Toxic people don’t go away, won’t make exceptions, refuse to accept help, never learn their lessons, rarely modify their behavior, never take responsibility and seldom realize they’re doing anything wrong.
They are the constants in the equation of human interaction.
Which is an infuriating feature of reality, but the sooner we accept that we can’t change or fix people, we can only change and fix our responses to them, the freer we ultimately become.
Let’s say there’s a toxic coworker at your office whose insufferable cynicism and spitefulness makes you want to punch a hole through your computer screen.
Instead of secretly poisoning his morning coffee with cleaning fluid, stop and ask yourself a few questions.
What is it about my personality that might be drawing me into this kind of relationship? What boundary did I fail to set? And what might I need to modify about my own style of relating to people to respond to this better?
Because the only thing that’s worth fixing is our own filter. It’s not our job to teach people lessons, it’s our job to learn ours.
I’m reminded of an interview with a trauma psychologist who said that the human body doesn’t respond to other people’s words, it responds to our history. And so, the emotional trigger that the toxic person is pulling probably has nothing to do with the present moment.
Let’s you grew up with a neighborhood bully who made fun of you relentlessly. His words made you feel deeply insecure about almost every part of yourself, both physically and emotionally.
Fast forward to twenty years later, and you end up working for a boss who reminded of that very bully. And so, every time he playfully but painfully prodded your deepest personal flaws in front of your coworkers, you instantly felt twelve years old.
But instead of writing a strongly worded letter, or passive aggressively trying to get back at him through death by a million cuts, you accept it was your own filter that needed fixing, your own unresolved issues that still had work to be done.
Perhaps that’s the beauty of toxic people. They invite us to take a closer look at ourselves.
Because all healing journeys require us to uncover our past for each step forward we take.
We have to stop being angry at the little parts of ourselves that we haven’t made peace with yet.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you still walking around the world with an untreated condition?
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
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