If you look at all of the personality profiles that can be considered as “toxic people”, in essence there are 2 general types of toxic people:

1) A person that is blissfully unaware of the negative impact they project on the people that surround them.
2) A person who purposefully extracts a twisted satisfaction from creating mayhem, pushing other people’s buttons and/or testing how far they can get away with extreme negative behaviors before they skillfully charm your pants off.

Both types are difficult to handle, because having them around leads to the accumulation of worthless complexities, discord and worst of all – stress. Stress has a dreadful effect on your success – personal life or career life. Exposure to even a few days of stress can impact the performance of neurons in the hippocampus – an essential brain area responsible for memory, learning skills and reasoning ability. Weeks of stress can result in a temporary loss of neuronal dendrites, the connectors that brain cells use to communicate with each other, and months of stress can permanently destroy neurons. The theory that brain cells do not regrow is a myth, but no person who purposely causes you stress is worthy of your piece of mind – literally.

One of the greatest learned skills of successful people is the ability to neutralize toxic behaviors in others. Here are some suggestions to becoming a master neutralizer:

1) Eliminate or Evaluate

Understand that people who prey off the energy of others are often very charismatic! It’s a skill they have learned so they can discreetly bleed their chaos into your life, and when they are caught, they know exactly what to do and say to recover. They thrive on this up and down mess they create, and it leaves you feeling confused. When you find yourself constantly making excuses for their actions or finding some sort of reasoning in their behavior, then it is likely possible they have too much over control you. This is when you need to ask yourself, can I eliminate this person from my life? If you suspect the person in question is a sociopath (roughly 4% of people are) or an extreme narcissist, then dismiss them! You might care about them, but believe that your presence in their life is to only suit their own needs. To them, you are easily replaceable. If this person must remain in your life, then evaluate the role they play. Can you limit exposure? Are there better times to see them versus not seeing them? Can you avoid giving them any emotional ammo to manipulate and use against you?

2) Do Not Ignore Bad Behavior

Its common to ignore the behavior of a difficult person to avoid the crossfire. People who are blissfully unaware of the problems they cause are often met with avoidance. It can be hard to use reasoning as a tool to help them understand…because they do not understand their impact. It is important to speak up for yourself and others who also choose to avoid this person, but also for the person who is unaware and needs a good shake. Offer them the opportunity to grow and raise some personal awareness. Be blunt, kind and effective with your words. “Do you know you are causing me to stress?” “Do you know your actions are causing pain to others?”