The 9 signs to identify and neutralize a toxic person
In other articles we have dealt with the reality of toxic people, those individuals who, although they usually do not have bad intentions, manage to get the worst version of those around them .
What characterizes toxic people?
As a psychologist, I am not a big fan of labeling people, especially when those labels are negative. In fact, it seems that the concept of “toxic person” has appeared in certain types of literature as a way of cataloguing the personality of certain individuals, and it is rarely explained that character and habits can be changed.
Therefore, a person can cause discomfort to those around him under certain circumstances, but one should never fall into the error of thinking that toxic people cannot change . Everyone can change, absolutely everyone. Someone may even consider you to be a toxic person, so we have to relativize this label and give it a new meaning, one that helps us escape from situations that make us suffer, but not as a way of despising or stigmatizing someone.
Toxic personality: sometimes it pays to walk away
Who hasn’t had a cynical boss, an obnoxious co-worker or a brother-in-law who keeps telling us what to do? Dealing with toxic people may be unavoidable in certain contexts . But what we can control is the way we deal with their behaviour.
If we don’t act with the proper precautions, negative people can influence us and make us feel bad . In addition, we may accumulate tension and stress from having to live with them. These are more than enough reasons to try to get rid of this psychological burden.
Here are nine signs that should alert you that a toxic person is consuming you. The time has come to put black on white, because nobody has the right to make you feel bad .
1. You talk a lot about the toxic person
If you notice that you are continuously complaining to your colleagues about how manipulative your office manager is or lamenting to your partner how bad your mother-in-law makes you feel at family meetings, you should know that this attitude will exhaust you mentally, and of course it will not help to improve the situation .
Talking about the toxic person over and over again only lowers your self-esteem and makes them more important than they really are. You won’t be able to solve anything by talking about it, and you may start to be annoying to those who have to listen to your constant moaning.
2. Makes you lose your temper
If your daily life is being affected by a manipulative expert or by people who criticize you behind your back, you should know that toxic individuals can affect your emotional balance . You should be careful, because it is easy for them to cause you frustration and even anger. If this happens, it is time to take action and solve the problem.
3. Your self-esteem suffers
Toxic people are often rude, ill-mannered and can be very offensive and annoying. Sometimes their degrading treatment of you can make you feel bad, but remember that your value as a person should never be subordinated to the opinions (let alone the insults and vexations) of someone other than yourself.
4. You blame them for your behavior or attitude
If a toxic person manages to get you through their hoop and manipulate you, you may constantly blame that person for the decisions you make and for everything bad that happens to you . If you think that the toxic person is to blame for everything, reconsider the situation. You may only be blaming him or her to avoid responsibility. It’s your life, and if someone has that much power over you, it’s best to try to walk away and start accepting the responsibility for your own destiny.
5. You fear having the toxic person nearby
If you are horrified to think that you must spend time with that person, there is no doubt that, at least for you, that individual is toxic and has the ability to create a strong sense of unease . If you just anticipate meeting that toxic partner in a meeting and start having negative feelings, it is a clear sign that something has to change in your life.
6. You stoop to their level
When someone constantly pushes your buttons, you may be tempted to get into the rag and start confronting him . This will cause you to start having reactive attitudes and behaviours that are probably not in line with your personal values. Falling into the game of the toxic person may be inevitable if it takes you to an extreme, but it is not the way to resolve the situation. In fact, you will probably only make things worse and despair more.
7. Prevents you from being relaxed and comfortable
When we are besieged by people who manipulate us or use twisted strategies to de-motivate us, there may come a point when we feel in a state of constant tension and worry. And when we are restless, it is easier for things to go wrong . If you don’t manage to keep a cool head and put the situation into perspective, the toxic person will eat away at you. That is why it is important that you are able to distance yourself emotionally from the source of the toxicity.
8. Reactions with dysfunctional coping mechanisms
When we live in a permanent state of tension, we can react in a negative way. For example, to ease the uneasiness we feel, we may allow ourselves some unhealthy “treats” such as having a drink of alcohol once in a while or eating more than we should. This is an unhealthy way of tackling the feeling of anxiety, and leads you into a vicious circle from which it will be very difficult to get out .
9. Your partner is also affected emotionally
The toxic person may be something like an authority figure (a boss, a teacher, your father or mother…) that you cannot question. If it happens that you are humiliated and your level of emotional burnout increases, you may make the mistake of shifting your focus of discomfort to our partner, children or family members . Bad moods are contagious, and if you let the toxic person contaminate you it is possible that you will become toxic to our closest you and make people suffer who are not to blame.
Manage the presence of toxic people in your life
If toxic people are bringing out the worst version of you, you are going to need to consider some kind of change in your life .
This can happen by a simple change of mentality: not to get into the rag of their manipulative games or to ignore their presence, for example. In other cases, the best decision may be to get away from this focus of negativity and bad moods before they seriously affect you.