A Strategy to Deal With Toxic People


We were all born as pure beings, but life experiences can produce a lot of negativity in a person. While nobody’s soul is toxic, their behavior and attitude might be. We must always see the good in people, but we must also use discernment when choosing who we spend time with. There are people who can be so negative that they drag us into their negative world. How can we deal with such a negative personality or behavior without losing our own dignity and composure?

Determine Whether You Have to Deal With the Situation or Not

Choose your battles. We can’t solve every problem in life. You don’t want to get into a situation in which you become so drained by the effort that you are unable to help anyone. We must accept that as much as we want to be helpful, not every person who comes our way is our issue. If you feel you can’t achieve anything, or if the person is actually causing damage to your health, psyche, or peace of mind, maybe it’s a person you don’t have to be involved with. You can only help someone who wants to help himself.

If You Must Deal With A Toxic Personality, Respond Only In A Healthy Way

There are situations where you have no choice, whether it is a family member, coworker, or someone else who you can’t avoid. When you witness some toxic behavior, you must avoid responding in a way that is also toxic. Check your own emotions. Some toxic personalities can really press buttons and cause us to become furious. If you are in a sensitive situation it is best to step back and not get yourself immersed and involved in it. You have to be there to help, not to become part of the problem. Very often what happens is that both parties shoot off poisonous darts, and it becomes a vicious cycle. The back and forth of toxic behavior compounds the negativity.

It makes sense to try to empathize with the toxic person, but never at the expense of losing yourself. It is critical that you don’t become an enabler, a savior, or a pleaser. These are all the pathological responses to toxicity. You can protect yourself by setting certain boundaries; by responding with dignity.

Healthy People Bring Fresh Air Into a Toxic Environment

When dealing with a toxic personality, you not only have to develop a way to immunize yourself, but to bring fresh air into the picture. For example, you have a relative who is always negative and is speaking negatively in your presence, you have to maintain your calm and always say something positive like, “I don’t see it quite that way. I see a positive element.” The person may argue with you, but you have to hold your ground. Just as the toxic person always exudes negativity, the healthy person is always brings positive energy into the situation. Healthy behavior is the best way to repel, neutralize and ultimately weaken toxicity. Setting a healthy example gives the person with a toxic attitude a standard to emulate that he may not have been exposed to.

Do Your Best and Let Your Higher Power Do the Rest

A soul is never toxic. But people may have life experiences that make them very angry and resentful. That does not justify their behavior. We have to try to connect to the pure part of that person’s soul and elicit in him or her a way to find positivity. Try to help him rebuild by finding something he could hold on to, such as things he enjoys doing and could come home and feel proud about. As stated, this requires care, empathy, and boundaries. You do what you can do, and then turn it over to your Higher Power to do the rest. You can only do your best — in the end the person must be willing to help himself.


Go deeper into this subject: Before You Get Outraged, Do This, Abusive ParentsMyLife: Chassidus Applied Episode 40

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This is an excerpt from: The Student Anti-Violence Walk Out: A Spiritual Perspective On The Power of Youth

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7 years ago

Thank you Just what I needed to hear today. good stuff

3 years ago
Reply to  Tina

I recall reading that a person “convinced against their will is of their opinion ever still”
. “Do good and follow the Commandments for that is the whole of Law”

So I try ……..and I keep picking myself up………Blessings to all, truly….

4 years ago

I am not sure how to say this. When I deal with folks who suffer from TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome), they are impossibly toxic and nothing I say or do ( I try to be constructive and nice) diverts them from their hostility I have been called a Nazi, a bastard, etc. I wish there was something I could do or say to open a constructive, meaningful and positive dialogue , but alas, to no avail.

Reuben Green
4 years ago
Reply to  Richard

I try to express my position very briefly – knowing that the other side wont agree, and that it will try to prove me wrong. I listen and wait, and once the other side is done, i repeat my position once again, and finish by saying: “We see things differently”. I have 2 objectives: (1) To express my Truth; (2) To plant the seed of my belief in the mind of the other person, hoping it will create dissonance inside him, making him rethink his position – but knowing its a process- and therefore not expecting the other side to be sensible immediately.

4 years ago
Reply to  Reuben Green

I typically use that approach, to no avail. Too many folks suffer from cognitive dissonance. Part of it comes from our educational system which is too often very narrow.

Reuben Green
4 years ago
Reply to  Richard

You need patience with this. And beyond “convincing” the other side, the objective here is to express your Truth -as you see it. Not to remain silent, and to voice your opinion gently and firmly.

11 months ago

So well said! Will share and re-read. Very blessed to have you all and all you do. Thank you and Moshiach now! 🙂

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