Coach’s Corner – Detox Your Relationships
We are flawed because we are human. In this post, we look at the harmful effects of toxic personalities, and distinguish them from the unintentional consequences of just being flawed.
So much attention has been given to our physical and mental health these days, while healthy relationships are often overlooked or deprioritized. However, I contend that when we manage our human relationships well, we can expect to live healthier and happier lives.
You Can’t Change the People Around You…
Are you struggling with that person who you just can’t seem to make see eye-to-eye or have an impact on, no matter how much you listen, advocate, compromise and offer your support?
Do you currently have the following toxic types of people around you, who hoard your time and attention, drain your energy and cause you stress?
- Drama King/Queen – At the beginning, these people are especially charming with incredible stories to share with you, but every encounter afterwards involves a crisis that somehow needs more than just your attention. You find your time and even yourself getting sucked into the melodrama of their world. They think their drama is enriching your life, but it isn’t. And you don’t need this.
- Critics – These are extremely intelligent, yet insecure personalities that need to use you to feel smarter, or to validate their self-worth. They seem resourceful at first by openly sharing knowledge with you, and yet they don’t own up to their own mistakes or ignorance. Even worse is they will put you down and want to be right all the time, in order to prop themselves up and to make themselves feel better. They usually are very bad at compromising because they want to have control of whatever topic or situation favours them most.
- Manipulators – These are people who abuse your generosity, outright lie or play the victim-card to not only gain your sympathy, but also your compassion to do them a favour. These tactics can become even more damaging once they have your trust. They will use mind-games (known as gaslighting) such as denials and creating doubt that can then be used to make you question your original beliefs. Don’t confuse people who take you for granted with those who take advantage of you. You can usually change the behaviours of those who take you for granted when they realize that’s what they are doing. Manipulators are taking advantage of you, and they simply find another way to do this.
Maybe you already know the problem originates with them, and not with you. However, even when you’ve come to this realization, note that the quickest solution starts with yourself.
…But You Can Change the People Around You.
In my last blog post, I shared how we might use motivation and inspiration to change behaviours of other people, especially those we’re responsible for leading. However, there are times when we must accept that we simply cannot change the beliefs, attitudes or behaviours of those around us…and that something else has to change.
Do you believe you are the average of the 5 people you associate with most? Your associates may not have control over you, but they can certainly have influence over your mood, thought and behaviours.
What if your circle includes toxic personalities like the ones mentioned above? The best way to not have these people around you is to avoid, or reduce your time around them (since family members or colleagues make it difficult to be removed from our lives completely).
I’m not advocating quitting your job or separating from your partner, unless it is absolutely necessary. I am advocating taking control over what we can control. For your health and well-being, move or remove yourself. We need to question whether it is worth the stress and our happiness to continue being exposed to the toxicity.
Want to be healthy? More empathetic? More rational? More optimistic and pro-active?
Then surround yourself with the people you want to be. Find new people who can help you thrive. Surround yourself with a circle of friends and colleagues who will support your goals, aspirations and purpose.
My message is go out and meet people, make strong and deep connections, not simply to avoid people. A quick word of caution though – remember to distinguish flawed human beings from toxic ones. It may not always be clear, yet to know whether someone is taking you for granted versus taking advantage of you makes all the difference!
As always, I purposefully leave some things unsaid in my post, just because the post is long enough, and more importantly, I don’t have the answers. So, please help me fill in the blank…comment below to let me know you’ve read the post, and share your observations and experiences about toxic personalities – what have you seen with people who are intentionally trying to take advantage of you (instead of simply just being flawed)?
Check out more blog posts in this series: Coach’s Corner.