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.

2,313 Comments

Cha Cha

I have been in a relationship with a friend for over fifteen years. I am so thankful to know I am not the only one that has allowed someone like this in my life. Thanks

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Mariam

I don’t know If any kind people will believe me when I say this. Everyone around me right this moment has a some of these bad thing’s that they do. Even my own family. EVERYONE treats me badly. And some people I know do ALL these bad things. But It’s true that you can’t do anything about It. Believe me I tried. Only smart people will listen to you. They’re cruel, unforgiving, ungrateful, evil, never listen, never apologize, never appreciate, never surrender for making mistakes and always lie and say they are right and I am wrong, always judge, feel pity for me, believe I am incapable and stupid, when I answer for anything they dismiss, ignore, forget me and close the conversation. One thing I am sure about right now. They don’t actually love me and I will never love them again because they will never change.

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Kathy

……I hear you, and understand, and believe you, I see it too, …but I rise above it, I pray to Jehovah God about it through the name of his Son King Jesus, …They do care for us, They don’t agree with the hate in the world today, ….one thinks for sure, God’s day is soon, then true peace here and no Wickedness not bad spirits not bad people, get to know Jehovah God and King Jesus in the Bible I found real comfort in the scriptures you can too! Hang on friend

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Patricia C

Hi, I am going thru this at this in my life I am glad I have found this website I was told I was disgusting and my feelings did not matter because I am not saying anything meaning or important to him he was not interested and then told to shut-up. I end up in tears and depressed. I turn to God because I have no family and he has run my friends off. I am by myself. So thank you for the website at least I am not told to shut-up.

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Michele

So sorry to read your post. Try joining a local social friend site on Facebook

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ML

I was the scapegoat in my passive aggressive family, and with some groups of women. Cut them loose and love yourself.

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Lithmi

I’m so sorry to hear that, it doesn’t matter nobody cares, u have your self, u are a good person, even though some people can’t admit!! Right people will treat u properly 😋 u are not invalid! 💕

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Zyrah

Hi wish your in a good situation right now Mariam wish youthe best, you can do it ☺️

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Laila

I am so sorry to read you are going through this. I am a very kind person. In fact I’ve been called too nice. What you wrote has been a vicious cycle of mine my whole life…..with my family my children my romantic partners my friends. I think that because I know my own worth am intelligent am loving forgiving insightful….and genuinely love others and myself I repeat this cycle. When my boundaries are crossed I confront the situation. However, I do this by trying to have a mature conversation. This never goes over well. I learn that people have so many reasons to get defensive in situations…..but what it all breaks down to….is people don’t respect me….they think they are better than me so they don’t have to face the truth….it is easier for people to lie about you so they don’t have to look at their mistakes or behaviors. It has nothing to do with me….they can’t look at their reflection and grow as a person. There are some really good people out there. I have the ability to make and keep friends. So don’t give up and stand up for your boundaries.

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jnfn

get away from these people, they don’t deserve you. i have family like this and can’t completely be free of it. i do keep them at arms length. And find solace that 90% of the time i don’t need to think about going. fathers day next. “pfff!”
good luck.

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Lisa

I’ve been there for my boy friend when he was in the hospital after a four wheeler reck. When he almost drown at the lake. Before we got together I would try to help him with his bills. Now know one cares about him. Know one will help him and I don’t do enough. I can’t play a game on my phone, do my hair, or dress nice, without him thinking something negative. He will tell me I need to do more for my self but when I buy my self something or make my self look presentable. I’m trying to get someone else’s attention or I don’t do anything for him. I’m disabled and I have two wonderful boys. My boys and my home come first. Everything is on me. The bills, the well being of my children, and making sure we have a dependable car. I feel so drained. To love someone who doesn’t appreciate what you have done or what you can do is exhausting, frustrating, and unfair. Now he will help me out when he can but even that gets thrown in my face. So it’s not really helping. Sometimes he will argue and argue about what he has spent and he has even asked for his money back. I know he’s not happy with him self or the situation he’s in. But all he does is complain, argue and place blame on me. Nothing I do or have done is ever good enough. Sometimes I feel like packing up everything and sneaking off when he is gone, just to get away. Tired of being called everything but the child of God. I’m tired of my children hearing him argue. I’m tired.

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Rashaun T

I’m with somebody who has been cheating on me for most of our relationship. When I leave she tells ppl I was toxic and she had to let me go bc i would get so mad and get physical with her and wasn’t there for her. At the same time she would be begging to come back as she’s talking to many guys. Her stories are always partial. She would leave out that she talks to guys then when I try to leave she trys to guard me and starts saying I’m not a real man for giving up on her . She’ll start grabbing me somtimes punching me while I’m trying to leave so I push her off and she’ll say omg u just put ur hands on me im so done your so abusive. She just cheated on me a few days ago . She a tually had been doing well not much with my mental but she wasn’t cheating or talking to guys. But she couldn’t handle me healing I would have sex with her but not all the time. I still was trying to heal from the few guys she cheated on me with or even the sugar daddies and parting she would put b4 me I was and still always on the back burner. She talks about marriage and kids all the time. I always be honest and say that will not happen with how things are and she gets upset. I let her know it makes no sense that thes the one who’s wants a family life but has no loyalty and can’t control her anger and tries to make me seem so horrible to everyone else so it doesn’t make her look bad when she’s seen with a guy or because I left. I just dont know what to do. Her family partially knows how she is her dad even gave me her blessing without me asking bc they know I’ve dealt with a lot from her and still try to help her become better. I told her mom as she died I would protect her daughter and help her mature. But nothing I do is good enough for her to stop. And fully leave that type of life style. This is the longest she’s been out of the strip club and sugar daddies but I could tell a couple months ago she would relapse back into her addictions

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Penni S

Why put yourself through it? There are people out there that want a good mate… That is not Love it’s control

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Lori

I’ve been with my bf for 7 years. Of the 7 years I have caught him texting and sexting other women. He has talked bad about me to these women and told them he can’t wait until I’m gone because I’m a B. He told them his kids hated me. won’t come around because of me. I’ve been harassed by his kids and his ex wife since the day they found out about me and he’s allowed it all. It’s been very stressful and hurtful. He says he’ll never marry me and doesn’t want me, but yet keeps reeling me back in just to do it all again. He’s an alcoholic and drinks daily. He’s abusive both physically and mentally while intoxicated yet denies it. Always claims he’s unhappy and that’s why he does it, yet still buys me things and comes to see me since I left him and moved out. He says it’s all my fault because I’m still with him. I went out to eat with another man and now all of a sudden I’m the villain/cheater. When he has cheated on me with multiple women for 7 years while I’ve been faithful. It’s really too much to mention all the things he’s done and said. I’m left
Angry, bitter, hurt, sad, and confused. It’s the most toxic relationship I’ve ever been in, and I’m 53 years old. Breaking free is a struggle!

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Lisa R

because if you dont reconize it early on, then it breaks down your self esteem. they have you believing your a broken person that should be lucky they love you because nobody else will want you. they have you trying constantly to change and better yourself, when its not you. trust me ….. if it gos on for very long, it is quite damaging and takes alot of hard work to get past and over come so that you dont take that damage and defensiveness into the next relationship. toxic people really do alot of damage to kind loving people.

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Jack W

As soon as you tell her , ok you will marry her, she will be done. She hasnt conquered that part of you. LEAVE HER. SHE IS TOXIC

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Guila H

Why do you deserve this treatment from her?

The answer is, you don’t! But every time you accept the way she treats you, you validate that she is justified in how she is treating you.

You know you can’t save her, you can’t change her, you can’t help her mature and you certainly can’t help her survive her demons and addictions.

Get out now! Save yourself, change yourself, heal, mature and survive from the hell she’s made of your life.

Best of luck, wishing you lots of love and healing energy.

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Ar

Very similar situation! I had to reply to your comment . Last year my boyfriend of 17 years justified cheating by the things that I did not do as he told me to do. One of which was allowing my adult son (that is still able to work despite a progressive disability) to live my home that I pay for. I had reasons for allowing him to live in my home and one was to allow him to get on his feet financially to make a move. He will have obstacles in his life because of the physical disability they are on.
I am also disabled and I can’t work. The boyfriend wants to work it out with me but the damage done may be irreparable particularly due to his defensive and aggressive responses to tormenting thoughts that I want to get off my chest. He may be incapable of truely manning up and coming to terms that he has a problem with his way of thinking worry he’s just gonna screw things up with anyone in his life . There is something wrong with him for acting out in a manner that he did. I assume most women would just end it and some would seek out revenge. He carried out the affair for four months on a cell phone is on my credit card and traveling to go see her with my credit card in his pocket just in case he broke down. He would charge expenses for business and when he fell short on money, and that allowed him to free up cash for his indiscretions. I’ve been a homebody for quite some time because I have a problem with my right leg going numb when I lift it to step on the break if I drive. With all of the money that I have put out through these years relieving him of expenses is something that he is completely void about. He has also suggested I keep myself busy because I think too much and I don’t do enough things that he wants me to do for him. So I get the criticism on playing games, words with friends. His idea of me getting out of the house is to have somebody take me to the grocery store. If I put make up on to go out with female friends I haven’t seen for a while, I will likely be accused of something. He wants to be first above my children and he also has a history of not liking family members of his ex-wife which has rolled into relatives in my life. For him there is no such thing as loving some people equally but in a different way. And that included the last of our dogs that passed away last year . I am in a bad situation and I am forewarning you during my experience. It sounds so very similar. My self-esteem has been beat down badly. I am not a bad looking 60-year-old woman but this other woman he decided to cheat on me with is younger, bodily fit, and tiny. The funny part is after looking up her background and what he has told me apparently the two of them thought each other had money. She lied to make herself look better and he feel to tell her that he was financially surviving because he had back up which with me . I should’ve just let them go on, get past their honeymoon period, and discover each other‘s bullshit. I previously trusted him 101%. My ex-husband and my younger years had problems and nothing that he did surprised me. I held on for the kids during that time.

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Somebody

I am married to a woman who does all of these. Not one bit all. And the excuse i hear is that is just how women are. Nuf said.

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Lisa

I fill you your not the only one. I’ve been in one for 26 years now and I still cant let go . I wish I had the strength to. But my heart is no big I have a lot of empathy and compassion

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Denise

What are you waiting for? Do you think its going to change? If you dont get away from this guy for yourself then do it for your children. This is emotional abuse. If you think it wont have a negative affect on your kids your wrong. Your setting an example for your children that it’s ok to let someone treat you that way. It may be hard at first to cut ties.But once you do and stay away and dont go back for more, you will feel so much better. Your kids will feel so much better too. What is keeping you there? Stop being selfish and get your kids the hell out of there. Go have a happy peaceful life. with your children. Theres a difference between needing a man and wanting one. You sure don’t need him. He is a narcissist . Read about narcissist and how they operate. You know this situation isnt right but yet you stay in it with children. Be strong,move on.

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Crystal

Well my dear, you’ve pretty much identified your problem, and come up with a solution. I know your emotions are very strong for him, but this is where common sense has to come into play. You have two choices: make up your mind to stay and deal with it (which may or may not include addressing mental health issues- there’s no shame in that), or come up with an exit plan. Let the decision be totally yours, so that if doesn’t work out how you expect, it’s on you. Then you work that out as well. Take everything in your situation into account, be realistic, if you pray, pray for wisdom and insight, so you can make an informed choice. I wish you well. Be safe.

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Jazz

I don’t understand why people don’t know there worth. Codependency is not happiness a person only changes if they truly care and love that individual person.
Notice I said TRULY. Praying for someone is good but, getting the hell away to have peace and joy is better. I believe happinesses comes from within yourself and you have to live yourself, otherwise how can you love another person? I’m hearing Narcissist Personality disorder, selfishness, and nothing positive about the other person.

Staying with a person and allowing them to control your mind is not healthy, giving them all of you and getting nothing in return is emptiness and who what that feeling? There are too many abuse lines to help you and your children get away from this toxic person, please call them. Seek help for you and your children. Please don’t think about yourself and put your children first for once bc if a person is mistreating you they are more then likely mistreating your children. Plus it’s not healthy, please break the chain. This is teaching our your boys it’s, okay to treat a women like this and our your girl this is how a person is suppose to treat her. Wrong message of what love really is and this they become teens a
disrespect you and you wonder why?
Never tell an abusive person you are leaving them bc they are already mentally unstable. Just quietly get away from them and go somewhere self or far away. I’ve dealt with mostly all of this and now happily living with a friend away from the toxic person.

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Guila H

Lisa, get away from him. Don’t waste another minute with him let alone another day. He is not happy with himself and he is dragging you down with him and together you will drag down your kids.

He is not going to change no matter how much you love him. He doesn’t want to change because then he will have to be responsible for himself and own his shit which he doesn’t want to do because that is way to hard.

Instead he will continue to take out his anger on you, keep blaming you for the way he feels and ultimately make you miserable, hating life.

How do I know this? This is how I was treated until I decided I didn’t want my life to be miserable. I left without looking back and my life is now my own again. Finally happy ! Better to cry and mourn the loss of what I had hoped for our relationship for 6 months to a year than to cry and mourn the loss of your happiness for life!

I wish you all the best and get out now! If not for you then for your children. Sending you LOTS OF LOVE!

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Broken hearted

I too am in a relationship like this we have been married 12 years and it was great for awhile but I worked, paid the bills then I got to where my health got the best of me had to have 3 back surgery’s and couldn’t work but even then my rent and bills was paid I went through my savings of 60,000 and I ran outta money. His love ran out too, then he went to work and he’s paying bills so now he is better than me. No matter what I say it’s turned into something bad. Everyday he comes home 10, 11, 12 but if he is working for us and I don’t appreciate it he sleeps with his phone, keys and wallet like I steal from him. I hear I was the worst mistake of his life and he hates me and then he says he is miserable with me and later he says he is not but I’m so lonely and heartbroken I have a lot of spine issues a lot caused by him but I am to where I can’t walk he comes in at 11 full of energy and rage and he sometimes doesn’t even sleep and goes to work at 6 am He hasn’t slept with me in 6 months now it went from every day to now 6 months and showing me affection never letting me be upset making me feel like I was the only girl in the world to never making me feel like trash and everything is my fault and I still love him and he says I don’t love him at all and says I think he is cheating and I never said that.

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Rose

You said that you’re tired. One day you will get sickened tired…. trust. Remaining in such abusive relationship constitutes child abuse. Your children deserve better. If you don’t get out for yourself, consider your children.

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Laura

Going through this with my Dad right now. Last year was my Mom. She usually goes first anyway. “Sometimes people make you feel guilty so they don’t feel bad for all the this they have done to you.” Read that somewhere recently and it rings true with my mon and dad my entire life. I am 53 and both parents with a year have finally said how they were forced to have me. Yes they were teens and yes they divorced after 8 years of busting ass and taking names for a lifetime. I broke it off with mom for my own health. Both my parents have NOT softened with age. It’s has made them harder and meaner. Can’t change them but I can do something about me. They only do what I have allowed. I have lived chasing love (didn’t realize it until my 40s). Did know I could love myself more. I am new at it but I am still alive so I am still learning and I know that daily practice (of whatever positive approach you take) takes time and effort to get good at it. Be kind to yourself first. Treat yourself like someone you might actually like. It’s what I have to do. I made God my Father 6 years ago and our relationship has been very healing. He met me where I was (not in a church) and I didn’t know how to even love GOD back. I don’t go to church but I do have a Bible that I understand and a couple of believers that have prayed for me along the way. I have learned enough self respect recently to possibly realize I am wasting my time on parents who have treated my life like a nuisance they have have to constantly deal with. I hope you move on ☮️💟

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Barbara J J

Good food for thought.
Thank you for you wisdom, we all need to check our mental engines, for a tune up.

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Bryan P S

Its xmas eve 2020… the past 6 weeks ive slept on the couch and been completely chastised, isolated, and just degraded…. i still don’t know why. I bought her a washing machine when ours went out… i spent half the cost on her kids for xmas while i spent my money only on my daughter… and significantly less for fear of being yelled at and further isolated from our family… her complaints about me are that im lazy when im at home and that i don’t do enough and all i worry about is money… im yelled at about bills constantly though so im working 2 fulltime jobs now 7 days a week. This just changed from 1 full time job and 2 part time jobs. Im rarely home and told thats just an excuse… im emotionally drained and depressed… what am i doing wrong?! Im told money doesnt matter but yet she always brings it up! She has all my cards and account info… idk what to do… please i beg you someone help me!

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Angela M

This is my first time ever replying or even posting to anything online but I feel like after everything that I’ve been through including what all my husband and my own damn family has put me through that I now have a God giving purpose to try to help others in the best and most honest way that I know how to so here it goes…first of all I strongly believe that life is given to be lived to the very fullest and I do NOT play by the rules or the laws! After everything I’ve been through I can honestly say I am Fearless and Shameless! There isn’t one person along or a million together that’s going to change any of my perspectives so before I get carried away here I’ll just give you a little a friendly advice and say that maybe you should just take a break and some time to yourself to assess your situation to see if the good outweighs the bad and also to make her miss you. Don’t let anyone try to change who you are unless it’s for the better but definitely do NOT let anyone no matter who the hell they are rob you of your happiness! Life is way to short for that shit! You need to do what makes YOU happy! Yeah it is important to always try to be considerate of other people’s needs and feelings but not when it is completely robbing you of yours. I’ve always led a miserable life and pretty much hated me and everything about myself but after being put to and sent to hell too many damn times to add and multiply I think it’s about time for ME, MYSELF and I to keep learning how to love myself more & more each day. I’m not gonna let anyone or anything ever get in my way of being happy ever again! Maybe you should try that for awhile, do what makes you happy but also trust your heart to do what is right at the same time, if that makes any sense at all…Merry Christmas and God Bless You!

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Rose

As a mental health counselor, I’ll offer the same reply to you. Remaining in such abusive relationship constitutes child abuse. Your children deserve better. If you don’t get out for yourself, consider your children.

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Cat

Reading this has really hit home. I should have left the farther of my child years ago, when he lost my home started taking drugs when I was pregnant but I forgave him. It’s been on and off for years but I have always felt like shit around him and he has made me and my daughter not be as close, I don’t have a sexual realationship with me don’t fancy him don’t like him, but love him because he gave me my daughter. I am sick of being dragged down, once again let him back into my life to be broken, I need the power of you guys to move on my sister is so strong I look up to her she has always been mum and dad and worked hard x

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Adin

It seems fitting to say that I am a toxic person. I dont know if victims are the only ones to respond here or if anyone would actually admit to being a toxic person. I read the whole thing and I think it fits me well the way I have treated my now ex wife. I have spent last 6 months trying to figure out whats wrong with me. I couldnt find answers anywhere but psychologist. His conclusion was that I have Bipolar Disorder. I have made a decision that it is best if you love her to let her go. I still care about her and think the way I still feel that I wont contribute to her joy and happiness its sometimes best to just dont drag her down while you some rational thinking left.

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Christine

Thank you so very much for sharing this extremely accurate representation of the dynamics of a very unhealthy, toxic relationship. I personally refuse to consider myself as a victim to the painful encounters I’ve allowed myself to go through with my ex. I had to learn the hardest way possible going through the same manipulative situations that I didn’t create but played a part up just by overlooking the severity of all the unnecessary abuse & forgave too quickly without ever knowing if it’d happen again usually I just wished it wound stop & get better without anything changing. We are usually love to hard neglecting ourselves & caring about who we are last.
….
I’m learning to let go and get on with my life now .
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Got is it hard but I don’t want to wish to be treated well I want to find a good healthy accountable soul who wants to love me but I have do love me first & then I might be respected by someone because they respect themselves ….
Thanks again for sharing your wisdom, I enjoyed reading your understanding about something I still font fully understand.
….
Take good care of you and yours!

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Mia L

It is so hard he there for me and have my back about the problems I have with my family they too also have turned their backs on me practically stole my children from me made me sign papers of my kids over to them while my ex husband but first and only love at time was dying day of funeral before had to sign my children over I’m an only child and father is deceased step father very good to me for a long time when 27 was trying in his sick mind show me how a woman is supposed to be treated I didn’t go along with it told me I would pay for rest of life that I could have had it made would never had to worry about houses cars money would have had it good. My mother wants nothing to do with me WOULDNT learn about major depressive disorder and should have understood why I was in major depression my children again. Can’t see my grandchildren unless I leave my mother alone said my 30 year old youngest son because I’m finding out from someone outside the family my mother is getting sicker with Copd having breathing problems worse oh that was my fault when shecwentcto icu found out then she had infezema said my brainwashed children because I texted her to tell her it’s my responsibility ( step father passed 2018. I’m next of kin and only next of kin. I want nothing from my morhercwho is filthy rich while I own nothing I live with what i just found out is a toxic person who knows have no where to go no car since 2016 can finally get one finally got approved ssi since 2015 Judge should have approved me in 2018 they didn’t pay me back pay they owe me will have to find fight to get it DMV is saying two dwis are on my record I don’t drink blew zeros got dismissed and then got dismissed on 9/16/2020 have minutes from court and text message from ada saying so so now I have every single paper ticket etc every got will have to figure out how to get this fixed can’t afford Atty one is blessing me helping me some for free and Dmv said nothing was on my record anymore got 6 different answers saying I still have to put breathalyzer in my vehicle for two years do get license in suspended that should have never been suspended never convicted on any and them DMV says I have a dwi conviction on 9/20/2020 4 days after dismissal. There is no one else to talk to at the main dmv at the capital of the state. Don’t know who to call or what to do for me to prove it they don’t want to see minutes they are going by what’s been reported to them don’t know who to go to who can straighten this all out! Lord help me please!!!!

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Mia L

Meant when ex husband father of my two boys first and only love was dying they my parents made me do all this when I was very vulnerable instead of emotionally helping and supporting act like I’m dead and it’s all my fault my mother is sick all I want to do is be there for her she’s asking someone to go stay with her to help her and will pay someone very well to do it but doesn’t want me to go help her and be there for her. They don’t know God like I do or they would forgive for all the things I’ve made mistakes about and are persecuting me after 20?years. God made families to be there for each other and stick together mother wrote letter the week ex husband was dying and copied to all my aunts uncles grandparents everyone that she was kicking me out condo she bought me and for none of them to help me no food no money have nothing to do with me. I pray for my mothers sins now for not loving her only child unconditionally and vm brainwashing my kids they don’t love me she and them act like she’s their mother and MY grandchildren s grandmother she told me along time ago my kids were not mine they were hers and my stepdads and she did not have just one child wouldn’t let me have contact with my kids and not let me go for holidays so kids think I didn’t want them and they are convinced and believe and worshipping her and said I’m not in the will I’m getting nothing i just want my family to love me

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Rose

As a mental health counselor, I’ll offer the same reply to you. Remaining in such abusive relationship constitutes child abuse. Your children deserve better. If you don’t get out for yourself, consider your children.

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Rose

Write to your children every month and keep a copy. Even if your mother doesn’t show them your letters, one day God will give you the opportunity to. This will help you too. Call it free therapy.

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Linda

I had a similar situation in Wisconsin and the people who you are talking to are only the ones that read what’s in front of them and have no suggestions for any other options I don’t know how I finally got past them but I did and was able to get some help! The only people who can make any decisions or changes are State drug and alcohol evaluation people but don’t ever expect them to offer that information!!!! Idk if you already did this but if not….give it a try…I sure hope this helps? Good luck!!👌

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Nicole

O wow Adin, the funny thing is I know for sure that you are a BEAUTIFUL person. Sometimes we are just frustrated and bitter and yes then we are toxic. I personally don’t believe in psychologist (oops is this a psychologist website?). Anyways, if I feel happy with myself and love myself I am a nice person. If I’m bitter, man I am the most toxic person ever. I hope this makes sense. Start loving yourself. You are human and find out why you behaved as you behaved. I’m sure you were not that happy and even if you were, there is bitterness beneath that “happiness”. Good luck Adin. I’ve turned from a bully to a nice person, because I learnt to love myself FINALLY.

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Denise P

Sounds like a cop out is it easier to OUT than it is to change . Shell always feel like she wasn’t worth it the damage to her self esteem is significant . My wife is toxic and a narsasist and hadn’t apologized on 3 years she’s no need she is never wrong I’ve gone crazy for 3 years now trying she’s moved me out only to cry and beg me home when I didn’t come immed she moved her troubled adult daughter in and the boyfriend these two don’t work never really have . There’s no need . Mom buys them 120 $ bags of ulta and takes them shopping all day everytime I e had an appt she also takes them to the spot because st 25 her daughter won’t bother to get a lusence . She won’t ever make them do anything for themselves the house is a pigsty to say the least . Now she’s entertained so I’m a sex toy in the weekends she lives me but put me outside to live in my car after she had a little thing with an engineer online they talked about family favorite colors what they like to do and they swap pictures I was in trouble could be mad about it because she was networking and I just didn’t understand. I never wanted to this day I know what networking is I’m not an idiot but I can tell you this if she doesn’t stop and just said you know what I love you and I want to make this work and I know for the big part of the problem is me maybe we could work it out I’m still here right now in her house but I’ll be leaving today and every time I leave I get one step closer to never coming back. It’s easy enough for her to say my love isn’t enough I can’t do enough for you you’re just not happy with me I am the truth of the issues 100% right so love isn’t enough but it’s because she doesn’t give enough and she doesn’t try ever so how’s it supposed to be enough did you give a dog an empty bowl is it going to get full ? So my suggestion if you do love her at least if you’re going to just opt out because you’ll be bad for her at least tell her tell her that you know it’s you tell her that you know you have this issue and you’re really not sure what to do and that you loved her to the best of your ability but unfortunately that sucks right now I don’t want to just go on thinking that it’s her because it hurts a lot

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Tom

The weird thing is I was searching for something very different from this and I found this accidentally. But heck it’s all true.
My bf whom I would call “N”, I’ve been in a relationship with him for over 4 years now (we haven’t met still) (online). Since I was 18 and a couple of months. I’ve never had any relationship before that. I find it hard to connect with people and don’t just fall in love that easily or just enter a relationship for the heck of it. So far he is my only one. The one that got me to say I love you.
And I hate to admit it, But this article describes him. He took advantage of the fact that I truly love him and that I needed him in life. For some reason it’s hard for him to say I love you. I’m an emotional person not in a bad way, don’t get me wrong I don’t like to express my feelings at all but I like to express my feelings to him and for all this time I haven’t had any chance where he listened to everything I had to say. And I can’t even count the times I stayed up till 7 am to be there for him or making something so he could find in the morning when he wakes up. I’ve had both my best and worst days with him. He only realized how much I mean to him when I became unresponsive to his strategies and turned “cold” because I couldn’t express my self and almost had it. And believe it or not he found a way to make that about him. And he also added that he had a suicide attempt. Now it’s all about him and back to square one I can’t express anything. Cause I don’t take it lightly when someone says they’re trying to commit suicide specially when it’s someone I love. I’m not sure but I guess he knew that.
I’m the one always trying. I’ve had anxiety disorder since I was little, when I grew up before I met him it was sorta controllable. Now it’s not anymore and now depression is added to the mix and I hate to say it but now I take pills and it’s cause of him. But he doesn’t even know any of that. Trust me I wanna write a whole book here cause it’s eating me inside but I can’t.
I wanna ask your advice. I might have some specific questions that i might add later.
And sorry this is it organized at all but this Is due to all the unfinished shi* piled up all those years I can’t even think of one thing without jumping to another.
Sorry about this and thank you in advance.

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hailey

Tom, your situation sounds completely similar to mine (except we spent pretty much everyday together for the two years of our relationship) and I wanted to pass on some advice to you since my break-up. one thing you have to realize about these kinds of relationships is that the toxic person is never going to consider your needs or feelings. They like to play the victim and everything in the relationship and every problem they have in life is somehow going to be your fault. It’s a terrible feeling when you give someone your all and then some, and they tell you you’re not enough or that they think they’re not enough when you’ve have tried to show them they are everyday all the time. You’ll constantly think of reasons why THEY are the problem and they just dont realize how much they hurt you. But the truth is, if you are really feeling this way, you should ask yourself if they are the problem or if you are. Not saying that it is your fault they’re acting this way, but why you continue to put up with it if youre so unhappy. One thing I realized at the end of my relationship was that I knew I was not going to spend the rest of my life with him. I didnt want to, I had achieved so much and he was constantly trying to put me down and tell me I wasnt doing anything right, or I wasnt focusing on him and he started a fight over it. He didnt try to build me up like i did to him, he didnt want to change his behaviour because it hurt me and our relationship. He just wanted attention and love but didnt want to give it in return. Its a long road to realization but once youre there, you have to think long and hard about the next step. Ask yourself what you want in life in 5 years and if this person really fits into the mix, and if they do will it be a positive scenario. I hope this helped!

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Ron

I can’t take anymore. I’m so worn I feel invisible. This person I love works hard at wrecking my nerves. She’ll wait until my guard is down then pounces on me like a cat on a canary. If my guard is up she’ll pound and pound on it until it starts to crumble and weakens. Last night she comes home after being gone 3 days (my God! What a peaceful 3 days it was for me). Immediately she changed her persona from being sweet and lovely to her friends who were in the car with her, to being nasty and condescending, demeaning and grumpy to me. She opened up and started complaining about this one person who didn’t like the festival they all went to and manipulated her to take her back to the hotel early claiming to be ill only to find she wanted to do something else. I said I would’ve taken her to the hotel and given her the number to the taxi service so she could do something else or at least talked to her about the lying. My partner immediately says, “I DIDNT ASK YOUR OPINION!!” I said, ” I’m sorry, I thought we were having a conversation “. She immediately gets up and marched out of the room. I know what this means for me, days of relentless torture and I fall for the trap of trying to fix whatever I’ve done. Of course I’m a man and obviously oblivious to my asinine behavior! So, I get told off more, which only makes me work more towards a solution. I end up apologizing and going to bed shaking from the ordeal. Of course I can’t sleep because of the tension in my body, the fight or flight mode engaged vigorously. So, for hours I listen to my subliminal meditation, ” Get Out of Toxic Relationships “. This always puts me to sleep but last night I listened consciously and it was wonderful. While I was working through my anger of what happened I realized the only way I can correct this relationship is by leaving it. While I’m in it I’m only going to continue to suffer and worse cause suffering by my presence in her life. I’ve said something like this before in here, but leaving isn’t always easy. As a man and one who’s always heard horror stories about men, how they’ve manipulated and abused women throughout history, I feel responsible. It’s hard to accept I’m truly not doing anything wrong except trying to repair the relationship, which always ends with hurt words and feelings and days of relenting, while being reminded about my behavior daily or worse, being asked when am I leaving, enduring withheld affection and dealing with indifference. Then there’s the fact my daughter will be home this weekend and then we both become targets.
I understand she was tired and not happy that her friends kept her up every night only to wake her early the following day. I understand she was disappointed about the behavior of one, who only seemed to drag my partner down. I understand I wasn’t all over her when she arrived home but in my defense, I sensed her bottled anger and only wanted to avoid it. You don’t live with someone for 4 years and not see what’s going on inside them when you see them. Anyway, I’m at my wits end. Just when I feel my strength I lose it. I’m too old for this crap! All I wanted was a decent relationship with someone, not a tortuous one which leaves me devastated regularly.

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Chell

Sometimes women talk to their partners only to vent. It can feel condescending when someone offers advise without being asked whether they want advise.

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Joe W

I’m frankly exhausted by this excuse. It’s more than common knowledge that men make the poor assumption that when their partner brings up a problem, they feel compelled to provide a solution. This reaction is not out of malice. It is typically a misguided attempt to “help.” However, when women feel they can react to this act by jumping down their partner’s throat in a way that is far from understanding, then I’m not sure I care about the sense of condescension. Why? Because the angry response is absolutely meant to hurt. It’s meant to make the other person feel less than. The attempt at a solution was meant to be invested in the relationship. If the man didn’t care or was indifferent, they would just politely nod and just let the woman keep talking. In this particular example, the man was likely also feel that someone had taken advantage of his partner and not happy about someone upsetting her as well.

No, this man is walking on eggshells. Time to get out.

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Maxine

I hear you and understand you Ron. Listen to your inner self Ron, what do you need to be happy?

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Eve

He puts his hands on me with force rather than walking away. He has made me so unhappy and trampled my soul. Taken my free spirited personality. He calls me bad like he’s a horrible parent. He’s not my parent. Says calm down after he picks a fight over something petty. Says leave me alone like a child when he should be just walking away if he’s feeling crowded. He sleeps all day. He’s up all night on computer idk what and don’t care. After seven years of having every wound I ever suffered reopened. I’ve had it. I have no money. I have no family. My friends are either passed or married or far away. The rest don’t want to be around me. I’m sad a lot. They don’t understand why I’m here. I have no place to go. For the first time in 59 years after surviving everything. I’m ve thought of not wanting to live anymore just to suffer. Not bc of him. Because there not enough left of me

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Michelle

After reading this I realise I am the Toxic Person & I want to learn how to stop my behaviour. My BF husband of 23 years finally plucked up the courage to leave me helped by having an affair with someone he told me had a good heart. It hurts very much still. I really want to stop my behaviour before it ruins the future.

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leann

What is the best way to deal with such a terrible toxic relationship that has become dangerous and getting out of the relationship safely without a trace so they cannot find you to do these things to you any longer please help me anyone!?!

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Leann please find a domestic violence support organisation in your area. They have resources and support and processes in place to help with this. Google ‘domestic violence support [type your area]’ If you use your own computer to find this, make sure you delete your browsing history. There will be somewhere close to you that will have the resources to help you. Otherwise there will be a national organisation that will guide you towards the resources in your area. I can’t tell where you are, so I’m not able to guide you – but there will be somewhere. If your safety is at risk, ask the police in your area to guide you towards the right support. There are people who can help you.

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Courtney

The worst is being in this nightmare toxic relationship and it’s the father of my two beautiful children!!! How do I get out…I’ve attempted divorce twice, but couldn’t bc my children were so broken. I suffer every day!!! I’m so thankful I found this article and others that are also suffering so bad. I literally just told him that he makes me not want to live. Sadly once again he had zero compassion or empathy…Please help me!!!

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Ron Adkins

What on EARTH is this HOLD that TOXIC people have on us who are their victims? Why is it sometimes so hard to walk away from them? In essence, jump out of the raging fire they are rather than stand there time and time again, getting grotesquely burned?

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Terry

To put it simply, they have something we want – namely, approval. I shared an office with a toxic co-worker for a few years and realized after some time that I felt like I had to compete with him and win in order to earn his esteem. I didn’t have “feelings” for him, but I considered him to be smarter than I (like a lot of cholerics); so if I had his approval that meant I was smart too. Not until I moved out of that office and joined a book study on “Search for Significance” by Robert McGee did I begin to climb out of that hole. Being an “Approval Addict” was one of several possible traps outlined, and which I’d fallen into – as have many here it seems. For some reason we think we need the approval of another (or people in general) to have worth; and this is what these toxic people hold over our heads, alternately granting it as a reward or withholding it to manipulate us. My situation was different from many here, but for those of us who crave approval recognizing the lie is key to confronting and dismantling it.

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Ron Adkins

I believe in my case, it’s the thought of failure that’s what keeps me in. I simply do not wish to fail unless failure is the only outcome possible. However, I’m seeing now, more than ever, failure is not the option, I was never going to succeed. My option is now to succeed by walking away from the illusion of success. These souls hold carrots out of reach to watch us walk over the cliff trying to win, earn or pursue it endlessly. It’s a game they control and one you can’t win because they control the carrots.

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Alex

until you put yourself out there, prove to me that you love me…

husband loves saying that to me…cant deal with it any more. Im in school fulltime, work, and he is unemployed. I have no patience for his toxic manipulative behavior anymore but divorce is so hard. Hell be homeless

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Deborah

I have read the article and have just read June’s comments 13.2.17. I too….. have tried for 3 years to understand my partner . He has gone off…… cut me off ….. totally 5 times. Then come back again each time leaving it between 6 weeks and 7 month before re entering my life always promising he has changed . On the 14th Feb after 7 weeks back together he did the same again….. after I dared to disagree with something he said. He put the phone down.. refused to answer texts or my calls and texted he’d be back in touch in a week or so. In the 7 weeks we have been back together I have not been my normal happy go lucky self. Today. .. I felt relieve and alive and happy he had gone away and never want to feel like I have for the last week’s. I am questioning why I kept going back… I did love him … but questioned why the relieve of him going away this time was so evident to me.

I won’t be going back again… I know he will text when he has punished me enough . I was going to email him to tell him that this time I never want to see him again. I am not sure if this is the right thing to do or do I just never communicate again. I will seek advise on this I think.

He is an unhappy man who thinks only of himself .

I could tell the full story from beginning to end if it would help anyone recognise the traits.

I actually hop jumped and skipped on my walk with the dog today . I’m grateful I could finally escape and accept I could never change him .
Deborah .

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Ana

The person I am closest to in my life right now is exactly like this. I love him so much and I honestly don’t even know why. We work together and almost every day he is unhappy. He complains constantly about the people in his department and how they stare at him while they eat, or don’t work enough, or he doesn’t like their skinny jeans, or one of a million other things, and it’s emotionally draining. I walked away from him once before because I knew he was dragging me down. He was turning me into a complainer and my personality was changing for the worse. We didn’t talk for months and every day it killed me inside. Every day all I wanted was for him to be the one to come to me first, for him to be the one to apologize, and I waited months. He finally came to me, but he always subtly holds it over my head that I “gave up on him” and that I “didn’t love him enough”. We still spend every work day together now, but I know I have tailored my behavior and habits to not anger him. I have so many friends I don’t talk to anymore because he doesn’t like them for one reason or another. When something happens, it’s always “my fault”, and I’m always the one in tears and apologizing, when either because he flew off the handle at something most other people would have handled differently, or took something I said and totally twisted it around and misinterpreted it (and then refused to talk to me so I had no hope of ever even explaining it wasn’t correct or true). He’s so angry all the time, and sometimes he realizes it, but anytime you try to help him you get accused of trying to “diagnose” him. I don’t know why I’m typing this other than that it’s therapeutic for me and I’m trying to convince myself that it’s not me, it really is him. The hardest part is I don’t know why I love him so much, or how to stop.

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Susan E.

Several months ago a neighbor called me to call 911 as her husband “was going crazy and she didn’t know what to do”. I did and then went up there to see what happened. The police were there and asked her if she wanted to stay there – she said no and didn’t know where she could go. I then stepped in and said she could stay with her daughter and dog, with me. FIRST MISTAKE.
She’s from another country and I felt bad for her because she knew no one nor had family or friends etc. They stayed for 4 1/2 months and I never charged a penny. I wouldn’t let her do things around the house either because I knew I could become dependent on her and this was temporary. I found a domestic violence group to help her, I helped her daughter with her homework, I bought clothes for her daughter when the need arose, got some Medicaid for her daughter (no insurance), I found her a lawyer for her divorce, I found her a job, and I can go on and on.
To make a long story short when she was able to return to her house (he was removed by the court), she RAN home with all of her things she had here in my house and garage – she dragged it all out so fast it was like the world was going to end…..I kept telling her there was no hurry and to relax. It she actually had a breakdown and said she had to go right away. After that little by little she withdrew from me, wouldn’t answer the phone or called back hours later. In other words I disappeared from her radar. I kept trying to figure out what I did to change her attitude and although it’s been a month, still can’t figure it out. I asked her several times and the answer was “I don’t want to bother you any more” or “I don’t want to talk about the situation anymore”. How did I evolve from “Mom, thank you so much – you saved my life” (yes, she was calling me, Mom) to nothing? I wish these people could realize how much they can hurt someone.
Ask me – would I ever do something like that for anyone again? My answer – no never, I will never put myself in that position to be hurt by someone I are trying to help. I’ll give you referrals, phone numbers and directions but NOT personally involve myself EVER again.

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IAmSupposedToBeADaughterNotAPunchingBag

I struggle daily with a few, very close, people in my life. I have arrived at the point in my life where I am now going to seek professional help as to how to handle them…and how they make me feel like I am the human garbage in their life. I will no longer allow myself to let people use me and treat me this way.

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Julie

I have finally realised after 3 years that my boyfriend is a very unhappy person and this article describes his behaviours so accurately. I am not turning myself inside out anymore to try to please him or prove myself to be worthy. I know I am a good person and if he cant appreciate that then its his loss!!

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Andrea

This is an exact replica of my past 14 years! He’s suicidal one minute and I’m totally there for him. The next minute he hates me and wants nothing to do with me. I’m starting to think he has serious mental health issues. It’s bloody awful, but I just can’t stop thinking about him.

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Boudicca

I had a friend who had a relationship for 5 years with a man who, everytime she threatened to leave, threatened to kill himself. In the end she left him. He took pills; he screamed to the emergency services but guess what? He did not die. You are thinking about him because he is playing this game – It’s like when someone is really friendly, says they’ll get back to you in a certain time then they don’t. You don’t think of them in that time but after, you wonder ‘why haven’t they got back to me?’ You need to find the strength to leave him – or, if not at least to say an Inner No to all his negative, manipulative behaviours. Sounds terrifying.

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Ash

Thanks for this post. As I read each point, I could totally picture my mom in front of my eyes. She has been this person whom I struggle to deal with every day and she can never be pleased. I am trying to deal with this by not talking to her any more these days. However, she doesn’t realize that I’m doing this because of her behavior and again puts the blame on me that I’m not being grateful enough to her.

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Hannah Squires

I totally empathise with you here. It’s a vicious circle I’m afraid. From personal experience, it continues to keep going round and round. I don’t think there’s a ‘fix it’ solution. For myself, I am working on getting stronger within myself, so that my Mother has progressively less negative impact on me. That way I don’t feed her need to be control of my life. I’m still very much a work in progress, but even in the smallest of ways when I don’t allow her to get all her own way, I feel a little stronger! As a good friend said to me recently, it’s your life, not hers so try to live. You only get one chance at it….

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Tricia

I make him miserable? He makes me miserable? Our we done? Get thrown in my face what I did wrong? What we did wrong?

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Brandee

All I have to say is Thank You, Thank You, Thank You for this. I’ve never read something that so clearly resonates with my situation that sadly involves my family.

I used to rise to the occasion to defend myself every time something was projected on to me, every time I was accused of something, or everytime I was put in a position to defend myself. Not anymore.

Recently, I realized that no matter what my true intentions are, or what my actions clearly show, sone people want to use you as a scapegoat for all of their problens, and you care enough to take them on. It’s a vicious cycle until you realize it and can put their actions in perspective.

You’ll find that once you start to creare boundaries, though, they will fight back, hard. Suddenly you are the bad guy because you’re Not feeding into their drama… or you’re acting “superior” because you realize these people are not healthy for you.

They want to drag you down, they do not lift you up. You were already up, which is why you are their target.

The past few months have been pure hell for me, realizing how no matter the anount if love and selflessness i pour into my family that they want to make me out to be the bad guy. They dont share in my joys, they convince themselves I am to blame for what is (sometimes quite obviously), their own problems, and everything i say and do gets twisted and i find myself constantly emotionally manipulated. I’ve spent years taking everything out on myself (its family, they must be right, it must be my difficult personality that needs to change, etc) pushing me into deep depressions and even suicidal thoughts.

It’s crazy now that ive seen the light how much everything makes so much sense, i really get a sense of peace reading others stories and knowing im not alone.

I feel freed, in a way, although it will continue to be a struggle to rise above the manipulation and create the boundaries i desperately need to in order to thrive and live the life i was meant to. I’m working on surrounding myself with people who Love and Support each other.

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Brandee

Sorry for the typographical errors! Its late and I can’t sleep ?but I do feel so much better after reading this.

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Boudicca

Where’s the “like” button as in ‘I totally agree, thanks for sharing’ when you need it?

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Melvina

I sure wish I knew what to do about this too as @ work it doesn’t matter what I do it’s not the right thing.
e.g. If I put a call thru to Sales & it gets answered this particular co worker comes up & tells me, you cut him off.
I accidently put a call thru to the paging system or cut him off or put a call thru to him, & did he ask for me. He spends all his time minding other peoples business as when I on the phones he wants to know who it was & why they called etc.
I bring something back from a customer & why you bring that back did they tell you to, oh that’s right I know what that is now, no sorry or anything, no one else sticks up for me either they all think I’m too sensitive & they think it is highly funny I DON’T.
As his father is the boss I can’t go to him & I not leaving either, why should I leave.
The rest of my jobs are fine.
Any ideas would be appreciated also.
Apart from avoidance I can’t any other option as if I say anything it doesn’t work as he doesn’t remember of I get upset & cry or the others laugh which makes it worse

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Chris

Since the age of 8 my sister has been one of these toxic people. I’m Now 63 and can’t deal with her any longer. I have told her that we both deserve to be happy and that I can’t continue having a loving yet demanding sister one minute and then without warning an agressive, abusive and vicious sister the next minute. I’m hoping it’s over between us. This really hurts as I still love her.

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jenniferyoung

Wow! Was just thinking the same thing about my sister! Good to know its not just me.I could go on and on and on with stories about her unfeeling cruelty. The harder I try to be nice, the meaner and more manipulative she gets. So I finally gave up, its just not worth the pain, is it? Hmmmn, what would a psychiatrist diagnose this as? Peace Out, J.YO’

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AnnW

Unfortunately I also have a sister who is like this. We are one year apart in age and have never been close. I learnt along time ago that it was best to stay clear of her as she hates me with an intensity that is just not normal. I am 53 and she is 52. I have another sister who is younger and my parents are still alive in their 80’s. Her behaviour affects us all. Family gatherings are few and far between to avoid arguments etc. Last year I learnt that she got married, an event I wasn’t invited to and neither were my parents. After years of not having any meaningful relationship with her I sent her a gift to congratulate her and suggested meeting up in the hope that things might have changed. BIG MISTAKE. I received a series of letters from her pointing out all my faults and statements that no-one in the family liked me. Really nasty vicious stuff. It was capped of with a telephone conversation the like of which I’ve never encountered before and hope I never encounter again. She took pleasure in shaming me to the core over things that in reality are all part of being human. I honestly think she is on a mission to destroy me and exclude me from the family so that she can feel better. I know that she is working behind the scenes to convince family members that despite her best efforts to build a relationship with me it’s all my fault that things haven’t worked out. She could honestly deliver a masterclass in manipulation. She has succeeded in part for now as I am going to opt out of any family gatherings to avoid her toxicity, I just don’t need it. She has successfully split the family as my parents are still unaware she got married as I concluded it would hurt them too much. Any normal person just couldn’t write hate filled letters and think it was their duty to do so. It’s like she thinks she’s entitled to pass judgement and point out all my flaws. She has zero ability for any self reflection or any acknowledgement that she is also human and makes mistakes. My parents have 3 daughters and we all can’t be in the same room together. It’s a tragedy of epic proportions and my sister is unable to understand how her behaviour is driving it all. I’m just going to play the long game and hope that in the end she is caught out by her own lies and manipulation games.

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Terry

I don’t know if I should feel worse for you as you’ve dealt with her all of your life, or the man who married her as he has to live with her every day. I don’t understand how people like that get married.

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Gretch

Boy can I relate…my sister has been toxic to me since I was born! She lives in Hawaii now..and I haven’t seen her in years..so thankful its over.

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Sarah L

Great, eye opening article! This is how my mother and i’ s relationship is, always in a cycle of drama and all I try to do is try to cooperate with her and get along and it never works. I feel like it’s always me me me, my fault. For example, as of Feb 1st she has already started her cycle of the “silent treatment” which is a regular thing. My question is what do you do if this toxic relationship is between you and a parent? Let them go?

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Yes I hear you! Relationships with toxic parents can be difficult to manage and guard against because of the sense of obligation and the potential for manipulation that comes from that. As an adult though, you deserve to have your boundaries respected by everyone in your life. Parents are no less obligated to respect our boundaries than anyone else in our lives. Here are a couple of articles that might be helpful for you.

>> Stronger for the Breaks: How to Heal from a Toxic Parent: https://www.heysigmund.com/toxic-parent/
>> When Someone You Love is Toxic – How to Let Go, Without Guilt https://www.heysigmund.com/toxic-people-when-someone-you-love-toxic/

I hope they help to make sense of things and give you some clarity around your relationship.

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angela

This is my boyfriend to the T all 12 traits this guy has. He perjects everything on to me i am so mad for that, then he blames me for my attitude like im not allowed to have one.its f_ing exosting. Around in a circle i go with him all day. How do i brake this bad habbit and bond with him so that i can move on with my life?

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Angela there’s no easy way to let go. Be clear about the reasons you want to, and keep reminding yourself. Know that when we do something unfamiliar (like let go of a familiar relationship), there will be an overwhelming temptation to go back to what’s familiar. This is when you will need to stay strong and clear about the reasons you left, and know that that temptation will also pass.

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Sei

Thank you so much for this.
I’m a teenager, and i’m starting high school about half a year. Either ways, in my childhood, I had a best friend who I adored. Nope, not anymore.
She can be super judgemental against me, I love K-pop, but she always, and i mean always, find a way to judge it. Whenever I’m happy, singing/dancing to it. It’s either a “disgusting” look she gives me or she says, “It’s/You’re so cringe”.
She can be kind to me otherwise, but i’m simply trying to avoid her, Which is hard.
(Not only she is super judgemental against K-pop. Other classmates too).
Either ways, I find this super useful.
Thank you! : )

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Sei

Sorry for incorrect grammar/spelling. My hands are super cold right now and I just wanted to write down my thoughts. : )

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

You’re so welcome. I’m pleased it was helpful. I love that you know your own mind and resist being dragged along by the peole who don’t feel good to be around. Well done you. It’s a true strength.

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Donna

I am 60 years old and I had a very close friend in high school and then years later in my early adult life. Both gave me the heave ho. These are not friends. They are passing acquaintances. I found on my journey in life that those who have high self esteem – and I count myself in this group – can weather these people who from my point of view have low self esteem. Count it as a learning experience. They say that in your whole life if you can have one true life long friend, you are blessed. In my case it’s my husband. I’m also blessed to have sisters. Don’t be discouraged. You will meet like minded people as you go along. I tried to find my two ‘close friends’ later in life thanks to social media. One is a radical political viewpoint not my own who married young and never had a career and that’s okay! But also found out she had a felony record. The second ‘friend’ has been married three times; she shrugged me off when she met her ‘wonderful’ hubby # two. So I say to you- be your own person and don’t worry about superficial people with low self esteem.

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Boudicca

That’s such a beautiful thing to say. In the last 5 years I lost my mum and my lover and it’s been so hard & then I met a man who seemed like he could be a true friend (maybe more but friendship was okay) but he started playing these manipulative games. I was really taken aback but if I said anything I was the one who was being “oversensitive” and when he stood me up he said anyone could be “careless” – like, duh?? It’s very painful to feel made such a fool but at least I saw it in time.

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Jason B

I have been a toxic person in my life. It has causes much pain and damage to those people and has often left them hurting and others. I take full responsibility for every aspect of my life. Those actions and the disregard for others is deplorable. I was wrong and will do my utmost to never make those mistakes again. I also have learned I must take responsibility for my own life. That includes never allowing another person to ever make me feel less than because of their Feelings. Be polite but firm. Never settle for abuse in any form. You deserve better. You are loved by me,even if I don’t know you.

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Susie

I worked with someone who had these tendencies for 7 years. In the end I had to leave my job as did the person before me and after. We were all effected, I beleave it was jealousy as I was in a grade above her. She had gone for my job and not got it so took it out on me. Yes all these feeling are what I went threw. It’s awful how people can treat others.

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Hassan Haq

I’m so glad I found this article. Number 5 is so true and I fucking hate those kind of people, 2 of which are close friends of mine. Thanks again for sharing the truth

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pat

Toxic people make you feel bad about yourself because there unhappy with them selves. Instead of talking they yell. We can always choose better people to be around why bother with anyone like that if they make us miserable. Even family; when my parents are gone I will stay away from my rotten sisters who judge and talk about whats wrong with everyone else. So you actually can choose your family or not.

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Ron Adkins

Yes, they make you feel bad, make you feel like you’re the narcissist, the crazy person. They can get caught out and when confronted turn that around on you making you doubt yourself, your senses, your perception and your memory. My partner does all that and more to me. Now I can see it I know not to challenge it or defend myself. I just chuckle and say ok dear. She hates that then storms out. I don’t chase after her. I just continue with what I was doing. Sooner or later she emerges and asks, “do you still love me?” I say, “of course I do sweetheart”. She then tries to pick a fight, I smile, nod and agree then go back to what I was doing. I’m thankful I finally figured it out. If I don’t argue back, challenge her, defeat her, it douses the behaviour some and I remain in my peace.

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Carrie

I’m so thankful to have found this article. Today, my bf came in ( and its Valentines Day) and seemed to be ok, but then picked a fight with me in which he fabricated something i did to emotionally injure him, when what really happened was…those of you who can complete that scenario, know what i mean. Im wondering if infidelity is common in this type of person, as I won’t tolerate this at all. I’m skeptical that there is hope, but I’m going to practice what Ron does with his other half, since I truly love and want to help my bf.

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Bright Eyes

Ron, I must say I think you have written many words of wisdom here. I think you are right don’t fight them. ThankYou for sharing your thoughts on this issue.

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Christine Bianco

It’s obvious that this person is not right for you get away from them people like that are just mental they’re not good for youand it will never work between the two of you leaving you unhappy and feeling like you wasted so many years On someone to which you were unhappy with rather than being with someone you could’ve been happy withand resenting them for allowing you to spend that many years and trying so hard to please and make them happy and wanting so badly for the relationship to work out the way you thought it should. I need to find out many years down the line that it was bound not to ever work and all the while been wasting your time. It took for me to get cancer and realize I’m going to die to see the light

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Jaye

I’m glad I’m not alone in this. It sucks for me because it’s in my family. I can’t escape from it unless I completely cut them off. Well mainly my sisters. I’m the youngest so they’ve manipulated me my whole life. I have one sister that has a daughter and her baby daddy does nothing to help. So she uses the fact that my mom was never there and she had “give up” her life to take care of me, to be an excuse for me doing things for my niece. Like there was a day where we was just chilling and my sister says “Bri needs a new coat.” Expecting me to buy the new coat. Not “hey, do you think you can buy her a new coat?” Or like today I came over to get out the house and chill with my sister but she was being lazy and manipulated me into picking my niece up from school. Once I came back she asked me to cooked dinner because she walked to the store, like if I never came over who would’ve picked up Bri or made dinner? But apparently my niece informed her mom she was hungry before I could start cooking and of course being the toxic person she is, she got an attitude and made it herself. And my other sister is just as bad, actually worse. Ughh sisters are supposed to cool but honestly I wish I could just never talk to them again or replace them with non-toxic damaged people.

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Ron Adkins

I truly don’t feel alone in this. However I’m saddened that so many suffer from these psychological dramas, both the victims and the sufferers.

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Nontoxic

Agreed. Especially hard if you are in love with someone who has these characteristics. I don’t have much tolerance for psychological drama.

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Rebecca

As myself. …my bf always says that he doesn’t understand me is that what I just read here?

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Trish

It always seems to be the nice kind & good willed people who attract these toxic type of people, even tho they seem so nice at first, it also knocks yours self asteem, badly alway wondering if it you! Believe me it isn’t I’m 66 lots of experience at this type of thing in friends and in relationships, my advice is love yourself be proud of the person you are and turn your back on them! Love you can walk away! Life is to short for all this shit! It’s hard at first but hold you head up high and be positive!

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Nazerah

you can aask yourself “whats to love or be in love with in someone with this toxic behavior. What value do they bring to my life?” you will see you are not so in love anymore and the answer most of the time is “nothing” to both questions.

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Nontoxic

Agreed. Especially hard if you are in love with someone who has these characteristics. I don’t have much tolerance for psychological as drama as I used to.

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Shelley

I’m worried about my son his girl friend is so controlling he’s not allowed to go see his sister,friends they just moved out three weeks ago and I don’t see him much and I know it’s cause of her.what can I do me and my son have always been close I’ve not just been his mom I’ve been his dad too cause his dad is a piece of crap and has never been in his life it’s always been me

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Shelley the most important thing for you is to let your son know that you are always there and available for him. This is your son’s growth and his lesson to learn. It’s also important that you hold back from criticising his girlfriend in front of him. To do so will run the risk of him feeling a greater need to defend her, and this may come between his relationship with you.

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Gale

Give him space. Let him have a relationship with her. It’s important that you are not judging him, you are not judging her, and you were not judging their relationship. If you do you could cause a bad relationship between you and your son, give him the space he needs. If she is “really” the issue he will figure that out. But you need to give him the space he needs to figure that out. He’s an adult now. Let him be independent.
You may be so used to having most of your sons attention and now that he has a girlfriend he’s putting his attention on her rather than you( I see this issue all the time.) He may be choosing to spend more time with his girlfriend because they go out and do fun things, they are in love. Which will limit his time with his sister or his friends. When a person gets into a committed relationship they are now using their spare time for their new partner, it’s not because they don’t want to see their siblings or their friends, but a person only has so much spare time, there’s only 24 hours in a day.
So just give him his space, he needs to grow, grow as a person, be independent. He can’t do that if you’re criticizing/judging him or his decisions. He can’t do that if you’re clinging onto him too tight. If he needs you he will call you, he will come see you. If he doesn’t that’s because he’s growing, making his own decisions, and you should be proud of that!
If he is making a mistake, that something he will figure out, and he will learn from it. Or this is a security issue of some sort that you’re having with yourself, and hopefully you will be able to learn from it.

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Nontoxic

I’ve been with my bf for close to 4 years and while I keep going back and forth on staying in this relationship for the long haul or walking away I keep trying to focus on what is and ‘is this worth it?/am I going to be happy marrying him?’ I also find myself dreaming of actually not argue every minute of every day and help fixing things needing to be fixed around the house (that I don’t have a clue about doing) or attention to the small things (like what I like or like to do)…Reading this it’s as if the article nailed everything about our relationship and how he is toward me. I also feel like his negativity/the toxin has made me a negative and mean person which is not who I am nor who I want to be. So moral of my story, I am starting to step back and realize the imaginary future I see is not realistic nor is it ever going to happen between us. Looking from the outside in we really have nothing to hold on to except what little ‘happy’ memories we’ve had together.
It stinks to have put so much time and energy into us for the out come to be like this and at times I feel dumb for sticking around so long after so many chances but in the end our relationship is toxic and we’re unhealthy together. We can love each other but still be completely wrong for each other.

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Not important

Hi i dont post or say a word normaly but the
The women i fell in love with is no longer
Here its like shes is lost in her on mind every
Morning before i say a word and a lot of
Times be for i get out of bed ( between 530to8am) she is mad but not just mad but overly mad and i haven’t said a word. I ask her y are you so upset nothing has happened
I just woke up. I have done nothing wrong. I haven’t said a word to u dear.(her response) oooooohh u never do any thing wrong your so perfect ooooh you never say any thing wong do you. And sometimes she will get so mad she will pull her own hair and she will be shaking and she throws stuff not at me but close enough to make me go into a defense mode countless cups of (soda,knifes,glass,phones and what every ells
Is close by) this is the women i married 18 years ago the women i love with all my heart and i cant do or say or even be because its wrong and if i agree with what she says that im a no good piece ot trash that im lazy worthless don’t know how to treat a woman if I agree with any of those or all of those it puts her into a rage of pulling her hair she will start bouncing her foot off the ground off the floor she will start shaking breaking things throwing things telling me she wants to kill me and as she’s doing this I will try to rub her
Back and tell her it’ll be okay I will hold her and say i love i love please stop this and say
Over and over that i love you i haven’t done any thing to you i haven’t hurt you i didnt say any any thing bad to you i haven’t done any thing to make you say that you want to kill me and as soda is dripping done the walls or therea glass to be sweep up ( remember that this all has happened and the day has just started and its only 840 am right now)nothing I do or say is right I’m to the point and it’s going to be the hardest thing I will ever have to do I believe and it’s not to allow her around me anymore to move away to change my number to try in some way to forget about her because if I don’t I will always let her into my life because there was a time that I loved her unconditionally without question she was my babycakers ( its what i would call her and she used to love it when i said it)
P.S
IF ANY ONE READS THIS
I just want you all to know that what i wrote
Is true and i go through it it seems all the time every morning i wake befor i say a word or do anything she’s MAD

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Aj

She is sick of you. She doesn’t like you, but she can’t make her self leave. Just leave dude. She will be happier, you will be happier; sometimes people grow apart and simply grow tired of each other.

This is why you make her angry by doing nothing, your existence is annoying her, you are always there, and have been for 18years. Pull the plug. Get out.
Find happiness in being single.

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Myself

I dont mean to reply directly to you but I couldn’t find a comment area except the reply space.

Apparently I’m the toxic one because I refuse to allow anyone to yell and scream at me ot use disrespectful tones even if we are arguing over something i supposedly did. You can argue without screaming and yelling or name calling. I will completely ignore the issue and shut down or get defensive if im being talked down to. I dont scream at people or call names and I will not have it done to me. I dont care what I did ..( im talking minor mistakes like leaving the door open and yes ive been yelled at for that) so I will be the toxic one if thats the case.

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There are lots of reasons we love people or places, and a big reason is that we love who we are when we’re with those people or in those places. It’s the same for our children.

Do they feel seen, important, fun, funny, joyful? Or do they feel annoying, intrusive, unimportant, stupid? Do they feel like someone who is valued and wanted? Or do they feel tolerated? Do they feel interesting, independent, capable? Or do they feel managed?

It’s so easy to fall into a space - and this can happen with the most loving, most wonderful parents - where we spend too much time telling them what to do, noticing the things they don’t do, ‘managing’ them, and not enough time playing or experiencing joy with them, valuing their contribution (even if we’ve had to stoke that a little), seeking out their opinions and ideas. 

We won’t get this right all the time, and that’s okay. This isn’t about perfection. It’s about what we do most and being deliberate when we can. It’s about seeing who they are, through what they do. It’s about taking time to enjoy them, laugh with them, play with them, so they can feel their capacity to bring joy. It’s about creating the conditions that make it easy for them to love the people they are when they are with us.♥️
This week I had the absolute joy of working with the staff of Launceston College, presenting two half-day workshops on neuroscience and brain development for children and adolescents. 

The teachers and staff at this school care so much about their students. The everyday moments young people have with their important adults matter so much. It’s through these moment to moment interactions that young people start to learn that they are important, believed in, wanted, that they belong, and when this happens, learning will too. It just will. 

This is what teachers do. They open young people up to their potential, to their capacity for learning and doing hard things. They grow humans. The work of a teacher will always go so far beyond content and curriculum. 

Thank you @launceston_college for having me. Your students are in strong and wonderful hands.♥️

Posted @withrepost • @launceston_college
#LC2022 #
Building brave and moving through anxiety are like lifting weights. The growth happens little by little. Sometimes this will be slow and clumsy. Sometimes it will feel big bold, certain, and beautiful. Sometimes undone, unhappened, frustrating. It all matters. 

There will be so many days where they will see the brave thing in front of them, and everything in them will want to move towards it but they’ll feel stuck - between wanting to and scared to.

This is the point of impasse. The desire and the resistance come face to face, locked in battle. On the outside this might look like frustration, big tears, big anger, the need to avoid or retreat (or in us, a need to retreat them), but inside the work to strengthen against anxiety is happening.

This isn’t the undoing of brave. It’s the building of it. In this precious space between the wanting and the fear, they’re doing battle. They’re doing the hard, imposing work of moving through anxiety. They’re experiencing the distress of anxiety, and the handling of it, all at once. They might not be handling it well, but as long as they’re in it, they’re handling it.

These moments matter so much. If this is all they do, then they’ve been brave today. They’ve had a necessary, important experience which has shown them that the discomfort of anxiety won’t hurt them. It will feel awful, but as long as they aren’t alone in it, it won’t break them. 

Next day, next week, next month they might handle that discomfort for a minute longer than last time. Next time, even longer. This isn’t the avoidance of brave. It’s the building of it. These are the weight lifting experiences that slowly and surely strengthen their resiliency muscles. These are the experiences that show them that the discomfort of anxiety is no reflection at all of how capable they are and how brave they can be. It’s discomfort. It’s not breakage.

These little steps are the necessary building blocks for the big ones. So, if they have handled the discomfort of anxiety today (it truly doesn’t matter how well), and if that discomfort happened as they were face to face with something important and meaningful and hard, let them know that they’ve built brave today.♥️
Anxiety is a valid, important, necessary way the brain recruits support in times of trouble. In actual times of danger, the support we give is vital. This might look like supporting avoidance, fighting for them, fleeing with them. BUT - when there is no danger, this ‘support’ can hold them back from brave, important, growthful things. It can get in the way of building resilience, self-belief, and the capacity for brave. All loving parents will do this sometimes. This isn’t the cause of anxiety. It’s the response to it. 

We love them so much, and as loving parents we all will, at some time or another,  find ourselves moving to protect them from dangers that aren’t there. These ‘dangers’ are the scary but safe things that trigger anxiety and the call for support, but which are safe. Often they are also growthful, brave, important. These include anything that’s safe but hard, unfamiliar, growthful, brave.

This is when the move towards brave might be in our hands. This might look like holding them lovingly in the discomfort of anxiety for a minute longer than last time, rather than supporting avoidance. It might look like trusting their capacity to cope with the discomfort of anxiety (and approaching hard, brave, growthful things) rather than protecting them from that discomfort. Knowing what to do when can be confusing and feel impossibly hard sometimes. When it does, ask:

‘Do I believe in them, or their anxiety?’
‘Am I aligning with their fear or their courage?’
‘What am I protecting them from - a real danger, or something brave and important?’

They don’t have to do the whole brave thing all at once. We can move them towards brave behaviour in tiny steps - by holding them in the discomfort of anxiety for a teeny bit longer each time. This will provide the the experience they need to recognise that they can handle the discomfort of anxiety.

This might bring big feelings or big behaviour, but you don’t need to fix their big feelings. They aren’t broken. Big feelings don’t hurt children. It’s being alone in big feelings that hurts. Let them feel you with them with statements of validation and confidence, ‘I know this feels big, and I know you can handle this.’♥️
We all do or say things we shouldn’t sometimes. This isn’t about breakage, it’s about being human. It’s about a brain that has registered ‘threat’, and a body that is getting ready to respond. 

‘Threat’ counts as anything that comes with any risk at all (real or perceived) of missing out on something important, separation from friends or you or their other important people, judgement, humiliation, failure, disappointment or disappointing their important people, unfairness or loss. It can also count as physical (sensory overload or underload, pain, exhaustion, hunger), or relational (not feeling seen or heard, not feeling valued, feeling replaced, not feeling welcome, feeling disconnected from you or someone important).

Young ones have the added force of nervous systems that haven’t got their full adult legs yet. When brains have a felt sense of threat, they will organise bodies for fight (this can look like tantrums, aggression, irritation, frustration), flight (can look like avoidance, ignoring, turning away) or freeze (can look like withdrawal, hiding, defiance, indifference, aloofness).

The behaviour is the smoke. The fire is a brain that needs to be brought back to a felt sense of safety. We can do this most powerfully through relationship and connection. Breathe, be with, validate (with or without words - if the words are annoying for them just feel what they feel so they can feel you with them). 

When their brains and bodies are back to calm, then the transformational chats can happen: ‘What happened?’ ‘What can I do to help next time?’ ‘What can you do?’ ‘You’re a great kid and I know you didn’t want this to happen, but here we are. How can you put this right? Do you need my help with that?’

Of course, sometimes our boundaries will create a collision that also sets nervous systems on fire. You don’t need to fix their big feelings. They aren’t broken. Stand behind the boundary, flag the behaviour (‘It’s not ok to … I know you know that’) and then shift the focus to relationship - (‘I’m right here’ or, ‘Okay I can hear you want space. I’m going to stay right over here until you feel better. I’m here when you’re ready.’)♥️

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