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suffering_attachmentDon’t you just cringe when someone reacts to your negative reaction to their negative behavior and treatment by saying, “It’s your choice. I’m not making you feel the way you feel.”

Of course, it’s our choice! It’s also our nature to be social creatures, to seek love and companionship and to give as much as we receive.

Unfortunately, we don’t always invite people into our lives who hold these same simple, humane values.

There are people among us who lack all respect for the opinions, value and existence of others. They are deplete of a conscience and are unable to empathize fully.

These people, without a doubt, are the main source of suffering and pain in our lives and the lives of all they touch.

What do we do about these people who refuse to be accountable for their behaviors and how their behaviors affect others?

The best choice we can make when it comes to people who have proven to us, over time, that they are toxic is to detach from those people.

Sometimes detachment seems a difficult endeavor, especially if that person is a family member, significant other or a boss.

But we can at least detach from the influence a particular toxic person has over our thinking until the time comes that we can finally walk away.

Recommendation #1: Accept that this person does not respect you as an individual.

You have a million interactions and experiences with this person to prove he/she is toxic. In addition to your gut, you have tangible proof that serves as your validation. Do you really need more proof?

Recommendation #2: Accept that you are viewed by this person as having a specific role that somehow benefits this person. You will never be more than the limited role that has been defined for you by this person.

Examples of roles: a wife, a wife-mother, a husband, a husband-dad, a secretary, a subordinate, a barista, etc.

You are NOT a human with unlimited abilities and potential in the eyes of this toxic person. Don’t fight to change that. It will just make you lose your mind.

You didn’t define the role; you can’t change the role.

Recommendation #3: Cease valuing or being affected, positively or negatively, by the opinions and false projections of this person.

If this person is your husband/wife and praises you when you act the part your role demands, resist the urge to allow that praise to define your worth. Why? Because the negative feedback and criticism is just around the corner, and you’ll go from feeling euphoric about yourself to feeling like shit again. Who can remain sane teetering daily between thinking such extremes about one’s worth?

Recommendation #4: Despite this person’s repeated criticisms of you in his/her attempt to minimize you, do not ruminate on them.

Instead, realize that no one is perfect but that we all have areas in which we can grow and improve. Consider the criticism as something temporary about yourself not as an absolute. The toxic person who mentioned it to you mentioned it in order to deflate you, not in hopes you’d correct or change, despite the fact he/she demanded, “You need to stop doing that!!”

Use this person’s ugliness and hatred to your advantage and set out to improve yourself. The person will not see it coming and will become considerably fearful of you and threatened by your abilities. And these fears will trigger increased criticisms from and increased praises by the toxic person.

(How ironic!)

Try remembering “Recommendation #3″ and refrain from allowing this person to affect your self-worth. Once you do that, you’ve re-entered the cycle of pain and suffering, which will thwart all of your previous plans to get a divorce, find a new job or whatever it was you were planning in hopes of severing all ties to this toxic person.

Recommendation #5: Above all, don’t feel guilty about not liking someone who isn’t the least bit likable. Its called setting boundaries and preserving your dignity.

We have one life to live. Make the most of who you are by surrounding yourself with people who make the most of you and your mutual relationship. 

Detaching from toxic takes time, effort and patience. But it’s so worth it!

Namaste!
~Paula

(image source: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/7740630582685859/)

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