We’ve previously discussed how to tell toxic behavior from annoying behavior or mistakes.
Let’s say you do one of the tests previously discussed, and you find that the person IS toxic. The pink flag is indeed a red flag. Maybe, they weren’t able to apologize for their behavior, or they continued to engage in annoying or upsetting behavior despite you telling them or letting them know otherwise. This is red flag behavior, now what?
Keep in mind; someone can only be toxic to you if you allow it. What are the ways you can not allow this?
A verbal boundary would be saying something along the lines of, “No, as I said that topic is off-limits,” or “This doesn’t work for me.” Something quick and simple, I always recommend putting up a hand and keeping it personal.
A physical boundary would be spending less time with the person. This one may seem obvious, but so many people feel guilty about it. It is socially acceptable not to accept all invitations from toxic people, do not invite them to your home or events, especially if they’re long. Keep the visits short and sweet.
What is the setting where you are seeing these people? A lot of toxic people do better in public settings because they know on some level that their behavior is toxic, and if other people are watching, they’re going to behave themselves better.
The third way of keeping the toxicity at bay is to choose a public setting. Maybe that’s the only place you’ll see them, such as at restaurants, parks, other people’s homes, large parties and gatherings where other people (especially non-family members) are.
Remember, have the discussion with your significant other about limits and what kind of boundaries you are going to set with the toxic family member’s beforehand. It helps if you have someone on board previously. A lot of people will set boundaries and be furious that the significant other didn’t know what was going on. When the significant other could not know whats going on, it doesn’t mean they don’t approve of whats going on.
If you need a way out or need to say no to the toxic family members, and you’ve had the discussion and an agreed-upon saying on how to stop the toxic behavior with your significant other, your significant other can back you up. Be sure to let them know how they can back you up. Make it clear to your significant other on how they can support you in such a situation beforehand.
Let your significant other in on your plan; let them help you; this is how you keep the toxicity from affecting you.
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