Toxic People: Watch Out For These Signature Traits.

Toxic people are like a cloud on a sunny day. Sometimes they can be more like a rain storm drenching our lives.

Like magnets to metal, “difficult’ or “dysfunctional”  people tend to be drawn to the caring and reasonable ones. Then they end up managing to twist you into knots with their ever so subtle crazy making.  Usually, the victim tries everything to please and measure up to the impossible standards placed upon them. However, no matter what they do they will never succeed.

The toxic person can have you questioning your ‘over-reactiveness’, your ‘oversensitivity’, your ‘tendency to misinterpret’.  If you’re the one who’s continually hurt or the one who is constantly adjusting your own behaviour to avoid being hurt, then chances are that it’s not you and it’s very much them. The entire relationship becomes a stressor.

Studies have long shown that stress can have a lasting, negative impact on the brain. Exposure to even a few days of stress compromises the effectiveness of neurones in the hippocampus, an important brain area responsible for reasoning and memory. Weeks of stress cause reversible damage to brain cells and months of stress can permanently destroy them. Toxic people don’t just make you miserable—they’re really hard on your brain.

You’re the product of the five people you spend the most time.

Being able to spot their harmful behaviour is the first step to minimising their impact. You can’t change them, but you can change what you do.

There are plenty of things toxic people do to manipulate people and situations to their advantage. Here are 12 of them. Knowing them will help you to avoid falling under their influence:

  • They’ll keep you guessing about which version of them you’re getting. 
  • They’ll manipulate you, your behaviour and even your thinking anyway that they can.  
  • They won’t own their feelings. Also, they often won’t own their behaviour or the negative impact of their behaviour.  
  • They will cause you to always feel as if you have to prove yourself to them. Plus you’ll always feel that you never measure up.  
  • Their apologies are always hollow empty words devoid of real feeling. They just don’t show any real sense of empathy. 
  • They’ll leave a conversation unfinished – and then they’ll go offline. This is a typical control technique as well as avoidant. 
  • They’ll use non-toxic words with a toxic tone. They twist words and meanings around to mean different things. 
  • They’ll bring irrelevant detail into a conversation and deflect the topic. They are master avoiders, especially if a subject is uncomfortable.
  • They’ll make it about the way you’re talking, rather than what you’re talking about.  
  • They exaggerate. Everything good that ever happened to then is super amazing compared to normal circumstances. 
  • They are judgemental. Primarily about everything that you do, although in very subtle ways at times.
  • They are very self-absorbed to the point where they are unaware of other people and their feelings.
  • They play the victim. Nothing is ever their fault, horrible things and especially people happen to them. (ex-spouses etc)
  • They are blamers and project their own faults onto other people. They will accuse you of doing negative things that they do themselves.

Bottom line with these types of people is that as soon as you even suspect one of the above traits, stop, turn and walk away. You can’t change them, don’t try. Just be thankful you recognised the behaviour and detach yourself.

Hey Sigmund – Karen Young

Dr Travis Bradberry | LinkedIn