How to Deal with Negative & Toxic People

| Categories: Words from Wendy | | 35 Comments

We've all encountered negative folks.  It can leave you feeling drained and even physically exhausted!

You might even feel your energy being zapped and your mood heading south. 

It can take hours or even an entire day to start feeling "normal" again. 

So...what do we do?  How do we handle such a person?  

Here are several key steps you can take.  Remember...you do have a choice in how you react to them.

Don't partake of the negativity!

Trust me, I know how easy it is to get sucked into the negativity pit.  Watch out though...it's a pit that is hard to get out of...especially if you get too comfortable wallowing in it.
 

That being said, the truly negative folks are the ones who can take the most positive things in life and find something negative to say.  Every thing is horrible, every one is horrible, woe is me, life isn't fair and so on and so forth.

What do you do?  Well, offer them an ear...this person might just be having a bad day. 

If you begin to see that this may be their usual modus operandi...try  to switch topics.  Do not, and I repeat do NOT, engage in the negativity or you'll be sucked into the toxic tornado.  Maintain a "safe" emotional distance.

Reaffirm anything they say that IS positive.  Guide the conversation if you can.

 

Go Light and Be Light!

Some folks are "set off" by certain topics or subjects. Stay away from those topics by all means. 

Now...some folks can be negative about a sunny day with the birds chirping and a nice breeze.  The birds annoy them, the sun is too bright and the breeze is too cool.  In that case, you might say they are fully entrenched in being miserable...it's deeply rooted. 

What do I do?  I try to handle it with humor or a "light" topic.  Try to stick with what you know they actually enjoy. Disarm their negativity if you can.  In fact,...give them a heartfelt compliment if you can.  This has worked for me many times!

 

Ouch that hurt!

I've had negative people in my life who were overly critical at times and dropped insensitive comments like they were farmers sowing corn.

There was one person who was so overly critical that I started to think there was something wrong with me!  Was I not good enough?  Ouch..how could I be better? 

Over the years I noticed how this person (and several others) were like this with just about everyone. 

Most negative folks mean no harm...they just can't seem to break free from their negativity.  Yet, if it is hurting you...you do need to protect yourself.  I had to keep my distance from certain friends and relatives.  It's sad, it hurts....but you have to do what you have to do.

 

Set boundaries to protect yourself!

If someone is bringing you down you really do need to consider spending time away from that individual. 

If it is a friend or family member, I know it is much harder.  Yet, you need to remember that you do not need to answer every phone call or return every text the minute they send it.

If you're living with the negative person, consider finding ways to take a break away as much as physically possible.  Errands, outside work, hobbies...whatever...think of something :)

 

Be Happy!

We are all responsible for our own happiness.   Much of our happiness is often dependent on how others around us treat us. The mood of others often effects our mood.  Maybe we should try to be the "mood setter"

You've all heard the phrase, "If mama ain't happy, no one is happy"  Well, it's proven true more often than not (don't ask me how I know that one...lol)

I have literally watched someone change from negative to laughing when I cracked a joke, smiled or brought up something funny.  Sometimes we can have as much power or influence over the mood as the "negative" person.  Depends.

 

    You are who you hang with!

    It is said that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. It is sooo true...who you spend your time with says a lot about you and who you are.

    I have personally found this to be 100% true and as I've reached midlife, I can see how I've changed and "shifted". 

    Not that I never get grumpy...but... I am generally a happy and joyous person.  When I thought about the 5 people I spend the most time with (friend wise)...I noticed that they are all kind, caring, loving, humorous and would drop everything if I needed them. 

    It wasn't always this way.  If you had asked me several years ago to look at the 5 friends I spent the most time with it would have been a whole different list of adjectives!  Ack!   We tend to take on the negativity of others whether we realize it or not.

      

    Sometimes you must part ways!

    There are times when the negativity brings you down so far that you can't possibly have a healthy relationship.  I have had a few relationships that took the negativity to great levels of emotional pain.  It is then that I had to part ways.

    Because my time and energy were depleted by certain person(s) I had to part ways in order to protect my ability to care for myself and my family.

    Did I say anything?  No.  I just avoided them.  I had to.  It hurt...but..it hurt worse being around them.

    You have to take care of you or you won't be able to take care of anyone else. 

    I am a "fixer" and in the past I had spent a great deal of time with negative people in hopes that I could "fix" their issues.  I finally realized that it was futile most of the time.  I ended up feeling depleted, sad, miserable and in tears.

    Yes, we want to be good Christians..we want to help others.  That is what we do! 

    BUT.....take a moment and think how hard it is to change yourself and then realize it is that much harder trying to change someone else!

    If there are negative folks in your life who make you feel bad about yourself or drain you of your time and energy...try working through the advice up above.   Live life joyously and remember to pray for those who can't.

    Love and blessings, Wendy C. May God bless all of you!  You are like family to me...I send my love and prayers!
    Wendy C.

    "Mom of 13"  - Your Mommy Health and Happiness Practitioner!

     

     

     

    Please, come join me daily over at:  https://www.facebook.com/MomOf13 I love interacting with everyone!

     

     

    (PS...Before you go..don't forget to sign up for our FREE CATHOLIC SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE SERIES!  

     

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    35 Comments

    Thank you for you tips on toxic people. I have a very good friend whom I have been friends for 55 yrs. who is very toxic. I have seen other friends and even her family members distant themselves from her. She never seems to try to change her life in any way. She is very toxic to be around very negative about most things. I feel guility at times for distance myself from her because she is losing a lot of friends and I am like her last one. Besides being negative she would always put you down if she was at a party and had an audience. She would bring up things from the past, things that you would want to keep in the past but for some reason it gave her joy. I do pray for her but I still feel guilty because we have been friends for so many years.

    Posted by Nancy Nicholas on June 16, 2016

    RE: Joann-
    I had the same problem when I was working.

    One coworker; all ladies, in particular.
    I finally enrolled this woman; I knew her name in Healing Masses; sent by different associations; Franciscans, Dominicans, etc. but I never revealed it to her or sent her the card!
    After 1 yr. of sending enrollments; maybe 5 ttl;over a yr.
    she became peaceful and respectful of me and we were able to work without any more problems!
    It’s worth a try.

    Posted by Maureen. on April 22, 2016

    Thank you Wendy. I needed to hear this. Having 2 family members attack me verbally, I had to walk away. Crying for over 3 years wasn’t worth the stress it caused me. I even developed Bells Palsy with all this stress. I also was a fixer. No more. It still hurts and at times I feel guilty for walking away from these two but I had to do it for me:-) God bless you.

    Posted by Lynn Kudlak on April 22, 2016

    Very wise words, Wendy!! I hope it is ok that I printed your message out to send to my daughter in another state in the south.. A person where she works is very negative and critical of everyone else who works there. Often my daughter goes home with her self confidence shaken even though everyone else who works there compliments my daughter on her work ethic and skills, but this one woman. In addition, my daughter no longer goes to church or receives the sacraments because she is in a bad relationship with a controlling man. She stays because of her love for the only child she will ever have and is a state where she cannot legally leave and take her child. I grieve for her and pray….

    Posted by Sharon on March 03, 2016

    I read your e-mails every day and I just love you. You have helped me so much on my spiritual journey. Thank you for everything you do. Can you please help me. I live with an alcoholic. What are your thoughts on them. It is so stressful. What do you think Jesus would think of this. Thank you for all your help. Love, Anita

    Posted by anita maier on February 22, 2016

    Hi Guys,

    I know someone who is married to such a negative person who always walks on eggshells 24 hours a day even while sleeping is told to move or do somehing, but both catholic only one practises and have been married in catholic church ?everything you have said is true about the lackof energy and it takes about a day to come to normal with 2 children in marriage the kids cop it too?? the one person has always prayed even before marrying, didnt suddenly find conversion.

    What do you think?
    God Bless

    Posted by adriana on February 20, 2016

    Hi Wendy,

    I have read this message of yours days after, but it has come in at the right time when I was actually going through exactly what you had said. I feel blessed because I was in a state of confusion, but I now feel a big relief.

    Thanks Wendy.

    God bless you and your family members.

    Josephine

    Posted by Josephine Kasaija on February 12, 2016

    I do understand about negativity. I have been corrected many times by some well meaning people … that really are just pointing out all my faults. One of the hardest things to do is to pray for each of them when I am hurting. Yet, I have discovered that it is the best thing for me to do spiritually. I also have learned that through prayer especially praying the rosary that forgiveness is possible and the epeace and joy of Jesus is showered upon me abundantly and hopefully on those who are negative!
    Keep on writing helpful and inspiring articles. Thank you!

    Posted by Pam Kania on January 29, 2016

    Thanks Wendy, I am going through this right now at work. I am at my wits end. She is so negative and as you have said when you are in this everyday you start to become like this. EVERYTHING is wrong. I am going to try your suggestions hopefully it will work this year and I can smile again at work. Thanks so much jk

    PS how did you know I needed this right now!!?? The Holy Spirit working a little overtime :)

    Posted by Joanne on January 29, 2016

    Thank you Wendy for a very good article which will allow us to balance ourselves in this particular situation. The world is getting crazy as well. We will have to ask the Holy Spirit for his guidance in our own. I always prepare myself if I encounter those toxic and full of negativity people so that it will not drain or deplete my energy. I called them sucker vampires. All I have to do is imagine a great light coming from above and surround me with full force that the negativity they throw at me will bounce back to them and they will be the one to suffer. I use the “F” word: Forgive. Forgive them for they know not what they do. Thank you and God Bless you and your family.

    Posted by Antonio on September 10, 2014

    May I ask a question? What if you have a child (or two) with this sort of negative outlook on life? With one child, I always tried getting her to see the bright side of things. This did not help and I think she felt like I wasn’t listening to her or that I didn’t care about her woes. But her woes were constant. We spent YEARS trying to help her see the bright side. She is now in her mid 20’s and there has been no change. :( So, I have a son who is on the cusp of being a teenager and he’s very similar. What could I do differently with him that I didn’t do with my older daughter? I do think much of it has to do with temperament but I also feel the need to help my children not cave into toxic parts of their temperaments. All ears here!

    Posted by Jennifer on September 05, 2014

    Can I just say Thank You, for your insight.
    And for all you, and your family do. Love love to fellow your stories.

    Posted by martha on August 28, 2014

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