How to handle toxic relationships with grace
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How to handle toxic relationships with grace

There are many people who add richness to our lives, but sometimes, the presence of one bad apple can wreak havoc with our ability to enjoy it.

How we react to their presence can determine how soon we can return our world to normal. In this article, we’ll share a few strategies on how to handle toxic relationships with grace.

Be honest with yourself

Step #1 in knowing How to handle toxic relationships: acknowledge you are in one

When you find yourself in an acrimonious relationship, be it with your spouse, friend, or a co-worker, it is vital that you acknowledge the situation in which you find yourself.

When you have emotionally invested yourself in a specific relationship, it can be difficult to reconcile that things have gone bad between you and the person who is now antagonizing you.

Once you make peace with the reality that you are now in a toxic relationship, you can take the steps needed to resolve the conflict, no matter how it ends up panning out.

Be upfront with them

This may seem really scary, but you’ll never get to the bottom of why someone is directing malice your way if open and honest communication isn’t part of the plan.

While this may expose you to a great deal of strife, letting your friend, spouse, or co-worker know how their actions are impacting you can wake them up to the fact that their behavior is unacceptable.

Some people are blissfully unaware of how they affect others, so directly confronting them in an assertive manner can help them correct course.

If they display anger to your attempts to salvage the relationship, though, take steps to limit contact or sever ties.

Set boundaries

Separating yourself from offenders is one way to learn how to handle toxic relationships

As much as you may want to end things with a person who is abusive or manipulative, your particular set of circumstances may prevent that from becoming a reality in the short-term.

A textbook example of this is a co-worker who belittles you at every opportunity. You might not be able to quit that person, however, as doing so would mean leaving your job, which would mean forfeiting the income you need to survive.

In situations like this, erecting boundaries that serve to minimize contact between you and the offender should be the strategy you should pursue initially.

Often, this means not being where the other person is to avoid unnecessary interactions, but don’t allow them to control you like this at all times, either.

Hold your ground when you are in a place you want to be, but create boundaries that if crossed, means you will step in and defend yourself against their aggressive actions.

Cut them out of your life

Sometimes, it is not enough to limit contact with certain people, as they may not care about your desire for personal space and serenity.

In these cases, take every reasonable measure to root these people out of your life. End your intimate relationship and move out. Stop taking calls from them, and block their social media accounts. Do the same with toxic friends.

At work, complain to HR/your boss about employees who engage in bullying and harassment. If no action is taken, begin the process of applying for positions with a new company.

This last step may seem like you are granting the poisonous person power, but when you are in an untenable position where nothing can be done, exiting this environment ASAP is a sign of intelligence and strength, not weakness.

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