Protecting Yourself In A Toxic Environment

Posted by Veronica Dearsley on

It’s easy to say “cut out toxic influences,” but sometimes real life gets in the way. If it’s your boss, you are probably not lucky enough to be in a position where you can just flip your desk over, quit, and walk out with an Obama style mic drop (but if you are, 100 points to you.) And if it’s a close family member the lines are often too blurry to cut through. So, probably the most helpful thing for lots of situations is learning how to protect yourself from whatever toxicity you find yourself swimming through.


Realise it’s not about you

Some people really are just dicks. Maybe you can work out their motivation, maybe it’s hard to tell what’s going on, but whichever it is, don’t take it personally. Whether they seem to fixate their toxic behaviour on you or spread it around freely, if you are content that you are behaving as a normal person then you carry on as you are.

Set Boundaries

Be strict with yourself, make sure you’re doing what’s required of you but don’t get dragged into additional things that will cause you more stress.


Plan In Some Decompression Time

If you know you’re likely to be fed up after work or seeing a certain person, plan in some time to relax and unwind just afterwards whenever possible. Even if it’s not immediately afterwards, knowing you’ve set some time aside for yourself might help you get through a little bit better.


Buddy Up

If you know there’s other people that feel the same way as you, seek them out. Whether you are fed up with the same situation or the same person person, or just something similar, there’s a lot of benefit to be had in being able to unload on someone that understands, and be there for them to do the same to you.


Play The Long Game

You might not be able to cut off instantly from whatever toxicity is bothering you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan ahead. Stuck in a job with someone that’s making your life a misery? Can you take a course, or just start applying for other jobs? Or maybe if it’s a family member you can’t just walk away from, you could just gradually reduce the amount of time you spend with them. Work out a long term plan on how to eventually move on. 


It's incredibly common to be stuck with toxic people or in toxic situations, so it's worth finding out healthy coping mechanisms that you can rely on when it's all feeling a bit much. 

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