While cutting ties seems to be the most sensible thing to do when you find a person toxic, it is easier said than done with certain people in your life, including your partner, friends, or even boss. So, does this mean that you just have to live with toxicity simply because you can’t kick them out of your life?
Well, not exactly as psychology experts have given a few tips on how to deal with people whose existence seem impossible if they can’t put you through hell, intentionally or otherwise.
According to Dr. Adam L. Fried, a clinical psychologist from Phoenix and an assistant professor of psychology at Midwestern University, the word “toxic relationship” is not a formal word that psychologists use. However, many mental health experts use the term in describing a type of dysfunctional relationship in which one or both individuals end up feeling negative emotions after their interaction.
#1. Change your expectations.
So, how do you deal with a toxic relationship without having to cut the other person out of your life? While it is second nature for some to confront the other party, with the belief that doing so will change them, Dr. Fried cautions that this often does not do the trick.
“For some, they spend a lot of energy trying to change the other person — I encourage people to evaluate whether these attempts are effective or whether they simply result in more frustration and disappointment,” Fried shared.
Instead of hoping to change the person by confrontation, it is better for the other party to change their expectations by acknowledging that the person or relationship may never change at all. If you do so, you will not only take responsibility for your own actions but enable yourself to practice acceptance and self-care.
#2. Toughen up despite the love.
Another way to survive an inevitable toxic relationship is to set clear boundaries. According to another psychiatrist, Dr. Alex Dimitriu, tough love is a classic solution to toxic people we love.
“This often means maintaining strong boundaries — and not giving in. This often involves maintaining a healthy distance during both happy and sad or difficult moments.”
#3. Draw the line and verbalize your feelings.
Dr. Mindy Beth Lipson, a psychologist, shares the same opinion with Dr. Dimitriu. According to her, in addition to setting clear boundaries, it is is also important for the offended party to let the erring person know how he or she exactly feels by his/her actions. She also added that while you should forgive the person, it is but sensible to never forget what he/she has done.
“If things never change, then walking away can leave room for better self-worth and a more satisfying, healthy connection with others.”
Do you have toxic people in your life? Is it really impossible for you to cut them out of your system? Then heed the experts’ advice above. Good luck!
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