When you have a good heart, it can be particularly challenging to deal with damaged people who are willing to play on your emotions for their own benefit (or maybe just to incite some drama or chaos).
The term ‘toxic person’ is thrown around a lot, and I think the term has been misused quite a bit on social media as a go-to insult for a medley of behaviors, but when I speak about toxic people I am not referring to someone going through a moody day or a tough time.
I’m talking about the kind of person that acts with a deliberate nature; someone who revels in conflict or negativity. Nothing is ever good enough for them, and you are always the one with the problem (or at the very least, they most certainly could never be the wrong one).
These so-called ‘toxic people’ are really damaged people (which I think is a much better term), dealing with their own traumas and issues that they express in unhealthy ways. This is important to remember, because without compassion and understanding, you can never properly address this dynamic.
Understanding How Enabling Damaged People Hurts Everyone
But even when you have identified these behaviors, and have tried to ‘work them out’ or ‘reach them’ the first few (or few hundred) times, it can still be very hard to take action. Because you care for them, or maybe you feel bad for them. And most importantly, because you have a good heart — and you can see their potential. You can see the good in them.
That’s why it’s so important to understand this key truth that I always remember when stuck in a ‘I want to rescue them from themselves’ scenario: when you enable a damaged person, you are not only hurting yourself, you’re hurting them. Because by enabling their behaviors, you’re actually stopping their growth process, one that will hopefully someday lead to them expanding beyond their current toxic behavior and ending the cycle.
I break this down further in my video below on how to let damaged people go:
I know what it’s like to feel ‘bad’ for taking action in a tough situation and standing up for your boundaries; your emotions can be used against you. But once you zoom out and remember that caving in to toxic behavior only continues the cycle and pushes back healing, it’s a lot easier to re-center and make the right decision.
(Photo by: Lalesh Aldarwish via Pexels)