What to do When a Toxic Person Steals Your Joy

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Don’t let anyone steal your joy! Dealing with a toxic person can rob you, not only of joy, but your peace of mind too. Here’s what to do when a toxic person steals your joy.

Don’t let Anyone Steal Your Joy

Don’t let anyone steal your joy! Below are strategies to help you deal with the toxic people in your life instead of getting caught up in their drama. When others steal your joy, they also rob you of peace of mind and focus.

When others steal your joy, life can be confusing, frustrating, and disheartening.

These relationships can feel unfixable because that other person usually refuses to take any responsibility or honestly discuss the situation.

July 2021: My experiences with toxic people led me to not only get life coaching but to become a life coach. If you need more help dealing with relationships than this post can provide sign up for a free consult call to get some new perspective.

I originally wrote this post in 2016 when my dealings with my toxic relationships had left me at my lowest point in life. I have long since forgiven and moved on from these relationships. Now I only accept healthy relationships in my own life.

I always have my own back!

For the record, I don’t think that many people are toxic in general. And it’s really not my place to label someone as toxic—it is an ugly word. So, when I say toxic person, I really mean toxic-to-me.

I got interested in learning about toxic people, when I was dealing with a toxic relationship with an ex-boyfriend and I was trying to figure out if I should let him remain in my life or not. My sister finally said, “I don’t think he’s toxic but he’s douchey for sure.”

At the same time, I was dealing with a toxic family member who was doing hurtful things to me.

Both of these people were stealing my JOY. I needed to know what to do when a toxic person steals your joy.

Not sure if someone is a TOXIC person, read How to Tell if Someone is Toxic,

How do you not let someone steal your joy? Dealing with a toxic or difficult person can rob you, not only of joy, but your peace of mind too. Here's what to do when a toxic person steals your joy.

When a Toxic Person Strikes

Here’s what happened. A few weeks ago, my toxic person did something pretty horrible and hurtful and not for the first time. It was one of those punches to the gut that just blindsided me.

And while I probably shouldn’t have been surprised—I was. It took a couple of days for me to find my equilibrium.

I decided that the relationship was toxic for me.

Signs You May Be in a Toxic Relationship

  • You have trouble sleeping.
  • You have trouble concentrating.
  • You have thought patterns about this person because you can’t figure out what’s going on.
  • You feel shame about being in this relationship
  • You want to be free but you feel stuck

Not fun!

Then yesterday it happened. Again. With the same person. And that’s when I realized that I wanted to learn how to not let someone steal my joy. And I wanted my productivity or a good night’s sleep back!

Signs of a Toxic Person

Here are the markers that tell me I’m dealing with a toxic (to me) person.

  • They have some kind of power to make you feel like crap.
  • You can’t have honest discussions with them.
  • You can’t ever get through to them how they are hurting you.
  • They aren’t willing or able to have any open discussions about the relationship

Of course, there are times you can distance yourself from a toxic person or even not have them in your life.

But that’s not always an immediate option, so sometimes you have to take care of yourself AND still deal with a toxic person. That only leaves only one person I can change: Me.

Dealing with a Toxic Personality

Since I couldn’t change them and I couldn’t totally avoid them, I needed strategies to help me keep my equilibrium and my joy.

I had to look at me and why I have that kind of reaction to that person or why they might be having one to me.

I wondered about my part in the relationship. Had I been too defensive? Had I said things to offend the other person? Was I not open to having a healthy relationship?

To be honest, I really did think I had been open to having a healthy relationship. I had put my defenses down and I thought it was going well.

Until I got sucker-punched. For the umpteenth time. It was time to look at this in a new way.

(Eventually I did free myself from all toxic relationships–Here’s how I did it in, How to Free Yourself From a Toxic Relationship.

What to Do When Someone Steals Your Joy

I always start with my mental attitude. While I may never have the kind of relationship that I’d like with this person, surely it can be better.

Create Ground rules for Dealing with a Toxic Personality

  • Accept the situation right where it is. You CANNOT change this person.
  • Concentrate on all the relationships that are actually going well in your life. Spend more time with these people.
  • Have the intent to only be in healthy relationships
  • Hurt people, hurt people. This person is hurting or might even have a personality disorder or addiction. That doesn’t mean you have to accept that they should hurt you.
  • Let your feelings of self-worth come from you—not what another person thinks of you.
  • Allow yourself to safely distance yourself from this person, perhaps forever.

As much as you can mentally be in a better position about a not-so-great relationship, you also have to remember that YOU don’t deserve to be hurt.

It’s perfectly okay to have healthy boundaries and respect for yourself.

With a stronger mental picture of this situation, you will know what to do when a toxic person steals your joy.

How to Keep Your Joy

  • You can choose whether to have this person in your life or not.
  • You can address the behavior if possible.
  • You can deal with this person in an unemotional way.
  • You will not ruminate or obsess about their behavior.
  • You will consciously choose your actions and interactions with these people.

As you can tell, I certainly don’t have all the answers for this situation. But I do feel in a much better place about this situation and others that may be similar.

One thing is for sure, I do not want to give a toxic person any more power in my life or to rob me of one more minute of joy or peace.

If you are in a situation that is unsafe to you physically or mentally, then you may have to make other decisions.

Please take your welfare seriously. Sometimes removing yourself from a situation is the best solution. However, this isn’t always the case and for your own reasons, you may need to keep dealing with a toxic person.

What to Do When a Toxic Person Steals Your Joy

In my case, when the more recent event happened, I did at first feel the hurt from the behavior.

However, since I had already been thinking about my mental attitude, I was able to get back to my equilibrium much faster. My attitude is now more curious and open than it was before.

I also realize that I don’t have to fix this for me to feel better. I can feel better just by choosing how I’m going to think and what I’m going to concentrate on.

Sure I’d love to have this person’s love and support. But I am not going to let the not having it right now, make my life feel like less.

I can learn from every situation and my final intention on this subject is that I am going to learn and grow from it.

Dealing with the Toxic Personality

As for the ex-boyfriend. Maybe he’s not a toxic person but he might just not be good for me. And that’s okay too. In the end, I cut off all contact because the relationship simply was not good for me or my peace of mind.

However, the good that came out of the situation was that I did learn how to stop people from stealing my joy and I work really hard to never let anyone rob me of my peace.

Within a three months of cutting ties with this toxic relationship, I met a wonderful man that I’m still with almost three years later.

You just can’t “be friends” with a toxic personality. They can only be managed or let go of.

Don’t Let Anyone Take Your Joy

The other relationship, I have maintained. I owned my part of it and while it’s not a super-close relationship, it is no longer toxic.

In fact, it’s become friendly and amicable and we enjoy each other’s company when we get together.

When others steal your joy, it can be tricky to figure out whether they are toxic to you or not.

Sometimes it is a matter of our own boundaries and when we strengthen those, we know whether to let a relationship go or to continue it.

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  1. Tired on May 10, 2019 at 6:10 am

    My husband is one who steals my joy. It’s difficult to deal with. He only likes to hang out with most friends if I am there, and expects me to be my normal, bubbly, excited self. If I visit with other friends, or if I do any activity without him, it’s constant texts, such as “when will you be done?” or “you are out later than you said you would be, you are a liar” or “*your event/activity* is stupid and I don’t know why you bother”. It’s such a drain. I’m still figuring out how to deal with it. When I stay home all the time like he wants I feel like I’m going stir crazy, and he often ignores me at home unless he wants something. Any thoughts?

  2. TG on March 23, 2017 at 8:33 am

    This spoke volumes to me! I am going through this situation right now! I have been nothing but a good friend to her and supported her. It’s like every time I don’t do something that pertains to her or doesn’t include her, I’m going against her. She acts as if I can’t or don’t have other friends outside of her. Let me give you all a little background. I went on a trip to Las Vegas with two of my best friends last year and she gets mad at me because I didn’t call her while I was on vacation, I mean I was on VACATION! And when I returned she didn’t speak to me for like two months, I just couldn’t believe it! Then she apologizes to me for acting the way she did and so I let it go. It’s like she is obsessive! This last time literally just happened I asked my manager for some time off and my manager was like you never take this much time off and she asked me where I was going and I told her Puerto Rico. I am a very reserved person and I normally keep to myself. Now mind you I haven’t told anyone I was going, but my manager is all excited for me and she tells all my co-workers where I am going (yes I work with this girl) and so when we have a moment alone she makes a comment that “oh you didn’t tell me you were going to Puerto Rico” ( with an attitude) and I was like I literally was just asked to go today and she was like “Well go yal, Im not going to be here anyway”.(Oh by the way she is moving overseas her spouse is Active duty) All she does is brag about when she goes on her cruises and that she is leaving and she can’t wait to leave and no one says anything. But anyway back to the situation, so we leave work for the weekend and I return that Tuesday and let me tell you that was the coldest shoulder I have ever received in my life! She hasn’t spoke to me since and I had to do research to find out why and all I could say NOT THIS AGAIN! I have just decided to let her go and move on. My Joy and my peace of mind are much more important. Now none of my co-workers have spoken to me either and I guess she has gotten to them to and told them some lie, but I could care less and that’s none of my business anymore. I walk into work every day with a smile on my face because I deserve to be happy. Thank you so much for this Sara you have truly confirmed that what I did was best for me!

  3. Brooke on November 23, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    Thank you for your post. I am going through this with my SIL and its been consuming me…and I dont know how to not let it affect my joy and thoughts. I want to shift my focus onto other things but its been hard. The relationship makes me sad, because its not a good one, like I’d want it to be.

    • Sara on November 25, 2016 at 7:37 pm

      Brooke, it’s difficult when it is someone close to us, is toxic to us. Just try to keep your actions clean and authentic and don’t over think hers. It’s great that you want it to be good–but you can’t always control that. But hold that space for her–while taking care of yourself–you never know. Thanks for reading and sharing your experience.

  4. Rica@Yoga Mat Monkey on June 28, 2016 at 8:13 am

    I enjoy the phrase, “No one can make you feel bad/inferior without your permission.” And while that’s true to a certain extent, it’s also true that some people have ill intentions and the energy/attitude they bring is unhealthy, even ugly. I like what you said here, and how you are taking back your power by shifting your focus and taking actions that feel essential to your own welfare. You are inspiring!

    • Sara on June 28, 2016 at 11:38 am

      Thanks Rica. This one has been particularly difficult. But by exploring and acknowledging it as honestly as possible, I do feel better. I think one of the hardest things about this, is that these are people that we want a good relationship with but can’t seem to make it happen.

  5. Jen on June 23, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    I love how you defined a toxic person, as someone who is toxic to you. Identifying them and dealing with them is so important. Great post

    • Sara on June 24, 2016 at 7:08 am

      Thanks Jen. That was an important realization for me because the person I wrote about was not toxic (as far as I know) to everyone in their life. So, it also makes me have to take a look at my side of the relationship. Thank you for the comment!

  6. MJ Sherwood on June 23, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    WOW this is so good. I am dealing with, as you said, a person that is Toxic to me. It is so hard. At first I did believe the lies then my husband brought me back to reality. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    • Sara on June 24, 2016 at 7:02 am

      You’re welcome! I’m learning too. It is hard to accept, but in acceptance, you are in a much better place to deal with a person. I wish you all the best.

      • Roberta on May 20, 2022 at 10:35 am

        Your statement about having taken your defenses down and thought things were going well.
        Until you sucker-punched. For the umpteenth time.
        Hit home with me….I’ve been dealing with my 32yr old son who has been in and out of trouble due to drugs and alcohol. He constantly brings up the past and how he got screwed. Still not owing up to his mistakes. In the heat of the moment he goes as far as to throw me under the bus. (He’s back and forth with that.) One conversation I did nothing wrong. The next, I was a horrible mother. He likes to play the victim card. I have said to him that as long as he keeps playing the victim card, he will always be a victim. No growth, no maturity. That’s obviously not what he wants to hear.
        Apparently he likes being miserable. And it is true what they say, “Misery loves company.” He was staying at a homeless shelter in Kansas city, MO. He’s been staying here at my ranch for a little over a month now. At first things seemed to be going well, he’s back to dwelling on his past and striking out at me. Needless to say my fences are back up.

        • Sara on June 17, 2022 at 12:40 pm

          It’s especially difficult when it is close family!

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Hi, I'm Sara Garska and I'm so happy you're here! Big changes can happen with a shift in thinking. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a certified life and weight loss coach, I can help you create a life you love. Click here to schedule a free 50-minute coaching session.