Do you feel drained of energy when you mix with certain people? If so, you may be spending too much time in “toxic” friendships or relationships and it may be time to rethink who you spend time with.
If you have been surrounded by toxic people you know exactly how intense the energy can be. Toxic people are often energy drainers in one way or another. Possibly without intending to, they manage to suck the energy out of you and leave you drained, uninsipired and hopeless.
These are often the same people who when you feel you have a great idea, rather than encouraging you, make you “realise” why you can never do it and you’re aiming way too high. These are also those same people who point out your flaws constantly and find some new and different way to make you feel bad about yourself each time you see them. You can detect a level of toxicity in a person by seeing how conflictual they are. Very often, they place themselvs in a situation where they cannot help but fall into conflicts, most likely in the name of some strong principles. They are people who thrive on other people’s failures and like to put down those around them.
Constant complaining and an inability to be happy are also characteristics of toxicity. But above all toxic people can be manipulative in persuading you to act in a certain way that in the end feeds back their toxicity. For example, discouraging you from success and encouraging you into seeing just how “horrible” the world really is so that you can feel as negative about everything as they do.
Unfortunataley, like most people, I have dealt with a fair share of toxic people and negativity. Initially, it can be difficult to spot, but even people whom we love the most might be suffering from this “state of being toxic” at least temporarily when they are in a bad place themselves.
Many self-help gurus recommend distancing ourselve from such characters, especially when we are in a state of “growth” and “flight” as they are likely to curb our development and clip our wings (and our excitement and passion). In the end of the allowing them to exert they negativity over you will lead to your suffering as well. In addition, often we feed on the energy of the company we keep. That’s why when we’re in a state of “self-development” and “self-growth” and we hang out with other in the same state (such as at an event or in a course), we leave there full of ideas that can transform us and others. If, on the contrary, we spend too much time with those who put down growth ideas and see the world as chaotic and negative, we instead feed into that energy and start to also see the dark side rather than the light.
As humans, remember, one of our fundamental needs is to fit into whatever group we find ourselves in. So that if we actively seek out people in the growth phase, we allow ourselves to grow to fit in with them. But if, on the contrary, we are spending a lot of time with those who are wary of growth and change and new ideas in general, we find ourselves also becoming more wary to fit in with them.
Sadly, people who are toxic are often those who are themselves suffering the most. So in a way this advice of distancing yourself from toxic people can seem incosiderate. Are we supposed to leave an unhappy person alone, instead of trying to help them? In some cases there is a very thin line between helping to improve the situation and enabling the situation. The key is to help the person to improve through sharing some of your “light” without enabling them and instead taking of their “darkeness”. Balancing this line is tricky, however, and not for the fainthearted. So if you’re a recovering “toxic”, you may need to leave behind toxic friendships/relationships completely before you’re able to return to them lightly to share your light rather than partake in their darkness.
Obviously, if it’s your family that you find toxic, leaving them is not only difficult but also not suggested. Family is important. Based on theories of reincarnation, we are born into one family versus another depending on what it is that we have to work on in this lifetime. But we can, for a time, reduce our time spent with certain more toxic people while we learn to rebuild. Then come back renewed with a fresher energy. Just don’t expect everyone to appreciate this newer version of you right away. Remember that negative people are often annoyed or intimidated by those who have a more positive go-getter type attitude as it can seem superior or threatening to them. Just approach with baby steps and give them time to adapt. Continue to stay true to who you are and your new optimistic way of approaching life and don’t let them phase you with minor put-downs or negative snide comments.
In nutrition and alternative medicine, we often speak of toxins. Toxins, according to the dictionary definition are “a poisonous substance that is a specific product of the metabolic activities of a living organism and is usually very unstable, notably toxic when introduced into the tissues, and typically capable of inducing antibody formation”. We know that most processed foods, sugars and medications inject toxins into the body which then clog the system. The presence of toxins in the body have a severe and very damagining effects: inducing sluggishness, haze, fatigue, irritability, mood swings and depressed organ functions. This presence of toxins has throughout naturopathic medical history been linked with disease, including mental illness.
Hence it’s possible that people who behave in a toxic way have high toxicity in their body. After all, physical metabolic toxins have a similar effect on the body that toxic people have on others: they drain energy, they manipulate the body into negative cravings that ultimately damage it further and they cause irritability and instability. It’s almost impossible to feed oneself on a highly toxic diet and still remain positive, energetic and happy. There are many studies in the last decade discussing the link between gut and brain health and between gut health and mood. Stress, for instance, if perpetual and untreated, can deplete healthy gut flora which then causes further fluctuations in mood and reduces our immunity. Reduced healthy gut microbes (due to long-term antibiotic use for example) reduce immunity and also play havoc on mood. This can become a vicious circle if one is often sick, taking antibiotics, eating an unhealthy diet and living a stressful life. Even mainstream medicine now recognises this connection and studies have been published in publications as well-regarded as Harvard Health.
In Ayurveda (an Indian science of medicine), it is believed that negative emotions produce toxins in our body causing them to accumulate in certain areas that can later on in life degenerate living cells and support the growth of a cancer. Ayurveda’s method of curing is severe detoxifying for 21 days or longer (that has to be administered by a licenced practitioner), and it is know to have cured serious diseases and helped manage mental health issues.
In nutritional therapy, especially in naturopathic nutrition, cleanses to help detoxify the body are often used to help those who have skin issues, allergies, intolerances, leaky gut, IBS, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia or other unresolved health issues that medicine doesn’t know how to help. However, the ideal is of course not to reach that level of toxicity and to feed the body for health before health is compromised. Ideally, we want to reduce the level of toxins we take in (think alcohol, too much caffeine, refined sugars, processed or artificial foods, carbonated beverages and drugs) that stop our body from functioning well and lead to illness and poor mental health. We also want to increase the detoxifying foods that we ingest (fruits, vegetables, cruciferous veg, lentils, beans, whole grains, seeds, nuts, spices, water and green and herbal teas) that help our body, brain and mood and that boost our immunity and our ability to fight pathogens and negative microbes.
So one way to help toxic people could be by helping them to physically detox and to clear the mind. Meditation and exercise, along with a healthy diet and good quality sleep, are all fundamentals towards this.
If you or someone you know needs help to detoxify, it often helps to seek out expert advice. To find out more about how to move towards a detoxified body, mind and spirit, book a free call with me here: