What are the signs and characteristics of toxic people?

In this blog we will discuss key characteristics of toxic people. 

We will also discuss what a toxic person is, what it means to be toxic, and how toxic people can negatively impact one’s life, and how to manage or deal with toxic people. 

What are the signs and characteristics of toxic people?

Here are a few characteristics and signs that indicate that someone is toxic:

They engage in Emotional manipulation

They usually engage in various behaviours, say various things that manipulate you emotionally which is usually done to gain power and control over you. 

They might be dishonest, emotionally exploit you and seek to insult you or put you down in various ways as a way to control you or victimise you. They might use fear tactics to cause you to become afraid of them or use your emotions against you.

As they emotionally manipulate you they might do things like withhold affection to punish you or touch on your insecurities to make you feel insecure about yourself so that they can take control.

They are dishonest

They are very dishonest about their own lives and they might use deceit, lying, or general secrecy about their lives, what they are doing, about their careers and their personal life etc.

They will often go to great lengths to lie and when they are caught lying they will generally manipulate you into believing that they are being honest or gaslight you into distrusting yourself. 

They gaslight you

Here, another form of emotional manipulation where an individual makes you question your own experiences. They might use phrases like “You are making things up” or “you are being dramatic” for you to question your own reality.

They usually use these tactics when you begin to push back from their behaviours and manipulation, or when you begin to stand up for yourself. It is a way for them to assert control, making you distrust yourself. 

Lack of accountability

They lack accountability and will never accept blame or responsibility for anything that they do. They will instead make sure that they do not get called out for anything. 

Instead, they will deflect blame onto others by saying that they are also victims to the situation or even blame you all in  bid to deflect accountability and escape balme. 

They do not respect boundaries

Toxic people have no regard for the boundaries of other people and do not understand the concept of boundaries.

They will often disrespect your own boundaries be it official boundaries, emotional, mental, relationship boundaries etc- they will overlook it, trample over them and their argument will be something like “but i am your best friend.” or “You are being overly critical/ sensitive.”

They will make you feel guilty for attempting to set boundaries with them while completely disregarding any of your own needs.

They are unsupportive

Toxic people tend to be unsupportive of your goals and your vision, they are unusually unhappy when you begin to make way into your goals and dreams. 

They are also uninterested in what you want and the support that you need and will unusually pretend to act like they support you with toxic positivity rather than be someone who actually cares and supports you.

They exhaust you

One very telltale sign of a toxic individual is that they drain you of energy and resources when you spend time with them. 

They make you feel empty and dissatisfied which is very different from when you spend time with people who actually care and support you. They might also cause you stress and negativity when you spend time with them.

It is all about power

For toxic people, maintaining power is very important to them and unusually they will try to create a tilted and unequal power situation with you through manipulation and other tactics. 

For them, friends are not equal but rather they seek out relationships where they have an upperhand and have power and control over. 

They are Insincere 

They are insincere in most of what they do, meaning that they will be insincere in their purpose of various goals, relationships, as well as insincere in their efforts.

They may also be insincere in their aplieis and often use apologise as a way to manipulate people into thinking that it was not their fault and thy might use phrases like :

“I’m sorry you think I was wrong”.

What’s a toxic person?

A toxic person is someone who tends to be subtly or outwardly manipulative, controlling, self centred with a disregard for the rights and boundaries of other people. 

They are often observed to behave in various patterns that could be understood as malicious towards others as well as disrespectful towards the needs of other people. 

They are often unempathetic and are unable to understand the world of other people and are usually focused on only what they want and what feels good to them which includes their need for power and control. 

It is believed that toxic behaviours and patterns tend to manifest from their own underlying insecurities, low self-esteem, mental health conditions such as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), childhood trauma, or other deeply rooted personal issues (Betterhelp).

All of which leads them to develop a tendency towards seeking their interest and meeting their goals above other people and justifying their own behaviours to themselves to avoid guilt- meaning that they do not see it as anything wrong. 

They often manipu;ate other people to get what they want and meet their goals while at the same time they tend to seek control and even in severe cases abuse others to maintain control. 

Most toxic individuals do not realise the impact of their behaviours and patterns on other people and believe that they are rightly justified.

How to cope with toxic people?

Here are a few things you can do to cope and deal with toxic people in order for you to protect your own mental and emotional well-being.

Set boundaries

Setting boundaries is one of the best things you can do to deal with toxic people by drawing a line to protect yourself and separate them from you. 

This can include creating a physical boundary with them- by not spending all your time with them or by moving out- or by creating an emotional boundary with them where you learn to become separate in terms of how you feel from them rather than being manipulated by them to feel a certain way. 

You have to understand that setting boundaries can be difficult and you will be made to feel guilty about it but it is important that you are sten with your boundaries and be consistent with them in spite of fear of how the person will react.

Avoid getting drawn into the drama

One of the most significant ways that a topic individual will draw you in and seek to break boundaries is by creating drama between you and other people or various other situations. 

It is imperative that you do not get drawn into their tactics to get you riled up or get you to react to their behaviours or their attempts. 

They might create drama between  you and your other friends, and no matter how much you want to set the record straight, the best thing you can do is to not get drawn in the heat of the moment. 

Instead, take some time off by yourself and seek out positive support instead, away from the drama, or you can reclaim your alone time and think things over objectively. 

Once things have settled, if you want to set the record straight- you can choose to assertively speak your truth without dragging things along that could allow them to create further drama. 

Once you have spoken your truth, it is important that you let people make their own choices during which you move on with your life. 

Talk with them about it

In the case that this person seems to be totally unaware of their toxic behaviours, you can sit them down and talk about what is happening and how it is affecting you.

When you talk to them, make sure that you do not blame them but rather highlight their behaviours and let them know that you are going to remain a source of support for them with healthier boundaries in place. 

Encourage them to talk with a mental health professional about their issues and let them know that you are not ostracising them or abandoning them but that you are concerned for their wellbeing.

Resist trying to fix things

Now, you might also be wondering that toxic people tend to be struggling in some shape or form , however, it is important that you do not enable them by fixing the issues for them. 

Boundaries that you set with them is not just to create space from them but also for you to remember that you are not responsible for them and hence, you are not going to fix their issues. 

The best thing you can do for them is to create awareness, direct them to get help, and maintain healthy boundaries and support. 

Seek professional help

Sharing a residency with a toxic person can be traumatic and stressful, if you find that you need some help to deal with your feelings don’t hesitate to reach out to a counsellor or a therapist to help you develop healthy boundaries, as well as help you maintain a positive state of mental wellbeing. 

Conclusion

In this blog  we have discussed key characteristics of toxic people. 

We have also discussed what a toxic person is, what it means to be toxic, and how toxic people can negatively impact one’s life, and how to manage or deal with toxic people. 

What are some toxic behaviors?

Toxic behaviours include:

  • Being manipulative
  • Judgmental
  • Controlling
  • Self-centred
  • Exploitive
  • Aggressive
  • Physical and emotional abusive

What causes toxic behavior?

It is believed that toxic behaviours and patterns tend to manifest from their own underlying insecurities, low self-esteem, mental health conditions such as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), childhood trauma, or other deeply rooted personal issues (Betterhelp).

Do toxic people know they are toxic?

Most toxic individuals do not realise the impact of their behaviours and patterns on other people and believe that they are rightly justified. In some cases they might be aware of their behaviours and what they are doing but remain blind to how they affect people because of their inability to empathise. 

References

Drake.K.What’s a Toxic Person and How to Deal with Them. PsychCentral. Retrieved on 21st Feb 2022. https://psychcentral.com/blog/whats-a-toxic-person-how-do-you-deal-with-one#what’s-a-toxic-person

Raypole.C. Do’s and Don’ts for Dealing with Toxic Behaviour. Healthline. Retrieved on 21st Feb 2022. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-deal-with-toxic-people

Regan.S. 11 Telltale Signs You’re Dealing With A Toxic Person. MindBodyGreen. Retrieved on 21st Feb 2022. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/toxic-people

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