Here we are at flu season again, when all of those toxic germs decide to invade. It comes on strong some years, jumping in before we’ve even gotten our flu shot. This happened to both a friend and my son – the flu virus before fall rolls around sounds pretty toxic to me.
I am quite familiar with toxicity. Not just from years of my own health’s invasions, but from being around emotional toxicity too. That’s the worst form because it can latch on and never quit. Not like a sickness that eventually goes away, emotionally toxicity when it’s in our airspace can cause some serious harm.
Nobody can really identify what causes a toxic personality – whether it’s short lived from some temporary circumstance or if it’s truly inborn – but it’s identifiable and real because it’s something when we’re around it we feel. It’s as draining and debilitating as a virus or the flu. And like that, everybody encounters it at some point in their lives.
Sir Husband and I were recently exposed to an invasion of emotional toxicity from someone, and for years during each interaction with her we got sucked into a dark place.
That feeling of being pulled into a pit that makes us feel sick, that’s what is referred to as toxic. We don’t need a Merriam-Webster definition, what defines toxic is strictly personal. We know it when we feel it, like getting an unwelcome shot.
It doesn’t matter the reasons or the rationale, realistically dealing with a toxic personality is hard, ugly, it’s stressful and it hurts. But how do we get away from it when an unhealthy entanglement runs deep? It’s not so easy to do. Or is it?
We go through life with our belief system of what is or isn’t right, what should or shouldn’t be, we feel good or bad based on our situations, we work to balance our external world with our internal one – it’s a ongoing process at best. But when someone tries to manipulate or force their beliefs on us, or tries to make us be someone we’re not, demand we comply with them, judge us for being ourselves, and our lives conflict to the point we feel sick, something has to change.
When they won’t shift their perception – and usually they won’t – we have to. I might add that to them it’s us who won’t shift ours, and that’s perfectly fine. So how do we deal with people who feel toxic? We change the way we think.
We can’t reverse time or the relationships we’ve had, but we can change the story that reels through our head about whatever doesn’t feel right. We don’t have to keep reading old pages and chapters that don’t feel good, instead we can close the book. They may keep the old story going, but we don’t have to engage.
When it comes to people in our lives, it’s up to us how we proceed, and when necessary, even opt out. There is no antidote, no shot, no medicine that will remove someone who feels emotionally toxic to us, we have to do it ourselves. We always choose to fight the flu, but toxic people? That’s up to you.