It’s the holiday season,” sings Andy Williams, and he’s right! We’re right in the middle of “the greatest time of year,” as sung by Aly & AJ.

And for the most part, it’s true.

There’s a special kind of feeling in the air
It only happens at this time of year
When everyone is filled with love and cheer
‘Cause that’s what matters 

Only, there is a certain trepidation that some people feel when getting together with family and friends that brings on anxiety. Maybe you’ve experienced holidays spent walking on egg shells, hoping not to set off a certain someone’s rampage. Or worst. You’ve had holidays dashed to bits by someone’s constant inconsiderate outbursts and you just don’t know what to expect this year.

There’s a lot of information out there about toxins in our environments and the lasting negative effects on our physical health. Artificial preservatives, additives, pesticides. They’re easy to spot and all we have to do is to steer clear to stay healthy and strong.

But what about the lasting negative effects toxic people can have on our mental and emotional heath? And how do we protect ourselves from further harm?

Truth is, emotionally toxic people can ravage us from the inside out. Yet, what exactly defines a toxic person depends on who you talk to.

In my life, I’ve found toxic people are those who:

  • take and never give in return
  • constantly complain
  • gossip
  • insist everything be about them
  • makes others feel guilty
  • criticize and minimize

I’m sure if you were to list out what you consider to be emotionally toxic, your list would look similar, maybe longer. Yet, there’s one thing that all toxic people have in common.

They always leave you feeling powerless, vulnerable, and depleted.

Feeling this way for long periods of time is devastating to your physical and emotional health. And just as with toxins in our food and environment that we steer clear of, emotionally toxic people need to be avoided whenever possible as well.

However, when you have to traverse Holiday family get togethers and friendly reunions that always consist of that one or two people that you simply don’t want to be around because, every time without fail, they leave you feeling powerless, vulnerable and depleted, what do you do? How can you keep yourself from experiencing those Holiday Woes and, instead, enjoy all the Holiday Cheer?

3 Ways to Remove Toxic People from Your Holiday Cheer

I’d like to share 3 ways that work for me in keeping myself and my sanity safe whenever I’m in the presence of a toxic person or people. And during the holidays, like it or not, we can all find ourselves in the vicinity of such toxins.

Be forewarned, though.

Some of these tips are going to be hard to swallow at first.

But try them out for yourself anyway. See what works for you. So far, following these guidelines has helped me not only be toxic people free, but also stress free. What a life saver…

1. Walk Away

Say, for instance, you are in a room full of people, and someone starts gossiping, ranting about this or that, complaining about anything and everything, and you know – you know – that no matter what you say, however eloquent, you will never change this person’s mind or shut them up…

Just walk away.

You DO NOT have to be there to hear all of their negativity. Your presence is NOT necessary. They will rant and complain to anyone! Even to an empty room, they love the sound of their voice so much. Who says it has to be you listening?

So walk away. Leave with your sanity intact! Save yourself!

Here’s what you do: Stand up, totally calm, take your children by the hand if you have kids (so they can escape the toxicity too) and nonchalantly leave the room. Come back only when you know enough time has passed, that everyone else in the room has argued ’till they’re blue in the face with the toxic person, to no avail, and the topic has been changed.

Phew! You saved yourself from a toxic encounter!

2. Take Yourself Out of the Equation

How about this…There was a huge misunderstanding between you and someone and, had the misunderstanding happened between you and a person capable of having a normal conversation, it would’ve been resolved in a conversation or two. Note, I did not say argument. Just two people talking it out, however differing opinions they may have.

Except this is a toxic person we’re talking about.

They do not know how to have a normal conversation. They only know how to yell, scream, belittle, talk over you like you’re not there at all. Nothing is normal about the way this person communicates with others.

Just take yourself out of the equation.

This is similar to Walking Away, however with this, since you are part of their delusion, you have to react in a different way than just walking away. Maybe you did something to set them off and they will either gossip about you to everyone and everyone, or they will throw it in your face every time they see you. Don’t play their game. Don’t stoop to their level. Don’t counter act their assaults.

If need be, say your bit to the toxic person alone – just the facts – totally calm and firm, and then let it go. You did your part. You’ve cleaned yourself of the misunderstanding.

Now, let it go.

Chances are everyone else is just as fed up with this person as you are. Eventually, everyone will see that it’s just another one of this toxic person’s tirades and will start to see your wise ways of getting out of the way. They too will remove themselves from this person’s path, seeing how calm and relaxed you are by no longer being involved with this toxic person.

If they don’t, it’s not your problem. Take care of yourself.

3. Take Responsibility

For your health! It’s your health. If you don’t take care of yourself, who will? No one.

Are you going to continue to let this person shape your life for the worse? Allow yourself to feel the effects of their negativity so much that it is effecting your health?

They take and never give… Who is to blame that this person is still in your life? Them? Nope, sorry folks.

It’s no one’s fault but your own.

They are always going to do what they do. But what they do to you is up to you. No one else.

If you don’t want to be treated poorly, don’t allow it. Do what you have to do to take control of your life. If that means no longer engaging someone in a conversation because you know it’s going to turn sour, then don’t engage with them! Stop thinking that this time things will be different. They won’t. And you know they won’t because you’ve been dealing with this toxicity for years and years. It’s the way this person is. And they can change, yes. But it’s not up to you to change them. Or fix them.

If you know that just by being around a certain toxic person brings you down and causes you to feel horrible for days, even weeks later, then limit or restrict your contact with that person.

You are in charge of your life. Like I say all the time, only YOU get to write the story of your life.

So don’t let others bring you down. You have to take care of your health so that you can take care of all the other things and people in your life you are not only responsible for, but love and love your back in healthy ways.

I know this is the hardest one to swallow, but it’s true. Just think about it.

You are in charge of you.

You need to take care of you.

You. You. You!

So, there you have it. My own ways of dealing with the toxins in my life. What works for you may be different, as there are many ways in which you can save your sanity, your health, and your holidays!

If you have any of your own ideas and tips, please share! We can all use additional tools in our arsenal against our common toxic enemies…

That said, here’s to taking great care of ourselves during this hectic yet joyous time of the year.

~ Lia

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