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5 Effective Ways of dealing with Toxic People

Updated: Mar 14


artwork @viktorhertz

The sad reality is that toxic people are common; we all come across them at one point or another.


The boss who wants to discredit your achievements, the friend who injects pessimism into every situation, or the family member who enjoys pushing your buttons. Some of them seem to be unaware of their damaging impact on people around them, others thrive on creating chaos and causing upset.


While it’s impossible to avoid such people in our lives, it is important to protect yourself from their influence. Especially, as recent studies have shown that stress caused by interaction with toxic individuals can have a lasting, negative impact on one’s brain and really hurt your productivity and performance.


It is very useful to have some tested techniques on hand.

Here are five of the best.


1. Distance yourself and stick to the facts

Don’t waste your time on trying to understand or explain their behavior. It is not possible simply because they operate in an irrational way. This is why in order to stay in control, you should distance yourself from toxic individuals emotionally and don’t let them mess with your emotions. Otherwise you are throwing yourself in their emotional chaos.

2. Don’t let them steal your joy

Don’t allow toxic individuals to control your happiness. For this reason train yourself to take other people comments with a pinch of salt, remembering that while everyone may voice their opinions, and in case of toxic individuals snide remarks, they have no bearing on your abilities and talents. They don’t, unless you let them.

3. Steer away from negative thoughts & focus on positive

Where you invest your focus and attention dictates your emotional state. Instead of dwelling on the situation caused by the toxic person and their crazy behavior, and therefore multiplying negative thoughts, focus on ways that will help you grow as an individual and improve your current position. Such an approach will help you to get back in control and feel stronger when facing toxic individuals.

4. Use interaction with toxic people for your personal growth

Focus your attention on lessons that you can derive from this situation. Your lesson may be to learn how to establish better boundaries or perhaps remembering to distance yourself from opinions of others. If you approach it that way, next time around you may deal with a similar situation in a more effective way.


5. Use your support network

Don’t try tackling the situation entirely on your own. In order to successfully deal with toxic people, you need to distance yourself from the approach you are taking and consider it in a critical way.  And what a better way of doing it then discussing the situation with somebody who is there to help. Identify the key individuals in your support network and get their insight on the situation. It will be invaluable, as their perspective is much clearer and their solutions much more straightforward, all because they haven’t invested their emotions in the toxic situation.



The only way to master your approach towards toxic individuals is to repeat the best practice behaviors over and over. With consistent, practical implementation of such behaviors you will eventually train your brain to handle toxic people and associated stress much more effectively.

MARY McILROY

Counsellor in London Bridge, the City of London & Muswell Hill

Telephone & Online Service


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