Once you experienced the revelation of recognizing a Toxic Person in your life, you will probably be confused, anxious, angry, heartbroken and grieving. This is a perfectly natural process even though you may be at a crisis level, the chaos will diminish.
Please, never expect a Toxic Person to change, no matter what they say. They will manipulate any situation to make you come running. They will not consider themselves to be at fault, and you will be accused of being ridiculous, crazy or ill. At heart a trouble person will always be the same person.
The only person you can change is YOU. Sometimes it is better to give them your silence than approach them with what you have discovered.
10 Ways to Get Started
If you are new to this knowledge here are some ways that have helped us to cope and also thrive on our journeys.
#1 Go through all your memories and review them with your new-found insight.
You should now be able to see that what happened to you was not a result of having a loving person in your life, but dealing with a self-absorbed person. You will probably find that dealing with the knowledge of this person has turned your world upside down and you will need help to deal with it. Learn to feel the emotions you are experiencing.
#2 Find a counselor or therapist to discuss these feelings and how they affect you.
This may be difficult because the Toxic Person has always insisted that you do not talk about matters to strangers (or even friends) about what goes on in your home. However, if you have found a professional empathic counselor/therapist this will help boost your self-esteem and offer a variety of choices for you to consider. Sadly even close empathic friends often don’t understand what you have gone through and will offer platitudes such as: “You only have one mother”, “Your husband is wonderful and he obviously loves you” “Why don’t you talk to her about it?”
#3 You may wish to consider cutting contact, although this proves impossible for some because of the feelings of guilt that are induced.
This means not talking to an emotional bully, not reading or answering emails, texts or telephone calls. It is your form of protection against receiving any more direct wounding in the future. Read more on cutting contact here.
#4 Should you decide you cannot bring yourself to cut contact because they are ill, old or have no-one else to look after them or because you have children together, then you can distance yourself by limiting contact.
This means that you cut back on your contact with them, less personal visits, short, sweet and very superficial telephone calls, always answered by voice mail to show you are not always there the moment they call. Even if you are still living with your abuser, there are ways to begin protecting yourself.
#5 Accepting what has happened to you and knowing that you were not at fault is imperative to the healing journey.
Learn to lay the blame and shame exactly where it belongs, on your abuser even though they may minimize what happened to you, it was abuse. Read all you can on the subject of their underlying issue, this will give you knowledge and subsequently the power to understand why you have suffered. It will help you realize the dynamics between you, and help you be able to deal with this in the future.
By doing so you will realize you not are the only person to have suffered such abuse. Our stories are all different yet experientially identical.
#7 Learn to create and use boundaries so you don’t get sucked into doing things for others when you don’t want to.
When caught on the hop and you feeling obliged to say yes, just take a breath and say “I will let you know if it is possible”. A perfect get-out clause when you can’t say NO. Here are some more tips and tricks for saying No.
#8 Self-care is very important and something most of us don’t bother with.
Indulge yourself in pampering treatments as often as you can because you are worthy, even if it is only soaking your feet, putting on make up or taking time out of a busy schedule to read a book.
#9 Face your fears.
It can be extremely cathartic to do something you are scared even to think of. Often the reality is never as bad as the imagination makes it, whether you are afraid of reptiles, making a decision or going to a social event. Feeling the pride of overcoming your fears will help you begin to grow your confidence, and will make you feel empowered.
#10 Love your life. We are all survivors who can thrive.