4 Unique Ways to Handle a Toxic Relationship

mbg Contributor By Maria Mooney, MSW, LSW
mbg Contributor
Maria Mooney, MSW, LSW, is a licensed social worker and holistic health coach. She received her B.A. in Criminology from the University of Miami and her Master's of Social Work from Rutgers University. She holds her holistic health coach certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

Toxic people – we all know them and some of us may be currently engaged in unhealthy relationships with them. They push you down instead of lifting you up, they drain you instead of enriching your life, and they require more from you than they will ever be able to give back. These people are often energy vampires, and before you know it, they have sucked the life out of you and have moved onto their next victim. The obvious remedy is to shield yourself from toxic individuals by ending or avoiding relationships with them, but often, there are toxic individuals that we cannot avoid. Does your family member always have something negative to say? Is your boss a Debbie Downer? Does your co-worker constantly complain and never have anything positive to say?

Believe it or not, there are effective ways to deal with toxic people when you are in a situation that does not allow you to cut ties with or actively avoid them. Below are four unique ways to handle a toxic relationship.

1. Learn to Take Responsibility for Your Feelings – No one can MAKE you feel anything. You always choose how you will react to someone. Most often, it is not the situation that needs changing, but it is us who need to change how we react to a situation. Just as your thoughts create your reality, the way you see the situation will create the situation that you see.

2. Send Love, Compassion, and Healing – During your daily meditations or prayer sessions, take some time to send thoughts of love, healing, and compassion to this individual. Hurt people hurt people. Individuals who are happy, love themselves, and find ease and balance in their lives do not cause other people misery. In fact, they spread love and good energy wherever they go. Toxic people need our love and compassion the most, and they often receive it the least.

3. Create and Maintain Healthy Boundaries – Boundaries are reflections of self-love and respect. Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries are not about getting the other person to change, but they are about communicating to others what you will and will not tolerate in your life. Give yourself the gift of healthy boundaries because they are the gifts that keep on giving, especially when dealing with toxic relationships.

4. Look for the Lesson – Why have you attracted these people into your life? All relationships are assignments from the universe to teach us more about ourselves. They are often mirrors showing us negative aspects or characteristics we possess or that which we judge in others and/or in ourselves. Relationships are one of the greatest opportunities for personal growth and spiritual development, so look for the lesson and learn something!

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