The problem with having a toxic person around is that most of the time, we don’t know who they are. Toxic people are masterminds at hiding their toxicity. Their manipulation skills make you need them more than you do. Dealing with toxic people can be draining, say the least. The first step to cutting them out of your life? Knowing how to spot them.
1. They’re Manipulative
Here’s how toxic people manage to get into your life. A toxic person makes everything about them, not you. They use manipulation techniques to get whatever they want. Forget about what you one, in their minds, you’re just a tool for them to get what they want.
A manipulative partner, for example, might use sex as a tool to manipulate you to stay in a toxic relationship. A manipulative friend, on the other hand, might create hypothetical situations where they need your support. Otherwise, something terrible will happen to them. See the pattern?
2. They Judge
Fine-tune your listening to hear their criticism. A toxic person will not hold back. They’re always criticizing you, something you’ve done, even things you didn’t do. While we all make mistakes at some point or another, a toxic person will make sure you believe you’re less than them because you made a mistake.
3. They Don’t Own Their Feelings
Toxic people are masterminds of projection. Instead of owning their feelings, they find the perfect way to project those feelings onto you. For example, if they’re angry, they won’t own those feelings. Instead, they might ask something like, “Are you mad at me?” with the hopes of making you responsible for their anger.
4. They Don’t Apologize
A toxic person will rarely apologize, even if they know they’ve done something hurtful. Toxic individuals are well-versed with their words. They’ll twist the story, change what happened, and work their magic even to make you feel responsible. Remember that you don’t need an apology from them to keep moving. Do your best to forgive those toxic individuals in your life – and move on without them.
5. They’re Inconsistent
Some people might call them bi-polar, and some toxic people will even use the B card to lessen their responsibility. When you’re dealing with a toxic person, they’ll often present themselves in different versions. It’s common for them to change beliefs, perspectives, attitudes, and behavior to accomplish their end goal.
Stop trying to please their multiple personalities. When you pick up on their shifting characters, walk away, and come back later.
6. They Make You Earn Their Friendship
Have you ever met someone that made you prove yourself to them? Toxic people tend to make others choose between them and something else. They have a way to force people to choose – them, of course. Be on alert for sayings like, “If you cared about me, you’d stay with me instead of going to the gym.”
7. They Aren’t Supportive
A toxic person in your life will always be there for your highlights. When things are going well for you, they’ll be there for you. However, the moment something goes wrong, they’ll be nowhere to be seen. Toxic people are only interested in what matters to them. They aren’t supportive, caring, or interested in your issues. A toxic friend, for example, will cut you off when you’re talking about having a bad mental day and turn the conversation around to their feelings, rather than yours.
8. They Sugarcoat Toxic Words
The way we say things can change what our words mean. A toxic person will use non-toxic words in a very toxic tone to make you feel bad about something. Again, their idea is to make you feel lesser than they are so they can control you more easily.
How to Avoid Toxic People
Now that you’re aware of the signs to look for in a potentially toxic person, you must understand how they affect you. To make sure you’re in the presence of a toxic person, think if you:
- Talk about them a lot
- Lose your temper around them
- Notice your self-esteem has shifted because of them
- Take responsibility for their behavior
- Feel emotionally drained after spending time with them
If you do realize that someone in your life is toxic, it might be time to move away from them emotionally. Don’t try to control or change their personality. Things will only get worse. Empathize with them, and be honest, but don’t waste your time trying to change them. Find space in your heart to forgive toxic people and move away.
Have a conversation with them, mention their toxic behavior, and end the relationship. That includes toxic family members as well. Now that you know the signs, you can easily avoid engaging with toxic people that might appear in your life.