Toxic people are people we’re all bound to meet soon or late. We tend to assume that it’s nothing we should worry about, you know? But although you must not worry, what you must do is being very cautious. Theo Veldsman is the head of Industrial Psychology and People Management at the University of Johannesburg and in my opinion, he described this toxic people perfectly:
Toxic comes from the latin “Toxikon”, which means “arrow poison”.
and then he added
In a literal sense, the term means to kill (or poison) in a targeted way.
And that’s exactly what this people do: kill you. It may seem exagerated, but they try to intimidate, to make you feel worthless and to bring you down. They make you become a pessimist, and the more pessimistic you become, the worst your life will go, resulting in even more reasons to be a pessimist with no self-respect. All this causes a huge ammount of stress, and stress is the cause of MANY health problems, including cancer. Therefore, it’s right to say that this kind of people are literally murderers.
“Be positive” “be happy, you’re lucky. There’re people who have it much worse” and billion of other phrases like these are what at some point in our life we all have heared. Nothing bad about that. I mean, they make it sound as if it was sooo easy, right? Well, It’s not easy at all because of one tiny-biny detail that can either build or destroy our life: humans.
Considering we’re humans as well it may sound like a paradox, especially because we’re suppossed to be social creatures, and in fact, we’re social creatures. But the problem is that we don’t always get to socialize with whom we’d like to socialize. Instead, we’re trapped in a limbo of false friends, relatives and co-workers who sometimes even act as if they want the best for you, while truth speaking, they feel miserable and want to see you more miserable than them. They want to see you rot and for your life to slowly fall apart right on your head till you can’t hold it together anymore. Why? Because that makes them feel superior, and for such an ecstatic feeling they’re ready to work hard and speed up the process. They’re really good at it, I’ll give them that. The saying “the pen is mightier than the sword” exists for a reason. Although they don’t use a pen, their words are their poison, slowly infecting your mind like a virus and destroying every bit of joy you had left inside you. I’ve met a lot of people like that and the best cure is to simply go away from them. However, doing what we want sometimes requires time, and in the meanwhile you’re still in their trap.
In such case, these informations could help you free yourself. Here we go…
1 . PESSIMISM
Pessimism is their greatest weapon. As I said, we’re social creatures, and for social creatures emotions are the easiest things to spread. Ever wondered why videos of cute animals and news of tragedies are some of the most viewed things on the web? The first transmit positiveness while the second negativeness. Sure, someone might say that the news are just to get informated and I can’t disagree with that, but most of the times we happen to hear news that will never ever affect our life in the slightest way. Anyway, returning to our beloved pessimists by the next door, they’re always in a bad mood.
They always complain, and when I say always, I mean ALWAYS. “It’s too hot, it’s too cold, my back hurts, I work so much, I don’t have enough money etc.”; these are things that all of us could say at some points of our lives, but the difference between you and them is that they’d still complain even if they had good health, a perfect day outside and so many money they wouldn’t have to work for the rest of their life. Trust me, they’d find another reason to complain. Well, it’s their life, might as well let them do what they want , right? Letting people live their own life is a great thing that you should do, but they… they don’t do the same for you. They EXPECT you to:
- listen to them,
- understand them,
- feel sorry for them
- help them (this latter is not always expected).
And don’t you even dare have a different opinion than theirs, for they’d start arguing with you, stressing you all the more (if you wonder what it’s like, just check out YouTube’s comment section in any popular video).
As the kind hearted person you’re (because if you were a toxic person, you probably wouldn’t even bother reading this guide in the first place), you help them. You help them once, you help them twice, you help them a dozen times, but it’s not enough. As soon as one problem is gone, another will seem to come and they’ll expect you to listen to it again, and again, and again. And if you don’t, you’re considered a mean person!
Besides, even if you do listen, they won’t be much grateful for your help anyway. It’s nothing! You didn’t do anything! Are they supposed to be grateful for something you HAD to do?
You and I both know the truth. You didn’t have to do any of that, but according to their distorted logic, everyone must work for them. And when somebody won’t, he/she gets treated like garbage. Now let’s suppose they didn’t actually ask (or expect) you to do anything; they’d complain about what you do for your own self. Because…
NOTHING IS ENOUGH, BUT EVERYTHING IS TOO MUCH
For these kind of people, nothing of what you do or wish to do will ever be enough. This part doesn’t need much explanation, so I’ll get right to the core: if you do something you don’t like, it’s not enough and you must do more of it, while if you find something you’re actually good at, it’ll be too much and you must either stop or do less of it, because “it’s pointless”. For example, let’s say you want to write a book. Here’s their opinion:
- “You’re not a writer”,
- “You haven’t done anything yet”,
- “Writers don’t make money”,
- “Nobody buys books anymore”
- or my favorite: “think about real life”.
Yeah, cause you know, writing is not a job (tell that to any famoust journalist or to fiction writers like J.K. Rowling or Stephen Kind). We all should know this, how could we forget about it? We’re not allowed to spend our free time as we wish. We can’t be original and creative, we must do what everyone else (in their opinion) does. Need another example?
Let’s say you want to have a career “you’ll never be what you want, unless you go have sex with your boss” or “the only right careers are lawyers, doctor and diplomatic jobs”.
Ok, then let’s say you want to find true love… “when I was your age I used to change girls/boys every week. What do you care about love for? Sex is all that matters” and if you’re a little older (like, 30 years old) “you’re too old. All the guys/girls want someone younger or with money” and for girls, the classic “you must hurry up and get married till you still can find a man.”; what if you believe in marriage? They’ll tell you statistics like “8 marriages out of 10 end up with a divorce” without even knowing if they’re true or not (many times they invent it).
Ok, let’s say that you’re not interested in going out, drink beer and dance with strangers “you must do new experiences, you’re always at home” and if you go out, they’ll complain about you always going out.
What you must understand is that even if you wanted to be literally a saint and help people in need, they’d still find hundreds of reasons to complain and tell you how wrong your choices are. And if for once you correct them by telling them something you know for sure? “How dare you? You must be humble! You don’t have experience!” “You don’t know what you’re talking about” or “I’ve did a course where they said that (insert excuse to prove themself right)”. And they’d still tell you stuff like that even if you studied that topic for your entire life and had three degrees from an Ivy League University.
3 . BODY LANGUAGE
Everything they do will put a heavy bargain on your shoulders. Even if they’re just walking.
They have to put the phone on the table? They throw it nervously.
They have to walk past you? They try everything they can to bump in you and find a reason to fight.
They have to walk to the other room while you’re sitting? They’ll histerically walk fast as a bullet (or they’ll go very slowly and will try to look exhausted).
They have to close a door? Either they don’t close it at all or they slam it.
I could keep describing the sort of things they do for the whole day, but the whole article wouldn’t be enough. However, there’s one remarkable fact: deep inside they know how rotten they are (although, in all honesty… they don’t give a damn about it). This is pretty clear when you talk to them. They can’t look at you in the eyes for long. Either they gaze somewhere else so often it may seem as if they do that every five seconds or they look at their phone.
Body language is powerful. The way they act makes you feel like you’re not worthy of their attention, like something bad is about to happen, like something good simply can’t happen and like you must be silent, quiet, go to a corner and feel sorry for the fact that you exist.
4 . BLAME
Either you’re the one to blame or you’re making up something that doesn’t exist at all. They’re never wrong. And if miraculously you manage to prove them wrong so well they can’t hide it anymore, they’ll find the quickest way to change topic. Last but not least, they’ll speak behind your back, making other people think that you’re a bad person, a failure and many other unpleasant things.
5 . BULLYING
The only difference between bullying and being a toxic person, is that if you’re a toxic person you’re more socially acceptable. You’re still humiliating and ruining your victim, but you can do it in front of your co-workers and relatives and make it seem like you’re doing the right thing.
6 . SELF-AWARENESS AND TIPS
This is the final and most important step of the guide. Toxic people can be found everywhere. But while at work we tend to avoid them as much as possible. on the other hand, in our personal life we sometimes want to let them enter inside. Why? Because we don’t realize they’re toxic. Truth is, that sometimes they’re our family, other times it seems like they’re good friends and more often, they’re are our girlfriend or boyfriend. Our society and instincts make us obsessed with finding a good partner. We’re afraid to grow old alone and fear has never been the best of counselors. We set up with someone that seems good. We think that it might be the right person and that we know them well enough. And once we’ve fallen in love for them, they manipulate our mind without us realizing it finally showing their true nature. They make us think stuff like “who else would ever put up with me?”, “she/he is right, it’s my fault”, “I must change who I am or otherwise I’ll lose him/her”, but if someone doesn’t love you for who you are, then they’ve never been yours in the first place. You must understand that even if it sounds very tempting to blame yourself, you’re INNOCENT. It’s their fault. They’re trying to ruin you and to use you for their own good. I could give you a thousand tips you could probably find in any other guide of this sort, but they’d be ineffective lies. I’ve tried those tips myself and I can assure you that they didn’t help me. So, here are the only steps that have helped me:
- Go away from them. I know, I said that sometimes we can’t do that, but it’s only because of a lack of money. Find a work and get the money to move to another house.
- Don’t blame yourself.
- Buddha once said: “holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you’re the one who gets burned“. Although it’s almost impossible to stop them from affecting you, try to limit the effects of their actions as much as possible. Don’t try to stop thinking about something because it’s impossible. Instead, look at it from a rational point of view for a maximum of five minutes and then think about something you want.
- Listen to positive music. Change genres every three days and listen to songs that makes you feel good.
- Even when you don’t feel like doing anything, keep working on your projects. If you don’t have any, try to understand what you really want from life and then work on those dreams. Soon or late, even if you work a little everyday, you’ll get to your goal. And achieving it despite all the bad things those people said (like: “it’s impossible”), will make it even better.
- READ QUOTES EVERYDAY! Read quotes from all kinds of people about all sorts of problems. Just search for them on google image. For example “love quotes”, “writers’ quotes”, “success quotes” etc. this is the advice that so far has helped me the most, because reading other people’s wisdom expanded my own knowledge, it has helped me understand life better (especially to understand that it’s not our fault if toxic people try to bring us down) and it has builded up my confidence in general.
And that’s all I could tell you about this topic. I hope with my whole heart that this guide will help you become the happy person you deserve to be.