Toxic Behaviour: Ways To Develop Effective Coping Mechanisms

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Many of us are often faced with unpleasant people. Sometimes we are not even able to figure out why we feel exhausted after communicating with them. For instance, a co-worker who acts like a know-it-all and keeps dismissing our ideas. Or a friend who has been acting bossy, a partner who is constantly criticizing or picking on us, but when we are trying to object.

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Sooner or later comes the awareness that, maybe, we are not always guilty in this relationship. What we really feel is hurt, no matter who this person is – a friend, a co-worker, a parent or a spouse. What is even more important, it is unclear what to do in this situation.

Of course, it might be easy to cut out an unwanted new acquaintance, but what should we do about the toxic people in our family or someone we just can’t avoid?

In general, there are some people who are skilled at recognizing toxic behavior and manage to find ways to deal with it. These are usually people who are more confident about their self-worth and have a healthy attachment style. It might be more difficult for people who are less confident and generally more insecure. The good news is that it is possible to develop the necessary skills to build the personal boundaries.

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Here are several useful strategies that may help avoid or deal with toxic people.

Set limits

People become toxic when they start disrespecting other's boundaries. They are willing to control people and situations. And even though we can’t control them, we can control the time and efforts we spend on that specific person. Trying to keep interactions brief and topics light are good ideas. Talking about the weather and immediately running away as fast as possible is a smart strategy when dealing with toxic people at work.

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Avoid direct confrontation

Unfortunately, toxic people don’t respond well to criticism, and direct battle can only escalate the tension. A good idea is rating grievances and misunderstandings on a scale of 1 to 10. For example, if your partner criticizes your cooking is might be a 5, but if he says something bad about you looks, it might be a 10. Things that are lower than 8, probably, aren’t worth fighting about. This way, it is possible to avoid confrontations. 

Distance from toxic people

Rising above the situation is not easy, when toxic people know your pain spots. But merely recognizing that the person is toxic might make us less vulnerable to their words and actions. Realizing that such people don’t have our best interest in mind may help us distance from them and not worry too much about their opinions.

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Stop justifying toxic behaviour

Insecurely attached people often find excuses and rationalize toxic people’s behaviour. They often think, “He didn’t really mean it” or “She didn’t realize that she’d hurt me by saying that”. It happens due to the general lack of trust in themselves and their own opinions. If we find ourselves justifying such behaviour, it is time to stop and think why we are doing that and try to avoid this pattern in the future.

Activate the support

Finding friends and people who generally share our views and are like-minded is an immense help is overcoming grievances and pain. Simply talking and sharing with someone, who we can trust, has a therapeutic effect, and if they remind us how actually awesome we are, chances are we might feel more confident about ourselves!

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READ ALSO: Ways To Recognize, Regulate, And Accept Our Emotions

Of course, these skills and coping mechanisms can’t be developed in one go, but, hopefully, with a fresh look on the situation, we will be able to reassess it and change it for the better!

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