Toxic people are bad for your mental health. Although it’s easy to avoid these people in your random interactions with strangers, it’s tougher when your friends and family are the ones emanating negativity. Here’s how to eliminate these problem people from your life and establish boundaries that promote wellness.
First up, the narcissist. Narcissists are obsessed with themselves and they usually have inflated ideas of self-worth, a constant need for attention and a lack of empathy or understanding of other people’s feelings. Narcissists can be difficult to deal with since they often deny reality and refuse to acknowledge you at all.
One way to handle narcissists without cutting them off entirely is to set communication boundaries, like limiting visits to once a month or limited phone calls to text messages. Be forewarned, however, people who are suddenly given boundaries commonly hang on even tighter or engage in new behavior designed to get your attention. Don’t cave in; in this situation, you have to insist upon the boundaries or end the relationship.
The “Debbie Downer”
Debbie Downers are inherently negative about every situation in their lives. They aren’t content, however, to live in their own negativity – instead they want you to go with them. These are the people in your life who complain about everything. If you are surrounded by these people at work or in a volunteer group, just steer clear of these conversations. This doesn’t mean never speaking to the person; it simply means avoid difficult conversations and resist the temptations to join in or try to solve Debbie Downer’s problems.
Next, consider if you are surrounded by “dependents.” These are the friends who desperately need your emotional support and have a tendency to cling. They usually want to spend every spare moment with you. This is exhausting emotionally. They might not even realize that they are draining you, but the result is always the same: you feel exhausted by the interactions
Since you don’t want to hurt the person, the best thing to do is insist on time limits. If you’re going out to a movie, make sure you part after the movie. If the person wants to cling, you must enforce the time limits. How much time is enough? Decide how much exposure to the dependent you can stand and don’t go over and above it.
The “Drama Queen”
The “drama queen” is one of the most difficult people to deal with at home or at work. These people love creating chaos. Whereas most of us do not like conflict, the drama queen will enjoy living on a roller coaster. What you need to understand is that you do not need to go on the ride with them. Their feelings and emotions will change frequently, but it is not your job to worry about them. Remember, since their emotions will change fast, it does you no good to try to “fix” the problems of the drama queen. Instead, worry only about yourself.
Do not engage too deeply with these people. If they challenge you at work, they may be doing it just to create chaos. Ignore them. Do not get into an argument with a person who loves to argue.