe. If the circumstances warrant it, leave these people behind and move on when you must. Seriously, be strong and know when enough is enough! Letting go of toxic people doesn’t mean you hate them, or that you wish them harm; it simply means you care about your own well-being.
A healthy relationship is reciprocal; it should be give and take, but not in the sense that you’re always giving and they’re always taking. If you must keep a truly toxic person in your life for whatever reason, then consider the remaining points…
2. Stop pretending their toxic behavior is OK.
If you’re not careful, toxic people can use their moody behavior to get preferential treatment, because… well… it just seems easier to quiet them down than to listen to their grouchy rhetoric. Don’t be fooled. Short-term ease equals long-term pain for you in a situation like this. Toxic people don’t change if they are being rewarded for not changing. Decide this minute not to be influenced by their behavior. Stop tiptoeing around them or making special pardons for their continued belligerence.
Constant drama and negativity is never worth putting up with. If someone over the age 21 can’t be a reasonable, reliable adult on a regular basis, it’s time to…
3. Speak up!
Stand up for yourself. Some people will do anything for their own personal gain at the expense of others – cut in line, take money and property, bully and belittle, pass guilt, etc. Do not accept this behavior. Most of these people know they’re doing the wrong thing and will back down surprisingly quickly when confronted. In most social settings people tend to keep quiet until one person speaks up, so SPEAK UP.
Some toxic people may use anger as a way of influencing you, or they may not respond to you when you’re trying to communicate, or interrupt you and suddenly start speaking negatively about something dear to you. If ever you dare to speak up and respond adversely to their moody behavior, they may be surprised, or even outraged, that you’ve trespassed onto their behavioral territory. But you must speak up anyway.
Not mentioning someone’s toxic behavior can become the principal reason for being sucked into their mind games. Challenging this kind of behavior upfront, on the other hand, will sometimes get them to realize the negative impact of their behavior. For instance, you might say:
- “I’ve noticed you seem angry. Is something upsetting you?”
- “I think you look bored. Do you think what I’m saying is unimportant?”
- “Your attitude is upsetting me right now. Is this what you want?”
Direct statements like these can be disarming if someone truly does use their moody attitude as a means of social manipulation, and these statements can also open a door of opportunity for you to try to help them if they are genuinely facing a serious problem.
Even if they say: “What do you mean?” and deny it, at least you’ve made them aware that their attitude has become a known issue to someone else, rather than just a personal tool they can use to manipulate others whenever they want. (Read Toxic People.)
And if they persist in denial, it might be time to…
4. Put your foot down.
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.
Demonstrate that you won’t be insulted or belittled. To be honest, I’ve never had much luck trying to call truly toxic people (the worst of the worst) out when they’ve continuously insulted me. The best response I’ve received is a snarky, “I’m sorry you took what I said so personally.” Much more effective has been ending conversations with sickening sweetness or just plain abruptness. The message is clear: There is no reward for subtle digs and no games will be played at your end.
Truly toxic people will pollute everyone around them, including you if you allow them. If you’ve tried reasoning with them and they aren’t budging, don’t hesitate to vacate their space and ignore them until they do.
5. Don’t take their toxic behavior personally.
It’s them, not you. KNOW this.
Toxic people will likely try to imply that somehow you’ve done something wrong. And because the “feeling guilty” button is quite large on many of us, even the implication that we might have done something wrong can hurt our confidence and unsettle our resolve. Don’t let this happen to you.
Remember, there is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally. Most toxic people behave negatively not just to you, but to everyone they interact with. Even when the situation seems personal – even if you feel directly insulted – it usually has nothing to do with you. What they say and do, and the opinions they have, are based entirely on their own self-reflection. (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Relationships” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
6. Practice practical compassion.
Sometimes it makes sense to be sympathetic with toxic people whom you know are going through a difficult time, or those who are suffering from an illness. There’s no question about it, some toxic people are genuinely distressed, depressed, or even mentally and physically ill, but you still need to separate their legitimate issues from how they behave toward you. If you let people get away with anything because they are distressed, facing a medical condition, or depressed, even, then you are making it too tempting for them to start unconsciously using their unfortunate circumstance as a means to an end.
Several years ago, I volunteered at a psychiatric hospital for children. I mentored a boy there named Dennis, a diagnosed Bipolar disorder patient. Dennis was a handful sometimes, and would often shout obscenities at others when he experienced one of his episodes. But no one ever challenged his outbursts, and neither had I up to this point. After all, he’s clinically “crazy” and can’t help it, right?
One day I took Dennis to a local park to play catch. An hour into our little field trip, Dennis entered one of his episodes and began calling me profane names. But instead of ignoring his remarks, I said, “Stop bullying me and calling me names. I know you’re a nice person, and much better than that.” His jaw literally dropped. Dennis looked stunned, and then, in a matter of seconds, he collected himself and replied, “I’m sorry I was mean Mr. Marc.”
The lesson here is that you can’t “help” someone by making unwarranted pardons for everything they do simply because they have problems. There are plenty of people who are going through extreme hardships who are not toxic to everyone around them. We can only act with genuine compassion when we set boundaries. Making too many pardons and allowances is not healthy or practical for anyone in the long-term. (Read Who’s Pulling Your Strings?)
7. Take time for yourself.
If you are forced to live or work with a toxic person, then make sure you get enough alone time to relax, rest, and recuperate. Having to play the role of a “focused, rational adult” in the face of toxic moodiness can be exhausting, and if you’re not careful, the toxicity can infect you. Again, understand that even people with legitimate problems and clinical illnesses can still comprehend that you have needs as well, which means you can politely excuse yourself when you need to.
You deserve this time away. You deserve to think peacefully, free from external pressure and toxic behavior. No problems to solve, boundaries to uphold, or personalities to please. Sometimes you need to make time for yourself, away from the busy world you live in that doesn’t make time for you.
The floor is yours…
What are your experiences with toxic people? What have you done to cope with their behavior? Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
Photo by: Monkeyc
I work with an extremely toxic person. She sits right next to me and brings the entire attitude/energy in the room down day-in and day-out. What’s worse is she has sucked in another woman in the office so they gang up/bully myself and one other woman in the office. Making snide comments, complaining from the second they walk in, being hurtful/hateful to almost everyone that comes into the office (mostly behind people’s backs), and just generally being miserable people. I needed this article so much! I have saved it so that when their attitudes get to be overwhelming I can look back to it and help myself get through the day!
Anna Frogiero says
I feel for you! Don’t let miserable people get to you, miseray loves company. I’m in the same predicament and I’m slowly transitioning all negative energy into positive energy. Firstly, be happy, smile, laugh and just continue to enjoy your life, this will kill them inside! Literally! Secondly, understand that people’s words shouldn’t affect you, these people don’t know you, only you know yourself. Unkind words are only wound bullets if you allow them to be! Learn to eat them! Learn to block them! No one can judge you, other than yourself! You only have one life, live it happily! You’re an awesome person! Everyone is, before insecurity gets in our way.
Flo Ce says
report this negative behavior to your administrator or human resource officer.
Kimberly white says
Thank you for yet another inspirational post Marc!
Having been surrounded by a number of toxic people throughout my life — everything you write resonates with me. After many years of personal growth and development I have finally done the healthy thing and removed myself from an extraordinarily TOXIC relationship with my mother. I have found peace in my life and am void of the tumultuous, negative toxicity that existed for the majority of my life.
I work with a toxic person, this girl has turned the whole town against her. It’s super hard dealing with her because I have a mental illness and I feel like years of progress just goes down the drain whenever she’s around. She tried to break my boyfriend and I up, she tried to get me fired.
After reading this, I really feel like I’m on my way to regaining that control. It’s sad that she has to destroy everything around her, but I won’t let her destroy me.
Reading the comments above, I think we need a toxic people support group. The toxic people in my life are my mother, brother, sister, step-daughter, step-son, step-daughter in law, and my husband’s ex wife. I was explaining to a friend of mine that this year my New Year’s resolution was to get rid of all the people in my life that were aggressive, arrogant, and abusive and she asked me “is there anyone left?” I told her “not that many, but the ones that are left are the ones I want to spend time with that don’t bring stress, anxiety and unhappiness.” Most of the people I mentioned have been in and out of my life, they leave when they don’t get their way or if I call them on their abusive behaviors, and they leave as a means to attempt to control me, the message being “you will take my abuse or I will abandon you.” The last time they left, I decided they would not be allowed back, and I am so much happier without them. Age doesn’t matter, blood does not matter, if they abuse you they have got to go. Don’t waste one more minute.
Thank you for saying, “they leave when they don’t get their way or if I call them on their abusive behaviors, and they leave as a means to attempt to control me, the message being “you will take my abuse or I will abandon you.”
I’m realizing the same thing about my sister. I finally started to gain control of my own boundaries and she absolutely has no use for me anymore. She’s sent the same message to me that if I don’t comply and give her what she wants then she’ll show me/hurt me by leaving. I finally decided that was ok and I am not going to chase behind her begging for the love I never get from her anyway.
I’m so glad I’m not the only one who deals with a toxic sister. When we were children and we used to get along (I admit to having had a bratty behavior and can be manipulative so I can’t exactly blame her when she holds that against me for years right after I took the conscious decision to grow up and mature.)
While it was obvious that I have changed for the better and even made amends (in my own way), it doesn’t change the fact that she uses this to her own advantage. Knowing that I feel guilty, she would make snide comments, roll her eyes, scoff at my presence whenever I enter a room, and genuinely mutter insults under her breath when I am having a good time without her. There was a time that I confronted her behavior in front of my parents but of course, she played the meek and innocent role and “apologized” before she goes back to her toxic attitude. I couldn’t accept her”apology”, and she seemed hell bent on using that as an excuse to guilt me even more.
Right now, she should be an adult, and as much as I sympathize with her (she has insecurities of her features and attitude), I hope I get to reach to your stage in life where I no longer feel bounded by obligation to make her feel better and to play her games. Maybe one day, I can move on and not always feel anxious when I get food from the kitchen without her harboring deep resentment and “subtly” insulting me under her breath while making sure I heard it from afar.
It feels good to know I’m not alone.
Amen, Sister, Amen!
Patti you are a little confused about gas lighting. Gas lighting is when someone is trying to change or create another reality for you. My mother has done it for years. In short, it’s a lie that they create that makes them look good or not guilty and makes YOU look crazy. For example, if I bring up an incident from that past that was abusive, my mother will say “oh I don’t remember that” and what she really means is it did not happen. Or if she does remember the incident, she will remember it differently, where there was no abuse. The doubt this creates in their victims makes them believe they can’t trust their own thoughts and feelings. Because she paints this picture of herself as honest and Christian and holy, she expects no one to ever challenge her, and if they do, she will never, ever, admit to the truth. However, you do have reasons to be concerned. We all wear a mask in public, but those of us that are emotionally healthy, our mask in public is not much different than our private selves and who we are at home. Mentally unhealthy people, like my mom, have a fake phony mask they wear in public that is nothing like the vicious predator they are in private.
Same thing with my mother. My father used to call her a ‘Street Angel and a House Devil.’ My mother did the same things to me. Not only that, but went around telling everyone that it was MY fault, that I was doing this-that-other the other thing when, in actuality, it was her. We never, ever resolved our toxic relationship because even right to the end, she denied ever being abusive or lying or any of the other crap she did. But before she died, I kept her as far away from me as possible. That gave me some ‘breathing room.’ And the people who knew me, really knew me, very quickly realized that she alone was the problem. Blessings!
@Kim: Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic. I really appreciate your words of wisdom. I grew up in house holds where gas-lighting and other types of abuse were the order of the day. I like both of your above-noted comments on gas-lighting and on being very practical regarding toxic people. Thanks, again.
I just so happen to be a victim of such abuse. And whats worse is my mother is as well. I have a sister who is a single mother, and has “anger/control” issues. Long story short, she holds my nephew hostage against us when she is on the “defense” as to her treatment from us. We all work, they work days, I work nights. Its not uncommon for me to assist during the day in helping them out with their needs, i.e. picking up my nephew from school, meeting someone at her house for ac or electrical repairs. During my sleep schedule BOTH will call or text to see what I am doing because they want to talk, or need something. Yet both forget my needs.
Both my sister and I are in the medical field, and to be honest I am in a position where I work in a high intensity environment, and she is a 9-5 “educator”. That said, she feels she knows more than I do. Which is fine, to each their own. But the fact that she goes from a family get together to toxic avenger in a split second, grabs my nephew and leaves is putting blame on my mother. And she defends her and her actions. Then I get blamed for the incident. He is at an age where he should be taught positive things, but instead he enjoys hitting and punching, mainly me, and everyone else laughs it off. But I am the bad guy, always. I live with my mother to help her. My “rent” is taking care of her house, cooking, cleaning, tending to her pets. I don’t go out, hardly see friends, and feel life is just as a “servant” to my family. The people I work with see how I talk about my nephew and love him… But also see the treatment from my family when I come to work with little to no sleep to help their needs.
I don’t ask for anything. I make no requests, no scheduling of events, nothing, because I know that will all be done by them, or if I do have an idea, its an inconvenience because they have other things to do. I know it sounds like a whine session, but its been like this for yrs now, even before my nephew. And I am to the point where I feel I need to move out, and put distance between myself and them. As much as I hate the thought, especially for my mother caught in the middle of this. Its all I have left of my sanity. Its bad enough I take medication for depression and insomnia. But to be on the ass end of everything that goes wrong has made me feel like “don’t speak unless spoken to, don’t ask, don’t talk, don’t schedule, don’t don’t don’t” for fear of backlash from either one of them. And the biggest loser in all this is my nephew, who like I said, is the “hostage” in this situation.
I know you will never see this as your post was so long ago, but you need to understand that there is an old italian saying “the fish stinks from the head”. Your mother is almost certainly a part of this abuse and manipulation. Run!!!!!!! Save yourself!!!!!!
Set boundaries. That’s all you need to do. Set them and enforce them.
Thank you for sharing this perspective. Unfortunately, I have a boyfriend with a toxic ex-wife. By boyfriend, I mean a man who I have spent the last 5 years with, a man whose 3 teenage daughters are an important part of my life. We spend every day together. I am in the process of selling my home to move in with him.
I just wonder…what can I do to be better able to handle my feelings in terms of this toxic ex-wife? The ex-wife could care less what I think so I dont see any ability to set boundaries. She’s so adept at manipulation that my partner and I struggle with setting boundaries. Initially, I tried being sympathetic to her, but that didn’t lead to anything positive. You see…she’s always willing to put her needs ahead of the needs of her daughters. Therefore…she’s always able to “win”. I’ll spare you all the details.
My question is…if I don’t want to leave my boyfriend, I clearly cannot remove his ex-wife from his (or my) life, and I know that I cannot reason with the ex-wife….what are some coping mechanisms that will allow my to not be hurt by the toxic behavior?
Amanda S says
The fear is the worst part for me. My toxic person is a “best friend”. Obviously best friend and toxic person are polar opposites, which makes the walking away that much harder. I am very familiar with toxic people as I seem to have attracted them my whole life. Many of them I have been able to weed out due to convenience – one of us moved or got married or busy with work or school and conveniently our relationship sort of went with it. I always waited for these sort of instances to arrive because the fear of ending the relationship or standing up or putting my foot down was paralyzing.
Two things I could use some advice on: 1. How do you get it out of your head? and 2. What do you do when the toxic person is the only person you have?
I find myself having to know each and every day where my relationship stands with this best friend. If I don’t hear from her, I reach out, and wait until she does respond. In the time between chatting I agonize about where the relationship stands. I am in constant fear that she is mad at me. If the interaction goes well, I am happy, stress free. If the conversation is her being miserable, I find I am too when I hang up the phone. She has complete control over me and I can’t get it out of my head. Why can’t I just deep breathe and be happy that she hasn’t chosen today to wake up and sting me with her negativity? Why do I reach out to her when I know she isn’t good for me, and when I know she doesn’t deserve me?
How do I move on once I cut her out? She is the person I am closest to, she knows all my secrets, my fears, my struggles. She could really damage me and my life if she wanted to. Why can’t I just be okay with being alone? I have my husband and children, but beyond that I don’t have time for friends. I am doing everything I can just to try and work on my health and being a good mom and doing well at my job. I don’t NEED her, yet I am afraid of the void of her being gone from my life.
More than anything I want to be able to take this advice, apply it and BE OKAY with the outcome. I dread conflict and do everything I can to avoid upsetting people or hurting others the way I have been. I am frustrated in myself for this. How do I get past this?
Thank you everyone for all your comments and suggestions.
This sounds like textbook narcissistic abuse. Get on Melanie Tonia Evan’s website and if you can, do her NARP program to clear your energy. It took 8 months for me to feel “normal” again and stop obsessing over my narc. I was able to finally move on because I…let me repeat that ‘I’ put up boundaries. Blocked email, phone and Facebook. When you step into your own power and stop waiting on her to be okay with it, you will stop leaking that psychic energy.
I read this article when at the end of the rope with my “toxic” brother who is diagnosed with bipolarism and narcissism. He has drained me with his negative and hurtful behavior. Because he has been in financial distress and suffers with health conditions, I cannot avoid him indefinitely. His behavior has caused much depression in me and I absolutely dread having to deal with him. He blames me for everything that has gone wrong in his life and tries to make me look bad to our relatives, saying I have abandoned him. With prayer and examining the suggestions that you make, I will try to deal with him in a positive manner.
I too have dealt with toxic people. I am a young woman who hasn’t experienced much of the world since I have a disability.
When I was 22, I came across guy I thought was nice and maybe might like to go out with me. We had a good two months together then he just stopped talking to me shortly after my birthday.
I didn’t find out until that fall why he did… he only liked me for my body. I showed him some pictures of me without clothes before but only because I thought he actually liked me. But he didn’t. I felt sick.
It was a similar case with another guy and my first boyfriend. But anyway, I have let them go, the years have passed and I’m smarter and happier, especially since I have someone now that I love dearly. 🙂
The toxic person in my life is my 24 year old stepdaughter. For nine years, she has tried to bully me and I will never let it show how much it hurts. I’ve taken myself away from her for the past four years now, but she still does it because my husband has contact with her. So although I’ve tried to distance myself from her, I van never fully whilst he sees her, and that will not stop as our three year old granddaughter is also in the equation. Little one needs time with us to dilute the atmosphere in her own home. Step daughter is hell bent on trying to discredit me amongst family members, and I just have to keep my head down and carry on through it all. I’m tired, and the anxiety of it all and the effort of being ‘ the better person’ is beginning to take it’s toll. She constantly uses these words by way of describing me- obsessive, controlling, jealous- whereas we believe it is those traits which are dominating her own life. It’s so sad and draining.
Thank you for such an excellent article. I’ve been going through sort of a fed up with being a doormat phase and I have been letting people know I’m done. This is a great feeling, but it is difficult with family members. I don’t think toxic people have half a clue how much damage they cause. I don’t understand others who get their jollies off on hurting and bullying others, belittling others, etc., etc.. They will pay for what they do in the long run. I’ve been finding it’s much better to be assertive, without letting then control you enough to stoop to their level and yes, cutting ties is definitely necessary sometimes.
I am married to a toxic person. We went to marriage counseling to get help, but when the focus became him, he quit. I continued to go weekly, so I could be reaffirmed that I wasn’t crazy. We have since moved to another state, separated for 3 months, gotten back together for 2 months, just to separate again. Since he left the night of October 5th, hours before my birthday, I have been able to breathe and feel peace. I have prayed for a long time for peace. My prayers have been answered. Unfortunately, dealing with a toxic person day in and day out, 24/7 can turn you into a toxic person. I can see where I have been toxic towards him in dealing with his behavior. I am glad to finally have peace and can work towards getting myself back and healing.
This is a wonderful article. I have kept a smile my entire life and just “blew off” all the rude comments my own family has made. My older brother is better now. My younger sister has MS and at several different times has smiled that she made me cry with hurtful words. She gets so worked up in her anger at me (I’m on disability for lung issues and she’s angry that I am on disability and can walk), that she sets her husband’s short temper and he will call me and yell and I’ve actually been threatened by him….while the rest of my family stood by and said nothing (except my son who always stands by me).
My older sister, who seems to think that she’s the best one in the family, is extremely judgmental and critical of me – most of the time …. from saying things like “your hair is getting long you need to cut it”, “I would never decorate like this”, “dad used to call you a son of a bitch” “we grew up hating you because you were always sick and never had to do anything (I was born with asthma)”, “you shouldn’t be on disability you should go back to work” and on and on …. as I get older it seems to hurt more and I’m having a hard time just ignoring it and smiling on. I gave up saying anything to my younger sister since she seems to enjoy hurting me. When I finally confronted my older sister she did exactly what you said … except with the “I’m sorry” left out – stating I take things too personally and being mean and once again I was supposed to just smile and be okay. I can’t do that anymore but it seems to do no good to say anything to either sister – one who is suffering doesn’t seem to care if she hurts me and at times takes joy in it and the other acts like there is something wrong with me and she’s justified. I hope I can use some of your recommendations here to help myself find a way to silence those comments and have a “real” smile again.
@Amanda – I am in so agreement with your question – how do I get my mind off of this.
Thank you for this article. I have a daughter, 46, that I have tiptoed around for the past 7 years. I have moved her in with me (she has had no job really in 7 years), moved her out because of her hateful behaviors, moved her it again trying to do the “right thing” and help her. Over and over this has replayed, and whenever I ask for anything (she lives rent/utilities free) like even help with housework, I am met with nasty words and hateful actions. Then she will move out, and write me the most awful, vile emails about how I am a selfish bitch, only wanting what I want, etc., etc. I have tried to explain to her that I do the things I do for her willingly, but at the same time, there are times I want/need something from her and that no relationship can be one person always giving and the other always taking. We are off again right now, and I got the usual email last night that she never wanted to ever see me again. This latest was because she owed a close relative money, and got some money, and I asked her to pay the debt because my relative would never have done for her except that she and I are very close. That started WWIII. Even though she is my daughter, I think after 7 years of this hell, that I need to dissolve this relationship. I will always love her, and never want anything bad to happen to her, but I cannot continue to be disrespected and abused in the ways she treats me. It makes me very sad but I need to let her go and stop trying to help her out when she has no money, no place to live, no job, etc. When it is your child, it is very difficult to do however.
Fantastic article, spot on. I have someone in my friendship group who fits the description of a toxic person to the letter.
Constant snide comments to lower your confidence, then out of no where will act friendly.
Uses relationships with people for personal gain, and only interested in moving up the social ladder… a bit pathetic really.
Lord have mercy! You have hit it spot on with the manipulator! I have been living with a relative by marriage for a while now who is so self centered and toxic. I f she doesn’t get her way or someone tells her like it is she starts screaming and stomping instead of having a rational conversation. Everything is always about “me” with her. I was raised to be loving and respectful but this person makes it virtually impossible. I told my significant other that we either discontinue living with her or we are done. We considered moving in the past only for her to beg us not to. So we can take care of her when she gets to where she can’t take care of herself. Well hell will freeze over before that happens. It is to the point now that in Jan my cats and I are going to go live in a tractor trailer just to be rid of her ass. This woman is truly a barnacle on the back side of of life. What a miserable human she must be. The whole situation sucks. She treats her husband like a piece of shit and he rolls over and just apologizes for being screamed at and belittled. I don’t know how he has stood it for the past 20yrs. She also wants to bitch about what others are eating but if she gets mad she goes on a sweets blowout. Ate a whole message cookie, a bag of marshmallows, a chocolate bar and chips in the course of a night. While diabetic. When my significant other has tried talking to her about her problem with sweets, he gets screamed at of course and told he no right to care or worry about her. That then starts a firestorm. This is just a scrape on the ice burg of the madness around here. The negativity is draining me. Wish me luck folks. I wish the others on here that comment the best with their toxic person.
i married a toxic person. albeit brief, the time leading up to it was, in retrospect – toxic. we (humans) sometimes convince ourselves that these people love us because they are so passionate for us, but these toxic people are hijacking our brains via our hearts and our compassion. after much insisting post-marriage (should have done prior, yes, i know), he finally now has a clinical diagnosis that he is in fact: bi-polar. wanting to be a supportive and caring wife, proving to him (why??? oh yeah, bc i was actually trying to convince myself) that i could actually support and love a man who wasn’t mentally healthy, but could be with the right therapy and medication…realized quite abrupt and tragically a short 6 weeks later when he almost killed me during a psychotic emotional outrage and blackout, that this was quite frankly NOT MY JOB! thankfully i wised up quickly, and was able to get an annulment, but the damage was done. i was in fact, affected. and now, after drudging thru a year and a half of ptsd over the entire relationship experience, i feel that some horrible ‘thing’ has attached itself to me, and i’m realizing that i’m projecting my fears onto potential partners, and making sure i squash the opportunity by with holding emotional integrity and behaving at least 3 to 4 ticks below my pay grade. :/ not happy about this!! i’m exhibiting toxic behaviors, and i don’t know why. well, i suppose i do, but it’s not conscious, and i haven’t figured out a way to correct it quite yet.
marc & angel: i truly appreciate your articles and your philanthropic heart to share your knowledge via these community boards, books, snippets, and otherwise. funny how we fall upon these resources at just the right time in our lives……….or is it?? 😉 thank you!
So glad I found this article. Thank you.
I have recently cut ties with my best friend, and yes it hurt deeply !
People are shocked that I chose to do so because we were basically “Tied at the hip” We were extremely close, but what people don’t know is that we’ve been having problems for awhile before I ended the friendship.
I’m 17 and I have been diagnosed with anxiety and depression(not looking for pity) I found out a few years back.
I often feel like my ex bestie used this against me to humiliate me at times. For example. We were at a party one night with her boyfriend(yes I became a third wheel lol) and we were drinking, out of the blue I began having a panic attack and I wanted to go home and she was belittling me and complaining about me the whole night. She leant over and whispered in her boyfriend’s ear “She does this everytime” and he said “She can’t help it” and looked at me sympathetically and this must have triggered jealousy because she ketpt death glaring me and refusing to help me and it made me feel that uncomfortable that I had to immediately go home, she didn’t even ask if I was okay. I get that having a friend with a mental illness is hard but we all have problems. This isn’t something I ask for.
She even said she feels like she has to mother me all the time. I didn’t ask her to mother me, all I ask is that she could try not to make me feel like a freak and uncomfortable when I happen to have a panic attack or when I’m down.
I help her with all her problems, hell I sat on her bed holding her while she cried over her ex that she keeps on going back out with. I reply immediately when she inboxes me on Facebook. But suddenly when I need support, where is she? She diverts the attention away from me. If she sees someone giving me an once of attention she does something to sabotage it. Basically the typical “Wanting the limelight”.
She also copys what I do or something I say like a quote or motto, I’ve heard this is a form of flattery.
She also dicthes me when we are hanging out to go see her ex. And I remember on Halloween night we had plans and I was sitting with her, next minute her ex calls wanting to hang out with her and I’m assuming he asked her what shs was doing and she replied “Nothing much” I just wantex to burst out saying ‘Do I mean nothing to you’
She’s a very vindictive person and isn’t really kind and tending towards people’s feelings.
Finally the biggest issue in our friendship was that she was a bully. She threatened my ex and called him nasty names. At first I thought she was just being protective and a good friend cause I will admit I was angry at him too and said a few nasty things but apologized for it, she never did. I had to apologize on her behalf. She would constantly ask why I dated “Such an ugly person” and she would even compare her type to mine(as in guys) Who cares if someone is less attractive. I’d rather date a guy who is “ugly” and sweet rather than a hot douche, which apparently is her type.
She still aren’t talking and I continue to keep it that way. I told her just because I decided this doesn’t mean I hate her. She’s sent me a few messages over Facebook but I just deleted them.
Moral of the story: If you are in a toxic friendship, no matter how guilty you may feel. LEAVE it as soon as possible. It only causes harm and degrades you over time.
I’ve been married to my toxic wife for about 5 years now, and it’s been 5 years of mental and emotional torment. I really don’t know how I managed to endure the emotional and mental abuse this long, but I’ve reached the point where I absolutey cannot tolerate it anymore. I’ve read up so many articles about dealing with narcisstic spouses, and nothing seems to work. It’s very difficult to not get riled up and fight fire with fire when your own wife is always trying to tear down your integrity. I seem to fail at this every time. I have a perfect 5 year old daughter who is the love of my life. Even at that early age, she tries so hard to keep us together. It pains me to see her parents argue, because she deserves so much better from us. I wish I could just pack up and leave, but I worry about my daughter’s well being, and I also worry about how I would support myself with all the money involved with divorce and child support. All I know something needs to give. Life can’t keep continuing on like this. I’m exausted
I too have been dealing with someone whom I absolutely hate with every inch of my being. My significant other has been diagnosed with bipolar nhs which makes him give excuses or blames the things he does on this disorde giving him free reign to make my life a living hell, this is no exaggeration. He is abusive and I have attempted to leave many times but he has controlled all finances and does not allow me to have my own phone due to the fact fears of me actually finding someone who cares for me and helps me get out of this relationship before someone ends up dead. In the 5 years we have been together he has not done one thing for me while I sat by and gave him the best part of me. I have treated this man like gold and all I have ever gotten in return was a Teddy bear from his mom on valentines day how romantic haha makes me lol! I wish I had a family member or just one friend to get me to a shelter where I can start over and feel like I’m worth being loved.
I can relate to everyone’s hurt, but no need to tell my painful story. Here’s a few resources that have been helpful:
“Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder“ You don’t have to have a toxic person who has BPD specifically to get value from this book. It brings so much clarity to the chaos that we experience with our toxic loved ones. It gives concrete recommendations on how to deal with being emotionally blackmailed (whereby the toxic person FOG’s you). FOG is an acronym which describes the techniques of using Fear, Obligation, Guilt to get what they want .
“When Things Fall Apart” Pema Chondron Helpful for both the toxic person and their loved ones.
“Freedom from Self-Sabotage” by Peter Michaelson
DBT Therapy is excellent for building emotional regulation skills. Unfortunately, there is a spectrum of therapists practicing it…some qualified, some not. Pursue someone who is credentialed.
Hope this helps!
My husband of 11 years is so toxic, but I love him so much. I have tried every emotional response to his attacks that are so often lies. Most of my time with him, has been spent trying to figure out how to deal with his anger/moodiness/negativity. We have had good times in between, but I’m always waiting for the next craziness. I have shown him I care, even when I don’t have anything left to care with, and I hate giving up on anyone, but this is destroying me. Not to mention what our kids have had to deal with all this time. They never know what to say that’s acceptable. I think people that act this way must not realize the damage they cause. He still doesn’t, even after all this time, and trouble he’s gotten into because of it.
Wow, this article really has struck a nerve with me, and by the looks of it, a LOT of other people!
I’ve been in this abuse cycle my whole life – first my dad, then the father of my child, and now I just freed myself from a real doozy – my ex AND his mother, both of which are toxic persons, and each other´s best friend and support. In my mind´s eye, they are intertwined like a messy tangle of vines, without a chance of discerning where one ends and the other begins.
Not having the ex around is making me realize how much he (and his mother, indirectly) was destroying my peace of mind and self-worth, and how infuriatingly they’ve been treating me. Real masters of manipulation and passing guilt. Until I met them, I never knew that there was such a thing as belittling praise.
Reading this I get mad, because having struggled with this my whole life you’d think I’d know the warning signs by now. It is very frustrating to once again become utterly disappointed in a person who you thought was decent.
This time it only took two years, though. Finally I can pay attention to myself.
Amazing! Your article has really helped me understand better about dealing with toxic people.
I have a friend who’s had this ‘toxic’ boyfriend for a year now, and he gets jealous of many of the boys around her. Since the beginning of their relationship, he has tried to put me down by calling me a ‘misogynistic pig’ or ‘hairy gorilla’. He has even manipulated her into thinking that my actions (eg. putting my arm around her or hugging her) are wrong. When I first met her and for the first month of their relationship, she was fine with these sorts of actions. He speaks ill of my long hair and fitness which I have worked hard for. At one point I was talking to her alone while he wasn’t there and he came up to us, looked at us and said ‘are you f***ing serious?’ in a loud voice and stormed off.
All these things give me reason to believe that he is a toxic person as Chernoff has described toxic people, and also that this boy is extremely protective of his girlfriend and insecure about himself.
I was taking advice from my parents and older siblings about how to deal with him which has helped enormously, but this article has definitely helped me in dealing with this belligerent boyfriend. An extremely helpful article. Thank you very much.
Thank you for this article.
I do not believe many of these toxic people are ‘mentally ill’. They have personality disorders for one reason or another. My identical twin sister was one of these toxic people. I last saw her 8 years ago when we were 36 after a lifetime of dealing with her toxicity. I thought it would kill me and break my heart – after all identical twins are supposed to be soul mates and close, right? What actually happened – it has been like a massive weight has gone from my shoulders. No more emotional manipulation and no more constant drama. She no longer speaks to anyone in our family as one by one she moved on to the next person and burned them too.
I am now in the process of leaving a toxic boyfriend whom I have been seeing for most of the past year. It is a hurtful process, but all the compassion and love etc over the past few months of trying to make things work between us has not changed the manipulation and anger outbursts. He’s truly nasty when he is angry about any subject that pops into his head and makes stuff up to push my buttons. The last straw was a threat of actual physical violence on Boxing Day – he threatened to smash my face in because I said I felt that he was taking advantage of me (treating all my stuff as his own and running off with my car for hours on end without permission etc, etc..) – his response was that I am moody and unreasonable and then the tirade of abuse started. This time it was in front of my kids and father. I cut him off immediately.
I do feel sad and hurt right now, but I know this will pass and I will be just fine. You just have to cut these people loose. The changes they need to make to their behaviour are profound and they need serious internal motivation to do it. They usually don’t even acknowledge they are the one with the problem (they are the ‘victim’) despite the fact it happens over and over in their life with different people / relationships.
Danii Turnbull says
Toxic relationships come in so many forms. Five years ago I consciously made the decision to try to improve the quality of a number of long term friendships. The time I spent with these people seemed to make them feel good, but rarely me. What really surprised me at the time was discovering that these friendships not only appeared to be one sided, they actually were. Once I decided to stop being the dumping ground for problems and tried to create a more positive relationship, it seemed that I was no longer of use to these people anyway. It was a little lonely at first, however removing those that drained my time and energy and left me feeling so flat and negative was one of the best things I ever did. Nature hates a void, so by freeing up room in my life and eliminating the toxic waste, I found myself open to meet new people that could bring much more joy to my life.
Thank you for posting this. I really enjoyed it. However, it’s interesting. I, too, am dealing with an immediate family member. I also have a mood disorder, and coincidentally, so does the family member. At times I do and say things I really shouldn’t. But I am not going to sit here and feel bad about it, because that won’t get me anywhere. I don’t “have” to live with this person, but right now, it’s the best thing to do financially. I honestly feel that two people with mood swings shouldn’t live together, if at all possible. I feel that talking to God really helps me. There have been nights that I talk to Jesus at night until I fall asleep, and that really helps me. Long story short, if you are living with someone that constantly bashes you and wants to start drama, ask yourself, “Do I really “have to” live here? Do I really “have to” be involved in this drama?” If your answer is no, please move out and move on with your life. If your answer for the time being is yes, make plans to eventually become more independent and move out eventually. 🙂
Penny Lane says
I try not to have any serious conversations with my mother. She loves confrontation. She’s bipolar. She doesn’t work. She has a dysfunctional marriage. She was told not to come back to several church groups because of her behavior. She doesn’t take correction from our pastor. I don’t think its worth it to confront her. I think she is a hypocrite and needs a different psychiatrist to adjust her antipsychotic medication. I don’t like being around her. I’m an adult but I have younger sisters who I want to have relationships with so I can’t completely avoid my parents. What should I do? If anything?
This is timely to what I am experiencing right now, and there’s nothing more I wouldn’t wish to do but to throw [them] in the deepest pits of Tartarus. Dealing with toxic people is a matter of showing who is in control. I agree that they have the power to manipulate and affect you, but only if you let them change you.
They would do everything to feed their selfish motives, one of the worst things would be:
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
So one of the best ways to do is to live your happy life without them. Who are they to tell you what to do, anyway?
Ria T says
I am so relieved to have found this. All the points that you have mentioned are accurate. I have to deal with an employer who is so toxic that I have become more anxious and depressed since being associated with him. After working with him for a year and 9 months, I finally told him off. He was quite surprised at my reaction. He tried to smile afterwards, but I did not return the smile. I felt good for standing up for myself. And after reading your advise, I feel more empowered as to how to handle my work life. Although getting another job is the best answer, as my boss is toxic to everyone he comes into contact with, even his wife, who always comes across as though she’s had enough but can’t leave him either.
I think the best ways to deal with toxic people is to stand up to them and not take their behaviour personally. Its easier said than done, but if we, the non-toxic people can step out of the equation emotionally and mentally, that means that we have more courage to overcome and that positive feeling can keep us motivated to overcome all odds. Remember too that people are in our lives for a reason, and once they leave or we allow them to leave – their purpose has been fulfilled and they are no longer meant to be in our lives.
My question is, how do you avoid a toxic person you have a child with them? We are no longer together and she manipulates everyone. She even FORCED her mother to get a different e-mail because we were talking about how bad the situation is for my son and what we can do to improve the situation. I dont know who is the parents in her life…her or her “parents”…it seems they give in because if they dont she’ll go nuts….
When dealing with toxic people you need to strengthen your self image and confidence, distance yourself emotionally from them, whilst examining their actions scientifically. Bullies tend to attack weaker people.
Don’t show any emotional reactions to their toxic behaviour as they relish your anxiety and suffering. And perhaps put as much distance as possible from them, if they prove they are never going to change.
I have the misfortune of living with one of these god-awful people. We were in a relationship for over 10 years, however we broke up after our child was born. We’ve done some pretty bad things to each other; I’ll give the short version. Basically, I’ve changed but it doesn’t seem like she has or ever will. I’ve actually done everything on this list, but having a child together makes it hard. Am I just letting her get to me?
Billie McIntosh says
My family is toxic. My own daughter hurts me more than all of my siblings combined. It’s horrible. I don’t know how to walk away from my only child, it’s tearing me apart. To the ones here that say they are the toxic people…. Get your act together! Your anger is not other people’s problem! You are ruining lives with it! My life is useless because my daughter is such a ball of toxic waste. Every where I look, moms and kids are acting at least reasonably decent to one another. It is literally killing me that my daughter is so hateful towards me and others.
It happened again. I was pulled in again…I forgave again and was betrayed again….I was so upset that I was literally shaking and thought I was having a stroke. I tried to cut the cord, but received an apology letter imploring forgiveness. I gave in again. In the past, I tried to be the bigger person and try to forgive all the hurtful actions and words. I was lured in time and time again. I even forgave hurtfull actions to my children and grandchildren for the sake of family. Needless to say, two weeks passed and the same old, same old started all over again….I have no agenda other than being a good person, but this is affecting my health… I am a Cancer survivor and have mobility issues. This stress is not good for me..Cutting toxcicity out of my life is the only answer from now on. I will not be a party to bullying, guilt tripping, being gossiped about,jealousy and mean and hurtful actions and behavior to me and my family. Excising a family member out of your life is not easy, but it must be done if it is a detriment to me and my health and my sanity….
I work with an extremely toxic individual. When she takes her medication, she’s fine; however, IF she doesn’t, it cause chaos for our entire estimating department. She has been in conflicts with 99% of everyone in our office. From taking everything ‘personal’ to ‘demanding respect/control’. I walk on eggshells constantly, as I never know who/or what she is that day. She’s one of those people who take EVERYTHING you tell them – and uses it against you. It’s a miserable, knife-cutting environment…… but she just doesn’t ‘get it’…… she points blame at everyone, not herself. How can entire department be at fault? It’s so frustrating! She will text me horrible, horrible things (about myself), and then, the next day, be sweet as candy. The emotional toll it’s taken on me is so very draining. I’m the ONLY person in an office of at least 100 people that likes her….. and she uses that to control me, as I am very forgiving and trusting. I’m 52 so you would think I would KNOW better……. to be honest…. I’m TOO nice (which I do not take as a fault…. it’s who I am). The emails she sends me are so extremely unacceptable. I have never been ‘that’ person who takes ‘personal’ issues to HR or my supervisor. I feel that I am an adult and deal with it on my own. It’s a pure struggle. I’m currently analyzing my SMART techniques….. one, of which, is to eliminate TOXIC people from my personal and professional life. By making this choice, I firmly believe that my personal development will/and can climb mountaintops.
To Sue….. I, too, have been ‘playing the role of the bigger person’, but have realized that this emotion is only throwing fuel on the fire. It reinforces their manipulated and controlling ways. The ‘head games’ they play are extremely damaging. I do admit, I have responded in ‘childish behaviors’ at times, but at the moment, I am so emotionally distraught that I thought… “Hmm… enjoy the Karma” bitch!
Sick of my husband's ex-wife's in-laws says
Decades ago my husband married and divorced a toxic woman she was shrill and violent. He became a surrogate father to her nieces didn’t adopt them isn’t their legal father but helped them out I mean, bailed them out and allowed them to guilt trip him into being a father figure even though he never lived with them he helped them out.
After decades of dependant toxic behavior these woman- the nieces in law are being cut off. One recently ‘went off’ on me – in my own house crying being shrill etc. Totally over the line for a 45 year old woman with no biological nor legal ties to my husband!
That was the final straw the entire lot are being cut off. Even if they were his legal adopted or biological daughters – and they are not – neither he nor I deserve this sick toxic behavior from women in their 40’s and 50’s.
He is ashamed for allowing this for so long. They live hundreds and thousands of miles away but as you know toxic people have a way of getting their hooks into your life with their drama always drama!
Naturally they have used their kids to further guilt trip my husband into being ‘grand dad’.
Too bad. Its over. No legal ties no bio ties good bye good riddance.
Thanks for reading my vent.
Great advice. I struggle because the toxic person is my 25 year old child. The guilt I feel is overwhelming at times. I don’t know how to cut the ties. But, I know it is damaging my other 2 children as well. What mom cuts ties with their child? That is what goes thru my head over and over again.
My wife is toxic and I don’t know what to do. She belittled and treats me horribly in front of our kids. We both had bad addictions but are not anymore. 2 and 5 yrs respectively. I earn between 60 and 70 k per year and she is in charge of our money. She spends it all and then says it’s on bills, or diapers or food. F u n ny even with a new car and rent I have 2500 – 3000 of money left over. She won’t let me have the money or be in charge, we constantly go broke. I can’t get her to quit harassing, antagonizing, and being abusive. I’m afraid I’m going to lose my children to her and our marriage.
Pia Love, BSN RN says
Clearly, I was a target for toxic relationships with men and women. Having realized for myself that it is important to surround yourself with individuals who don’t bring you down ( both in life and at work), I found standing up to them was quite easy. Once I got over them blaming me for everything, their constant need to ridicule and critique, their overly dramatic responses to me seeking time to myself, their need to know the details of my private life, and their overall disdain for anything that had to do with true empowerment, strength, or understanding, I was able to face these “toxic” individuals with confidence. What was not easy was their desire to ” know” about what I was doing in life after I made it known I did not want to be bothered. Toxic people have a difficult time realizing that they are bothersome to you. They rarely admit, ” Hey, I’m behaving and talking in a manner that is clearly problematic for you. So, I guess I will just stop.” Be encouraged, healthy relationships are waiting for you.
I work with a guy like this. When I first got to this job, everything was okay, even though I noticed certain mannerisms that might turn into a problem. He’s the lead of the department, and he first greeted me by shaking my hand and looking at the floor. That just kind of stuck in the back of my mind. Then later I noticed that he had a habit of whispering a lot, and sometimes I had to keep asking him what did he say. Then it turned into little digs, and then full fledged insults, in front of others, no less.
I let it go for awhile, because I knew he had problems at home, but there came a time when I decided that he knew what he was doing. I noticed WHEN he would do it, and he would go around acting hurt all the time. It got to the point where I was getting the silent treatment, and I finally asked him if I had insulted him in some way, and what could I do to make it right. He simply mumbled and hurried out the door, and I brought this behavior up to the manager, and found out she’s part of the problem also, because she gave me all kinds of reasons why I should put up with it, and kept asking me to talk with him. In other words, they made it all MY fault. The tipping point was when he decided he wanted to yell at me over something trivial, IN FRONT OF THE REST OF THE CREW, and I had to call him on it right there, and also let the manager know. I don’t know what she told him, but now he just goes around, trying to say as little as possible to me, and always bringing up the bad news, car crashes, shootings, etc., and I just say “uh huh” and keep moving.
I’ve tried to be friends with him, but he’s determined to keep up this behavior, and I suppose trying to be nice once in awhile to throw me off guard. I really feel sorry that he feels he has to exhibit this behavior so he can feel he’s in control, but my life goes on. I go to school, and I cannot have him throw me off track to deal with him. I had since analyzed this behavior, and realized it for what it is, and just let him play in his “own private Idaho”.
Love this site. Toxic people seem to be one of my biggest stressors in my life because if I cut a particular person out, it will also impact my relationship and time with my children. While they are grown adults they cannot see through the manipulation, control, and playing the martyr their mother does so well. Over 20 years ago we divorced. Yes, I was the one that “cheated” and have paid dearly for that over the years. Neither of us have remarried for our own individual reasons. I have of course been the “bad” guy. No excuses but wife was not exactly perfection in the marriage. I have tried and worked hard to make up for what I did during these years, asked for forgiveness, changed my life in many ways, financially, career, even geographic location to overcome and restore my relationship with my children. I have worked very hard to have a civil and peaceful relationship with her as it allows me more interaction with my kids. The caveat is if I do or say anything that is not to her way of thinking, she retreats (manipulation), opens shares with all that she can’t be friends with me, the pain is still too great. After 21 years. She has brainwashed my kids with how I completely ruined her life and when I don’t go along, I am punished by my children distancing themselves as well. I know if I remove her from my life I will also lose any traction I have gained with my adult children because of the level of sympathy she milks from them about how I am hurting her again. I could go on for hours but bottom line is my life is miserable. Guess I caused all this by my actions but does anyone ever forgive and move on when they have been hurt. She can’t even take care of herself and completely left two jobs because she was not happy knowing her family will rescue her financially and everyone will see how “bad” I am for her life being so tough. And I just keep trying to keep everything at a peaceful level because the thought of not having access to my kids and grandchild are more than I can manage. Thanks for listening.
I feel for you. Have you ever tried to talk to her about this behavior? Surely, it’s easier said than done. Maybe it would make a difference, by clearing a path and opening up about your life. Time for everyone to move forward. The children are adults now, and children understand a lot more than we think.
My fiance’s friend is extremely toxic. For the past three years I have survived him by just staying far, far away. And I like it that way. Now that we are about to get married, however, his friend has decided that we need to “make up.” According to him, he doesn’t even know why he hated me in the first place- well, I know why I like to keep my distance. However, I feel obligated to go talk to him, because he is my fiance’s friend. But I know that he hasn’t changed since I first met him, and he is just not a good person. I feel like I have the right to stay away from someone that is so toxic, but I guess I don’t. I am really struggling with the fact that I am being pushed into being around this person.
It is just nice to know that I am not the only one who has close family members who are bullies. Thanks everyone for sharing.
It is supportive knowing that others are dealing with toxic family members. So true about the abandonment if they don’t get their way. Recently, our Mother was in ICU. Once released, she needed a lot of help at home while she recovered and regained her strength. She is 72. I live the closest to her of my 2 sisters. During her hospital stay, I also got a new job that I worked overnight at. The bully in my family is my oldest sister. She wouldn’t take the pin number to get info from the ICU about our Mom. She claimed she didn’t need it because she’s called and received info about Mom with out the pin number. Sure enough, she called ICU, and was denied info because she didn’t have the pin. Any person she spoke with at the hospital was a “useless cow”. I saw, and spoke to the nurses, physical and occupational therapists, the doctors, clergy, and case worker. Every one of them were wonderful, and took very good care of my Mom. Then Mom comes home, and has a post-op check up for the cataract surgery she had prior to the hospital stay. My oldest sister agrees to take Mom to both appointments. After the first appointment, she has Mom call me to see if I can take her the next day. Then, my saying no to this, my sister cancels on my Mom 2 hours before the appointment. She wouldn’t call or visit Mom at home. She finally called Mom after a week, and said she would come by on Saturday. My sister took an early retirement from her job and is no longer employed. She has 2 adult sons. Mom is looking forward to this visit on the weekend. My sister goes to Mom’s house at 8 a.m. – knowing even if she does knock, Mom is upstairs and will not hear this, as she wears hearing aids. She puts Mom’s handicap placard on her porch and leaves. Later that day, my other sister that is agoraphopic calls our sister and tells her to just leave our Mom alone, since she is hell bent on disappointing and ignoring Mom. I then get a message from her mf’ing me because I put my sister up to the call. I did not do this. I ignored the call and unfriended her, and her family on Facebook. Later that day, the same sister that left me the nasty message, called our Mom and yelled at her- telling Mom, “if you want me to visit, just ask me.” Mom was blind sided by this call, hurt, and as you mentioned in your article- she just stopped and was silent because the behavior is SO BIZARRE. Another week has passed. I quit my job after being bullied by the person training, and my sister has not bothered with Mom or myself. We don’t need anything from her. It’s a relief to have her negativity and wicked behavior out of my life. Thank you for this column, and thank you to the people who have shared their experiences.
I agree completely.
I am so happy that I found this page. After reading the comments I have more assurance that I will get through my ordeal with toxic individuals. The toxic individuals in my life are unfortunately my parents. Growing up they abused drugs and still to this day have not gotten help for their addictions. I was abused by them and called every name in the book. As an adult I decided to get counseling and confront them. They denied their problems and denied their abusive behavior. I have been able to cope by staying away. I held on to a relationship with them for the sake of my children. They have only gotten worse over the years. They spread lies about my husband and I. They have even gone so far as to lie about me abusing my own children. They have slandered my name to anyone they can talk to and have even tried to brainwash my children. I have tried to keep calm but the time has come where I have to end my relationship with these people. To all who read this I want to say that it is not healthy for you to continue to be disrespected. No matter what the bloodline is it may be best to part ways. I plan to live a stress free life by keeping them out of my life.
Thanks for these wise words. My husband has been pretty toxic over the years and is now battling terminal cancer. I have wrestled with the idea of working on a long term project that would make me extremely happy. I’m going for it!!! I need to do this for myself and my sanity.