Draining, non-supportive, and difficult people are one of life’s most vexing challenges in stepfamily life.
You think, “These people are toxic. Poison.”
You resent how they trigger your most painful thoughts and feelings.
Here’s what we typically believe about who we should let into our inner circle.
“I deserve to have people in my life who I enjoy spending time with, who support me, and who treat me with respect, appreciation and courtesy.”
But as part of a stepfamily, there are many relationships we would not necessarily ever choose but which we are expected to include in our lives.
What’s a toxic person anyway?
It’s not that the whole person is toxic. Rather, their behavior is toxic or your relationship with the person is toxic, said psychotherapist Jodie Gale, MA.
“Often the person is deeply wounded and for whatever reason, they are not yet able to take responsibility for their wounding, their feelings, their needs and their subsequent problems in life.”
They may over identify and act out the parts of who they are, such as the victim, bully, perfectionist or martyr, she said. “They act from these parts trying to get their needs met, albeit in an extremely unhealthy way.”
According to The Science of People, here’s a summary of common types:
Try thinking about toxicity like this: Toxic means poisonous.
Unless you’re actually breathing in or ingesting another person, you are not consuming poison.
In reality, you’re just in the presence of a human being. Being in the presence of a rattle snake doesn’t mean you’ve been poisoned by snake venom.
Thinking about someone as toxic or poisonous is not useful. Not only does it not help you, it it’s frightening to think of a person that way.
It gives them so much power over you.
Certain people always trigger this negative thinking.
There are people who you believe bring out the worst in you. You think they hurt your feelings.
But other people do not have the ability to bring out the worst in you or hurt your feelings without your permission.
YOU hurt your own feelings or bring out your worst behavior with your own thinking.
And this is actually the best news ever!
What really matters is how you choose to respond to other people’s behavior.
Human beings are allowed to do what they want. This is crucial to understand.
It doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences, but we’re allowed to do what we want. We have free will.
You are not responsible for how someone chooses to behave, feel or think.
When other people behave badly, it’s because of how they are thinking and feeling.
The sooner you decide to understand this, the happier you’ll be.
You get to decide what to think about it. What to feel. How to behave.
No where is it written that you have to spend time with anyone.
But, it’s not because they’re toxic. It’s because you LIKE YOUR REASONS FOR YOUR DECISION.
They own their thoughts, feelings and actions.
You own yours.
The first step is to manage your own thoughts and feelings which drive your behaviors and create your results.
Sometimes setting clear boundaries is the next best step after that.
Sometimes limited engagement. Sometimes complete disengagement.
Let’s have a conversation about the toxic people in your life and your next best steps.
Who’s driving you crazy? What are your thoughts and feelings about them?
How can you manage your thinking to shift your perspective?
Just let me know by clicking right here to schedule your free Strategy Call.