The new year is an opportunity to let go of the negative people in your life who are holding you back and weighing you down.
Whether they’re coworkers, friends or family members, setting boundaries with these toxic people ― or removing them from your life entirely ― can be difficult, but it’s ultimately necessary and freeing.
We asked experts to tell us which kinds of people you’re better off leaving behind as we head into 2018. Here’s what they had to say.
1. The Debbie Downer
The people in your life should build you up and celebrate your accomplishments ― not poke holes in them. But somehow, Debbie Downers manage to find the storm clouds in even the sunniest skies.
Got a raise at work? “That’s all? You really deserve so much more for the work you’re doing,” a Negative Nancy will reply.
Just planned the vacation of your dreams? Debbie’s all: “Are you sure you want to go then? It’s a very crowded time of year.”
“Toxic people have a way of sucking the joy out of your good news and contorting your positive news into something negative,” marriage and family therapist Sheri Meyers told HuffPost. “They’ll find reasons why your good news isn’t great.”
And while it may seem like it’s coming from a place of care or concern, that usually isn’t the case.
“Don’t let Debbie Downers’ underhanded negativity and faux concern diminish your happiness or knock the wind out of your sails,” Meyers said. “Toxic people are not caring, supportive or interested in what’s important or best for you. ”
2. The Gaslighter
These people will try to attack, undermine or question your perception of reality to make you doubt yourself. That way, they can maintain the upper hand in the relationship.
“Like all toxic people, gaslighters are insecure. These means are effective in getting their needs met but are incredibly damaging to relationships,” therapist Amanda Stemen told HuffPost. “They may outright lie and deny it, no matter the proof, their actions don’t match their words, they intentionally confuse you, make you think you’re the problem, or turn others against you.”
In some cases, gaslighters may not realize what they’re doing. And those that do may not care about the damage they’re causing. Stemen recommends avoiding contact with these people until they are able to take responsibility for their behavior.