Toxic People. We all have them! They manipulate people and situations to their advantage. This happened to me a few years ago. A situation occurred where I was manipulated by a toxic person, who took advantage of me, and created an extremely difficult, absurd, harmful nightmare that has since caused me extreme psychological anguish . Furthermore, it would never have taken place had it been any other compassionate human being. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to me, this person was toxic. I have yet to recover from the experience. But, I realize that even the most painful, hurtful, and unhappy life experiences are learning experiences. I learned that when a toxic person is at the helm, you may not be able to change what they do. But, and there is a big But, you can change what you do with it, and you can change your belief that this toxic somebody is getting away with it. Learning to spot a toxic’s harmful behavior is the first step to minimizing the impact they have on you!
I was hurt, and I was the one who had to keep adjusting my behavior to avoid being hurt. The toxic person exhibited a behavior, done subtly. The classic behavior had a classic response “it’s not me, it’s them” – meaning I was the problem, not the toxic person. Had I been aware that this was harmful behavior, it could have taken steps to minimize it’s impact on me. Instead, I felt fear, guilt, and I began to doubt myself. I should have asked myself these questions, “what is the situation that is making me feel resentful, and stressed?” “What am I doing?” “What is the other person doing?” I was afraid to challenge the toxic’s opinion. I also didn’t want the toxic to feel I was being disrespectful. I didn’t want the person to feel tense. I am a non-confrontational person. I always try to keep the peace. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I try to please everyone. That is my nature. I learned a hard lesson. Stop trying to please the toxic person! I am not responsible for any one else’s feelings.
I was manipulated. I felt like I owed the toxic something. I learned that I don’t owe anybody anything. If it doesn’t feel like a favor, it’s not! The toxic will act like their feelings are yours! They won’t own their feelings. It is called projection, because they are projecting their feelings onto you! I was justifying and defending myself, and this was going around in circles because it was not about me! I learned that you have to be clear on what’s yours and what’s theirs. If you feel like you are defending yourself too many times against accusations or questions that don’t fit, you are being projected onto. Remember – you don’t have to explain, justify or defend yourself or even deal with a misfired accusation. Remember that! Also remember, they will never apologize, so there is no point in arguing. They’ll twist the story, change the way it happened, and retell it so convincingly that they’ll believe their own nonsense. But also remember that people don’t have to apologize to be wrong. And YOU don’t need an apology to just move forward – without them.
Don’t let toxic people dampen or shrink you down to their size – you don’t need their approval or anyone’s for that matter! They will exaggerate! Don’t buy into it. They are judgmental. We all get it wrong sometimes – but toxic people make you know it. They’ll judge you and take a swipe at your self-esteem, suggesting you are “less than” because you made a mistake. We are ALL ALLOWED TO MAKE A MISTAKE! Furthermore – unless we’ve done something that affects them – nobody has the right to Stand In Judgement!
Toxic people will work hard to play up your flaws and play down your strengths. It’s how they get their power! What should we do? Own our strengths and weaknesses. We’re all messy, beautiful, brilliant works in progress. Once you are aware of your flaws, nobody can use them against you!
You can’t change a toxic person. You also can’t reason with a toxic person ( that’s one of the things that make them toxic.) Remember- to them it is always about them! And it always will be. Decide that sometimes you are going to make it about you. You must cultivate and rely on your personal power. Personal Power is everything to do with what you believe, and nothing to do with what (the toxic person) thinks! Go around a toxic person to set your own rules and accept that the toxic person doesn’t need to accept your rules for you to have the power. Be empowered by your motives. You are doing what you are doing- not because you are a victim of their manipulation – but instead you are gaining some control over the situation. Understand why they are seeing whatever they see in you. Toxic people will see in others what they don’t want to acknowledge about themselves.
Don’t be a victim. Don’t be anyone’s victim. Be the one with boundaries, the strength, the smarts, the power to make the decisions that will help you thrive. Never bend to someone else’s will. You are amazing, strong, and powerful. You are nobody’s victim! Nobody’s!
I am trying to focus on solutions, and not the person who made my life a living hell, to learn how to put the “nightmare”, and the trauma, to rest. There is no point in dwelling on the person’s negative behavior, there is too much there to focus on and it will never make sense to me. anyway.
I’ve learned to surround myself with people who will give as much as I do. I choose the ones who I’ll open my heart to. I am not afraid to let them know what they mean to me.
It’s not an easy thing to forgive.
Forgive, yes. But I’ll never ever forget!!!!!!! Forgiveness is about letting go of our expectations that things will be different. You will never be able to control the past! But, you can control how much power the past has to impact your future.
However, forgiveness does not mean you are now accepting the behavior or you that you approve of the behavior. It means that you are not going to be controlled by the behavior anymore. Forgiveness is something done in strength with an abundance of self-love.
Never forget the way people treat you, for better or for worse, and use that to help you live your life with clarity and resolve. Had I known to look for signs that the person I was dealing with was toxic, I would be in a better place now. Since we all will run across toxic people at some point in our lives, here are the signs. Beware and find your personal strength so that nobody will be able to manipulate you!