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How To Deal With Toxic People

“And it’s bad, bad Leroy Brown, The baddest man in the whole damned town, Badder than old King Kong, And meaner than a junkyard dog” James Croce

Let’s face it there are toxic people in abundance. They are everywhere to be found. From the penitentiary to the psychiatric hospital too, yes, even the White House.  

smoke stacks photoI have had my fair share of mockers and bullies in my life. Cowardly people who through the safety of the crowd who would cast their disparaging remarks on you.  Not that I could do anything about it being the shortest male in my class. But in all honesty, I too was higher on the pecking order then some and my tongue also weaved cruel words to others.

But there is a time when people should grow up. That the immaturity of youth should be replaced with the sincerity of adulthood. That people should walk with integrity and live harmoniously. This is far from the case.

We live in a world dominated by liars and cheats. The Catholic church is rocked by sexual abuse scandals of young children. Our nation is at permanent war with other nations to steal their resources. Our president is a petty man who through his Tweets seeks to intimidate and belittle others. Calling a leader of another country ‘Rocketman’ makes no sense, let alone bad diplomacy. Teachers in school are more concerned with keeping order than education. Police are gunning down young black man while they are on the take. The list is extremely long. So what to do about it?

There are two basic philosophies. One is to fight fire with fire. While the other is to use the Christian principles of meekness, love of enemy and turning the other cheek.

Fighting fire with fire only fuels into toxicity. I hate to say it that if you are being bullied the person doing probably has something over you. Whether they are physically bigger or they hold some position of power. Right away, on that level, you are at a disadvantage. I’ve heard success stories of how when somebody was bullied they trained extensively in weightlifting and martial arts to give the bully a lesson. Billy Joel took up boxing so that he could deal with the bullies who were teasing him about playing the piano.

But this technique really doesn’t solve the problem. In my particular case, I was at odds with numerous people. I simply bore the abuse and eventually I graduated from high school and happily never saw those wretches again.

But there is another way. Christianity is very clear that one should repay evil with good. Turning the other cheek is not an act of surrender.  Rather it is an acknowledgment of a wrong and a conscious decision to accept that wrong. In doing so you take away the power of the enemy. It doesn’t stop the abuse right away but it sends a strong statement.

I was working at a store where I stocked the shelves. The salespeople were the worst lot you would ever run into. The would verbally mock me. But in return I was nice. I certainly wouldn’t return their evil with evil. Over the course of a year, the abuse lessened. They learned to respect me as a person of integrity. Did I hate and detest these people? On a certain level, I must honestly answer yes. But on a practical level, I can boldly say no and I have my actions to produce as evidence.

There is something to be said about standing up for what is right. But violence is never the answer, on a small scale or a big scale. We live in a world where wickedness in saturated into the highest levels. People need to stand up for what is right or things are going to get a lot worse. Again people can meet violence with violence or they can take the virtuous road. I am certain that opposition to the powers that be will be manifested in both categories.

In the end having the oppressor see his or her own wickedness is the best technique, especially if your actions show them a better way. To meet evil with evil only justifies the wrongdoer.

Please check out my book “Polishing The Fragments.” It explores my unique world in poetic flair.

Photos by Madninja,

How To Deal With Toxic People

John Kaniecki

John Kaniecki is a full-time caregiver for his wife Sylvia. He is a published writer and works with the Church of Christ. John has lived with bipolar for over thirty years and has been hospitalized nine times, three of which were committed. John has chronicled his life story in his memoirs "More Than The Madness". Also of note is John's book of poetry "Murmurings Of A Mad Man" which are poems written about being committed in Graystone Psychiatric Hospital. John believes in the power of words to change the world for the better. His website can be seen here. His books can be seen on Amazon. You can visit his personal blog "Turn A Page Or Two" here.

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APA Reference
Kaniecki, J. (2018). How To Deal With Toxic People. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 7 Aug 2018
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