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

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.

    [irp posts=”1195″ name=”Toxic People: 16 Practical, Powerful Ways to Deal With Them”]

  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 your 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.

    [irp posts=”1762″ name=”When Someone You Love is Toxic: How to Let Go of Toxic People, Without Guilt”]

  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 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.

2,053 Comments

Carol

Everyone in my family loves my husband…he’s a loveable person and a good father to our daughter. Our personal problem is that he’s not exactly the same person in private that he is in public. If we have a difference of opinion on the smallest most meaningless issue he won’t let go of it. He’ll argue his point of view long after I’m done ..trying to get me to say he’s right. He never apologizes. If he does something I don’t like, it’s because someone or something else made him do it. If I get frustrated at his attitude he says I’m taking it wrong or misunderstanding. I’m not. Everything is very subtle and passive aggressive.
We’ve talked about it and he says he’s happy in our relationship, admits that it’s a problem but it doesn’t end..it’s almost like he can’t stop himself.

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Erika

This is not about them! This is about you,us, we. First it’s about self and second, waaaay second, it can include them, gingerly. For a very long time it’s about find and saving self. It’s not about them. It can’t be about them. Everything we are going through is about early life stuff and they just fill the role we need.
It’s not about them. This life saving effort is about self. First save and love self. This is a very long process. Think about how long it’s taken to deconstruct who you are. It will take double that time to heal you back. You can do it!

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Undisclosed

Hi what do you suggest when I need to deal with a situation where:
A close friend of mine says “I need to share something with you, I don’t know how you will react. Not sure if this will ruin our relationship.” And she wants to tell me about that by meeting in person. But it’s going to be more than 1 month now till we meet.
Don’t know why this has been spinning in my head since then.
Any suggestions?

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Micky Says

It might be a very common question you get asked:
My wife gets upset & angry over small trivial things and make it like I don’t understand her. We are both very hard working but doing well in life. But she keeps bringing my parents and brother into any discussion without any relevance that they don’t work hard but then they are not as well to do as us and ask for help sometimes. She has a few symptoms of the toxicity you mentioned above, not all of them and not all the time. She can be very loving but that’s 25% of the times.
Once she is upset, it takes me forever to appease her. Sometimes the whole weekend or the whole week as well.
I am tired, but can’t let it break my marriage. What do I do?

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Donna-1

Hi. I am a female with a toxic female friend. She “befriended” me when I moved back to a previous apartment complex where she had known me from a distance before. This time she had no immediate personages of note in her life, so she chose me as a surrogate to help her pass the time until someone better came along. By “better” I mean a more beautiful person — male or female — wearing more expensive clothes, driving a classier sports car, whiter teeth, fresher breath, and so on. At first I was drawn in to her circle because she is very good at that. She was gifting me with food, day trips to shop, “opportunities” to keep her dog when she was going to be out of town, a key to her apartment in case she got sick (really so I could check on things when she was out of town). She taught me how to play cards and dominoes (which I later learned are her two favorite ways of livening up dead time between people she enjoys being with.) She took me into her confidence by gossiping about neighbors, promising to help me do things (that I did not want or need her help with), telling me about her dozens of lovers and boyfriends and when she used to fairly drip with minks and diamonds. Now, as it happens, she is between boyfriends so she wears thrift shop clothes. So I am now asking myself, “What’s wrong with this picture?”

What is wrong is she’s like the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead: “When she’s good, she’s very very good. But when she’s bad, she’s horrid.” Because the next phase has started: devaluing, laughing at me when I make a misstatement or play the wrong card, telling me it is stupid to prefer eating by myself instead of with her(!), expecting me to show up when she’s lonely, insisting that the only way to do things is her way (even when it only involves me), etc. I realize next she’ll be demanding the keys to the kingdom: my mind, my heart, my soul, my obedience, my obsequience.

I need to get out while I still can. Thanks for the post. It helps me settle things in my mind.

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June

What do you do when they control the money they make and let you know about it. I received unemployment and didnt tell him because I was trying to save it for a while. I have never been able to have a savings account being married. Worked for the school system as a sub and for 14 years and when he found out about my unemployment , he refuses to pay for any dr. or dentist bills and tells me to use my money. He is narcisstic and has no awareness about how he is. There is so much more…..I feel like he is punishing me and is constantly invalidating me as well and throws my married daughter in the mix. I am talking to a therapist and knows I can not afford to move out. I’m in my 70s and he does not want to support me. I said I would talk to my therapist and if I should bring this up with someone in the church. He isolates and rejects me as well. Just wanted a second opinion. Married almost 14 yrs. and only realized two years about his narcissism. Finally figured it out.

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Nikki

My daughters dad stole $ 100.00 from her wallet, she is 12 years old and had been saving her money for a virtual reality set.I confronted him and he played the victim.My daughter is having a hard time moving forward.I bought a safe for her to keep her money in now .Can their relationship be repaired? I have never been one to talk down about her father , I am just so upset he would steal from his own child, he doesn’t contribute child support or any financial support

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Doretha P

I am in a relationship with a man who is not disabled but I have a physical disability. The problem is he wants keep our relationship on the down low.He doesn’t want anyone to know he dating disabled woman. He got upset with me because I told home attendant that I have a boyfriend that lives in my building.Please advise me on what should I do about this relationship.

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Natasha K

Great article! I am looking for a title or name of the behavior for what my husband does to me. I will occasionally point out small things that he doesn’t do and he will come back and say in response things like “I’m a lazy piece of sh*t” or something along those lines. This is a guy who works 60+ hours a week. An recent example, he left large boxes in the garage that block the pathway to the house door, that should have gone outside to be recycled. When I pointed this out he called himself the “lazy sh*t” line. I can’t do EVERYTHING around the house. There must be a word for this behavior. I feel that calling him out on the behavior using the correct term may help him stop using this tactic. I don’t understand why he just can’t say something like “whoops I forgot!” Any help is greatly appreciated.

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Geraldine

This probably stems from deep hurt somewhere in his past – most likely in his childhood. The reason why he works so hard – it will never be hard enough until he locates and addresses the source.
Psychological counselling might help. If you are a preson who prays, you might take it to God in prayer for Him to reveal the source and supply the healing.

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Catherine

My comment relates to a friendship. My friend has been an extremely good friend in many ways, and I never forget these things. This is someone I have called a best friend. She got into exercise, getting herself into shape, delved into cycling, and now, this takes up the majority of her time. I no longer see her, we scarcely communicate. I have told myself to just give it space, treat it as though I am living in another country when the contact was less, but the friendship strong. If this is what she wants to be doing, I want to try to just be happy for her and whatever she chooses to do. I realize that I am resentful however. I have brought up the topic and she has said, yes she spends lots of time with these other people, but they aren’t really personal friendships like what we’ve had- where we really know a lot of each others’ depths. I feel like the healthiest thing for me to do is just step away and wish well. Maybe she will resurface with time, but having aired my sentiments, I am really not interested in repeating myself.

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Kay S

Its been my experience that if she’s really your friend, she will come back after she misses your friendship and realizes its value. Just be patient and get on with your life. Its likely she’ll be your best friend again after some time away. She’s just having some new adventures. Maybe you can take up cycling too. Sometimes when people make some changes to their lives, they want to be around others that share their interests.

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Donna-1

Yes, that’s the trouble. They want other people to take up their interests and join them, instead of honoring the friendships they already have with friends who don’t want to be towed along in their wake.

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SpeakYourHeart

My aunt is very toxic.. She’s always jealous, I started my online business and she never appreciated me bc I’m his brother’s daughter. But she always congratulates other girls (her sister’s kids) in front of me and my siblings. I really want to stay away from her but the problem is that she’s also my best friend’s mother 🙁 She’s always bashing us, bitching about my family in front of others behind our back. Not only her, she has a gang lol. All her sisters are like her. They’re all jealous of our happiness. Always trying to find a way to humiliate us, taunts in obvious ways. I hate her…. I just hate them all but at the same time they’re a part of my family.. There is place in my heart for them.. I always try to appreciate them, I help them in difficult time, I’m always there for them but they just don’t understand…. In childhood I wasn’t aware of this (that they’re jealous) but now I know each and everything.. And I can’t trust them.

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Natasha K

I’d definitely give her space since you’ve already told her your feelings. She may change her interests and start up the closeness again. I have 2 friends from middle school who I would barely converse with for years at a time due to “life” getting in the way. But when our lives converge again, we pick up right where we left off!

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Lisa

Is there any way to make these people realize how toxic they really are that’s it’s them. Maybe by questions some kind of quiz to make them realize I know they already don’t have no common sense it has to be some way

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Kay S

If you have someone in your life you think is toxic, talk to her / him about it and air your opinion. Even if it makes no real difference in the short run, I guarantee they will think about your comments and it might help them to take a good look at themselves. If you don’t speak up and no one else speaks up, they will never know because we often behave in ways that we are not aware are having a bad effect on others around us. No one is capable of seeing themselves the way others do. Communication is essential and often more helpful than you might expect.

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Living in silence

My husband does the same…he calls and messages people throughout the day and blatantly ignores me and puts me last. We have only been married less than 4 months. I’ve expressed my feelings and concern but he continues to disregard me. I don’t know what to do. Any suggestions…anyone???

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Aurelia

File the papers, and move on with your life. Don’t be me and carry on for years. If it’s already this bad (in your words) it won’t get any better. Don’t look for reasons to convince yourself how it can or is improving. Cut your losses before it gets messier. Forget about how much the wedding cost, whether it was that much or not.

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Natasha K

Ooooh. My husband has done this many times but we have been married for 16 years. Not saying that’s an excuse but at 4 months that’s very concerning. I’m sure this didn’t just pop up in the last 4 months. Why did you marry him if he was doing this when you were dating?

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Marie H

I’ve recently discovered a word for what my own mom is…toxic.
I’m in therapy for the first time at 45. It’s helped me immensely. And I’ve cut my mom out of my life for the time being or permanent. I can’t change her, but I can change my own behaviors.

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sarah

I just found this. I was looking for “why does my boyfriend get angry when I ask him what’s wrong when he says no he’s not okay”
I’ll notice he’s quiet, ask if he’s okay and he will say “no not really”. I ask what’s going on and he says I’ll tell you later.. later comes, says it’s sorted so doesn’t need to tell me.
He ghosts me for literally days and leaves me wondering if we are done, if he’s hurt.. I just don’t know.
I’ve had one nervous breakdown and right now contemplating things… So much is hurting me yet he gives mixed signals i just don’t understand. I’ve all about given up.. we have a 12 to child I have been thinking about too..

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Katy

Honestly it feels that in society we’ve made way for so much toxic narcissistic and sociopathic behavior and it’s difficult to avoid. Later in life I discovered my mother is a narcissist and I was sort of molded to be a target for such. Making true friends is so difficult that most days I just completely avoid trying. My oldest friends were fairly toxic in their own ways. A commonality I’ve seen across 90% of “friendships” (or even just acquaintances) is people being superficial.

They will go out of their way to fake that they want to spend time with you, they want to stay in contact but they don’t unless you are willing to give in 100% to what they want to do even if it’s unhealthy behavior or just too demanding. Sometimes people just seem to make plans to cancel repeatedly; I think this is to feel better about themselves/entertain themselves at your expense.

Growing up I over-shared for certain and easily grew attached to people that seemed to care. Which is why I’m frustrated that as an adult I try to “keep my cool” and make it apparent that I am interested in getting to know people but not in a way that pushes any boundaries. I don’t know how many people have felt I don’t care or how many people just are insincere/ change their minds more flippantly than I do. Because people aren’t honest.

I’m grateful I have a good marriage and a lot of their family has become mine so I don’t have to feel completely isolated but I’d love to have friends of my own (beyond occasional basic small talk). Having children we walk a thin line avoiding toxic personalities and trying to reach out for our kid’s sakes but unfortunately most people seem to suck or think we do! LOL

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Aure

My current boyfriend of 6 years has all the characteristics mentioned above. I don’t know what to do anymore. Sucks to let someone into your life like this.
I have tried so hard to grow over time and stopped some hurtful behaviors cause that’s not good for either of us or the relationship, but I feel like he never learns.
This guy had the audacity to say “it’s either your university or me” at some point (to wich I ofc chose uni) and then he came back saying he didn’t want to make me choose but it was on me for not paying attention to him (yeah, I know, it’s on me for staying with him).
Point is, as soon as you see the first sign, run. It’s hard to get away from something like that when years pass.

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Paul

Cut all ties with him block all requests from social media cut him out totally your health and wellbeing is so much more than one bad pennie

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Nick

Hey, sorry you feel like that. No one should. Remember, you are your own person and can do anything you want

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May

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Since he can’t seem to make his partner a priority in his life, why should you continue making your partner one in yours? Own your worth. Make a plan. Leave. It will likely not be amicable. That’s ok. what’s that wise quote… “we accept the love we think we deserve.” Is this what you deserve? No. Move on. You can do it. There are A LOT of Cheerios in the bowl my darling.

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Star

I have a male friend since 5 years , who is sometimes very nice, helps me most of the time i ask, but he never msgs me first. I am always the first one to msg even if 6 months pass by. Sometimes doesn’t reply to my msgs. He says i am really special to him, whenever we talk over phone once a while, but i do feel a lot anxious why is it he never msg first. I have talked about this issue and he says he is committed to too much work. Should i just leave the relationship and move on or carry on the same way. I dont understand what exactly is in his mind.

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Şule

just move on. he is not the only one working in the world. you also may be busy in your life but you still find time to talk to him. so forget it. it seems like you are the carrier of the ship. it doesn’t matter anymore.

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Kay S

My advice is to not be so available to him. Don’t chase him or his attention. Let him come to you, even if it takes months or longer. Make him come after you. If he doesn’t, then he’s not Mr. Right. There are millions of single men in this country. Don’t settle for one who does not value you as you should be values.

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Serena

Hi, I have been looking for a blog/place to share my thought about how I feel. I have been engaged for 3 years now and the family of my partner doesnt seem to appreaciate me. Their presence causes me a lot of anxiety, i really avoid seeing them. His father is very condescendant and his mother very vulnerable and under her husband commands. They do not share the same values as me and my partner but they are still his parents. They are very cold with me and very passive aggressive. Sometimes the husband is aggressive to my partner’s wife in front of us… and no one adresses the elephant in the room. me and my partner have a healthy relationship and the only cause of conflits is: his parents/family (just adressing the topic can cause a conflit between us). I can’t stand them and refuse to deal with them… recently blocked them all off facebook because they would comment posts where I would talk my partner for an inside joke by stating that we have too expensive taste for example, or non-reasonable choices etc.) sorry i needed to vent.. it is very sad… we are both 2 professionals and have a good “status” let’s call it this way.. and I feel his parents thing im worth nothing for my partner. I need advice on to how not get affected by them.. sometimes just when I see that my partner is texting his parents I have anxiety… i just want to be able to live without acknowlodging them…

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Scott

I myself have put up and try to make something out of the relationship I have had with a girl. At first I saw myself through her and I wanted to change and become better. Firstly I would use words or actions same as her but when I saw her doing the same, this Brought light to myself. Over time the relation hung on only cause I hoped that one day she would to make a change. This past year she lost her apartment and I allowed her to move in despite my reservations. During covid we spent a lot of time but she was starting to take more and more and didn’t contribute to the household. Everything became my fault, all bills was on me and she was always broke. Turns out she was abusing drugs and this past week everything has come to the end. I am sadden but happy to move on and not live like this , oh I never ever got a birthday gift or holiday gift from her. My word of advice is to stay far away from people like this. I kinda knew what she was about but I thought I was the one to help her become a better person. This is where I went wrong!!

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Aloise

So i have been making more time for myself in my relationship and my boyfriend is upset, his exact words were “you decide to change your routine for some reason, you don’t speak to me about it so now i have decide not to let it bother me anymore…you do you hun”, mind you i have been telling him that i dont see how spending four hours after work watching him work is productive. so i just go home and exercise or nap, or spend time with my family… i know i should know but i dont know if he is right for me, more than once i feel like he manipulates, plays the victim. i need help

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ethan

same tho I have a group of friends and one of them is kinda rude and toxic and yea just u know but yea they are rude

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Evan B

(all of this is complicated, so please bare with me):

My best friend of nearly 6 years, and I are both recovering from a mistake I made LAST YEAR. (Not yet a year ago, but pretty close). Last year, I got a boyfriend (I am gay), and ditched my best friend for my boyfriend. I would make plans with my best friend and cancel or even just plainly forget about those plans. I started dating my ex boyfriend December of 2019 into 2020. I made plans with my best friend way back November 2019 to spend New Years together, but I forgot and ended up spending $200 for a romantic plan for my ex and ditched my best friend New Years. I did a lot of things that I am not proud of, but eventually I began to attempt to fix my mistakes and make a mends.

It has been over a year, my ex and I broke up, my best friend and I moved out of my parents house and are living with her mother in a different state. We made a new life with new friends together at the same job and everything. For the past year I have made a commitment to proving myself worthy of her trust again and fixing our relationship. She almost cut me out of her life while I was with my ex, multiple times, and I don’t blame her.

The issue at hand is, I’ve tried to fix everything, and I’ve tried proving myself trustworthy. But I have yet to date again since that incident. And that is the thing, I do change how I act and who I am when I am in a relationship, usually… but I know for a fact, since everything that happened, I would not change myself again and I would have my priorities straight if I began to date again.

Both my best friend and I are worried about me dating again, and truth be told, while my best friend said she’d be happy for me if I did start dating, she’s not ready to trust me being in a relationship yet, and she also said that she’d never let me change anything to suit her wants and needs, because she isn’t toxic in that way, but she has said that she, deep down, doesn’t want me dating… but only because she’s afraid to lose me again.

Two – three weeks ago, I started talking to someone (not to date, originally just to meet a new friend, but I ended up liking them) and I was extremely afraid to tell my best friend about them because I wouldn’t know how they’d react, and I was afraid of me losing everything that I had tried to fix because of me talking to someone. So, she had a feeling that I was talking to someone, and asked me about it, and I was so scared of her reaction, that I lied to her face for a whole week, saying I wasn’t talking to anyone… she found out, I forget how, but she did, and she was angry with me and extremely hurt, because that’s actually how I began dating my ex as well. I hid stuff from her back in December as well… and there were a lot of similarities between December and this past recent time. We argued, and this didn’t help my redemption plan… I was eventually going to tell her, but it didn’t help me in the long run. I ended up breaking things apart between me and this new guy because if I was going to date, I was going to go by doing it the right way… now, I am currently single still, for over a year.

Recently, some feelings have been brought up and realized that she’d hadn’t realized before, and now we are awkward when around each other… again. We are slowly getting out of that awkwardness. But she had told me (after asking myself) if I was on thin ice with her still from December, and she said yes, and that in the odd chance I start dating again, she is preparing herself to cut me out of her life…

To hear those words come from her mouth, it hurt me more than most things in my life have ever hurt me. I’d never admit that to her, but it did. I understand why she feels that way too. But the thing is, is that, if that is how she feels, then I don’t know why I am even still apart of her life in the first place. I want to be apart of her life, but if that is how she feels, then she really doesn’t seem to think we are even remotely close to being best friends anymore, let alone the siblings that we call each other. That also means that the hard work that I have been working on in the past year for redeeming myself, didn’t mean a single thing. It was pointless.

I had asked her at the end of that argument, that if I started dating again and was able to prove that I can be trusted and that I know my priorities and all that, then would that help us become stronger again. She said it was possible, but in order to prove to her that she can trust me, she needed to open up a little trust to me, which she doesn’t want to, nor is ready to do.

So until she is ready, I don’t feel like I can start dating… and I told her that, she told me in reply that I can start dating, but she can’t promise me that she’d be able to start trusting me enough for me to prove anything yet because she’s not ready to. She said “I’d force her hand” to trust me a little, which didn’t sound reassuring.

I know she means well, but I am really bothered and hurt by all of this. Some information on my best friend:

She is dating my other best friend, who I also work with. He is great. Both of them together are a power couple. She’s happy as can be with him, and because of her lack of trust in me, she is also happier with him (which is understandable because you’re naturally going to be happier with someone new because it is exciting.. fine.) I’d be a hypocrite for not understanding that. But, they are happy together, she doesn’t have a lot of time to spend with him, me, or her mother, and has little to no time to herself, so splitting time evenly is difficult. Well, we were suppose to hangout just her and I this past Saturday, which didn’t happen. We just spent the entire day in separate rooms of the house. But, usually the three of us are hanging out, or it is just me and my guy-friend, or it is my guy-friend and my best friend.

When it is the three of us (almost all of the time) it hurts me to be around them because my best friend never did anything wrong to me to make me hate her being with someone, but here I am feeling hurt because she’s able to have a perfect relationship and I am here feeling so guilty from December that even with her full trust and happiness, I wouldn’t be able to date again because I’d have PTSD from it. (I have undiagnosed ptsd, but I have diagnosed anxiety and bipolar depression). Anyway, so I am hurting because I really want to date, and I want my best friend and I to finally be in a great place and for us to be on the same mental page of our friendship status together. Neither of which seems possible anymore. And I am breaking so bad, and the only person that I know i can talk to, is the problem… so I feel stuck. I can’t talk to anyone, nobody can help me, nobody will help me, even online… and I don’t really know what to do.

I’d never cut her out of my life. EVER. I don’t care how bad things get between us, I’d never actually leave her. But she would. Everyone would leave me, they always have.

I just want to date someone and feel that romantic love that everyone around me gets to feel. My co-workers, my only two friends, my best friend’s mother, everyone I know is in a relationship… and it hurts knowing that it is going to be impossible to date again without being in a worse, untrusting place with my best friend… and it hurts so bad I’ve actually been suicidal a lot more frequently than normal.

Part of me finds it fair, because I hurt her so bad with my ex… (I have left a few things out to keep the story shorter than it could be) but even to my standard they were such bad things, I hate myself for it every day. — But another part of me also finds it unfair because, while I am really happy with my best friend and everyone I have, and i am extremely grateful to have them in my life (which was one of the problems with my ex), I really want the love and affection that everyone else gets to have with their romantic partner… its not like I’d have that kind of affection with a friend or best friend, that is just weird… and… well, nuff said… but you get what I mean… It hurts a lot. A lot more than I have opened myself up to feeling and thinking about. I don’t know what to do… I need to talk to someone about it, and I need advice… I’ve asked my best friend and her mother and just about everyone I know what I can do… and none of their answers were remotely helpful because it just contradicted what everyone else said and the truth of the matter is… I don’t think there IS any coming back from December’s mistake…

Reply
Bri

Oh my. I feel bad for you. I don’t know when you posted this. But I hope things work out. I mean sitting down and talking to her could be a start. But your happiness is important. But you don’t ever want to leave your friend. She could cut you out of her life but you wouldn’t do the same. No matter what happen. I don’t know exactly what you did but if it was horrible. I would focus on trying to make the relationship between yall stronger. And if you ever wanted to start talking to someone sit down and tell her that you are interested in someone, instead of hiding the fact because that is never good. That would just break the trust between yall more. But if it is putting a strain on you it might be best to end the friendship. It would be very hard and painful. But I say give it another shot. You truly love her I know. So keep trying. I’m unsure if your religious but if you are pray about it. No one could really give you the right advice. Its up to you. And please don’t harm yourself. I don’t even know you but please for my sake don’t do it. You have people that love you and need you even when you don’t see it. You matter. -A friend

Reply
Carol

It sounds like you’ve been bending over backward trying to make this friendship work and she’s using your past behavior to control you. You’ve apologized and changed your life to suit her. That she feels she has to control your private life as well is going way beyond what should be happening. I hope both of you can come to an understanding and remain friends but if not you’ve tried. You have a right to your own life and happiness…if she doesn’t understand that then she’s not as good a friend as she’d have you believe. Real friends want each other to be happy. Good luck.

Reply
Molly H

My husband has been watching porn lately and has been doing it for months hiding it and lying about it. I finally had a talk with him about it or tried to atleast and he kept lying acting confused as if he didn’t know what I was talking about when I had the evidence right in front of me. He made it seem like I was lying to him. Then after lying over and over he said ok maybe a long time ago I watched porn then more and more lies then it got down to maybe last week then maybe two weeks ago. Anyways I don’t even know anymore I can’t trust him. Then I told him to leave because he didn’t seem to even care. And he kept saying he told me the truth when he did not he lied to me. Not once but over and over. And the thing is I was gonna try and help him with his addiction or whatever I wasn’t yelling or being rude. He was and making me feel worthless like I couldn’t do nothing. Anyways back to my point he then started to change the subject bringing up something I had done, nothing to do with porn or anything sexual, just something that happened in our apartment. So then I was like we are talking about you and your porn. And he was all like well what about you? You do stuff too why are the fingers always pointed at me?? Let me put it this way I am so loyal to my husband I’ve done everything he’s asked of me without question. I just don’t know what to do anymore. Is this him being toxic and how can I somehow tell him how he’s being towards me. Because he just doesn’t seem to care and is trying to point fingers at me now.

Reply
Peter L

Well the lying isn’t good, but he probably felt embarrassed. Porn is a fairly normal thing for adults to look at. For me, it gives me a safe space to fly my freak flag . But it’s my space, it’s private.
On its own it seems like a small reason to kick him out, but for you it could be the last straw, and besides, everyone has their own set of morals and maybe porn is on your ‘Red’ list if you catch my meaning.
I am always for people trying to work issues out, but without knowing you it’s hard to advise.
I hope you guys come to an accord one way or the other, marriage is a big deal, but if it’s not right then it’s better to divorce than stay miserable for years.

Reply
Emily

Can I just ask you is it the fact he watches porn that bothers you? Or the fact he is lying about watching it?

Reply
Meg

I grew up with both parents being physically and mentally unstable, this wasn’t “toxic”. My parents did the very best they could but also displayed ALL of these characteristics, I had to attempt to navigate this with little to no help, support or resources and found very quickly this was impossible on my own. I now engage in these familiar behaviours and a huge part of that is my BPD, I experienced A LOT of trauma, I couldn’t register how to treat people in all of that and as a twenty five year old I still struggle to find and keep jobs and maintain relationships. This is a negative and maybe “toxic” cycle, but it’s the only thing I know and I’m getting all the professional help I can but I still feel like everyday is a uphill battle. It’s been 11 years of talking therapy and I still feel worthless! But I WILL keep trying to change my mindset but things like this make me think not only am I wrong for being and thinking the way I do (which although very true), makes my recovery so much harder, I know my parents didn’t set out in life to hurt anyone, they just didn’t know any better after all of there traumas, and neither do I, but please don’t label us as toxic. We’re just living with invisible illnesses. I hope anyone that relates to this is ok.. We are not bad people trying to be good, we are sick people trying to get better.

Reply
Kenneth G

all you can do is try. at least you know that you have a problem. Keep trying and you will find an answer. Good luck.

Reply
Sesaya

So i was in this one relationship just the other day but i left him. He stopped talking to me all of a sudden because i stopped showing him my body, he said that he was always busy with video games and Anime, but i think he was mad that i stopped showing him my body. I believe that it was toxic, but i´m not quit sure, could you help me clarify?

Reply

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Anxiety will always tilt our focus to the risks, often at the expense of the very real rewards. It does this to keep us safe. We’re more likely to run into trouble if we miss the potential risks than if we miss the potential gains. 

This means that anxiety will swell just as much in reaction to a real life-threat, as it will to the things that might cause heartache (feels awful, but not life-threatening), but which will more likely come with great rewards. Wholehearted living means actively shifting our awareness to what we have to gain by taking a safe risk. 

Sometimes staying safe will be the exactly right thing to do, but sometimes we need to fight for that important or meaningful thing by hushing the noise of anxiety and moving bravely forward. 

When children or teens are on the edge of brave, but anxiety is pushing them back, ask, ‘But what would it be like if you could?’ ♥️

#parenting #parent #mindfulparenting #childanxiety #positiveparenting #heywarrior #heyawesome
Except I don’t do hungry me or tired me or intolerant me, as, you know … intolerably. Most of the time. Sometimes.
Growth doesn’t always announce itself in ways that feel safe or invited. Often, it can leave us exhausted and confused and with dirt in our pores from the fury of the battle. It is this way for all of us, our children too. 

The truth of it all is that we are all born with a profound and immense capacity to rise through challenges, changes and heartache. There is something else we are born with too, and it is the capacity to add softness, strength, and safety for each other when the movement towards growth feels too big. Not always by finding the answer, but by being it - just by being - safe, warm, vulnerable, real. As it turns out, sometimes, this is the richest source of growth for all of us.
When the world feel sunsettled, the ripple can reach the hearts, minds and spirits of kids and teens whether or not they are directly affected. As the important adult in the life of any child or teen, you have a profound capacity to give them what they need to steady their world again.

When their fears are really big, such as the death of a parent, being alone in the world, being separated from people they love, children might put this into something else. 

This can also happen because they can’t always articulate the fear. Emotional ‘experiences’ don’t lay in the brain as words, they lay down as images and sensory experiences. This is why smells and sounds can trigger anxiety, even if they aren’t connected to a scary experience. The ‘experiences’ also don’t need to be theirs. Hearing ‘about’ is enough.

The content of the fear might seem irrational but the feeling will be valid. Think of it as the feeling being the part that needs you. Their anxiety, sadness, anger (which happens to hold down other more vulnerable emotions) needs to be seen, held, contained and soothed, so they can feel safe again - and you have so much power to make that happen. 

‘I can see how worried you are. There are some big things happening in the world at the moment, but my darling, you are safe. I promise. You are so safe.’ 

If they have been through something big, the truth is that they have been through something frightening AND they are safe, ‘We’re going through some big things and it can be confusing and scary. We’ll get through this. It’s okay to feel scared or sad or angry. Whatever you feel is okay, and I’m here and I love you and we are safe. We can get through anything together.’
I love being a parent. I love it with every part of my being and more than I ever thought I could love anything. Honestly though, nothing has brought out my insecurities or vulnerabilities as much. This is so normal. Confusing, and normal. 

However many children we have, and whatever age they are, each child and each new stage will bring something new for us to learn. It will always be this way. Our children will each do life differently, and along the way we will need to adapt and bend ourselves around their path to light their way as best we can. But we won't do this perfectly, because we can't always know what mountains they'll need to climb, or what dragons they'll need to slay. We won't always know what they’ll need, and we won't always be able to give it. We don't need to. But we'll want to. Sometimes we’ll ache because of this and we’ll blame ourselves for not being ‘enough’. Sometimes we won't. This is the vulnerability that comes with parenting. 

We love them so much, and that never changes, but the way we feel about parenting might change a thousand times before breakfast. Parenting is tough. It's worth every second - every second - but it's tough. Great parents can feel everything, and sometimes it can turn from moment to moment - loving, furious, resentful, compassionate, gentle, tough, joyful, selfish, confused and wise - all of it. Great parents can feel all of it.

Because parenting is pure joy, but not always. We are strong, nurturing, selfless, loving, but not always. Parents aren't perfect. Love isn't perfect. And it was meant to be. We’re raising humans - real ones, with feelings, who don't need to be perfect, and wont  need others to be perfect. Humans who can be kind to others, and to themselves first. But they will learn this from us. Parenting is the role which needs us to be our most human, beautifully imperfect, flawed, vulnerable selves. Let's not judge ourselves for our shortcomings and the imperfections, and the necessary human-ness of us.❤️

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