Have you ever dealt with a person or persons who just seem to drain you whenever you are around them? Do they make you feel less than or are they outright abusive and manipulative? If so, then you are probably dealing with a toxic person and you might be wondering how to deal with them in a Christian-like manner.
Most people have to deal with at least one toxic person in their lifetime. It is almost unavoidable, so it’s best to learn how to deal with these kinds of people in a manner that is Christ-like and allows you to keep your sanity in the process.
What are toxic people exactly?
Toxic people are people who are often manipulative, controlling, abusive in one way or another, emotionally immature, narcissistic or they display bullying behavior – amongst other things. They spread poison wherever they go – be it in their homes, their places of work, church etc. They can do immense harm to your emotional, spiritual and sometimes even your physical wellbeing. When you come into contact with them they will leave you feeling drained, abused, down and generally not good about yourself and life.
Some of them might appear good on the surface, but when you spend enough time with them, their true colors will soon surface. They just can’t help themselves. They can be colleagues, friends, acquaintances and sadly, even family members. This often complicates the situation.
Another distinguishing character trait of toxic people is the fact that they don’t see themselves as the problem – it is always you that is the problem.
Types of toxic people
Abusive – This person will be abusive towards you verbally, emotionally or even physically.
Controlling – a master manipulator who wants to control your life.
Addict – Their addictive behavior often spills over and affects those around them in a negative manner. They can be addicted to substances or to certain negative habits such as pornography.
Negative people – This type of person is almost always negative about every person or situation they come across. Hardly anything of positive value comes out of their mouth.
Gossiper – The gossip is often dragging other people’s name through the mud and spreading lies behind their back. Such a person cannot be trusted and can cause untold damage to an unsuspecting person’s reputation and general wellbeing.
Bully – A bully likes to push other people around so that they can have their way no matter what the cost. They will sometimes belittle others to get their way.
Victim – Sometimes you may come across a person who likes playing the victim. Somebody always did them wrong, according to them.
These are just some of the main ones. Some toxic people may even manifest a combination of these and other toxic behaviors.
How to deal with the situation
1. Recognize the behavior as toxic
The first step is to recognize that there is a problem with a certain person or persons. Look out for how you feel when you are around certain kinds of people.
2. Set clear boundaries
Now, this is the key to dealing with toxic people. The first step is to talk to the person and make them understand how they are making you feel by their behavior. You will have to be firm with them because toxic people often have a disregard for boundaries in the first place. If the behavior persists then it is time to go to the next step and that is to distance yourself from the person, if possible.
Sometimes it is impossible to cut them out of your life completely, especially in the case where the person/s in question is perhaps a boss or family member. That is when you need to go to step 3.
3. Pray for them and hand them over to God
The best thing you can do for these types of people is to simply pray for them. Prayer is effective and is the best thing that you can do. Hand them over to God.
No one has the right to make you feel inferior or abuse you etc. If a person is physically abusive to you, then you need to get out – plain and simple. Take whatever steps are needed to get out. You have got to realize that you cannot change people, only God can. You are not to be blamed for their behavior – you didn’t cause it and you can’t fix it. They need help that you can’t give them.
4. Seek professional help
If the situation is exceptionally bad, then it might be a good idea to seek professional help. There many trained professionals that can help you deal with the situation such as ministers, priests, social workers etc.
What the scriptures say
According to Romans 12:18, we are to live in peace as far as it depends on us. “if possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” You can try as you may to live in peace and harmony with a toxic person, they will not be happy with you and so will not live in peace with you. They don’t see their behavior as the problem. They will not leave you in peace.
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“Living in peace” does not mean that we need to keep exposing ourselves to toxic people. We have a right to be safe and to live in peace. So forgive them, hand them over to God and move on. Only He can change them.