We all have these kinds of people in our lives at one time or another. It’s someone that makes life unbearable. Sadly, this person is often a family member or a close friend. Let’s see how to deal with these difficult relationships from psychological and faith based perspectives.
What Defines A Toxic Person Or Relationship?
Maybe the best way to describe a toxic person is someone you don’t want to be around at all, and you hate them (and maybe yourself) for it. This is not a formal psychological diagnosis as different personality disorders can lead to toxic behavior. Here are some signs that a person’s behavior is toxic:
- Extreme selfishness
- Always the victim
- Aggressive or threatening behavior
- Overreacts easily
- Suffocating perfectionism
- Overly dramatic
- Controlling behavior
- Jealously or envy
- Extreme pessismism
- Obsession with being sick
- Drug or alcohol abuse
Your Reaction Helps Identify Problems
How you respond to the person is a key part of identification and healing. Some signs that you are in a toxic relationship are:
- Dread or fear of the person
- You feel emotionally drained
- You feel frustrated by your own reactions as much as the toxic person’s behavior
- Every time you think things are better, they fall apart again
- You end up compromising your values trying to cope
- Endless arguments of repeating the same thing over-and-over
- You feel that there is a battle for control between the two of you
How To Handle Toxic Relationships: Psychological Perspective
First of all, if you are in any sort of danger, ask for help right away. The National Domestic Violence Hotline website can be found here.
The main reason people act irrationally is usually due to an unhealed emotional wound. Maybe they were abused or neglected or perhaps they were raised by a toxic person. These wounds make us all react in ways we don’t want to.
People who care for parents that have Alzheimer’s disease often get frustrated. But when they understand that it’s a disease process, they can be more objective. This type of objectivity can help you navigate toxic relationships.
Meditate on this thought: His/Her irrational behavior is based on a past wound or weakness.
Try not to argue, and avoid interrupting the other person. Let them talk it out, even if what they are saying makes no sense at all. Remember, silence does not mean that you agree. Toxicity thrives on argument; so don’t feed it.
Stop making things “easy” for the other person or yourself. Compromising your convictions and values only makes things harder down the road. Set healthy boundaries and have the courage to walk away until the smoke clears. In some cases, this might mean walking away from a relationship altogether. It might also be wise to seek professional counselling.
How To Handle Toxic Relationships: Faith Based Perspective
Romans 8:28 says everything that happens to us is for our own good if we love God. This can be a hard pill to swallow when exposed to toxic people. However, think about this — if a person is toxic, it means they are sick. In Mark 2:17, Jesus said he did not come to heal the healthy, but those who are ill with sin.
Toxic behavior is often under some kind of evil influence. It could be the result of past sin, abuse, or even a demonic presence. The best way to combat this is through prayer. Pray incessantly for the other person. Separate in your mind the behavior from the person. Let God soften your heart while he strengthens your character, even as you are being harmed. This is true Christ-likeness.
It requires a lot of hard praying to deal with these people. But when they look for conflict, they will encounter God’s love in your heart.
Our trials produce patience. Many times the presence of a toxic person in your life is the best way for you to develop the fruit of the Spirit such as peace, kindness, and self-control. The world will tell you to retain your dignity at all costs; Jesus will tell you to love your enemy. Ask God to mold your heart through your trails.
Project Of A Lifetime
These people are the most needy in our lives. It may take years before they are ready to change. But never give up hope. This doesn’t mean you have to remain physically close to the person, but you can keep knocking on God’s door asking him to change things. Maybe you can’t leave the situation. Here, you become completely dependent on God’s mercy and love. Let his Spirit do the fighting for you.
You might think, “Why do I have to waste my life for this person who doesn’t appreciate what I do or feel for them? It’s so unfair!” Only God’s justice and mercy are perfect. And who are the just? Asking for mercy, he is the tax collector who does not even feel worthy to lift up his eyes up to heaven (Luke 18:9-14); she is the sinful woman washing the feet of Jesus with her tears (Luke 7:36-50).
The answers are never simple. Consider all things in the light of prayer. Talk with your pastor, priest, or spiritual guide. Remember, when we rejoice in our trials and sufferings, God’s grace is certain to shine through.
Image source (modified).
Resources: Article at PsychCentral.
59 thoughts on “How Do I Deal With Toxic People?”
Dear Believer in Christ,
I am distressed with too much worry. Ten days ago, my mom passed away due to shock of forced nasal swab testing. Now my dad is struggling in the hospital. The problem is these calamities have been orchestrated by their own son Mr Ciril and his wife and a scary dr sybel. There is nothing in my hands. I am praying for my dad to come back to normal life. But they will now put him on the ventilator. He had cough and fever so they tested him rt pcr positive. He was being treated at home but was pushed to the hospital by his son. My heart is bitterly and utterly broken. I live in a different town, and anything i speak against the treatment, my words are crushed by my brother Ciril. I cannot visit due to lockdown and I know they will put me in hospital. Such are the scary hands of my brother & co. Please pray God saves us from them.
Please pray for the activities of dark forces to cease against my dad.
Thank you for making it possible for me to post this prayer request.
O merciful Lord… send your healing, peace and protection in abundance over EnP, his father, and the entire family… pour out your mighty Spirit to cast out the evil one… change the hearts and minds towards unity, O Lord… may your grace work miracles that glorify you in heaven… bring the dad back to full health quickly… help EnP during this difficult time… let him be solid and clear in your Word, O Lord… may he not grow to anger, but instead serve faithfully his father in prayer and intercession… give your son EnP the strength and patience he needs during this time… make all things new, O blessed Lord… in Jesus name, Amen.
I am and will be praying for you EnP, your dad and your brother. God’s grace and blessings to you all.
Hello my Friend,
You have revealed your anguish and plight to the world and the world shall pray for you and your family. Just continue to pray and trust and have faith in God and the power of prayer. God will bless you and your situation.
Unhappy people like to make people unhappy. Toxic people are themselves hurting. It reminds me of bullies. Under everything one can’t help but feel sorry for them. I believe God helped me see and feel compassion for a family member. Even when they treat me bad, they have to amswer to God. I also have to answer to God if I fight fire with fire.
Thank you for this post. It’s difficult to deal with family members that are difficult. Feels like I’m constantly dealing with his evil spirits working in them. Their toxic ways is difficult especially when you made to feel like the black sheep. But I remind myself I’m trying to live a life for God. Praying to God for a solution but also praying what is reason fot everything. Everything has a purpose. I pray for strength. We know the evil one likes to bait us but I go to God and speak to God not the evil one as God has the best answers to deal with things
Thanks T for your comment. You are so right… we don’t need to take the bait. Instead, we speak to God and he gives us the answers.
God’s grace and blessings to you!
This man that I love is drug addicted and he does whatever he wants. I know he cheats on me and it is killing me waiting for answers about what I should do. I know what he’s like when he’s not on anything and I keep waiting for that man to reappear…tired of crying..tired of hoping..i am just wasting my time fighting with him constantly. Why do I let myself be humiliated by him…called names…never takes me anywhere….why am I settling for this…everyone tells me “your so pretty you could have anybody u wanted get rid of him” why can’t I let go of him? What is wrong with me?
Pour our your mercy, grace and Spirit over Kristina O Lord… set the captives free…
I’m so sorry to hear about your troubles. Your situation is very complex. There’s probably a lot you need to work through to find your way.
Please don’t deal with this on your own. Get help from a person of faith that you trust. If they have experience in counseling, even better.
You might also consider connecting with a Nar-Anon group. https://www.nar-anon.org/
Also, check if your church has any resources to help you.
Pray for guidance… seek God’s wisdom in all this.
I will be praying for you!
How to pray when in a toxic relationship
I have a prayer request, my whole life ice felt like I wasn’t never good enough in my mother’s eyes harder I tried to be the worst she treated me and it’s still that away,I realized later in life I was the problem she was,she’s had my kids taken by dhr, she’s tries constantly to renuin my marriage and isn’t happy till she gets what she wants,
I am praying for you Krystie and for your entire family.
Also, get connected with a healthy church community if you can. Don’t lose hope!
Dear Krystle, my only possible suggestion to you is to bring this entire situation to the Lord as you have it to the Prayer for Anxiety website. Pray honestly and earnestly to the Lord about everything that’s on your heart. He will hear and answer your prayers. God bless you.
My mom is the same way. But I’ve learned that we have to accept the things we cant change and the courage to change the things we can. Life is worth living when you have Love, peace compassion and understanding..but most of all #1 is God..I’m sorry you are dealing with an emotionally abusive mother…pray for her..