There are a lot of toxic people in the world, and some do more damage than others.
We have all encountered a toxic person in our lives. Their damage lies in their subtlety, and they usually have you whole-heartedly believing “I’m the problem, not them.”
They might be a family member, co-worker, or friend, and can have you questioning your ‘over-reactiveness’, and your ‘oversensitivity.’
This self-doubt and constant questioning of reality can have a damaging impact on your mental well-being.
Associate professor at Georgetown University, Christine Porath, says “Just being around toxic behavior, to say nothing of being its target, makes people sick.”
“Chronic stress is linked to cardiovascular disease, insomnia, depressed immunity, and overeating. Toxic people not only harm others emotionally, they’re a threat to health. And when toxic behavior takes hold in an environment, it turns everyone cynical.”
From mockery to the manipulation known as gaslighting, toxic behaviour can cause real damage. Here’s how to spot it:
1. They have an excuse for everything.
It’s never their fault, and they have no concept of the word “accountability.” If they chose to stay home from work several days in a row and end up getting fired, it’s not because they were lazy and irresponsible- it’s because their boss was a jerk.
2. They talk over you.
Oh did you have an interesting point to make? Were you going to share your thoughts on the conversation at hand? Save your breath. The toxic person will maybe let you get a few words in before they interrupt and swing the spotlight back on themselves.
3. They need attention 24/7.
Speaking of spotlights, that is where toxic people thrive. They put on a show for everyone to see, and who knows what mask you’ll get this time. Try and ignore them, and they increase their volume, bring more drama, and throw emotional tantrums till they feel validated once more.
4. They are pathological liars.
Toxic people are notorious for shifting blame and lying on the spot. You could literally watch them trip and break a lamp and they will tell you straight to your face it was already broken. They have no remorse, no shame, and can not be trusted.
5. They lack empathy.
A normal, functioning, human being has empathy- it is a characteristic of a healthy personality. Toxic people have no empathy, and they do not understand the concept of “feeling” something someone else is going through. This relates to their selfishness and ego. It’s all about them.
6. Ego issues.
They think the world of themselves. Wearing a crown, high atop a pedestal above everyone else, the toxic person thinks they are the best thing in the world. No one can be smarter, more attractive, better at what they do, and of course they know everything.
7. They are abusive.
I would say this goes beyond toxic and falls straight into the category of ‘evil.’ If someone is emotionally or physically abusive, get the hell out of there. There is no hope for saving them, and you can’t save yourself until you remove that person from your life.
8. They never left high-school.
Remember the drama and cliques? The “he-said-she-said” gossip mills? The childish pranks and immature ways of handling situations? That’s where the toxic person stayed. They never left. Their entire life is built around that time most adults would rather leave behind. Says something, doesn’t it?
9. They are rude.
Toxic people say hurtful things and then play it off as a joke. When you let them know it was a bit offensive, they tell you that you are overreacting and too sensitive. They are passive-aggressive, and sarcastic when you need them to be genuine and honest.
Knowing these favourite behaviours of toxic people will sharpen your radar, and make the manipulations easier to spot. When you do notice these red flags, pay attention and look for repetitive behaviours. We all have bad days, but if this person keeps doing the same things over and over again, it is a good indication that they should be removed from your life.
Not everyone you meet will be a good person, and that has nothing to do with you. Be confident in yourself and who you are as a person, fully own your faults, your weirdness, and the things that make you who you really are. You do not need the approval of anyone but yourself. However, if someone is trying hard to manipulate, it’s because probably because they need yours.