Save Your Sanity: Tactics Toxic Clients and Friends Use

You have the one friend or client that is toxic. You know this and you wonder why this person is still in your life. Why haven’t you ended the relationship? The reason isn’t because you’re weak or that you’re a bad person.

The real reason is that toxic people are very good at manipulating others. In fact, they might even be called bullies.  Often, they seek to control you and they do it so subtlety that it’s easy to miss the warning signs. That’s why it’s important that you know the tactics that toxic clients and friends use.

Tactic #1: Intimidation

A toxic friend or client often uses intimidation and fear to keep you in line. Sometimes, these tactics can be hard to recognize. It might be the veiled threat that a client will badmouth you in the industry or that a friend will “accidentally” slip up and share a secret about you with the rest of your community.

Sometimes, the threats aren’t veiled, such as the client that says he’ll leave a bad review of your services if you don’t give him a discount. The goal of intimidation is to get you to back down. Your best option is to act unaffected. If you show fear or concern, the toxic person may be more likely to follow through with their threat.

Tactic #2: Feigning Innocence

Your friend made an unkind remark about your weight over lunch. When you get offended, your friend acts innocent. She brushes off your hurt feelings and dismisses what she said as “only a joke”. Despite your friend’s denial, you still feel hurt.

Toxic people will feign innocence when they hurt you. They reject the idea that you could possibly be upset because no harm was intended—or at least, that’s what they’ll say. When it comes to this type of situation, listen to your intuition. If your intuition tells you that the remark was something more, then trust that feeling.  Just joking is usually a mask for “trying to keep you down”.

Tactic #3: Gaslighting

Toxic friends or clients can attempt to gaslight you. This is when a toxic friend or client tries to convince that you’re wrong by making you question yourself. Instead of acknowledging they did anything wrong, they tell you that you didn’t see what you thought you saw or you didn’t hear what you thought you did.

A toxic friend or client will use everything they know about you to make you doubt yourself. For example, a toxic friend might tell you that you doubt their intentions because you had a bad childhood and don’t know what real love looks like. A client might tell you that he won’t offer you more lucrative projects because you just aren’t ready yet.

Don’t feel bad if you’ve missed some of the signs that your friend or client is a toxic person. Now that you know, you can confront the truth and decide what to do. Whatever your choice, you don’t have to apologize for it. You deserve good relationships in your business and in your life.

Reclaim your power and invite healing in

You don’t have to do this alone.  If you feel overwhelmed or unsure of where to start or how to do this, reach out and let’s do this work together.

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