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For as long as I can remember I’ve been a people pleaser and a yes giver. I was labeled the “nice” girl and “too nice” by some.

This was especially true at work. One time, I inherited a coworker that constantly needed help/favors. This person lost things, arrived late, missed days, consistently had personal issues going on and every time this person came to me, I helped in some way. I was understanding. I was giving. I thought I was helping. I thought I was being the supportive coworker I never had. I was just being “nice”. The moment I said no, this person became ill toward me. They ignored me; avoided eye contact. They even left the room when I entered. There was no explanation for the sudden change. Being the pleaser that I was, I tried to talk to this person. I was denied, repeatedly. It became hurtful. It caused me distress to know that this was happening with no explanation. What did I do? I wanted to know. I wanted to make amends. As obvious as it may seem now, back then I truly had no clue what was going on.

I was experiencing the wrath of toxicity.

My so called niceness was being taken advantage of and me trying to figure out what I did wrong was the first sign of that persons manipulation over the situation. That’s how toxic people work. They manipulate. They have no limits and their own wellbeing comes before others. Call it pride or call it ego. The bottom line is that they care about themselves, their own feelings and they're the nicest when it benefits them.

Toxic people are everywhere. Unfortunately they tend to be people in close proximity like coworkers. Some are even disguised as family and friends.

So how do you know if someone is toxic?

“Toxic people create chaos, point fingers, shift blame and avoid taking responsibility."

Toxic people create problems. They say things they don’t mean more often than not. They are defensive. They’re quick to defend their words and actions. They have one track minds as well. Their disapproval or dislikes are always known. Things must operate how they see fit. The moment you disagree with them or act out of their set standards, drama erupts. And, it’s never their fault. Accountability and responsibility are not their thing.

Who did you just think of?

Chances are you have toxic people in your life. We let them in folks. We let them in! It took a lot of chaos and unnecessary drama before I learned this. And you know what? Setting boundaries with my space and energy is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’m not mean. I’m still kind and respectful. We all deserve respect and kindness. The difference is that I keep my distance. We don’t need to be around individuals that hurt us. If I cannot accept someone for who they are and how they are, I do not allow them in my inner circle. Period. If their energy suffocates me, guess what, they’re benched. I will engage in conversation only if necessary. I’m not texting or up in their social media feed either. It is strictly business. I mind my business and they mind theirs. That’s my business. (Insert Tabitha Brown’s voice)

If you’re a people pleaser, this may seem harsh. It‘not. It’s simply recognizing who adds value to your life. The people in your inner circle should uplift, inspire and motivate you. Anything less than that is unnecessary baggage. Toxic people drop their baggage for others to carry. Say that again.

Stop it!

If you’re a people pleaser chances are you’re a people fixer too. We can’t fix or change other people. That is up to them with their own will and effort. The helper in you may not like that response but that’s how change works. You can encourage, inspire and uplift but ultimately the work has to be done by that person. In my opinion this is how we carry most toxic people in our lives. We think they’ll change; we can change them. But they don’t and we can’t.

People show you who they are! At 35, I can say that this is very much true at every age. People show you clear as day who they really are. Save yourself some grief and disappointment. Believe them and believe them the first time. Toxic is toxic.

Guard your space. Guard your energy.

Peace always,

Xx Dee


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