Getting rid of toxic people can be complicated but it should be done as soon as possible. The longer you leave it the more they will abuse you and take advantage of you. They have spent time and effort getting you under control and they probably won't give that up easily. This means that you have to take active steps to get rid of them.
Toxic people are those for whom relationships are about coercion and exploitation. They take and give very little. They can be very judgemental but you're not allowed to criticize them. They make the rules in the relationship and their rules for themselves are different than their rules for you. They will criticize you and make you feel fear and guilt in order to get you to behave in the way that they want. They will focus your attention on how good they are, how bad you are and how they deserve to be treated as special.
Any time you have a success, a pleasurable experience or you feel good about yourself they will tear you down. They will make themselves the centre of your universe. You end up spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about them and making sure you don't upset them.
Frequently, before making decisions, you check in your head about how they will respond and this influences your decision.
Many of these types are psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists. This is important because if you are actually dealing with one of these types, then the rules you have to use are different from the normal, polite rules of society.
The first thing is that these people are not going to change. It doesn't matter how much time, energy, love or attention you give them, they will simply want you to change even more and give even more. They consider themselves superior and any problems are other people's fault. So they have no reason to change! Any hope that you have that they will change will keep you in the relationship and that just means that you'll continue to be abused and taken advantage of.
These people are professional liars and have little or no sense of responsibility. They won't keep their word, they won't stick to the rules and negotiating with them is a complete waste of your time.They have no emotions. I know this is a hard one for most people to accept, but this is true of people with personality disorders. This is a game changer. It means that they can do anything they like to other people and they never feel bad about it. That's worth repeating. They can do anything they like to other people and they never feel bad about it.
It doesn't matter how cruel or callous they are, it does not bother them. For them, the end justifies the means. Said another way, they are willing to do anything to get what they want. It doesn't matter if it destroys somebody else's life, to them the important thing is that they have what they want.
Obviously, you have to be able to recognise a toxic person. This is not as easy as it sounds. If you are in an abusive relationship, as the saying goes, you're probably the last one to realize it. There are reasons for this. Learning how to spot toxic people, sociopaths and psychopaths is a good idea.
Once you've recognised that this person in your life is toxic, then you need to do something about it. As I've said, they are not going to change. It's up to you to get rid of them.
Putting physical distance between you is always a good idea. Remember, every time you talk to them or interact with them they get a chance to further manipulate and abuse you. This is why the recommendation is to have no contact with the toxic people in your life. Again, this is usually easier said than done. Why? Because these toxic people make you dependent on them. Because of the nature of mind control they change your personality, your perceptions, thoughts, your decision-making, your emotions and your behaviours. You can read more about this false personality or pseudo-personality in this article.
Oftentimes, getting rid of toxic people means not only learning about the gravity of your situation, but also undoing some of the damage so that you can mentally create distance between you. Some people have to learn about the dynamics of abusive relationships in order to diminish their dependency on the manipulator before they can actually separate. It's actually a big job.
Many people may say to you, "Hey, just move out. Just leave." But you already know that it's not that simple. The idea of leaving can feel terrifying and horrific, even though you know mentally that getting out is the right thing to do. These contradictory feelings and ideas can lead people to believe that there is something wrong with them or even that they're going crazy. Rest assured that it's not actually you, this is typical for victims of psychological abuse. Learning about manipulation and what was actually done to you gets rid of these symptoms.
Once you've decided to go, it's unlikely the toxic person will simply let that happen. You can expect that they will try all sorts of tactics to get you to stay. They will promise to change, make you feel that you're making a mistake, they will blame you, they will promise a wonderful future and so on. You have to prepare yourself for this and not give in. When people don't understand that they are dealing with a toxic person and do give in and go back, the abuse typically gets worse. Until the next breakup. This is how many people end up in on-and-off relationships for years with toxic people. It's useful to make the decision that you're never going back before you actually tell the toxic person that it's over. This can also be very difficult because the manipulators can be very, very convincing.
An alternative is not to tell the manipulator until after you have moved out. You can simply pack your bags and your gear and run. Many people think this is not fair to the manipulator. They feel they owe them an explanation. Remember that idea that if somebody does you a favor then you owe them one back? Well, in this case the toxic person has not done you a favor, they have not been taking care of you and they do not love you. Instead of feeling that you owe them, you need to deal with the reality of the relationship, which is that they have been abusing you. They have been treating you very badly. That's what you need to respond to. And the proper response is to protect yourself.
Leaving such a situation without asking for permission is perfectly acceptable when you're dealing with toxic people. They have insisted that you ask for permission for everything as part of the power imbalance in the relationship. You do not need their permission to leave. Making that unilateral decision is a major step in terms of taking back control of your own life.
Because of the dependency I mentioned earlier, staying away is also a major deal. It's very, very difficult. The toxic person will give you all sorts of reasons why they need to talk. They will act like a victim, they will plead with you to explain why you left (they already know, it's simply a way to trick you into continuing conversation!), they will claim they cannot manage without you and so on and so on. You must resist all these temptations as much as possible because you want to break that dependency as quickly as possible.
It may be necessary to block the toxic person in all methods of communication. In fact, it's usually a good idea to do that anyway. It sends a very clear message to them that you no longer want to communicate, that they no longer have control and that you are finished with them. You do not, I repeat not, owe them repeated explanations. It's just a trick to get you to talk to them.
You can also tell mutual friends that you do not want any news of the toxic person at all. Let them know, too, that if they invite the toxic person and you to some event at the same time, you will not be going.
It's a good idea not to track them on social media either. The temptation may be there, but, remember that dependency on the abuser... If you give in and track them it will make it much more difficult for you to separate completely.
If the toxic person is harassing you or even stalking you, going to the police is a good option. It let's the toxic person know you are not afraid to contact the authorities and most of them don't want to lose their freedom.
Learn what to look for when you meet new people in order to stay away from toxic people from the start.
You can read more about the signs of mental abuse, the stages of an abusive relationship, why people end up staying in abusive relationships, information on recovering from a psychopathic relationship and how to divorce a sociopath.
Would you like to talk to someone about your situation?
If you think you are or have been in a cult or a destructive relationship, or a friend or family member might be in a cult and you want to talk to someone, send me a message on the Contact page and we can arrange to talk. All communication will be treated in the strictest confidence.
You have the theory but how do you actually apply it? This book spells it out...
Do you think that you might be in an abusive relationship? Are you realizing that the group you are in may be a cult?
Do you think you are being taken advantage of emotionally, physically, sexually or financially in your relationship? Do you want to leave but you can't seem to get away?