Everyday Lifestyle, Poetry, Self-Care & Well-Being

Being Assertive To Deal With Toxic People

An important part of self-care is to not allow negativity from outside influences to take up space within yourself and control or manipulate your spirit and self-determination.

Reclaiming time to focus on your own needs and build yourself up can be unnerving to some. Those that dislike your personal growth or desire to be exactly who you are, and live unencumbered from standards created by others, can be a liberation that they wish to stifle – and it’s this stifling that makes a person or action, unintended or not, a toxic power in your life. 

Toxicity can range from an overly negative, drama-filled, draining individual to a calculating, controlling, emotionally abusive one. And even though there seems to be a gulf between these types of toxic behaviours, the aims and outcomes are often the same – restraining your progress by strangling your confidence and self-esteem. 

Emotional abuse thrives through its insidiousness. You often don’t know it’s happening until you’re in the middle of it, making it hard to disentangle yourself. By keeping your self-empowerment in a quietened state, toxic people continue to meet their needs, so it’s assertiveness that can be used to break yourself free from their influence.

Poem by Molly from Transatlantic Notes called ’Liberation’: “Liberation from the toxicity of others is to live unrestrained.”

An often overlooked quality of assertiveness that hides its power, is that you don’t actually need to have it, at first, in order to use it. In it’s quietened state you can be tricked into believing that you aren’t self-assured enough to speak up for yourself – which is often what toxic people want you to believe – but as soon as you do, your assertiveness becomes strengthened, just like a muscle, by its use.

Assertiveness with toxic people is about creating boundaries. If you’re unable to avoid contact with them (cutting people off who are particularly emotionally abusive can be appropriate) use simple, clear statements that include impact and action. Practice what feels natural to you, but all-purpose phrases like these might be a good place to start:

“When you … … I feel … … and I’d like it to stop.”

“You may not be aware, but when you … … it makes me feel … … and I’d like it to stop.”

“I didn’t appreciate … … .”

Liberating yourself from the negativity of other people will likely trigger some push back from them, particularly if they gain something from it, but stay firm on what needs to change. Don’t let your boundaries be breached, life really is too short and far too beautiful to be restrained by continued toxicity. 

Do you have any advice for dealing with toxic people? Have you recently been assertive and set boundaries? How did it go?

Further Info:

This is part of my poetry collection, if you share my work on social media, please do not edit it, remove my name or forget to give credit (tag my Instagram and/or link back to this post or my Poetry Page). If you wish to use my poetry in any other way, please contact me for permission. Thank you.

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11 thoughts on “Being Assertive To Deal With Toxic People”

  1. Great post! Toxic people are no longer invited to stay in my life. I guess people chances but if it quacks like a toxic duck it is a toxic duck:(


  2. Thank you for sharing this post! You’ve provided some really solid advice here for dealing with toxic relationships.

    I wanted to bring up toxicity in the workplace because you have such little control in that scenario especially when the toxic people are more senior. I only managed to find peace after resigning but financial obligations meant that I had to endure it for more than a year which was awful.

    Hayley | https://www.thriceuponadream.com


    1. Yes, workplace toxicity is so hard to know how best to deal with. I experienced this in a previous job too and only found some relief by expressing my issues to someone who was as senior as the toxic person who could then go and have a private word with them. It worked as it was done quietly and it came from someone who was on their level so they listened and took it seriously. Other instances I had to put in writing and be really firm and go straight to the top and say I wasn’t going to accept this treatment.
      I’m so glad you’re out of your situation as I know how difficult and stressful it can be.
      Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

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