It’s tempting to think that getting the last word with a toxic person is worth pursuing, but there’s one thing that’s even better…
In the simplest of terms, there’s nothing toxic people like more than:
1. Getting their way, or;
2. Causing a fight.
Toxic people like to accuse, tantrum, manipulate and smear their way to either one of the above or the other. Their out-of-control emotions and self-centeredness make the blame game and the smear campaign two of their favorite tactics for keeping you engaged with them so they can feed off you.
Upset a toxic person, and they’ll be shooting infuriating drama-baits your way and just waiting for you to bite the hook. And they know just what to say to keep you tossing and turning at night, just trying to think of some way – any way – that you can stop them once and for all and make sure the truth about who you are prevails. But if you’re wise, you won’t bother.
Because the only way to win with a toxic person is not to play.
And until you accept that fact, you’re anybody’s sucker. All it will take is one bloated accusation, one lie, or one insinuation about you, and you’ll forever be the toxic person’s most treasured source of satisfying fun and games. If you don’t know how to leave the bait alone and find another, quieter, more indirect route back toward being left alone, you never will be.
Abusive people know that as long as they can set and keep their hooks in you, you are stuck being there for them to use and abuse – to feed on. When they want to, abusive people will say and do whatever it takes to keep you glued painfully to them and their world, because if you are stuck to them, they will always have you handy for whatever emotionally abusive purpose they want.
You may need to cut contact altogether if you are in an entrenched personal relationship, and if so, you may get hoovered and manipulated into staying connected. This is often easily done by deliberately upsetting you so much that the urge to call or contact them just to have your say will be intense, because the lies or other distortions being propagated are so hurtful. Don’t fall for it. Just ignore the whole thing, walk away and wipe your hands. There is no winning such battles. The greatest reward is freedom from the toxicity, which only comes with your non-involvement.
Of course, if there is a legal matter or similar to attend to, by all means, defend yourself appropriately. Non-communication isn’t the same thing as being a legal or occupational doormat. However, responding personally to the drama baits and the manipulations designed to tempt you into fighting back is a reward for toxic people, so wherever logistically possible, let the lies, accusations or other nastiness go completely unresponded to.
The sooner you do, the sooner it will start to become quiet, which, given certain toxic types, can take long enough without additional delays being thrown in. Don’t tell yourself you have to reply — learn to recognize your refusal to respond for what it really is — a sign that it will be over as quickly as possible because you knew how to ignore drama-baiting and send the toxic person looking for a better target.
So when you find yourself invited into an ugly tug-of-war with a toxic person, simply drop the rope immediately, walk away and LEAVE IT BE FOREVER. Because the simple fact of the matter is, toxic people can’t have a tug-of-war with you if there’s nobody holding on at the other end.
Join us next time — we’ll be talking about the most common myth about sociopaths.
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