We have all met people that are manipulative, try to put themselves above you, deceive you, humiliate you, and hurt your feelings.
They can do it openly, or in secret. In that case, it is called “hidden enmity”. Those people are commonly known as “toxic people”.
Maybe you know someone who is toxic yourself?
There’s no way to sugar coat this: you should avoid these types of people so that they do not become a part of your life. Toxic people have the capacity to do huge damage to your self esteem, confidence and self-worth.
But, how to get rid of toxic friends if they are already in your life?
Our old friends can change for the worse as time passes. Or, you can become friends with a person that is not worth your friendship. It can happen by your mistake, or through their pretending and other manipulations.
Even though on some level, you know that you need to run from that kind of person as soon as possible… it’s not always that easy. You may feel pity, nostalgia for old times spent with that friend, fear to offend; nonetheless, you have to make the tough decision. Don’t let them steal your time, money, mood, life, and even your health.
Of course, if it happens that your friend needs help, you should give them a chance. However, you should be very careful when you are trying to understand what happens in their head. The main thing that you need to identify is whether your friend is capable of listening to you and whether they value you as a person.
If your close one still has respect for you inside their heart, and they will respond to your talk with them by changing their attitude, then maybe you should give them a chance. Nevertheless, remember, if your friend doesn’t change, but only makes a promise, the sooner you make them an ex-friend, the better!
This might sound harsh, but it’s true. We can get so wound up in the emotionally manipulative web spun by toxic friends that we cannot see our way clear. But there IS light at the end of the tunnel, believe me!
The bottom line is, no one deserves to be oppressed by others. No matter what their excuse is for their bad behaviour – are you seriously going to let them drag YOU down with them?
Besides, if you let a toxic person hurt you, you give them no incentive to change. They will have no reason to fight their problematic behavior if they see that they’re not losing anything in the current situation.
If you identify a close person as bad for you, here’s how to get rid of toxic friends.
How to Start Leaving a Toxic Relationship
The first step is communication.
Talk to them. Whether to give the toxic person a chance, to try to help, to explain your desire to distance yourself, or to not even do any of these–it is your choice.
You might be tempted to just ghost the friend and avoid a difficult conversation… although this is your prerogative, you’ll feel pretty bad about it afterwards. Not to mention, if your toxic friend feels ‘wronged’ by you breaking the relationship this way, they might retaliate by getting mean about you within your social circle, which will just bring more negativity and stress into your life!
As hard as the conversation may be, try and choose to be more ethically responsible and explain your decision to them.
Try to convey your position to them without fighting, quarreling, anxiety, or screaming. You don’t have to persuade them and expect their necessary consent, because you are simply doing this to stay in the framework of your high morality norms.
If telling your toxic friend how their behaviour makes you feel really makes you that uncomfortable… maybe a ‘slow ghosting’ might be the way to go. Start being ‘busy’ when they want to hang out. They will soon get the message.
Break the connection with your toxic friend
If you have mutual friends and acquaintances, or even share relatives with your toxic friend, it can turn into a bit of a complicated situation.
What you want to ensure is that the toxic person will receive as little information about you as possible. Those negative people can try to turn other people against you, so you need to be ready for that scenario.
If that happens, and people will most likely take their side, consider it as an examination of the quality of your relationship with them.
However, if you’re worried some of your friends may be deceived by your toxic friend, you may try to reason with them. Tell them about what this toxic person has been doing to you, and explain why you don’t want to see the toxic person in your life.
If the toxic friend gains the trust of your friends, remember the quote of Omar Khayyám: “Better to be alone than with whoever.”
Nevertheless, I hope that you will avoid a war with a toxic person, and they will simply leave you alone when seeing that you are not interested in any relations with them.
Follow this rule: if you decide to cut a person out of your life, be consistent, and don’t renew relations with them in any form. Delete them from social media; don’t answer their messages. Or, do it in such a way that won’t lead to a continuation of a conversation.
How to recognize toxic people?
To get rid of these harmful people, you need to understand the difference between common people with limitations and really toxic ones that can ruin your life.
Toxic people are manipulative. They put themselves above you and always expect you to agree with their opinion. If you don’t, they have various methods to make you agree.
Here are some of the methods a toxic person will use to manipulate you:
First, they try to begin arguments. Some of the methods are deceptive, like false facts and exaggeration.
Then, the offender says something like: “What are you trying to prove?” or “You said that,” and then they put words in your mouth which you didn’t say.
When you begin to justify yourself, they start to influence your psyche. This can be done by yelling, antics, accusations, name-calling, threats, or even physical violence.
They might ‘gaslight’ you by pretending that the scenario you’re reacting to didn’t even happen. Or at least, it didn’t happen the way you remember it. This is really dangerous, manipulative behaviour.
If a ‘friend’ does this to you, make no mistake – they are not really your friend. They are actually just using you to play a part within their own emotional landscape.
Toxic people don’t respect your boundaries. They don’t care about your feelings. A toxic person doesn’t respect your rights; it is common for them to take your things and deny that you own it.
If you notice that a person is trying to control your life, make decisions for you, constantly criticize you, and want you to obey them, you are dealing with a toxic person.
Look, the reason toxic people can become so entangled within your life is because they are sneaky. Their behaviour might start out great, then deteriorate over time. Or they might be so good at manipulating you, that you don’t realise what’s happening.
Toxic people are strong and often charming. They need to be because they are emotional manipulators – they need a shiny exterior! They can look like very kind and well-wishing people, at-first. However, if you feel that someone tries to oppress you, dominate you, and make you dependent, be alert.
Should you fight back at a toxic person?
After you cut out a toxic friend from your life, you might get angry when thinking about how they treated you. In retrospect, things often become painfully clear!
Should you get them back for all that they did to you? Either for a stolen month or even several years of trauma and various harm? In my opinion, you shouldn’t.
Of course, if they openly disobey the law, you should contact the authorities. But if no crime was committed by them in their treatment of you, it’s better to just walk away.
Don’t let them turn you into a negative person yourself and steal any more joy from your life. They took enough from you already!
As an alternative to vengeance, try this:
Forget about them; move on to a new life. It can be hard to stop thinking about them. And yes, you should definitely consider how things played out over the course of your relationship with them, and learn any lessons that need to be learned so you don’t fall into the same trap again.
But try to remove the emotion from your situation with them. Otherwise, every time you think about them, you’ll get eaten up by pain. It’s not worth it!
A life well lived is always the best revenge.
Recover, live a happy life. Be a successful, full-fledged person. Overcome trauma and other negative consequences of your relationship with your toxic friend. Show to everyone, and especially to yourself, how great it is to live without the control and influence of toxic people.
Use your experience in the future not to repeat your mistake. The next time you meet that kind of person, you will not let them take control of your life.
However, sometimes, it is not possible to completely avoid a toxic person, because you work in one team, or it is one of your relatives. In that case, you need to take steps to protect yourself.
First, you need to manage your fear. For that, you may apply various methods of becoming a stronger person.
Practice your social skills. When you are used to communicating with people, it will be easy for you to find the right words to overcome a toxic person verbally.
Become stronger physically. It’s not necessary to fight or threaten them. The mere fact that you are capable of protecting yourself will give you emotional strength.
Stay mindful; you need to fully understand the actions and words of a person that acts in a toxic way. By doing so, you will manage to respond to them in a confusing situation.
That will also help you avoid trusting a toxic person when they try to deceive you. You will understand their intentions and will refuse to succumb to manipulation.
In rare cases, you will be forced to leave a working team or another environment where a toxic person is allowed to act however they please.
But most of all, start believing in yourself more. Toxic people can only get a foothold in your life when you give your power away to someone else. When you feel strong within yourself, embrace self-love and project confidence, toxic people aren’t attracted to you in the first place. Because they know they won’t be able to manipulate you. If you are already traumatized, search for resources on self-help for trauma healing. You need to learn forgiveness.
Good luck in removing toxic friends from your life. It’s not always easy, but it is definitely worth the effort!
Thinking about every toxic person I’ve removed from my life… after it has been done, it was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I’m sure it will be the same for you, too.