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Dealing With Toxic People by Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson

Believe it or not, I don’t have a lot of toxic people in my life – or maybe I do and I just don’t know it because I’m so good at not letting them affect me. But there is this one. Luckily I don’t have to deal with him often, but when I do, the experience is toxic enough to last a while. And today was my lucky day to have another run-in with him. And today’s run-in was a ten on the richter scale. I won’t say his name, but will just refer to him as Butt, for obvious reasons. Today Butt worked his magic and didn’t just get under my skin, he built a house there. And I’m still trying desperately to “let it go” – eating those words I give to my audiences as a motivational speaker.

So today I get another lesson in how to deal with toxic people, and another reality check on how that is so much easier said than done! But here are the steps I walked through in order to deal with this toxic person and this toxic conversation. Since my husband is sick of hearing about it, I will share them with you in the hopes they will help you deal with similar situations.

1. You can’t reason with an idiot. So don’t try. Get away from the situation as soon as possible. I stayed in the conversation with Butt much longer than I should have because I kept wanting to defend myself and retaliate. It’s not worth it. It just made me more upset. You can’t use logic with someone who is simply unable to think logically. I’m a big fan of listening, but some people just want to hear themselves rant. Don’t be their sounding board.

2. Don’t sink to their level. Don’t fight back. Keep your character. If you start playing dirty you only give them more fuel. I know this is hard. You can still stick up for yourself and speak the truth without attacking.

3. Don’t let their words affect you. Butt attacked my character and it stung. I had to distance myself from his words and look at the source. I had to let his words roll off my back. I couldn’t do it the last time we had an exchange
Iike this. But today I could. I guess I’ve grown.

4. Do not react with actions you will later regret. Calm down and count to ten. Or a million. Don’t react until you’ve had time to cool off and think without so much emotion involved. I’m glad I calmed down, or Butt would have found some new monogramming along the side of his car in the morning. Once I had calmed down, I realized that the way to rise above it was to do nothing. Sure, it would have felt better to spray paint hussy on his front door. Or would it?

5. Forgive and forget. Yeah, this one will be the hardest. I’m still mad. But one of the values I embrace in life and in my business is forgiveness. And I choose to forgive Butt. And forget the transgression. It may take a while, but I am determined. I won’t tell him I forgive him. And I will still end this business relationship. And I will not allow Butt to waste any more of my valuable time. Forgiveness does not mean you have to let the behavior continue. Forgiveness means that you stop carrying the anger towards that person, and get on with your life. And so I must also forget, despite the temptation to share the experience and get people on my side. Because another principle upon which my business is based is integrity. I’m not great at it, but I can still aspire to it. A better person wouldn’t have bothered to write a blog post about it. But I never claimed to be a saint.

And so, Butt, it’s over. May you take your toxic behavior somewhere else. And when you do, I hope they find this blog post. They will certainly need it. I’m just sayin’…..

Have a good night,

Your wacky, motivational speaker trying to live life in the right lane

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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  1. Edna Weller11-08-11

    You amaze me with all your wisdom and humor. Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us

  2. Jennifer11-09-11

    LOVE THIS!!!!!!! Esp #5 Forgive & Forget that is where I get hung up on my toxic person.. As soon as I do forgive they pull something again and then all the befores and this times all pile right back up. It is nice to know that I can forgive but it doesnt mean I have to do it face to face or when with her at all.. As much as I want to yell out to the people who praise her all the things she has done or said to me I don’t. This is between her and I not them… I am learning to distance myself, give it all to God and let Him deal w/ her and me… Thank you for this post… I will share..

  3. Tami Evans11-09-11

    Thanks Kelly! I do try to always take the high road and “practice what I speak” but toxic people can really rile me up. Thanks for the reminder to never stop trying to be the best me I can be… no Butts about it!

  4. kelly11-09-11

    Thanks for commenting Tami! Hope you’re having a great day! I’m still trying to let it go. Almost there. I had forgotten about it until I saw your post. :) I think that today, more than ever, we’re running into more toxic people and toxic conversations. We need to try and keep our emotions in check or we might reach violence. I’m just saying.

  5. kelly11-09-11

    Yeah, Jennifer, I get hung up on forgive and forget too. Especially when you CAN’T distance yourself from the person. But the truth is still the truth no matter how hard it is. Just remember that you are human. It’s naturally to get riled up. Don’t beat yourself up too much. :) And thanks for sharing!!!!

  6. kelly11-09-11

    Don’t be too amazed Edna. The deep powerful stuff comes from something (or I should say someone) much bigger than I am. Give Him the credit. He’s the one who has such good advice. The dumb quirky stuff? All me. Not sure He wants to take credit for me naming the guy Butt. :) Make it a great day!

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