When Is It OK to Let Go Of Toxic People?

You ever hear of the saying "Misery Loves Company"? That couldn't be more true. It feels like a constant battle to try and surround myself with happy people. Especially in this day and age, with the world the way it is, and how difficult it is to live these days, even the happiest people have their days. But what about those people that have "those days" every day? They make no attempt to try and be happy and you find them constantly bringing you down, you start to question your own thoughts and behaviors?

When is it ok to ween out those people in my life that exhibit toxic behavior?

My answer is NOW! EVERY DAY! You don't need that behavior in your life. You need to surround yourself with like minded, positive people. People that help bring out the best in you. That drives you to be a better person.

How do I recognize toxic behavior vs just a bad period in their life?
And then there's the fear that you are a bad friend or family member. That you are abandoning this person at their time of need...

But, let's be real..

If this person is constantly surrounded by drama. Ask yourself, is this drama that could have been avoided, or do they embrace it with open arms? 
Some drama can't be helped. I don't even call that drama, they are called actual problems. 

Drama to me is unwarranted conflict that could have been avoided. 
Drama; a :  a state, situation, or series of events involving interesting or intense conflict of forces
b :  dramatic state, effect, or quality 

Other signs you might have encountered a toxic person:
We all know at least one person who continuously makes the same bad decisions and doesn't learn from their mistakes. I would call that voluntary ignorance and you don't need to get sucked into their downward spiral. 

Watch out for the leeches:
There's no problem helping out a friend in need but it's when those friends get comfortable accepting handouts and they aren't doing anything to better their financial situation it might be time to create some space.

Ask yourself,
Does this person constantly belittle and put you down? Scream at you? Threaten, or try to manipulate you?
If so, you might have encountered a toxic person.
What if it's a family member? Someone I'm supposed to be close with? 
This is a touchy one. I understand family is supposed to be there for each other no matter what, but if someone is constantly belittling me and bringing me down. I distance myself from them, family or not. I won't allow them to emotionally manipulate me into feeling guilty for feeling this way. I will always love them, but I won't help contribute to their toxic way of life, nor will I let it affect mine or the hard work that I've put into it.

What if it's someone from work or that I live with? Someone that I have to deal with on a regular basis?
Distance yourself from them emotionally.
Most people feel as though because they work or live with someone, they have no way to control the chaos. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Once you’ve identified a toxic person, you’ll begin to find their behavior more predictable and easier to understand. This will equip you to think rationally about when and where you have to put up with them and when and where you don’t." (Travis Bradberry, Ph.D. - talentsmart.com)

Don't Expect Them Not to be Difficult.
Once you've identified a toxic person, adjust your expectations so you're not blind sided by their behavior.

When toxic people aren't getting what they want, they will push your buttons until you feel stressed and angry, making it difficult to think clearly. Remember that this is their issue, not yours. 
"Most difficult people provoke us because they're often hiding something--a lack of competence, a lack of ability or something they were supposed to do and didn't do and by provoking us, either from anger or whining and complaining, what they often try to do is distract us from exposing whatever  that thing is that they're hiding." (Mark Goulston, A Los Angeles-based business psychiatrist and consultant and author of Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone. )

Removing toxic people will help your life run more smoothly, it will lower your stress levels, and create more room for like minded people that will help you better yourself.

So put your foot down and start making that change now. Nothing will ever change or get better if you don't.

Those we keep around regularly end up steering our direction more than we realize. Which direction do you want to go?

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