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What's New:

  • Join me as I do a FB live tomorrow (1/31) at 12 PM ET. In this FB live I will go into more detail on how to not let toxic and destructive people get the best of you. I look forward to our time together and answering your questions!

Becoming the Best Possible You
Learning to Deal with Toxic and Critical People

By Leslie Vernick

We started 2018 looking at what it means to live intentionally. In the last newsletter I shared a story of a woman serving in a Charlotte airport restroom with her whole heart, being her best self. But how do you respond from your best self when toxic and critical people get under your skin, push your buttons and leave you rattled and shaken? How do you live from your best self when a co-worker undermines you in front of your boss; your friend puts you down and says she was “just kidding;” or your spouse rages at you and then turns everything around to make you think that it’s all your fault?

Most of us would prefer to just avoid people like that but sometimes it’s just not possible. You may work with one, be married to one, or have some other connection that keeps you in regular contact with a toxic individual.

For a long time Christians have been taught to forbear and forgive difficult and destructive people. While biblically sound, how exactly does one live that out in real life? We know that Jesus tells us that we’re to love our enemies and pray for those who mistreat us but actually doing it while someone is criticizing you or screaming at you is challenging.

The apostle Paul counsels us in these instances not to be overcome with evil but instead, to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). But when it’s happening to us we feel evil wrapping its tentacles around our spirit and we will have to intentionally fight not to let it get the best of us.

Here are some specific ways I have put these Biblical truths into practice when dealing with a toxic or destructive person. They will help you respond wisely and appropriately as well as help you avoid reacting out of your negative or fearful emotions. But for these truths to work, you must be intentional about putting them into practice.

1. Press Pause: As soon as you feel that poisonous dart hit your emotional self, take a deep breath and pray for God’s help. The words or behaviors of another person have just knocked you off balance and will infect you with its toxic effects if you don’t quickly apply an antidote.

2. Don’t panic and overreact or be passive and underreact: Stay calm and don’t fall for the toxic person’s bait. Try not to take what they have done or said personally (which is very tempting to do). Remember, the way someone treats you, whether it be good or bad, really has nothing to do with you. It a statement about who they are.

3. Ask yourself this question: What in this present moment do I need to learn (or change) in order to become the person I want to become? My best self? Here are a few things I have found I needed when I asked myself this question.

  • Courage
  • Humility
  • Generosity
  • To speak the truth in love
  • To set firmer boundaries
  • Patience
  • Not to worry so much what others think of me
  • Let go of my desire to make everyone happy
  • Not to let this person get the best of me or to make me act crazy

Believe me, it is very tempting in the moment to defend yourself or stay passive and let yourself be blamed for the problem, be totally intimidated and overcome, or aggressively strike back with your own attack. None of those ways will help you move forward with a toxic person. However, God does promise to use these painful moments for our good. Therefore, learn what you can from the painful moment and let go of the rest.

4. Teach yourself to respond out of the person you want to be rather than how you feel in the moment: We do this all the time by being responsible and getting out of bed to go to work even when we want to sleep in or getting up in the middle of the night with a sick child even if we don’t feel like it.

If you must respond in the moment, speak calmly, truthfully and firmly especially when you have to set a limit or say “no”. Refuse to engage in arguing, defending yourself, or circular conversations that go nowhere. Practice JADE: No JUSTIFYING, no ARGUING, no DEFENDING, no EXPLAINING.

5. Practice (and this takes a lot of work) looking at this difficult/destructive person in a different way than you have in the past: Instead of meditating on his or her faults or sin, look for her goodness, his humanness, or his/her woundedness. When you can see a person in this new way it’s much easier to allow God to fill us with His love and compassion for this pitiful person who would be so blind as to treat us (or anyone) in such a sinful way.

Having this change in perspective doesn’t excuse the toxic person or give him or her license to continue to do damage, but it does help us not to retaliate, judge or condemn. It also empowers us to forgive him/her, even if we can’t reconcile the relationship or trust this person. We can honestly pray God’s best for this person and leave him/her in His capable hands.

As believers we will surely encounter evil, but by practicing these five steps, you can learn to overcome evil’s toxic effects in you, with good.


Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman's Guide to Peace in Every Situation

By Grace Fox

Fear was not part of God's original agenda for his creation. It slithered onto the scene when Adam and Eve sinned, causing a tear in their relationship with God. And even though fear touches every life and can still debilitate people today, the news isn't all bad. Popular speaker and author Grace Fox demonstrates how believers can face their fear and actually let it be a catalyst for change.

Readers will learn how to stop hiding from God and instead develop a deeper relationship with Him. This is what she calls “the upside of fear”: When we cry out to God for help, He answers, and we experience Him in new ways.

Each chapter highlights a particular area where readers can begin to experience freedom from fears about their personal identity, their finances, their kids, the future, and more.

If you would like to enter to win, you can click here to provide name and email address.

The winners of He Calls You Beautiful: Hearing the Voice of Jesus in the Song of Songs by Dee Brestin are SaraJane B and Marcia O.


Upcoming Events

April 14, 2018
Gilbert, Arizona
For more information please click here

April 21st, 2018
General Conference
Indianapolis, Indiana
For more information please click here

May 4-5, 2018
Grace Fellowship Church
York, Pennsylvania
For more information please click here.

Want to have Leslie speak at your event? Click here to find out more information.

How Do I Rebuild My Life?

Question: I loved your newsletter, The Intentional Life I read recently. You asked what really matters? Well for me it’s family. But my question is what if what really matters is the very thing you need to avoid? Like liars and thieves right in your own family. From my husband to now my grown children.

I have given my all to my family for over 40 years. My husband left when his addictions were exposed within the church and family. Now the family is crumbling. My purpose is gone as far as I had planned. I know I can’t stop it. I can’t fix it; I can’t change anyone but me. Where do I begin when all I lived for is gone?

Answer: Life can be so disappointing and heartbreaking, can’t it? As women, we long for great connection with others, especially our family members. And when that doesn’t happen, it can play havoc with our identity as a person as well as our psyche.

Studies done on the psychology of women have shown that a woman’s sense of identity rests in her connection to those around her, especially her closest relationships. When those fail or are non-existent, a woman begins to question her value and her purpose. That’s what’s happening to you. I’m so sorry. But your question is now what? How do you begin to pick up the pieces of your shattered life and your sense of self?

What Are People Saying About Leslie's Courses and Teachings?

“A good friend introduced to me to Leslie about a year ago, by forwarding one of the free newsletters she sends out. This was the ‘awakening' that God used in my life to show me that I was living in a very unhealthy marriage, which was completely crushing me. I began to read more things on and through Leslie's website, and realized I needed a bit more help. I signed up for a “Moving Beyond People Pleasing' class, as well as “Getting Rid of Negative Emotions”. Both were incredibly enlightening, inspiring and they continued to bring awareness to my life.

I recently ordered some CD's to listen to while traveling about in the car for work. I got the order today (yay!) and already started listening to “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage”. I am feeling so encouraged & strengthened already, hearing Leslie's soothing voice as she reads her book. I am trusting God for many good things in my marriage and family, and the know the process will continue to be slow, yet steady as I continue to take steps towards change and allow Him to work in and through me. I am so very grateful for all the amazing ways that God is using Leslie and her team to change lives. Hallelujah!”



Leslie wants to help you grow in your personal and relational effectiveness. Please submit your questions by clicking here.

Then, visit Leslie's Blog as she posts her responses to one question per week.

Note: Due to the volume of questions that Leslie receives, she is unable to respond to every question.


Leslie Vernick PO Box 5312 Sun City West, Arizona 85376 United States