EQ, or Emotional intelligence, is not the same as IQ, or an intelligence quota.

Sometimes people who are very smart get lost along the path of human-to-human interaction and understanding.

Their IQ may be high, but their EQ is sadly lacking.

People with low EQ tend to be prickly, awkward and- at the extreme end- toxic.

Toxic people can be exhausting. They suck the life out of every situation. They blunder and bluff their way through, squashing and crushing nicer people along the way. Everyone who has ever spent time with someone toxic finds themselves depleted at a ‘soul’ level.

Whether the poison is delivered via time-draining, emotional vampirism or repeated attention seeking, someone with a toxic personality can crawl under your skin, into your head and even straight through your heart.

The very good news is that there are ways to keep toxic people on the boundaries of your own life.

Once you have identified a toxic person within your life, and they can be spotted by the way they make you feel, you can set up some great rules that will protect you.

The number one way to handle a toxic person?

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries.

Liars, narcissists and manipulators are toxic people.

They will say and do anything to have you engage with them. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is about you, it is always and forever about them. As they huddle in, sharing some incredibly personal secret, they are gauging your response in order to manipulate you for further use. This is not to say that a good friend won’t share their personal stories with you, but a toxic friend will try and build trust- something they envy but cannot achieve- and then use whatever your response is against you.

Did you share something too? Watch as your story gets passed around. Did you give advice? Prepare to be contradicted, and maybe even mocked. Their ‘friendship’ is about using your energy to make themselves feel better. It has nothing to do with you.

How do you combat this?


Once you have identified the yucky feeling you get whenever you are with that certain someone, think about ways to limit contact.

If it’s a family member, simply become unavailable. You have been placed on this Earth to be happy. If someone is making you unhappy, remove them from your life. Sad as it is, and it can be very sad, the chance for you to be happy will never improve if you waste time trying to cover for someone else’s inadequacies simply because you share an ancestor. If the toxic person confronts you, tell them. “ Yes, I have chosen to see less of you because I feel drained when we spend time together”. As uncomfortable as that makes you feel, it’s no worse than the ache in the pit of your stomach that rears up when you imagine yourself in the same room with someone who is bad for you.

If it is someone you work with, make sure that all the conversations you have stay focused on the tasks at hand. Stay professional, but treat the toxic creature like a poisonous snake. Keep them at arm’s length and hold them there.

Do not react when they do. Hold tight, hold onto your boundaries, and when the time is right, act. Never RE-act. It’s a mistake, and it’s where an energy vampire gets their fuel.

We are taught from an early age to respond to instruction. Manipulators will demand that you jump through this or that hoop.

Ask yourself why you would do that?

Why respond instantly?

And for that matter, why respond at all?

If you feel drained but someone is riding your nerves, slow the pace down. Tell yourself, and them, that you will respond in time. Then decide a reasonable time by yourself. If they demand attention now, make yourself unavailable. Toxic people are all about getting what they want when they want it. Oh well. That can be your role, or someone else’s. If you set boundaries and ignore a toxic person, they will eventually tire of not achieving their own goals of self-satisfaction and move on. Hooray !!! You are free to breathe all the non-polluted air you wish without fear.

Saying ‘No’ to someone is not always easy, but it’s a once off ‘Band-Aid removal’ ripping pain. The exhaustion that comes with battling a negative person is much, much worse.

For more great tips head to and

If you’ve had dealings with an emotional vampire, let us know how you handled it in the comments box below.



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