How to let go of toxic people in your life

How to let go of toxic people in your life

No relationship is perfect, in the personal or the business sphere. But for the most part, a good relationship makes you feel secure, happy, cared for, respected, and free to be yourself.

On the other side of the coin are toxic relationships–the ones that make you feel drained, depleted, and sometimes even distraught.

Whether you’re running a business, working with a partner, leading an organization, or managing a team, the last thing you need is a toxic relationship.

Here are some signs to help you recognize a toxic relationship:

1. All take, no give. Any relationship in which you experience withdrawals of energy without deposits will leave you in the negative.

2. Feeling drained. If, instead of feeling happy and productive, you’re always mentally, emotionally, and even physically drained, it’s time to re-evaluate.

3. Lack of trust. A relationship without trust is like a car without gas: You can stay in it all you want, but it won’t go anywhere.

4. Hostile atmosphere. Constant anger is a sure sign of an unhealthy relationship. You should never be around hostility because it makes you feel unsafe.

5. Occupied with imbalance. A one-sided relationship can never run smoothly.

6. Constant judgment. In judgmental relationships, criticism is not intended to be helpful but rather to belittle.

7. Persistent unreliability. Mutual reliability is important to building trust and is at the core of any good relationship.

8. Nonstop narcissism. If the other party’s interest in the relationship is really just a reflection of him or herself, it’s impossible to achieve any kind of balance.

9. Loaded with negative energy. It’s almost impossible for anything positive to come out of a relationship filled with negativity.

10. Lack of communication. Without communication, there is no relationship. Period.

11. Continuous disrespect. Mutual respect is the first requirement of a good partnership.

12. Mutual avoidance. If you spend your time avoiding each other, that tells you all you need to know.

13. Insufficient support. If you cannot turn to each other, is there a reason to be in the relationship?

14. Ceaseless control issues. If one person is in control, or a constant tug-of-war is going on, you’re probably spending too much energy navigating the relationship.

15. Never-ending drama. Good relationships improve your life; they don’t make it messier.

16. Persistent self-betrayal. If you find yourself changing your opinions to please someone else, you’re in a damaging relationship.

17. Constant challenges. All relationships go through challenges, but good relationships work through them.

18. Feelings of unworthiness. It’s an insidious thing negative relationships do: They leave you feeling you don’t deserve any better.

19. Vibes of entrapment. Is the other person a positive force in your life, or are you there because you don’t see any way out?

20. Always undermining. If a relationship can’t be reassuring, it’s failing a crucial test.

21. Empty pretense. Smiles don’t always mean everything is OK.

22. Packed with uncertainty. When nothing is sure, forward movement feels impossible.

23. Brimming with envy. Partners are never equal in all aspects, but that should be a source of strength, not of a source of disruptive envy.

24. Shortage of autonomy. Anyone in any relationship should have the right to say no.

25. Permeates victimhood. You can’t move onto the future if you’re tied to someone who’s still stuck in the past.

26. Diminishes your self-worth. When you’re in a relationship with someone who doesn’t acknowledge your value, it can be hard to see it yourself.

27. Laced with dishonesty. Every lie between partners undercuts a little bit of the relationship.

28. Makes you unhappy. If someone is constantly making you unhappy, you owe it to yourself to let that person go.

29. Feels uncomfortable. Sometimes your mind needs more time to discover what your heart already knows.

30. Lowers your high standards. Toxic relationships can cause us to slowly begin accepting what was once not acceptable.

31. Senses stagnant. Growth and learning are vital, and you can’t afford to be cut off from them.

32. Cuts corners. Nothing is ever worth cutting corners, or accepting anything that is second rate.

33. Filled with criticism. A nonstop barrage of criticism never helped anyone improve; it’s not about making things better but boosting the critic’s ego.

34. Brings out the worst. If you are constantly being your worst, you cannot be your best self.

35. Cannot do anything right. If you cannot do anything right, maybe the relationship is all wrong.

Relationships are important, and a toxic relationship can cost you dearly in time and energy that you could be putting to much better use.

Stay true to yourself and your values, listen to your heart, and be strong if you need to extricate yourself from a toxic relationship.

How to let go of toxic people in your life

“Losing will not always amount to a loss, sometimes you have to lose those toxic relationships and bad habits to create a space for better things.” – Gift Gugu Mona

Toxic relationships can be difficult to let go of. Many people get caught in a cycle of going back to relationships that are not good for them. This only creates a cycle of grief and hurt. There are ways to let go of toxic relationships. Psychologists have worked with people who have had this problem enough to be able to write an entire handbook on the subject. Here is some key advice to letting go and freeing yourself from the grip of a toxic relationship.

Here Are 5 Ways To Let Go Of Toxic Relationships

1. Recognize that it’s toxic

The very first step to freeing yourself from a toxic relationship is to admit to yourself that the relationship isn’t okay. You may notice the signs of a toxic relationship and try to justify them to yourself. If you notice that uncomfortable feeling in the back of your mind, it’s called ‘cognitive dissonance’, and it’s your brain trying to protect you from what you know is true. Take note of the things in the relationship that make you feel this way. Accepting that your relationship is toxic is the first step. Before you can really be free, you have to be aware of all the things that are harming you.

How to let go of toxic people in your life

2. Don’t blame yourself

Relationships are a two-way street. Two people are participating in the relationship, which means that two people are participating in all of the disagreements, arguments, and behavior. You can’t take the blame fully on yourself. If you blame yourself for all of the problems in the relationship, you will find yourself going back to try and fix them. Recognize that sometimes, both parties are at fault for a toxic relationship. Acknowledge your responsibilities – but only your responsibilities. You don’t need to be putting up with anyone else’s problems in a toxic relationship. When you’re not to blame, there’s no reason to hoist it on yourself.

3. Cut off contact

Cutting off contact is one of the best things that you can do when trying to let go of the toxic relationship. Keeping in contact is only going to make letting go harder. This includes checking up on toxic people who are no longer in your life. Resist scrolling through their social media or asking your mutual friends how they’re doing. According to Sarah Newman, M.A, you should always follow your gut when it comes to cutting people out of your life. Even though it may sound extreme, Newman advises loosening the ties when it comes to a toxic relationship. In order to move on, you need to be in a place where you’re able to feel neutral about the lack of contact, rather than pain.

4. Find closure

Mariana Bockarova, Ph.D., says that closure is one of the best things for moving on from a broken and toxic relationship. Bockarova acknowledges that closure can help people reconstruct their entire lives in a healthy and productive manner. Finding closure is one way to help you let go of a toxic relationship. For a lot of people, closure comes from within and recognizing all the ways that the relationship went wrong in the first place. For others, writing one final letter or having the other person acknowledge their toxicity can bring closure. Whatever it is, closure is important for moving on.

5. Use your support system

The most important thing in leaving any toxic relationship and letting it go is having someone there to catch you if you fall. Letting go of toxic relationships can be jarring, especially if they’re long-term. Get together with friends and family who can help support you during the more difficult times. They can also help keep you accountable when it comes to not checking up people that you have already cut off. Support systems are invaluable when it comes to letting go of toxic relationships. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the people who love you most.

Final thoughts

Once you know the signs of a toxic relationship, the next step is letting it go. If you’re having trouble letting go of a toxic relationship, these are the ways that psychologists have found work best for all kinds of people, and all kinds of toxic relationships. Whether these are romantic, platonic or familial, letting go is a process.

How they make you feel and what you can do about it.

How to let go of toxic people in your life

Do you know a toxic person? Even if you don’t now, at some point in your life you’re bound to have come across a person who fits the description. Dealing with such an individual can be difficult and draining, to say the least. In fact, it may challenge what you know about yourself and push you to the limits. Here are some traits to familiarize yourself with, and to help you navigate these trying relationships:

  1. Toxic people are manipulative. Their modus operandi is to get people to do what they want them to do. It’s all about them. They use other people to accomplish whatever their goal happens to be. Forget what you want; this is not about equality in a relationship—far from it.
  2. They are judgmental. Keep your eyes and ears open for criticism—about you, what you’ve done, and what you didn’t do. It’s never about them, and they will lie if it serves them.
  3. They take no responsibility for their own feelings. Rather, their feelings are projected onto you. If you try to point this out to them, they will likely vehemently defend their perspective, and take no responsibility for almost anything they do.
  4. They don’t apologize. They don’t see any reason to, because things are always someone else’s fault. In many instances, although they try to orchestrate relationships to serve their own ends, they try to gain sympathy and attention by claiming “victim” status.
  5. They are inconsistent. It’s hard to know who you’re with at any given time because they are often not the same person. They may change their perspective, attitude, and behavior depending on what they feel they need to accomplish or what they want to have happen. (And they know how to be kind when they want something from you.
  6. They make you prove yourself to them. Toxic people make you choose them over someone else, or something they want over something you want. Often, this turns into a “divide and conquer” dynamic in which the only choice is them, even to the point of requiring you to cut off other meaningful relationships to satisfy them.
  7. They make you defend yourself. They have difficulty staying on point about certain issues, probably because they’re not interested in your point of view or trying to reach an amicable conclusion. Remember, they are supreme manipulators: Their tactics may include being vague and arbitrary, as well as diverting the focus of the discussion to how you’re discussing an issue—your tone, your words, etc. They focus on problems, not solutions.
  8. They are not caring, supportive, or interested in what’s important to you. In fact, the good things that happen to you move the attention away from them and thwart them from focusing on their own goals. Beware of people who find fault with you and make you wrong. Loyalty is foreign to them.

Toxic people often make you want to fix them and their problems. They want you to feel sorry for them, and responsible for what happens to them. Yet their problems are never really solved, for once you’ve helped them with one crisis, there’s inevitably another one. What they really want is your ongoing sympathy and support, and they will create one drama after another in order to get it. “Fixing” and “saving” them never works, especially since you probably care more about what happens to them than they do.

Toxic people are draining; encounters leave you emotionally wiped out. Time with them is about taking care of their business, which will leave you feeling frustrated and unfulfilled, if not angry. Don’t allow yourself to become depleted as a result of giving and giving and getting nothing in return. At first, you may feel for them and their plight but once you observe that every interaction is negatively charged you may want to limit your contact with them, or maybe even cut ties. Your time and energy are essential for your own life. Don’t be overly willing to give them away.

And beware especially the narcissistic toxic person. Their modus operandi includes gaining total control of a situation, and that means of you, too. They will demand your undivided attention and attempt to convince you that you need to join their camp. To their way of thinking they know better than you. They’re right; you’re wrong. And you need to do what they say. This kind of toxic person will think nothing of invading your space and may try to isolate you from others you are close to.

This post is meant as a general overview: Relationships are complex and it may not be easy to deal with toxic people until you have learned from previous interactions. I understand that many relationships, especially familial ones, are more difficult because it’s not so easy to close the door and say goodbye. But the bottom line is that if you feel bad about yourself as a result of a relationship with another person, it’s time to sit down and assess the issue. They may be unlikely to change, but you can. Weigh the pros (if there are any) and the cons, make a decision to limit your time with this person or end the relationship—and don’t look back.

How to let go of toxic people in your life

Holding on to relationships that make you unhappy won’t be good for your well-being. Yes, you used to value that person in your life, but if that person is becoming a big burden, then the toxicity will slowly kill your sanity and even hinder positive thinking. Letting go of toxic people could be the best thing you can do. It might sound harsh, but you will be a better person for it. Some good things can happen when you get toxic people out of your life.

“There’s folks you just don’t need. You’re better off without em’. Your life is just a little better because they ain’t in it.” – William Gay

Here Are 10 Things That Will Change When You Get Toxic People Out of Your Life

1. Your life will not be over.

It’s hard to let go of someone with whom you’ve shared a long history and that’s understandable. It might even be hard to imagine your life without this person because of your shared moments, so how could you cut them out, right? While moving on from toxic people can be hard and painful, know that your life will go on. You’ll soon realize that without them, more doors of opportunity will actually open, and like a Phoenix, you can rebuild your life after this loss.

2. You’ll be rid of the drama.

Toxic people love drama and like to involve people in it, psychotherapist Jodie Gale says. You might have willingly offered sympathy and support to them before because of what they mean to you. You might have even dished out some advice because you care for their welfare. But they likely brushed your advice off. Toxic people, unfortunately, don’t want solutions to their problems, despite your intentions to help them. Once they are gone from your life, you’re no longer affected by their drama. You’re no longer fighting their never-ending battles with themselves and with other people. You’re free from the arguments, too.

How to let go of toxic people in your life

3. You won’t feel stressed out.

Toxic people are also called emotional vampires because they can bleed you dry. They can be manipulative and bring you down with them, because of their pessimism, their criticisms, and their tendency to talking bad about other people. Being with a toxic person who always keeps you on the edge isn’t a healthy way to live. In fact, the stress of dealing with them can actually wreck your brain cells, according to experts from Germany’s Friedrich Schiller University. Without them, however, you’ll find your stress levels going down because you have controlled the chaos and blocked off the poison that’s draining you.

4. You’ll gain more energy.

After staying in a relationship with an emotional moocher, you’ll find that you will have more energy to pursue other interesting things. Stuff that you wanted to try out before but couldn’t because you had been convinced it was worthless. Because of your renewed optimism and regained positivity, your zest for life will return. You’ll have time to focus on and do other things.

5. You’ll enjoy life more.

When you’ve finally escaped the negativity, you’ll pursue life with hope. Even failures or disappointments can’t shake you because you’re living your life according to your rules as you always wanted. You’ll see the worth in what you’re doing, whether it’s a big or small project, and enjoy life more. You’ll find that there are plenty of things to be happy about and grateful for because no one is constantly showing you what’s bad about something good.

6. You’ll regain your self-esteem and self-worth.

The venom that comes from toxic people might have dampened your self-esteem, but once they’re no longer in your life, you regain what you lost. You’ll find your power again and grow more confident each day you pursue new things … because there’s no one is saying you can’t do it.

7. You’ll evolve as a person.

You’re not going to be the same person after you get toxic people out of your life. In fact, you’ll actually evolve into someone better, someone more positive. You’ll find that you’ve smartened up about dealing with people. You’ve likely also reaped a lot of patience, empathy, and understanding for every person’s journey because you know how hard it can be for them.

8. You get to reconnect with other people.

Your relationships with other people might suffered casualties when you were with a toxic person. You’ve probably distanced yourself from others so that they wouldn’t be involved in the drama, gossip, and meanness of a toxic individual. But now that this person is gone, you can reconnect with friends and family. Better yet, you’re going to have more room for new friends and acquaintance in your life – people with whom you can form new bonds.

9. You’ll surround yourself with more caring people.

When you’ve regained relationships or formed new ones then you’ll have more good people surrounding your life. Life will be happier when you’re with friends and family who genuinely care for your welfare and help you to be positive. You’ll have the social support you didn’t really have because of your relationship with that toxic person.

10. You’ll be happy with your life in general.

You’ll find that the pursuit of happiness is actually simple once you’ve cut out toxic people from your life. The secret is in having the freedom to enjoy the choices you’ve made, free from pressures and negativity.

Final thoughts

Life’s too short to hold on to relationships that burden or hold you back. Letting go of toxic friends, family members, or intimate relationships is hard. You might feel various levels of guilt, experts say, but it’s still a choice you need to make. Take that first step into a better life. You’re going to be in a much better place with people and situations that let you fly and spread your wings.

How to let go of toxic people in your life

A Prayer for the Toxic People in Your Life
By Jennifer O. White

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. – Luke 6:27-28

God offers healing and freedom to everyone.

How to let go of toxic people in your life

God created those who hurt us. He has a good plan for their lives. He knows the “why” behind their destructive behaviors. He knows the lies they believe about themselves. He knows what stands in the way of their wholeness. He is a Shepherd who pursues every sheep that wanders away from all He offers.

What would delight our God more than for us to turn our minds away from the problems and focus on Him? He is our solution.

Praising God is a powerful first line of defense. We can worship and adore Him, our wonderful counselor and supreme relationship expert.

Holy God. You are full of mercy and compassion, slow to anger and full of love.

You love imperfect people extravagantly. Father, I may be blind to my own role in toxic relationships. Help me see the truth about myself. Apply the healing power of Your Word to my heart and mind. Deliver me from any stronghold that causes me to harm people with my words and actions. Save me from self-destructive patterns.

I struggle in my relationship with ______. I need You to give me wisdom on how to love them well. You are my shield and defender. Show me how, when and where to erect boundaries in our relationship. I believe You are my healer and I trust You to guard my heart and mind.

Help me to love ______ courageously. Fill me with Your truth and compel me to fearlessly tell the truth with love. Let Your perfect love cast out all of my fears related to our relationship.

I surrender what I think our relationship should be. Please transform it so that it honors You.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Editor’s Note: This devotional first appeared as How to Pray for the Toxic People in Your Life by Jennifer O. White. You can read that piece in full here. All right reserved.

Now that you’ve prayed, are you in need of someone to pray for YOU? Click the button below!

How they make you feel and what you can do about it.

How to let go of toxic people in your life

Do you know a toxic person? Even if you don’t now, at some point in your life you’re bound to have come across a person who fits the description. Dealing with such an individual can be difficult and draining, to say the least. In fact, it may challenge what you know about yourself and push you to the limits. Here are some traits to familiarize yourself with, and to help you navigate these trying relationships:

  1. Toxic people are manipulative. Their modus operandi is to get people to do what they want them to do. It’s all about them. They use other people to accomplish whatever their goal happens to be. Forget what you want; this is not about equality in a relationship—far from it.
  2. They are judgmental. Keep your eyes and ears open for criticism—about you, what you’ve done, and what you didn’t do. It’s never about them, and they will lie if it serves them.
  3. They take no responsibility for their own feelings. Rather, their feelings are projected onto you. If you try to point this out to them, they will likely vehemently defend their perspective, and take no responsibility for almost anything they do.
  4. They don’t apologize. They don’t see any reason to, because things are always someone else’s fault. In many instances, although they try to orchestrate relationships to serve their own ends, they try to gain sympathy and attention by claiming “victim” status.
  5. They are inconsistent. It’s hard to know who you’re with at any given time because they are often not the same person. They may change their perspective, attitude, and behavior depending on what they feel they need to accomplish or what they want to have happen. (And they know how to be kind when they want something from you.
  6. They make you prove yourself to them. Toxic people make you choose them over someone else, or something they want over something you want. Often, this turns into a “divide and conquer” dynamic in which the only choice is them, even to the point of requiring you to cut off other meaningful relationships to satisfy them.
  7. They make you defend yourself. They have difficulty staying on point about certain issues, probably because they’re not interested in your point of view or trying to reach an amicable conclusion. Remember, they are supreme manipulators: Their tactics may include being vague and arbitrary, as well as diverting the focus of the discussion to how you’re discussing an issue—your tone, your words, etc. They focus on problems, not solutions.
  8. They are not caring, supportive, or interested in what’s important to you. In fact, the good things that happen to you move the attention away from them and thwart them from focusing on their own goals. Beware of people who find fault with you and make you wrong. Loyalty is foreign to them.

Toxic people often make you want to fix them and their problems. They want you to feel sorry for them, and responsible for what happens to them. Yet their problems are never really solved, for once you’ve helped them with one crisis, there’s inevitably another one. What they really want is your ongoing sympathy and support, and they will create one drama after another in order to get it. “Fixing” and “saving” them never works, especially since you probably care more about what happens to them than they do.

Toxic people are draining; encounters leave you emotionally wiped out. Time with them is about taking care of their business, which will leave you feeling frustrated and unfulfilled, if not angry. Don’t allow yourself to become depleted as a result of giving and giving and getting nothing in return. At first, you may feel for them and their plight but once you observe that every interaction is negatively charged you may want to limit your contact with them, or maybe even cut ties. Your time and energy are essential for your own life. Don’t be overly willing to give them away.

And beware especially the narcissistic toxic person. Their modus operandi includes gaining total control of a situation, and that means of you, too. They will demand your undivided attention and attempt to convince you that you need to join their camp. To their way of thinking they know better than you. They’re right; you’re wrong. And you need to do what they say. This kind of toxic person will think nothing of invading your space and may try to isolate you from others you are close to.

This post is meant as a general overview: Relationships are complex and it may not be easy to deal with toxic people until you have learned from previous interactions. I understand that many relationships, especially familial ones, are more difficult because it’s not so easy to close the door and say goodbye. But the bottom line is that if you feel bad about yourself as a result of a relationship with another person, it’s time to sit down and assess the issue. They may be unlikely to change, but you can. Weigh the pros (if there are any) and the cons, make a decision to limit your time with this person or end the relationship—and don’t look back.

‘Looking out for number one’ is so often a terrible mantra but sometimes it’s wise to step back and let God deal with the people you can’t.

How to let go of toxic people in your life

Many Christians have this wrong idea that a Christ-follower has to be so accepting of other people that we would never stay away from them even if their presence in our lives is toxic and harmful; that we should always be there for them and help them see the light.

After all, we believe that God can change them, right? And maybe He’ll use us for that purpose, right? Hmm, let’s talk about that.

A wrong mindset

I’m pretty sure there are many who consider the idea of staying away from certain people as rejecting them. To be honest, it’s not. The Lord Jesus Christ commanded all His followers to be wise, and that includes dealing with certain people in our lives (see Matthew 10:16).

And for this article, I will talk about dealing with toxic people in your life.

What are toxic people?

Toxic people are the kind who are loaded down with various lusts and issues that they are either not dealing with or are using to in some way manipulate or control their relationship with you. They might appear good, kind, even “angelic,” but you’ll know by their fruits that they really aren’t. Paul warns us about such people:

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. ” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

These people possess in them the kind of character that Christians must not have. Befriending and spending time with such people becomes dangerous because “Bad company corrupts good morals” (see 1 Corinthians 15:33).

So, yes, we are called to be loving to all and do our best to be a witness, but Paul warns us there are actually some people we should distance ourselves from for our own sakes.

Do you know some people like this and are you thinking of ways to deal with them as a Christian? Here are some steps to consider:

1) Warn them of the consequences of sin

James encourages us, “Brothers, if any one of you strays from the truth and someone corrects him, let him know that he who converts the sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20) It still is a good thing to try to help turn toxic people away from the wrong they think is right.

Friends, try to prayerfully convince the toxic person of the dangers of sin (see Romans 6:23). These people are very much in need of grace just like us, and since we as Christians carry the hope of the world in us (see Colossians 1:27), we have the power to reach out to them.

Every person deserves a chance, so yes, do your best to reach out to them, especially if they belong to your family. However, if you’ve attempted many times to reach out to them and it’s having no impact, it might be wise to consider distancing yourself while continuing to pray for them.

2) Turn away from them and their works

Next, be careful not to associate with their works. Paul warns us towards the end of 2 Timothy 3:5,

“. And from such people turn away!

It’s not a sin to turn away from certain people, especially after you’ve done what you can to bring them to the light (see Matthew 10:14, 18:15-17). The Lord Jesus Himself, while reaching out to sinners like us, carefully stayed away from those who had a “form of godliness” but lived in ungodliness. Let’s learn from that.

3) Don’t hate them, but pray for them

Staying away from such people doesn’t mean hating them or trying to hurt them. While we stay away to avoid being influenced, we keep praying for and hoping for their salvation in Christ. It’s not a sin to keep yourself safe – it’s actually a wise thing to do because the Bible also warns that we too can stumble while trying to save the immoral brother. If you don’t have the spiritual strength necessary to deal with the toxic person, it can be in your own best interests to look after your own spiritual health first. As you step back and pray for that person, it gives God the opportunity to work in their lives and it may well be that a door opens for you to try again with them in the future when you or they are in a better position for you to do so.

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February 4, 2020 Updated June 8, 2020

To be honest, coping with toxic people has never been my specialty. I have dealt with enough toxicity in my life to know when it’s best to cut ties. (Snip, snip, suckas!) But we all have toxic people in our lives who can’t be avoided, whether it be a parent or parent-in-law, a sibling or a sibling’s spouse, a friend of a friend, or a co-worker whom you just can’t stand.

A quote about toxic people from the Dalai Lama comes to mind, “Let go of negative people. They only show up to share complaints, problems, disastrous stories, fear, and judgment on others. If somebody is looking for a bin to throw all their trash into, make sure it’s not in your mind.” If the Dalai Lama is dusting toxicity off his shoulders, shouldn’t you? Cutting out negativity from your life — even if you can’t cut out the person — doesn’t make you a bad person, it means you’re valuing your mental and emotional well-being and practicing true self care.

All this is, of course, easier said than done. So, how do you deal with people you’d rather avoid at all costs?

1. Set limits with toxic people.

Take it from me, toxic people don’t do well with boundaries. They have a tendency to want to control others as well as situations. Trying to set limits or boundaries for them will get you nowhere; they see it as a personal challenge.

But you can set limits on the things you can control. Don’t invest too much time or effort with toxic people. Keep interactions brief and the topics light. Keep in mind that toxic people will be listening for anything you say that they can spin to make themselves look better.

So talk about the weather or say nice things about someone else. Then run away as fast as you can. Set a timer on your phone if you have to. Arrange for a friend to give you the old SOS call. Do whatever you have to do to get the hell out of dodge.

2. Pick your battles wisely.

It’s tricky to balance being cordial with not wanting to normalize someone’s emotionally abusive behavior. But toxic people don’t respond well to criticism. It’s important to acknowledge that battles can escalate quickly into full-fledged declarations of war.

Keep this in mind when interacting with toxic people. Try this: Rate your grievances on a scale of 1 to 10. For example, if your mother-in-law says something about your weight gain, that might be a “6.” If she says something to your daughter about her weight gain? That’s probably an “11.” My rule is if it’s an 8 or above, it’s worth arguing about. Otherwise, it’s best to keep the waters calm as best you can.

3. Recognize and distance yourself from their behavior.

It’s not easy to rise above it when some people are determined to drag you down into the fray. But recognizing that people are toxic should be the first step toward desensitizing yourself from their words and actions.

Ask yourself, “Do I value this person’s opinion?” and “Do they have my best interest at heart?” If the answer to both of those questions isn’t a resounding yes, then don’t worry so much about what they say or do.

Toxic people only have the power to upset you if you let them upset you. Even if you can’t distance yourself physically, you always have the power to distance yourself emotionally.

4. Focus on the positive.

I know how cliché this sounds. But I also know that if you dwell on how infuriating toxic people can be, or the problems they create, it will stress you the fuck out.

Do your best to catch yourself when you start to fixate on the negative, and try to consciously switch your thoughts to solutions or more positive situations. Toxic people don’t deserve your mental energy.

5. Utilize your support system.

If you’re lucky, you have a support network of people who aren’t toxic. Rally your support troops as needed.

It can feel really cathartic to vent to someone you value (and who values you!), if only to keep things in perspective that you’re not the problem. Your real friends will be there to remind you that you’re amazing — so keep them close.

Dealing with toxic people isn’t easy, and these coping mechanisms aren’t developed overnight. But with any luck, they will help you tune out the toxicity that can’t be avoided.

Have you reached the “Okay, that’s enough!” point in your life in terms of dealing with toxic people? If so, congratulations! You’re now headed to living a life where you don’t have to carry an unnecessary heavy weight on your shoulders. You’re done with the first step — deciding that there’s no more room for toxic people in your life. How will you actually make the end goal materialize?

Here are 10 ways to cut toxic people from your life:

1. Call their attention.
You can cut toxic people from your life by calling their attention. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe, they don’t know you find them toxic or they don’t know they are toxic, so it’s best if you confront them. No, you shouldn’t start by saying “You are toxic”, but you need to specify what’s bothering you.

For example, you find them toxic because they did nothing but whine about their job. Tell them that their everyday rant negatively affects you and your zest for your job. You might want to end with a piece of advice that if they really find nothing right with their job, they might as well resign. By making this confrontation, you can possibly end their toxicity.

2. Drop the conversation.
Another way of cutting them from your life is by dropping the conversation when they start one. If they talk to you while you are working, tell them you are busy and show them you are busy. Respond with conversation enders or remarks that show disinterest like “Oh, okay” or “I already know that. You just told me a while ago”. In this way, you can prevent them from ruining your day with their toxicity.

3. Ignore them.
You can also prevent them from talking to you by wearing your headset. Remember that music is there to transport you to another world where toxic people do not exist. Wear those earphones. In this way, no matter what they say, you won’t hear them. Using your headset is also an effective way to say “I do not want to be disturbed, so please stay away” without uttering a word.

4. Don’t give them the opportunity to talk to you personally.
If you can refrain from talking to them in person completely, do so. Why should you talk to them in the first place? You need to trace the reason for the need to communicate first so you can devise ways on how you can avoid having conversations with the toxic people.

For example, if the toxic ones are your workmates, and your tasks are highly related to theirs, you can communicate via e-mail or you can just leave a note. By doing so, you can prevent them from opening unnecessary topics that are not related to the task at hand.

5. Disconnect with them in social media.
Cut your ties with them even virtually. If they keep on bugging you even online, block them from your accounts. Social media paved the way for people to communicate easily with each other. It’s a good thing they did the same with preventing people from contacting you. You can block their accounts and you can also avoid seeing their messages.

6. Don’t let them affect you emotionally.
Stop them from affecting you emotionally, too. If none of the blocking and ignoring tips work, you need to cut them emotionally. You need to learn not to care about what they say. Do they talk about false accusations that can ruin your reputation? Why are you bothered with that? Rest your mind with the thought that you can always disprove their words with your actions.

If they say that you don’t do your job, work hard to finish all your tasks with quality. In this way, even if you don’t say anything to rebut their accusations, you can prove them wrong with your actions. Shelter yourself from being hurt by always remembering that the words from the toxic people are of no value to you.

7. Strengthen your support group.
That is necessary to convince yourself that those toxic ones are of no value to you. Reinforce the idea that toxic people are not a loss in your life. Who are the ones who you consider as real friends? Who are the ones who you can deal with in a civil manner? Talk to them often. Eat lunch with them if you can. Find ways to establish a strong connection with those people.

8. Inform your support group.
You also need to inform your support group that you don’t want to hear anything about the people you consider toxic. Sometimes, the toxic people are connected to your support group because you are all workmates or you belong to the same circle of friends.

If your support group does not know the issue, they might share with you news about the ones you consider toxic, or worse, they may be used by the toxic ones to send you their message. To avoid that scenario, be clear with your support group that you don’t want to hear anything about the toxic ones.

9. Stop making excuses and go all out.
Sometimes, pride may get in the way. You want to hear and read the toxic people’s messages to you so you can respond to them as your way of getting even or defending your self. However, remember that for people who are toxic down to their core, they’ll find a way to turn the tables and make you the toxic one for responding and defending yourself. The next thing you’ll know, you’re trapped in the web were the toxic ones appear to be the helpless victims.

10. Refrain from repairing what got broken.
Especially for toxic people who are your family members and who were your friends, there might be a part of you that still wants to save the relationship even if it means you’ll have to absorb all the toxicity they are emitting. Do yourself a favor and let go. You came to the point in your life where you already want to cut your ties, which means, you’ve reached your limit. It’s time to let go to keep yourself healthy.

Allowing toxic people to stay in your life is unhealthy. They’ll extinguish your vibrancy or worse, they might make you toxic. They’re like viruses that are infectious, so treat them just like that, viruses. Find ways to end their connection to your life. You don’t want to get infected, do you?