Changeability Podcast: Manage Your Mind - Change Your Life







March 2016
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Last week we gave you the ultimate guide to recognising toxic people and relationships.

Now it’s all very well recognising toxic people and the characteristic behaviours of these relationships, but it’s not much good if you can’t deal with them.

So this week we thought we’d look at those emotionally draining vampires and the process of dealing with toxic relationships.

You let go of a toxic and unhealthy relationship not because you are weak, not because you no longer love the other person, but because you are strong enough to understand that there are times when two people will be a lot happier if they go separate ways than if they stay together.

Dealing with toxic relationships and people

So how do you deal with toxic relationships, toxic people and their behaviour?

By literally detoxifying! Or as the dictionary would define it:

a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances.”

And we like that definition of ‘detox’ for that is sort of what you are doing here.  Taking time out: “a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of the toxic source” (in this case the person).  It’s a process of distancing and this can take the form of mental, physical or emotional detachment.

But what if these are people that you can't necessarily extract from your life or your situation?

So this could be someone you work with, or a member of your family.

And in this instance, the approach would be about how we manage these people and their behaviours.

Essentially a process of controlling what you can and eliminating what you can’t.

We’ve identified 15 ways that can help you can do just that. 

15 ways to deal with toxic relationships or emotionally draining vampires

  1. Realise that you are more in control than you might believe. Toxic people will typically focus on problems rather than solutions. And what is it that they want from you in that situation? They want you to join in this conspiracy, so you can typically find yourself listening to these negative people and being sucked in to their negativity. To overcome this, set limits in your mind to this type of behaviour and then at the end of that time distance yourself from the behaviour or person. You can combine this with another useful technique, which is to ask the person how they would solve the problem they are complaining about.  This redirects their attention in a more productive way and makes them more responsible for their actions and resolving them.
  2. Rise above the behaviour. Rather than reacting to the irrational behaviour, or finding yourself getting caught up in the emotion of it all, view it as an experiment with you as the experimenter and the toxic person as the subject of the experiment. See in your mind if you can identify some of the behaviours we identified last week – as a scientist noticing and noting down the subject’s response.  This will keep you more distanced from the toxic behaviour and less likely to be drawn into the drama. It’s a sort of emotional distancing. So in this dispassionate state you can have thoughts in your mind like ‘O look, there’s that person behaving, negatively - or look they’ve just tried to manipulate or exaggerate the situation.  And if you want to get really scientific, you can mentally observe your own behaviour – observing how you might go about trying to justify your own behaviour, for example.
  3. Establish your limits. Just because you live or work with a person doesn’t mean you have to put up with every aspect of their behaviour. The first key to this is to recognise a toxic person’s behaviour patterns and then you can go about establishing what you do or don’t put up with. In any situation we interact more with some people than others (often on the basis of how much we like that person’s company) – so have limits on the amount of interaction time you’ll have with that person and then stick to it.  This can be quite tricky but do it consciously and on the basis of you being in charge of it, as almost certainly your limits may well be probed or tested.
  4. Stop trying to please the person and pretending their behavior is ok - in your attempts to get them out of their mood (whatever that is) or gee them up. Toxic people recognise that decent people like you will go to great lengths to ‘please’ and if your attempts aren’t working or lasting long then maybe it’s time to stop. So distance yourself from them and come back to them when their mood has shifted.
  5. Don’t continually justify your actions. In inappropriate toxic behavior the person will often project their own feelings onto you. For example, they might say – Why are you in a bad mood today, when you certainly felt you weren’t in a bad mood. In this situation remember - you don’t need to justify or defend yourself or deal with a false accusation.
  6. Be aware of the characteristics of a person’s toxic behavior. In so doing, you can spot more easily the manipulations and can name them. That way there will be less chance of you tying yourself up in knots trying to please them or excessively defending your actions.
  7. Know that it’s them – not you! We’ve said it already, that toxic people like to project guilt or imply you’ve done something wrong and guess what, as decent people we feel that guilt. But it’s important to understand this is not about you in this instance, it’s about them projecting their feelings onto you.
  8. Evaluate the relationship – ultimately, in any relationship you need to see if it’s doing you more harm than good. So evaluate the relationship, embrace the ideas that come from this evaluation and take action on that. If it really isn’t good for you, chances are you’ll know that on some level.
  9. Discuss your feelings with the other person – Tell the person how you feel in an assertive (not aggressive) way. So for example you could say something like: “When you do/say/act ________, I feel ________. What I need is ___________ (and here you would lay out the boundaries you would like from that person). It’s also helpful to add something such as - the reason why I am sharing these feelings and needs with you is _____________. (Because I love you, I want to build a healthy relationship with you.)
  10. Set and maintain your boundaries. Once you’ve set those boundaries. Maintain them. In the end, this is a process of self-preservation, so focus on taking care of yourself.
  11. Find ways in which you can protect yourself from their toxic behaviour, such as those we’ve already outlined.
  12. Take time for yourself – toxic behaviour can be exhausting, particularly in work situations where we feel obliged to deal with that person in a professional manner. So take time to recuperate and excuse yourself if need be to give yourself the breathing space to recharge your batteries.
  13. If need be - distance yourself from that relationship. This can be physically, emotionally or mentally distancing yourself.
  14. Ultimately, if their behaviour towards you doesn’t change, or you find it just too difficult, release them by letting the relationship go – this may be difficult and indeed painful but you may just need to move forward with your life and give yourself room for healthier relationships which will encourage you to grow.
  15. And finally, if it’s an abusive relationship, seek professional help.

Episode 86 of The Changeability Podcast

Hear us discuss all this and more in episode 86 of the Changeability Podcast and be certain to catch last week’s episode on ‘How to recognise toxic people and relationships’.   After all, if you can’t spot it, how can you deal with it?  Until next time.








Direct download: CA086.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:00am UTC

You’ve probably heard of the phrase toxic person, and are aware at least of the importance of not surrounding yourself with this type of person. Particularly, if you consider:

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” ~ Jim Rohn

And one of those five is either someone you’re living or work closely with and has a toxic personality. 

So what is a toxic person?

The dictionary definition of toxic is a poisonous substance with the synonyms: dangerous, unsafe, harmful, destructive and even malignant (with connotations of evil, or hateful).

If we apply this to the term toxic person we might consider this to be a person who is dangerous, harmful or destructive to us as an individual.

The Urban Dictionary gives a rather nice definition of a Toxic Person as being:

“Used to describe a person who is tainted by a subconscious malevolence or psychosis that affects the lives of those who come into contact with them.”

But we’d probably put it less strongly than subconscious malevolence or psychosis and describe it as behaviour which drains you - the receiver of this toxic behaviour - of energy and life.

A person causing social tension or indeed unpleasantness, might be described as having a toxic personality, for example. 

So is it a toxic person or toxic behaviour?

It is of course important to separate the behaviour from the person. It’s not the person in their entirety who is toxic, rather it is their behaviour which is toxic.

And it’s also worth pointing out, it is your response to their behaviour, i.e. the power you are giving that behaviour in your mind that determines whether or not they are toxic to you. 

Not such a comfortable thought!

Perhaps of more comfort then is the fact that you always have the power to choose your thoughts and responses to that behaviour however difficult that may seem.  And it’s important to recognise that both the person displaying the behaviour and the person who might be on the receiving end – both play a part or a role in the toxic interactions.  So if you feel you are on the receiving end, it is equally necessary to consider your own personal role as well.

What are the signs you’re in a toxic relationship?

What are the indicators or signs of this toxicity?

Toxicity – a great word isn’t it? 

“The degree to which a substance (or person in this case) can damage an organism (or in this instance another person) as well as the effect on the substructure” – Wikipedia

(Note, our additions are in brackets)

In that definition, the actual word refers to the effect on the whole organism, such as a person, as well as the substructure of the organism. 

We even hear that effect on part of us in the language people sometimes use to describe toxic behaviour, saying things like:

“His behaviour does my head in!”

And we know that having a toxic person around can have quite an effect on a group of people. Within an organization, like the workplace, for example.

And maybe the toxicity of the individual relates to the amount of contact, or degree of proximity or closeness you have to that toxic person. Or the amount of credence, you give to that person’s behaviour.

It is quite incredible, how one person can affect so many others around them. 

Why do toxic people behave in this way?

Often the person has been deeply hurt or is suffering themselves, and on some level are unable to take responsibility for that hurt and suffering and the subsequent problems that causes in their life. So they may typically project their behaviour onto others.

How do you know that you’re dealing with a toxic person or toxic relationship?

Here it’s useful to separate the behaviour of the toxic person from the behaviour you find yourself enacting when you’re dealing with it.

Toxic behaviour of the toxic person

Typically, the toxic person will exhibit some or all of the following characteristics.

They might:

  • Create drama in their lives and the lives of those around them. ‘You’ll never guess what’s happened to me again…!’
  • Be jealous and envious of others fortunes and complain about their own lot in life. ‘Well, you’re alright – things like that never happen to you.’
  • Try to manipulate or control others – ‘Don’t you find that so and so (whoever that might be) really gets on your nerves?’
  • Be very needy (it’s all about them!)
  • Use other people to meet their needs
  • Have very narcissistic parents who have fanned this behaviour, or indeed allowed it to go unchecked
  • Be extremely critical of themselves and others
  • Indulge in substance abuse or harm themselves in other ways
  • Not own their feelings – it’s someone else’s fault, or they will project their feelings and thoughts onto you. So, for example, if that person is angry they won’t take responsibility for the anger themselves rather they might accuse you of being angry with them. ‘What have I done to upset you today?’ – When you weren’t even aware of having done anything!
  • Be typically prone to exaggerate. You know the sort of phrases: ‘You always react in this way’. Or ‘You never side with me!’ And they’re often rather good at remembering the one occasion when you did react in that way or didn’t side with them as evidence that your behaviour is like that as a rule.

So, we’ve looked at the toxic behaviour of the so called ‘toxic person’

How might we describe your behaviour or feelings when dealing with a person’s toxic behaviour

This could be characterised in the following ways or behaviours:

  • Overly justifying and defending your own feelings when you’re in their company.
  • Trying to prove yourself to them or continually tying yourself in knots to please.
  • Wondering what you’ve done to upset them or why they’re ignoring you.
  • The toxic behaviour can colour your day and behaviour.
  • Feeling as if this relationship is one sided and you are the only one contributing to it.
  • Having to choose between them and something else “If you really cared about me, you wouldn’t go to that (whatever that is), but you’d stay and look after me.”
  • Whatever you do with that person appears to be wrong!
  • Every day is like another challenge, where you’re trying to modify your behaviour to suit their expectations or prove your worth.
  • You feel uncomfortable around that person – they restrict your ability to say what you want to say, to have a meaningful, mutual two-way conversation of respected views.
  • In your mind, you’re ‘walking on egg-shells’ so to speak when you’re in their company – always weighing carefully what you’re going to say.
  • You feel like you are being controlled, or are overly controlling

What impact do toxic people or toxic relationships have when you’re trying to make changes in your life?

Tell-tale signs include:

  • Feeling like you’re not ‘good enough’ as the other person can be constantly putting you down.
  • A lowering of your own self-esteem, which is not a good basis for self or personal development.
  • Feeling like the person who you’re living or working with is not working for your own best good.
  • You compromising your own ideals and goals, or that they are significantly secondary to the needs of this other person.
  • No longer recognising your true self, because you are tying yourself in knots to please someone else. You are in effect giving away your own power to that other person.
  • Sustaining that relationship long after that relationship has ceased to be of value or benefit to you – in an attempt to not be seen to have ‘given up’ on it.
  • Not being allowed to grow and change – or whenever you try to grow, you’re met with objections or indeed drama by that other person’s behaviour which takes you off course in your process of change.

Episode 85 of The Changeability Podcast

Hear Kathryn and Julian discuss how to recognise toxic people and relationships and their own experiences in the latest episode of The Changeability Podcast.

And next week…

We’ll discuss the tricky task of ‘How to deal with toxic people and relationships.’

But in the meantime let us know if you recognise these behaviours where you are. We’d love to read or hear your comments below.

Direct download: CA085.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 2:55pm UTC

The heady heights of a budding relationship can quickly fall into the treadmill of something more humdrum and yet it doesn’t have to be that way.

So, what makes better relationships in both life and business?

Well who better to ask than a relationship coach.

Susie Miller, known internationally as The Better Relationship Coach is an Author, Speaker and Coach. She is dedicated to helping people create better relationships and is the bestselling author of Listen, Learn, Love: How to Dramatically Improve Your Relationships in 30 Days or Less! She teaches us that by being willing to listen, open to learn and therefore ready to love – truly, deeply and kindly – any and all relationships can be reignited beyond our imagination.

Over the last few weeks of the Changeability Podcast we’ve been exploring the many facets of love and relationships: 

  • In episode 80 – Celebrate Love, we took a light-hearted look at love in all its many forms in today’s world.
  • Episode 81 – turned our attention to self-love. What is self-love and what are the signs that we don’t always love ourselves, plus six reasons why you should
  • Episode 82 taught us 10 ways to build the self-love habit
  • And finally, last week we looked at the fascinating topic of rituals and how to build self-love rituals into your life, to become a happier, more fulfilled, confident and effective person, with more self-esteem and a better sense of our own self-worth.

With all that talk of self-love, we thought our mini-series on love and better relationships with ourselves deserved to be broadened to include better relationships with our loved ones and those other key relationships we have with friends and work colleagues.

So to help us ‘put deposits in our relationship bank’, we invited Susie Millar to come and speak on that very subject of better relationships, in episode 84 of the Changeability Podcast. And what a great interview it turned out to be.

“Courage doesn’t always roar.  Sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, I will try again tomorrow.”  ~ Mary Anne Radmacher

In episode 84 of The Changeability Podcast

Hear your hosts Kathryn and Julian interview Susie and discover: 

  • How important love and relationships are to making changes in life
  • How difficulties in these areas impact all aspects of our lives
  • Why relationships are the ‘currency of today’
  • How, with all the pressures of everyday life, we go about creating and sustaining lasting and meaningful, better relationships
  • The importance of ‘intentionality’ in our relationships
  • Why we can easily find ourselves taking our relationships for granted
  • Why we need relationship goals, and concrete examples of what those goals would look like
  • Susie’s take on a ‘hierarchy of relationships’ and the need to be ‘present’ in your relationships
  • How to achieve balance between the different types of relationships we have, with our spouse or partner, our children, business and work colleagues and friends
  • How much of our relationships goes on in our mind
  • Plus, practical tips on how we can improve all our relationships
  • All this, and a little extra bonus for Changeability Podcast listeners you’ll want to check out.

Mentioned on today’s show:

  • Susie’s website – – the Better Relationship Coach
  • Susie’s book – Listen, learn, love – How to Dramatically Improve Your Relationships in 30 Days or Less!
  • Susie’s offer to Changeability listeners –
Direct download: CA084.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 6:53pm UTC

Love yourself if you want to be a happy, fulfilled, confident, effective person, able to give and receive love, have self-esteem and a good sense of your self-worth.

But it’s one thing to understand this intellectually and quite another to really know and believe it. One of the best ways to accelerate a self-love habit is through using self-love rituals. Practicing self-love rituals is an easy enjoyable way to implant and build your self-love habit and behaviour until it becomes natural. Today we look at 11 self-love rituals to get you started, but first what’s so special about rituals?

What are rituals and why are they so powerful?

A ritual involves a series of actions, sometimes in a prescribed order – which are a type of behaviour regularly and invariably followed by someone – in this case you!

Because that’s what we’re after isn’t it – a way of behaving you do regularly and invariably, habitually and consistently. 

That’s why developing rituals is powerful, because rather than leaving it to randomness and chance or how we’re feeling on a particular day, by creating rituals we build them into our life and are more likely to do them. Once you’ve created the ritual you don’t have to think about it – it’s part of a system. It’s internalised.

Rituals will supercharge your habits and are better than habits in some ways. You can encompass more than one habit within a ritual and because rituals focus on specific ways of doing something, they are very focused.

Apart from building the habit, the other great thing about using rituals is that by following a set way of doing something you’re creating space and time in your life for it.  Just doing these rituals will send your brain the message that this is important to you – you matter.

These rituals we’re talking about of themselves nothing out of the ordinary. You might think that’s not a ritual that’s just how I’m spending my evening. Great if that’s the case – but by virtue of thinking of it as a ritual and labelling it as a ritual – it makes it a thing. It raises it up out of the everyday and mundane and it becomes something more.  It becomes that thing that you do, and what’s more you’re doing it with intention.

‘You’ time

Most of these self-love rituals fall into the category of how to spend ‘you’ time.  This is time you put aside where you focus on yourself. Scheduling ‘you’ time is one of the key self-love habits. These rituals are a great way to help you do this. How you interpret them and make them your own will depend on your lifestyle, situation and preferences, but we’ve included a few suggestions to give you the idea.

11 Self-love rituals

  1. Relaxing or pamper time
  • Spa
  • Proper moisturise and self massage
  • Brush your skin
  • Take a long bath or shower
  1. Nurture / nourish time
  • Self-development
  • Visit a museum
  • Watch a documentary,
  1. Joy time

This will mean many different things to different people. It doesn’t really matter what it is – what matters is that you make a ritual and habit of scheduling time to do something that gives or brings you joy.

  • Something just on your own or with others.
  • Volunteering
  • Get in the zone writing a novel or book
  • A hobby like painting, sketching, or a sport
  • Even better if it’s something you’re good at so you’re building your self-esteem at the same time.
  • Go for a walk in the country or around the city
  • Go to see a great film, show or play

Schedule it to make it a ritual. It doesn’t have to be the same thing every day or for the same amount of time every day.

Make a ritual of asking yourself – what am I doing today that it going to bring me joy.

  1. Laugh time
  • Read a funny book or cartoon
  • Watch comedy TV program or film
  • Go to a comedy club
  • Listen to a funny podcast

The power of laughter is immense. 

You’re telling yourself you deserve to laugh – you deserve to be happy.  Sometimes when we’re stressed or not feeling very loving towards ourselves we almost don’t feel right doing lots of laughing and having fun – especially if others are suffering – but we all deserve to be happy and making laughter a goal for your day or a ritual will help nudge it up the list and keep it on your radar.

  1. Gratitude time – for yourself

Of course at we’re big on gratitude and appreciation of what’s going on in our lives. It’s one of the most efficient and pleasing ways to ground us in our present, but more often than not it’s about other people and things around us.  The difference with this self-love appreciation ritual is it’s about self-appreciation. 

  • If you already practice appreciation each day e.g. you write a list every day keep going but ensure at least one item out of your three or however many you do is just about you.
  • Or create a separate note of 1 to 5 things you appreciate about yourself today.  It can be something you’ve done – maybe something you did well today, something nice someone said to you – a compliment or feedback – or something you appreciate about yourself.
  • For example – your body might not look exactly the way you’d like it to look in every aspect, but it sure does an amazing job of keeping you alive. There are hundreds and thousands of things to appreciate about it – so you will never be stuck again for something to appreciate about yourself.

It’s not always easy, we tend to feel a bit funny about writing down what we like about ourselves. It goes back to the old idea some of us were brought up with that there’s something unseemly about blowing your own trumpet or fishing for compliments. But this ritual will help you counteract those unhelpful beliefs.

And gratitude and appreciation stop you taking things for granted, like how amazing your body and you really are.

  1. Coffee, tea or smoothie break
  • Take a break – on your own or with a friend, colleague, partner or family
  • Make the conscious decision to take ten (or longer) 
  1. Meditation
  • Being mindful is one of the best ways of loving ourselves.
  • Practice living in the here and now – not worrying about the future or ruminating on the past – but being present with your thoughts.
  • Spend a few minutes in mindfulness meditation.
  • Focus on your breathing and observe the thoughts as they come up and let them go.
  • Don’t judge your thoughts but just be with them and let them go.
  1. Affirmations

Affirmations are one of our favourite rituals.

  • Affirmations are positive statements that affirm (or make firm) the behaviours and ways of thinking and being that help us be the person we want to be and achieve how we want to be.
  • You can use affirmations for anything but they are by their very nature a great self-love ritual because they have all the essential elements of a great self-love ritual.
  • They are repeatable – indeed their efficacy relies on repetition – it’s the constant repetition that helps to counteract previous thoughts and beliefs and starts to build and reinforce the positive affirming statements that you want to make into your new way of thinking.
  • They are very personal – they relate to you and your thoughts.
  • Some people might say that by using affirmations you’re reinforcing what you don’t like about yourself – but it’s the opposite. You’re accepting that this is how things are now and opening the door to creating new thought patterns and beliefs that will serve you well – this is a loving thing to do for yourself.
  • This is putting yourself first so you can become more effective at something or happier or more fulfilled in some way – which will have a positive effect on others but it is primarily about you and how you feel.
  • We start off our Brilliant Living™ affirmations and suggest you do it too with with the words ‘I fully love and accept myself’. This is an immensely powerful statement of self-love.

If you want to be more loving towards yourself, start with our Brilliant Living™ affirmations for love.  Treat yourself (they’re very reasonable) to bring more love into your life, including love for yourself.

  1. Food self-love rituals
  • Be intentional with a meal and make it into a ritual – so you’re intentionally feeding yourself health-giving food
  • Instead of rushing to get something on table, take your time to do something special or different (maybe bake a cake). Put some nice music on and accept it’s going to take you an hour and that you’re going to enjoy the experience.
  1. Pet time
  • Walk, cuddle, play with or groom your dog or cat or talk to your budgerigar

You might not get this if you don’t have a pet – but if you do have one you’ll know what we mean!

  1. Say ‘I love you’
  • Tell yourself ‘I love you’ everyday
  • Look in the mirror and say it out loud
  • It’s like an affirmation but is worth stating separately.
  • Say it first thing in the morning or last thing at night or both. 

That’s enough to be going on with for now.  We would love to hear your suggestions which you can leave in our Facebook group or on our Facebook page.

We’re not suggesting you do them all every day (but how great would that make your day!) But make some ‘you’ time that is non-negotiable. Decide what’s going to be in that ‘you’ time, and it might include 1, 2, or 3 of these self-love rituals.

Have a lovely time this week being purposeful about it. That’s the secret to all of this - remembering to do it and bringing it to your awareness on a daily basis so it becomes a ritual and then a habit.

Episode 83 of the Changeability Podcast

Listen to episode 83 of the Changeability Podcast to hear us talk about all of this and more.

Links mentioned in the show:


Direct download: CA083.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 4:55pm UTC