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What to Do About That Difficult Person in Your Life

Difficult and toxic people are everywhere! You may have a parent, friend, sibling, or spouse who tries to control or manipulate you, is not happy for your good fortune, puts you in the position of always having to prove your love (but it’s never enough), makes any problems your fault, (perhaps they say you are too sensitive, too serious, too whatever), and who in countless ways diminishes you as a person. You may wonder if you married a narcissist, or if your mother has Borderline Personality Disorder. Before we go on, let me state for the record that everyone makes mistakes and has faults because we are all human. BUT in a healthy relationship there is give and take. One person is not always the bad guy. If you think you are in a relationship with a toxic person, you need to know some things.

  1. Very often, toxic people gravitate to caring, open and understanding people. They want someone who will work hard to try to save the relationship. The fact that you have a toxic person in your life does not mean there’s anything wrong with you. It’s not you…it’s THEM.
  2. Toxic people can change, but it is very, very unlikely. If any change occurs, it will not be because of anything you have done or said.

So, what do you do?  ell, first of all, you understand that if you expect certain things out of a relationship with a toxic person, you will be at best disappointed and at worst decimated. You will not get support, love and understanding. They will try to control and diminish you. Understand this.  If you choose to leave the relationship, you do not have to feel guilty. You may still love the person and wish all good things for them, but it may not be possible for you to stay in a relationship without having your life basically ruined. No matter how much you care for someone else, you are responsible for taking care of yourself. If you gave every ounce of your blood and plasma, it would not help them, and you would be dead. However, if you choose to stay, (there are valid reasons), be very clear about your own boundaries. The toxic person will not like your boundaries…AT ALL, and will most likely do all in his/her power to breach them at every opportunity.  Just expect this. And start taking very good care of yourself. Some of that wonderful love and understanding you have to give needs to be directed towards yourself, where it will do some good! The takeaway of being in a relationship with a toxic person is that you develop very good boundaries, and you understand that the only person you can change on this earth is yourself. And those are two very valuable gifts.

Remember, all relationships have difficulties, and all people have faults. However, if you have a toxic person in your life, you are going to need special skills to be able to navigate a very different landscape than you need for a healthy relationship. Seeing a qualified counselor would be a good place to start.