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How to deal with a toxic person Part 2
Real love is equal love for yourself and others at the same time. Healthy boundaries make real love happen because they help you balance selflessness and selfishness. They are the balance point between caring for others and caring for self. - photo by Kim Giles
Both of these questions were in response to my last article about dealing with toxic people. I received many comments and letters from people who are dealing with destructive relationships, so I decided to discuss this further.

Question 1:

I have elderly grandparents and an uncle, who didnt want anything to do with taking care of them, but the second money came to be involved in the situation he immediately jumped in and demanded they live with him and he should have control of everything. He has taken a lot of their possessions and is consumed with what he can get from the situation. I am really struggling with terrible feelings towards this uncle. The only thing I can think to do at this point is cut him completely out of my life (once my grandmother passes) so I don't have to deal or be around that type of mindset/personality anymore. Any advice or perhaps a different point of view would be helpful. Is there another way to handle this?

Question 2:

I have a really difficult mother-in-law who constantly puts down her son and me. I always tried to show unconditional love for her but nothing is ever good enough. My husband decided for a while not to communicate with her because it was such a toxic relationship. He has now reconnected with her, but I am very standoffish. It's not that I hold anything against her, it's more of I simply don't care to try anymore. I don't want to live with these feelings, but at the same time I just feel that I need to protect my family. I don't know if I am wrong in not trying to fix things. I feel like I don't need to have a relationship, but I don't want to do anything to hurt my kids, husband or myself. Please help.


In both of these situations you have three options.

  1. To try to repair the relationship.
  2. To accept the relationship as it is, and live with it.
  3. To avoid the person and not have a relationship.
To decide which option is best in your situation, you must figure out which option you can do from a place of love. Everything you do has energy behind it. It either has fear energy (focused on protecting self) or love energy (compassion, wisdom and kindness towards yourself and others), and the energy behind your choice matters.

If you choose any of the three options above from a space of fear, bitterness, anger, defensiveness, selfishness or revenge, it isnt going to serve you. But if you choose any of the options from a space of love, wisdom, accuracy and compassion, it will probably work out well. The trick is figuring out which option you are capable of doing from love.

Here are what the three options look like from fear versus love. See which love option you feel you can handle.

Repair it

  • Fear: This desire to fix it comes with judgment and sees the other person as the bad guy. You may call them out or have conversations about their bad behavior, but they wont be calm, easy, loving ones because you will be defensive, hurt and angry. You cannot repair a relationship from a place of judgment or defensiveness only from a place of compassion and forgiveness.
  • Love: Here you will remember you have the exact same value as this toxic person. You will work on fixing the relationship with respect and forgiveness (showering them with kindness like I mentioned last week). Here you have a good chance of repairing the relationship, if (and this is a BIG IF) they are capable of or willing to change. Some people simply arent capable of loving, mature behavior no matter what you do. If your toxic person falls into this category, you may not be able to choose this option. But this option is always worth trying first, which is why I recommended it last week.
Accept it

  • Fear: Here you accept this person as they are (instead of trying to repair the relationship) but every time you are around them you still feel angry, hurt and bothered. You will still be on guard and worried about being insulted or taken from. You may be accepting the situation, but you are still seeing it as negative, resenting the person and feeling defensive. There will be no peace here.
  • Love: The only way to make accepting this situation (as it is) serve you and create peace is to come from a place of accuracy about your value and your journey so you can forgive them. You must remember this person cannot diminish you. Your value is absolute. This being true, there is nothing to defend, and you are bulletproof and safe all the time. You will also see this person as the same as you and remember that even though their behavior is horrible, they are still an irreplaceable human being with the same intrinsic value as you. You must also see this situation as your perfect classroom journey. You must understand that this person is a teacher in your classroom, to help you learn to love at a deeper level. When you see them this way you can forgive them and let them be a struggling student with much more to learn. From here you can set loving boundaries and enforce them with kindness. You wont let this person take from you, but you also wont feel defensive. You wont say no to protect yourself, you will say no to love yourself. (Yes, there is a difference one comes from fear and the other from truth, love and compassion). It takes a very mature person to pull this option off and maintain a relationship with a toxic person while staying in trust and love the whole time but it is possible and I believe its the best option if you can do it. If you cant get here, it might be best to avoid them for now (while you work on getting strong, bulletproof and loving). This option should be your goal eventually.
Avoid them

  • Fear: Here you cut this person out of your life, but you are doing it from a place of defensiveness, bitterness, resentment and anger, which may protect you from their abuse, but it does not create peace. You cant create peace from anger and fear. The two cant happen together. I think the person from question 2 is experiencing this right now. She is avoiding her mother-in-law, but feels guilty about it and worries she is doing the wrong thing. This happens because she subconsciously knows she isnt coming from love. That doesnt mean she should invite her mother-in-law back into her life though. It means she needs to avoid her from a place of love, not fear.
  • Love: You can decide to love a toxic person from afar, and this is often the very wisest course, but you must do this from a place of forgiveness, accuracy, compassion and kindness. This again means seeing their value and yours accurately. It means understanding this person is serving your classroom journey by giving you the chance to learn to love under difficult circumstances. It means giving them permission to be flawed, scared, in pain and incapable of love and not taking it personally. It also means loving yourself enough to know that you cant handle their negative energy right now and thats okay. You must be able to do this without feeling guilty about it. You must understand taking care of yourself is love too.
I was asked recently to clarify what healthy boundaries are. First, you must understand what real love is. Real love is equal love for yourself and others at the same time. Healthy boundaries make real love happen because they help you balance selflessness and selfishness. They are the balance point between caring for others and caring for self. They are the place where your responsibility for their issues end and theirs begins. Boundaries are rules that help you find this balance point and make sure you are taking care of yourself. If you dont take care of yourself, you will soon have nothing left to give. You can and must protect yourself and keep your own bucket full and you can do this with love energy towards all.

You can do this.
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