Chances are, you know at least one toxic person whether through work or family or friendships. They can be difficult, mean, manipulative, or even sickeningly sweet to get what they want. You feel exhausted after spending any time with them because of their self-absorption, tendency to create drama, dishonesty, lack of compassion, or manipulation. Everything is about them, and they are happy to suck all the energy and attention in the room toward themselves. If you feel worse after having spent time with someone, they are likely to have one or more of these toxic traits.
While I am not a mental health expert, I have spent my fair share of time around people who’ve drained my energy like Colin Robinson does on What We Do in the Shadows (FX show you should watch if you like comical vampires). I don’t always manage to get out of their snares of energy vampiry (is this a word? I don’t know), but I have figured out a few ways to mitigate their effects on me. Maybe my amateur tips can help you too.
- Understand you cannot change them. Toxic people are usually toxic because of some unhealed wound inside themselves. Until they are ready to sit down and take a good look at why they do what they do, they will continue merrily down their path of self-centeredness. You can only control yourself.
- You cannot “kill them with kindness.” If you think you can love these people into changing their ways, please know that you can’t. Most people can be reasoned with, and their empathy and compassion will help you reach a mutually desirable outcome. It’s not so with toxic people. Mainly because they are unable to see that their behavior is having a negative effect on others.
- Try not to get pulled into their drama. Maintaining space and neutrality in the face of someone’s meanness is the best way to save your own sanity. This can be hard, especially if the person is continually trying to draw you into a fight. Your peace is more important than having the last word or getting sucked into their crap.
- Ignore them. If at all possible, ignore them. Many toxic people crave attention and will do anything – negative or positive – to get it. We all know kids tantrum to get what they want; adults can “tantrum” too. It’s not cute. Ignoring them not only keeps your peace, it will show them that their shitty behavior won’t work on you. This forces them to go elsewhere for their supply.
- Care for yourself first. If you know you’re going to have to interact with a toxic person, be sure to take some deep breaths beforehand. Use visualization to throw up a bubble of protective, white light around yourself. Learn how to raise your energetic vibration through diet, gratitude practice, grounding, breathwork, etc. When you are vibing at at higher level, it’s much easier not to hear the toxic “noise.”
Again, I am not a mental health expert, but I do know that when I am balanced within myself and keep these things in mind, I have a lot easier time ignoring toxicity. It is not always easy! I get hurt, angry, and wounded just like everyone else. And when someone is going out of their way to be a jerk, it can be really hard to ignore.
In the end, you have to look out for you. And if that’s what you’re focusing on, you can move past any Colin Robinson with ease.