There is a lot of talk about toxicity in relationships, about toxic people, and this is not surprising. If, until now, people have tolerated or accepted more easily the dysfunctional and destructive behaviours of those around them and especially family members, it is easy for people to understand that this is not ok, that we don’t have to accept anything,
that we do not want and that we do not have to compromise, especially for the sake of people who do not value us, but only seek to use us in one way or another.
Even if you could not define exactly what toxic people mean, because there is no single typology, you can identify certain characteristics that will make you think.
A toxic individual can be someone who, at any cost, tries to take control he would like, if he could, to control what you say, what you feel, what you think, what you do, who cannot accept that things it may be different than he sees them, who does not respect your opinion and tries to convince you to think like him or to see things like him, which makes you feel bad if you have certain beliefs, values or principles that he does not reason with.
Also, he/she will try to convince you that he/she is right and that you must do as the individual told you, that he/she will appeal to a whole arsenal of minor nerve shreds until you give in and agree.
A toxic person can also be a self-centred that you simply become a tool by which he can achieve his goals.
Toxic people can be one of that kind of extremely pessimistic and negative person, who finds in every solution a problem, which spreads his negativity on those around him, who can cast doubt, worry and fear on the most insignificant things.
A toxic person can also be an individual who is constantly victimized and complains a lot, who feels that others are to blame for the way he feels or lives, who expects others to take responsibility for his well-being, which has many needs that others are expected to meet.
The first alarm signal that should draw your attention refers to how you feel about that person. Although, you may not be able to figure out how it got to this point (especially if the relationship or person was or rather seemed positive at first) or you don’t quite understand what is happening (because of manipulation) it is certain that the presence of this person in your life has a negative impact – you may feel sad, angry, agitated, distrustful, drained of power; you may feel that you have lost confidence in yourself; maybe you are afraid to act in some way or another so that it doesn’t upset / annoy / criticize / judge / try to make you change your mind, etc.
Toxic people generally block your evolution or, by their attitude and actions, make you doubt yourself. They do not want you to succeed because this would face their weaknesses or because your change might involve changing the relationship between you, something they do not want. Certainly, such a person will never bring you something positive, and if the presence of a person in your life is neither positive nor neutral, but, on the contrary, negative, why do you allow him to be part of it?
In the following article we will list the most important characteristics of toxic people:
They manipulate, they lie repeatedly and they want to have control over you.
For them, it doesn’t matter how you feel, what you want or what you need, for them, it is important to reach their goals at any price, even if it means to use people, to step on corpses, to lie, to manipulate. It’s always just about them.
They are expected to give them what they need without offering anything in return – there is no reciprocity. They use people to serve their interests, but often adopt a victim attitude to gain their sympathy (or mercy). It gives you the impression that you owe them something, that although they often disrespect you or do things that harm you, they would do those things for your good (this was most often the case in situations in which one has more power than the other).
For example, in the workplace, your boss may overload you with all sorts of tasks that do not belong to you (and may even assume the merits of your results), may constantly ask you to stay extra at work, especially on weekend motivating that in this way you have the opportunity to learn/acquire new skills / to build your way to a certain promotion.
They lack constancy.
Like chameleons, they change their attitude and behaviours depending on what they want to get from others or why they want to happen. Compared to the same person, at one point they can be extremely “kind”, warm and gentle if they know that this is how they can earn their trust, and at another moment they can become extremely cynical, careless, selfish and even cruel.
One day they can be extremely nice to you, and the next day their attitude can change completely, making you wonder what you have done wrong and most likely feeling guilty about it. In this situation, the tendency is to try to make the other feel better, to make efforts in the hope that he will return to the previous attitude.
But in doing so, you take on a responsibility that does not belong to you, because the emotional state of the other is not your responsibility and it is not normal to try to constantly thank a person who blames you for the way she feels.
They induce you the feeling that you must always prove to them that you deserve them.
They will try to make you feel that you deserve to be around them, that you deserve to trust yourself, that you deserve to be nice to yourself, in a way, they disregard you from the start, even if you did nothing wrong, and they do so just for you to feel you have to do as many things (as they wish) to prove otherwise.
By making an analogy, every individual is not guilty until proven otherwise, but in their case, every person has the presumption of guilt until that other one proves them the opposite. Around them, you can often feel “on guard”, ready at any time to defend yourself even if you have done nothing wrong, or by changing your behaviour to avoid being hurt again.
In any case, this kind of relationship is a toxic one, because you will always feel unworthy, small and worthless and you will try at all costs to prove that you are not like that – making them please, making sacrifices and compromises. Maybe you will end up giving up important relationships in your life for their sake, isolating yourself from your loved ones, giving up what you want to do to do what they want.
They do not feel happy for you.
It is as if the happiness of others would disturb you. If you want to share your good news with them, they will find a way to shade your joy or move the focus of the discussion on them. If you are excited about something, they will find and highlight the negative parts or potential scenarios for what might go wrong.
They will use against you the things they know about you, that is, they will attack you where it hurts you the most if, in this way, they get what they want.
They need others to give them their full unconditional attention.
To please others, to show their admiration – people who constantly need to validate others do not feel good about their skin and doubt themselves. A relationship with such a person can easily turn into a toxic one because, many times, he/she will try to sabotage you to stay in the spotlight or discourage you, try to make you lose your confidence in you to thus prevent your assertion.
They repeatedly violate your boundaries.
Even if you tell them that you are upset by certain things, they do not care and continue to behave in the same way. They do not respect your space and personal time or privacy and consider themselves entitled to “do the trick” in your life when they want to.
They do not take responsibility and become victimized.
Toxic people find ways to place the responsibility for their actions and lives on others. They also do not take responsibility for what they feel, projecting on others their own experiences, and if you draw their attention to this, they will vehemently deny you and embarrass you to prove that you are not right. They find excuses and explanations, rationalize, blame others, expect them to be understood, compassionate and helpful. They don’t admit when they are wrong, they never apologize and they “are always right”.
They judge others and they always say the wrong things about others.
Because they are “perfect”, not taking responsibility for their minuses or mistakes, they will criticize, devalue or underestimate others with ease. By doing so, they also manage to keep their self-image intact and even ignite their ego – comparing themselves to others in this way, they will always win. They boast a lot with their achievements, minimizing those of others.
What can you do if you face toxic people?
It is not wise to expect and hope for a change to come from the other. Once you realize that the influence of a person in your life is a toxic one, you have to change things. Set clear boundaries for interaction or permanently remove that person from your life. You don’t have to give explanations, you don’t have to justify yourself in any way because you’re not doing anything wrong, on the contrary.
However, most often it happens that the person tries to convince you that you are not right, to turn you off the road. But you know that what you are doing is for your good and no one can tell you that it is wrong to feel that way.
This process of separation or definitive separation can take a certain period because, if a toxic person does not respect your limits and boundaries now, the less they will not respect them even afterwards, so be aware that there will be trials on his part, but remember not to fall into their capacity.
This decision of yours is not subject to negotiation, so avoid entering into conflicting discussions or quarrels. You cannot persuade a person to understand that he has mistaken you, or that his presence in your life is hurting you, as long as that person does not want to take responsibility for his actions and as long as his actions and intentions have been deliberate and wills.
The same is true for family members. If someone in your family is a toxic person, you have no obligation to accept his dysfunctional and harmful behaviour just because you are a relative. Furthermore, you should not accept, especially since the family has a greater influence on you (even in an indirect way) than the rest of the people in your life.
By distancing yourself emotionally you understand that, to a large extent, the irrational govern their actions, so it is not necessary for you to enter their game, to respond irrationally and to let yourself be governed by emotions. Observe their facts and act accordingly, but never lose yourself in “how this makes me feel”. It no longer allows them to be in control of your emotional states or to shadow your joy.
You deserve to have people in your life who respect you, accept you and love you for what you are, along with who you can evolve and who support or encourage you, not devalue you, discourage you make you doubt yourself and destroy your self-esteem and self-confidence.