Tired Of Being Around Toxic People? Here’s What To Do.

It takes a herculean effort to be confident enough to speak up and stand your ground when they push back.

It takes a herculean effort to be confident enough to speak up and stand your ground when they push back.


When you’re working to get your confidence back and build boundaries after a divorce, there is one “hiding in plain sight” barrier that will keep you from reaching your goals. 

And that is surrounding yourself with toxic people. 

You know exactly who they are…

  • The pushy one with unsolicited advice who make you doubt your decisions
  • The catty female with snide comments and back-handed compliments
  • The ones who blame you and makes themselves the victim when you call them out about their toxicity. 

Sound like anyone you know? 

Is this a sister? Your mother? Your adult daughter? That “friend” who says she’s “only trying to help you”?

 Every woman deals with these vicious people on a daily basis. And their comments are extremely hurtful because they know which buttons to push for maximum pain. They’ve known you for a long time, and know your weaknesses, triggers, and vulnerabilities. 

That is why one of their snarky remarks can leave you devastated for days. 

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The secret about toxic people in your life,

100% of that criticism has nothing to do with you. They are projecting their own insecurities onto you and not taking responsibility for their own issues.

Remember the time your sister said, “that dress looks a little snug on you, don’t you think?” although she knew you were counting calories and going to yoga three times a week?

She probably stepped on the scale that morning and was 12 pounds heavier and projecting that unto you.

Remember that time you got that promotion at work and instead of congratulating you, your mother said, “Oh, so I guess that means you’ll be spending even less time with your kids.” 

She probably feels resentful that she stepped down from her job to stay full-time with her children and didn’t go back to the workplace.

So, what do you want to do about them? 

  1. Continue to let them walk all over you, saying “that’s just her.” This option is unhealthy, because you put yourself at risk of continued frustration and hurt feelings.
  2. Stand up for yourself. This doesn’t have to look like a huge fight. But it takes courage. 
    1. “Hey, it really hurts my feelings when you do/say (insert harmful action here). I would ask that you keep those comments to yourself.
    2. “Hey, I notice that you’re always commenting or giving me unsolicited advice on my divorce/looks/weight/recovery/insert whatever they’re always commenting on. I would ask that you don’t do that anymore, at least until I specifically ask for your advice.” 

So, a quick heads-up when you stand up for yourself. If the person genuinely cares about you, they may take a step back and say, “Oh, wow…Sorry. I didn’t mean to make you feel bad,” or something along the lines.

Or…they may get defensive and turn it on you. They may say, “I’m only trying to help you. If you don’t want my honest opinion, then fine.” And then they might stomp away or hang up the phone or stonewall you or behave in other immature way.

If that reaction occurs, that is a HUGE RED FLAG that maybe this relationship is unhealthy. This ain’t the end of the world–it’s just an opportunity to set up healthy boundaries.

Oh, and I get you may not just be able to walk away from that person so easily. They might be a relative or close friend.

But remember–being related to someone DOES NOT give them carte blanche to treat you like badly. 

It takes a herculean effort to be confident enough to speak up and stand your ground when they push back. But until then, remember: 

  1. Be aware that some of the most toxic people may be the ones closest to you.
  2. Their unkind words have nothing to do with you, but everything to do with their own insecurities.
  3. You have the power to speak up for yourself .
  4. Family members and close friends *do not* get to throw shade at you just because they’re in your life. 

So, how about you? Do you have close friends and family who put you down? And what two steps will you take the next time it happens?


Image Credits: Pixabay


About the Author

Martha Bodyfelt

Martha Bodyfelt is a divorce coach whose website, Surviving Your Split, helps women navigate their divorce with less stress and drama so they can move on with their lives. For your free Divorce Warrior Survival read more...

18 Posts | 46,603 Views

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