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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.



Times have changed as far as families. I reached out to my sister after a year. I sent her photos of the grandkids. She sent me articles on social security. Wth!!! She proceded to ask how much I draw each month. Wow, same old sister. She always has an agenda, not a good one. I decided at that point I would just end it permanently. When she called me I was cold to her, not rude. Of course she told the rest of the family about it. How can u explain to the other family members how manipulative she is? I just don’t see the point explaining. Not my style. Any opinions?


I’ve only recently started realizing the toxicity in some of my current/past friendships, but if I point that out to those involved or others that say they care about me then it gets twisted back against me that I am just ‘blaming everyone else’ for my shortcomings and asking for pity, which isn’t true. It’s almost like I am being bullied and mocked for even trying to recognize the problem and do something about it.


I finally cut ties with my older sister after being her emotional & financial crutch for years, and we’re only five years apart. I’ve included her in all my life’s joys and achievements abd especially my wedding day. But, after she got involved with her now husband who gossiped of me to her and she believed every last word, she simply excluded me from her wedding day – we hadn’t spoken for nearly three years until a few months ago when she used my niece to text me to say I shouldn’t be angry at her so long. I made contact with my sister less than a year ago and while she never apologised for hurting me, she also did not want to discuss her husband’s part in her no longer speaking to me. This same brother-in-law lived in my home a few years ago after my sister literally begged me to give him a place to live because his mother threw him out, and he was 40ish at the time. She told me he was down on his luck and convinced me to let him stay with me until he got back on his feet. Now, because of his sad story and my sister’s emotional manipulation, I didn’t ask money from this man but that he instead do some work around the house. That never happened. I was shocked when I spoke to my dad after a few months, because he told me of the horrible gossip this man was telling my family about me. I felt betrayed by my sister for bringing this charleton into my home and life under the guise of of “poor me”. To make things worse, at the end of last year she especially called me to say I shouldn’t share my bonus with anyone, and oddly she constantly asked me for cash. Then, after leaving my job last year and my fund paid out, she asked for money sometimes thrice in a month. What really hurt me was each time she wanted cash, she’d chat me up so convincingly I truly believed she took genuine interest in my life, but once she put the phone down a text message followed. It’s like she didn’t have enough respect to ask during the call but rather waited for a less personal medium, like a text message to ask me for cash. I finally did ask for my money back, but I was told she thought it was a gift. Almost $2000?? I don’t think so. The whole time something just didn’t sit right with me and the more I tried to figure it out, the less I knew what it was. Then it occurred to me. Some men would pimp out their girlfriends for cash, and my brother-in-law has a few habits that he needs money for and he’s been out of a job for over a year. My sister denies her husband told her to ask me for money constantly, but this particular behaviour started after she got involved with him and its clearly escalated. She’s changed so much and she’s become super manipulative and does it without conscience.

angie g

I loved your article. It was very helpful in how we can let others manipulate us when we have good hearts. It’s concerning that this type of behavior is around much more makes me wonder where it all starts from. I know for a fact change from our toxic up bringing has to start within us to stop the cycle of being attracted to toxic people even carrying out this behavior if it was instilled in us from our past relationships. I am in a new relationship for 13 years it has been so hard because in the beginning everyone tried to ruin me now everyone wants me to forget the past and have a friendship with them which is hard because 2 are his sons and the other 2 are his parents. we have gotten better but I have a lot of moments with his sons that I don’t want to be around them and I kinda don’t hide that with my actions when they come around or call. Everyone has made excuses for them even themselves I told them I love you but at times I don’t like you I am a believer in telling it how it is maybe I am to forward but no one thought about my feelings when they di things to try to ruin me so i’m being honest and they can’t handle it but I can’t seem to let things go I need advice please it was things as bad as trying to fist fight me as to saying I was a cunt and he wished I would die. there is more but those are examples so any advice would be helpful I don’t want to feel this way anymore but don’t know how to heal


I have a husband whose oldest son – on the very day I met him – gave me a big list of things of his Dad’s that he wanted when his Dad died. It was shocking. He keeps on doing it – even asking for a brand new motorcycle and he does not like to be challenged. When he stays here he will not flush the toilet, empty an ashtray and complains about the food and crushes cigarette butts on the drivewAY. hE SAYS HE IS REALLY NICE AND PROFESSIONAL WHEN HE D=GOES INTO eAST iNDIAN PEOLES’ HOMES BUT WILL NOT LET ONE INTO H=ISA house. Yup toxic is an understatement

Thomas R

I would confront the son, but be as nice as possible. Cook a meal he likes, or take him out to a place he wants to go to. Then just tell him how you feel. Ask him if he can meet you half way by trying to pick up after himself, and at least flushing the toilet. Sometimes when you go out of your way for your family, eventually they come around. I am not saying break your back, but it sounds like he has serious issues just as the way you described him. Maybe he needs psychological help? Maybe when he gets the help, he can change his behavior ?


I wish this article had existed when I was in 3rd-6th grade. I was friends with a toxic girl. And I mean TOXIC. She was manipulative, and she actually did something that is considered in some places to be emotional abuse. She would threaten to kill or cut herself because I was ‘ignoring her’ when I dared spend any time with anyone but her. She used me like a puppet, pulling at my strings, putting words in my mouth and ideas in my head. She’d project her own insecurities and issues onto me and make me suffer through hell. She had no respect for my wants or needs and acted as though I owed her something. She would become angry when I took time for myself or to spend time with my other friends and would spread rumors and lies that I had beat her up or abused her so no one would be my friend except for her. She made me feel guilty for everything that went wrong in her life, and had me constantly paranoid and guilt-ridden about what I had done to upset her this time, apologizing for being my own person. I’m no longer in this friendship thankfully, but she certainly left her stain on my life.


How come people are becoming toxic when marrid together for a long time;getting toxic is typicasl for a couple in the second part of life….the problem is that both talking and NOT talking cann be of toxic quality.


My younger sister is extremely toxic. She will do anything to win an argument – even if she has to destroy me in the process. If I question her about anything or call attention to her aggressive tone/communication style, she ratchets up the aggression and starts to yell and shout. If I respond, she talks over me – shouts over me. If I have an opinion that differs from her – she becomes aggressive and acts as if it’s a personal affront. If she clashes with me about anything, she calls my brothers and poisons them against me – to the extent that they label me as the problem person, even though the complaints and poison are coming from one source – my sister. I constantly have to hang up on her when she starts yelling at me on the phone. I can’t have a single conversation with her without it ending in a screaming match. I do try to minimize contact with her and will go long periods of time without contact because it’s not OK for her to be abusive and disrespectful to me. I have a right not to engage with her abuse. When we argue, I ask her to stop and she says no and ratchets up the abusive attacks – even attacking what I do for a living. She is a supreme gaslighter and bully. I am at a point where just can’t stand to be in her presence. She has pretty much isolated me in our family and I am convinced she wants to destroy me. I don’t think there is anything that can fix this rift between us. It breaks my heart.

Thomas R

Just be the older sister and keep your cool When she gets crazy, don’t let it affect you, and don’t entertain it; especially in the presence of the rest of the family. When she is going off; keep your cool, or even laugh it off. As long as you are consistent with your family, and treat them all with respect; they should do the same. I’m sure they see her for how she truly is, just do not fall for her games/BS.

Allison G

Hello – I lost my husband of 30 years to cancer in July of 2017 and in October 2017 a guy I dated in high school he got a divorce and was married for almost 30 years so I thought this would be perfect he knows all about being in a relationship got ahold of me and we started to date – at first it was great. Then he started to do things I thought were strange but I ignored them thinking I didn’t want to judge anybody he’s entitled to be who he is. I’m getting to know him. Plus I have not dated in over 30 years. He would text me everyday telling me how much he loved me – he taught me to golf – we did everything together I felt like we were best friends. But in the middle of all of these nice things he would just get angry for no reason and when I ask what’s wrong it would always be “nothing”when clearly it was something. Or if he didn’t like what was being said he would just leave right in a middle of a conversation saying “I’m outta here”. He would apologize things would be ok until the next time. You couldn’t tell him if something he did bothered you because somehow it always got turned around on you. Issues were never resolved. He bought me a pandora necklace he picked out all the charms – places or things we did I noticed was his ideas not mine – when ever he got upset with me he would go to his ex’s to talk about me – started to call me a bitch if I anytime I disagreed with him and so so much more. In between all of this he would do and say the greatest things Jekyll and Hyde you never knew what you were going to get. We broke up several times because I couldn’t take it and not even a day later he would get ahold of me and apologize and promised change. It would be good for a month then it would start again. This man borrowed money from me has a great job – I loaned it because we were in a relationship I thought was serious he constantly talked about spending his life with me and marriage so what was mine was his and vice versa. At my house everyday – but he was getting worse and I was doing nothing I thought to receive this kind of treatment. My family or friends didn’t like him wanted me to break up with him from the beginning – I loved him and didn’t understand how I could with the way he treated me. Everything in this article is him!! I would never let my children disrespect me but I was letting this ASSHOLE treat me like shit. It has taken me just a lil over a year to finally end it – I went to his house and tried to amicably end it with him totally ignoring me and calling me the worst names imaginable and saying to get the fuck out – all I kept thinking was OMG this would have been my life if I stayed with him this man would have treated me this way everytime we got in an argument – I always felt like nothing was ever resolved. I left feeling hurt still loved the guy ? but I had to end it – my heart was and still wanting him but my brain was saying get out!! It’s abuse and nobody has the right to treat you like that especially someone that claims they love you. I couldn’t talk to an animal that way let alone someone I love. And not once did I want to call him a name like he was calling me. It only has been 3 days since I ended it and I’m trying to move on but I do still think about him and miss him. Crazy – how can I miss someone that treated me horrible. And this is not everything!! The important thing is I’m outta there and can start healing. It’s going to take some time because it took time to fall in love like it’s going to take time to fall out of love. As much as it hurts you have to get out and start replacing him with new things. Get a new routine everyday and keep yourself busy – pray for strength – I’m so embarrassed I let another human being treat me this way but this was manipulation at its finest – God bless anybody that is going through this hell – I wish you love and happiness and if you can keep me in your prayers for strength I would greatly appreciate it ❤️


Oh my God, I see my daughter in a lot of these comments, she is the most horrible person in my life, she abuses me, does a lot of the things on here, lies, makes up lies about me to all the family, she wishes I was murdered or die, she hits herself if I try to block her out of my room and says shes filing charges on me, calls all kinds of names, argues with all of my visitors, embarrasses me, by blowing up in front of them, threatens to call police and tell them i abused her, she had an accident, and I had to let her move in, took care of her, but nothing was enough, she’s selfish, greedy, picks the lock in my room, takes pictures of my private files, drink up my wine, steals my things, hides my remote controls, hides my shoes, just anything she can, she tells people I am forgetful, and I am getting senile, and she threatens to have me committed, she threatens to take all her pain pills, it’s a constant battle she fights with my pregnant granddaughter, my four year o grandchild throws things at her, when she’s mean to me, she lives here but has recently got full disability, so I filed to have her removed, omgosh I see myself in your articles, always a peace , fixing up person. ugh I hate my life


Awe! Fany.

I hope my children don’t end up like that but it sounds to me that a hard foot in the ground is what she needs. It sounds like she’s been given to much opportunity to succeed in Makin ur life hell. You said she takes pain meds? Well that an issue there as is sounds addict behavior. I can’t pretend to know anything much about your situation buti feel for you 200 percent.
Goodluck! Put that foot down ?

Not a Victim

It was as though this article was written specifically for my vile mother-in-law. She behaves despicably at every occasion with me but will deny her actions and words at every turn. Her and her insecure daughter are in need of some kind of constant validation from the world at all times and it is really scary. From the moment the monster in law told my husband while I was in labor at the hospital that he could probably just go home because it was going to be awhile, to saying in front of me that my daughter called her Mom (before my daughter could talk), to placing pictures of my husband’s ex-girfriend in an album on display during my husband’s 40th birthday party and remarking to everyone who would listen that the pictures were of my husband’s “Diana”, to the constant excluding me from family pictures (but including my husband and daughter) and to the myriad of criticisms and petty, shallow, manipulative and cunning things she has said and done since I met her 10 years ago, this is the year where I say enough is enough. I’ve chosen to not go to my in-laws house anymore for holidays and to avoid the torture altogether. I will not be walked over anymore by a woman so desperate to play the victim in every scenario and who is so sickening to behave the way she does yet call herself a Christian. She is sickening and vile and I am so disappointed in myself for taking this long to stand up for myself. Goodbye wench. You can deny every shitty thing you’ve done to me over the years and twist your story to gain the sympathy of your equally sickening so-called Chiristian friends all you want. I’m out. Hoping to not see you on the other side.


To: Not A Victim…

I 100% understand where you are coming from. Different situation, same BS! My now ex mother in law is/was the exact same way and I couldn’t take it any more either. Sadly, that entire family was the same way including my ex. It took several years for my eyes to finally open up and understand that it will only get worse before it gets better. In my case, the day my divorce was finalized was the BEST day of my life! I had my freedom back to laugh and enjoy a sunny day just because I can. You are certainly not alone in your struggle and the frustrating part is people like “them” always see it as other people’s fault…not their own actions. If the past decade taught me anything…it was to never ever think or become anything like them. Not only did I stand up to Satan herself, I also walked away without regrets or looking back. Three years have passed now since my divorce and I am thankful every day I made that choice. It wasn’t easy, I am not suggesting that you should divorce, but, for me…it was the only option left. I am glad I took it.
I wish you nothing but the best!


Jennifer F

I have a younger sister who keeps making up lies about me to her friends then out if the blue said to me weren’t you in jail for a check? I was shocked to hear that she would say something like that to my face.
I’ve never been in jail ever for anything . Why would she spread lies that arnt true?


I don’t know we’re to start, I am so
Messed up that I have detachment to reality, due to growing up with my nassscistic, toxic oldest brother that physically, mentally, emotionally messed me up. I am always guessing and asking and checking always that I’m not offending or hurting anyone. The only reason I am still breathing is because I no that Jesus is with me and that The lord has something better planned for me. Wow the amount of confusion and always trying to get love from him, but he would never give me the approval I need no matter how much I try to make him happy from me he would always have something negative to say. I would get forced to clean and do things he wants me to and if I ever say no or tell him that he is wrong he would get angry and verbally and physically abusive. I am numb to everything and to everyone I can’t love anymore and sometimes I feel really deep suicidual thoughts but I no that I could never hurt myself as I am not strong enough to do it let alone cut myself . The pain won’t stop and don’t no What to do? He is married and has a son, the only reason I tolerate his bulls**** is because my family and that little guy so I can try to protect them from his toxic behaviour such as always prove he is right and will always have something negative to say and he would try twist things around to make it about himself. He always has to be the center of attention. Ever since I was around 8 I had police no my family name personally due to the amount of times my parents tried to get rid of him as he physically, emotionally, mentally abused my family and I. I have to to court more times then I can think. I don’t understand how he isn’t in jail, JUGDES ! I guess he had goood lawyers or I was stupid enough to drop every case because it would break my mums heart to see her son in jail. She had always enabled him and would always speak for him to try my excuses. I still remember having my school teacher asking why I have a black eye and me saying I went in a pole. My mum has always said it’s my fault what he has done to me that I was a brat and that I would never listen. Every birthday I ever had was him alway making me cry or forced cleaning the house. He is much stronger then my father, my father is also a A******* but not as bad as my brother. No one could control my brother I don’t even want to call him my brother, I have forgiven him more times then I can think of. Even his wife has left him but stupid enough she cane back to him. My mum alway makes excuses for him. She is an enabler she could of stopped all this , but no she always blames the victim. I am scared that I might have traits of a toxic person as I force my younger sister to clean her room and am very bossy and controlling but I always feel bad and wrong that I start to feel really bad and gross. Even sometimes I would hit her when she doesn’t listen. I know I am disgusting for doing that to my younger sister. I alwsh buy her things and when I’m upset from her or when she has attitude/rudeness I would take it from her I am like a second mum to her as I fill out all her school forms, but her a lot of things, help her with her homework, but when I do I alway use it against her. I can’t smile or genuinely be happy. I always have to ask am I really alive. I have a lot more things that I have been through but this is the only alittle bit of my life.


Hi Numb, What you said has really touched me and I just want you to know that there are many people out here who understand and have been through much of what you have. The fact that you already know God has a plan for you is a huge step in your healing, I am proof of that.
I know you won’t want to hear this but have you thought that maybe it’s time for you to take back your life? It’s hard to hear this I know, but there comes a time in life when you have to realize that unless you decide that you aren’t going to allow this treatment anymore, you will be stuck right where you are. The simple fact is that you have survived this far in your life and I know that you can make it the rest of the way. I’ts not an easy fix, I’ll give you that and the fact that you are wanting to take care of the younger family members shows me that you are not a Narcissist yourself. But right now in your life, you have to take care of you and if that means you have to cut that family away so that you can find healthy way of life, so that you can learn what it is to be free, that has to be the most important thing for you. If you are not healthy in your own self, how can you help anyone else? It sounds selfish I know, but you are worth it, you are so worthy of being loved, of being treated like the good human being that you are and the most important person in your life right now is you. Put those children in God’s hands, only he has the power you need to save them. And then do the same for yourself. Get yourself healthy, get away from these people and start taking care of who you are. The rest will happen the way it is suppose to. I promise you are starting a journey that will not always be easy, it takes time to undo the damage that has been done to you, but just know that now that you know there IS a future for you free from abuse, it is up to you to make the choice to stop it, you have the choice now to take care of who you are, you know you can’t fix them or please them, but you can fix you. You are worth it and sometimes in order to save someone else from that life, you have to save yourself first, and it isn’t a selfish act to take care of yourself. Hurt people hurt other people, so fix your hurts and stop the cycle of abuse in your life. Then you can be a powerful advocate for many other people in situations like yours. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that You are LOVED. And you have as much right to happiness as anyone else on this earth. I can see you have a good heart, I can see that you have worth in this world, but now you need to see it too. And sometimes you have to turn your back on everyone else in order to save yourself. Only when you are safe, can you bring others to safety. Pray with all your heart, God does answer, He always loves us and He never turns his back on us, NOT EVER. I am proof of that, I’ve seen my whole life turned around, it is there and all you have to do is make the choice to change your own life. Change your name to Living, and get rid of Numb. You can do this.


Hi guys, i hope you are all well.
I need some help. I have been in a relationship for what will be 5 years in June this year. He proposed to me after a year of being together and then after that we moved in together.we went through a difficult patch after that, we wer always fighting. He always prioritized his friends and put them first.
I suffer from anxiety and over thinking,my self confidence is extremely low amd im extremely insecure about myself and i always believe i mess up and he tells me i ask too much of him and im a problem its something iv gotten so used to “being the villain” because of the way my head is😞. I started seeing a psychologist to speak to but i would say it didn’t help me.

In December 2018 i fell pregnant with our baby and i told him. He did not react the best and his first suggestion was to get an abortion. We wer leaving to visit my mom on the 24th and we found out on the 22nd and he wanted to get rid of the baby before we even left. This broke me because i did not want that, i didnt expect him to react in that way and he always promised he would never to that to me as its what my ex put me through.

He started making a whole lot of demands about how I needed to change if I wanted the baby and i need to let him do whatever he wants and i cant complain and i need to fix my anxiety problem.

The above was difficult to take in considering i dont have proper contr6of ky anxiety and i didnt know how to fix myself. He basically made me choose between the baby and him.

I fought him and tried to buy time so we ended up going to visit my mom without getting it done. But he did not want to speak about it with me at all, it made me feel like i was just a problem and an ugly part of life he wanted to forget. He also made it seem like a purposely fall pregnant as i was on the pill at the time and that made me feel even more horrible.

When we got back from my kom inwas convinced its what i needed to do because i love him nd i didnt want to lose him because of my condition so I decided the best was to have the abortion.

This decision has affected me in the worst ways possible, all I want right now is to be a mom and i can’t control that feeling no matter how hard i try to suppress it.

He avoids the baby topic at all costs and never wants it to happen. He knows what i want and i always try to prove myself to him and cook, clean, don’t bother him, but he don’t even speak about when he ia going to marry me.

He don’t help with chores and he does only after i ask which will end uo inna fight. He is always on his phone. Everytime i speak to him about my hearts desires i cant as he will not properly understand and try to find a way forward with me. The relationship is always about what he wants and according to his own time line.

I feel unheard and this makes me angry and sour towards him. He will twist everything to make it my fault. He leaves his dirty cups, shoes, clothes laying around the house and i have to chase after him and clean up because i hate a dirty place.

Things are breaking in the house and he don’t even attempt to clean.

I feel like my life isint going anywhere, especially in this relationship.

I love him sooo much, i always think back to the old days and I have regrets of my own mess ups.
I constantly feel like i just mess up.

Yesterday he eavesdrop me vent to my work colleague about how he don’t help me around the house and how fed up i am about it.

Also about how he don’t romance at all, we don’t go on dates or anything on the weekend. I always suggest but nothing ends up happening. I feel i am not appreciated, he gave up treating me the way i feel I deserve and i cant stop hating myself as i believe it is all my fault.
I feel stuck and like i will always be unhappy in this but I don’t want to be without him.

He ignored me ever since and i confronted the situation and he complained, i ended up telling him how I feel but we just fought and nothing gets solved.

I am broken and lost for words

Joelle D

Hey Pam , I know I am currently going through the same thing with my older sister. I am discouraged and don’t see why I should even love anymore. I have no one to talk to and music is my only once of hope . Just know you are not alone.

" class="url" rel="ugc external nofollow">Debra s

Hi I feel what you saying. It’s sad because one goes into a relationship for love but at the end, it is just a fairy tale story in our hearts.. I still believe in love… Love doesn’t die… If only our partner could respect our heart..


Let go and leave him or anyone who supports him. You are better off without him. You don’t even need him to be alive least to mention to be happy. Why bother to be still involved with him or anyone who supports him? Whoever needs your protection can come to you after you leave him to live your own life happily. You can also offer them the same option which is to leave him to go away with you. If for whatever reason they don’t want to, tell yourself you’ve tried your best and even offered help but you’ve to go, because only by saving yourself and be happy can you save others and give them happiness. Toxic people (once identified correctly) deserves no sympathy and definitely should not be kept around yourself. All the best and take care 🙂 Jackie


Doing my best to raise a son with a toxic Narc co-parent, his father, who keeps us constantly in court with petty complaints that mountain into serious issues. We’ve been in court ongoing for six years, shared custody with no end in site. This man has turned everyone in town against me, speaks poorly of me constantly to my child’s school, his teachers, his coaches, friends, and ofcourse to him. His most recent motion filed was to have me psychologically evaluated, and asked for temporary custody of our son, due to my erratic behavior. Meanwhile, while I’m not perfect… I donot drink, smoke, take drugs, and I do hold a job, show up to all activities, keep communication open as possible, arrive helpful to events, and make sure our kid is clean, fed, clothed, and as happy as I can make him under these pressures. He’s five. Suggestions? Besides complete positivity and prayer?


move to diff. school district. find a GOOD lawyer. no matter what the cost. before though go to a town he wont know anyone.ask around or research yourself for a lawyer. you’ll lknow if they are good people or not.gut feeling. but test them and say its a divorce case tell them everyhing just leave your son out of it for the moment. and hopefully you have evidence of the toxic life time stealing ex, recorded phone calls and face to face conversations, text messages. court filings and recordings. i keep ALL my receipts CALLX app on my phone that automatically records my phone calls and keeps my text messages. and i make sure i keep my cell GPS locations recorded. so i always have a time line of where im at. and i also have little dashcams i can put anywhere with motion detection recording, night vision etc. i did by little charger packs to plug them in so no cords to plugin or see. and when i get a call on home phone i turn on my voice recorder on my cell phone for record keeping.. He obviously is very selfish, and “not worth the pot he pissess in” as my mom has said before. talk to a therapist or child psychologist about how to deal with this situaion. put at least two cams in your vehicle and hide their locations temp. just t see if he follows you at all that way u have evidence of that too but also that finding help out of town might take parking your car at an ob-gyn office and getting creativebut if he is “stalking” you then all the other is considered harrassment and then you can et a restraining order and have him charged with all u can. the court crap he does the”slandering” he does All of the things he does to ty and break your spirit are things he wishes was being done to him. and every judge,lawyer officer LAW enforcement people are trained and know within 10 sec. thathe is a P.O.S. and r waiting for u to kick him in the nuts and end this crap because it sounds like this started before your son was born.and if your like the the rest of us u stand idly by (while he makes a wasteful ass of himself) and say nothing really. Do not tell anyone what your plans are. act exactly the same. it all comes down to your son. and how far your ex is willing to go to try and keep you down by bad mouthing you to your son in which case you need to get full custody. because he will be the most affected good or bad than anyone. And as it should be known by all that its Everybodies job to Protect any, every and all children from direct or indirect Harm and hatefullness etc. God Bless “Do the right thing for the right reasons”U.S.M.C.


What do you do when your husband turn into exactly what this article is talking about? He does everything in the list. It’s impossible to have a productive conversation with him. We not willing to leave him but he is not the same man I married. Do I just have to deal with it?

Beaten down

My wife does all these things. Luv her, but when it gets like this, i quietly ignore her now. Unfortunately, my loves gets chipped at and it feels hard to want to be with her because of all this. She’ll even bring up stuff abut her kids and be mad about something that we never even talked about. It starts in her head, and she believes it to be true, though never a word of it was talked about before.
Really frustrating. The good times are far and few between, and she seems to be fighting/angry against the world, then focusess on to me to get the brunt of it all.
I look for happiness in little things, and know that she will never be happy truly, ever. She live in the hypothetical and the future.
I accept what it is for now, but have given myself a deadline.
Still trying.

Dr. Carlo-Casellas

Great notes describing the problems with toxic persons, but not one single suggestion on how to let them know they are toxic and that you do not want them in your life. I have a toxic person in one of my yoga classes, and I managed to get rid of her by deleting her from my emailing lists, Facebook account and not informing her of when the yoga classes were being held. But I need a good solid suggestion.

Karen Young

If they are truly toxic, it is very likely that they won’t care whether or not you want them in your life. It is for you to take the lead and to claim your power by walking away from the relationship, as you have. Relying on the other person to walk away hands the power for the relationship over to them.


I found this article really insightful and wished I’d read it years ago. I have an elder sister who is toxic and has been for many years. She tries to control me and my other siblings and is rude to me and selfish and only cares for herself and her own family. I realise that I’ve always felt uncomfortable being around her and now I know. How I longed to have a sister to love and get on with!! The sad thing is that I’m only beginning to understand how to handle this situation. I find it incredible that these toxic people behave in the way they do! I read on here that toxic people mistake kindness for weakness…… how true. Thank you for this.


I have a girlfriend of 2 1/2 years. When I share my day with her she often turns it into something I have done against her. If I help a friend move its because I am closer to them or having some kind of sexual relationship with them. I work on her car now she accuses me of removing interior panels selling them and replacing them with older parts. She says I ruined her central ac in her house. That I have gone in her attic to purposely do these things. I feel like I am walking on egg shells. I want to share everything with her but don’t know how to communicate to her in a way she doesn’t make it about something I am doing to wrong her. I love her dearly and I am willing to make this work. Perhaps someone can offer me some good tools to help me.

Learning daily

I should stand my ground way sooner then I do.

It’s not easy for me to confront

Mostly because it never end well for me

I end up geeking the real pent of anger of these individuals focused to mess with me more.

But it’s worth it,
Also I’m into helping the targets in my life. And always see both sides. But I rarely look away from defending and pep talking the temporary workers the unpopular etc.

Stick up for yourselves if you can risk it. It’s what makes us us


My boyfriend’s sister-in-law is a complete disaster of a person. She always complains about anything we decide to do, she takes advantage of him to the max. Having to do their dishes, picking his nieces up everyday so that she and her husband can work late. She has no sense of responsibility yet loves telling others what to do all the time. I am not sure what to do because my boyfriend does not stand up for himself and I feel like we always have to work round her schedule! (which should not be ours). I have been working on trying to move out with him so that he isn’t there anymore to be manipulated. In the meantime however, what do I do to make him understand he cannot just do everything she says and think I am okay with it, especially when he says no to me much more often than he does to her. We do communicate about this a lot but he always says it’s to keep things civil because there is n point with her. please help!


I believe that I might be toxic…I’m just not sure how to fix myself. Most of the time, I feel incredibly hurt and can’t muster the ability to reply. I do my best to Express how I’m hurt but if who I’m talking to has trouble understanding I just feel like more of a annoyance rather than someone who needs help…and I don’t want to trouble them. I don’t think this list fully fits me but a good amount does and some are close enough…is there any advice I can have that would help me become a better person?

Sammi B

If you feel hurt and do not like to trouble others, you shouldn’t be a narcissist, because they are heartless. They can only feel insecure and become anxious out of jealousy. Toxic people love to trouble others because that gives them a sense of achievement when someone takes trouble for them. They think they deserve all the honey. Don’t misinterpret yourself, maybe you are just being anxious sometimes. Just focus on your strengths and the good qualities that make others love you. Focus on your role as a human.


I don’t know who I am or what to do anymore. My husband is an abusive sick man raised my an even worse sick and twisted mother. I have been in an emotionally abusive relationship with a toxic person for 20 and did not even realize it until recently. I consider myself a fairly intelligent person. How does that happen? I have believed their lies about me for 20 years. And even felt grateful to them for putting up with me. I thought I was crazy. Defective. And they made me feel as though they were doing me a favor. And I believed them. How in the world does this happen? I see now that they are defective. Not me. I try to talk through things with him, like the fact that he stayed gone the other night for 6 hours with no explanation or apologies, and he gets mad at me saying I love drama and I’m trying to start stuff. We have a fairly decent size home and I have one corner in the dining room that all my stuff has to fit in. The rest of the house is cramped wuth his junk. If I want to buy a desk for instance I’m told there is no room for it. If I buy little things for the house they get moved, lost, or broken. I don’t understand how this has happened to me.


My situation for financial reason I have to live with my parents and brother after my separation from my wife. But i have my daughter and they think they all have a say in parenting her. They think their voice outweighs mine because I’m the youngest. But they can’t control me so they nitpick at everything my child does and call me a bad parent in front of her . She is only 8 years old. And calls me at work to say how she is being treated .


She’s my sister an she’s younger an my parents are more prone to takeing her side.
She’s has this way of making people feel bad for her, an only solving a problem if the person gets angry enough which is usually me she’s very critical an will argue in public I’ve indulge in this once or twice an ended feeling really bad afterwards . If she doesn’t want to do something she’ll make a problem just to deflect it until it goes her way. She’s good at being apoplectic I call it emotional maplulation she’ll say sorry to point where I wasn’t to tell her to STOP. She’s told me more than once that she doesn’t trust me An will again try to guilt me into feeling bad for her when she says stuff like that or just try to create an argument an then pretend like notting happened I’ve talked to her so many times about she’s says sorry am continues . I’ve tried other advice site on understanding “toxicity in people” . I’m at the point where I want to just ignore her till she leaves for university but I don’t know how effective that would be. Being around her makes me feel disfunctional

Shayla Patterson

You can also do other things so she wont have to do them things out by taking up by god. Letting god show you the way you can also take her to the side and ask her is she okay. Spend more time with her make her feel likes she’s not alone.


This is a very good article.

And extremely valuable.

Thank you.

Over time, chronic anxiety in someone I was deeply in love with led to me experiencing some of these behaviours.

He is incredible. But I was so in love that I played into the madness and inconsistencies subconsciously.

The problem then.

I lost myself.

That’s when I knew something was very wrong.

I lost my mind.

I questioned everything about me.

His anxious mind sabotaged everything.

So nothing we did or enjoyed was safe.

We were in quicksand.

I had to let go of the most extraordinary poetic love of my life.

But I realised that to save myself.

I had to finally love myself more than him.

So I left.

Heartbroken but grateful for the life lessons + some of the exquisite memories of the truest love of my life.

I realised that chronic anxiety meant that he couldn’t help so many of his behaviours.

I’ve found peace.

Will D

Interesting read. I like it.
Actually, everything you’re describing, is “The Narcissist”

Narcissists are impossible to negotiate a healthy relationship with because the are the most toxic of all personalities. I was raised by a parent who was a horrendous narcissist and it destroyed my personal life. Literally.


My cousin has accused me of being the toxic person in our relationship, when obviously it’s been her the whole time. This has helped me so much with her bullying. Granted it takes two to tango, but I’ve always been the one to apologize, whether it was my doing or hers. I’ve yet yo have that reciprocated.


How to deal with this when the toxic person is your daughter? In spite of my careful planning of everything I say and do she twists my actions so they appear to be a direct attack on her..then blames me for making her angry and hateful towards me. This has been going on for years….I have pulled away with an open door but she makes no effort to reconcile let alone take resp for her actions. I have a family reunion in 5 weeks…im so heartbroken to think I may have to cancel it or deal with her attitude which will ruin it for me no matter how hard I try to put this in perspective. I will turn 70 this year. Any advice most appreciated.


Dear Victoria, I am not qualified to help but your message really touched me (I have a similar situation with my son). I have learnt that when he asks for my opinion – and that if it differs from his he becomes very patronising and angry. I have come to dread his calls (we live in different cities in Australia) and avoid them; which only makes it worse!

That’s some background for you, but I really didn’t want to make this ‘about me’, sorry.

I am writing late July 2018 so I guess your family reunion went ahead… or not. If it did go ahead, I’m wondering how it went for you and wishing you the best.


I have a daughter like that and I have tried everything possible for us to have a good relationship but she has her own ideas, it is very disrespectful to be treated in such a manner by our own children.

As long as you know that you are a good mother and tried your best, just let go and in time you will get used to not having her around despite you will still be hurting inside.

It is difficult for some people including our children to know what a good mother feels. Although we hurt so bad, we must let go.

If we don’t let go, we are telling them it is ok to treat us the way they do.

Good luck and I wish everything work out someday for you. Be strong for yourself, only you can do that. We made them but we didn’t make their minds. Don’t ever feel bad as you tried your best and God knows that.

May God Bless you and give you strength to deal with each day.


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“Karen Young - Hey Sigmund has such a wonderful way with words especially around anxiety. This is her latest beautiful picture book that explains anxiety through the lens of the Polyvagal theory using the metaphor of a house. This shows how sometimes anxiety can be hard to notice. I think this book can help kids and teens better understand stress and anxiety. I loved it! This would be great for homes, schools and in libraries.
Congratulations Karen.💛”
Of course we love them, no matter what - but they need to feel us loving them, no matter what. Especially when they are acting in unlovable ways, or saying unlovable things. Especially then.

This is not ‘rewarding bad behaviour’. To think this assumes that they want to behave badly. They don’t. What they want is to feel calm and safe again, but in that moment they don’t have the skills to do that themselves, so they need us to help them. 

It’s leading with love. It’s showing up, even when it’s hard. The more connected they feel to us, the more capacity we will have to lead them - back to calm, into better choices, towards claiming their space in the world kindly, respectfully, and with strength. 

This is not about dropping the boundary, but about holding it lovingly, ‘I can see you’re doing it tough right now. I’m right here. No, I won’t let you [name the boundary]. I’m right here. You’re not in trouble. We’ll get through this together.’

If you’re not sure what they need, ask them (when they are calm), ‘When you get upset/ angry/ anxious, what could I do that would help you feel loved and cared for in that moment? And this doesn’t mean saying ‘yes’ to a ‘no’ situation. What can I do to make the no easier to handle? What do I do that makes it harder?’♥️
Believe them AND believe in them. 

‘Yes this is hard. I know how much you don’t want to do this. It feels big doesn’t it. And I know you can do big things, even when it feels like you can’t. How can I help?’

They won’t believe in themselves until we show them what they are capable of. For this, we’ll have to believe in their ‘can’ more than they believe in their ‘can’t’.♥️
Sometimes it feels as though how we feel directs what we do, but it also works the other way: What we do will direct how we feel. 

When we avoid, we feel more anxious, and a bigger need to avoid. But when we do brave - and it only needs to be a teeny brave step - we feel brave. The braver we do, the braver we feel, and the braver we do… This is how we build brave - with tiny, tiny uncertain steps. 

So, tell me how you feel. All feelings are okay to be there. Now tell me what you like to do if your brave felt a little bigger. What tiny step can we take towards that. Because that brave is always in you. Always. And when you take the first step, your brave will rise bigger to meet you.♥️
#anxietyinkids #consciousparenting #parentingtips #gentleparent #parentinglife #mindfulparenting #childanxiety #heywarrior
If anxiety has had extra big teeth lately, I know how brutal this feels. I really do. Think of it as the invitation to strengthen your young ones against anxiety. It’s not the disappearance of brave, or the retreat of brave. It’s the invitation to build their brave.

This is because the strengthening against anxiety happens only with experience. When the experience is in front of you, it can feel like bloodshed. I know that. I really do. But this is when we fight for them and with them - to show them they can do this.

The need to support their avoidance can feel relentless. But as long as they are safe, we don’t need to hold them back. We’ll want to, and they’ll want us to, but we don’t need to. 

Handling the distress of anxiety IS the work. Anxiety isn’t the disruption to building brave, it’s the invitation to build brave. As their important adult who knows they are capable, strong, and brave, you are the one to help them do that.

The amygdala only learns from experience - for better or worse. So the more they avoid, the more the amygdala learns that the thing they are avoiding is ‘unsafe’, and it will continue to drive a big fight (anger, distress) or flight (avoidance) response. 

On the other hand, when they stay with the discomfort of anxiety - and they only need to stay with it for a little longer each time (tiny steps count as big steps with anxiety) - the amygdala learns that it’s okay to move forward. It’s safe enough.

This learning won’t happen quickly or easily though. In fact, it will probably get worse before it gets better. This is part of the process of strengthening them against anxiety, not a disruption to it. 

As long as they are safe, their anxiety and the discomfort of that anxiety won’t hurt them. 
What’s important making sure they don’t feel alone in their distress. We can do this with validation, which shows our emotional availability. 

They also need to feel us holding the boundary, by not supporting their avoidance. This sends the message that we trust their capacity to handle this.

‘I know this feels big, and I know you can do this. What would feel brave right now?’♥️

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