Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter
You know who they are.
The ones you do not look forward to seeing.
The ones who demand EVERYONE’s attention…always.
The ones YOU must accommodate or you will “hear” about it.
The ones who sit quietly in meetings. That is until the end and repeat what you or someone else said or disagree with it with panache just to make you look bad.
The ones who can suck the air out of a room.
They are everywhere – work, church, your neighborhood, your family, your home.
How do we remove them from our lives?
Well, the answer is pretty simple.
DO NOT RE-ACT!
We can’t change them but we can very easily take actions to minimize their deleterious effects on us.
This is how.
It is called the Time – Distance – Shielding (TDS) rule and it is used to control hazards in industries world-wide. It works just as effectively with people.
This is how the TDS rule works.
- Minimize your time with them.
- Maximize the distance between you and them.
- And put a shield between you and them.
These three objectives can be accomplished in many ways that will allow you to act on your free will and protect your personal rights and minimize their toxic effects!
The more toxic they are, however, the more drastic the actions you should take.
Let’s explore these options for removing toxic people.
LEARN TO SAY “NO”
You may be able to mitigate most of the impacts from toxic people by just learning to say “no” assertively, calmly, and non-aggressively. This may be difficult for some and especially “people pleasers,” so self-esteem work and assertiveness skills can help immensely in learning not to say “yes” when you really mean “no” while maintaining your cool and composure. Simply saying “no” will also benefit you by making you feel more empowered and in control of your life and by plain just limiting the amount of time you interact with them.
LEARN ALL YOU CAN ABOUT COVERT AGGRESSORS AND THEIR TACTICS
Toxic people have covert aggressive personalities and prey on empathetic, kind, conscientious people who they believe they can successfully attack and defeat. Why? Well, they lack empathy and personal power and so they have learned to covertly but aggressively go after other people’s power, attention, money or whatever. They want all the benefits that you have to offer without doing any of the work. They also use you to help maintain an illusion of grandeur and makes others perceive them as powerful when in fact, like the Wizard of Oz, they are a mere illusion of smoke and mirrors that a scruffy dog exposed. They are masterful at triggering your vulnerabilities (e.g. pains, fears, insecurities, apprehensions, compassion, conscientiousness), putting you on the defensive, and making you let down your boundaries and then wham! They have got you where they want you. They then go in for the kill and manipulate your power from you.
Learning all you can about covert aggressors and their lack of compassion and depraved need to win along with assertiveness skills and doing self-esteem work can help you make huge strides to stand up to these creeps, manage boundaries, and shield yourself in a cool, calm and collected manner. Your sense of defenselessness and powerlessness will diminish and your self-worth, self-respect, and self-assurance will soar!
NEVER LET THEM SEE YOU SWEAT
Reacting emotionally to toxic people advertises your vulnerabilities to them and then they more actively and aggressively pursue you. So even if they have pushed your buttons, divert from the situation to allow yourself time to calm down and think. Just say you are busy and need some time to think about it or say something neutral like “That’s interesting. I never heard it put that way before,” and then say no or remove yourself from the situation. When in doubt say nothing.
PUT UP AND MAINTAIN PROTECTIVE BOUNDARIES
Toxic people are notorious boundary violators and are masters of covert manipulation to get you to let down your personal boundaries. So putting real or imagined space between you and them may be the most readily available shielding. Shutting the door to your office or listening to music can serve as barriers to their “noise.” Imagining a protective light forcefield around your body can also be a very effective defense to ward off their offensive maneuvers. Delete their messages or texts without reading them and, if you find this difficult, block them on Facebook and on your cell phone to facilitate having “no contact” with them to allow your wounds to heal fully without have your pain-buttons triggered.
KEEP A COOL HEAD – LEARN TO MANAGE YOUR EMOTIONS
Even if they are sabotaging you behind your back or perhaps even actively bullying, keeping a cool head and addressing the “facts” are fundamental in keeping the emotional element out of the equation. It is so easy for them to focus on your emotional state or your defensiveness to divert from the real issue which is their unacceptable behavior and harmful motives and point the problem to you. Vilifying the victim is a common combat tactic they use to trigger your emotions, put you on the defensive, get you to react and let your boundaries down, and feed their insatiable need to win. Not reacting will keep the attention on their depraved action, not on your reactions that they use to support their illusion of lies. This is how you can maintain and defend your personal power and defuse them in parallel.
Remember. Learning assertiveness skills and doing self-esteem work can help you make huge strides to stand up to these creeps, manage boundaries, and shield yourself in a cool, calm and collected manner and diminish your sense of defenselessness and powerlessness. Your self-worth, self-respect, and self-assurance will soar!
CUT TIES WITH THEM
In your personal life, it may just be best to cut ties with the toxic individual. Everyone has redeeming qualities however toxicity is not one of them. They are energy vampires and accepting them for who they are can help release your empathetic need to rescue them. They need to go after others’ energy because they cannot generate their own. Accept also that you do not have to give up your energy to anyone unless you choose to. These are your personal rights and authority that you should always honor. Normally, when you learn to say no and put yourself first, they move on anyway. If you feel compelled to say anything, simply tell them the truth that you are at a different stage in your life and that your paths are no longer crossing and these are causing a conflict. Then wish them well.
Cutting ties does not mean we no longer care for our friends or relatives. We cannot and should not turn off our feelings like a faucet. It does mean, however, that we have chosen to take a stand and put our self-worth, welfare, emotional health, and honor ahead of others who do not and cannot have our best interests at heart. Self-esteem work and assertiveness training can provide you the peace of mind and skills to easily manage the boundaries between them and you and identify when they are using you at your expense for their benefit and empower you to no longer allow it.
HOW DO SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE MANAGE THEIR EMOTIONS WHEN DEALING WITH TOXIC PEOPLE
Dr. Travis Bradberry in his article, “How Do Successful People Handle Toxic People” provides 12 very coping strategies for managing emotions when dealing with toxic people. He reports that 90% of top performers use these skills to manage stress and keep toxic people at bay by controlling what they can and eliminate what you can’t. The important thing he reminds us all is that we are in control of far more than we realize.
Take your power back, act on your free will, protect your personal rights, and learn how to say no!
I hope you find these tips useful!