How to Identify and Deal With Poisonous People

Posted on: Oct 08, 2018

Categories: Relationships and Family

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” ― Steve Jobs

Not everyone in your life is going to root for your success, and these are the people who need fewer lines in your life.

There are poisonous people out there, some who are intentionally so, and others who aren’t even aware of it. They are the ones who doubt the positive changes you’re making. They push your dreams into the background. They make you feel like you can’t do what you set your mind to.

Even those who love you can be damaging to you. They can try to sabotage you or pull you into the darkened wings of your stage rather than allowing you to stand tall under the spotlight. Perhaps they fear your success, which really means that they fear that the improvements you’re making will cause you to outgrow them.

Here are the four things you can do to escape the venom of poisonous people.

1.  Admit that they’re sucking the life out of you.

It isn’t hard to identify the poisonous people in your life. All you need to do is ask yourself this one question: would I ever treat someone that I love and respect the way that they are treating me?

If they are treating you in a way you can’t even imagine treating them in return, then they’re probably not the kind of people you want to stick around. If you have to ask whether their behavior is poisonous, then it is.

Poisonous characters aren’t always abusive. Really, they’re anyone that stands in the way of your rewriting of your new life script. They could be a coworker who doesn’t want to see you succeed or the friend who takes more than they give.

2. Be completely honest with the poisonous person.

Before you write someone out of your show, especially if they are particularly close to you, be honest with them. I call this a knee-to-knee, where you talk openly with someone else about your thoughts and feelings. Your best friend may have no idea how much her negativity is affecting you. Your spouse won’t know how to fulfill your expectations if you’re not communicating them. Your parents won’t keep healthy boundaries if you don’t institute them.

This post is not a free ticket for you to give up on a relationship—cutting the crazy-makers is a last resort after some real, honest conversations. Truly poisonous people will not respond to your honesty, and they won’t be interested in rewriting their scripts. If that happens, keep reading.

3.  Distance yourself and give them fewer lines.

I’m not going to ask you to completely ignore that group of friends or that family member that is sucking the life out of you. But you can distance yourself and give them fewer lines starting now.

Does a poisonous character in your life text you 20 times a day? Do you normally respond to all 20 texts? Limit yourself to two responses today.

Maybe they call you frequently to waste your time, your energy, and your emotions. Don’t answer the phone today. Let it go to voicemail, and text the other person that you are busy. Distance yourself by being less available, busying yourself with better influences so you have less time to spend with the negative ones. You don’t have to be rude or confrontational, but you do have to deliberately begin the process of separating yourself from them.

The good news is that it isn’t worth their energy to chase after you. Poisonous people are just looking for their next easy victim, the next person they can suck the life out of by getting them involved in their drama.

4. Allow for change.

Just remember: even if you’ve decided to completely write someone out of your show, they can go and work on their routine in order to re-audition for your show later. But in the meantime, your show can move forward and you’re not wasting time on their drama.

Remember: This is your life. Fill it with the best people who will support and help to develop your new character.

You Might Also Like

Person sitting alone in black and white

How to Deal With the People In Your Life That You Didn’t Choose

In my keynote, I talk about the importance of casting your show—surrounding yourself with the people who are going to positively influence your life. But a number of times, I’ve been asked after…

Read More

This Isn’t a One-Man Show

“No one-man show was ever produced by one man.” —Curtis Zimmerman As you cast your show, there is no one more important than your co-star, the person who plays the biggest supporting role in…

Read More

Who’s in Your Cast?

If you love your job, I can almost guarantee that the people you work with are part of the reason. The same goes for if you hate your job. The people we surround…

Read More