Toxic people affect us all. One way to protect yourself from them is by creating healthy boundaries so you can live a happier life.
How you feel after you leave a conversation with someone says a lot about the boundaries you have with that person.
If you leave a toxic or controlling person feeling energetically drained, frustrated, hurt, tired, or angry after they unload a pile of negative junk that’s built up in their personal life, you probably have blurry lines between the two of you. If you leave feeling responsible for their emotions and that it is your duty to constantly be their support system – when they will not do the same for you – you probably need clearer boundaries.
Whether it be a close friend, a family member, or a work colleague, you have to deal with hearing out all of their emotional drama going on in their lives every single day. You feel like in order to be a true friend or loving family member, you just have to listen and allow them to vent to you because they’re confiding in you because they trust you.
The fact is, they just want to dump this load on anyone who will stand to hear it.
They need to vent, and that’s okay. We all need to vent sometimes. But, when they vent relentlessly with no regard as to how it affects others every single time they spill out their drama, they can be considered toxic.
This is toxic because they are throwing you into their inner turmoil without your permission. You take on their emotions by giving them empathy and compassion, which are great things, but it begins to feel more like a chore after a while.
I know because I have been there.
I once had a coworker – we’ll call her Donna – who I sat closely next to for years. She was a nice woman and had a very loud personality, so we became close rather quickly.
We always had some downtime throughout the week to talk and get to know each other, and soon she noticed my superhuman empathic powers. I’ve always been compassionate because I love people, but at the time I did not know how to create healthy boundaries in my life.
Donna would begin dumping all of her emotional drama going on in her personal life outside of work the moment I would walk in the door. Every. Morning. (just let me drink my coffee in peace).
She would rant for hours about her husband, her problematic dog, her boss, her senile father, and anything else going on that she needed to unload onto someone else.
I took her psychological blows every single day, and I carried them with me when I left work. I was somehow more tired when I got home after a day of hearing constant complaining.
Why are toxic people this way?
When someone feels the need to do this – unloading of toxic junk onto other people – any time that something goes wrong in their life, it is because they feel lighter after doing so. They aren’t doing it to build a strong relationship and create a deep and meaningful connection with you… they’re doing it for themselves.
They can’t deal with their inner turmoil on their own, so they suppress it until it festers, and then vomit it all over the first kind soul to show them compassion.
People that do this are emotionally immature. They don’t know how to process their emotions in a healthy way, or how to have conversations that heal emotional wounds. Whenever something bad happens in their lives, they don’t deal with the anger or the frustrations that arise within them. They won’t work through and try to conflict resolve on their own. And better yet, they will not take responsibility for how they respond to these situations.
So, they dump it out on other people.
Venting to others about their problems, or about someone else in their life that did a thing to tick them off, or about every minor inconvenience they experience gives them temporary relief from it.
Since they feel relieved after, they think that that is what they must always do to release the negative emotional energy that builds up inside of them.
Not all of us are emotional volcanoes.
Some of us are the small village at the bottom of the volcano that takes the hit after it erupts and spews out toxic junk everywhere.
If you are naturally inclined to feel empathy for others and seem to be the one everyone goes to for advice, then learning how to establish emotional boundaries is vital to your own happiness.
The first thing you must realize is that it is not your responsibility to deal with their drama. The way that they respond to negative situations is their responsibility, and it has nothing to do with you – especially if you were not involved in it.
Learning how to create a boundary with these people can be tricky.
At first, they might take it as you not caring about them anymore, because you refuse to listen to their problems. However, it isn’t that you don’t care about them. It is that you care about yourself enough to draw the line and protect yourself from a psychological attack.
They will probably be angry at first as well. This is because the negative emotions that they were planning on spewing out onto you just rebounded off of that boundary and hit them in the face. For the first time, they have to deal with their frustrations on their own.
While this may seem a bit harsh, it is actually for their own good as well as yours.
If they are constantly pushing away their emotions without dealing with the underlying issues that may be the root cause of their suffering, they will never resolve anything.
We must all learn how to process our emotions in a healthy way, and that takes time and patience. It is a learning process – one that we must not run away from, but embrace.
Once you learn how to create boundaries with the toxic people in your life, you will be free to explore your own emotions.
Learn what frustrates you and how to deal with it without hurting others.
Learn what makes you happy and do more of that.
Appreciate the people in your life who are not toxic. For those who are, appreciate them from a distance.
By doing so, you are entering into a level of self respect and self care that will take you to new heights you never even dreamed of.