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Toxic People: 12 Things They Do and How to Deal with Them

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The 12 Things Toxic People Do and How to Deal With Them

We have all had toxic people dust us with their poison. Sometimes it’s more like a drenching. Difficult people are drawn to the reasonable ones and all of us have likely had (or have) at least one person in our lives who have us bending around ourselves like barbed wire in endless attempts to please them – only to never really get there.

Their damage lies in their subtlety and the way they can engender that classic response, ‘It’s not them, it’s me.’ They 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.

Being able to spot their harmful behaviour is the first step to minimising their impact. You might not be able to change what they do, but you can change what you do with it, and any idea that toxic somebody in your life might have that they can get away with it.

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 the influence:

  1. They’ll keep you guessing about which version of them you’re getting.

    They’ll be completely lovely one day and the next you’ll be wondering what you’ve done to upset them. There often isn’t anything obvious that will explain the change of attitude – you just know something isn’t right. They might be prickly, sad, cold or cranky and when you ask if there’s something wrong, the answer will likely be ‘nothing’ – but they’ll give you just enough  to let you know that there’s something. The ‘just enough’ might be a heaving sigh, a raised eyebrow, a cold shoulder. When this happens, you might find yourself making excuses for them or doing everything you can to make them happy. See why it works for them?

    Stop trying to please them. Toxic people figured out a long time ago that decent people will go to extraordinary lengths to keep the people they care about happy. If your attempts to please aren’t working or aren’t lasting for very long, maybe it’s time to stop. Walk away and come back when the mood has shifted. You are not responsible for anybody else’s feelings. If you have done something unknowingly to hurt somebody, ask, talk about it and if need be, apologise. At any rate, you shouldn’t have to guess.

  1. They’ll manipulate.

    If you feel as though you’re the only one contributing to the relationship, you’re probably right. Toxic people have a way of sending out the vibe that you owe them something. They also have a way of taking from you or doing something that hurts you, then maintaining they were doing it all for you. This is particularly common in workplaces or relationships where the balance of power is out. ‘I’ve left that six months’ worth of filing for you. I thought you’d appreciate the experience and the opportunity to learn your way around the filing cabinets.’ Or, ‘I’m having a dinner party. Why don’t you bring dinner. For 10. It’ll give you a chance to show off those kitchen skills. K?’

    You don’t owe anybody anything. If it doesn’t feel like a favour, it’s not. 

  1. They won’t own their feelings.

    Rather than owning their own feelings, they’ll act as though the feelings are yours. It’s called projection, as in projecting their feelings and thoughts onto you. For example, someone who is angry but won’t take responsibility for it might accuse you of being angry with them. It might be as subtle as, ‘Are you okay with me?’ or a bit more pointed, ‘Why are you angry at me,’ or, ‘You’ve been in a bad mood all day.’

    You’ll find yourself justifying and defending and often this will go around in circles – because it’s not about you. Be really clear on what’s yours and what’s theirs. If you feel as though you’re defending yourself too many times against accusations or questions that don’t fit, you might be being projected on to. You don’t have to explain, justify or defend yourself or deal with a misfired accusation. Remember that.

  1. They’ll make you prove yourself to them.

    They’ll regularly put you in a position where you have to choose between them and something else – and you’ll always feel obliged to choose them. Toxic people will wait until you have a commitment, then they’ll unfold the drama.  ‘If you really cared about me you’d skip your exercise class and spend time with me.’  The problem with this is that enough will never be enough. Few things are fatal – unless it’s life or death, chances are it can wait.

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  2. They never apologise. 

    They’ll lie before they ever apologise, so there’s no point arguing. They’ll twist the story, change the way it happened and retell it so convincingly that they’ll believe their own nonsense.

    People don’t have to apologise to be wrong. And you don’t need an apology to move forward. Just move forward – without them. Don’t surrender your truth but don’t keep the argument going. There’s just no point. Some people want to be right more than they want to be happy and you have better things to do than to provide fodder for the right-fighters.

  1. They’ll be there in a crisis but they’ll never ever share your joy.

    They’ll find reasons your good news isn’t great news. The classics: About a promotion – ‘The money isn’t that great for the amount of work you’ll be doing.’ About a holiday at the beach – ‘Well it’s going to be very hot. Are you sure you want to go?’ About being made Queen of the Universe – ‘Well the Universe isn’t that big you know and I’m pretty sure you won’t get tea breaks.’ Get the idea? Don’t let them dampen you or shrink you down to their size. You don’t need their approval anyway – or anyone else’s for that matter.

  2. They’ll leave a conversation unfinished – and then they’ll go offline.

    They won’t pick up their phone. They won’t answer texts or emails. And in between rounds of their voicemail message, you might find yourself playing the conversation or argument over and over in your head, guessing about the status of the relationship, wondering what you’ve done to upset them, or whether they’re dead, alive or just ignoring you – which can sometimes all feel the same. People who care about you won’t let you go on feeling rubbish without attempting to sort it out. That doesn’t mean you’ll sort it out of course, but at least they’ll try. Take it as a sign of their investment in the relationship if they leave you ‘out there’ for lengthy sessions.

  3. They’ll use non-toxic words with a toxic tone.

    The message might be innocent enough but the tone conveys so much more. Something like, ‘What did you do today?’ can mean different things depending on the way it’s said. It could mean anything from ‘So I bet you did nothing – as usual,’ to ‘I’m sure your day was better than mine. Mine was awful. Just awful. And you didn’t even notice enough to ask.’ When you question the tone, they’ll come back with, ‘All I said was what did you do today,’ which is true, kind of, not really.

  4. They’ll bring irrelevant detail into a conversation.

    When you’re trying to resolve something important to you, toxic people will bring in irrelevant detail from five arguments ago. The problem with this is that before you know it, you’re arguing about something you did six months ago, still defending yourself, rather than dealing with the issue at hand. Somehow, it just always seems to end up about what you’ve done to them. 

  5. They’ll make it about the way you’re talking, rather than what you’re talking about.

    You might be trying to resolve an issue or get clarification and before you know it, the conversation/ argument has moved away from the issue that was important to you and on to the manner in which you talked about it – whether there is any issue with your manner or not. You’ll find yourself defending your tone, your gestures, your choice of words or the way you belly moves when you breathe – it doesn’t even need to make sense. Meanwhile, your initial need is well gone on the pile of unfinished conversations that seems to grow bigger by the day.

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  6. They exaggerate.

    ‘You always …’ ‘You never …’ It’s hard to defend yourself against this form of manipulation. Toxic people have a way of drawing on the one time you didn’t or the one time you did as evidence of your shortcomings. Don’t buy into the argument. You won’t win. And you don’t need to.

  7. They are judgemental.

    We all get it wrong sometimes but toxic people will make sure you know it. They’ll judge you and take a swipe at your self-esteem suggesting that you’re less than because you made a mistake. We’re all allowed to get it wrong now and then, but unless we’ve done something that affects them nobody has the right to stand in judgement.

Knowing the favourite go-to’s for toxic people will sharpen your radar, making the manipulations easier to spot and easier to name. More importantly, if you know the characteristic signs of a toxic person, you’ll have a better chance of catching yourself before you tie yourself in double knots trying to please them.

Some people can’t be pleased and some people won’t be good for you – and many times that will have nothing to do with you. You can always say no to unnecessary crazy. Be confident and own your own faults, your quirks and the things that make you shine. You don’t need anyone’s approval but remember if someone is working hard to manipulate, it’s because probably because they need yours. You don’t always have to give it but if you do, don’t let the cost be too high. 

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858 Comments

Robert

The toxic will quickly sniff out a genuine and sensitive soul and set about exploiting that perceived weakness. This once empathetic soul has lost all faith in human nature and now behaves like a cornered viper.

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Pam

and I agree as well, it’s like they are laying in wait, and if you get to feeling too good, you get zapped again. It brainwashes us to think that feeling good isn’t possible and we don’t deserve to feel that way even if it was. Watching now, and realizing what has been going on all these years, I am able to stand back a bit and really look at the patterns and what creates them. Happiness, feeling good, those are the things that are targeted the most. I think it will help all of us if we can learn the patterns and be ready for them. Then we can prepare for what is to come and choose not to allow it. It’s such a sneaky and ugly way to treat a person, but guess what? We are nearly as guilty as they are because we allow it, we give them permisson in a way to do as they will. We will still be there when the dust settles, there are no repercussions for what they do, and it works for them. But we all know that it isn’t because they are smarter than us, it’s because we are nicer than they are. I can only speak for myself here, but it has helped me immensely knowing that we are not alone in this, there are others going through the exact same thing and we can HELP each other.
When this stuff first starts up, we are completely unaware of what is going on and we fall into easily, almost helping them because we love them. We can’t hurt retaliate because we aren’t put together that way, and I know everytime I am criticized by him my back goes up and I start trying to defend myself, to prove that he is wrong and then later after things have calmed down I don’t so much remember what he says, but I feel rotten for how angry I got. I end up apologizing and feeling like maybe all those things are true, maybe I just don’t see it. We help them turn it all upside down until we start to believe that maybe we caused it all. So, they walk away almost laughing at us. They see us with disdain, we are just so easy.
I don’t know about you all, but I’m going to study this, I’m going to discover his patterns and I’m going to call on everything in me to STOP ALLOWING IT. We can do that, I know we can. And we don’t have to sink to that level to do it.
And although I know it won’t be easy, we can be prepared for them, and when it happens which it always does, we can stand up and take back our permission. It is something we gave them, we can certainly take it back. We can do that by refusing to engage with their accusations…we can do it with silence and gentleness, and put the ball back in their court for a change. I’m sure if we put our heads together we can help each other figure this out.
One thing we need to be aware of though, once they know we can’t be bullied anymore and their insults fall on deaf ears, they will be even more determined to cause hurt. It will get worse before it ever gets better, and more than likely, if we follow through, they will not need us anymore. They will be done with us…that’s where I am right now, and I believe a lot of you are there too. We found them out and we have in our how simple way said , NO MORE. I don’t want to hurt anymore and I know deep down inside of me that I don’t deserve this torture, and this pain. I am a good person, and I’m not going to let anyone try to change that in me, I like who I am, warts and all. I hope he does go, he is holding on so hard and is trying everything in the book to get to me. Sometimes he succeeds, but sometimes he doesn’t, and each time he doesn’t is a small victory for me. I’m learning and I know once I get through to the other side, I will have something good to offer this world even if it is just a happy smile on my face. So, lets work on this together, lets finally take our lives back, let’s be healthy and happy and start to find things to look forward to again. It’s a choice we can make, and for me, it’s time. I want to live happily ever after, and I will. Love to you all.

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Rhonda

Absolutely the right mindset. Don’t flatter filth, Throw It Away. Stop questioning the truth when it comes to you! Because it is for your protection! You are a human being too– that “equally” deserves Equitable Distribution! PS. Some people are piranhas, it is there nature to suck the life out of You! Swim to Higher Ground and live against the current.

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Aja

My current situation, it’s driving me crazy.. everything I read describes the person I’m involved with

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Sam

I have just come out of one of these toxic relationships after almost a decade. I met this man a vivacious happy content grounded woman who her kids adored and felt close to. They were 8 at the time. Everything you mention he did and it destroyed me bit by bit to the point of having to have counselling and anti depressants. I have tried to leave since our son was born 7 years ago and couldn’t. I’m not a weak person at all but found that I literally couldn’t as I was pulled back in again and again. I started to rely on alcohol
more and more, I lost lots of my friends and my family distanced themselves from me. My eldest kids started to dislike who I was and hated this man. Our youngest child blamed me for the rows and has emotional issues as I have been so detatched. In short this man has absolutely ruined my life – until now. Now I am as free as I can be and I can build my life, my family and my soul one day at a time. I pray that everyone trusts their gut instincts when it comes to these kinds of people and walk away. I wish to god I did ten years ago. Xx

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Chris

This is so me and my situation with my soon to be ex-wife. When I finally got strong enough and healthy enough to have boundaries and her manipulation didn’t work, she decided to go. Thanks for sharing!

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Angela

I’m glad you see. I knew this was happening to me by my boyfriend, but I didn’t know there was a term for.it. I was thinking borderline personality disorder. 3 years on and off relationship which failed “all because of me” I wish I could post the messages he’s sent me over the last month. I hadn’t heard from him for 5 months and bam, wanted to see me. Well you know what? I didn’t see him and after today, I hope I never see him. It’s this article textbook. Been so depressed for getting an abortion. Hard guilt on my conscious. Now I’m glad. He would have been a NIGHMARE to share a child with

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Shellie

I feel so bad for you that you’re so nice and would fall prey to this person for so
long. Please be strong and love yourself; I know you will. Sometimes these people are very unhappy and they are taking it out on you, or they are bored, lost or troubled. If it is a true loved-one- like a family member- try to show them tough love but keep the door open for when they change, grow and learn. It does happen even though the article says it doesn’t.

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Alyssia

Pam- That was such a heartbreaking, uplifting, encouraging, and depressing message you rolled in to one beautifully accurate comment. I have never left a comment on anything before in my life but I felt I had to today. Although it made me cry, you’re words have really moved me and I wanted to thank you.

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Lena

I can relate to that, S.! I went thru same with mine.. Plus, my bro.&sis-in law.. I mean, really all of them are this way.. And it was so so bad..
However, I made it & didnt “drown” only b/c I put my life in the hands of God.. He saved me, indeed!..

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Jess

What did you do exactly to combat their toxicity? As of right now my Bro and Sis-in-law sip the same toxic kool aide my mom sips all living in my house. And me unfortunately being a nice person have allowed it especially from my mom because of the whole honor your mother and father thing. But my mom exhibits all these toxic qualities and Mu Bro and sis-in-law not only condone it but are also likeminded!

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Jenny

Are you able to leave the environment? Unfortunately in these cases they will not change. You would have to find your own peace away from the toxicity. It takes therapy, alot of selfcare and putting yourself first.

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Rachael

I can really relate to that because in my own life I have suffered at the hands of the ppl in my own family & from friends who I thought really were. I’ve been hurt so much by so many that I have no trust in ppl. I do blame myself, but when you have no one to go to because no one to trust then it’s a cycle over and over again. Nobody likes to live in a shell trying to stay protected, but it’s hard to find ppl who think like you do when it comes to caring. I think that I’ve given up on trying to figure ppl out.

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Gina

Don’t let them win Robert or Rachel! That’s why they thrive with. Making sure you don’t believe or have hope! Be happy and do it for you! It will absolutely UPSET them in such a way that you will see it! It’s almost scary! 😳

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David

To Pam: I went through the same as you did with the sexes reversed. This is not a him or her thing. It’s not a lover or friend thing. It’s all of the above. What your dealing with is a person with a personality disorder. There are many that fit the bill. I found out I was co dependent and I spent my whole life thinking it meant I needed someone. Not exactly. It means you need someone to give yourself to. The man you were or are dating are the perfect matches for a co dependent at the beginning and the most toxic down the road. You are reaching to do what’s right and for help. I see your willing to take accountability and still fighting with letting him back in your life. I can tell you one thing. Your the real person in this situation. Your the right person. Better person. Be strong. Self reflect. Ask why you end up down the same road. And don’t try to help people who would rather lie all day, then be who they are. They live a sad life of pretending. They live a sad life of self image and will protect this mirage at all costs. They live a sad life so allow them to. Allow your self and good soul to be happy and remove these cowards from your life. Davidkandel80@gmail.com. Feel free to email me if you ever want to talk. Liars and Narcissists ect…. their goals are to break you down and make you feel bad about yourself. They do this instead of self reflecting. They are the cowards and the brave who try to “fix” them, pay the price. Trying once in this extreme is bravery. If you try twice it becomes stupidity.

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Ron

I agree.

At the moment I’m in a toxic relationship. I knew from the first time we met, things just didn’t feel right. We met through an online dating service. While chatting, things seemed good and after a short while we arranged to meet.

Because we lived 2 hours away from each other, I suggested she stay over night. I had a spare room and she agreed and we met.

From the beginning I felt queasy. I couldn’t understand this, but something just didn’t feel right within me.

That first night we actually had a disagreement about sex. She wanted sex and I was not ready. She grew upset and attacked me verbally stating I led her to believe we were going to sleep together that evening. I apologised and tried to explain my feelings, but she remained upset so I asked her to leave. Somehow, she not only stayed but we had sex. We’ve been together three years now.

As time progressed I agreed to move to her town, even though my life, my kids and career were in mine.

I agreed to stop commuting the 5hrs daily for work and seek work closer to home.

My children, whom I saw nearly every day, could only spend time with me on weekends now and they, too, had to travel far for this. My son has since refused to travel each week to see me because of the distance.

When I disagree with my partner, she immediately becomes defensive, talks over me and refuses to talk further and I’ve barely begun the conversation.

She critiques every thing about me from my past mistakes, even those I’ve made well before we met, to how I raise my kids, how I eat and how I socialise.

She blames me for everything wrong in her life, from her lack of friends, her weight and her unhappiness.

She compares me with her ex’s, criticises my past achievements, directs my movements and tries to control me.

I’m constantly on edge, constantly on guard and as a male only seek to correct the issue. I eventually bow down to her wishes only to hear her say, “why do you make me fight for things?”

She lures me in with favours and gifts only to hold them against me later. She states often that I never do anything for her and yet I do the majority of the cleaning, the cooking, I help her with her business needs, do nearly all the shopping and try my damnedest to make sure she’s happy.

She is emotionally abusive, psychologically abusive and even physically abusive on occasion. She has even told off my daughter and claimed she was rude to her only to tell me she really wasn’t.

I want to leave, but my finances will not permit it at the moment. The job I finally secured after moving here 2 years ago is only temporary and there’s nothing else at the moment. The drawbacks of living in a country town.

This is very hard on me as a man. It truly tests my mothers raising me to be a gentleman. I don’t like who I’ve become, don’t like the hole I hide in and really don’t like how I’ve become suspicious of everyone and a recluse.

I’ve read every book I can find on toxic relationships, narcissism, psychotics & sociopaths. I’ve enrolled in university to study psychology and counselling. I’ve been counselled about this and thank god my dearest childhood friend is available to me several times a day to vent.

I’ve tried talking to her family, they think I’m a loser. I’ve tried talking to her friends, she’s convinced them I’m the abuser and toxic. I suppose over time I, too, have grown toxic. I don’t know what I believe anymore.

I doubt myself constantly, have begun believing I’m the one who’s toxic and suffering from some or multiple forms of psychological issues. I’ve even considered suicide. I just don’t know what to do anymore.

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Pam

Hey Ron, Your story sounds very close to mine, and I can feel all of your hurt and confusion. I started to believe maybe he was right, maybe it was me that was so screwed up and I caused all the arguing and blaming and hurt. I think the only reason I decided I wasn’t was some of the stuff he accused me of was so ridiculous and so obviously not me, I finally started seeing him in a clearer light.
One piece of advice I might have, and believe me, I have only begun this journey of healing myself not too long ago. But the last few days have been so much easier. I started looking back in my life and trying to remember what I was like back then. I had so many dreams and ideas about life should be like, and I had a sense of adventure and loved to try new things. I felt like I could do anything almost. Mainly I knew that I wanted to be a good person and do my best to help others be happy. I smiled at people in the grocery store and made friends with senior citizens and loved kids. I had a crazy sort of life and it wasn’t always rosy and sweet, but I never thought in a million years I would end up like I have. I’ve become almost a shut in and all my friends have gone on because I just couldn’t do anything anymore. I have to force myself even to go to the grocery store for food. And I probably wouldn’t even do that if I didn’t have my cat and dog to feed. I can’t even remember the last time I went out to eat or to do anything for that matter. It’s bad enough my car has to be jumped before I can drive it sometimes because it sits there so long t he battery goes dead. I’m working on that, but like I said, the last few days I have had a change in my attitude and I honestly feel like I have come out of a deep dark, smelly and dank cave and now the sun is shining and clear and I am looking at this all in whole new way.
I realized that the person I remember is still in there, and she needs me to pull her up. And I do have choices in this life, and I choose not to wallow in that mudhole with him anymore. I am going to find my joy and my enthusiasm again, and I am choosing to live. And now when the tears come and I can’t make myself stop, I look for just one thing that i am grateful for, and then another, even if its just that I am alive today, or my dog loves me, there is always something. I didn’t bite all my fingernails off today, or the hot water heater is running well. Just anything that makes your heart a little lighter. And then I realize I have quit crying and I made that choice not to. Its like I was caught up in all the pain and I couldn’t stop thinking about it, every minute of everyday, I was miserable and sad. First thing is to take back your power, the things that make you proud of who you are. Make a conscious choice to stop what is hurting you. And find some simple little moments or objects or sounds, that you can be grateful for. It works, and it doesn’t take long to start feeling better about yourself, to want to live to see what’s going to happen tomorrow. Dying is permanent, and you need to spend your time remembering what you like about life or used to like. It’s still there, you simply have to look harder than you ever have. I know you are a good person and I know you have it in you to be happy, even if you don’t yet. And talk on here, it helped me and is helping me.

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Ron

Thank you so much for sharing yor story with me and your beautiful courage to move beyond this nastiness into a happier, more beneficial place.
I have many moments I create each day, many habits, things I enjoy and have a wonderful support system of friends and family to draw from. I have no intention of allowing my light to be smothered by this drama and I will love unconditionally because that I can choose to.
My partner deserves love and happiness but I cannot remain there forever to provide this if the issues continue. I can only hope & pray she finds the peace she deserves.
All my love to you Pam.

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Chris

Ron, Leave your toxic situation ASAP. Nothing is worth staying for. Close that door, open a new one. It’s that simple.

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Pam

Why is it that we only want to love them? When they give nothing in return? Why do we think that’s okay? And why do we feel so obligated to help them be happy? When all they do is hurt us and intentionally to boot!
We all have this love to share and we are burning daylight wasting it on someone who doesn’t even want it. I know they are Gods children just as we are and they have so many troubles but all we do by staying is tell them it’s okay to be like they are. That isn’t helping them anymore than it does us. Why is it we study all the self help books and read anything we can to make it better for them, but when we try to show them what’s up, they just nod, never open a book, they don’t want to fix anything, they are living the lives that they CHOOSE to live. So, why do we stay? Is it fear? Because fear is something we are never far away from. Is it the chance that we may always be alone? Isn’t that better than what we have? Are we so lost that even negative attention is better than noe? Or do we honestly believe that giving them all of our love, unconditionally, is going to somehow help them? They hate it when we love them. They laugh at our weakness for wanting their love so bad, they feed off of our pain, why do we stay? Would we allow these same people to destroy someone we love? IF not, then why do we allow it to happen to us? Even help them do it at times.
And I wonder what it is like to wake up in the morning and be able to just roll over and go back to sleep instead of feeling I have to get up, I have to stay ahead of what’s coming. What would just one whole day feel like that you feel peace in your heart the whole day, without wondering what’s coming next? Just feeling grateful for the sunshine and the beauty around me, would it feel as wonderful as I remember? I feel like I’ve been in some kind of jail just accepting that this is how its always going to be. Even now with a divorce coming soon, he is still here, and I know that things are going to start to get tougher, and I wonder, will I just cave this time too? Or will I finally have to be the one that moves just to escape him. Give him my home and all that I have worked for knowing that I really have nowhere else to go, nor any money to do it? Is this really what our lives are suppose to be? Each day runs into the other, the pain is always there, either way I go I feel like the biggest loser. If I stay it will mean a lot more fear and pain, because he won’t leave without a fight. What it will be this time, who knows? He is not the person I thought he was and I have no true idea just what he is capable of. So even if he finally does leave, how long will I have to look over my shoulder? And will I ever feel safe? Ever?
This is the bravest I have ever been, and I know this isn’t the worst yet. I pray each day for strength to get through this, and to be able to not show my fear. So, to the ones that aren’t yet totally trapped, this is what you have to look forward to, get out before it gets this hard.

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S.

Truth.

Our worlds have been shrunken to the size of peas and we have been manipulated to think that this hell is our inheritance. It is not.

You are beautiful. Each empathetic one, but you donot know your own beauty. The world is broad, wide. With enough for you at every turn to assist your decisions, but you donot know that.
Your ability to see was purposefully crippled.

DETACH. You must detach from them, you must. And see the universe as a place of assistance. Just make your intention. DECIDE that you are worthy. Step into it even if you are afraid.

You only have this 1 life.
Make it one you can be proud of.

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rose

Been there. Dont be afraid anything is better than living in constant fear. Pretend you are not afraid when facing them even though you are. Take little steps to make the change.slowly and tell no one

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Cat

I’m alone In This situation with my kids. Instay for them but I know tho is hurting them too. He will say things to them to make me look bad going as far as lying to our daughter telling her I wanted to abort her. He won’t leave and we have nowhere to go. We are financially hurt and he blames me but I make sure we get what we need off the little money we have. He’s hurt his thumb and collarbone and somehow it becomes my fault when I’m nowhere near when this happens. I got called fat on Christmas for the first time ever and he won’t help with gifts or wrap or even set up but gets mad saying I don’t include him. The past year has been worse, he’s been researching Masonic stuff and accusing us and friends of being involved and calls us liars but all his time is spent researching and he can not take his focus off of that. I’m at the point where I’m done dealing with his manipulative ways and ready to get out, I just don’t know how to do it, that next step is terrifying and I’ve kept this hidden so no one knows how bad it is. Just saying this outloud to people who are going through this too is a relief. Just need someone to talk to.

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Laurie

To Pam:
The words you write are similar to mine when I wrote in my diary. That was years ago and I left him. I wished I had sooner. Be brave. Take the leap. Protect yourself and start over. You will thank yourself later. Don’t look back, either. I am alone and although I am very lonely at times, I am not miserable and trapped in a toxic relationship.

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Kathleen Nelson

Ron,

I had a similar relationship. I read self help books, went to counseling, went to alanon, apologized, even when I didn’t even realize I did anything wrong. Than I read “Why does he do that” by Lundi Bancroft. (He could be she). I thought I must be part of the problem or “the problem” if I listened to what my husband told me. Please don’t buy into it. When you learn what’s really going on, control, manipulation, brainwashing, you will start to understand your feelings and learn how to get out and protect yourself. It’s NOT a mutual problem, your reacting to her abuse. A counselor who really understands domestic violence can help you. The key is Domestic Violence and all the tactics they use to keep you under their control.

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Ron

I don’t know why, but I just can’t seem to shake this gnawing feeling that it’s me and not her. I really want to right this.

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MB

Sure sounds like Borderline Personality Disorder to me. They are Destroyers. RUN! RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN!

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michelle

I sometimes wonder why others
Find it so easy .to enter a relationship with no true intent
To enjoy there life .with there partners. Whats the point of being with any one if you really. Dont know what you truely want
Why ruin that persons chances. To a real relationship. With no drama..thats why every one is so afraid..of relatiships every one eventually ends up with a wall.between happiness and. True love
Sorry thats just how i feel
Sorry just saying

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Rachael

Year’s ago I was in a very abusive relationship. I put myself through hell with this man for many years. If it weren’t for two of my closest friend’s, I would have been in a bigger mess. Finally realized why I ended up with someone like that & it had a lot to do with the way I was raised by my mother. She mentally & physically abused me growing up and I was brainwashed to believe that this was what I deserved. Toke so long for me to figure thing’s out and got away from him. No one deserve’s to be treated so badly. Put your children first-#1

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Dimitri

Ron get out of the relationship NOW. Find a freind or family member to live with. You will find a new job, a new life and a loving partner.

She will never change. NEVER. Just imagine one of your children in a relationship like yours…….what would you tell them?

I have just ended a 4 year relationship and am starting over. Knowing I am not perfect but I could not see a future with any happiness. Just fear of not pleasing her.

I feel for you.

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Joanne

The toxicity certainly causes a reaction of withdrawal in my behaviour too. But I am struggling with the amount of people in my family I can’t please. My mother, my ex husband (12 years plus) my very adult children and now my younger son’s girlfriend.
Surely this many people mean it must be me? Do other readers have multiples in their close family?

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Ron

I generally don’t have multiple toxic people in my life. One is more than enough. Other potential toxic people I run across are easier to deal with because I don’t have to deal with them daily nor do they have my emotional involvement.

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Trb512

Joanna, in a way it is you. I’m sorry to say some people were raised to try and please everyone( I think a misinterpretation of be nice or love everyone)

You can be nice &love & still make everyone mad or upset and that’s their problem NOT YOURS.

You did your job by loving & acting good to them.

Your an adult and so are your kids….are they trying to please you? Why are you trying to please mom, when you yourself are a mom????

Your even adding to the list of family with those not even blood related …an ex, the sons girlfriend?

If the kids are grown the most wonderful thing about an ex is he’s an ex….as in used to be in my life but is not anymore,bye bye….

I’m a simple person, I do nice things for people, give constantly of time money emotions…I love and do what I wish others would do for me. If that doesn’t please them. They can kiss my adult butt and go be pleased , and loved, and shown kindness by someone who’s better than I am at pleasing.

My life, my choices of boyfriends, where or how I live, what I like to do, those are parts of my life .

They aren’t mine and mom’s, or mine and ex’s or mine and kids or the cute little girlfriend that thinks shes smart… They are mine and mine only and I pay for my mistakes and enjoy my success….NO ONE ELSE.

No one could pay me enough to miss time in my life to please these people.

I’m Christian so if loving them as I love myself isn’t enough then tough crap cause it’s good enough for my God.

According to the Bible your not supposed to be pleasing the girlfriend your suppose to be teaching her to be a good wife.

My son’s girlfriend lives at my house. When she asked if I’m cooking dinner I say yes in a little bit (if I’m busy) if she bugs me too often I say nicely” you can if your that hungry” and she gets the idea..

I’ve told her to be serious and straighten up or remain a twit…cause I’m teaching her stuff and I hate repeating( but I do) I’m also very nice. But my house,my rules ….if she’s not please I’m sorry.

If no one’s pleased I’m sorry but I guess I missed the day they had a crown placed on their heads that made them more important than I am ……

That’s the only event that makes pleasing others a choice I should think about. Because without a crown ….why is it them and not me being pleased.

I never ask that from people cause I won’t try to give it.

My boyfriend is working on breaking that same thing after 40+ years an ulcer, anxiety, panic attacks , and high blood pressure….

It’s almost ruined us cause I wouldn’t bow down to a dang one of them.

I told him the only one who runs my life and I try to please is God and if married my husband.

My goodness it would be easier to never sin than please the people you listed, just because there are many. One God and maybe a husband. That’s all and more than enough to please.

Plus your not doing them favors. You spreading yourself thin, and not giving your best to anyone. That’s why you have to limit the number.

I’ll give you another choice…take care of your mom if you can’t stand not to and don’t have a husband……and tell everyone else like kids , girlfriends that in your family kids try to take care of the older generation and your doing for your mom …it will be their turn soon with you. Then their kids can help them..

Notice I said help, not please…..the kids need a life and a busy one so they have their hands full , pleasing their selves.

Btw my boyfriend told his mom no more pleasing and she got pissed cause she loved ordering his life. We learned when she’s not calling to check if he pleases her…his stomach doesn’t hurt…..humm?

Please get so help if you keep feeling like you must please them… because yes there can be THAT many because you marry people your comfortable with and they usually have much in common with a parent ..

Then we have kids that grow up around our parents and our parents influences in us…..so they date and marry someone similar to you or the dad .

So yes it is very possible, really I’d say probable to have those people look to you to please them.

What you need is help that can talk to you..get to know the family and give an outside opinion.

If everyone was saying you are a red head when your a blonde you’d ask an outsider….NOT give in to being called carrot top…lol! You get someone who’s a professional and give a true answer.

Hope that helped. You sound sweet but really under everyones thumb.
Be sweet and please yourself. Many blessings

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David kandel

To Joanne: Toxic people can share blood and DNA with you. I’ve found my true family does not. They share with me what I give to others. Loyalty. Compassion. Love. That’s all that family really is but blood can always hurt you if you let them. We are programmed to love them and feel obligated even if they hurt us over and over. After it’s happened to me for years, I simply found this to be a stupid program and spoke my mind to the fullest. I no longer expect a response but still willing to keep a door open. Toxic people are unhappy. They live sad lives. Always trying to remember so many lies is a very busy and non productive life. If you possess self reflection, remorse, compassion then just pity these sad souls. We all make mistakes. I have and I will. I’m human. It’s we deal with our mistakes that separates us. Toxic people will lie and create so much drama and judgement, to no end. People will address the mistake and own it and try to make a change. Whatever label we put on people, I have found we all lie for the same reasons. Shame. Self shame. Simply not proud so we make up a story. At the end of it all it’s usually as simple as wether we can live with ourselves or not. Liars or toxic people can’t. The rest can. I pity those who can’t be themselves, for this short temporary time on earth. We call life. I have no love for those who try to tell all on their death bed. They had a lifetime to do so. They are simply scared of what’s next and in my eyes, are the same selfish cowards, they always were. Just saying 🙂

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Jean du Ross

That’s such a sad statement, Robert. I hope you learn who to distrust, and who you can trust, so you can find some faith in the good humans, again. There are a few.

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Tara

I just happened to come across this article. Recently, a “friend” decided to break ties with me for good.

I had met her a few years ago when I went to her for personal training. My mom and sister went before I did. She is married with two children, but we would hang out on occasion (we did THREE times–movies, wine festival, and my sister’s bachelorette party). I recently went to her daughter’s play back in October and everything was fine. She had mentioned to me that I was the ONLY one out of her friends (she has a ton on Facebook) that showed up. I showed up because-one, I had never seen her daughter act, two, it was something to do, and three, I was being supportive.

Well, she had been coming to my house to train me privately. I noticed one day that she mentioned about not coming anymore, but she said that we could still hang out on occasion.

A couple of weeks ago I had invited her and two other friends to go hang out for my birthday. She said she wasn’t feeling well and wanted to go out to lunch in the next few days to celebrate. Well, this is where the trouble started.

The day before we were scheduled to hang out, she calls me up and tells me that we should take a break. I was extremely upset about this and was quite emotional on the phone.

The next morning, I got a text from her saying that she prayed about her decision and decided to break the friendship off for good. She told me that she was extremely sad about her decision (which I do not believe one bit. I believe if she was sad about it, she would want to make it work). She told me to not to contact her anymore. I was very crushed and pleaded with her not to do this and that we could work stuff out. She was not having it. She made up her mind. After this, I had some choice words for her that I now regret and want to apologize, but she told me not to contact her anymore.

She had told me that I made her extremely uncomfortable. She never gave me a reason for this. I still am trying to wrap my brain around what she meant. I guess I will never find an answer.

I talked to another friend about this and she told me I didn’t do anything wrong. My friend told me that it was not my fault. Yes, I said some hurtful things to her, and I feel guilty for them now and want to apologize, but I guess I can’t now because she doesn’t want to be contacted.

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jennifer lewis

I agree never thought I would experience such malice when I’ve only shown care

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Rachael

Seem’s these days to be more of them at work too. They will stab you in the back first chance they get. Our society is so screwed up.

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Jennifer

I feel the same way- from being in a toxic relationship where I was being gaslighted as well.

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Ron

I’ve been on my guard for so long that I cannot remember when I wasn’t. I’m so devastated and worn that for me death would be 10 levels higher than where I am and YET, I stay… I ponder.. I look intently at myself and behaviour in an attempt to change it. Why??

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Relationships become habits, and like the strongest of all habits, they can be beyond difficult to break – but not impossible. It is difficult to believe that there could be a happier version of you and your life waiting for you on the other side of a toxic relationship but there will be. You deserve to be happy. When you have been in an unhealthy relationship for a long time, it becomes the reality – the only reality you believe, but there is so much more for you. If you have looked at yourself and your behaviour, and if you have fought hard for the relationship and you are still miserable, you know clearly how your relationship plays out for you. Your growth is in doing something brave and life-giving for you, and taking a different direction to the one you have been moving in. Everything you need to do this is in you – it really is. You deserve to be happy.

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Ron

Thank you Karen.. I know only I can break the cycle. This, for me will not be easy, but it must be done if I and my daughter have any hope of a happy and fulfilling life.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

You’re right Ron, it won’t be easy but if the relationship is a harmful one, letting go is so important. You can do this. It will be such an important legacy for your daughter. The lessons she will learn about letting go of harmful relationships and harmful people will hold her strong as she learns in her own life how to navigate the world and the people in it. I wish you both all the very best.

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Stepmom

Yes… I can very much appreciate the information in this column as well as the comments. As it has been stated a happy-go-lucky person can quickly be infected by the gross habits of nasty toxic bullying people. If you want once were happy-go-lucky , Carefree, taking delight, every day person to be suddenly finding yourself living with an absolute Beast looking over your right shoulder throughout the day, I can understand. In fact I’m mentally and physically exhausted from having a two-hour battle last evening going through exactly what this article is talking about. Word by word line by line every bit of it is truth. I wish I would have read this a long time ago but the healing can begin today.now there is hope.

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james

i dont know how to leave my toxic wife i just love her but she want me to leave the house what should i do

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

James I am not able to tell you what to do, but it sounds as though the answer is already inside you. If your relationship is toxic, and you both want to end it, there is your answer. Leaving any relationship isn’t easy, but staying in them sometimes can be worse in the long run. Be strong, and move forward.

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Broken

… To be honest, there’s a lot that I want to say. I wish I had friends to talk to about the situation that’s happened to me in relation to a toxic person, but the ones I have left have taken a stance where they would not like to hear my side of the story, because they are also friends with the person and they don’t want to hear about anything that could be deemed gossip or negativity. Or worse, they’re closer friends to that person than they are with me, and thus there would be no point in talking to them.

The rest have heard only their side and without hesitation, have taken the toxic person’s side despite supposedly having been friends with both of us. No one has come to me to ask what my side of the story was.

There is so, so much to unpack here, but at least 8 of these points fit the person who has not only hurt me deeply over this, but also turned other friends against me. There is evidence that they have been telling others who know of me and sometimes interact with me bad things about me as well. Enough things to cause them to unfollow me from social sites. I wish I could just tell the whole story here, but because this is happening online in a community where there are fans, friends, followers and reputations at stake, I feel like I can’t even anonymously share the full story without it leading back to me.

I feel so trapped, that I have to hide my feelings and can only ever appear happy and positive to others. If I ever cry about it or am sad in general over it, or even put all the blame on myself anyways, I’m now the victim and am a terrible person for acting like a victim. If I tell my story, I’m the toxic person for proving that I have a gossiping/negativity problem, but if I don’t tell my story I’m still the bad one because everyone will only hear the other person’s side and believe it to be true and that everything is my fault. I have never felt this sad, damaged and alone in my entire life.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

I’m so sorry this is happening to you. One toxic person can do so much damage. I understand how painful this is. It sounds as though your friendship group has been made very fragile by this toxic person who has hurt you, but know that there are people in the world who would love to know you. Try not to let your feelings towards the toxic person colour your relationships with others. It is always very difficult for people who are outside to a situation to get involved, mainly because they can be given two versions of the same truth. This doesn’t mean they don’t want to be connected to you, just that they don’t want to be involved in having to choose sides. I wish you love and healing.

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Pam

l’m in that place too and it’s not fun, but you can get through it. I’ve not had a soul to talk to for several months now, no one wants to hear my story or listen to me, no one. I felt for a long time that I was the only person on this planet that knew the truth, until I found this list. I’ve poured my guts out here and no one has told me to shut up yet. So use this place, and us, to talk to. I believe everything you say because my story is the same.
I have finally come to terms with my aloneness and I really feel that it is almost what I needed to finally accept the truth of my own predicament It somehow has given me the chance to really take a look at things and to think about why it is this way. And I am able to go deeper into my own self now, to look at why I let this go on for so long.
It’s not what most people say it is, it’s not because I am so nice or good, even though it seems that way at first. But there is one person I am not nice to, perhaps the most important person I know. And that is me. I don’t think I am very nice to me at all. Even my inner dialog goes something like this, “Oh Pam, you’re such an idiot, how did you manage to get yourself into this one? And what kind of fool are you to think this is okay?” I can’t even talk nicely to my own self, so how can I expect anyone else to respect me? I make my own choices in this life, so why did i make the choice to let this all go on?
I wouldn’t let anyone I loved go through this, or anyone I perceived being hurt. I wouldn’t stand by while my mother, or my child was put through this hell, so why do I think it’s okay? It’s just me after all, right? But then I think even deeper and I realize that I really have done nothing to anyone that would make this a payback, or just my karma catching up to me. This is not right, it is so wrong I can’t even say how badly wrong it is to think of yourself as such a lowlife that you don’t even feel you deserve better. SO, I’m working on it now, I’m catching myself when I start to put me down, or when i tart to feel I somehow had this coming. I am trying real hard to look in the mirror and show myself some love. We really don’t get love from the outside, it comes from inside, and that’s whefe happiness lies as well, it’s inside of us always, we just have to open up and look for it. We have to take care of the one inside of us and learn to love them and let them trust us. I am working on loving that little girl inside that no one else seemed to, and I am the adult now that promises that she will be taken care of. No one else can do that but me. And she has been let down and hurt for so long, it’s time to care for her. Not that jerk that only wants to hurt, he isn’t the deserving one, that little girl inside is the one that deserves to be loved unconditionally, not him. I’m going to make her life good, she will feel happy and carefree and safe one day, and I’m the one that can do it for her. But not if I sacrifice her to the jerk that is only waiting to hurt her again.

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Anna

Thank you for this article!

I’m writing from scandinavia, so I’m sorry for the misspellings that I might make. But would appreciate your opinion on something.

I have a difficult relationship with my sister. She is 13 years older than me (I’m 37) and recently things have gone bad. I got married last May and that really broke the back of our sisterhood. She had already reacted strongly when I got engaged a year before. She is single and I think she feels like i betrayed her by sort of living my own life. She got mad at me of just about everything. First I tried to talk to her about it. Tried to understand and find ways to reconcile.

Nothing has worked. I’ve realized that it has always been about her, what she needs and how she feels, what she wants. Even before my wedding. As a younger sister I haven’t had as much power in our family. I’m softer and try to please. She has strong opinions and a temper. I’m even a little bit afraid of her and her reactions. It’s like she wants me to be constantly in her use emotionally, to put her needs first. Creating a relationship with my husband and doing my own thing was breaking out of the box she has for me. She accepts me when something bad happens to me, but I don’t have a right for happiness.

So when my wedding got close she told me twice that she definitely doesn’t want to be the made of honor because it would be ridiculous to hand out some leaflets at the door. Then 2 weeks before the day she asked me what kind of a role she has in the wedding. I didn’t know what to think of it because I had then asked my friends to help me. But asked her to give us a speech at the reception. A couple of days from that she sent me a text saying she won’t be able tot do that cause “we aren’t that close anymore and she’s having a rough time”. I was hurt but responded that it’s ok. Since that she also left angry in the middle of my bachelorette party and trashed it in her fb status. She hasn’t called me, I have done all the work in our relationship for the last 6 to 9 months. And there are many more incidents like this. She is making it clear (in her actions and tone) that I’m to blame for something, she is entitled to behave as she has. She also cut her own 21 year old son for a year cause he didn’t keep in touch in the way she wanted. Now they are back in touch but I feel like she needs someone else to take the blame for her feelings and problems, so I’m it. Usually she just cuts her friends out when things get difficult.

Right now she hasn’t answered my text at all. I don’t know how much longer I can do this. What should I do? I love my sisters son and am afraid we all fall apart. What happens when HE has a wedding or something and we are both invited? How do you handle situations like that in the future?

Thanks for reading this, it helps to think that someone knows what I’m talking about. It’s difficult to even describe it because most of it is done in such a subtle way. And she can talk it all around, make it my fault.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Anna what you have described makes complete sense. The subtleties of toxic behaviour can make it really difficult to respond to. Here is an article that might help you http://www.heysigmund.com/toxic-people-when-someone-you-love-toxic/. The sad thing is that you can’t change the things she does, but you can do things to help protect yourself and your other relationships (with your nephew). There is probably no point trying to get your sister to understand things from your side. Toxic people tend to twist anything you say so that it suits their argument and justifies the way they are treating you. What you can do is let her son know that you care about him and that he is important to you. Let him know that even though his mother and you have a difficult relationship at the moment, that you care about her too and that you hope it will become easier. For your nephew, the important thing will likely be knowing that you don’t expect him to take sides – that he can care about his mother and you, without being disloyal to either of you. I wish there was an easier or more definite solution to this. You sound like you would be a wonderful influence in your nephew’s life.

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Marie

I’m the oldest of my 4 sisters and have a younger sister who I’ve been hanging with for many years, we are the only two sisters who live near each other and we share common interests and views on life. Reading this article describes her though. Fortunately I’m a strong person and happy. She lost her best friend over the exact same behaviors and does not have a clue. I don’t think her friend was as Teflon as I am. Here is an example from yesterday: my sister who lives out of state…her family is planning a milestone surprise party for her. It is going be held on a weekend when I will be out of town on a trip planned for ages with my husband. My sister in question told me about this knowing I’d be away. I said, oh I feel terrible I hate missing this, I wish it was any other weekend. I mean that’s just something people who are close say. To which she responded very subtly ‘you know people don’t make their plans around you.’ I was very very hurt. She’s knows I love my other sister and was genuinely crushed I couldn’t attend. So I asked her when do you think you’ll leave and does ( ) our other sister know. And all she said was ‘we’re going together.’ That’s it. So I responded, ‘ you guys will have a great time!’ Was this the right way to handle this? I mean she has many positive attributes but this stuff happens and reading your article made me say ‘hey, that’s my sis.’ Her husband is that way too. Two peas in a pod. My husband doesn’t like it at all but has kept a low profile for my sake.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Marie I think you have dealt with this beautifully. Toxic people will rarely own the things they do that are hurtful and often, attempts to discuss it will just get twisted into something else that has you as the one in the wrong. Your husband sounds like a gem, and I’m sure he knows how lucky he is to have you. Your sister is lucky to have you too, whether or not she realises it. Keep focusing on her good points, do what you need to protect yourself, and keep working not to take the things she does personally.

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Kelly

I have met a lot of poisonous people, the last 9 months have been hell, There is toxic and poisonous, Toxic people shit on you, Poisonous want to rub it in, it doesn’t pay to be too nice, shit will be your only thanks!!!

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sam

I have met people that seems a little toxic, schizoid and narcicistic. all three in one. is this possibe

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Lstone

Yes dear it’s possible I live with 1 and I’ll be damned if I allow anymore of his flip flop craziness control my vibrant spirit. I’ve got more to offer in a relationship then tears and apologies starting today out with the old in with the new This Woman’s Got Her Groove Back and heading home man or any person well I don’t manipulate or belittle or discourage me ever again head held high No Looking Back prayers and good luck to you all and you find your life keep your head up look for happiness cuz it’s out there.

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Anna

Thank you for Your answer! I think I’ve learnt a lot about communicating my boundaries and drawing the line. And actually, my feelings have started to switch from sadness and helplesness to empowerment and independence. And I feel like that’s a good thing.

I can expect respect from others and I have a right to surround myself with people who feel safe. I don’t want to abandon anyone, but also cannot abandon myself and let people treat me badly. That’s the bottom line. It’s their business if they decide not to go with that.

How painful it has been, I feel like I’ve grown as a person. You really can’t help how people act and think, but You have a responsibility to work on Your own feelings and problems that might hinder good life.

I wish all the best for everyone who are struggling with these issues!

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Shakira

Wow….going through this now with my current boyfriend and his mom a.k.a his personal “flying monkey.” For four years I’ve been absorbing their negativity and drama….all the while getting blamed for everything. Inevitably, I started becoming toxic myself, acting out in ways that weren’t true to me, and even becoming suicidal. All of my friends have left, one by one, because they couldn’t understand what I was going through. I sit alone in my room for hours, beating myself up over these two monsters. Something about REALLY toxic people-when you first meet them, they APPEAR to be decent, loving people. The masks they wear are so convincing….I feel like such an idiot for opening up my heart so much to these two. I grew up in a poor, single parent narcissistic household, and thought I knew people. Boy, has my boyfriend and his mother proved me wrong! They’re always the victim, nothing is EVER their fault, it’s ok for them to be verbally abusive but God forbid I ever stand up for myself, and the constant triangulation…..my very soul is beyond exhausted. I keep forgetting I’m only 24 years old. My frustration lies in them getting away with their behavior time and time again….karma is sweet but takes awhile haha. The only way I’ve gotten through that dark tunnel is remembering who I was, who I AM, and no longer buying into their projections. I may not be perfect, but I’m at least I’m not them!! That happy, friendly, positive, just all around amazing woman is still in me….and I’ve been allowing her to return more and more. That and as others have said, I no longer allow them to tear me down. No contact is perfect, it’s how I deal with his mom. It might feel weird at first, like a druggie going cold turkey and feeling sick. A natural reaction when you’re purging, literally, absorbed negative emotions. So allow yourself to purge and heal. Don’t rush or even question the process. Allow your soul to heal. And remember, these people have stolen enough of your precious time and joy, don’t allow them to steal anymore. They’re not worth it

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Pam

Well, I made it to the second round in the divorce procedure, now I can only wait and see what is going to happen next. The first part, he didn’t even read of acknowledge and his time to respond timed out. He is now in contempt of court, but of course that won’t help. I had to almost do the same thing again and this time I think he has thirty days to respond, after that, it will go to the judge. The waiting is the toughest part, and after it’s all said and done, I still am not sure what’s next. He is staying here still, but not in the house with me, he is in his shop. Lately we have kept any communication to bare minimum and have managed to avoid any new conflicts. Wish me luck all, maybe I might make it after all, I don’t know. Then when it’s all over, maybe I can begin to let go, and start to heal, for now it’s more or less made me numb, and if I don’t have to, I just don’t think about it all. I still haven’t found anyone to really talk to, but it doesn’t seem to matter as much, I’m finding that I am okay with being alone, and I don’t really need to get anyone elses opinions and especially anyones sympathy. I can’t even handle sympathy right now, it feels so degrading to me. So, thanks for listening once again, it helps just knowing you are all out there and I’m not the only one going through all this stuff. Hang in there to anyone starting out with this big adventure, it feels like you will just die, and then you start to wonder if that wouldn’t be better after all, but no, dying is only a permanent solution to what should be a temporary problem. You can make it, you are worthwhile, and they say that life can get better. And you are not crazy, nor is it all your fault. Your only fault is that you allowed it to happen, and if you are here, then you are already trying to fix it…much love to you all.

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Mariana

What do I do If the person that does this is my sister??
And she “loves” me very much… It’s hard to get away to this person, and my family likes to hanh out too much unfortunately
I’ve tried talking to her but It’s almost imposible for her to chance

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Hannah

my friend is mad at me because I wanted to sit with her at lunch at a place that we usually dont sit at and when I came and sat with her the other people (in a very joking way) said “oh Hannah is here lets go” and they walked five steps away and then came back while laughing. She got mad at me suddenly and she pouted the rest of lunch. I asked my other friend what was wrong with her and she said that she told me not to come and sit wither her (she never said anything) and now she is upset at me. I dont think I did anything wrong though. What do I do??

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Hannah it sounds as though there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding happening here. Talk to your friend and let her know that you would like to clear things up. Be open to what she says, and let her know that you would like to put things right between the two of you. It sounds as though she might need reassurance and a loving word from you – and we all need that from time to time.

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Terry

I had a similar experience in the first grade, when my (presumably) best friend was suddenly mad at me and stopped speaking to me. When I finally asked a mutual friend to find out what was wrong, she came back with the reply, “because you never play with me.” SHE was the one who cut ME off!! It may be just as well that our relationship was never the same afterward. A friend shouldn’t be someone you have to tiptoe around and take care not to offend. Do what you can to set things right on your side (e.g., ask if there’s anything you should apologize for that is truly your fault), but if she won’t come around or does this to you again for no apparent reason, it’s time to find a new friend. You would only be harming yourself and enabling her by staying in this relationship.

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S.

Good wishes to all.
I wanted to share something I realized.

Something in our backstory, the family we were born into, the environment we were raised in…predisposed us for this.

The good part is that we can keep our empathy, which is beautiful and add what we lack: boundaries, behavoiral knowledge concerning personality disorders, etc.
The essence of our goodness stays.

I just ended a relationship with a man who I realised was a narcissist. It was a blow to me, having survived a marriage to a narc and believing my self to be whole and healed, to attract the same kind of person.

Im not there yet, but Im closer. I figured him out and I walked away……
I am so proud of this accomplishment.

This….the whole of it, is a journey to yourself. A journey of balance. Balance we never had but are learning and acquiring.

We have the very real hope of one day being free. We should set our sights upon that goal and work towards attaining it.

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Hannah Squires

Inspirational!! Please don’t think I’m being patronising, but, well done you!! What an awesome accomplishment. You are a seriously ‘gutsy’ woman, and I wish you only success and the very best of everything in life. You’re on a positive path, and I’m confident, now you’ve found it, stick to it and you won’t go wrong. You’re strong enough to deal with anything that life throws at you. On inevitable darker days, reflect on how far you’ve come and how your journey has impacted on so many, especially me. You go girl! xx

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Terry

There is a word for such a person…choleric. This is one of four personality types, which means that one in four people have these traits to some extent. They manifest a bit differently in men and women but both genders have them, and each is as the author terms, “toxic” in their own way. I find male cholerics (a.k.a., “jackasses”) easier to spot as they generally wear their personalities on their sleeves, whereas a woman-choleric (a.k.a., a “viper”) is more subtle. She might act friendly and concerned most of the time, then without warning bite your head off and tell you it’s your fault. She also tends to be a “friend-hog,” keeping a side-kick glued to her hip and monopolizing most of this woman’s time so that she can’t make other friends.

The main problem I see with this list is that one can only spot a toxic person after he/she has already been drawn in emotionally. If one can learn to spot certain personality traits early, he/she can be better armed and ready to avoid (or deal with) conflict and codependency. Study up on the four personality types (choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic and melancholy) and learn your own so that you’ll also understand your own responses to different situations. Learn to spot toxic, choleric people from a distance, don’t invest in them emotionally, and you’ll be able to shield yourself from a lot of frustration and heartache.

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SYdNeY

I think the word “toxic” is an easier term to deal with rather than learning the four personalities of choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic and melancholy and then there are also the mixtures of these types.

I have a simple standard, if someone makes me feel bad about myself then I don’t need them in my life and are deemed toxic, I’ve regained the softer side of myself and surrounding myself with like people too.

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Steve

I had to weigh in on this article because I have had several toxic relationships in my life and I had to examine myself. I sought help. The professional told me that I was a prime target for this type of relationship because I did not possess a healthy skepticism when it comes to relationships. I’ve had to learn how to stand up for myself in a proper manner. I have discovered that toxic people use false accusation as a powerful tool to manipulate in order to get their way even when there is no proof of the accusation. They believe that everything they think is factual. Now whenever I come across this kind of activity, I just walk away never to return again. They will not change their ways.

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Glenn

I am guilty of errors myself.
I just want to be a better person.
It is up to me to be aware of my behaviour & others.
Its a mirror.
Love & Peace to all.
Glenn

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MoonGem

I am currently in a toxic marriage, but it has not always been this way. Things started out very good and fast. Once I was pregnant, we married and looked forward to having a baby, 2nd child for me, 1st child for him. As everyone who has children knows, life will change for all couples with a new baby. Adjustments to day to day life, work, and social life. When we started socializing with friends, who also had new babies, I learned that I was the “sober” one of the bunch. (6 adults, 3 babies). I no longer enjoyed a few drinks, since I became the DD, but all others enjoyed their pot smoking and getting high, including my spouse. After a few socializing events, I felt hurt and left out. I spoke to my husband about how it made me feel, and he blew me off and said “its all in your head”, or “just come smoke with us”, knowing full well I would not. There was no attempt to include me and over time, I was resentful of being casted off. The smoke outs continued and sometimes at our house. I will spare everyone reading, what the last 14 years of a 16 year marriage thus far has entailed. I had another child with my husband, which did not fix any issues. I have been lied to, cheated on, and money taken from our bank account over the years, all resulting in arguments, which have never been resolved and EVERYTHING is my fault because “I don’t accept him as he is”.
I reflect back on when I met him and how I missed that he was a daily smoker (not only cigs), and it was hidden from me since he always went outside to smoke cigs. That is when he would partake.
Every bullet point in this article pertains to my husband!! I was even blamed for his cheating, being told “You don’t hold up your wifely duty of having sex with me”.
It is very hard to leave a toxic marriage/relationship, especially with kids. But my kids are almost grown, and when they are 18 years old, I am free….and they are free. My husband (their father) even spills his rot over on to them. Anything good, he strikes down. Any moments of love from me to them, he strikes down.
Patience is important…..do not argue….you cannot win to a toxic person. I stopped asking years ago “whats wrong”, with the mood swings. And now….it does not matter. I just don’t notice. I have been accused of not complimenting him and uplifting him, and my response to this toxic behavior was “first you must uplift yourself, before anyone else can AND you must have qualities that warrant a compliment”. It took me a lot of courage to even say those words, but I have become very strong mentally now. He did his best to tear me down, but with a support system, I was able to break through my own weakness and fear, and stand up for myself. A toxic person does not like it much, when they get a dose of their own meds!!

Great article….

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Missy

I’m just out of a toxic relationship. I feel awful. 5 years of walking on eggshells. Being criticised for the smallest things & put down. Being given the cold shoulder and silent treatment. Being ignored when trying to text or call & being told he just couldn’t be arsed to talk to me. Being told I’m stupid etc etc. & on the flip side he would sometimes be as nice as pie. But it was rare. The anger outbursts, being told I was the cause of his depression even though he had this 9 years before meeting me. Him constantly staring at other women & trying to get their attention when we were out. If I made a comment I was told I was being pathetic or trying to spoil his fun. Listening to everything about him but never being able to talk about me. Being told I love you one minute & the next I don’t know if I love you. Telling me everyone thinks I’m a miserable cow. & when we broke up I didn’t miss you at all.
I actually don’t know who I am right now & starting to feel like I’m the biggest idiot for not waking up and seeing this years ago.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

It doesn’t matter what you did or didn’t see in the past. What’s important is that you can see it now. It’s never easy to see bad in the people we want to care about. Leaving a toxic relationship takes guts – and you’ve done it. You have acted with great strength and courage. Don’t diminish that because you didn’t do it sooner. For whatever reason, you weren’t ready to do it sooner, and that’s okay. Keep moving forward with strength and self-love and be kind to yourself. You deserve it.

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Ron

What It Means When a Narcissist Says “I Love You”

Dear Codependent Partner,
What I’m about to say is not something I’d ever say or admit (to you), because to do so would end the winner-takes-all-game that is my main source of pleasure in life — one that effectively keeps you carrying my load in our relationship.
And that’s the whole point.
When I say “I love you” I mean that I love how hard you work to make me feel like your everything, that I am the focus of your life, that you want me to be happy, and that I’ll never be expected to do the same.
I love the power I have to take advantage of your kindness and intentions to be nice, and the pleasure I derive when I make myself feel huge in comparison to you, taking every opportunity to make you feel small and insignificant.
I love the feeling it gives me thinking of you as weak, vulnerable, emotionally fluffy, and I love looking down on you for your childlike innocence and gullibility, as weakness.
I love the way I feel knowing that, through the use of gaslighting, what you want to discuss or address will never happen, and I love this “power” to train you to feel “crazy” for even asking or bringing up issues that don’t interest me, effectively, ever lowering your expectations of me and what I’m capable of giving you, while I up mine of you.
I love how easy it is to keep your sole focus on alleviating my pain (never yours!), and that, regardless what you do, you’ll never make me feel good enough, loved enough, respected enough, appreciated enough, and so on. (Misery loves company.)

(It’s not about the closeness, empathy, emotional connection you want, or what I did that hurt or embarrassed you, or how little time I spend engaged with you or the children, and so on. It’s about my status and doing my job to keep you in your place, in pain, focused on feeling my pain, blocking you from feeling valued in relation to me. I’m superior and entitled to all the pleasure, admiration, and comforting between us, remember?)
“I love you” means I love the way I feel when you are with me, more specifically, regarding you as a piece of property I own, my possession. Like driving a hot car, I love the extent to which you enhance my status in the eyes of others, letting them know that I’m top dog, and so on. I love thinking others are jealous of my possessions.
I love the power I have to keep you working hard to prove your love and devotion, wondering what else you need to do to “prove” your loyalty.
“I love you” means I love the way I feel when I’m with you. Due to how often I hate and look down on others in general, the mirror neurons in my brain keep me constantly experiencing feelings of self-loathing; thus, I love that I can love myself through you, and also love hating you for my “neediness” of having to rely on you or anyone for anything.
I love that you are there to blame whenever I feel this “neediness”; feeling scorn for you seems to protect me from something I hate to admit, that I feel totally dependent on you to “feed” my sense of superiority and entitlement, and to keep my illusion of power alive in my mind.

• •

(Nothing makes me feel more fragile and vulnerable than not having control over something that would tarnish my image and superior status, such as when you question “how” I treat you, as if you still don’t understand that getting you to accept yourself as an object for my pleasure, happy regardless of how I treat you, or the children — is key proof of my superiority, to the world. You’re my possession, remember? It’s my job to teach you to hate and act calloused toward those “crazy” things that only “weak” people need, such as “closeness” and “emotional stuff;” and by the way, I know this “works” because my childhood taught me to do this to myself inside.)
It makes me light up with pleasure (more proof of my superiority) that I can easily get you flustered, make you act “crazy” over not getting what you want from me, make you repeat yourself, and say and do things that you’ll later hate yourself for (because of your “niceness”!). Everything you say, any hurts or complaints you share, you can be sure, I’ll taunt you with later, to keep you ever-spinning your wheels, ever trying to explain yourself, ever doubting yourself and confused, trying to figure out why I don’t “get” it.

(There’s nothing to get! To break the code, you’d have to look through my lens, not yours! It’s my job to show complete disinterest in your emotional needs, hurts, wants, and to train, dismiss and punish accordingly, until you learn your “lesson,” that is: To take your place as a voiceless object, a possession has no desire except to serve my pleasure and comfort, and never an opinion on how its treated!)
(That you can’t figure this out, after all the ways I’ve mistreated you, to me, is proof of my genetic superiority. In my playbook, those with superior genes are never kind, except to lure and snare their victims!)
I love that I can make you feel insecure at the drop of a hat, especially by giving attention to other women (perhaps also others in general, friends, family members, children, etc. … the list is endless). What power this gives me to put a display of what you don’t get from me, to taunt and make you beg for what I easily give to others, wondering why it’s so easy to give what you want to others, to express feelings or affection, to give compliments, that is, when it serves my pleasure (in this case, to watch you squirm).
I love the power I have to get you back whenever you threaten to leave, by throwing a few crumbs your way, and watching how quickly I can talk you into trusting me when I turn on the charm, deceiving you into thinking, this time, I’ll change.
“I love you” means I need you because, due to the self-loathing I carry inside, I need someone who won’t abandon me that I can use as a punching bag, to make myself feel good by making them feel bad about themselves. (This is how I pleasure myself, and the way I numb, deny the scary feelings I carry inside that I hope to never admit, ever. I hate any signs of weakness in me, which is why I hate you, and all those I consider inferior, stupid, feeble, and so on.)
“I love you” means that I love fixing and shaping your thoughts and beliefs, being in control of your mind, so that you think of me as your miracle and savior, a source of life and sustenance you depend on, and bouncing back to, like gravity, no matter how high you try to fly away or jump.
I love that this makes me feel like a god, to keep you so focused (obsessed…) with making me feel worshiped and adored, sacrificing everything for me to prove yourself so that I don’t condemn you, seeking to please none other, and inherently, with sole rights to administer rewards and punishments as I please.
I love how I can use my power to keep you down, doubting and second-guessing yourself, questioning your sanity, obsessed with explaining yourself to me (and others), professing your loyalty, wondering what’s wrong with you (instead of realizing that … you cannot make someone “happy” who derives their sense of power and pleasure from feeling scorn for others … and you!).
“I love you” means I love the way I feel when I see myself through your admiring eyes, that you’re my feel-good drug, my dedicated audience, my biggest fan and admirer, and so on. You, and in particular, your looking up to me, unquestionably, as your never-erring, omniscient, omnipotent source of knowledge is my drug of choice. (You may have noticed how touchy I am at any signs of being question; yes, I hate how fragile I feel at any sign of thinking that you, or the world, could judge me as having failed to keep my possessions in
And I love that, no matter how hard you beg and plead for my love and admiration, to feel valued in return, it won’t happen, as long as I’m in control. Why would I let it, when I’m hooked on deriving pleasure from depriving you of anything that would be wind beneath your wings, risking you’d fly away from me? It gives me great pleasure to not give you what you yearn for, the tenderness you need and want, and to burst your every dream and bubble, then telling myself, “I’m no fool.”
I love that I can control your attempts to get “through” to me, by controlling your mind, in particular, by shifting the focus of any “discussion” onto what is wrong with you, your failure to appreciate and make me feel loved, good enough — and of course, reminding you of all I’ve done for you, and how ungrateful you are.
I love how I skillfully manipulate others’ opinions of you as well, getting them to side with me as the “good” guy, and side against you as the “bad” guy, portraying you as needy, never satisfied, always complaining, selfish and controlling, and the like.
I love how easy it is for me to say “No!” to what may provide you a sense of value and significance in relation to me, with endless excuses, and that I instead keep your focus on my needs and wants, my discomforts or pain.
I love feeling that I own your thoughts, your ambitions, and ensuring your wants and needs are solely focused on not upsetting me, keeping me happy.
I love being a drug of choice you “have to” have, regardless of how I mistreat you, despite all the signs that your addiction to me is draining the energy from your life, that you are at risk of losing more and more of what you most value, and hold dear, to include the people you love, and those who love and support you.

I love that I can isolate you from others who may nourish you, and break the spell, and I love making you mistrust them, so that you conclude no one else really wants to put up with you, but me.
I love that I can make you feel I’m doing you a favor by being with you and throwing crumbs your way. Like a vacuum, the emptiness inside me is in constant need of sucking the life and breath and vitality you bring to my life, which I crave like a drug that can never satisfy, that I fight to hoard, and hate the thought of sharing.
While I hate you and my addiction to your caring attention, my neediness keeps me craving to see myself through your caring eyes, ever ready to admire, adore, forgive, make excuses for me, and fall for my lies and traps.
I love that you keep telling me how much I hurt you, not knowing that, to me, this is like a free marketing report, which lets me know how effective my tactics have been to keep you in pain, focused on alleviating my pain — so that I am ever the winner in this competition — ensuring that you never weaken (control) me with your love- and emotional-closeness stuff.
In short, when I say “I love you,” I love the power I have to remain a mystery that you’ll never solve because of what you do not know (and refuse to believe), that: the only one who can win this zero-sum-winner-takes-all game is the one who knows “the rules.” My sense of power rests on ensuring you never succeed at persuading me to join you in creating a mutually-kind relationship because, in my worldview, being vulnerable, emotionally expressive, kind, caring, empathetic, innocent are signs of weakness, proof of inferiority.
Thanks, but no thanks, I’m resolved to stay on my winner-takes-all ground, ever in competition for the prize, gloating in my narcissistic ability to be heartless, callous, cold, calculating … and proud, to ensure my neediness for a sense of superiority isn’t hampered.
Forever love-limiting,
Your narcissist
PS: I really, really need help — but you CANNOT do this work for me (not without making things worse for both of us!). Remember, we’re co-addicted to each other, so we’d never go to an addict to get help, right?
Only a therapist, with experience in this, stands a chance, and even then, only if I choose to really, really, really let him/her! (That’s because I’d have to face my greatest fear that, not only am I not superior to everyone and thus not entitled to make and break rules as I please, but I’d also have to own — that my own actions, thoughts and beliefs about myself and others — are THE main cause of the suffering in my life … and changing them, THE solution. I could not would not ever want to do this for the sole reason that, from my worldview, only the feeble-minded and weak do such things!)

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Michelle

This article is great. It very accurately describes what I’ve put up with for years from my ex. Fortunately, I was able to leave the relationship recently. Unfortunately, we have kids together and I still have to try to communicate with him although on his end it is never effective or mature. I need to know how I can defend myself in court and get full custody of my children! Right now, we haven’t even signed temporary orders and although I allow him to have visitation based on my lawyers advice and Texas law, he doesn’t pay me child support and is continually belittling me and always projecting me as the one doing wrong when HE IS THE ONE DOING IT! It drives me nuts! We aren’t even together! I’m nice to him regardless and I always try to level things out because I don’t want to argue! But it’s a constant battle. If I don’t do what he wants, when he wants, all hell breaks loose. He will be as hateful towards me as he can get away with. It’s an awful situation to be in. I am tired of being nice and getting slung around like a rag doll.

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Terry

Michelle…maybe you should record a few of your conversations for the next hearing.

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Incredulous

Michelle, it will always be a constant battle unfortunately. And with court looming ahead, you might want to rethink your strategy and try to figure out how to settle things as quickly as possible without rocking the boat. I recently came across a couple of resources which I wish I had when I got divorced from my ex who most certainly must have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I didn’t fight him or patronize him in the slightest yet he felt the need to try to tear me limb from limb and make my life a living hell for years even after the divorce was finalized, and we don’t even have any children together.

If these links don’t come through, the sites are RI Divorce Mediation Center and Out of the Fog.

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Missy

Ron – that pretty sums up what it’s been like. I feel like I was addicted to him & still am to a degree. I’m still feeling the pain of wondering if he’s going to use his charms & be nicer to another woman than he was to me! It sucks. I wish I could let it all go in my head. But the thoughts are going round and round & im still feeling the pain & anguish? It’s so confusing. & the amount of times he told me I’m too needy when all I wanted was for him to be nice to me. I do think I became needy but that is definitely not how I ever used to be with any previous partners.
I don’t know how to move on from this yet. He already told me how other people didn’t like me & yet I got on fine with them. But I felt pressure to prove that I am ok so never relaxed. Even with having good friends aside from him & his mates I still doubted myself. & when I stood up to him I got confused about the arguements because he’d bring up the past over and over again saying that I’d done this wrong & that wrong & proved how stupid I am.
You start to believe it in the end. But now he has happily moved on and I’m still stuck & miserable! I’m pretty ashamed about that to be honest.

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Ron

Yes yes yes !!! I know how you feel. It’s difficult to win, if winning was a desire, with any narcissistic person. My own partner tells me often that I’m the narcissis. While I know I may display some of that behaviour, I have to remind myself that we all do from time to time. However, a true narcisst displays it all the time, without remorse or regret and this is what separates us. I’m willing to get help, she doesn’t see she needs it.

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yvonne

Thank you for all your sharing. It has affirmed all my fears with a very toxic friendship I had for 2.5 years and finally, with the Lord’s guidance, found the courage to end it. How?

I have experienced most of what you all have experienced. Is it me? Maybe it’s me…And how subtley she would twist everything that leaves me with self doubt, misery, and confusion about myself. When before I met her, I was a happy , content person with so much t give and share to others. I was basically, self assured and content with my life. At least , Inever had anger outrages and feelings of unworthiness, that was never me. I grew up with a normal childhood, happy family life.

I finally told her last Oct 17, I don’t want to be this way anymore. It helped that I read and watched videos on toxic people and amazed me that it all pointed to how our friendship was. Of course, there were moments when I felt guilty, I missed being with her but when I recall the moments when she would manipulate, make it seem Im the uncontrollable one, when in truth she is the narcissistic one, it gets me so mad and upset that I do not want to have to deal and be in that situation again.

TIPS ON HOW TO DEAL WITH TOXIC PEOPLE:
1) detach yourself
2) do not commit and put yourself in a corner that you cannot get out
3) be mindful and observant of the things they say and do
4) make them feel that they do not have power over you anymore (this takes courage)
5) move one and live a peaceful and happy life
6) surround yourself with old friends and family before you were with this person and you will realise how much you have made your world smaller because of this person.
7)trust your GUT, if you done feel right, it isn’t
8) PRAY

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max

My ex and his mom and dad all found things wrong with me and announced them to the world. I was young and beat down and began having nightmares. It took years but I finally got rid of my marriage and my nightmares–but not before they had done damage to my children too. We’re all still healing. So, I urge you, if you’re involved with someone who is not helping you be your best but brings out the worst in you, please go before they poison your whole life and even your children’s.

Reply

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