Dealing with toxic people

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    Lately I’ve been living a life that I like to call “positively selfish”. This means I’ve been focusing on what makes me feel good, saying yes to me and no to others. In this process I’ve noticed I have some toxic people in my life and by toxic I mean people that are always judgmental, never supportive, competitive people that seems to be happier when you’re down, envious people… I guess everyone knows what I’m talking about.
    Even though I know that I shouldn’t take things personally as sometimes this behaviour is about themselves alone and not me, I would love to get rid of them, BUT sometimes that’s impossible. So what can I do?? How to stop myself from being affected when around them?

    In my case I have 3 good examples of toxic people: My cousin who lives next door and is always at my house, she’s very close with my mom so I cannot stop her from visiting + her husband. My other cousin’s wife, always around as well as the couple is close to my family. And people from work.
    The problem here is: I cannot stop them from coming and whenever I try to distance myself they start questioning my absence and I simply cannot look at them and say ‘I’m never around because I cannot stand you anymore.’.

    Any thoughts or advice?

    • This topic was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by Susannah.

    Hi vidanova,

    I would give them 15 minutes of my time. Polite conversation. Don’t get into anything personal. Don’t let them know your plans/goals. And if you have achieved anything, and someone mentions it, downplay it. Don’t give them any ammunition. Then say you have an errand/homework/Netflix marathon to get back to. It’s an art, really. Sometimes if you ask for their advice or help, their tune will change for the better. They are needed and looked up to!

    To your own place and space someday!



    One tactic I learned when I worked in a pretty toxic environment was not to allow the negative talk to just continue when I had to be there. I did a lot of staying to myself and finding other things that needed to be done when toxic people were around. However at times I couldn’t just leave so I adapted by changing the conversation when I was with them. I changed the subject often and I would always play Pollyanna and point out the brightside of things. Eventually the toxic people don’t want to talk with you anymore because you won’t engage in the negativity.



    Dear vidanova:

    As at 54 I am still healing from the devastating effects of having a … toxic mother and after cutting all contact with her in spite of the great guilt I felt about doing so, I owe it to myself to live the rest of my life NOT in the company of other toxic people, disingenuous people who would hurt me repeatedly and unrepentant. Simply NOT be in the physical presence of any such person no matter what. Really, and this is the freedom of it: I don’t HAVE TO be around anyone I choose not to be.


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