11 Traits To Look Out For & How To Deal

So, what can be done about these toxic people? Neo suggests ignoring them if possible—and certainly get out if you’re in a relationship with them (romantic or not). “If the toxic relationship demonstrates one-sidedness,” Spinelli adds, “it’s time to distance yourself or cut it off.”

Of course, sometimes we can’t avoid certain people, whether they be toxic family members or co-workers. In that case, it’s important to know your boundaries and stick to them, Spinelli says. As Neo adds, sometimes we don’t realize we are indeed allowed to set firm boundaries. If you struggle with this, she suggests planning a “script” of sorts, planning out exactly what you want to say before you have to say it.

Both Neo and Spinelli explain that when dealing with toxic people, we have to know what we’re dealing with and respond as such. Neo calls it the “law of the jungle,” basically saying you wouldn’t go into a jungle without being properly equipped to protect yourself. So, don’t be afraid to do just that.

“This doesn’t mean you are not a compassionate person,” Spinelli adds. “It means you are taking care of yourself and ensuring self-preservation.” And as Neo notes, defending yourself is not the same as provoking another, and “you can retain your kindest, most loving self for those who deserve it.”

Last but certainly not least, Neo also suggests doing some trauma work, because toxic people will know how to hit you where it hurts. “Make sure you heal the trauma, respond wisely, and you are strategic,” she says, so that they can’t trigger you.

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