We prefer not to use the term "toxic" in our description of difficult fragments, but would rather describe challenging personalities as souls who are simply in need of more love. Difficult fragments are often desperate to fill a hole in their soul that was either torn during an episode of physical or emotional abuse, and/or damaged by an irrational fear that has fed off their energy like an emotional cancer.
Challenging personalities, of course, lash out at you as a cry for attention, but they do so in such a dysfunctional way that they drive away those people whom they hoped might fill their void. In most cases, giving attention to their pain only solidifies their illusion.
The conundrum faced is that the more you try to help the fragment, the deeper they will slide into their own self-inflicted exile of fear. They are usually incapable of seeing the illusions they have erected, and attempts to change their behavior rarely results in a positive outcome. The prevailing new age wisdom is then true: you can't change people who are unwilling to change, but you can, however, change yourself.
The solution, as we see it, is to examine your own feelings about why you experience a charge around a difficult fragment. Is there anything about the person that somehow mirrors a darker dungeon within? Challenging people can be a gift in disguise, for they alert you to areas within yourself that cry out for more neutrality. On the other hand, having to interact with a difficult fragment on a daily basis can be a daunting task, so we offer three suggestions to assist you.
1) Identify Your Triggers
To learn about your negative reactions you must become aware of the subconscious triggers that other people set-off inside of you. Triggers act like ambassadors of your fear that lobby on behalf of your chief features. Your triggers, then, provide an excellent way to spot those nagging doubts and insecurities that lurk just below the surface of your psyche. To remove these triggers from the shadows, you only need to shine the light of truth on their distortions.
Identifying a trigger, however, is only the first step in the process. To release the negative charge of a trigger, you must first consider the emotional attachments you've nurtured to cultivate and sustain the fear for so long. Your attachments, in this case, relate to the emotional security you've derived from clinging to beliefs about yourself that bare no resemblance to reality.
Take, for example, a nagging doubt you've had about your ability to speak in public. You fear such a scenario because you are convinced you will fail, so you create an emotional attachment to this because it protects you from the shame of having your flaw spotlighted in the public arena. The insidious part is that although you believe you are protecting yourself, when your fear is triggered by the action of another, it often reacts like a trapped animal and lashes out inappropriately. The irony, of course, is that in many instances you were fighting against something that wasn't real in the first place.
When you harbor emotional attachments you only increase the likelihood that when another fragment triggers your fear, the vicious circle will continue. We suggest that you identify your triggers, shine the light of truth upon them, and ban them from your domain. There are many healing modalities available to assist you with this task, but identifying your triggers is the important first step.
2) Create a Neutral Space
Similar to the way the Earth's atmosphere protects all life on your planet from harmful radiation, when you create a neutral space, you are protecting yourself from the toxic energy of others. The idea is to develop the confidence that toxic energy directed your way will harmlessly bounce off your protective shield. This is not so much a force field that you are erecting, but a state of mind.
It's a way to subvert the negative offerings of challenging personalities, and learn that, with the exception of karma, if you allow any individual to disempower the vitality of your spirit, it is a choice.
There is great power in learning how to control your reactions in negative situations. To create a neutral space, all that is required then, is a willingness to trust that you have the inner strength to do so.
Although your centering can certainly add its own set of challenges to this objective, choosing to react to antagonism in a negative manner is still a choice.
Being in a neutral space is not dissimilar to sitting in a seat at a theater. On the stage there may be a cast of characters all vying for your attention, hoping to lure you into the dramatic arc of their story, and indeed, you may choose to become emotionally invested in the tenor of each scene.
But you are also able to detach from the events on the stage at any time. Why? Because the events happening on the stage are an illusion; they are not real.
Your life, of course, is not make believe, but if you teach yourself to observe that the people around you are just actors on stage trying to play the roles they have been assigned in their script, it will become easier for you to detach from the inappropriate behavior of others, and possibly see your world from a perspective that's less annoyed by the melodrama in life.
We are not implying that you should go through life utterly devoid of feeling, but once again, like the choice you have to get involved in the drama of a theatrical performance, you can also choose the level of involvement you wish to give to the behavior of a challenging personality. Remember that these fragments are reading from a different script than your own. And since you are the director of your own life, you have the final say if you want to act in their play or choose to audition for another.
3) Use the Technique of Mirroring
Another tool that can be used when dealing with a challenging personality is a technique we call "mirroring." This technique can be used to deal with the negative pole of any overleaf, but lets take the attitude as an example.
If you can identify the negative pole of the attitude projected by a fragment, an effective response is to mirror a reflection of the positive pole from their complementary attitude.
For example, if the fragment is in the negative pole of skeptic, try to reflect the positive pole of idealism. The intention is to become a mirror of the most appropriate behavior. This, of course, is a variant on the hands-across technique, but in this case, you are doing the work for the other person. By practicing this, you are employing a fundamental law of social conditioning, where the most consistent pattern of behavior is eventually adopted. If the individual is not completely shut down, this technique can be surprisingly effective.
Questions may arise concerning the manipulative nature of this technique, but we see the technique as a means to help move the energy of another fragment in a positive way. It is, after all, a choice, if someone chooses to adopt the patterns you are modeling.
On the other hand, mirroring is most effective when it is given with a sincere interest in assisting another soul on their journey. Using the technique to simply "get something" from another person, is not good work, and not the purpose we envision when using this tool.