You don’t ever have to feel guilty about removing toxic people from your life. It doesn’t matter if someone is a relative, romantic interest, employer, childhood friend or new acquaintance – you don’t have to make room for people who cause you pain or make you feel small. It is one thing if a person owns up to their behaviour and makes an effort to change. But if a person disregards your feelings, ignores your boundaries and “continues” to treat you in a harmful way, they need to go.
Only a year ago I learned this valuable life lesson. I have eliminated toxic people from my life before, but on this occasion I was “blind” to just how many toxic people were really in my life.
Many times our perception of toxic people are wildly misinterpreted. We think that they must have terrible personalities, treat us like crap and be the types of people we dread to be around. I thought I knew what these types of people were until I had to learn the very hard way…
Let me explain. In August 2014 I started a brand new job. The place was lovely. My bosses were lovely. I was treated so well and was made to feel “extra special” It was my “dream job” Of course with my bosses being so nice to me I was eager to do more and be more. They loved that about me. So they accepted more from what I was giving. I liked my bosses, I liked the team I was managing, I loved my work environment, I enjoyed the clients!
But, after only 6 months of working there my mental health started deteriorating…
I was becoming increasingly obsessed with my job and wanted to make and maintain a good impression. I had inferiority issues but didn’t see it at the time. I wanted to be the best, do the best, show that I can do a lot. My boss would sometimes say “don’t worry so much, just do what you can” But what he really said is “keep working like that” I felt that I was competing with some staff that did not carry the worth I had in this company. So I tried to be the bigger person yet at the same time I felt so small.
In early 2015 I was feeling really low. I have lost a great deal of weight at this point. I wasn’t eating very well, but I told myself that I looked and felt great, that I had no stress and was surrounded by caring and supportive work colleagues and bosses. Yet, I knew deep down that something wasn’t right. I called a meeting with my boss and I told him that I feel too emotionally involved with their business and that I need to take a few steps back. I was actually very overwhelmed with all my work too, but I still took more and more onboard, I mean, I have already set those expectations. He (pretended) to be understanding but I didn’t feel that it was a fruitful meeting.
Needless to say, things went downhill from there…
Fast forward almost 2 years, I now sit on my sofa, typing this blog post, knowing that where I found myself for those two years were anything but good for me.
I was depressed and deeply unhappy
My marriage suffered
My friendships started feeling it
And it didn’t take long for my relationship with my work colleagues to suffer
I wasn’t myself, my relationship with God was almost non-existent
I said and thought about things that wasn’t me
I developed feelings that I didn’t understand and angrily tried to make sense of…
So I decided to invest in life coaching and cognitive behavioural therapy, especially since I believed that I was the bad person and that I needed to change (for a really long time I believed this!) “No-one else was to blame” I kept on telling myself. I allowed others to me believe this about myself.
I spent every waking moment to “better” myself
And although therapy helped me a great deal at the time, I knew that I had to leave and get away from a small group of people that brought out a really horrible and unpleasant side to me.
For a while after I left, I would still blame myself for a lot of things, until 3 respective long time clients of mine, of which 2 didn’t know about my turmoils in that work place, all said the same thing to me “I didn’t like it there, something didn’t feel right”
But, somehow I thought that despite everything, it was a lovely place to work in
But then somewhere in the months to follow I had some genuine realisations about the people I was surrounded by. And of course they will never see it this way, although I could see that it all turned me into a toxic person too.
TOXIC PEOPLE ARE GREAT MANIPULATORS
They aren’t always the bitches and arseholes on the surface. Don’t get me wrong, toxic people can be very charming. But only if they can get something from it. If you’re useful to them, they will be lovely and in my case, flattering. Their attention to you can seem overwhelming and they may even make you feel like you are at the centre of their focus. But it’s all a show.
The clearest way to get a sense of someone’s real character is to watch how they treat and speak to others, as well as how they speak about others, especially those people who aren’t useful to them.
If you want to find out whether someone is toxic, just observe their relationships with people in their lives and also those who has no use to them. Just watch if they are as polite, nice, charming or flattering as they are with you. It’s a good way to discover how they may one day treat you when you cease to be useful to them! In my case I didn’t see it coming and when I was no longer useful, I was literally thrown to the dogs.
THEY LOVE TURNING AROUND THE TRUTH
In my situation, these toxic people thrived on turning situations around by manipulating my feelings, thoughts and opinions to make it sound like it was their own. At this stage I was still oblivious that I needed to get the hell out of there. And since I was no longer useful to them, they were determined to find fault in me, making me feel useless, worthless and small.
TOXIC PEOPLE FIND STRENGTH IN DESTABILISING OTHERS
They love attention and drama. They will also happily lie when they have to. They are so adept to manipulate a situation to their advantage. They never seem to give you a straight answer and changes the subject when you ask for something. They like to make the most simplest of circumstances over complicated.
THEY DON’T AND WON’T LET GO
Toxic people thrive on negativity and drama. It’s like a drug to them. They always complain about their misfortunes but deep down they love the attention they get from it.
Bad situations and people happens to all of us, and when they do happen we will go though the usual emotions of anger, pain, hurt, blame, grief, questions. And then we move on to more positive things. But a truly toxic person will not move past these things. And they will litterally suck all your positive energy out of you, so beware!
TOXIC PEOPLE ARE VERY SELFISH
They are usually so busy thinking about themselves and their wants and needs, that they will not consider how that makes people around them feel. They often times have little or no regard for your feelings and rarely stop talking about themselves. In the work place they have high expectations of their staff and they will manipulate situations to suit their preferences. They are also big on handing out criticism but hates receiving it themselves.
TOXIC PEOPLE ARE CONTROL FREAKS
Recently I appealed against someone’s controlling behaviour towards me in the hope that their better nature will come to surface and they will make a change. But it didn’t go down well. They were not prepared to change their ways. These types of people’s ego’s usually get crushed when they have to deal with someone who has an opinion and a brain. They don’t like people that doesn’t like to be held down under their thumb and challenge their behaviour. With these types of people it is best to minimise exposure to them (which in my case I did) and part ways as soon as you can (so voila, they are no longer in my life!)
THEY ALWAYS THINK THEY ARE RIGHT
If you ever cross, question or doubt a toxic person, be prepared that they will put up a fight. They are competitive and will make it their goal to prove that they are right, fabricating the truth if necessary and misdirect people and situations.
The list is endless when it comes to toxic people, but these are the most common toxic people I have crossed paths with in my life.
Sometimes we keep them in our lives because we are loyal to them or they brainwashed us into believing that they are important to us and we to them. And you may even have developed deep rooted feelings for them because they made you believe that they care about you. Believe me, they are bad for you and my advice is to kick them out of your life when you see any of the above traits. And run for dear life. They are pure poison.
Take care of yourself because they won’t!
~ Elize Endhart ~