When we visualize what a toxic person “looks like”, most of us probably visualize devil horns complete with a slithering tail from their behind. Toxic people can be acquaintances; coworkers; “friends”; our partner—and yes, even our own family. How do you disarm a toxic person?
That would be the skillset of the year. The best school to graduate from is one where you get a certificate or diploma on how to survive the toxicity of other people.
In today’s article, I want you to consider the following 9 insights on how to disarm a toxic person:
1. A Toxic Person’s Power Correlates To How Close They Are To You
Toxic people only have power if they have access, information, leverage, and/or control over you. The closer they are, the more their dysfunction and negativity influence your behavior and wellbeing.
Therefore, the first step to disarm a toxic person: you MUST get away.
But what if you can’t physically get away from them? What if it’s a coworker or a family member? Create distance by having emotional distance. Emotional distance doesn’t have to be as obvious as a cold-shoulder. You can achieve emotional distance when you create boundaries between you and the toxic person.
The most powerful tool in your toolbox: the word “no”.
2. Disarm A Toxic Person By Holding Them Accountable
You can achieve this both directly and indirectly. And you get to choose if you apply either or—even both.
Toxic people hate being held accountable. That is the antidote to their entire existence. They don’t take accountability for their actions.
Furthermore, if you aren’t able to have a direct conversation to hold them accountable for their actions, you can do so indirectly. How? You accept them for what they are. They are toxic. Thus, their actions are NEVER ABOUT YOU.
Don’t be so egotistical that their actions reflect or define your worth or value. You will only mess yourself up!
3. Disarm A Toxic Person By Being A Mirror
A helpful mental exercise you can do is a simple visualization technique: close your eyes and visualize this toxic person in your life—imagine you are a mirror, and all that they do can’t affect you, because you can’t be the target if the real target is themselves.
Toxic people don’t lash out because they hate you. They truly hate themselves. And the only way to not feel shame about who they are is to get you to react like them…so it gives them a brief feeling of superiority.
That’s how toxic people operate. They gain strength by putting others—you—down, so they do not have to engage in the responsibility of inner-work.
4. Disarm A Toxic Person By Understanding What They Need From You
Do NOT give them YOU to control; betray; manipulate; hurt; disrespect; etc. What they need from you is one thing…
Compassion, empathy, love, or sympathy are not the factors they need. Because they only turn those beautiful aspects about you AGAINST you. They will use those powerful attributes of yours—the aspects of you which you need to cherish, respect, and honor—and derange them to a point unrecognizable.
You won’t be able to take pride in those aspects. Moreover, you WILL learn to distrust yourself. And a person who distrusts themselves begins and expands, a very vicious pain-cycle that takes plenty of professional help to get out of.
5. Disarm A Toxic Person By Being Honest
You must be honest with them. More importantly, honest to your self. I invite you to answer this simple but powerful question:
Why do you allow yourself to stay in situations that do not serve your highest good?
Your answer to this is very important. Do you struggle with trusting yourself? Do you feel like you don’t deserve to feel, happy? Have you convinced yourself you “can’t make it”? As you ask yourself the right questions, you begin to understand just how big of a role we play in our suffering—especially the degree to which we suffer.
6. Disarm A Toxic Person Consistently
Consistency is what builds success. We see this in practicing a skill; in running a successful business; in actualizing our potential…more apparent is how consistent a toxic person’s poison kills us deeper and deeper each time.
Sadly, as we continue our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual ties to a toxic person, we don’t even have to be in the same room or vicinity, and their poison continues to destroy our being. From the inside out.
Therefore, your most important job is to consistently make choices to create distance from their effect. You can start small. It doesn’t always have to be a grand gesture to find relief.
The main point: is to start.
7. A Toxic Person Takes Away Your Voice
Gaslighting is a very prime example of toxicity. Toxic people seek to have you distrust yourself, so you can’t even find a voice to speak out and speak against.
You eventually find yourself so complicit in not speaking your authentic truth. You shove down your truth and drown it until it stops breathing. Your truth dies. And your life dies with it.
By taking away your voice to speak out and against, it allows the toxic person—who is the weakest of all—leverage of feeling their falsehood of “power”. Toxic people are notorious for not doing inner-work, because of their massive laziness and procrastination.
When a toxic person does change, it’s usually always too late.
8. Disarm A Toxic Person With Integrity
Obviously, enough time with a toxic person will destroy any ability to make decisions from a place of power. Instead, we make self-destructive choices that increase our suffering. Usually for short-term wins, with long-term pain.
But if you can, or if you found yourself in the very beginning stages of entanglement with a toxic person, disarm them with integrity.
By exhibiting integrity, you display something they can’t. You experience something they won’t— you do as you say, and say as you do. Why is this important? It’s very simple. Toxic people hate being shown things they can’t do.
It drives them wild with jealousy. Because character is not something you can teach, it’s something you develop through time: with sacrifices and consequences.
9. Toxic People Are Made Toxic By…
Other toxic people. Whether passed on through generations of families—or close people during formative years—toxic people are usually created. It’s the “Nature Vs Nurture” concept.
Knowing this can be absolutely helpful. Because it highlights my previous point #4, toxic people need your pity. Nothing more & nothing less.
Because they have become long-term victims of a situation a long time ago. No, this is not your opportunity to start feeling “sorry” for them. This is your opportunity to understand they are reacting fully from what they know: as a survival mechanism; defense mechanism; fear; etc.
They need professional help. You need to experience your best life. And if they eventually heal somewhere far down the road, then maybe if stars align, you can revisit what you had.
Toxic people are being developed more and more every day. We are finding them more commonly in a variety of situations, people, and places. But understanding these factors can only give us perspective, not the tools to survive and most importantly—walk away.
The scariest and hardest thing you can do is walk away from a toxic person. Why is it so hard? Because when our self-esteem and self-worth has been belittled down to nothing, advocating for ourselves and happiness seems to be the most selfish and disgusting thing EVER.
However, even as uncomfortable and unusual it feels, it’s exactly where you will find your inner-wellness & inner-peace. Because when we can sacrifice that old version of ourselves (allowing to stay in unfavorable and undesirable circumstances), we prove in that instant…our worth.
The worth that we are willing to fight for. To live for. It no longer becomes an unachievable dream: but a reality and version of ourselves, that is fully deserving of our deepest admiration & love.
Stay Strong & Vibe Well,