Toxic people are like a cloud on a sunny day. Sometimes they can be more like a rainstorm 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 behaviour to avoid being hurt, then the 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 hard on your brain.
You’re the product of the five people you spend the most time.
Being able to spot the harmful behaviour is the first step to minimizing their impact. You can’t change it or them, but you can change what you do about the situation.
There are plenty of things toxic people do to manipulate people and situations to their advantage. Here are 12 of them. Knowing these red flags will help you to avoid falling under their influence:
Traits Of Toxic People:
- 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, behaviour or the negative impact of their actions.
- 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 don’t show any real sense of empathy.
- They’ll leave a conversation unfinished – and then they’ll go offline or do the silent treatment. This behaviour 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 to deflect the topic. Toxic people 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. Also, everything wrong that happened to them is worse than anything you have experienced.
- 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 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 recognized the behaviour and detach yourself.
If you don’t get away from these toxic people, you are setting yourself up for crazy making and even trauma from the relationship.
Thanks to the following people for help with this article.
Dr. Travis Bradberry | LinkedIn