Human beings are designed to “grow out of” manipulation/co-dependence, just as we outgrow bed-wetting! Have you ever heard this before? Most people have not. We accept that we must tolerate manipulation, co-dependent behaviors, and “toxic people” because “that’s what human beings do.”
Toxic people are born, not made! You, and every other human being, were born manipulative (I’ll use manipulation, co-dependence, and energy-draining interchangeably in this post). The way things are set up; we are born manipulative, and are designed to grow out of it in order to become mature.
Here’s how it works
Little babies have bodies and brains that are not fully developed, leaving them dependent upon others for their every need. They must have an “agent” (usually parents) to exchange their energy with the world in order to keep life going—such as getting fed, staying clean, and getting sleep. As infants, we need others. Indeed, without them, we will die.
This does not describe a person we call “mature.”
The mature person exchanges energy directly with the world, and “wants” from other people, yet knows s/he will be okay if that person cannot give what is requested. The mature person can do without what’s requested, or get it for themselves another way. Toxic people need others and fear they will die if they don’t get what they believe they need. Mature people want others, yet know they will be okay if they don’t get what they believe they want.
Notice the two-year-old, who protests loudly “Me do it myself!” Even though we are not yet capable of exchanging our energy directly with the world at age two, we are focused on getting the process started. We want to grow up, to a point we will want others to help us, but will no longer need their participation.
By the age of three to four, we finally have the ability to do ask for a drink of water, pull the covers up to keep warm, or fetch something from the refrigerator. At this point, we are capable of starting our evolution to maturity, that state in which we put our own energy through ourselves, and no longer need our energy-exchanging agent.
Unfortunately, we need help from parents and caretakers to make this change. Most of us have not gotten this help, because parents don’t know they need to help, think it’s too much for a small child to take personal responsibility, or (primarily) they, themselves, have not made the change and are addicted to keeping children fully connected (emotionally immature).
All human beings need energy, which we get in the form of attention from others (and ourselves). “Toxic people” grab energy/attention from us without our permission, most often draining it mercilessly until we want to scream or escape! Because we haven’t understood the energy-draining system, we have fallen to attempting to avoid such “toxic” individuals, rather than dealing with the issue and putting an end to it!
It’s vital for you to know this: You are in charge of what kind of, and how much of, your energy others can use.
You do not have to avoid toxic people; you can actually “inoculate yourself” against toxicity, so that toxic people don’t even bother with you!
Here’s how: End your own energy-draining behaviors (we all have them), and toxic people will stop showing up in your life to drain you!
Easier said, than done, of course—yet it is entirely possible.
To really turn over a new leaf right now, consider ending your own manipulative, co-dependent behaviors. This you can do by breaking your own fear of spending time alone with yourself. (Get help by reading my book Emotions in Motion: Mastering Life’s Built-in Navigation System, available through my website September 2019.)
Little babies cannot survive on their own. People who continue to drain energy after the age of three-four years are fearful of being alone. Deep down, they are terrified. When we face that fear by actually spending time alone (as long as it takes—try it for three days, something most people cannot do!). When you face being alone, and find that not only do you survive, but usually like it(!), you realize you no longer need to tolerate others who feel toxic to you. In fact, after a while, you’ll notice such people have moved on, leaving you alone to feed off of others!
The very best way to release and let go of toxic people in your life is to grow yourself up by taking full responsibility for your life and yourself. Spend time alone and get to know yourself. Take risks. Have the courage to step out and go after what you want in life, thus claiming your own personal power. Take responsibility for your mistakes. Clean up after past mistakes. Not only is this the fastest way to relieve yourself of “toxic people” in your life, but it strengthens and empowers you, puts you in charge of yourself and your life, and raises your self-esteem. Taking responsibility is one of the four main Building Blocks of self-esteem. Enjoy the task of taking every bit of responsibility you can find in life, knowing it is helping you to feel great about yourself!
Set yourself the joyful task of finally growing all the way up, leaving your own child-like toxic, needy behaviors behind at last. Those in your life who are ready to grow all the way up, too, will follow you. Those who are not will self-select themselves away from you! You’ll no longer need to work hard to avoid particular people, or make excuses for not spending time with people who feel toxic to you. Instead, you’ll become free to lead your own life, without crippling dependencies and without dreading encounters with those “toxic people” who used to populate your life!