What to do when toxic friends, family and commitments are contributing to your stress

March 10, 2019 adminmj

You know how it can be in families or close-knit circles; toxic family and friends who make your life hell and add more stress than fun to your life. Carrying burdens for them, doing too much when they do too little in return.

It’s often hard to say no to things when it is people we are close with or people we love, and then we end up with commitments or social events that add to our stress.

How do we deal with these types of people in our lives? How do we learn to say ‘no’? How do we prioritise our own commitments above other peoples, and do things we actually want to do, rather than what we feel entitled to do?

Poisonous People

The definition of toxic means poisonous, something that is harmful to your health and lethal if consumed in sufficient quantities.  Can family members and friends affect your health?  You bet.

Toxic family members are stressful because of their arguing, criticism of others, manipulation, controlling and talking about others which has no positive side of life.  They become a great source of stress and anxiety, particularly if you join them with other family members who they resent and have a problem with.  This combination is stressful dynamite – just waiting to explode.

How do you know if you are dealing with a toxic person?

  • You feel increasingly anxious knowing that you will soon be spending time with them
  • You leave the time you spent with them feeling upset, angry or fed up
  • You begin to feel less inclined to contact or see them
  • Other friends tell you not to invite them over if they are there
  • You feel drained and exhausted after seeing them
  • You dread seeing them again
  • Being with them is always about drama
  • Often you find yourself in the middle of their drama – in an unhealthy way

How do you handle toxic family and friends? 

  • This can be difficult, particularly if they are family members. However, if you continue to hang around them, nothing will improve.  In fact, things may get worse
  • Take time out and review how these people behave and what impact they have on you
  • Make a list of the pros and cons about how you feel when you are around them
  • Set boundaries around them – limits
  • Decide if you would like to see them as often or less
  • If less, consider if you want to tell them the stress they give you and why you want a ‘relationship break’
  • Concentrate on making new contacts and friends who are a more positive and healthy influence for you
  • Practise priorities and work out what is important for you
  • Learn to say no because, if you don’t, you will continue to give more, and they will happily take what you give

Handling stress and learning stress management skills effectively is critical to our emotional, mental and physical health, because if not managed well, stress kills.

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Photo by José Martín Ramírez C on Unsplash

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