People are different and exhibit distinct characteristics at varying degrees.
Arguably, it is strictly individualistic how a toxic person (or any person) could potentially behave themselves.
It could be a matter of circumstance, environment, or the person they are in contact with (meaning you, reading this).
However, most toxic people potentially do display qualities that are essentially common among them. This does not mean they should tick all the boxes on the list, nevertheless, the behavioral patterns of such a person are more likely than not navigated by the general traits addressed below.
So, without further a due, here are the 6 key characteristics toxic people have in common.
It is quite typical to expect that a large amount of criticism may come your way when dealing with such a personality. Sometimes superficial, and sometimes not, the toxic person often finds an excuse or a way to express criticism of you, your actions or even the words you use or have used in the past. How they have behaved, treated a certain situation, or made you feel is almost never a point of discussion. The important notion you would have to take home is that you are the one carrying the heavy blame for almost anything due to your weaknesses and enormous mistakes. That is to put it simply, of course.
Furthermore, it is safe to say that judgementalism comes indeed hand in hand with the masterful art of manipulation. Even if it is on a smaller or larger scale, deceit is almost always part of the at times even violent dance you have going on with that person. Moreover, the underrated mastery of blame-shifting is also a much-needed ingredient for assuring the situation in which you find yourself talking to a wall and fully believing it is saying the truth (at least for an unspecified amount of time).
3. Emotional blackmail
Very interconnected with the previous two points mentioned, emotional blackmail is, so to speak, the crown jewel. What’s more, it is the finishing touch to partially or fully (dependant on the situation) blindsiding you with a good dosage of guilt. Yes, guilt-tripping is one of those exercises you would find yourself often participating in, as it is somewhat of a necessity for a toxic relationship or friendship. However, how severe or out of hand this blackmail might become is highly subjective to the ‘toxic’ person, yourself and the current situation you might be in.
So, judge carefully and most importantly do not be afraid to make an important decision for yourself when you would feel the need to.
Sometimes the passive-aggressiveness is difficult to spot due to the previously mentioned deceit which comes into play. Everything from a condescending tone to well-crafted, hidden doubt of your character and/or abilities, even insults at times, is possible. The playground is definitely big and filled with opportunities with this one. I did say it was a complex issue to notice at first, because of its effectiveness in disguising itself as ‘nothing of the sort‘. It is unclear how many times one could be made to doubt his/her own comprehension of common sense and, therefore, suffer the consequences (which, of course, vary).
5. Project their feelings onto you
First of all, ‘toxic’ people take little to no responsibility for their own feelings.
Unfortunately, they would much rather project them onto you. It is a defense and coping mechanism at the same time. Even if you do make the effort to explain this to them, they would most probably not listen. Instead, a massive justification of their perspective will commence while yours will be (highly likely) left to the side. They possess the tendency to prevent being held accountable due to their strong belief of never being at fault. Consequently, more often than not they try to gain sympathy by claiming “victim” status.
6. Make you have to ‘prove yourself’ to them
For various reasons, toxic people will have you ‘prove’ yourself to them. What this means is you will most likely have to demonstrate your ‘noble’ self and intentions by having to choose them over something or someone. “Divide and conquer” is the principle guiding this process, as you would most likely have to choose them over other ‘meaningful’ aspects or people in your life.
In a situation, however, in which you might wish to rationally explain how this behavior may be problematic, you can be certain they will retaliate. How? By shifting the focus of the discussion to how you are handling the issue- your tone, your words, etc. They usually have the inclination to put an emphasis on problems, not solutions.
To sum up, the qualities mentioned above would most likely be displayed by a “toxic” person you may be/have been involved with.
It is important to emphasize once again that not all must be present and that there are varying degrees to the expression of each trait. However, it is of significance to be familiar with those characteristics and have the ability to differentiate between the various types of behavioral patterns.