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.

2,023 Comments

Elizabeth

This article completely describes so many people in my life, past and present. It is scary to see how many people are relating to this and it makes me sad for our future. Why can’t people just be kind, and good, forgiving and thoughtful, empathetic and understanding?

I grew up in what I am now beginning to understand, was a toxic family environment with my mother being the main force behind it all, and my father enabling the whole situation (with some traits of narcissism himself). My sister married a narcissist and is controlled by my mother. I try my hardest not to be like them, and it is a constant battle in my head, questioning my choices, whether what I did was the right or “normal” thing to do.

The thing is, I have radar for toxic people and often know even the first time I meet them that something is “off”. Despite this, I get sucked into their vortex of trying to make them happy, not upset them or make them angry, cause too many problems, be too sensitive all the while, blaming myself for everything that goes wrong. Rationally I know this is not true, but it certainly feels like the truth inside me.

I am learning to manage my relationship with my family (through 4 years of therapy), but I seem to also attract toxic people at work.

This year was particularly challenging as I was sharing a job. My colleague would be particularly charming towards our boss and anyone he thought he had to impress or might get something from them (status or power), “schmoozing” is the best word to describe it, while at the same time manipulating me and others into doing his job (“You have so much experience, could you teach a math lesson so I can see what you do?”, while he sat in the back on his phone the whole time). Using non-toxic words with a toxic tone was his second specialty (“I hope this is up to your satisfaction”). He would always apologize for his “mistakes”, but he was only sorry that he got caught. He would blame everyone else for his mistakes including colleagues (“They never told me anything”), the circumstances (“I am only a supply teacher.”) and even the 8 and 9 year old students. He would use kind words and give me compliments, but they were not genuine, only to make himself look like a good person in front of those who mattered most to his image.

Anytime I approached him in a professional manner about an issue, he would turn it around and make it about himself and that I was attacking him. Eventually he was doing whatever he could to make me look bad to my boss. It got so toxic that I had to stop communicating with him directly (with instructions from my boss).

I went to work every day in fear, hoping not to do something wrong to make him or anyone else (my boss) angry with me. I eventually had to take a leave from my job due to overwhelming anxiety.

I guess my question is, how do you protect yourself and those who are vulnerable, like children, when others do not/cannot see their toxicity? I end up in “problem solving mode” which is to try to fix the situation by taking the high road to no avail. I feel like there is something wrong with me that I cannot do relationships right. I fear that I have lost my credibility with my bosses, but I am going to try to go back to work soon, yet still harbour the fear that I can’t do anything right in their eyes and am nothing but trouble.

I have good friends that are not toxic (somehow), but fear making mistakes that will hurt them and cause them to hate me. I feel like I have no one who understands or truly supports me. Therapy has been a huge help, but there is a long road ahead. Some days I have hope, other days not so much. But somehow I hang in there.

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Laura

Hi Elizabeth. Hang in there. Have faith that what you are doing is right. You are now recognizing that you did nothing wrong. I had my mother turn away from me when I took a stand and set my boundaries. She is a “flying monkey” enabling my brother. He was psychologically and physically abusive as a child. I had to settle an estate of an aunt, and I needed to deal with him. I saw he was the same abuser as he was as a child. Family abuse is complicated. And everyone is now starting to get it. I was so devistated I wrote a book “My Courage to Tell” and want to let people know about childhood neglect and sibling abuse. You stay strong! You are recognizing abusive behaviours. You will be great!

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Ruth

I like what you said about being drawn into the vortex, I’m trying to escape the control of my mother, sometimes it’s like she interrupts my thoughts to correct them , really spooky

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Pamela Lame

IT’s called self love. That is what you are not giving to yourself. You need to learn how to draw your own boundaries, and if someone gets upset with you, it is their problem. The most important person in your life is you. No one else can give you the love that you can give to yourself if you are willing. I’m not saying you have to be rude or uncaring to others, but everything you have just said had to do with how others felt about you, how it affected them, but what about how you are being affected. How you are being hurt, and you are worried about offending other of your friends, if they are your friends, they will be glad that you are standing up for yourself. You can’t please all the people all the time, but you can take care of your own heart. You have to matter too, right? And if you don’t stand up for yourself, who will? Can you find a different job maybe? Is it worth the treatment they are handing you to stay there? What do you feel is right for you?

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Madi

Wow yeah thank you for this information, i am struggling with toxic friends. The main toxic friend is called Lauren she makes me feel like i have to do whatever she wants all the time, and i feel like i cant be myself when i am around her. She is also very strange; in July of 2020 she told me and my other medium toxic friend that she felt like she wanted to end herself and starve in a corner, and she said many weird things like i am shaking and Oh my lord you thought that wrong. Lauren is very rude and strange as you can see, and sometimes i feel if i dont talk to her for more than 5 to 4 days, she’ll be mad at me. But now i talked to my mom and she said its not your problem and if something bad happens, o well she’ll regret losing a great person like me. Because of my mom’s help the situation has gotten a little better; for example now i dont worry and stress of what will happen if i say something that Lauren doesnt like. However, i still worry that if i dont talk to her for more than 4 days, she’ll be mean to me or something that bad will happen. Even though i do wanna end being friends with her but in a nice way. Please send tips and help. Thanks! Hope everyone is doing well!

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Don’t wanna put my name in 🙂

My ex is really toxic and all his friends are my friends and he keeps telling me to be nicer to “his friends” but really all MY friends come to me and are like “umm he is soooo rude to me, can’t believe you dated him like omg!” Sooo this article REALLY helped me determine whether he was toxic or just plain old rude

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Serina

Whenever you read these types of articles there are no names mentioned but a name pops up straight into your head. Of course a name popped up in my head and that name right now is Lily. I met Lily a year and a half ago through mutual friends. These mutual friends sort of betrayed us so we hung out by ourselves after that. It was going well for a while. She is what I would call my best friend at the time. Always facetime calling, snapchatting, texting, laughing. I literally fell in love with her. How did this all go wrong I have no idea but just one day everything slowly stopped. No more calls, we didnt hang out as much, she didnt reallly have intrest in seeing me unless it was use to her i guess i dont really know. I was just so confused because everyone knew me and lily as a duo. and everyone started questioning me when i wasnt there with her. we even recently went to a few concerts together. enough of that onto why i think she is a toxic person and still is. I do everything I can to make her happy. I dont know if im over trying but anything at all and its done. If she needs help moving out im there even though she lives 15 miles away. this year, everytime i leave after seeing her i end up crying because i dont know why, I just know im losing her. Something has changed but now I question every move, every word, every action that I make with her because i dont know why its only with her. I always question why Im friends with her know because she says things that I know she wants to hurt me such as “Oh Delilah couldnt come with me today so I guess I’ll go with you.” or “Oh I was supposed to go out with Haley tonight not you, so I might invite her anyway”. Its like you dont have to say those things to me… it makes me feel like you dont want me to be with you or im your second choice lately. anyways, all of a sudden she blocked me on twitter, snapchat, my phone number for fucks sake, like WHY … who does that were 20 years old not 16 GROW UP … mind you she did this on a thursday…. but that Monday she had no problem asking me to meet her to camp out for a concert and I let her sleep in my car. During the night, we were totally fine. It wasnt until we were waiting in line with other people she wasnt speaking a word to me. When she did it was only because i would try to initiate a conversation with her she looked really bothered. Everytime anyone else talks to her she gave all her attention and seemed 1000% more interested than being with me……. and here I am a month after she did all this to me and I still feel like shes attacking me judging me …. i was even the nicer person and tried messaging her to congratulate her on graduating with a degree that is when i learned she had my number blocked…. how do i get this toxic person out of my mind. how do i just forget the only person i had in 2016. how do i just move on. is she considered toxic ?

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Jess

I totally sympathise with all of you and understand what you are going through. I have known my best friend for nearly 20 years, we’ve had our fall outs in the past but made up, she was in and out of children’s homes as a child and is afraid of any rejection even though it isn’t. I’ve tried to be there for her as much as I can, an evening there, an hour there. Recently i couldn’t help her because I had other plans and had promised to spend time with my family….she was very angry, accused me of putting them before her, of never being there for her during lockdown and then she blocked me. Totally unreasonable behaviour, I told her I wasn’t her ‘bitch’ that I didn’t want to be bullied into helping her. There have been many times I have gone out of my way to help, especially when she was struck down with ME, but taking advantage of someone isn’t friendship to me. Right now I am making use of the free time I have without driving around doing shopping for her, but if she decides to apologise then I will accept her into my life again ????

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T

Serina,
It has been 3 years already that you posted, but I wanted to let you know something. First, that I really hope you’re in a better place. Second, that you’re not in the wrong here. And third, a little story: I have this narcissistic person in my life, an older lady more than 60 years old, and one day, feeling a little powerful, she confided that every time she meets someone who she thinks is not praising her enough she does all she can to make the person love her: giving gifts, telling jokes, being nice, being available….and when the person is absolutely her BF she then turns her face and doesn’t talk to the person anymore. It’s the narcissistic payback. If a narcissist feels that he/she was slighted, it could take years, but one day he/she will have their revenge.

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Sheila

Wow, your describing my sister. So sad that we or she quit talking to me going on 4 years now. She is getting married next year and text me for my address. I never moved she knows it but oh well. Do I go do I subject myself to mental abuse? I put my foot down and would not let her manipulate me no more. I miss her and I am afraid of her. If that makes sense.
What hurts about all of this is. I defended one sister and that made me lose her. Now the sister I defended is her best friend.

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Madi

I feel so bad for you, i hope everything is doing okay, maybe you can tell her to meet up in person or ask your Mom to make a reunion so you can see or hear what is acctually the problem. If you guys had a sister fight or anything did you ever forgive each other? Did you hook up with her ex or her boyfriend before. I hope you know that you aren’t the problem!

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Ella

omg that’s so relatable ! when my best friend turned to be all toxic , I just couldn’t bear it , she acted as if I had hurt her and been more harsh with her , when she was the one who kept hurting me , she did all she could to hurt me and when I apologized , she bring previous arguments to feed on more frustration as if she never wants to get back with me , it’s really hurting sometimes to see such people in life , who just wants to hurt u for nothing you’ve done or they don’t want to be with you when you aren’t their type.

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Dwayne

I have been dealing with a toxic person who seems like they are trying to ruin my life for five years. This person has got me arrested and limited how much I can see my daughter. I have no way out. Help me

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Richard S

It’s best to leave that person I have the same issue I even got a dui over it to realize my so called best friend is toxic as hell trust me it’s best to let go they sometimes make you seem crazy but u are not

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Canada

I met a French Woman Online. She Loves Nature. We have many things in common and have been corresponding for the past two years! I noticed she is very nice one moment and the next moment very cold toward me. She changes all the time. Always makes excuses to ring or Message Me. Stating she is very busy!! It was her idea to ring, write and message. She only speaks of being with nature where she is most happiest! I Wanted to meet her (her suggestion) in France. She got all worked up over it and said she cannot meet because she has to work over time this year!! I found out (I am a stupid Man) the Home address she supplied (which she voluntarily supplied to me without my asking) has ONLY the post code! How did she receive my Letters and Gifts? She did! But how when there is no house or apartment number only the Street Name???She does not know this!! I am going to not correspond with her for a few weeks just to see what she would do!! Your comments is greatly appreciated!!Ta

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Chuck

Please get on with your life and find someone local so you can have a real relationship and not a “fantacy” that has wasted years of your life. Good luck.

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madi

hello, its been 3 years that this has happened to you, but if this woman is being toxic to you after you have been nice all the time, maybe try to make her jealous tell her that you have a girlfriend who lives overseas. If she still acts rude dont be with her then there are many other people in this world who acctually are good! By the way you arent the problem she is, dont let her manipulate you! Best Luck!

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Grace

Hi,

Thanks for the great article.
I agree with all of the things you mentioned in the article but I am confused about a few things.

“For your own good” has been used a lot both by parents, friends and relatives and its sometimes difficult to tell if their intentions are really good or trying to manipulate or maybe just sharing their experiences.

I know I am quite a toxic person and sometimes stubborn. I have quite low self esteem and tend to lose friend. There are quite a few eeasons for these but I won’t deny that I’ve traits of being toxic. But recently I’ve this friend who actually call me everyday. I know she is a good friend who actually cares and tries to talk me out of things. But at times I feel she is pushing things a little and sometimes we don’t see things the same way, she might accidently blurt out words that are not nice like, “you only think of yourself”. And when I sound affected, “well I guess you can think of me as selfish.” She tried to turn things around by saying, “but eveyone is selfish.”

I do feel she may not mean it by with her calling almost daily, I do feel a lottle drained at times after our conversation end. Or I feel our friendship is a little unstable but it could be me because She still treat me as a good friend and still contact me.

I really don’t know the problem is with me? Am I too sensitive or too unconfident or too “accommodating” (because I usually try to say the “good to hear” things or things to calm people down to avoid conflict even though I may not feel she is right) and careful that I felt drained?

It would be great if you can help me with this, thanks.

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J

Sounds to me that she is very fond of you and wish’s that you have equal fondness towards her. Is she in a relationship with a member of the opposite sex? If not, has she been in one within the last few years?
I crushed on my best friend and couldnt raise the courage to tell him. I went out of my way and speant every penny trying to please him, foolishly trying to win him over.
This went on for 15 years! I wasted my 20’s trying to court a straight guy… i now have major anxiety problems..
Try find out her views on lgbt stuff, she might be trying to be your super hero out of love and my be too affraid like i was to fess up.
I am probably wrong, i have a history of getting things wrong. But look out for signs, like if she is hurting when you talk about guys you met etc, stay strong/be nice.

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Hurting

I have struggled with depression&suicidal thoughts for most my life. Never had counselling, tho thru my teens&20s quietly screaming out for it
Now 40, 3years ago recently lost a job I loved caring for a quadriplegic. Had never lost job before&this had put my faith back in good people again&thought of them as family so was devastated
Still had job at hospital tho was finding not enjoying like I used to, feeling i was the lowest of workers there but the only one really caring for our patients
I befriended one of the ambulance staff who had attended our call when my partner was injured.
It was good to have someone to talk to bout the politics&personalities with the hospital care etc
If we were both on shift i would often drop him in dinner as well. felt bit sorry for him knowing he on his own&didn’t look like looked after himself very well or cooked or ate very healthy. Was surprised to find out had been married but wife had left&been on own for while.
After while of on&off contact told him struggling with anxiety, depression, suicide&if he would be open&okay for me to confide in him. So he became friend&support i could talk to. This didn’t last long. Had said at start to tell me when up to it&when not, as know can be hard dealing with other people’s stuff all the time, so sometimes would talk other times not about anything heavy. Found he was very on&off, very closed. Thought maybe he bit like me, had put himself out for people&often been burnt.so now very guarded&untrustin. I’m still very open honest&trustin even tho been burnt lots&should have learnt by now! So thought could help each other. When he went away he gave me key to look after his cat& place&stay when needed time out away. Tort of it as safe place. Was already doing lots for him, dinners, housework, landscaping pickin up shopping etc when he needed&on duty&when sick. He told me he kept odd text from me in case needed to use against me?! We ended up getting more involved than wanted to, guess part of it felt obliged for putting up with my shit, bit blackmailed, scared what he had to use against me, fulfilling each others needs, then ended it. Stayed away had nothing to do with each for while, then he rang that his dad sick&wanted me look after cat&place again.
Tried keeping kinda careful friendship but in not very good at cold&closed. Tho he would often ignore me when suited him, he wonder why didn’t text, if he upset with me, what I’d done wrong? couple times I stayed woke to find him sitting beside me, would tell him I okay didn’t need to talk just tired&needed rest, but didn’t feel comfortable, like he wasn’t there for me he wanting something more from me.
Started asking me for sexual favours&said would use things against me if didn’t. One day came in really unwell&collapsed on floor, remembered him helping pick me up&put me in bed then woke to find him beside me feeling me up.
Once he knew that not on cards anymore he would ignore me again, I feel wronged, should feel grateful, count my loses no longer want him in my life just end up hurt. But for some reason hurt more that he never here for me, hasn’t been in long time, when I did so much for him then still he asked more of me now he ignores me i feel like arsehole, been asking to meet up to talk resolve so I can move on then both have nothing to do with each other which he wants too&won’t reply or even do that? Amazed me how he could see Lack of respect&courtesy in others but not himself.
Don’t know maybe we both toxic but how can I resolve &stop feeling hurt&angry&doing my head in when he won’t respond meet or deal with me

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Audrianna

I realize I am a toxic person. My boyfriend has cheated (with his babymama) so it’s a constant reminder and it has magnified these traits to the point that I am exhausted. I chose to forgive him but I hate him for how much it hurts. I innately return the pain. I have said hateful things, i have been physically abusive, I will not talk forever if he doesn’t say anything, when I am feeling anything I don’t know how to communicate it and everything he says to me makes me feel inadquate.. How do I get help? Now he feels like he’s choosing to stay in a miserable relationship. Now its me. How do I grow? How do I get to happy?

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aeysha

well i am so glad i found all of you i am young vibrant chitty chatty and like to have fun… am i a cheater for that? i get accused everytime i step outside if i am asked what my day looked like at the time and i said nothing if something popped up i knew all along what i had planned now im sneaky… smh … but he stays gone for days still hangs out with his EX gf he asks his family to help her in ways he wont even ask for himself he is mean one minute nice and loving and saying how much he loves me the next he finds one thing that could be wrong and stick with it for days even if its not true im just getting to the point to where either i ignore him or just agree to get him out of my way my feelings about him cheating are always wrong he will never admit anything even if it fact he is such an angel so he says… can you give me some tips on how to deal with him

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Darla

Ayesha,
He will never admit to doing anything wrong and everything will be blamed onto you. The victim in the story of Narciss is Echo. She completely looses her identity to become a mere echo of Narciss. Narcissists like things that are sparkly – like you. So, you need to become a boring grey rock around him. Give him short answers. Oh, spoken unemotionally is a great comment. Look bored. If he is accusing you of something, don’t get hooked into his bait – simply say “well, I remember it differently”. If you try to make things work out with a toxic person, the poison will still your identity, your self-compassion, your self esteem. You will become a shell of your former self. Better to just let him lose interest and leave you alone.

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John

Do 8 and 10 not contradict each other…..perhaps….one person’s tone is always open to interpretation by the other…..I think we can all be guilty of both 8 and 10….it’s miscommunication rather than toxic. The rest is excellent though

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Karen Young

Not at all – it’s about intention. Of course there will always be some people who wrongly think people are mistended, but most of us can tell when someone speaks with a tone that is intended to lessen, manipulate and control. With number 10, toxic people have a way of hijacking an important conversation by talking about the way you are saying it. They will do this even if there is nothing at all wrong with your tone. The problem with this is the content of the conversations gets sideswiped, and becomes one of you defending your tone, them attacking it – whether or not there is any justification for this. Hope that clarifies things.

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Darla

My covertly aggressive narcissistic wuzband was the king of vague. He would lie and manipulate the conversation by creating double binds that could be taken “the wrong way” as a way to dominate the conversation. As I would try to explain myself he would start talking over the top of me while I was talking. Then he would interrupt me saying “why are you yelling at me” diverting the conversation and shaming and projecting his behavior to me. As I would state that I wasn’t yelling he would yell “stop interrupting me”. Next thing I knew he would tell me I had used a word incorrectly. Then, we are discussing vocabulary. (Note: he refused to accept that respect means treating others the way you want to be treated – what they were teaching our elementary kids in school). There is no winning or being heard or reaching resolution with a toxic person.

It helped me to realize that I do not need to understand where he is coming from. That kept me trapped and enabled his perculiar behaviors to continue. Also, I do not need to be understood. He used my need to be understanding as a way to shame and guilt and abuse me for 20 years. 8 & 10 are very different manipulative, toxic, and abusive behaviors. They make it very hard for people who have not experienced them to be able to empathize with the victim.

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RR

…then you have been given a gift of light, mimi. Light, if only a flicker, dispels darkness, and where there is light, things grow and change! Good strength to you as you keep seeking the light.

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Judi C

So glad I read this discussion before writing to a lifetime friend who doesn’t answer my calls or tests or emails. I’m 70 now, and it feels like a tiring tape I’ve played too often in my lifetime. I happen to be in an impossible predicament (multiple orthopedic issues at once.) She’s been through the same issues twice, and I was always there for her. Boy, did she act wretched at times, but figured it was bc of her pain killers and pain). I wrote and asked her last night asking if she had some information that she could share with me. No reply. I’ve known this friend since we were in high school. I tend to think there’s something wrong with me and want to ask if she’s okay and if there’s something I did to her.

I don’t get it. Like someone wrote up above it’s not my problem anymore. It’s always been about her, I understand now.

Why, why, why go a whole lifetime and throw a friendship out the window? When you share so much history? Fortunately, I have many friends from all walks of life, who make me LOVED and validated.

Thank you for listening to me.

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Madi

I hope everything is okay! Your friend is very toxic, i think you shouldnt put the effort to talk to her anymore. Please dont waste your time on someone horrible. I can tell you are a very kind humble person. You and many other kind people deserve the world of happiness. But guess what these events make us stronger, now you know what not to do. Here’s some tips that help me; dont focus on the past nor the future only focus on the present time flies and you should enjoy the time you have! Another tip is Dont settle yourself for less you and many nice people deserve more. A third tip is, focus on the people or things that you love for example i love my Grandma and i love dogs, i focus on those things and it has made my life way better!
I hope everything will be better! I love everybody in this world! Have A great day!

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EMBinMT

My mom has turned into a toxic person and quite a few of these match her. She is hard to be around and when I tell her this she just insists I should avoid her rather than any attempt to be nice to her only daughter. She was emotionally unavailable to me due to her severe depression after the age of 13 or so and abandoned me and my brother 4 years later.

I’m closer to 40 than 30 now and she still thinks she can yell at me when I say something she doesn’t like, a basic simple opinion on something that usually has nothing to do with her. Recently I’ve tried to point out her behavior and express that I have so much that I struggle with that I cannot handle her added stress anymore – she seemed to get even more aggressive. I have had to either treat her like a patient or be honest with her and I was advised to be honest and when I did that suddenly she is convinced I have turned on her and now claims she can never trust me again. Because I was honest that I feel she is not nice to me.

I’ve always had to katow to her emotions and have always been a good daughter. I treat her and everyone else in the world like gold and she has no reason to be angry with me. I am a lesbian and I left Texas to be with my wife and we have a lovely life and she makes comments about me leaving her. She insists she is stuck in her town but it is an excuse.

I have a lot of my own issues I have to take care of and I feel deep empathy for her but I am doing all I can to take care of her but she won’t be nice to me or even acknowledge how she is. Not sure what else there is for me to do. She makes comments about dying and I think suicide is a risk for her at this point and it scares me.

I have a therapist but it’s not helping. She deeply needs one but would never consider it.

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Barbara

To be honest, I have been reading a lot about the topic of toxic people, and I just don’t know what to do, what to think.
I have this friend for a long time now. We both recently moved to a new country with our boyfriends. Our friendship was ok back home but since I moved here (we came few months after them) everything’s been going downfall. I am the one who always calls, we always go when she can, to the place she likes near her home. I asked her to change to something half way, she always has an excuse why she can’t. She is a smoker so every coffee place has to have a terrace and we have to sit outside even if it is cold. When we ask both of them to come to our place, or that we all could get together somewhere she refuses, every time with the excuse. And then we see them out or somewhere with some other couple, when they said to us that they can’t because they are working or something like that.
Also, whenever we are talking, afterwords I feel like the stupid one. Everything I say is wrong, she know better. When it happens that I can’t go for coffee (because I am at work) she insists, and tells jokes (which are not jokes but she makes them sound like that) that I should take a day of, or go early from work.
And when I asked her one day if she’s for coffee she got mad because she works. And I didn’t know because she works shifts and I don’t know if she is free or not.
And when I confront her when she doesn’t reply to my messages she says something like: “You know, that is cold work and obligations.” Sounding like I don’t work or I don’t have any obligations. Only she has a life.
And maybe it is stupid (she will definitely tell me so if I mention this) – I know when something is wrong or she is mad, not because she tells me, but when she starts to ignore me. By texts usually. You know, seen and she doesn’t reply, or she does, the next day?! Like, she was busy and she works, and she has a life so she can’t respond in the same day at least. And she ignores FB posts too. I didn’t have her like for anything in the past months because she was mad at me. She wouldn’t tell me, I found out later on. And whenever she is mad, she won’t tell me, I just notice she doesn’t like anything mine on FB, but always likes everything else from other friends. And If I mention this, usually I get a response like: “You know, FB isn’t everything, it is not about how much likes you get.” Or: “Geez I didn’t see your post. Didn’t like it immediately and now the whole world doesn’t like you. The world doesn’t revolve around you, get over it!”
And tons of other small things that drive me mad and I don’t know what to do.
Is it me, I even read about could it be that I am the one that is being toxic?
Because all of this makes me wonder, because she has some good sides too. She listens, she can have a compliment or two now and then. We can laugh at some stupid shit.
So maybe I am doing something wrong or over-exaggerating things?
Or I should call it quits?
I am just dumbfounded at all of this 🙁
Thank you for any insight!!
B

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Adeleke

My suggestion is to Call it Quit for a period of time, Make her understands things can get better without her, she is not your sources of income, she is Not your God, sometimes people do not like Goods Things around them until it Gone before realizing it Good

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Liz

So after reading this, I realized that I am the toxic one in the relationship. I’ve been with my boyfriend for a 1 year and a half now. We had some rough patches and were able to work them out through constant communication. This year we struggled a lot to the point where I think he’s giving me signs that it won’t last much longer now. I neglected him this semester because I was extremely busy with school. I really thought I was making more time for him. In January, he announced he’s moving to East Asia for who knows how long. Now that I think about it, I thought I was okay with it but it made me really insecure. I projected to him and now we’ve made a mess of things and just waiting to see what happens now. I still desire to be with him and I’m seeking counseling to help me and us. I understand there comes a point that being with a toxic person for a long time can make people more hesitant to continue. I am seeking help and am hoping to grow in my thinking.

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Pam

Honestly Liz, I don’t think you are the one that is toxic. Is he doing anything to help himself? Are you the only one making an effort to change? Is he willing to admit he might be wrong sometimes too? It does take two people to work on a relationship, and if you were going to school, did he support you, help you, try to make it easier for you? IT sounds to me like he isn’t taking any responsibility for his share in your arguments and not offering you any options. I just looked at the age of your comment so you will probably miss this but maybe someone will catch it, I don’t know. I’m just saying it is my experience that the toxic one would not be the one trying to fix things and that’s what you are doing. Just sayin…

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Julie

My ex husband (of 7 years) is toxic, he is a narcissist but I didn’t even know what that was until a year or two ago. Once I started researching things became clear. Now that I know what he is, I’m trying to undo the damage he’s done to me. He has belittled me, shamed me, guilted me, played on my weaknesses and bullied me financially and accuses me of behaviour I do not do. We have two children together and I fear what twisted tales he tells them, all the while accusing me of speaking negatively about him to my boys. I don’t do that, it would be incredibly hurtful and insulting to my children to badmouth their father, who they love and is someone they look up to. But over the past 7 years his treatment of me has started to affect my health, and certainly my well being. My counselor has suggested I limit all contact with him to email only. My worry is the kids will see me as the one to blame for why all of a sudden I don’t go in his house anymore, or why he’s not welcome in my home when we exchange the boys. I want distance, I don’t want him invading my safe places. I’m finding it every difficult to balance keeping things as normal as we can for the boys (15 and 12) and keeping myself safe emotionally from his toxic behavior and power over me. He knows which buttons to push, where my weaknesses lie. Money and my kids. He implies I don’t care about my kids and threatens me with his money. Tries to scare me, and in the past it’s worked, which is why he keeps doing it. But I’ve stopped reacting, I’ve stopped letting him see me cry, I’ve stopped defending myself in emails. I recently called him out on a blatant lie, knowing it would make things worse for me. But I’m tired of being pushed around. My oldest didn’t want to come to my house this week, and I know the timing is not coincidental. I can just imagine the thoughts my ex is putting into his head about me and my boyfriend (who lives with us). He’s bitter, angry and a textbook narcissist. How do I limit my contact with him but still show my kids I’m here for them if they won’t talk to me? My oldest hasn’t answered a text from me in almost two weeks. When I picked up his brother this week he was nowhere in sight, like he purposely doesn’t want to see me. Soon I will get a dramatic email from my ex about how we need to discuss what’s happening with my son. The issue though is what’s happening with my son is mostly what my ex is creating. I feel defeated and completely unable to fight for what’s fair.

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Rosetta

My children were exactly the 12 and 15 when I separated from my ex husband and we were together for 17 years. Love is blind, so I never saw the signs of a mentally abusive man until the day I confessed our marriage was over. There was never anyone else, which was worse for him, as he couldn’t accuse me of having and affair. I wanted him to meet someone nice and hoped we could remain friends; he put himself onto a dating site before moving out of the marital home; this was when he really showed his true colors. He used the children to pass messages onto their mother and after returning to the family with love bites around his neck, for us all to see, he thought it funny. He moved in with this same woman and was engaged before our divorce was through. The years which followed he manipulated our children along with his new wife’s help and has continually belittled me whenever he can by putting me down; he has told the children lies. I had to change my house number as it was impossible for me to have any support with my son who had behavior problems from a young age. My son during his teens became heavily addicted to Cannabis and I asked my ex for support, but I got nothing, so he continued
with having abusive behavior, until I had become very poorly with mental and physical exhaustion due to the stress of buying my ex out of the family home; where one morning out of concern for my son breathing badly, from smoking Cannabis heavily one night I approached him and he screamed in rage and thought he could bully me when all I had done was showed concern. I told my son to leave and he refused, so I called the police. My ex and is wife have manipulated my son into making me look like a dreadful mother. My son and I have been estranged for nearly three year; I have never had my exes support. I have recently become a grand-mother and my ex told his family he did not want them having contact with me because I am his ex crazy wife; I have had him and his wife posting comments on my daughter’s Facebook, implying my daughter needs to move out of the family home and the sooner the better. This has been his latest ploy and it’s ten years since we parted. It is obvious my ex and his wife are very bitter and very jealous; and ten years now passed, I have accepted he will never want me to be happy and will continue to make my life a misery. So my advice is to make sure you have control over what is being said to your children and correct them with positive comments when they confirm nasty ones. Have control over the interaction with your ex with regards the children and never say a bad word about their father. Finally try to limit your contact with him as much as possible so you can work on building your self-worth. Good Luck!

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Adele

Hi, I am at my wits end myself. I love my sister with all my heart. But she has this uncanny way of making everything I do or do not do wrong. It has been that way for as long as I remember. After a terrible divorce and then then a wonderful but short lived remarriage after 7 years, I am now a widow at 55. We knew each other for ages but we’re each married to different people and not involved at all. Once divorced I needed the time, a whole lot of time to deal with the hurt and betrayal from that marriage. But after 7 years we found each other and we both were blessed with such happiness that I feel God saved the best for last. My sister said she was too busy for the wedding.

Now he is gone and after 2 years I moved to the state she lives in because of years we had planned on moving here. So now what I feel was maybe not such a great idea, I moved into her home. Oh my Lord what have I done. I don’t go out enough, I don’t do the activities she wants me to do, I don’t do things the way she wants me too like she wants me to do it.

If I try and say anything, I’m making excuses, I’m a complainer (hahaha… Have to laugh at that one) but only when I tell her No!!! Then she wants to know what’s my excuse.

Let’s not mention…. My wedding anniversary is in a few weeks… Or that I have worked since I was 14 and now that my income has been reduced substantially I feel so uncertain or that I lost our home a year after he died…or that I pulled my self up by my self… Bought me a car and paid cash… Got my own affairs in order ….Without anyone before I came to her home!!!!!

Talking to her is like watching paint dry…. My mouth literally drops open and dries out… She does not hear a word you say. I have been hear for 3 months. I have my own income… Pay her 200. For my room and I buy my food. I have my car!!! Is it me???? What … How do these people even manage to treat people like this? I am so confused. I am looking for a good church just to get some relaxation and pressure reduced and then a good therapist…

I just want to live in peace. I feel so conflicted and confused about this situation. She knows my income is not what is was ( retired from nursing field) but I pay my way. I try to avoid the mood swings. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells.

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Catherine hayes

You know reading all these stories makes me realise I’m not the only one. I have been going through this for 2 years of a 4 year relationship. God it’s hard work not wanting to give up on a man you love, but for me hard as it will be, the time has come to let go. My man is just like all the rest described, wrong about nothing. I’m made feel like I am to blame for everything that went wrong in his past and he is punishing me for all the wrong done to him. He has a major chip on his shoulder. i can’t do it anymore, time is moving on for me I’m 53 now and just want proper happiness now. I have learned a lot today from reading the different stories and i know it will help me move on. Thanks to all

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Pam

I’ve been thinking about all this for so long, and reading up on it and just trying to understand the hold they get on us. Never in a million years would I have allowed the treatment I have put up with my toxic jerk. So why him? I’ve read repeatedly that it’s because we are such nice people us empaths and we just keep hoping that one day we can say or do something that will finally get through to them, and then we can live happily ever after. My thoughts are that this is partially true to a certain extent but I think it’s a little more than that. I’m not saying that wouldn’t be an ideal thing to have happen and it’s all well and good, but maybe it’s a bit more selfish than that.
They accuse us all the time of things we know we didn’t do, they conveniently forget what really happened and make us miserable to the point we either drop it or let them go on thinking what they want to. It’s just easier and there is no way we can change their minds about it. And after a while we just accept the fact that if we want to be any sort of happy at all we have to let go of wanting them to admit they could be wrong. It’s not going to happen. And we just continue on going downhill faster and faster until one day we start to wonder if they are right, that it really is all our fault and maybe we just aren’t seeing it right. Maybe we are the crazy ones and we are the ones that just can’t admit we are wrong or that something in us is so flawed that we can’t see it. I can only speak for yself here and perhaps you won’t feel this way, but I did. And then one day he accused me of stuff that is so ridiculous I started to see right through him and that’s when I knew things had to change, that i didn’t want to live out the rest of my years feeling so unhappy. I wanted some peace in my life. And that was the beginning of the end for me. I want to know what peace feels like.
I digress, and back to what I started to point out. I stayed so long and still fight it every single day, even after divorce and him being sort of gone from my life. What I want now isn’t so much for him to be helped, it’s more that I want him to finally, once and for all, admit that he was wrong. That I wasn’t that horrible person he wants to think I am. I want to be vindicated. I want him somehow to admit that I wasn’t the bad guy in this relationship, I was so much better than he thought. Or still does think. Just once I would like to hear him say, I’m sorry. I was wrong to act that way, and you were a good person. To admit that he didn’t deserve someone like me. I think if he could just once admit that to me and mean it, I would be able to walk away so much easier. And that is why it’s so hard to leave them, because I feel that by walking away I am finally admitting he was right all along. Knowing this doesn’t make it any easier mind you, because I know I will never get that satisfaction. And I also know that what happened between us wasn’t all his fault and that I made a lot of mistakes too and i try to take responsibility for my part in it all and to own my own screw ups, but it wasn’t ALL my fault. But it isn’t all about him now, and it is all about me when I say this. That is a lot of the reason I could never just walk away, it’s wasn’t my kind nature wanting to help him at all costs.
I don’t know why I feel this is important to put into words other than I need to be brutally honest these days and admit that it wasn’t out of some selfless reason that I stayed. I wanted to be vindicated by the one person on this earth that doesn’t have it in him to do.

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Sara

I was in a toxic relationship for 5 full years with “Bob” and he ran hot and cold. Everything was everyone else’s problem when things weren’t right and I was always wrong and the bad part it was whenever I asked about his inconsistencies, he always had excuses or I remembered it wrong and sometimes he wouldn’t return my texts or calls or even emails or they were “just ridiculous”. He was doing his important government things and couldn’t be bothered and would cancel at the last moment all the time yet I was to drop my plans anytime for him and when I finally caught him red handed cheating online I was the horrible person. I finally had enough and sent his boss the information on his behavior and his threats against me. Going no contact is the only way with a narcissist.

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Donna

Amen!

I was married to a toxic narcissist for 18 years. I compare it to living in a blender. You float around managing to keep your head above the water-line, knowing that at any minute, the switch will be flipped and you WILL get chopped up and be forced to survive a veritable maelstrom. Just when you think all hope is lost, the switch gets turned off and you float in circles, thankful for the reprieve, but aware that it’s just a matter of time….

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Robert P

One of the biggest things in life I found out as a child is…grown ups lie..and if they’ll lie to a child they’ll lie to anyone..especially themselves. I grew up with a tough father but I love him and..i understand him now. It comes with age..the answers are never out there..they are inside us..piss on peoples oppions. Half of them know shit. I’ve been harrassmed . made fun of. Lied to..not only by friends and family but by our government to..if someone want to be there with you..theyll be there. And if they can’t they rant worth it.

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Cem

I’m in relationship with a woman for more than two years now and it’s like our relationship is being described here. And I see that there’s a lot of toxic people out there. But is there a way to make people realize, that they are toxic and can they change?

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Karen Young

People will change when they feel enough pain, but what counts as ‘enough’ is different for everyone. The problem with toxic people is that they are very slow to own their impact on people and they will tend to see everything as someone else’s fault. Conversation is key in trying to make someone aware of the pain they might be causing, but there may also come a point where the only way to stop the pain is to walk away from the relationship. Fight for your relationship by talking and by listening, but decide how long you are going to stay if you don’t see any change. It’s tough, I know, but there’s no easy way through this – time and conversation.

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Kim

No mean spirit intended, but you can’t talk to these toxic people. I have tried and it just doesn’t work when they attack you. They will do anything to be superior. They are not interested in a mutual agreement or meeting of minds. There is something wrong inside of them. Specially when they gas light you, twist words, project, lie and smear you. You just can’t talk to these people.

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Diamond

I have a family member who is a complete sociapath
towards myself and my younger son she has done some major hateful stuff,she has lately blew up on me badly and told me she has always hated me but in a really abusive cursing manor,and said she only put on she liked me because of my son,I have always known there is something wrong with her as she is very abusive and cruel to my so who is with her verbally with words but has been violent to.
this has been going on yrs and she has now just started to turn her attention to me she sends me really bad evil messages through my Facebook to the point it has got so bad I have blocked her off all my media stuff but then I get more for doing that even though she has always never had me on hers, it has got so bad she is emailing my sisters and telling them lies I have no idea what she tells them but they will not speak to me and have also blocked me of any communication for them.I have to try to live a secret life which is so hard as an example I have a new car and she gives me so much abuse for having a new car,and I have just moved house and she is being so hateful over my new home for no reason,I am 55yrs old and she is always trying to physically fight with me.
my son just stands there and lets her do or say anything and literally,I once made a complete break and it was wonderful because they new nothing about our lives for about a year but they were still causing trouble by telling my sisters loads of lies for my sons sake I gave them a second try,I have done nothing but help them I give them money I helped them move home I buy there children clothes and presents all the time and after around a year of this she has just told me she has always hated me so its back to square 1,
my middle son they both hurt so bad for no reason its like they have nothing better to do than pick certain family members I am a full time carer to my youngest son who has autism so I have enough on my plate without all this it is so unfair whats really driving me insane is when they argue and she kicks my son out he shows up on our doorstep even though he has got other places he can stay,and takes over our house but he dose it in a way where he make you feel so guilty and you feel your house is not your own,and you get dragged into all there badness its disgusting.he refuses point blank to get a flat and he is 37 yrs old he just free loads off us and spends his money on drugs,when there together they both spend all there money on drugs.they have no carpets down for the children because all there money goes on wrong stuff.We can,t trust him why he’s in our home we have to lock all the rooms and sheds because they will steal from us,and we even have to watch what we say because despite what he says he always goes back to her and tells her all our private things we don’t want to get back to her even though we ask him not to I don’t really have anybody to help me so would love to see what other people think or would do as its been going on to long and is getting worse and more harmful.

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Ariel

My advice to you is to send written letters to your sisters saying on the front of the envelope that this person is a liar about all of the stuff they say you’ve done. Then, move somewhere where this person can’t contact you again since it worked the last time. And then get a therapist!!!

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Laura

These people have no conscience. I was living with one as a child. A brother. Abusive behaviour started early. I have decided to write about my childhood abuse and publish how it affects the whole family. These terrible behaviours start in childhood and I think it’s important to get the word out there. There are a lot of victims that are married and in relationships with these awful people with deplorable behaviours. Please follow me at @laura_corbeth to get my updates. I have an important story to tell.

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Michael

Can someone be a sweetheart with everyone else in the world and toxic only with the spouse?

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Yes absolutely. If this is the case, it’s the relationship that’s toxic. Toxic people are often drawn to people with open, generous hearts. Having an open generous heart is a wonderful thing, unless you are in a relationship with someone who will take full advantage of that for their own needs and wants. No relationship is perfect, and no person is perfect, but some combinations of people can cause so much damage to one or both of the people involved. The qualities you have might be wonderful qualities, and ones you don’t want to lose, but they might be making it easier for the toxic person to take advantage of the emotional resources in the relationship. It’s always important to have boundaries, even with the people we love.

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Ron Adkins

This has really caused me to look at myself, question my actions, see another devastating failure that I played a role in, perhaps the key role. I wasn’t always the nice guy. I resisted the pressure to change. I fought against the countless arguments, the countless assaults, the countless desecration. I cried deeply over my appalling reactions and behaviour. I desperately sought to educate myself to be a better man, to respond rather react, to embrace rather than hide, to build a better relationship. I countlessly questioned myself, “am I the villain, the psychopath, the sociopath, am I the toxic person, the narcissist. I sought, desperately, to change that if I was. In one year I’ve read over 15 books, read numberless articles, searched through countless webpages and journals. I started listening to subliminals, following umeditations, I actually grew calmer, retrained myself to respond when confronted, to assert myself when I felt disrespected or abused. Yet all through this, through the changes I couldn’t stop certain behaviours. Sometimes when confronted I sought to correct the problem by not allowing my partner to snipe me. If I got hit I would pursue her with questions. I would educate her, or try to, why I didn’t like that. That tactic only worsened the drama causing days of stonewalling, glares, withheld affection until I apologised and accepted full responsibility. Then I’d spend days avoiding her, wounded and full of unresolved issues to carry around, knowing full well they’d never be resolved. I’d go back to being like a little child, waiting for the next blowup and trying to be good so I could receive one speck of love and assurance. In essence, I was a dog left in the back yard, watching through the sliding glass door anyone, everyone but me getting love, laughter and attention. This morning I woke up feeling sad, recounting good times we’ve had and wondering why I wasn’t a better man. I went through the lists of what ifs, I began losing myself as I recounted my behaviour and I sobbed. I sobbed hard for her and what I must’ve put her through. I sobbed hard believing I’m losing a wonderful woman because I’m such an asshole. I’m losing her because I didn’t connect with her, even though I tried. I failed her like I failed all the others through the years. I went deeper into myself and began criticising myself harshly, spanking and punishing my inner child. Then I came in my room and started writing this post. As I wrote I began remembering all the effort I put into this relationship. I remembered all the sacrifice, the changes and the way no matter what, I was never right, good enough or, in her own words, as nice as I looked. These are devaluations. And while it not uncommon in a healthy relationship to express or experience these on occasion, they happen much more frequently in a toxic relationship. So now I’m thinking “I couldn’t have done anything right”. “I couldn’t have given more”. “I was unable to make her happy because she’s not happy “. I want to love again. I truly do. I’m not sure, after all this, I’ll be able to give myself to another. It scares the hell out of me. But still, there’s that desire to try. How can I? It’s like removing my eyes and asking me to look at something. I suppose you learn how.

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Ali

Hey man, I feel that pain, or to be more precise: I used to. I really recommend the book “No More Mr Nice Guy”, it helped me resolve many of the same problems you mention. If she is stonewalling you for asserting your boundaries and having self respect, that is her problem. My life and relationships improved a lot from asserting my boundaries, and I have started to enjoy life again in a way that I had previously lost. I think if you assert yourself more she will respect that, and if not then your life will no doubt be happier without her. Good luck!

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Robert Pittman

People can like you for who you are..if they don’t piss on them. You seem like a nice and caring man. If you’re kind .ho EST and treat people with respect you’ll find a woman out there who will love ya back.

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GodPrincess

I have a few “toxics” within my family circle. One thing they all have in common : they can’t keep it real even if they try. They’re all lying narcissists who think they’re all that and a bag of chips. They also have a big chip on their shoulder, and a big mouth to go with it. Stay away from such people. Well, there’s only so much compassion to go around. When people don’t know God, they just don’t know better. Don’t stoop to their level. Walk away and keep shining

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Norma

I just left a toxic friendship yesterday. She was not a friend She is a control freak. I felt smothered could not have other friends. She has a chip on her shoulder. At 69 years old, I she know better. I walked away activities I love doing because of her. Life is too short and I want to enjoy what life I have left. Better to have no friend, then to be in a toxic friendship. Thanks for listening. Hugs, Blondie7

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Nearly Misanthrope Hermit

Honestly, that’s about all you can do. I’ve decided I’d rather be completely alone and have no family connections that have connections to people like that. And you know what? You’re better off.

One classic trick they like to pull is the co-dependent trick. They try to project at you that you need to depend on them for something from their deep fear of abandonment.

All you can do is learn how to be individually strong and self-sufficient. It’s only then that no one has ANY power over you and you are free to choose how you want to live and who you want in your life, period.

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DeeDee

Very important to stay away forever from toxic people. They never change. I have 2 siblings who are drug addicted and so toxic. I tried everything I could for them but they keep hurting me so I stay away from them now. I also have children to protect from them, they are mean with them too. My kids are young and also need to be taught to stay away from toxic relationships. I have stage 4 cancer and just can’t take it anymore.

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Mavis S

I have a friend who didn’t come to see me when I was in the hospital for 3 months after a breakdown. She said in a birthday card that I was more than a friend that I was like family.
if I was like family, like her sister, she definitely would have come to see me even though she lives out of state.
When she was drinking I went to her place which is in another state. I took her to her first AA meeting. She met her husband there. Now she has 2 homes. one in Raleigh and one in the mountains of North Carolina. So I know she had enough time and money to have visited me when this time I needed her. So I sent her a text asking her why. She sent me a message saying she needed to process it. Yesterday she called and I didn’t catch it in time so I called her back immediately and got her voice mail.
She only calla when she’s in her car on a long trip or when I humble myself and ask her to call me. I still want to know why.

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Tracy

Obviously they are both hurting deeply people don’t become addicted to drugs for no reason .this goes very deep and there very unwell . But there is nothing you can do to help them , they need to want to get help them selfs .good luck

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Ava

Me and my bff met this person her name is ruby we were all friends she is older then us but we still all cared about her a lot. We would always joke around and call each other names. Then one day she got mad at us we’ll her friend said not mad annoyed but I don’t believe it. I think it been about a month now and their have been times when I wanted to talk to her so bad my bff who also loved talking to ruby and cared about Her name is Audrey her grandma was in the hospital and wanted to ask ruby something but she said she wasn’t going to call her be she wouldn’t answer 💔 we have tried contacting her but she never answers. Audreys grandmas neighbor is the same age as ruby so she talked to her and she said that more than likely after about a week or two she would come back like I said it’s been about a month now. And we let her explain how she felt so we would know how to fix it but after she messaged back she blocked us right away we would never intentionally hurt her we love talking to her everyday we would I hope she comes back and gives us another chance me and Audrey were so upset we cried for like a week and it still hits us hard 😭❤️

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Leigh S.

In between reading this and posting I had yet another screaming fight on the phone with the man who’s been the love of my life and the source of so much emotional pain over what will be 20 fucking years (!!!) come May 1st. Obviously, that’s far too long a time to describe, and I also accept that I must be both co-dependent and partially at blame. We’ve known each other since I was 17; I am now 56, and he is 59. I know we are soulmates, and that to the extent he is capable, he loves me. He isn’t a cruel person, merely narcissistic. I have PTSD, originally from severe childhood trauma, exacerbated by continuing emotionally abusive relationships with other family members. I am an extremely strong and self aware person, and actively avoided and refused to even consider involvement with anyone who was even a tiny bit abusive or controlling, until 1997. We had awful timing for the first 20 years, but things finally seemed to be coming together, and I committed myself fully. But for the first 5 years that we were together, circumstances beyond my control made life difficult, and his reactions, along with some of the behaviors described above exacerbated the situation, as well as my PTSD, then still undiagnosed. (I’m writing a run on paragraph to save space.) I finally had to leave him, but we were both unable to end it. Believe me, I’ve tried. I went into treatment for PTSD, and I improved for awhile. But then I wound up having to stay with my abusive mother, who constantly triggered me. I’ve moved away and severed all contact (ironically capable of that with her and my sister), but in doing so I’ve put myself in a location where I’m completely isolated and alone. I’m not the type to be with someone because of financial reasons, but I always hoped my dreams of this relationship working out would somehow come true, and after being totally alone without contact for months, I decided that being with him, faults and all, was better than spending the rest of my life alone like this. Being with someone, anyone else, just isn’t an option for me. But his behavior, while probably no more severe, has become far more difficult for me to tolerate, probably since the recent presidential campaign and election. I see soooo many similarities between his behavior and Trump’s! It’s constantly triggering me to the point that I’m sabotaging myself through my reactions, which convinces him I’m the problem, not him. I’ve tried explaining, of course, but it’s been 20 years of the same patterns. Broken promises, claims of “forgetting”, excuses every time he opens his mouth, fighting tooth and nail against doing anything I ask of him (like researching PTSD) but insisting he “loves me”, CONSTANTLY talking over me and hanging up on me during an argument which naturally triggers me, and a certain amount of gas lighting, which, compared to my mother he’s an amateur at. Tonight, he called after hanging up on me last night, was “surprised” I was still upset after 24 hours (after doing the same thing for nearly 2 decades with the same result- has he met me?), spoke over me, and when I challenged him to prove he really did the research into PTSD he claimed, which I don’t believe he ever did, first came the excuses and then the bullshit general statements any idiot could make. By then my blood pressure was so high I was about to have a stroke so I simply hung up, took the landline off the hook, poured a glass of wine, and started typing. I still don’t know what I’m gonna do. I’m not the easiest person to live with; I know this. I’m perhaps a bit too complicated for my own happiness. I love him, but I’m too intelligent to walk knowingly into a situation I know won’t work and why. This really sucks. Thanks for letting me vent, and sorry for the stream of consciousness and any typos.

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Sheila

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m in a relationship with a Narcissistic man. We are both 53. It’s confusing because it’s like dealing with someone with multiple personality disorder. I never know what mood I’ll get from moment to moment.

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Brad

I hope by now you’ve left this person. There is NO relationship if the person you’re with is NPD. They never get better and in fact, get worse. The trauma and head games they play will never end. The day you wake up from the horror show you invested so much of your life on I will say only one word to help you on your journey……..RUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNN. There is no other way. Do whatever it takes to get away and start over. Move far away and get a new number. Stop social media. They don’t give up trying to manipulate you back into their broken-minded lives. Most of this took place when they were young and now they hate the world for who they are. There is no compromise and if you think I’m oblver the top, the day will come when you back on these words and know how true they are. It’s time, break your own heart and go through the overwhelming sadness and regret that you’ve left someone stranded or you didn’t fulfill promises. It will pass and you will begin to see manipulators before ever investing energy like the past. Get peace for YOU while you are still a vibrant person.

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June

We have so much in common it’s uncanny. I finally came to this sight by chance, out of frustration and was wowed by “reading my life”. I started with a BA in psychology eons ago to try to understand myself and other people. After checking myself into the “looney bin” in my late forties was told I overthink things and I’m seeing now that I always have. I am also 56. A light bulb is now gong off regarding people our age and the incredible and mostly unnecessary suffering some of us have endured due to lack of knowledge and understanding way back when. My mother believed that searching through my belongings and finding something she didn’t like was not only ok but only years later would I find out why she’d been cold and angry with me for those months. My father believed in “constructive criticism” never ever complimented me or told me he was proud or loved me. However, both were wonderful in so many ways and I will forever love them dearly. But I learned very early on to gauge body language and tone for self preservation. My life so far reads like many others with happiness and heartache some of which are almost unbelievable. But the main thing I wanted to share with you is that I met a man when I was 17. He was my first and only until he broke up with me for the first time to see if he could do better. He was back within months and at 23 we married, we had four beautiful children before he ran to get a vasectomy. By the time our 20th anniversary was looming I was so broken I was self destructing in many colorful ways and unbeknownst to me, my husband was colluding with my mother behind my back. He was telling her I was acting inappropriately and she, true to form, began to act cold and accusatory without actually telling me what was going on. You see, the other thing I was raised to do was to put family first, never air your dirty laundry, and be completely faithful to your husband to the point of continuously assuring everyone that he was an amazing human being in every way. I left him. My parents decided I would no longer be the executor of their will. My siblings were in shock and my children obviously upset and unhappy. I stayed away a year, a few blocks over, until caving to pressure to give it another try. However, I was lucky to have met a gentle, intelligent and loving man in the mean time. I was also lucky that he waited for me. Within a year it became unbearable again and I finally left for good. With massive consequences of course. Over ten years later I am happy in a way I never thought possible. That man, I had thought was the love of my life, and spent 26 years with, is now a nightmare I have occasionally. It is never “not an option” to leave, there is always a way.

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Gigi

Wow, Ladies, I hear my life story within your posts. I am a 56-year old that has been married for twenty-four years. After the first five years of marriage, I asked myself why am I still here? Now, we sleep in separate rooms our money has been separated for years, and I do not engage in intimacy with him or anyone for over six years. He is a functioning alcoholic, so there are some of my issues. I am in no way trying to say I am perfect, but I have not figured out how to get out of this relationship. I love his mother dearly, and I know she loves me for caring for her son, but I need love too.
I am in school at this time for my B.A. in Applied Behavior Science; I want to be a Case Manager for a youth organization. I love children, and if he were not an alcoholic, I would have become a foster mom. I am not blaming him for my choices, but I know too well how it feels to be abused, and I will not allow anyone to experience that due to my bad choices. That part of my dream is pushed aside I will one day become a foster mom and help some child in need.
There is some much I can share but I will not help me at this moment. I have turned to positive affirmation and I feel better about myself.

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ECR

What a tough time you are having . !
It maybe that you are struggling deeply with abandonment issues from your childhood and at they get triggered every time you are with your partner . Its sounds like seeking out situations where you will feel abandoned but your hope is to heal them instead . Freud said we seek out to repeat the trauma in hope to put it right . Like you say yourself you are setting yourself up . Its a total tragedy and I cant begin to inagine the sadness you carry inside. The longer you stay with a person like your partner the more destroyed you will become until there is nothing left of you . Its important you begin to understand that . Its the child in you that brings you back into the relationship again ehilst the adult part of you knows its wrong . So strong are our childhood needs and we act them out unconsciously . I think you know you need to leave him , have very linited contact if any and learn with help from a good therapist how to live with your feelings of aloness and isolation . Get to know yourself first. it will feel scarier than anything you have ever done but your life will slowly change , your soul will rest and begin to smile . when you smile friends will emerge where you least expected it .
Its a journey …. one you must do to look after yourself . As for your mother …limited contact there too .
You are saving your oen life now , not anyone elses .
Yes the PTSD may be there and you nay suffer from complex traumatic stress disorder …you will need help for a while … but dont you deserve it . You may be in another relationship in time to come and you will then have to make sure you do not project what was dobe to you . That is again why you need lots and lots of support .Take it , and allow your self to be free ftom this terrible prison .You and your life deserve so much more .

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Laura

I would just like to say that everything ritten is the same as what I am currently going through! I have no family apart from my mother who has been completely brain washed by my other half to the point that she is happy to accuse me of being a skitserfrenic. She is all about my sister and her family and how wonderful they are! Which is far from the truth! I have no friends anymore and the mozza who never showed my feelings and being some1 who was not to be messed with the respect I had and the gob I was known for has slowly been taken from me. I have a son with him and he is my world. I am not going to ruin his family because of my own selfish reasons. I did split with him for a year 3 years ago and I had the best time I had had in years. I had to do things that I am not proud of so I could provide for my son but I am not going to explain my self for that ever. He will never know. I didn’t find it difficult to do as I have been used and abused by men all my life so why not take the abuse and earn money from it? I am so lost and reading the 12 signs is like a slap in the face for me. I am not mad! I am not alone! I am going to get through this. I am going to ask for your help and advice along the way and I am going to get me back! I just hope that I haven’t left it too late to get the upper hand and start beliveing in myself again! Thank you!

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Pamela LaCombe

I have been through the exact same senerios no need to get into detail, about it, the important thing is that I got through it even when I felt as though I never would at the time all I can say is that once I left the entire situation behind me I soon began to heal and that in order for me to make my life a much better and happier place I had to let go and move on I realize that I had to become a selfish individual taking care of my needs my wants my goals, I quite allowing others to manipulate my decisions it’s my life not anyone else’s and now that I am hitting the big 50 having been single for 6 years taking care of only me without any feelings of guilt or co-dependacy I’ve managed to become a much happier independent person who is quite confident and successful and I done it all on my own because now I can live my life by helping others to help themselves without getting caught up into their predicaments I learned that when I don’t need anyone to do me no favors and I accept the responsibilities to be that of my own people will treat you the way they do because you allow them too plain and simple I never could really understand the concept untill I did. And if you were to have known me all the way up to 6 years ago and you could see me now you would saw wow how did you do it. And to think that I have come out of a dependant sheltered childhood of anger issued co-dependacy I was the quiet easy going puppet on a string always doing what I’m told never able to express my own opinions or able to make my own decisions in my life nothing I ever did was ever good enough because I believed everything I was told which was always negative criticism nothing was ever about what I wanted I felt worthless and alone for years it’s what has costed me two marriages and the ability to hold down a job causing me to be dependant on someone else always. Today I am a single 50 year old woman with a career in medical coding and billing I have my own life with my own house my own car and I did it without the help of anybody but myself I am what I am today because of me and I have never been happier.

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Angi Callahan

You, like everyone else here, has the right to comment but unless you’ve been in these people’s shoes (I’m right there with you all) keep your narcissistic opinion to yourself. Be silent. Keep reading and you may be enlightened to a totally different world of inner turmoil that is real and unfortunately exists.

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Ariel

Hi there,
Im so sorry for all that has happened. I am getting over ptsd. And honestly the best thing to do is to get away from any toxic situations and just work on healing yourself. Love can be super complicated in what you want vs dont want but this healing is about you!! Please go somewhere where you can meet new people and are happy and are away from this hurtful stuff…it will really help.
Ariel. not a therapist.

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Wounded angel

I have fought tooth and nail to please someone or try and be there and I only ever get shut out oneday im loved and missed the next day its like I don’t even exist I do not demand attention I only wanted some form of basoc communication but they refuse to open up and say things like they feel they can not talk to me . I dont get how you can tell someone you love them miss them etc but then make someone feel like there hard to talk to I really do not know what to do it feels like im being mentally tortured its been going on for over seven years

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MJ

I have been in this relationship for 8 years and he now has another relationship going on three years which I found out about. He claim he started the relationship whn we had broken up for a month( which o can’t recall mind you). I really want to stop crying and feeling this constant heart ache but I don’t think I am strong enough. I want to be happy again I want to laugh again but I can’t . I know it’s not a good place to be, I know all of the advises of loving myself etc but how do u find the strength. What am I to do to get the courage

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Judith

I totally get you.
The n for me was the mother who gave birth to me.
I had to go into recovery with
“Narcissist Abuse Recovery Programme”
It has slowly started to change my life.
Check it out…if you like.
Just enter “melanie tonia evans “/”NARP
…she has many YouTube’s too.
The programme is Very life changing and
Recommends total No Contact
With a narcissist.
I wish you so much healing
Much love
Jude xxx

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Vicki

Read mr unavailable and the fall back girl . E book on baggage reclaim . I found it helpful . And a poem called do not
Date mr narcissistic by Vicki lines . Google both .

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Robert P

It seems some date for the wrong reasons..people should feel comfortable with one another..never have to guess what the other one is thinking kind of thing. Always be up front and face to face…it seems to work.i hope it all works out for you. Have a blessed night.

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All kids need the 'the right things' to thrive. The right people, the right motivation, the right encouragement. Out in the world, at school, or wherever they find themselves, kids and teens with anxiety don't need any extra support - they just need their share, but in a way that works for them. 

In a world that tends to turn towards the noise, it can be easy for the ones that tend to stand back and observe and think and take it all in, to feel as though they need to be different - but they don't. Kids and teens who are vulnerable to anxiety tend to have a different and wonderful way of looking at the world. They're compassionate, empathic, open-hearted, brave and intelligent. They're exactly the people the world needs. The last thing we want is for them to think they need to be anyone different to who they are.

#parenting #anxietysupport #childanxietyawareness #mindfulparenting #parent #heywarrior #heysigmund
Sometimes silence means 'I don't have anything to say.' Sometimes it means, 'I have plenty to say but I don't want to share it right here and right now.'

We all need certain things to feel safe enough to put ourselves into the world. Kids with anxiety are thoughtful, observant and insightful, and their wisdom will always have the potential to add something important to the world for all of us. Until they have a felt sense of safety though, we won’t see it.

This safety will only happen through relationship. This isn’t a child thing, or an anxiety thing. It’s a human thing. We’re all wired to feel safest when we’re connected to the people around us. For children it starts with the adult in the room.

We can pour all the resources we want into learning support, or behaviour management, but until children have a felt sense of safety and connection with the adult in the room, the ‘thinking brain’ won’t be available. This is the frontal cortex, and it’s the part of the brain needed for learning, deliberate decisions, thinking through consequences, rational thinking. During anxiety, it’s sent offline.

Anxiety is not about what is actually safe, but about what the brain perceives. A child can have the safest, most loving, brilliant teacher, but until there is a felt sense of connection with that teacher (or another adult in the room), anxiety will interrupt learning, behaviour, and their capacity to show the very best of what they can do. And what they can do will often be surprising - insightful, important, beautiful things.

But relationships take time. Safety and trust take time. The teachers who take this time are the ones who will make the world feel safer for these children - all children, and change their world in important, enduring ways. This is when learning will happen. It’s when we’ll stop losing children who fly under the radar, or whose big behaviour takes them out of the classroom, or shifts the focus to the wrong things (behaviour, learning, avoidance, over relationships).

The antidote to anxiety is trust, and the greatest way to support learning and behaviour is with safe, warm, loving relationships. It’s just how it is, and there are no shortcuts.
In uncertain times, one thing that is certain is the profound power of you to help their world feel safe enough. You are everything to them and however scary the world feels, the safety of you will always feel bigger. 

When the world feels fragile, they will look to us for strength. When it feels unpredictable, they will look to us for calm. When they feel small, we can be their big. 

Our children are wired to feel safe when they are connected and close to us. That closeness doesn’t always have to mean physical proximity, but of course that will be their favourite. Our words can build their safe base, “I know this feels scary love, and I know we will be okay.” And our words can become their wings, “I can hear how worried you are, and I know you are brave enough. You were built for this my love. What can you do that would be brave right now?”

We might look for the right things to do or the right things to say to make things better for them, but the truth of it all is the answer has always been you. Your warmth, your validation, your presence, your calm, your courage. You have the greatest power to help them feel big enough. You don’t have to look for it or reach for it - it’s there, in you. Everything you need to help them feel safe enough and brave enough is in you. 

This doesn’t mean never feeling scared ourselves. It’s absolutely okay to feel whatever we feel. What it means is allowing it to be, and adding in what we can. Not getting over it, but adding into it - adding strength, calm, courage. So we feel both - anxious and strong, uncertain and determined, scared and safe ‘enough’. 

When our children see us move through our own anxiety, restlessness, or uncertainty with courage, it opens the way for them to do the same. When our hearts are brave enough and calm enough, our children will catch this, and when they do, their world will feel safe enough and they will feel big enough.
The temptation to lift our kiddos out of the way of anxiety can be spectacular. Here's the rub though - avoidance has a powerful way of teaching them that the only way to feel safe is to avoid. This makes sense, but it can shrink their world. 

We also don't want to go the other way, and meet their anxiety by telling them there's nothing to worry about. They won't believe it anyway. The option is to ride the wave with them. Breathe, be still, and stay in the moment so they can find their way there too. 

This is hard - an anxious brain will haul them into the future and try to buddy them up with plenty of 'what-ifs' - the raging fuel for anxiety. Let them know you get it, that you see them, and that you know they can do this. They won't buy it straight away, and that's okay. The brain learns from experience, so the more they are brave, the more they are brave - and we know they are brave.

 #parenting #positiveparenting #parenthood #parentingtips #childdevelopment #anxietyinchildren #neuronurtured #childanxiety #parentingadvice #heywarrior #anxietysupport #anxietyawareness #mindfulparenting #positiveparentingtips #parentingtip #neurodevelopment
To do this, we will often need to ‘go first’ with calm and courage. This will mean calming our own anxiety enough, so we can lead them towards things that are good for them, rather than supporting their avoidance of things that feel too big, but which are important or meaningful. 

The very thing that makes you a wonderful parent, can also get in the way of moving them through anxiety. As their parent, you were built to feel distress at their distress. This distress works to mobilise you to keep them safe. This is how it’s meant to work. The problem is that sometimes, anxiety can show up in our children when it there is no danger, and no need to protect. 

Of course sometimes there is a very real need to keep our children safe, and to support them in the retreat from danger. Sometimes though, the greatest things we can do for them is support their move towards the things that are important a or meaningful, but which feel too big in the moment. One of the things that makes anxiety so tough to deal with is that it can look the same whether it is in response to a threat, or in response to things that will flourish them. 

When anxiety happens in the absence of threat, it can move us to (over)protect them from the things that will be good for them (but which register as threat). I’ve done it so many times myself. We’re human, and the pull to move our children out of the way of the things that are causing their distress will be seismic. The key is knowing when the anxiety is in response to a real threat (and to hold them back from danger) and when it is in response to something important and meaningful (and to gently support them forward). The good news is that you were built to move towards through both - courage and safety. The key to strengthening them is knowing which one when - and we don’t have to get it right every time.♥️

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