Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Toxic People

On my last post, I stated that regardless of how busy and hectic my routine gets I won't give up blogging. Seriously. The relationships I've made as a result of blogging are valuable in so many ways, one of which is that it's a safe place to hide from toxic people.

You know the kind. Those who make you feel little and insignificant as they laud their great lordliness over your many failures and weaknesses. Which of course they in their glory do not have. Those who somehow manage to diminish people just by opening their mouths. How do they do that? And why would anyone want to have such a dubious talent?

Toxic people are everywhere unfortunately. It's so hard to find a safe place free of them. I feel bad for anyone who has TP in their families. *shudder*  That would be hell on earth, and anyone who has the misfortune to live with a TP and still manages to get out of bed in the morning and face each day with a smile, I applaud you.

I feel very blessed that toxic people have been rare in my life. Maybe because I don't leave my house? LOL, no really, there was a time that I went out to work and stuff, and only ran across a few TP's here and there. But in the workplace where you can giggle and gossip with your coworkers about the insane new manager behind her back, the TP's poison is somewhat diluted.

As opposed to having only an email relationship. Hooo boy!! That's toxic concentrate which really burns when you work from home, because there's no coworker sitting next to you doing a sympathetic eye roll. And then the two of you go out to lunch later and really dish on the shared TP. I can't dish at lunch with my friends on the psycho woman who is currently blocking my sunshine because then I'm spreading the toxicity and ruining everyone's meal, and that's not cool.

So instead I turn to my blogger buddies. Here's your chance to rant about the TP in your life. Just let it all out. Pretend like we're coworkers hanging out at the Olive Garden eating endless soup and salad. Is there a TP currently ruining your day? And if so, how do you best deal with it? I'm listening.

54 comments:

  1. Take whatever snippits you can from what thay say out of context and turn them into a compliment. Then thank them for their kind words and maybe even post their compliment on your blog. ;-)

    e.g. This book is not at all well written.

    = '...well written...."

    Thank you :-)

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  2. I have more than one tp person in my life,one of them I have choosen to simply ignore. In other word's as much as possible, this person has been omited from my life.The other two are not so easily overlooked,but with one of those, there is at least distance seperating us. I am thankful for that. The other I deal with daily,oh well into each life a little rain must fall! Blessings jane

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  3. How timely. My Granddaughter just called wanting to know what to do about the TB in our family. I have a question. I signed up for the A to Z April blogfest and I'm feeling like I'm a little out of my comfort zone. Do the posts have to be about writing and do you have to follow a theme?????
    Thanks.... xo xo xo

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  4. Big believer in shutting toxic people out of your life... and I agree, the blogging community is like the exact opposite of toxic... everyone is so supportive and nice.

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  5. Paid vs volunteer is always a recipe for toxicity. I (the volunteer) start over every morning...with a smile. Sometimes, that works pretty well.

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  6. Well, toxic people can be beneficial in the regard of modelling for us. Yes, that's right. They indirectly model for us, showing us how antagonistic they can be, which in turn can fuel the fire for our own little villains.

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  7. Is it politically incorrect to say that I sometimes imagine sticking pins in voodoo dolls that I name after the toxic people in my life?

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  8. Ohhh I cut a toxic person from my life about 6 months ago and lemmmmmeeee tell ya, I feel SO much better!!! They're contagious!

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  10. Sadly my list of TP is too long, so I'm actively looking to see why, and what I can do about it. Luckily, my husband is a sweety - most assuredly not a TP. I also consider people toxic if they do a lot of taking, and not so much giving.

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  11. Yes, I know a couple. Mostly related to the schools my boys attend. I force myself to pinch my lips shut and not enter the toxic zone. It's not always easy, though.

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  12. I have eradicated all the toxic people from my life. Sometimes it takes me longer to realize someone is toxic, but once I do, I know I can't handle being around them for very long. Don't know what I'd do if I were still in the workforce and had to deal with someone like that. Just need to learn to protect myself and stay centered inside the Light.
    Karen

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  13. Luckily, I can keep the TPs in my life at a safe distance. I refuse to interact with somebody bent on bringing other people down. I feel sorry for them...but that doesn't mean I'm going to join them in their misery.

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  14. LOL. I don't have any TPs in my life right now, but I remember when I worked in house as an editor. Won't mention where. There was this woman who I nick named the Scrooge. She was very precious with her money. One incedent that I remember distinctly was when the girls in the office were ordering take out for lunch. I was ten cents short for my order and The Scrooge (who was collecting the money) and adding her own put the missing ten cents in herself. Anyway. A week later she approaches me at my desk and says 'You know you still owe me ten cents. Asap would be appreciated." My jaw dropped! She seriously wanted the ten cents?!?!?! I gave it to her, of course, but never forgot it. LOL

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  15. I need solace from the TP (also toilet paper) in my life. I have some that constantly complain and seek approval and doesn't want anyone to be happy when they aren't. And rarely are they happy. I'm glad you had a chance to vent. We all need that sometimes.

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  16. It seems that we all have at least one TP we could or would like to name. I know I do. I tell myself to breathe and that what they say is merely "an opinion."...:)JP

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  17. I try to avoid toxic people as best I can and when talk gets too negative I try to inject as most positivity as I can to hopefully turn things in a more constructive direction. Negaivity is indeed like poison.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  18. Yes, TP exist, unfortunately, but how we handle it is what is key. Let it go in one ear and out the other.

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  19. I hate when TP make others feel small. It's the TP who are small.

    I've worked with TP. A former principal was one. Luckily, I haven't had too many writer people who have been like that. I did belong to a group that had one person critiques gave mean critiques. But almost for the sake of being mean -she was kind of clueless in her actual critique so it wasn't like I could do anything with the comments to make my writing better. A month later, I met up with another writer who was complaining about a mean critique buddy. Her group voted to get rid of the woman, but the woman left before they could kick her out.

    And we realized she had joined my group.... Yep, same woman.

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  20. Home in the Hollow, Unfortunate that there are so many of these sick people around that there's more than enough to cover everyone numerous times. How sad.

    Clarissa, Glad someone caught my little pun lol. Seems appropriate doesn't it?

    Jessica, This is unbelievable. 10 cents? Wow!! Here's a woman with serious money issues and who knows what else.

    Linda, Like you I can usually keep the TPs at bay. I guess that's why when I get thrown in with one suddenly it's such a shock to my system. Grrr!

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  21. Theresa (and Julie), why are they so common around schools? I think it's because they need to feel important so many of these people will gravitate to teaching and make the absolute worst educators, making the lives of students and other teachers a misery.

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  22. Ignore adversity!! That's my motto to avoid people who negate my sense of self worth. I used to mutter to myself somewhere dark and stick pins in doppleganger dollies but these days, I just ignore, ignore, ignore! :-)

    Take care
    x

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  23. I only associate with a few members of my family. The rest are TP and, after years of their Toxic abuse, I decided I simply don't need their presence in my life.

    I've worked with a few, but I have to say that at the daycare, everyone is pretty great. We all have bad days, but it's a big family type thing, warts and all.

    Yeah, TP suck out the sunshine in the world....

    Great observation!

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  24. I have to walk away from TPs (the passive aggressivesn particular) because I get too worked up lol.

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  25. sigh, awesome typo plus I forgot to mention I gave you an award. It's going to be one of those days I see...

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  26. What a refreshing way of valuing the bloggosphere. It's true, though. Toxic people are out there, but it's also subjective sometimes. I wonder if not everyone has been seen as a TP before by someone.
    (actually I hope I'm wrong there)
    Nahno ∗ McLein

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  27. When it comes to TP, the Eleanor Roosevelt saying: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." does get me by quite nicely.
    Lovely post, Karen

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  28. LOVE this post and love Kate's suggestion at the top.

    Perfect!

    I try to avoid the toxic people and, like you, have been lucky to have encountered few of them.

    I wish I could say I'm always able to rise above that which seeks to tear me down. But I'm a bit of a sensitive wimp. I take things personally and will DEFINITELY need to develop thicker skin when I grow up.

    Which I guess must happen one of these days in my forties.

    Right?

    What were we talking about? Ah, yes. Dislike toxic people (who may or may not point out my immaturity) and love this post.

    Love.

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  29. TP stink. I'm lucky not to have anyone in my life like that right now, but my beloved husband is up to his eyeballs in them. I feel so bad for him. One thing I've learned when dealing with them is to accept who they are at face value. It's the unrealized expectation that they'll finally say something nice that makes me want to pull my hair out. But if I don't expect any better, I'm more prepared for it and I can let it go, because there are other people to focus my energy on.

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  30. Well I seem to attract them but never fear I bought a haz-mat suit to wear under my real clothing. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  31. at the moment, I'm very blessed to not have any TPs hanging over my head.

    Nope, my LIFE on the other hand feels as tossed as my suitcase was when I opened it in SF--Thanks, Airport security for the "random search." sigh.

    always something~ :o) ((hug)) sorry you're having to deal w/toxicity~

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  32. I've had TP's in my life, but currently, I am relieved to say that I don't. I find that they are mostly on the computer. And frequently gamers. People can be so rude. I seldom ever play online games anymore for that reason. I don't want that poison touching me. Rude people are too easy to find. I'm certainly not going to go look for them. =)

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  33. I am extremely practiced at cutting the Toxic People out - even my own family members (luckily, I only have one). Over the years, I've found that life is way too short to waste time with them. So I don't. If you're toxic, you're gone. I don't have time to deal with it. My mother-in-law is the Queen of TP Land. While I encouraged my husband to maintain his relationship with her until her latest episode, I choose not to have anything to do with her (which is really fine by her because I am The Devil). I used to take her dislike personally, but then I realized this is a woman who kicked her own daughter out of her home at 12 and never spoke to her again (said daughter is now 45 and such a wonderfully amazing person so it was really her loss to miss out on that). Anyone that can do that is off their rocker. Just Say No to TP!

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  34. Toxic people are everywhere, but I don't tolerate being around them for very long. Whether it is a family member, friend, colleague, or an online pal, if they want to be toxic, they're not going to do it around me. I just simply don't go around them, period.

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  35. I'm sensitive and over emotional, so those kind of people really grate on my nerves. But I also have a temper. I try to be kind, to be patient, to forgive, but if it goes on too much...I snap.

    I had a teacher in chemistry lab who was most irritating. She was fun at first, but she quickly grew obnoxious. She blamed us for not doing something in the lab instructions, and while I understand we're supposed to figure out stuff for ourselves, she told us we were finished. We were most annoyed when she ranted at us for not "reading the instructions."

    It grew worse every week, with her biting at us, refusing to explain things we didn't understand and just being unhelpful. Finally, I snapped at her. I told her to stop talking to me like that. She returned that she was "just giving what she was getting." I said, "If that's good enough for you, then it is for me too. From now on, I'll only talk to you how you talk to me." Of course, I said this in the exact same tone she was using. She at least calmed down a bit.

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  36. I expect I am a bit like Arlee, and make every attempt to interject as much positivity into a conversation as the participants will manage. A church/school friend who works very closely with some of the more closed minded (tp) members of our church (who all seem to be on the board...how strange!), recently arrived on my doorstep wondering if she could have permission to "vent" as she has just spent three hours at the church supervising a painting session (of the church hall). We share a chat session over a mug of strong coffee and build some lego houses with the kids.
    A few years ago a friend introduced me to "The Four Agreements" from the book by Don Miguel Ruiz. I try hard to keep each one of them every day, but that is not so easy! And when I am dealing with a particularly tp, I remind myself that I am not alone in struggling to keep these four agreements! The one I struggle with the most (and sometimes on a daily basis) is: "Don't take anything personally"...The easiest for me, "Always do your best"...However, if I am doing my best, and some tp comes along and tells me what I am doing "Stinks", it becomes very hard not to take it personally!

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  37. The other two (for anyone who is curious) are:
    "Be impeccable with your word" and "Don't make assumptions" is the remaining one.

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  38. Karen, that is an interesting post, I agree with one of your commenters who quoted the Eleanor Roosevelt quote, toxic people need your consent. The difficult part is rising above their poisonous ways, we need to be strong.

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  39. "Toxic People" - I like the description. I'm fortunate too in that I don't have any particularly close to me, but I certainly know what you mean. Life's too shot to waste on them.

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  40. I had a toxic critique partner once. After hearing her whine for the umpteenth time why she couldn't get published. --it might have had something to do with the fact she never finished anything-- I finally cut my ties to her.

    God helps those who help themselves.

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  41. I'm sad to say TP pop up everywhere and yet, I have trouble understanding them. What is their problem anyway? It's seems their toxicity is often a result of jealousy and disappointment, so it's fabulous you ignore them and continue to triumph! :) As for those in my life, luckily there are few, but I do have one in my inner circle who I often have to filter. Their negativity stems from their own insecurities and pitfulls. They can roll around and get pruney in their muck and I'll carry on my way! :) Thanks for the invitation to rant, karen.

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  42. Heather, It's always helpful to hear how other people handle TP, it is for me anyway. Ignoring and/or responding with positivity are awesome techniques!

    Maria, LOL yes it helps to finish a project first! And she probably said what's the point, no one will take me anyway.

    Simon, Life is certainly too short to waste on TP!

    Brigid, It is so hard to get past their manipulative, lying behavior! Sometimes the best approach is to just get away!

    Kim, Great tips, thanks! I've not heard of that book, it sounds really helpful, I'll have to check it out.

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  43. What a great post and topic of discussion. I have worked hard on myself over the years but am still susceptible to TP. I think it comes from being overly eager to please others.

    One minor example, relatives who say things like "Wasn't really my kind of stuff" when in fact I didn't ask their opinion of my blog. There are many others but I don't want to ramble on. Suffice it to say there's a lot of underlying *negative code* in the vernacular of my immediate family. I wish I had a more teflon-skinned reaction, but passive-aggression can eat at me sometimes. I do ignore it, continue on, despite the negative energy TP's create. But don't always succeed in stopping it from going inside.

    I have far less toxicity in my life now though. When I feel overwhelmed by it I try to listen to the voice inside telling me what I need and get away from it. And since I believe water seeks its own level, I assume that less TP in my life is a sign of improved mental health. The more secure I am in my own skin, the more I tend to my needs, the less easily effected I am by such people.

    I'm not sure any of that made sense, except in my own mind. But thanks for bringing up the topic.

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  44. I know just what you mean about toxic people. They're a hazard of life. I also agree with you about the positive energy that abounds in the blogosphere and how it really does help to combat all the bad vibes from other parts of our lives.

    Jai

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  45. Toxic people are exhausting. I've been very lucky and have only encountered a few in my life - at least only a few close enough to affect me and mine. I hope it stays that way - and I hope you find a way to cleanse yours away!

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  46. It's hard to believe that people wake up every morning so down on life that they must ruin it for everybody else. Boy does this hit a nerve. Sadly, the only way I've found to deal with them is to not deal with them if at all possible. Grin and bear it for those times when I have no other choice. I agree with Jemi, it's truly exhausting!

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  47. Interesting post, Karen! Toxic people are narcissists who need to underestimate others in order to fuel their own self-esteem. The best way to deal with them is to ignore them or just be polite if you encounter them at some point. I know some toxic people and I know I have to be cautious and keep some distance from them to protect myself. I have to avoid telling them my thoughts because they will use them against me.

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  48. Ha - I have someone like this at my workplace right now, and I vent to my best friend about him every night. Sometimes I find myself wondering why people would want to be like that. Why make yourself and others miserable?
    And why is it that TP are usually under-achievers? The least they could do would be to try to live up to their own praise.

    Still, I guess the most we all can do is try not to be toxic in return. :-) Thanks for listening!

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  49. The blogging community is great. Luckily I don't have to deal with to many TP currently, they do seam to sap the joy out of things.

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  50. Great topic, Karen! I'm not very good with TP. I tend to let them hurt me. I try to avoid them or avoid meaningful conversations with them. Sometimes it can't be avoided and I end up with a hurt heart for a long time. :(

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  51. It's very, very hard if you are related to one. As for in the wider world, I really have no time to spare for people who go out of their way to make me miserable for no reason. TP's 'are' usually under-achievers, like Kiernan says, and they are very jealous of those with a spark.

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  52. I've had to deal with many toxic people in my line of work. I simply don't have time for them. I'm also pretty good at calling them on their comments... It's made me some friends and some enemies...
    These people just suck the life out of us...

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  53. Great post! Toxic people like to lash out at anyone who is convenient. I don't believe they are really angry at you, but at themselves. I have overcome a very toxic person who has repeatedly tried to invade my life by stalking my every move on the web and harassing me at home and online. She even went so far as to impersonate me (pretty sick and twisted). I have a ton of support and am so empowered. She still contacts me, but I don't even read her texts or answer her calls anymore. It makes me laugh at how hard she tries. I just ignore and keep walking, and it feels really great. She can knock all she wants, but that door is closed! I've come out on top and do not waste any energy or time on her. Life is good :)

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  54. @ Julia.....you are spot on with your comment! very true!!

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