Mental & Emotional Health

How to Handle Toxic Relationships and Improve Your Mental Health

How to Handle Toxic Relationships and Improve Mental Health
Written by Guest Author

People you surround yourself with will have a substantial impact on you.

Living among healthy and happy people makes you optimistic and helps you look at the brighter side – even on a sad day. In contrast, dealing with people who have a complaining attitude drains your energy. Unfortunately, you cannot always pick and choose people that stay in the positive circle. 

Some people around you may have some toxic traits, and you may have to deal with them regularly. Your interaction with them can worsen your mental well-being. However, sometimes it becomes impossible for you to avoid them. Still, it does not mean that you become vulnerable and hurt your emotional and mental health. 

The great news is you can shield your psychological health while dealing with such people. Below we are listing some ways to keep your mental health least affected while handling toxic people:

Address Your Feelings 

Express your feelings and trust your intuition. 

One of the serious mistakes people make is suppressing their feelings. Some are under the illusion that they might be overthinking. Thus, they let their feelings be bottled up inside.

These people keep giving others, narcissists or negative people, the benefit of the doubt. However, they don’t realize that they harm their well-being while doing so. Do not be like them.

Realize that giving toxic people chances over and again hurts your emotional health.

Address your feelings. If you feel that some people put you down repeatedly, confront them. You can choose to be polite with them, but be firm. Be truthful to yourself. 

Addressing your feelings will relieve you from an undue burden. 

Establish Limits

Boundaries in some relationships are necessary. But when a family member or a colleague is toxic, it becomes imperative that you establish defined boundaries. 

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Setting clear boundaries will give you some space. In turn, it will improve psychological well-being. Plus, you need to let them know that they must respect your set limits. 

Do not let them enter your private room or cabin without knocking. To set emotional boundaries, specify that you do not wish to carry on conversations on specific topics with them. 

Establishing boundaries will convey your message and bring some peace to your life. 

Seek Help

Do not shy away from letting other people know how you feel around such people. Perhaps, others also feel the same but feel intimidated in front of them. 

Some associations can break you to the point that you cannot restore your confidence without seeking professional help. Remember, there is no shame and harm in consulting psychiatrists for your well-being. 

A professional can guide you better and help you handle situations with toxic people. 

Realize You Cannot Fix the Other Person

Acknowledge that it is not your job to fix other people.

You can try helping others out. But they must be willing to work on themselves. Besides, people can only improve if they admit that they are unfair to others. 

Most toxic people blame others for issues. They never admit they are the root cause of the problems. Somehow, they bring something forward and make other people believe that they are the creators of the issues. 

While it is true that you cannot force others to change; however, you can change your reaction to them. 

Engage in Coping Strategies

Another healthy way of dealing with toxic people is to apply coping techniques. Dealing with negative people day in and day out can be nerve-racking. 

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Follow a healthy routine. Engage in exercise and ensure that you sleep well. Furthermore, practice meditation, gratitude or indulge in deep breathing exercises. 

Regularly practicing coping techniques can remarkably change mental conditions. 

Build a Healthy Support System

Human beings need people around. People cannot survive on their own. 

You cannot cut off other people from your life completely. Having a healthy support system helps you deal with some pessimistic people. 

Some people who understand you and do not judge your every action build your self-confidence. Furthermore, their company helps you boost your esteem, and gives you the courage to handle toxic people.

Explore Healthier Ways to Express Yourself

Learn how to express yourself in a better way. 

Dealing with narcissist or pessimist people often limit your thinking. It would be best if you let your feelings out healthily. 

Many times, saying thoughts aloud backfires and gets you in trouble. Negative people react harshly when you attempt to show them the true picture. They pressurize you into believing that you are at fault. Still, it does not mean that you let injustice happen.

Try out writing them a letter. Another idea is to apply the ‘sandwich approach.’ Start with something positive, address your feelings and then end the discussion on a hopeful note. 

Expressing your emotions in a healthy manner will help you take the burden off your shoulder.

Think Positive Things 

The people you interact with influence your mind. Dealing with toxic people slowly takes positivity out of your life. Once you realize that the other person is draining your energy, you need to step up and do something about it. 

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Divert your mind to the good things in life. Occupy it with all the positive happenings all around. Initially, it won’t be easy and may require every ounce of your strength. However, it will become easy and help you handle negative people with time.

Minimize Contact

Reduce your interaction with toxic people.

Sometimes you cannot cut ties off completely. That does not mean that you let them take advantage and ruin your mental wellness. 

Think of alternatives to reach them. Avoid dealing with them in person. Use technology to contact them and if you come across them, keep the interaction minimal. 

Less contact will give them fewer chances of being unfair to you. Consequently, boost your psychological health. 


The Bottom Line 

Toxic people generally do not know or do not admit that they are harming others in any way. One of their characteristics is that they always manage to blame the other party. 

Dealing with such negative people drains your energy and can ruin your whole day. Identifying them is the first step. Later, it would help if you attempted to reduce contact with them. 

Remember: Toxic people take a toll on your psychological health, and there is no reason you let them ruin your peace of mind.


Daniel Lichtman is a relationship counselor at Integrated Way. He is a Registered Psychotherapist (PACFA Australia) and Certified Transformational Coach (Circling Institute, USA) with over 8,000 hours experience. He also helps a wide range of clienteles overcome their personal and professional challenges to live a happier life.

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