How to Deal with Negative & Toxic People

January 27, 2016 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!  

     

    Guidance by our friend the late Fr. Kilian McGowan.  Head over here for a life changing experience...our gift!




    35 Responses

    Nancy Nicholas
    Nancy Nicholas

    June 16, 2016

    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.

    Maureen.
    Maureen.

    April 22, 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.

    Lynn Kudlak
    Lynn Kudlak

    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.

    Sharon
    Sharon

    March 03, 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….

    anita maier
    anita maier

    February 22, 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

    adriana
    adriana

    February 20, 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

    Josephine Kasaija
    Josephine Kasaija

    February 12, 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

    Pam Kania
    Pam Kania

    January 29, 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!

    Joanne
    Joanne

    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 :)

    Antonio
    Antonio

    September 10, 2014

    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.

    Jennifer
    Jennifer

    September 05, 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!

    martha
    martha

    August 28, 2014

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

    Margaret
    Margaret

    August 25, 2014

    Thanks Wendy, great advice. I am still working on this and I hope to use the
    advice in your email. God bless you.

    Rosetta
    Rosetta

    August 23, 2014

    Hi Wendy, thank you for this great article. It was perfect timing for me as well. I have dealt with this in my own family, especially my own Mother. I finally realize that I can’t fix people. I can’t even fix myself! I am still dealing with some negative folks in my family. So I have turned it over to God. All I do is love them and pray for them. God has shown me this through many tears in my lifetime. But time is short here on earth and I am to make Christ known by loving others even the ones that are negative. But I find distance can be good. The negativity of others can undo all the progress I have made ( through spiritual counseling ) if I let it, but it doesn’t take long before God shows me who I am in Him. I love God so much and He doesn’t want me to get swallowed up in negativity. I choose my friends wisely. And by the way I saw my Mother accept Jesus before she passed away. She and I became very close before she died. So God healed our relationship and I didn’t have to fix it. And I will see her again in heaven. So I say “Let Go and Let God”. Thank you Wendy and God bless you and your family.
    Love in Christ,
    Rosetta

    Diane
    Diane

    August 23, 2014

    Needed to read this article today. It was a God-sent! Your wisdom and guidance are most definitely from the Holy Spirit. Can’t wait to check my email daily to read your words of wisdom. I don’t think you will ever realize all the people you help, but God certainly does. Keep up the good work. He isn’t done with you yet. He is smiling and saying “Well done my good and faithful servant”. God bless you and your awesome family!

    Patty
    Patty

    August 23, 2014

    Great Article Wendy!!!! I wish I could apply your principles in my life. I am my Mother’s caregiver……….she is with me constantly. She is very sad, negative, ect…… Finding it difficult to even pray………I’ll see how the Lord will guide me with your article.

    May God Bless You!!!!

    tk
    tk

    August 22, 2014

    This is a very good article. As a matter of fact, I used some of the advice given here with a negative co-worker today.

    Two points to consider:
    1) Sometimes a negative person can be a depressed person and if it is someone close to you and you feel you can, encourage them to seek help. It can be a matter of life or death as we recently saw with a beloved celebrity.

    2) If you are married to a negative or toxic person, it can be especially difficult and while spending time away might be necessary for your own well-being, parting ways may not be an option.

    Mary Lou
    Mary Lou

    August 22, 2014

    The Holy Spirit led me to your article today. I am grateful for the heavenly permission to walk away from some painful members in my family. I am beginning to feel a wonderfully blessed freedom in letting go and surrounding myself with only those who walk a more spiritual road. Now why didn’t I do this sooooo many years ago. I feel that my life will take on a more positive spin and you’re right certain people just can’t change.

    God Bless!
    Mary Lou

    Louise
    Louise

    August 22, 2014

    Wow….just what I needed to hear this morning! I have been struggling with this and I have walk away from some just for the sake of peace…yet I kept beating myself up thinking I was a bad person. I pray for those that I walked away from and hope they will find true peace and love in their lives. Thanks again and may God continue to bless you and yours. Have a great day!

    narcisa martinez
    narcisa martinez

    August 22, 2014

    great advice

    Gabrielle
    Gabrielle

    August 22, 2014

    This is a great article! thank you for posting it!

    Renee
    Renee

    August 22, 2014

    This is something that I needed to read. God bless you, Wendy.

    barbara s.
    barbara s.

    August 22, 2014

    Great advice Wendy! Years ago, had to distance myself from my own mother because she was always negative and made me feel bad about myself. Knew she was unhappy and tried (without success) to make things better. It was one of the most painful times of my life! Thank you for your article. Thoroughly love your apostolate and pray for you. God Bless you and your family.

    Pat E.
    Pat E.

    August 22, 2014

    Hi Wendy,

    Great article! It was worth waiting for! !

    Pat E.

    Melba
    Melba

    August 22, 2014

    Thank you, Wendy! I’ve seen that you are correct. I believe the toxic negative people are being influenced by a negative spirit. And you are right- it’s crucial NOT to participate in it – or else it snowballs. And being really positive can often turn it around. Thank you for your kind words of wisdom. Blessed be the Lord!

    Donna Conneen
    Donna Conneen

    August 21, 2014

    Wendy….wow…the timing on this couldn’t be better!!! I just pulled myself through a very negitive situation with my boss who I thought was my friend. Through talking to my life coach n now reading this I feel so much better.I know that I cannot react to the negativity but instead smile laugh n know I am a good positive person. Thank you Wendy! Blessings :)

    Terry
    Terry

    August 21, 2014

    Thanks, Wendy! Very well done!
    Your sister in Christ always,
    Terry

    Mary Eileen
    Mary Eileen

    August 21, 2014

    Had an encounter with a toxic neighbor. Your note the next morning was great help. Now I am faced with request to document encounter and marina manager wants to send tough letter. Not sure if I overreacted and should back off or follow through. She has verbally accosted others in similar manner. Please pray I make the right choice. Thank you for being there.

    Maria Lourdes
    Maria Lourdes

    August 21, 2014

    My exact sentiments.
    Thanks Wendy.
    God bless.

    crescentia Anderson
    crescentia Anderson

    August 21, 2014

    Hi Wendy,

    Greetings from Australia and Papua New Guinea.

    Thank you for your encouragement I really enjoyed reading your article and will share it with other brothers and sisters.

    Keep up the good work.

    God bless

    Crescentia

    Barbara
    Barbara

    August 21, 2014

    This article is great. I have been experiencing this in my life. The Lord has been showing me exactly what you confirmed in your article. Thank you

    Patsy
    Patsy

    August 21, 2014

    Very helpful tips coming at the perfect time. Thank you, Wendy!

    Lisa Duda
    Lisa Duda

    August 21, 2014

    Wendy! You are AWESOME! Your article is the Salve that heals my nerves! Thank You!!!!

    Preston W.
    Preston W.

    August 21, 2014

    You help so many of us. I can’t thank you enough. Your writing is inspiring, your formulations are Holy Spirit inspired and you’re all around inspirational. A light in this dark world.

    Tammy
    Tammy

    August 21, 2014

    As usual, you nailed it Wendy. Thank you and God bless you for being you.

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