One of the hardest things about trying to better yourself while also being subjected to various toxic relationships is figuring out how to control yourself in an ethical way, while still be triggered, because someone is treating you in unethical and abusive ways. Staying silent during abuse is excruciatingly difficult.
But, the reasons why we need to control ourselves around other toxic people is because 1.) toxic attracts toxic and often means other toxic people will not understand your anger because they’re toxic too and will side with your offender, but also, the more people who can learn to role model healthy behavior, it helps to draw out other toxic people who want to heal.
If I feel the person is reasonable, I will try to talk to them about the issue. Even I’ve tried this with unreasonable people. I make sure to do this after I’ve thought about what I am feeling about the situation and my thoughts. I try to tell them it’s how I feel, and not blame them. I try to work it out. But in my experience that usually only lasts a little while before the person goes back to their default behavior. Or, if they’re rude altogether I just go silent on them and stop hanging out with them or telling them anything personal about myself.
I had to accept that even if you assert your boundaries, it doesn’t mean people will listen or care or try to work with you. So I stop trying to work it out with people that do not respect my boundaries. I will keep distancing them until the relation is respectful. If that requires not having them in my life, so be it. I’ve lost a lot of people but I’m at peace.
Also, I’ve worked on emotional intelligence for a long time, learning why people are so disrespectful, and learning to detach from controlling how they behave, even if it’s morally correct. This includes even having to detach from ideas of justice and fairness.
It’s not that I don’t hold people accountable, I have just learned that my ideas of behavior (like respect one another) are very unreasonable in a society that promotes toxic social norms. That is to say, no one changes overnight and especially not while still under the influence of poison. So I have to play the long game – be what I believe, move away from people who harm me, and try to role model what I believe in. I try to be friendly, but not friends with the wrong kinds of people. Even if that means being alone.
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