How Successful People Handle Toxic People

Toxic people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons. Either way, they create unnecessary complexity, strife, and worst of all stress.

Studies have long shown that stress can have a lasting, negative impact on the brain. Exposure to even a few days of stress compromises the effectiveness of neurons in the hippocampus—an important brain area responsible for reasoning and memory. Weeks of stress cause reversible damage to neuronal dendrites (the small “arms” that brain cells use to communicate with each other), and months of stress can permanently destroy neurons. Stress is a formidable threat to your success—when stress gets out of control, your brain and your performance suffer.

Most sources of stress at work are easy to identify. If your non-profit is working to land a grant that your organization needs to function, you’re bound to feel stress and likely know how to manage it. It’s the unexpected sources of stress that take you by surprise and harm you the most.

Recent research from the Department of Biological and Clinical Psychology at Friedrich Schiller University in Germany found that exposure to stimuli that cause strong negative emotions—the same kind of exposure you get when dealing with toxic people—caused subjects’ brains to have a massive stress response. Whether it’s negativity, cruelty, the victim syndrome, or just plain craziness, toxic people drive your brain into a stressed-out state that should be avoided at all costs.

The ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. TalentSmart has conducted research with more than a million people, and we’ve found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control. One of their greatest gifts is the ability to neutralize toxic people. Top performers have well-honed coping strategies that they employ to keep toxic people at bay.

While I’ve run across numerous effective strategies that successful people employ when dealing with toxic people, what follows are twelve of the best. To deal with toxic people effectively, you need an approach that enables you, across the board, to control what you can and eliminate what you can’t. The important thing to remember is that you are in control of far more than you realize.

They Set Limits (Especially with Complainers)

Complainers and negative people are bad news because they wallow in their problems and fail to focus on solutions. They want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves. People often feel pressure to listen to complainers because they don’t want to be seen as callous or rude, but there’s a fine line between lending a sympathetic ear and getting sucked into their negative emotional spiral.

You can avoid this only by setting limits and distancing yourself when necessary. Think of it this way: if the complainer were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke? You’d distance yourself, and you should do the same with complainers. A great way to set limits is to ask complainers how they intend to fix the problem. They will either quiet down or redirect the conversation in a productive direction.

They Don’t Die in the Fight

Successful people know how important it is to live to fight another day, especially when your foe is a toxic individual. In conflict, unchecked emotion makes you dig your heels in and fight the kind of battle that can leave you severely damaged. When you read and respond to your emotions, you’re able to choose your battles wisely and only stand your ground when the time is right.

They Rise Above

Toxic people drive you crazy because their behavior is so irrational. Make no mistake about it; their behavior truly goes against reason. Which begs the question, why do you allow yourself to respond to them emotionally and get sucked into the mix?

The more irrational and off-base someone is, the easier it should be for you to remove yourself from their traps. Quit trying to beat them at their own game. Distance yourself from them emotionally and approach your interactions like they’re a science project (or you’re their shrink, if you prefer the analogy). You don’t need to respond to the emotional chaos—only the facts.

They Stay Aware of Their Emotions

Maintaining an emotional distance requires awareness. You can’t stop someone from pushing your buttons if you don’t recognize when it’s happening. Sometimes you’ll find yourself in situations where you’ll need to regroup and choose the best way forward. This is fine and you shouldn’t be afraid to buy yourself some time to do so.

Think of it this way—if a mentally unstable person approaches you on the street and tells you he’s John F. Kennedy, you’re unlikely to set him straight. When you find yourself with a coworker who is engaged in similarly derailed thinking, sometimes it’s best to just smile and nod. If you’re going to have to straighten them out, it’s better to give yourself some time to plan the best way to go about it.

They Establish Boundaries

This is the area where most people tend to sell themselves short. They feel like because they work or live with someone, they have no way to control the chaos. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Once you’ve found your way to Rise Above a person, you’ll begin to find their behavior more predictable and easier to understand. This will equip you to think rationally about when and where you have to put up with them and when you don’t. For example, even if you work with someone closely on a project team, that doesn’t mean that you need to have the same level of one-on-one interaction with them that you have with other team members.

You can establish a boundary, but you’ll have to do so consciously and proactively. If you let things happen naturally, you are bound to find yourself constantly embroiled in difficult conversations. If you set boundaries and decide when and where you’ll engage a difficult person, you can control much of the chaos. The only trick is to stick to your guns and keep boundaries in place when the person tries to encroach upon them, which they will.

They Won’t Let Anyone Limit Their Joy

When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from the opinions of other people, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When emotionally intelligent people feel good about something that they’ve done, they won’t let anyone’s opinions or snide remarks take that away from them.

While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don’t have to compare yourself to others, and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what toxic people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within. Regardless of what people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain—you’re never as good or bad as they say you are.

They Don’t Focus on Problems—Only Solutions

Where you focus your attention determines your emotional state. When you fixate on the problems you’re facing, you create and prolong negative emotions and stress. When you focus on actions to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy that produces positive emotions and reduces stress.

When it comes to toxic people, fixating on how crazy and difficult they are gives them power over you. Quit thinking about how troubling your difficult person is, and focus instead on how you’re going to go about handling them. This makes you more effective by putting you in control, and it will reduce the amount of stress you experience when interacting with them.

They Don’t Forget

Emotionally intelligent people are quick to forgive, but that doesn’t mean that they forget. Forgiveness requires letting go of what’s happened so that you can move on. It doesn’t mean you’ll give a wrongdoer another chance. Successful people are unwilling to be bogged down unnecessarily by others’ mistakes, so they let them go quickly and are assertive in protecting themselves from future harm.

They Squash Negative Self-Talk

Sometimes you absorb the negativity of other people. There’s nothing wrong with feeling bad about how someone is treating you, but your self-talk (the thoughts you have about your feelings) can either intensify the negativity or help you move past it. Negative self-talk is unrealistic, unnecessary, and self-defeating. It sends you into a downward emotional spiral that is difficult to pull out of. You should avoid negative self-talk at all costs.

They Limit Their Caffeine Intake

Drinking caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline. Adrenaline is the source of the “fight-or-flight” response, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response. This is great when a bear is chasing you, but not so great when you’re surprised in the hallway by an angry coworker.

They Get Some Sleep

I’ve beaten this one to death over the years and can’t say enough about the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your stress levels. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams), so that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present.

A good night’s sleep makes you more positive, creative, and proactive in your approach to toxic people, giving you the perspective you need to deal effectively with them.

They Use Their Support System

It’s tempting, yet entirely ineffective, to attempt tackling everything by yourself. To deal with toxic people, you need to recognize the weaknesses in your approach to them. This means tapping into your support system to gain perspective on a challenging person. Everyone has someone at work and/or outside work who is on their team, rooting for them, and ready to help them get the best from a difficult situation. Identify these individuals in your life and make an effort to seek their insight and assistance when you need it. Something as simple as explaining the situation can lead to a new perspective. Most of the time, other people can see a solution that you can’t because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation.

Bringing It All Together

Before you get this system to work brilliantly, you’re going to have to pass some tests. Most of the time, you will find yourself tested by touchy interactions with problem people. Thankfully, the plasticity of the brain allows it to mold and change as you practice new behaviors, even when you fail. Implementing these healthy, stress-relieving techniques for dealing with difficult people will train your brain to handle stress more effectively and decrease the likelihood of ill effects.

I always love to hear new strategies for dealing with toxic people, so please feel free to share yours in the comments section below!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Travis Bradberry, Ph.D.

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book,Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests, emotional intelligence training, andemotional intelligence certification, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Dr. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.

How Successful People Handle Toxic People

2 Comments

Filed under Personal Perspective

Lost that loving feeling?

Ways to Reinvigorate Your Passion for Policing

Consciously Adopt a Positive Attitude


police radio smilingIt can be very difficult to maintain a positive attitude and it is made even harder if you let yourself be negative for long periods of time. To begin the shift from negative to positive, start with being conscious of your self-talk. Start repeating positive comments to yourself several times a day to help drown out negative thinking.

Having a positive attitude not only improves your mood, but it has health benefits as well. According to the Mayo Clinic, a positive attitude can have the following health benefits:

 

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

Get Plenty of Exercise
Law enforcement officers must be physically fit for their job performance. While being physically fit is important, exercising is about more than just being fit. Exercise helps to:

  • Reduce stress
  • Ward off anxiety and feelings of depression
  • Boost self-esteem
  • Improve sleep
  • Strengthen your heart
  • Increases energy levels
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improves muscle tone and strength
  • Strengthen and build bones
  • Helps reduce body fat
  • Makes you look fit and healthy

[Related: Tips for LEOs to Improve Their Physical Fitness Levels]

Set Progressive Goals
Sit down and brainstorm what you really want to achieve in your career, with your family, and in life in general. When brainstorming your goals, speak with your supervisor to get his or her input on your work goals to ensure they align with the department’s vision. In similar fashion, talk with your family members to get their input on your goals.

The outcome of your brainstorming session becomes your target and your primary objectives. Think about your goals in multiple stages and set micro-, midterm-, and long-term goals.

  • Micro-goals are goals that you want to accomplish on a daily basis. These should help you accomplish your short-term goals, which ultimately help you achieve your long-term goals. Maybe you want to be promoted at work, so reading recent news articles, applying to college to get an advanced degree, or reading a book about taking the police advancement test would be supporting micro-goals.
  • Midterm-goals are usually goals you want to achieve in one month to a year. Define the goal as well as what is to be accomplished. Be specific because general goals without a clear and concise timeframe and outcome are very difficult to achieve.
  • Long-term goals usually require about five years to achieve. Again, these goals need to be specific to make sure you work toward them over time and know when you have accomplished them.

Adopting this type of goal-setting strategy is effective because it is the little accomplishments—the micro-goals—that help you build the momentum and self-confidence needed to achieve your short- and long-term goals. As you work toward your goals, be sure to visualize yourself accomplishing each one. A positive attitude will come naturally when you feel that you are on track to reach your goals..

Embrace Meditation
One of the best ways I have found to reduce stress and keep a positive attitude is through meditation. Meditation involves sitting quietly or with calming music for a few minutes a day. As you meditate, let go of the negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts.

I started off with 5 to 10 minutes a day of sitting quietly and reflecting on my life and what I want out of it. I have increased my meditation time to about 30 minutes each morning, which gets me off to a great start. It is amazing how much my attitude has changed and how many positive ideas I have just from meditating very day.

One of the best ways to get started is to find an app on your phone that either plays calming music or features a voice walking you through the process. Whatever method you choose, the key is to get started.

I encourage every police officer to try these techniques. If you find something that works well for you, please comment on this post so we can all learn new strategies for being more positive in our jobs and lives. Such positivity leads to a better work environment, a closer family, and longevity.

 

Matt LouxAbout the Author: Matt Loux has been in law enforcement for more than 20 years and has a background in fraud, criminal investigation, as well as hospital, school, and network security. Matt has researched and studied law enforcement and security best practices for the past 10 years.

SEPTEMBER 29, 2014

By Matthew Loux, criminal justice faculty member at American Military University

 

 

http://inpublicsafety.com/2014/09/ways-to-reinvigorate-your-passion-for-policing/?utm_source=PoliceMag&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Passion&utm_campaign=Public%20Safety%20-%20ET%20-%20AMU

Leave a comment

Filed under The Blue Blitz

FITx50 \ week 13

2014-10-11 11.57.09

Did I Do That?

The Warrior Dash is in the books, and I’m super energized with motivation and memories. While it wasn’t the most physically challenging thing I’ve accomplished, it was one of the most enjoyable. Why?

It was a short-term health / fitness goal associated with a cause greater than losing a pound or two and flexing some rusted muscle. I’ve already set another goal to get me through the holiday season. So I encourage you to do the same.

Don’t be that New Year baby every year – I’ll start on January 1, or after Mardi Gras, or Easter, or by the end of next summer. Do it now.

In addition to setting various ranging goals is surrounding yourself with like-minded people. They say misery loves company? Well, so do healthy, positive people. A main reason why this Warrior Dash was so memorable was the people – especially my family. Besides my sisters who came to supper, cheer and photograph, two of my nieces and a nephew joined our fund / fun raising team.

2014-10-11 10.11.09

That’s a wrap from this warrior who’s another benchmark crossed and another week closer to rocking the half-century mark in a sensibly healthy lifestyle.

Find something fun and fitness centered and Do It.

FITx50 \ week 13

Leave a comment

Filed under Fit by 50

Leading or leaning?

Think of those immediately surrounding you in supervisory positions.

Now filter out your natural biases, jealousies or negative comments. Just look around. How did they get to where they are? Okay, now you’re free to flood the responses with whatever your perception is of how they arrived at that level. Some of your suspicions are probably true.

This article isn’t as much for those being led, as those doing the leading.

Ask yourselves how’d you get where you are? Was it because you exhibited leadership ability along the path of your career? Was it because you leaned against the wall longer than the next person?

Ever heard these pearls of wisdom from your superiors? Don’t rock the boat. Being first around here don’t mean squat. Slow down, you’ll make us look bad. If you screw up, I gotta take the heat. If you wanna fit in, you’ll do as i say.

Supervisors, ever mutter those words to an eager, idealistic employee? Most have. Why? Because it threatens their accumulation of time.

From our earliest days, we’ve endured years of hearing the “Seniority” alibi. Time – I got time – He got time – They got time. Ask yourselves just what did you do with that “time” you so proudly rest your laurels upon? Have you been a progressive leader of others, or have you learned to milk the system and the clock?

I’m months away from my 25 years in law enforcement. In no way am I against experiences and seasoning gained over years on the job. Although, to gain experience requires making an effort. To gain time just requires showing up without too much screwing up.

I cringe when I hear officers battling over promotions, assignments, vehicles or the last scoop of alligator sauce piquante and default to TIME.

As a supervisor, that’s usually the factor weighing most heavily against that employee gaining benefits where my discretion is involved. Tell me what you’ve accomplished in that time. We all can accumulate time – just sit there.

Don’t be that guy – you know the one who’s afraid to chance becoming amazing. The one who’d rather wait in the shadows because of fear of making an honest mistake. The one who will never accomplish anything significant, other than meaningless seniority promotions.

Take that chance, ignite a revolution. Be the one to earn benefits based on merit, no matter how many or few years you’ve accumulated. You’re going to spend years there anyway, you might as well make the most of it. Please, don’t be that guy.

 

Leading or leaning

 

 

 

5 Comments

Filed under Personal Perspective

FITx50 \ week 12 – SPECIAL EDITION

1959951_10204835787438229_3586509633610601_n

Warrior Dash DASHED

Fitness Benchmark #1 has been met.

This weekend was the Warrior Dash in St. Francisville, La. Our team of Cops-n-Kilts sponsored by Liliana Hart’s Warriors started strong and finished even gutsier. There was unexpected difficult terrain, injuries and dehydration within the unit, but no one left the others. I’m still in awe of the effort of each.

No matter how tough, everyone knew we were doing this for the true Warriors committed to kicking the crap out of cancer. No one ever considered letting them down.

I trained for this event by relying heavily on Momentum Crossfit and cycling / running. Though I’ve never gone into any competitive event completely confident, I was surprised at my level of fitness during the grueling runs and strength obstacles. Often coming back or helping team mates through the swimming and mud pits, I knew the hours of training were paying dividends.

Let me encourage you to pick an event before the winter arrives. Find a 5k, Bike ride or friendly game of catch – just make a mark on the calendar and progress towards making it happen. I usually tell people when they ask if they are in shape for a particular activity – you can do it, it’s just how comfortable you want to be while doing it.

Again, let me thank Liliana Hart for organizing the fund-raising activity. We raised money and awareness – but it’s no time to stop. Find your cause and your passion. Do something bigger than yourself for someone else. See you next Friday – once these old bones recoup from the DASH.

I like to grab folks I know and surprise them with the classic “PROM PIC POSE.” Looks like Liliana Hart was ready for it. Great time and looking forward to next year’s Warrior Dash as I expect to rock it at 50.

4 Comments

Filed under Fit by 50, The Blue Blitz

Are you pregnant?

Are you pregnant?

I thought what a crazy question to ask a man.

Are you pregnant with greatness?

Oh, not that kinda pregnant.

With greatness? I never thought about it. How many of us are actually pregnant with greatness? Unfortunately, we fear change. Therefore, we do anything we can to avoid giving birth to this potential. An odd analogy? Not really.

Change is often accompanied by uncomfort, if even for a brief season. The transition into motherhood requires many changes leading up to and after giving birth. Some dread the pains of labor and opt for epidural to mask the suffering.

Often we fear the pains of labor that increase the potential for achieving greatness. Whether its education, exercise, learning a new job skill required for promotion, or reaching out to a new social circle to find a more positive pool of friends – we fear change.

The greatness within languishes in our spirits, in our bodies and in our minds because we want more than anything to avoid the process standing in-between who we are and what we have the ability to become.

Ask yourself; are you pregnant with greatness? The answer is simple. Yes you are. A great parent, spouse, co-worker, community volunteer, or fellow human being is waiting for you to claim it. Stop being afraid of what might happen if you try for that promotion, or tell your spouse you’re sorry, or your child you love them.

Yes, the process is stressful and the unknown expanse between who you are and who you want to be is unnerving, but no more so than refusing to try. Don’t carry that potential around unbirthed until it’s too late to make a solid push.

Give birth to your greatness. Celebrate the miracle of life – YOURS.

Are you pregnant?

Leave a comment

Filed under Personal Perspective

FITx50 \ week 11

2014-09-23 19.18.53

Gotta get up to get down

That’s this week’s theme. I’ve been faithfully training for my first fitness benchmark – October 11th’s Warrior Dash. Crossfit 5x/week along with running and cycling. Cut carbs WAY down and feasted on protein throughout the days. On target to work close with our Cops-N-Kilts team.

Then, I hear the kiddo make that late night sound every parent dreads – the Yulp.

Yes, stomach virus. Of course, doctor dad attends into the morning and next day with lugging the solid frame around the house to comfort him. Next night you guessed it.

The Yulp.

It was me this time. You know how long it takes to get over that little ittsy bittsy bug? I’ll tell you when I’m there.

Anyway, I’m not giving up or giving in – We are dashing to raise money to kick the crap out of cancer – I’ve got SO many amazingly inspirational people I’m doing this for.

Goals:

1. Maintain sensible diet {Not so much}

2. Exercise at least 4 times next week {NONE}

3. Buy new scale but not obsess over readings. {No longer a factor or temptation}

4. Encourage you to join me and share experience and commitments. {Share what was your favorite exercise this week}

5. Be positive about the quest for fitness. {Funny how a single tummy ache derails you}

6. I finally wore those crazy finger toe shoes. Not bad

Cops-N-Kilts News:

The partnership with mega-author Liliana Hart to raise money funding cancer research has kicked off and doing great. We’ve added new team members and the energy is growing. Please be a part of the effort. I promise, after the Warrior Dash (Oct 11) there will be plenty of great video to share.

I’m still not sure how she convinced us all to wear GoPro cameras – Oh the suffering.

 

 

T-Shirts are also available for sale, with all proceeds going toward our goal of $5,000.

To buy a shirt, or sponsor your favorite Cops and Writers, click HERE

 

 

 

FITx50 \ week 11

2 Comments

Filed under Fit by 50

Writing Romance in the New Orleans Region

Winners sometimes fail but never quit.

Chrysalis to Butterfly Journey

This blog brings to light the journey from Spiritual death to Grace.

Clay Stafford

Author, filmmaker, CEO

Internationally Unrelated

Just international stuff

sharing me myself and i

Whatever Flows...

Chapter TK

Question Everything

Storiform.com

Writing Popular Fiction

twoboldlygo

Just another WordPress.com site

Tim Knox

Author, Speaker, Talk Radio Host

Rachel in the OC

Feel * Think * Share

THE CUBAN REVOLUTION

Brian Cuban's version of TRUTH, JUSTICE and the UN-AMERICAN WAY

BOWENDIARIES

*POETRY *ART* SHORT STORIES

Tamara Philip, Author

Where Love blossoms...

Bright Blue Line

Using Minds, Not Force for Improving Policing

The Essayist

Featuring essays that matter

Helena Chou

Writer, blogger, reader, gamer, lover of all things cute and girly

Grady P Brown - Author

Superheros - Autism - Fantasy - Science Fiction

Something Like a Storybook

This is where Morgan Bradham shares stuff.

Joe Giacalone

Best selling author of the Criminal Investigative Function: A Guide for New Investigators

Cajun Food, Louisiana History, and a Little Lagniappe

Preservation of traditional River Road cuisine, Louisiana history & architecture, and the communities between Baton Rouge & NOLA

Zero Words

Read. Write. Live

The Sanctuary of My Heart

Words From My Heart to Yours

erikchristian

Brain Abundance News

Stuff Cajun People Like

Mais dis is a blog about stuff Cajun people like

Savvy Writers & e-Books online

Writing & Publishing, e-Books & Book Marketing

Grieving Behind the Badge Blog

"Improving the lives of emergency response professionals"

Bryan Patterson's Faithworks

The greatest blog about faith , music, journalism --- and other things ---- in all the land!

S.K. Nicholls

mybrandofgenius

CrossFit 535

Forging Elite Fitness

Magical things. Beautiful things.

Michelle L. Johnson's positive life ponderings

The Devotion Cafe'

Love and Empowerment is the Foundation

Health & Family

A healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit

Escapism – for the girl I'll never be, for the girl I almost am

A blog, journal & portfolio by Anca Dunavete

Chatter Gets Fit

From Couch Potato to Triathlete... My Journey

Live to Write - Write to Live

Professional writers talk about the craft and business of writing

Love thy bike

A love of photography, cycling and exploring places on two wheels.

ROAM ABOUT MIKE

Traveler, Writer, Photographer, Purveyor of Awesome

Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Strong-Fit-Beautiful

Health and fitness made simple

Roger Tharpe

a voice crying out into the wilderness

Evelina Galli

USE THINGS. LOVE PEOPLE. DON'T SWITCH.

The Limber Lawyer

Because flexibility is power.

Biking Bliss

Thoughts on biking the greater Vancouver area

thefitlifewithamber

Living the "fit life" is always a daily challenge, and this is my story.

Toni Spearman/Author

Creating Words that Heal the Soul

Mark Block

Musings about Scripture and other related topics

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,249 other followers

%d bloggers like this: