Toxic relationships in your family and at work are no joke, but it does help to keep your attitude “light” so you can see new things to try. I know how hard it can be to feel like you’re at a dead end with family members who are simply sooooo dysfunctional, aggressive and mean. They’re a huge stress to be around!
And yet, when it’s your family or some other relationship that you cannot completely disengage from, it’s in your best interest to find ways to cope. Right?
Btw, thank you to the valued subscriber (I never give out names, remember?) who wrote me a private question at askevelynbrooks.com about how to deal with toxic and dysfunctional siblings! I hope this post gives you some food for thought.
If you have a question for me about relationships, I’ll try my best to give you a fantastic post about it here– June is “stressful relationships” month at this blog!
Back to toxicity, here are some tips to get you started with new ways to combat it:
- Choose your battles. Don’t let “them” engage you in petty quarrels and squabbling. Rise above it (even if you’re annoyed inside), smile and say politely, “I think we’ll just end up fighting, so let’s agree to disagree on this topic!” Save the serious discussions for issues that are, well, serious to YOU. Again, don’t let them draw you into their own battles. Refuse to be the mediator or referee — if that’s a role you’ve already had for years, it’s never too late to retire from it with a cheerful “no thanks, I’m done with that” comment.
- Recognize that people who are toxic don’t even realize it. They think YOU are the problem because they can’t control you the way they’d like! Imagine them as a scorpion dancing around, that poisonous tail darting near you again and again. You’d get out of the way, wouldn’t you? They are acting out their anger, frustration, discouragement… and their STRESS… at your expense. Disengage. Walk away. No slamming of doors, just politely say something like, “I can see you’re upset, so why don’t we discuss this at a later time?” Then remove yourself from their vicinity. Don’t wait for them to agree with you — if you linger on the phone or in person, they will simply keep on going with their own agenda and you’ll be trapped (yet again, right?)
- Give up the idea of changing the other person. A great myth we end up falling for time and again in toxic relationships is that “if only” we can explain ourselves and our position the “right way” the other person (or people) will suddenly get it! Have you gotten stuck in this thinking: you chase an imaginary day you can see on the horizon where everything will finally (after YEARS of strife) be happy and harmonious with this other person because you composed exactly the right email to them, or you said what you wanted to say in the exact words that got through their virtual deafness. This mental game keeps you stuck and stressed. Give it up, for your own peace of mind. Let the other person go live their life the unhappy and sick way they’ve chosen.
- When you start a new pattern of: 1.pause — 2. consider what they just said/did — 3. think about it — 4. respond ….. what happens is that you retrain the mind of the most important person in your life: YOU! As you slowly detach yourself from all their drama and crazymaking, you will be able to breathe easier. You’ll be able to slough off all the tension that being around them brings you. You’ll be able to see how sad and immature they are, and so their words and actions won’t even hurt you anymore — you’ll view their tantrums the same way you would if a two-year-old suddenly kicked up a fuss. In other words, you’ll detach with love from the crazy people in your life, and evolve yourself to a higher plane!
It’s true. And– with patience and persistence– these steps really do work. I know, because I’m writing these blogs based on my own life experiences. 🙂
your happiness guru,