We live in a complex world. Relationships can go from absolutely beautiful to toxic in split seconds. The worst part is this abuse will sometimes come from very dear ones. This will often leave you in shambles because you love them and you can’t or don’t want to just end the relationship. Many a time cutting off will be another mountain to surmount. What can you do if you are living under such circumstances? Here is what I have learned over the years. I may not be a therapist or psychologist but this is what I have experienced personally and the following actions helped me get out of the situation.
Who is a Toxic Person?
Anyone whose words and actions continue to negatively impact your life. A toxic person will often make a beautiful moment ugly. They will add negativity to your life in ways you can’t imagine or keep track of. You will tend to either be scared of them, feel drained out around them, or simply wish to never have an encounter when they are at their beast self.
Toxicity can become a part of someone’s life for many reasons. It could be their past, childhood, or some situation they can’t rationally get their mind out of. But for the purpose of this blog post, we will stick to signs of toxicity in a person.
10 Signs of a Toxic Person
1. They don’t respect boundaries
They will have a justification for whatever they do especially if it falls under violating someone’s rights. Setting boundaries and setting them right is something not all of us know how to handle. If you don’t have boundaries in the first place you will have a hard time with people in general. You will either be too kind or too irritated. At the end of the day, it is going to drain you. Setting healthy boundaries all the time is crucial because if you don’t you have a high chance of being exploited in life.
2. They manipulate
They will want to make you do things. You know the only way you can make someone do something is by making them want to do it out of their own will. Manipulation is a set of techniques that make you want to do things you would otherwise not want to do. You will feel forced or compelled to do it just because you’ve been said a certain set of statements or you’re put in a situation.
This involves playing with your reputation, your mind, and with your heart. Everyone wants to feel accepted and respected. Everyone wants to fit into society. If you are made to feel like a misfit you will generally do things to fit in without considering the intent behind it.
3. They are controlling
You can’t really be toxic if you don’t have control over things and the people around you. Therefore, toxic people will try to control you and your life. Toxic parents want to micro-control their children even when they are old enough to manage and decide for themselves. Toxic colleagues will have manipulative ways of controlling you and your behavior.
4. They are credit snatchers
Want to take credit for everything. A team of people will be working on a project but when it comes to cutting the cake, they not only want to cut it but also take the entire thing home all for themselves. If others, who rightly deserve the credit, try to take it, they will feed offended and even fight you. They are so confident in their behavior that if you yourself are not on very strong grounds, you will start to question or even doubt yourself.
5. They lie with confidence
Not saying they lie all the time but when they do it’s with such confidence that you start questioning your own sanity. You start losing your sense of right and wrong. They have this ability to make you doubt your life’s staunchest beliefs. They will try and shatter your value system with questions and counter questions that you can’t easily ignore.
6. They are always right and the blame is on you
You will always be held accountable for the things that go wrong in their life. You will often hear words like ‘because of you this household/family/team/department/world is suffering’. Now, remember, a toxic person is not toxic for everyone. They will have some people in their company who they like.
Generally in life, when you accept there is something wrong with you, you start working towards getting better and recovering from it. But for a toxic person, accepting their wrong is usually next to impossible. They will only accept it when they have absolutely no other option and their stakes are high.
7. Anyone who tells them they are toxic is toxic for them
Every toxic person will play the blame game and make the wrong person suffer. They look at the world through their own paradigms. Toxicity has settled inside them. You will have a hard time making them look at the world through your perspective, let alone reality.
8. Always the victim
Everything in their life is pitty-worthy and they will tell it to you in ways you would actually believe. They have complains for just about anything. Nothing ever goes in their favor. They will pinpoint and extract the worst out of any person, situation, or place, no matter how great it actually is. You might be enjoying a situation but their remarks will drain all the fun in you.
They will put massive ideas on the table to change things but will never do anything about it; saying it for the sake of saying it. They want everyone to feel sorry for them and will trigger the kind person inside you for their motives. In actuality, they are the ones who actually create all the nuisance in the world.
They will paint a very savage picture of the world in front of you, highlighting and even magnifying all that is uneven around you. Although if you look at them, they will have a lot to be thankful for in life. Many a time much more than you have.
Toxic people, in my general opinion, have very few actual problems in life. Perhaps because they are busy creating problems in other people’s lives. They will have good homes, decent incomes, family and friends, social status, health, and whatnot. But even then they will have something to complain about everything.
9. Highly judgemental
Some judgments are normal in life. They are actually there to save you. But being over judgemental about everything is just going to make life messy. Calling out to someone’s intentions and negating any good that could be there in any given situation is a sign of toxicity.
10. They are usually takers
They will take everything considering it their right even when it’s actually a favor. But when they have to give, they want to or consider it a huge favor from them to you. They will never be grateful for little things in life. For instance, they deserve everything. Food? One should at least have good food, right? A decent income, O yes I totally deserve it. Health? Well, what’s in it to be grateful for?
Another thing they will take away from you is your energy. Even when they are not actively trying to do it.
All human beings have an aura. They have this energy around them. They feed on your energy. If they don’t find it they will look for it somewhere else. There has to be someone in their life who they will want to crush. Usually, it’s going to be someone who is in a weaker position, a junior, a newbie, or an underconfident person.
What to do if you have a toxic person in your life?
There are three things you can do when you have finally realized you have a toxic person in your life.
1. If you can, remove them from your life
You might find it extreme but it’s important to understand that not all people are able to handle toxic people without disturbing themselves. You will have to do tons of research, devise methods of dealing with them, and then look for ways to cope with the damage they do to you.
Human beings are complicated and there are layers to us. You may have experienced another layer of a toxic person at one point. That’s the person you loved, adored, or wanted to be associated with. But toxicity is a problem and unless someone is actively trying to get rid of it, you can not co-exist with them in peace. It will simply drain your energy and over time lead to various other problems. One of them is becoming like them.
So plan an exit.
2. Learn to avoid
If you can not remove them from your life for whatever reason, try to limit your interaction with them. Toxic people can easily become mean and try to harm your reputation. If you are a company they might plan on harming your reputation in the market. They will make all the noise they can and try to gather others like them or people who don’t generally try to find the truth but only follow what they hear.
You will have to deal with them in very profound ways. You have to understand they are not normal people. They are mentally ill and sadly you or others can’t force them to get treated. Learn to find your way around them. If you try to fight them, you may never win because for that you will have to go down to their level and no sane person can convince themselves to do that. Don’t let desperation take you to their level.
3. Define clear-cut boundaries
One, never go for detailed discussions with them. Always define a time constraint with them. Always have an escape plan in hand. If you are going to give them 5 minutes, make sure they don’t become 15 or 30, or in worse cases, a full hour of yours. Let them know you have another important/urgent task at hand. Excuse yourself as soon as the communication you were supposed to have is done.
Two, have an agenda whenever you see them. Don’t plan leisure activities with them. They will only make the event miserable for you. It’s not that they are actively trying to ruin everything around them, it’s just that they have developed themselves into this mindset and wear the garb of these unhealthy habits that make them do that.
4. Ignore them
If you don’t you will constantly be thinking about them and what they have said. If you keep doing that you will never get out of the mental cycle they put you through. Whenever a negative thought/words or actions cross your mind they will have an impact on you. You have to minimize the impact. You have to ignore them and what they say to protect yourself. You don’t have to believe what they are saying. Develop activities that help you dilute your situation. Travel, journal, read, and have other activities.
Remember you are at a different altitude and you can not go down to their altitude. Don’t try to play them their game because you don’t want to become them. Beware, first protect yourself.
What to do if you are a toxic person?
I don’t know if anyone who is reading this blog post, by any means, is thinking whether they fall in the category of toxic people. Remember, you don’t have to have all the symptoms/signs to be toxic. A few are enough to categorize you as a toxic person. The intensity and level of your toxicity may vary based on how many of these signs you see in yourself. Here are some general things you can do to recover from toxicity.
If you have almost all of these signs in you or most of them, please consult the best therapist you can afford and start working on yourself. The sooner you recover from these toxic behaviors, the sooner you can start leading a healthy, happy and peaceful life.
2. Don’t be stubborn
If you are a toxic person, you have issues with being empathetic and realizing you don’t own the world. People have a right to their own lives and their decisions. You need to be accepting of your own mistakes and take the blame for your life on yourself. Only you can change the situation in your life. Putting the blame on anyone, won’t help you at all.
You need to believe in a power higher than yourself. If you have started seeing the problems inside you, first go an make a prayer. Seek guidance, seek help and then start your journey towards working on every sign, one bit at a time.