As human beings, we all have different levels of tolerance for: pain, emotional distress, assholes… So even if someone appears bearable, average, or even cool to your peers, you need to assess how that person affects you. Do they bring out traits you dislike in yourself? Do they belittle you emotionally? If you saw someone you cared about around this type of person, would you tell them to fake their death, block them on social media, and move on? If the answers are yes or mostly yes, then you need to get this person or these people out of your life. If you’re still not convinced, read on:
1. Health – Stress, unhappiness, and low self-esteem can contribute to a plethora of conditions ranging from physical pain to learning difficulties or even mental illness. If you feel like your body isn’t healing, you’re always in pain, you have trouble concentrating, or even if you feel upset most of the time, then maybe there’s a chance that there’s a leech in your life. Someone is sucking the life out of you and you need to toughen up your skin and remove yourself from that situation. FAST. The longer you are drained, the more difficult it will be to resist.
2. Fostering a Better You – There are times that self-awareness is not enough. You become a reflection of those around you or a manifestation of reinforced behavior. For instance, in a previous relationship I became very negative, unhappy and a demanding person because it was the only way I could interact meaningfully with my partner. I also once had a supervisor that would consistently devalue any of my work and insult my competency. One time I talked back, I didn’t cuss or insult or berate this person, but I regretted the tone with which I spoke and I realized the environment and the behavior were warping my reality. I was starting to believe this person and I was behaving in a way that bolstered that negative opinion of me. So I got out of that relationship and out of that job.
3. Elevate Others – Most of us dream of having others look up to us. We want to be mentors, guides, leaders or just really tall people (the dream persists). In order to desire a better reality for others, we need to create that reality for ourselves. We can’t be outspoken against abuse or abusers if we knowingly condone it in our own lives (I am aware it is difficult to evade in more serious instances like domestic cases or jobs during economic downturns). We must be the change we want to see in the world, and if we are tired of our dearest peers being treated poorly over and over and over again then we must stand up for ourselves before we can speak up for others.
4. For Their Well-Being, Too – Sometimes the toxic people can’t help themselves. Their lives get crazy and hectic and they lash out. If your tolerance is too low and their attacks raise your blood pressure or even result in retaliation, then you need to stop the snowball effect while it’s still a chubby snowflake. We become mirrors amplifying spurned egos. Not only are we being harmed (as explained in points 1 and 2) but we are reinforcing their venom and becoming toxic. Negativity spreads like a plague, it brings out the most raw and animal impulses to the forefront. It’s like the zombie apocalypse. So equip yourself with the necessary protection and if you can’t find any, just turn around and get out of there.
Good luck on your journey to the optimal you. Toxic people can’t always be avoided, but if you are in danger of being infected you should definitely try.
Ultimately, the way to diffuse the venom is to formulate the antidote but that is a topic for another blog post.