by Conscious Reminder
Sometimes the toxic people you are trying to avoid are the people you love. It’s not really easy to cut all ties with friends and family, is it?
“Your mother is toxic? Stop contacting her!” — easier said than done. Sometimes, even toxic mothers deserve love and compassion. And you can’t forget about her just like that. She may be struggling with some mental or physical illness. Cutting all ties, especially with a loved one, is a difficult decision.
But let’s say it’s not a family member you are trying to get away from, let say it’s a troubled colleague. They give you hell, but you need the job, you can’t just turn in your two weeks notice.
And it’s completely okay to not just leave, that why when I talk about the method of distancing, I’m not necessarily talking about an escape.
You can distance yourself mentally and emotionally. The trick is to learn and apply it systematically and methodically. Pay constant attention to how you communicate with this negative person. Here’s what to do:
1. Do not initiate unnecessary contact. Don’t call, don’t write, don’t invite to visit, don’t suggest communication first – whenever possible. Say happy holiday, send a gift if necessary, but no more than that. Do not initiate communication.
2. Don’t complain to them about your problems, don’t bare your soul in front of them and don’t share details of your life. Because every word can be used against you. This has probably happened to you many times before, but you also keep repeating the same mistake: you share all that information yourself.
3. Don’t discuss other people with them or in their presence. They will twist the information beyond recognition and spread it around. Or they will blackmail you with the information you gave them, hinting that they may say so.
4. Don’t borrow from a negative person. Don’t borrow money, don’t ask for favors and assistance. It’s a debt you don’t want to have.
5. Don’t show too much emotion. Don’t have long conversations. Speak clearly, cautiously, and not a lot. Track contact time. The oxygen in the balloon will only last for a while, then you will suffocate!
6. Don’t enter into any disputes and discussions. Word for word and you will find yourself in a trap. You won’t notice how you got into a fight, got annoyed, and then became guilty.
7. Don’t encourage their complaining. Change the subject. Either start complaining yourself or immediately find a reason to end the conversation.
This is a way to distance yourself from a toxic person. The temperature will drop and the pressure will decrease, figuratively speaking. You won’t have to cut all the connection, but you won’t be emotionally vulnerable. You won’t be a target anymore and it will be hard to hurt you.
The problem appears when you open up way too much and way too often to the wrong people. They learn your weak spots and triggers and then use them against you.
Setting visible and strict boundaries sometimes helps a toxic person come to their senses – rarely though. The usual scenario is gone, they can’t feed on your energy anymore and they notice the difference.
So distancing is good for both parties, and it allows avoiding hostility and open conflict.
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