Have you ever met people in whose presence you find it difficult to breathe? Is it getting unbearably stuffy, as if oxygen had been pumped out of the air? This is how toxicity manifests itself. What are toxic people like, how to recognize them and protect yourself?
This is a person, who is often in a bad, depressed mood, or in chronic melancholy. He doesn’t seem to have enough energy to take care of his own life from start to finish.
He blames anyone but himself for his failures, and instead of healthy communication, he communicates with methods of passive aggression. The victim does not speak directly if something does not suit him: he is not able to say “no” and delineate the boundaries. Instead, he is silent, sabotaging, avoiding answers. You literally want to give this person a shake.
It is important for victims that those around them should reflect the aggression they cannot express. Therefore, they behave in such a way that they are able to infuriate even Mother Teresa.
Rescuers are people who love to do good things. They give recommendations, valuable advice and guidance, tell you how to proceed, and are ready to come up with hundreds of options for solving your questions. Even when you don’t ask them.
Everything would be all right, but the point is that they see the interlocutor as the victim. As soon as you enter a close interaction with the “rescuer”, you will begin to lose strength, the ability to solve problems on your own and the desire to take responsibility. Another option for the outcome of such communication is the need to constantly protect one’s autonomy, spending a lot of energy on it.
A controller (aggressor)
The name speaks for itself. Controllers are people who, in their desire to take control of another person’s decisions, go beyond acceptable limits: they raise their voices, say personal stuff, etc. If people they are “in charge of” do not act in accordance with their vision of the problem, controllers lose their temper, forcing others by hook or crook to do what they need.
But the main feature of such people is that they never feel satisfied. Zones of control are growing and aggression is becoming increasingly unhealthy.
This is a collective image that unites people who constantly devalue others: their ideas, achievements, thoughts, intentions. They always know what to do best, they always comment on it, condemning others. Of course, not just like that, but for the purpose of self-affirmation.
They raise their self-esteem by expressing non-constructive criticism. In the depths of their souls, there is a great lack of self-confidence, which makes it difficult to understand that each person is valuable by the fact of his existence. There are no specific rules for how to live, and no one is safe from making mistakes.
When communicating with a critic, you need to remember the main thing: if someone granted himself the right to give a psychological assessment, everything this person says is 99% related to him, and not to you.
Dialogues with a “switched-off” person look like this:
– Do you want anything?
– I don’t care.
– Do you want to go there?
– I don’t know.
– What time is convenient for you?
– Whatever time you choose. I don’t know.
– OK. I booked a table at a Mexican restaurant at 19:00.
– Well … I didn’t really want to go there.
– Where do you want to go?
– I’m telling you – I don’t care!
When you ask for a decision, the person doesn’t care. If you ask something, they do not know. When you fulfill your desires, they make it clear that you have not tried hard enough.
Toxicity lies in the fact that you have to constantly think instead of someone else, take responsibility not only for yourself but also for your partner, urgently change plans so as not to ruin the evening. All this takes a lot of energy and nerves.
How to deal with toxic people?
The strategy of behavior with each type of the above people is approximately the same.
Step one. To understand that each victim needs his own aggressor, each rescuer needs his own victim, and the controller needs his own switched-off person. If you find yourself in a long-term relationship with one of them, it’s time to answer the question: what do I not see in myself, since I need such communication?
Step two. Be very delicate and delineate your boundaries. You will have to follow specific behavioral tactics with each type of toxic person.
With the victim: “I cannot help you if you continue to communicate in this manner: be silent, laugh at my words and give short answers.”
With the rescuer: “Your opinion is valuable to me, I will take it into account! Thanks”.
With the controller: “Thank you for your concern! I am confident in my decision and fully accept all the responsibility for making it.”
With the critic: “If you have any criticism for me, then it must be constructive. If not, I would prefer to realize my plans the way I see them.”
With the switched-off person: “If you reject it, offer something instead. Let’s spend the evening the way you want.”
Step three. If your partner does not try to find a constructive solution to conflicts, retreat to a safe distance.
Whether or not to engage in close interaction with a toxic person is only a matter of your awareness. You need to understand that other people cannot dictate to you how to live. If you are comfortable in a relationship, this is your choice. At any time, you can refuse to communicate or use the tactics of behavior that will “neutralize” a toxic person.