― Steve Maraboli
We have all had (or still have) a poisonous person in our lives. And many of us, including myself, have been that toxic person. Poisonous people leave us feeling self-conscious, sad, depleted and frustrated. And although most aren’t doing it purposeful, they still do it.
I remember going through my divorce years ago and feeling overwhelmed and alone. When friends reached out to help, instead of being grateful, I felt as if nobody could ever understand and I simply pushed them away by complaining, making excuses and spouting jealousies. I was the poisonous one. I didn’t want to hang out with me!One of my friends, who I was depleting, flat out pointed out my behavior. Of course I didn’t take it well. I vowed for them to never be a friend again, because a friend would understand the circumstances. But after I did some soul searching and found that I needed to purge the past in order to move forward, I made the humble call and extended an apology, asking forgiveness. I would have understood if my friend hung up on me, but the friendship was real and it was true and it was savored. And I did a lot of work purging the poison from my soul to become a better friend, and a healthier and happier person.
Poisonous people exist within our family, our friendship circle, our church, our workplace and can even be our spouse. Sometimes we are so used to being in the situation, or being the poison, that we don’t even recognize it.
How to Spot a Poisonous Person
- Jealousy – They are jealous of your successes and happy when you fall flat on your face, rather than help pick you up.
- Unreliability – They make promises to you that they rarely keep.
- Constant Complaining – No matter what it is, they find a reason to complain. They focus on the black cloud rather than the rainbow.
- It’s All About Them – Whatever that is happening in their life is far more important than what is happening in your life. They can’t relate that another has experienced anything closely related.
- Guilty – They make you feel guilty and often use reverse psychology, making you feel as if you are the one who is the bad apple in the relationship, or it was you who didn’t do enough. A healthy relationship won’t ask you to sacrifice who you are and make you doubt your own being.
- They Pretend to be Ambitious – You will often hear a poisonous person talk about wanting to do this or that and yet the wanting and the wishing typically doesn’t come to fruition. If you call them out on it, there are plenty of excuses as to why it just wouldn’t have worked.
- They Drain You – They can physically make you sick and drain you of your energy.
Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.
~Booker T. Washington
How to Detox Yourself from a Poisonous Person
- Speak Up – It may not go well, but if there are more withdrawals being done, rather than deposits – it may be time to speak up about it. Speak your truth in a gentle and loving way. Offer suggestions as to how the relationship might need to be fostered, for both of you. Expect both guilt and anger with the discussion.
- Set Boundaries – If you don’t set boundaries, you allow the poison to keep infiltrating into your psyche. By enforcing the boundaries, whether physical or emotional, it helps you clear your mind and detox to see if the person is really worthy of staying in your circle.
- Walk Away – Saying goodbye is painful, but poisonous people block your own happiness and poison your spirit. Love yourself in order to create a more peaceful environment around and within you. By eliminating that which you cannot change, change what you can. You cannot save them, you can only love them and you can continue to do that by walking away.
Remember that you cannot fix anyone. You cannot be their hero. Some people create their own storms and then get mad when it rains. Parasitic people will take and take until you have nothing to give them, and then they move on. Letting go of what is unhealthy doesn’t make you a bad person – it only means that you are finally seeing that you deserve a good and healthy life.