Avoiding toxic people and situations is a key component of self care.
But how do you do it? What if the toxic friends are people you have a close relationship with?
In this guest post by Trishna, she discusses some toxic relationship signs, and other toxic traits you need to avoid.
It is super important to learn coping mechanisms if you find yourself in this difficult situation, and possibly even cut these people out.
Do any of them resonate with you? Let us know in the comments!
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Also, I am not a doctor or mental health professional. Just someone who has lived with anxiety for many years who is passionate about sharing her experiences and tips for success. If you are in crisis call your doctor, then click here for some good mental health resources.
Don’t react to toxic people. Not giving them a reaction when they seek it is far more powerful.
Surviving other people’s moodiness can be quite a challenge to deal with perpetually. We must always remember that some moody and negative people may be going through a difficult stage in their lives. They may be ill or chronically worried, or lacking what they need in terms of love and even emotional support.
Such people need to be listened to, supported, and cared for in order for them to attain a certain level of balance in terms of emotions. However, whatever maybe the cause of their moodiness and negativity, you may still need to protect yourself from their behaviour at times.
There is another type of moody, corrosive, and negative behaviour that is of the toxic bully, who will use his or her mood swings to intimidate, sabotage and manipulate you completely. It is this aspect of moodiness that inflicts immense amounts of abuse and is followed by misery.
What is a toxic person?
It is not that the person in totality is toxic. Rather, their behaviour is toxic in general or your relationship with the person could be toxic.
More often than not, the person is deeply wounded. They are not yet able to take responsibility for their wounds, their emotions, their needs, and the subsequent problems that occur in life. They tend to over identify and begin to act out parts of which they think they are, such as the victim, bully, perfectionist or even martyr. They act with these parts trying to get their needs met and coexist in an extremely unhealthy way.
It is common for people with toxic behaviour to create drama in their lives or be surrounded by it, and try to manipulate or control others.
7 types of toxic people
Have you ever been talking to someone who keeps interrupting you? Conversational Narcissists LOVE to talk about themselves all the time. They don’t ask you any questions, they don’t wait for your responses, and they just won’t shut up at all.
In a relationship, these people will end up being completely self-centered, and will never be attentive to your needs or anyone else’s needs for that matter.
Control Freak Show
Control Freak Show is someone who wants to control everything and everyone around them. They want to be in charge of what you do, what you say, and even what you think for that matter.
In a relationship, this person will give you no breathing room and will constantly nag you until you are in complete alignment with them. Get out of this relationship while you can!
Emotional Sucker is also known as a “spiritual vampire,” because they tend to suck the positivity out of you or bleed you emotionally dry.
In conversations and relationships, they can never see the positive, and tend to bring everyone down with them. If you are with someone and they only have bad things to say whenever you see them, watch out. It might never ever get better with them.
Super Drama Magnets
Some toxic people are magnets for never ending drama. Something is always wrong. And of course, once a problem is solved, another one emerges for them. And they only want your empathy, sympathy, and support–but not your advice!
In a relationship, drama magnets are always victims and tend to thrive in a crisis, because it makes them feel important. If someone is a beacon for adversity, be cautious, you might become a part of the drama soon.
Jealous Judgmental Kind
Jealous Judgmental Kind is incredibly toxic because they have so much self-hate that they can’t be happy for anyone around them. Mostly, their jealousy comes out as judgment, criticism, or gossip.
According to them, everyone else is just awful or lacking in some way. If someone starts to gossip out of jealously about other people, watch out, this might be a toxic person—and you never really know what they say about you behind your back.
Liars, fibbers, exaggerators… it’s exhausting to have a super toxic deceiver in your life. Whether they tell little falsehoods or major lies, it’s impossible to trust a liar in a relationship.
Dishonesty drains us because we constantly doubt their words. If your intuition is ringing alarm bells, then watch out. Get out before you’re lied to perpetually.
Human Toxic Tank
A Human Toxic Tank is always right, doesn’t take anyone else’s feelings or ideas into account, constantly puts themselves first.
In a relationship, tanks are incredibly arrogant and see their personal opinions as thorough facts. This is because they often think they are the smartest person in the room, so they see every conversation and every person as a challenge that must be won over.
If you feel all your ideas are being run over, or you are not being respected, get out as soon as you possibly can!
All these seven categories of people are usually unwilling to seek help from their loved ones, a therapist, or even a recovery program.
What do we do when we encounter these toxic traits?
What also feels toxic to you has to do with your reaction to the interaction as well. Your reactions might include feeling betrayed, over-reacting, withdrawn, numbing yourself, or being overly accommodating.
This often happens when healthy boundaries are crossed and we let go of our values.
Both people play a role in toxic interactions. So it’s important to consider and reflect your personal role as well.
Signs you are dealing with a toxic person
A hallmark of a toxic interaction is that both people have created a conscious or unconscious story with judgment, fear, or blame about the other person- and then the boundaries were crossed.
Do you tend to feel any of the following when interacting with certain people?
- You have to save this person perpetually and try to fix their problems
- You are covering up facts or hiding it for them
- Seeing them is unpleasant
- You feel drained out after being with them
- You get very aggressive, sad or worried when you are around them
- They cause you to gossip a lot or to be mean or manipulative
- You feel you always have to impress them
- You are severely affected by their drama or problems
- They ignore your needs completely and don’t hear a ‘no’ at all
Toxic people defy logic as much as they can. Some are unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them. Others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons to the hilt. Either way, they create unnecessary complexity, conflict, and worst of all, stress.
Stress is a formidable threat to your success—when stress gets out of control, your brain and your performance will automatically suffer.
How to ditch toxic friends
Dealing with toxic relationships can feel very hopeless at times. But there are ways to handle them better, even if simply cutting those people completely out of your life isn’t an option.
- Learn to distinguish true guilt from fake guilt. If you want to resist any form of emotional manipulation, validate your sadness and express your pity for others—just don’t call it guilt.
- “Hope for the best but expecting the worst” gives an illusion of control and offers a temporary emotional relief. But ultimately, they just make us more miserable.
- Know the difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness. To manage toxic people effectively, you must be able to set boundaries to the core. The only way to set effective boundaries is to know how to be assertive and not aggressive.
The surest way to shield you from toxic behaviour is to severely limit or cut off entirely contact with people who regularly expel it. However, that is hardly ever possible or practical. It is better to arm yourself with a few basic skills. They all fall well in the zone of self-management.
Control your exposure
The single most important thing you can do is minimize contact as much as possible. This has to be practiced in every aspect of your life. It is the absolute essential mantra for well being!
Manage your reactivity
Here’s where you have the most leverage, so set up firm boundaries. Assertively say no to demands that feel completely unreasonable—without justifying yourself. You will also gain a better sense of who you are in relation to the world.
Don’t explain at all
Avoid even trying to explain yourself; by definition a toxic person is one who refuses to hear your perspective. Any attempts will only frustrate you further. Offer no explanation whatsoever, no matter how much ranting and raving the other does.
If you aren’t sure about how this toxic friend is making you feel, download this free Daily Feelings Worksheet, and let it guide you to better understanding.
Spot those with a toxic potential and avoid them before there are any outbursts. Recognize the personality traits that feed on toxicity to the core. Avoid such people by immunising yourself way before the conflict even seeps in.
Life is too short
You deserve to have wonderful, supportive and loving people in your life. In fact, life is too short to spend time with people who don’t help you be in your best form or your best version of yourself.
Don’t let toxic people rent space in your head.
Raise the rent and get them out of there.
About the Author
Trishna Patnaik, a BSC (in Life Sciences) and MBA (in Marketing) by qualification but an artist by choice. A self-taught artist based in Mumbai, Trishna has been practising art for over 14 years now. After she had a professional stint in various reputable corporations, she realised that she wanted to do something more meaningful. She found her true calling in her passion, that is painting.
Trishna is now a full-time professional painter pursuing her passion to create and explore to the fullest. She says, “It’s a road less traveled but a journey that I look forward to everyday.” Trishna also conducts painting workshops across Mumbai and other metropolitan cities of India. Trishna is an art therapist and healer too. She works with clients on a one on one basis in Mumbai.
Trishna does fancy the art of creative writing and is dappling her hands in that too. She loves to soak in the experience and have an engagement with readers, wanderers, and thinkers.
Thank you so much, Trishna, for sharing this with us! It’s such a helpful look into how these negative relationships can affect us.