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.



Whatever you do – do not tell him you’re leaving him!!!!!
However — plan it in secret and continue like nothing has changed and walk out the door when you can — with the dogs and never ever go back! Run — block him, cut your losses, leave your possessions, start again and get as far away as possible.

Then take nice relaxing baths, walks, good food and listen to lovely music and get out in nature and never ever talk or think of him again.see your friends and family and spend as much effort and time on them and see the results — the twirls you’re not getting from him and never will.


100% agree – because I lived through making the wrong choice — choose yourself and choose someone who chooses you.


This is really beautifully said, and it speaks to what I believe a lot of people suffer. Thank you.


Can I please have an outsiders opinion for feedback.

My husband keep swearing among other things. Judging people when driving etc. This instance, we were coming back from shopping and I was feeling very happy. He mentioned something about what My daughter and I purchased and he said yeah look at all the shit you got! We agreed not to swear in front of her years ago. He didn’t flinch. I said gently and quietly (in the front seat) why the swearing? I wasn’t looking at him. But something made me look at him because he said “I didn’t swear!” So there was a lie. I looked down because I felt pushed back he was getting loud and I didn’t want to made a big deal. Then I looked at him at realized that he was making faces at me. He stopped when I saw him. Not thinking I would see. Then he started another face but a really silly face to make it look like it was allllll just fun and games. Our 14 year old daughter is sitting diagonally from him. Watching his every move. He of course minimized and asked me to not be so sensitive it’s all just fun and games. I feel this was a whole new level of disrespect and disregard for me as his wife. Me as a Mother and his daughter as well. Because is that the way a man should treat a woman? I don’t think so. Mean and cruel.
There is pat meanness and cruel words he has said to me. I am a very kind and patient wife and I feel like Marijuana has changed his brain to become a disrespectful and disruptive abusive child.


J- this behavior is extremely disrespectful and inappropriate. Sounds like something my soon-to-be-ex would do as well. Toxic for sure.


I agree. In my opinion, in large part based on my personal experience, it is a major red flag. To me, that was a form of emotional and verbal abuse. That kind of behavior will continue, despite apologies and promises, and will only get worse.


You are living in a toxic relationship! If he has always been this way then no option but to leave him. If not it will set the worst kind of example for your daughter that she should accept being treated poorly by a future partner as she is learning constantly by what she lives with and sees at home with her parents.

Suggest counselling to your husband for you both to attend to greatly improve your relationship and his behaviour and then attend family counselling too to teach your daughter it is not ok to treat anyone the way he treats you. A relationship should be built on mutual respect and trust or it just doesn’t work and is much worse on a child than seperation. You need to decide pretty quickly either way as your 14 year old daughter needs you to be strong and show her what is and is not acceptable in the treatment of women (or people) so she won’t take these bad habits into her very near future relationships. It won’t be long till she is in one of her own and would you like her partner to treat her as you are being treated by her father? You must make a decision now! If he has no interest in counselling or making personal changes to strengthen the family unit and be a better parent to your daughter and partner to you then you have to leave him because he’s toxic to you both otherwise.
Sorry to be so blunt but time is of the essence here due to your daughter’s age. Save her from a future of the acceptance of this type of treatment which can lead to poor self esteem and negative sense of self worth before it’s too late.


J- I have just come out of a year long relationship (the end was mutual as we couldn’t continue as it was) where a lot of what you just described was exactly as my partner was behaving. He has also been a regular weed smoker and with lockdown and having a hiatus from work, the use had increased. I experienced the exact same attitude- belittling, snipes at aspects of my character, projecting anger for small things at me, swearing but then saying it wasn’t ‘at’ me, which is still hurtful. I feel your sense of hurt and it almost feels like when they give you a nugget of affection, cuddles, or statements of love, you cling to them and start to think ‘am I really just overthinking things?’ But other people had noted my partner’s outbursts, and the irony is that people who act like that seem to have snide comments to make and to have a problem with small things eg. Other drivers, but then when you try to address the issue, it’s turned around and you are the melodramatic, emotional one. My situation is obv much different as we did live together (in his house with his dogs etc) but had no children. The only thing I can suggest to you is not to let these things slide- if he says it is a minor thing then maintain that, to you, it didn’t feel like that. The more you let people get away with smaller things, the more this will increase sadly. Also keep your cool and address in a non-swearing or argumentative way and if he loses his cool just explain you aren’t going to be spoken to like that. I hope that things get better for you and that he realises how his behaviour has hurt you. Take care


My situation is about a vegan. And what makes it harder to deal with, she’s my older sister. Even worse, she’s an adult and I’m not. There’s a 17 year difference! Anyways, she doesn’t just straight up walk up to me and go “Hey, since you eat meat you’re a murderer with terrible health and you’ll die by the time you’re 30” but she drops hints about that crap all the time. I swear, everytime somebody brings up Arnold Schwarzenegger she ALWAYS MENTIONS HE’S VEGAN. I GET IT, SHUT UP! She quite literally said “tough people eat vegan” and “he was brainwashed before he was vegan” implying that us non vegans aren’t tough and brainwashed. Looking back on my earlier childhood, she showed me a lot of videos (not graphic, thank goodness) of how certain animal products are made such as hotdogs or McDonald’s burgers. I realize now she was trying to use a shock factor to turn 5 year old me vegan. I also have overheard her arguing with my mom (a meat eater who now eats less, but still not even vegetarian) about food. The last time this happened was like a year ago. But you want to hear something funny? My family’s Christian. Not the stereotypical homophobic, preaching Jesus all day type. We barely ever tell people. But we want to, oh no, CELEBRATE a Christian holiday?! Guess we’re shoving our beliefs down her throat! We TOTALLY never respect HER opinions! But while we do respect her opinions and we’re not pushy, she still tells us to stop. Stop what? Anyways, while she does that, she’s constantly trying to force us to be vegan. I’m tired of her stupid vegan “chicken tenders” that taste like a sad attempt at oatmeal. I want to say something, but I feel like I’d get in trouble for being disrespectful. It’s annoying me a lot, but I can’t do a thing about it. The worst part is she’s doing her self quarantine at our house since she lives in her car, so I’m stuck with this until at least June. I have no idea what to do.


Wow…..what a control freak huh? Just because your 17 doesn’t mean you can’t have a voice this is not wrong or disrespectful she is the one who is wrong and disrespectful!

We all have a right to an opinion and to feel passionate about things sure however there’s a fine line and what she’s doing is harassment/bullying and if she’s been at you since 5 years of age then it could also been considered as abuse.

We all have to live in this big world together and should be more focused on tolerance and acceptance of one another’s differences no matter what they are, provided they aren’t illegal or harmful to other people).

I pitty you having to be quarantined with her and that behaviour and I would tell her maybe if she had a great big juicy hamburger then maybe she’d be less of a b*tch and a much calmer/nicer person to be around. If that doesn’t work I’d talk to your mother/parents and have a family meeting and tell her if she can’t keep her vegan opinions a little less vocal then she can go back to her car! Tell her that’s her naughty corner if she can’t keep peace and harmony in the home by toning it down!!! By the way, I too am a Christian but there’s only so much anyone can take. That chic sounds waaaayyy too OTT and you will all go bonkers or mad under the same roof if you don’t shut her nonsense down. Seems clear as day why she usually lives alone in her car……no-one is prepared to tolerate her or live with that. So go ahead either speak with your family as a group to her or go it alone but you have every right to have your voice.


She sounds like she isn’t very well. Could you all sit down calmly and talk about it fully and properly asking her to respect your right to choose and likewise. Perhaps a really open honest conversation would help. Her veganism is like a religion to her.


I can relate to this so strongly 🙁 My boyfriend has the key characteristics of all of these things , I feel torn between what I should do, in my head and deep down I think I know he is emotionally abusive but because he was so different at the start and on his good days I choose to persevere and tolerate them, I cant do anything right, there is always a criticism or I need to change my tone or my attitude (all when I’m just being my friendly, happy self) He makes me feel stupid on a daily basis and very often makes me question my sanity or makes me feel like I’m just playing the victim, or if I do truly ever pluck up the courage to talk to him about how I’m feeling, he either makes it clear he is deliberately not listening by pulling out his phone and scrolling through facebook, or will always outwardly turn my concerns back on to myself and make me feel like I’m going crazy and it’s in my head, the biggest headfuck of all is if I’m raising a point he will make me backtrack and repeat snippets over and over then will try and get me to stumble upon my own words and then tell me I dont make sense or I’m contradicting myself, I’d like to think I’m fairly articulate and have always been sharp in catching on to peoples behaviour, however I truly feel like he knows exactly what he is doing and is a master manipulator when it suits, I wake up some mornings or near when it’s time to finish work and I’ll feel anxious as to what mood he is going to be in when I get home, the cold shoulder, moody evenings hurt the most… even more so than the belittling comments some evenings, I’ll ask if everything is okay he will always say yes, but not talk, not even look at me, then all of a sudden he will get in to bed later that night as though none of that ever happened. I know deep down this is going nowhere and fast, yet at the same time I’m just not able to walk away


Well to keep your personality intact, walk away, no matter how hard it might be. If you stay you will lose yourself and it will take a long while to rediscover who you are or were before you met him.


Please walk away! Take it from me, someone who married a man like you have described, and have lived nearly 30 years of agony. I’m still looking for comfort and advice on sites like this one. Still. Run away and save yourself. Please! I envy you, that you can move on in your youth and find someone who really cares about the “you” who lives behind your hurt eyes. The eyes you try to cover up, like you’re not hurt. All the best!


Sweetheart, you deserve wayyy better. I am so incredibly sorry you are going through this! I am also, and the reason we get stuck is called trauma bonding. The literal chemicals in our brains that correlate to the abuse we endure. Also, the fear of the “unknown” as we are creatures of comfort and habit. Please know and accept that you are worth so much more! I beg of you to please get out before serious commitments are made and little ones are added to the chaos! My poor kiddos have gone through so much! Be strong, be realistic, find a man worthy of your love. This one clearly is not it! Best wishes to you!

L. Liz

Lace – Oh, no! Please get out of that relationship. You are describing my marriage, but he wasn’t that bad until after several years together. You are young and not attached, thank your lucky stars that you found this site and asked the question. Get out while you can, or you will forever dream of what your life could have been if you had waited until you found a man who respects you. Don’t persevere, don’t tolerate. I only wish I had had advice like this when I was young. I’m not sure I would have listened to this kind of advice, because (as in your situation), he was good and kind some days. He still is good and kind some days, but the drama and manipulation get worse with each passing year. I only hope our sons didn’t pick up his behavior in their relationships. Do yourself a favor and take care of yourself and love yourself first and foremost. You can’t and won’t change him. Don’t get married to a child.


I have a so called “friend.”
She has almost all of the 12 toxic people signs.
I don’t know what to do or how to break away from her. I’m in year 8 (7th grade) and i don’t to like have trouble with people.
But she just causes me so much pain. Shes made me cry in the changing rooms by myself and I just don’t even know what to do anymore.
I don’t want to talk to talk to anyone about it, i just don’t know how to deal with it.
I know I need to break away from her, but she just manages to turn everything into my fault. I can’t handle it anymore.


RUN! Do not pass Go and do not collect $100 just GTFO. I’m in the same boat and unloaded mine this last Sunday….I’m hurting and it sucks but it will be for the best. He has mindfucked me so much I can’t even see straight and I started drinking again to ease the pain….I’m off it now as of two days and things will get better. Everyting was always my fault. He never apologized, ever. He never complimented me. His tone was forceful and mean. When we argued he made no sense….he constantly accused me of things I wasn’t doing. BUT, on those good days when he was on, he was on big and sweet and loving. He was super nice to me infront of people but when we were alone I got the cold shoulder. Weird ass shit. It hurts, I feel like I’ll be alone forever but i won’t. I feel like I’m lost an alone but I’m not. You aren’t either. These relationships hurt….if I looked at him with anything but a smile on my face he would get vexed. Always ready to put his ‘manhood’ in me when we laid down but acted as if I was a pimple under his armpit on regular days….imagine that….regular days were when he only insulted me a little. This man told me I’d never find anyone that loves me the way he does then tells me, No one will ever F you again without you having to pay for sex. (I’m 52) he also said, “F, you are the Fing Stupidest Fing White Woman I have ever met.” In one sentence he manaaged to cuss me, insult my race, my gender and my intelligence in one sentence. I ended it and I ended it big….it hurts but eventually I will get over it and I’m done. It’s new and fresh and it hurts to be alone, all the routines altered and everyting else. He had some good qualities wrapped in a toxic narcissistic personality disorder….and I will be better off some other day and so will you. Go, get out of that toxic mess.


Hi everybody! It’s my first time here and I normally don’t comment on these things. Last night I officially cut ties with my boyfriend of almost 2 1/2 years. I am well. I write because like all of you this article is very true to the relationship I was in. I’m 23 about to graduate from graduate school in May 8 will hold a Masters in Architecture and Community Design. I have worked hard in life to get where I am and I don’t give up on things easily. Some may say I have a tendency to want to fix everything wrong in the world. The guy I was with manipulated and belittled me all the way up to last night. He would victimize himself and always manage to get me to apologize to him for expressing my feelings. He judged men and made me doubt in my capabilities and in myself as a strong independent woman. I’ve always been described as a strong independent driven woman. I feel like he is the duration of the relationship took that away from me and I began to think I was weak and stupid. I was wrong. My good nature and my nature of believing everyone is capable of change with the right support systems and guidance fooled me. I am not mad at myself I am not disappointed. I look at this and am glad I went through such experience as hurtful and agonizing it was because I learned valuable things. I am.that much stronger and I am free from the toxic hold of a man incapable of seeing his own wrongdoings. A man incapable of empathy, compassion, and understanding. To everyone in this situation let no man make you feel burden for their hardships for their ways. Stay true to yourself. Love yourself first. Be selfish. More importantly, let no man or person rip you of your morals and values.


I was with my daughter’s father for 6 years before i broke up with him and we left, but the damage was done years before. man. These are all things i have been through since the very beginning of our debacle. i have been abused in all ways but sexually and financially. There were many red flags even when we were dating, but i chose to ignore them because i wanted to see and believe his good qualities outweighed his bad. The thing is he is very smart, intelligent and knows whats up. He knows hes an asshole, mean, negative, etc. At the start of our relationship, he was very possessive and overbearing. as the relationship progressed, he became verbally and mentally abusive. Eventually, i moved in with him after a few months and my emotional hell began. I chose to be blind and continue to push his ugliness away. There have been at least 50 instances of abuse from him, from spitting on me, to pulling my hair violently, to him trying to push me during an argument that ensued while i was 8 months pregnant. 1 time the cops became involved. Many times he abused me during my pregnancy, and always found ways to blame me for it. Gaslighting, projection, deflection…those things always happened. Then the lies began, the secret attempts of cheating behind my back, and when id confront, he’d ghost me, cuss me out, say i was lying, being dramatic, etc…always an excuse for everything. If i were to tell people my story with it, they wouldn’t believe it, but 1st they’d call me a dumbass and ask, why didnt you leave? Its a cycle. Its all mental. Its all bad. And its all about manipulation. i remember one time i tried to break up and he threw all of my clothes onto my lawn at my house. A couple of years before that, he went to jail for a marijuana charge and i was there for him to bail him out, there at the jail at 6am with breakfast, and he proceeded to blame his arrest on me, punched in my car and threw all of my stuff out on the lawn while i was living there. There was an instance where I was wearing a skirt and his friend rubbed my thigh about 20 ft away from my ex, but he didnt see it. When i told him about it and explained why i waited so long to tell him, he called me a “weak bitch” and lashed out on me, telling me how stupid i was for keeping it a secret and not telling him that night it happened. There has been so much drama between us during our tenure together. I am a strong woman and am embarrassed and ashamed for staying and putting up willingly with a monster like him. There have been good times between us and there have been what i felt were genuine times of care and idk if i can even say love. Like i said, he also has good qualities, which is why i stayed, because it wasn’t horrible at all times. but, there were many more bad times than good. It got to the point that i felt i couldn’t leave and the stress became so severe that i started to cut myself again, which he knew about, and never once offered to get me help, and never really showed care. I was afraid to leave. It’s a crazy, unhealthy, dangerous situation and cycle to be in. There is always stress, drama and frustration. the manipulation is crazy. If you find yourself drained emotionally and mentally, get out. If you find yourself disrespected once, get out. If you find yourself afraid, anxious, paranoid, unsure; if your gut is telling you something is off, then your gut is right. Your self worth, value and self respect are worth much more than some guy or girl treating you like shit, Like you dont matter and are worthless, because you are not. I am still in this cycle with him now because we have a child, but we dont live together and co parent. He is a lousy father but thats a whole other story. Toxic people arent worth the heartache, headache, and tears. They will never, ever, ever change, no matter how much you push aside your feelings or self worth. No matter how much you accommodate them and try to adapt to their surroundings and feelings, wants and needs, they will never change. remember, it’s not you, it’s them; it truly is them. They are sick, twisted, damaged people who thrive on seeing others suffer. They claim to not like drama, yet, they somehow always find themselves in it, and dont try to mitigate it or change it. They love it because they feel powerful and in control. but strong people walk away, they dont relish in the drama. And, a strong person apologizes when they messed up. He never apologized, maybe only 5 times. But, he sure found ways to make me say sorry, even when i did nothing wrong. I still find myself apologizing, just to “keep the peace” and appease him. But in reality, there has never been peace between us. Stay far away from toxic people, seriously. your mental health isnt worth it. All of this is a lesson learned and has made me stronger, but i definitely am damaged. I do have ptsd. But, i am trying to heal and recover for myself and daughter. this isnt my life story, just a piece of it, and hopefully i can help others along the way find their worth.


My sister has always been against me from childhood but it became manifest when I had to move to her place at our school. She’ld go silent for days and later ask why I’m giving her a silent treatment. If she does any chore, I would clearly read it on her face that she is doing it to make me feel less of myself. I’ve had to cancel many meetings,dates and conversations just because of her attitude.

I could get really uncomfortable on a phone call because of what I can tell from her body language. I’ld understand if everyone says it’s all a lie because when we outside,she puts on a smile and acts like we are really close. I’m not even living a life of my own again. I’m always walking on eggshells to please her,yet she is not pleased.

The part I hate to say the most is I haven’t been able to summon up the courage to warn her sternly and I don’t know how to cut her off because I don’t have a separate accommodation. Our parents won’t let me have one since they don’t understand. Two times I tried to explain to them and I had myself to blame. They said I wasn’t putting up with her. I cried and felt really hurt as always. I’m caught. I feel like there is no way out.


My partner of more than 10 yrs is hoy one day cold the next. Sometimes she just wakes up mad and pee’d off. I know That sometimes ppl may come off different then what they mean as most do. And for the most part I am a very quiet and very laid back person as well and understanding. But almost everyone of our arguments start with me unintentionally hurting her feelings.but by the end I finally just revert back to a silence she says it’s me and my feelings. I love her dont get me wrong but when I have tried ending our realationship she say I’m running and dont care. I’m really lost and some out side advise of what others would do would help.


If the relationship has been like this from the start then I think you not meant to be together. It cant be built on manipulation or selfishness, with the “I” factor always in the way. This will flow into every avenue of your daily life. Stop and ask yourself if you are happy. Does she make you happy and goes out of her way to make sure that you know this? Its a toxic situation. I would walk away because the problem will never go away.


How about what do yo do when your wife lets her friends bash you. She’s admitted I’ve done nothing to deserve any of it. But she refused me to defend me even though she knows I’m right. She still thinks she should go to her friends wedding which is coming up. I think it’s disrespectful to me for her to engage in anything with someone that is attacking her family but she don’t think so. I say it sends a message that the friend can treat her and her family any way they want


I have been dating this girl for a little over a year. It seems like every little thing I do urks her nerves now though. For example, most recently she had said something extremely sarcastic that made me say can you please not say that to me, because I genuinely felt disrespected, she got mad and told me not to speak to her and went to bed and has been mad for 2 days now. Another example is we argued one time a few weeks ago and she called me the “B” word. I nearly ended it right there because that is the ultimate disrespect in my opinion. The most important thing is in both of these scenarios, I ended up being the one to apologize. Right now I am just trying to figure out am I overthinking this or just being a plain out idiot for staying?

Renee M

What steps can be taken if you feel you are a toxic person, and don’t like being that way, or what you’ve become.


I have an 18-year-old daughter who is a college freshman who is very toxic to me. She manipulates, lies and emotionally bullies me to get her way. She can be very lovely and charming sometime but when she doesn’t get her way she can go into rages, and all caps mean texts Telling me how I’m not going to F over her life and how it’s going to be.In the past she has pushed and shoved me. I’m at the point where I want to disengage from her for my own sanity but also feel guilty not being there to support her as she’s having a tough time in college. She lives away from home and the past two times she has been home for breaks have been awful. Over Christmas break she didn’t get her way and went into a rage ripping up pictures out of a photo album and taking pictures off the wall. She also is very disrespectful to my husband. When I try to do something nice like take her out to lunch she told me off through the entire meal.She apologized and says she doesn’t want to treat me like this but then turns around and does it again and again. When she was 15 and 17 we sent her away to residential facilities to try to help with her issues but nothing worked. She was diagnosed with anxiety and a mild personality disorder. I’m trying to figure out if her behavior is a mental issue or a choice. She doesn’t act this way with other people and can easily turn things around if another person is in the mix. She’s also getting relatively good grades in college – B student. So she can function well in other settings- at home it is a toxic mess To the point where we don’t want her to live in our home ever again.


I want to know what this means and should I be hurt by it. For now I am staying in my own space because I find the last few days behavior unacceptable. My long distance lover stays in touch with me everyday pretty much, but on Valentines’ Day I got one email and nothing for three days. He said he went away for the weekend. I asked kind of in a joking way with emojis “so why didn’t you tell me?” and I told him I was upset about his lack of contact on V Day. He replied “I just did”. To that I have not replied since. He continued to say his mother reminded him he would take her to visit a friend out of town on Thursday. So why didn’t he tell me on Thursday or Friday. I am not keeping tabs on him. All I want is open communication and everytime I ask for it, I get less communication. “I’m going away for the weekend so you may not hear from me.” Fine. Instead I check and check my flaming phone and then get upset! I told him I was upset that he didn’t chat with me on Valentine’s day and nothing to explain himself on Saturday. I sent him an amazing card and love letter. He must have got it, but not acknowledging it yet. I don’t think there is anyone else, so this has me confused and what a cold comment back. Why not just say sorry and get chatty. It would all be forgotten in no time. We met recently for lunch and it was perfect with another meeting lined up. I don’t think I’m being over sensitive or am I. From his angle, he doesn’t have to tell me his every move. But what harm is there in being courteous and saying you will be away or a pic from the location. I don’t even have to know where. I would love to know how to handle people like this and take control/power back.


At age 551/2 .
My dad tell me last night that I don’t do things right. The choices I make are wrong. With all the challenges I have in my life. What a let down. I have 1 sibling. Also the same. If only I could share my text messages. Sadface.
Maybe I need to seek some advice on how to get negative out of my life before it destroys me.
At my age I need all positive. It’s time to shut it down.
Family is supposed to support your heart and ideas.
I don’t get that. Yet when they want it I they get it.
I figure my whole family hates me. No love since I can remember. I feel the way I feel. My heart. I keep moving.


People do the best they can. Give them all the benefit of the doubt.
Controlling, manipulative, abusive, passive aggressive, stressed, depressed, confused, angry and so on. Its the best they can do right now with what they know, how they feel, the view of life and relationships they experience. How they understand and comprehend things, etc. What can we do about it….nothing really. They adjust how they live their life and treat others if and when they are compelled to do so. It is their life they are living. You are not a lifelong victim of their words and behavior unless you choose to be. If it is your family, and you grew up with it, it is your choice to carry it with you or leave it behind. Live your life, be loving, be patient, work with joy in your heart, take care of your health and well being. Get up each day and do your best with whatever resources and energy you currently have to use. And when the day is done, sleep easy knowing you did your best and will do it again tomorrow. Toxic people are everywhere and they are mostly harmless if you can see they are just scared, anxious, stressed, confused and angry. They lash out and try to control. Its the best they can do at that moment of their life. If it were not for toxic people I would not have develop as much empathy, sympathy and patience. Its not just the wise that teach us, but the fool is also a great teacher to be thankful for. Thank god for toxic people too.


I have a friend and she keeps making things up saying that I said something when I didn’t it’s been about a year and I spaced myself from her we met up and hung out this weekend in a youth retreat she was ok sometimes but then would go controls freak on me and tell me to shut up when she was talking and that my other friend was better than me I told her that her words hurt and she said u have said worse to me you owe me an opology I said to her “ all the times you brag to me about your money your clothes and how all the attention you get because you on the cheer team and your short and if a boy takes ONE GLANCE EVEN BREATHES YOYR AIR he likes you” she blamed me and I want to escape it’s like walls are caving in and I don’t know what to do she keeps blaming me and stealing my friends.they aren’t willing to stand up to her so I drag them down with me I tell her what they say so she knows what she’s doing but she won’t stop please tell me I have put up with this enought and she’s a teachers kid so that’s all she talks about she pretends to get mad when we call her short and tease her friendly but she is just doing it for attention if I joke with friends it’s ok but then I make the same joke when we’re alone and she hates me help please give me advice


Hi I have been following the comments on here. I have a sibling who has always bullied me and in the past few years did some really bad things, like smear campaign. When I told him that I did not trust him, he accused me of being mean and carrying a grudge. Also no apology for anything – it’s ‘well sorry you are so sensitive ( or sorry you didn’t like that) It’s like I’m being shamed into putting up with the behavior. If I try to tell him what a counselor said, he will hum loudly so as not to hear what I say, or say, yeah yeah, big deal….
When I was growing up, my dad said that you have to turn the other cheek, so very little family support for me.


That family member is exactly the person this article is talking about. I know. I lived it for 49 yrs. I finally had enough and cut them all out of my life six years ago. It was hard but today I wish I had done it much sooner.
Society gives us the impression that just because you’re related to someone that gives that person the right to use and abuse you and you just have to accept it. Wrong! Family should be held at a higher level than others. They are supposed to be there when other people hurt you.
Let this sibling go. The first time I refused to accept my sister’s horrible treatment of me she went ballistic!! She no longer has control over me and that made her crazy!! It was then that I saw her true colors. I stood my grown and when she started attacking me with all the horrible things she said I was I simply said ” well..that’s to bad for you” and hung up. She expected me to immediately call back groveling for her forgiveness like I always had but I just walked away and never looked back. A year later she tried it again. This time I went balistic letting her know under no circumstances that I NEVER wanted to see or hear from her again!! I told her having get in my life made me miserable all the time and that getting her out of my life was the best thing that I had ever done. I also let her know I didn’t give a damn what she thought of me or did. Then I changed my phone number so she really couldn’t call me anymore.
You don’t owe your brother a damn thing. His opinion or approval are not necessary for you to be the best person you can. Chances are your probably already such a better person than he that your mere presence brings up all his insecurities which is why he has to make you feel less than for him to feel good.
You do not have to have any contact with him that you don’t want and if anyone makes you feel bad about that then that person doesn’t have your best interests at heart either.
Be your own best friend. Stop working so hard to make someone like you When they are doing nothing to deserve it.


I forgot to tell you to go to Luke 17:3 ministries web site. It saved my life!! You’ll be astonished and enlightened about things you never knew you needed to hear and know.


Hi,sorry you’re dealing with this And i Know you love your sibling I’ve been through it too with mine.To one sibling,Ive done nothing at all for her.But when she does anything for me,i can NEVER,forget it because she brings it up ALL the time.I don’t feel good asking her for things.Im learning to let go and love her from a true distance,continue to pray and learn and love myself .Its lonely because i don’t have much support either.Bit God is always here for me,just as Hell be for you.Just give it over to Him and carry on and have a happy life.You cannot and will not change him .But you can definitely change how it plays out.Take care of yourself and out you first.


After reading this, it’s hard for me to say it but that’s my sister to a T.

She always manipulates the situation to get her way. Every argument that happens is never her fault, but it’s the other person. She will never apologize for snapping at someone with an attitude, but she expects apologies from others. The way she belittles me kills my self esteem, and triggers my anxiety and depression. I just… If I ever try to defend myself, I suddenly have the attitude and I’m the one starting everything.

And what’s worse, her 13 year old spoiled entitles child is the same. Manipulates situations so she can skip school and be on YouTube at home all day. She acts all upset and ‘needing to stay home today’, but as soon as my sister leaves she changes personalities altogether, dancing and laughing and jumping around the house while I get ready for work. She has never been grounded. Threatened to be grounded, sure, but as soon as the crocodile tears start, the grounding is forgotten.


STOP defending yourself!! That is exactly what she wants!! As long as your defending your actions then her behavior is not even questioned. Every time she does or says anything that makes you immediately feel like you need to defend your self. STOP IT!! Turn it around!! Point out all the ways she falls short of even being a decent human being! Better yet, just tell her she’s entitled to her fantasy world and walk away!!
I have found that the louder a person is screaming about somebody else’s faults the more they are trying to hide what they have done. So long as your looking at your mistakes the more her really disgusting behavior is never seen. That’s all they are really trying to do, make everyone look at you so they don’t even think about what horrible things she’s getting away with.
Do not feed the animals! They’ll just keep coming back for more. The less you engage, the more times you don’t the the bait, the more boring you become to them. Toxic people really don’t care what the subject is all they really want is the chaos they create. They love it. They feed on it. They have nothing inside so they have to suck the life out of everyone else in order to feel alive. The more you engage the more they can take. Stop handing her your soul on a silver platter. Just because you share some dna with a person does not mean you have to have to have anything to do with them. Ask yourself this…if I wasn’t related to this person would I want them for a friend. Of the answer is HELL NO! Then get them out of your life.
Go to Luke 17:3 ministries web site. It saved my life. It’s all about the most accepted abuse in the world…abuse of adult daughters (or sons). It will help you see things you never even knew you weren’t seeing.


All I have is problems and it’s like nothing is ever going to get better. I try to be happy positive and outgoing. It doesn’t matter what kind of mood I’m in it’s my boyfriends job to make me upset. I stay silent I stay in my place i don’t speak anymore because it feels like I’m constantly walking on eggshells and I’m scared too. If I speak he don’t respond if I have a conversation with him And if he does he yells and says I’m annoying he complains about everything I do for him such as cook dinner wash his cloths and complains I don’t give him enough sex when I have sex with him at least once a day if not more. Everything I do isn’t good enough. I don’t even feel like a person anymore. I sit alone all the time and then when he comes home he don’t even want anything to do with me. I never talk to anyone besides my mom and it gets lonely. I ignore 90 percent of the rude shit he says but every once in awhile I get mad from letting all the shit build up and I snap but I’m wrong for that too. As years go on with no change I realize I’m always gonna be miserable. I just want what everyone else has love affection to be comfortable. I’m in such a low spot I feel no self worth toward myself. Why do I keep giving my love when all I get is hate in return


Because your not ready to be alone… no one wants to be alone! All that love that you are giving your relationships STOP and invest in yourself. It’s time to put Jean first, find and remember who you once were. Being alone is hard but just remember it’s not forever.

sassa n

It seems to me, your in an abusive relationship that is toxic. This man does not care about you, or your feelings. If you stay in a relationship that is not working, then it’s time to leave. Talk to your doctor, because it seems to me that your depressed and get on some medication that will improve your mood. Talk to your doctor about the things that are happening at home. This man is not right for you. One day you will find a man that really loves you.


@jean your not alone I feel the same way. I never can do anything perfectly right and everything bad that happens to him is always my fault. He gets arrested and it can be no ones fault but mine. He loses his job and it’s my fault because I didn’t go out with him the night before to make him stop partying and come home at a resonance time. He cheats on me and talks to other girls and it’s my fault because I’m a “bitch” and don’t satisfy him enough. When I cook and clean and do laundry and buy everything. I know my worth but for some reason I lesson it for him

Kathy B

I, for most of my life, have been very self critical and full full of self loathing. Being a person who believes and strives to love God, I know this thinking is extremely hurtful not only to myself and others but to my faith in God. I read the list for people who are toxic and I know that each of us can have an element of toxicity, but in my mind, I feel as though I am a very toxic person. I don’t won’t to be this way. On the road to growing older and hindsight, I see now what I didn’t see then. A lot of damage has been done, and instead of holding on to God’s grace and compassion, I hold on to the torturous memories.

tj s

my son is with a woman who is the worst, lies manipulates, very toxic person and intentionally had a child with him to futher her toxic career, if i dont do what she want i dont get to see the baby, she went so far as to accuse my son of child abuse so he is now under her control, so the baby cant go anywhere that she isn’t until the investigation is over , she took a picture of a scratch on his arm he did with his nails she doesn’t trim, he is 5 months old, , she is the biggest lair,, told my son the sheriff would be calling him because of a scratch on his arm the WIC lady saw as she was scrolling thru her phone looking for a document she had, and called CPS’ my son believed it,, two week before he finds new lingerie , she hasnt been coming home on time, come to find out he decides something is wrong, checks her phone and sees Emails from a 55 plus singles site , a man wanting lingerie for a meeting and he will pay for two adult sessions a week with her, picutures back and forth, meetings planned, after confronting her , all she has to say is he invaded her privacy by getting in her phone,” then she tells him a friend took her phone to use for this site so her husband didnt find out, He believes her, my god son what is the matter with you,, now he is under investigation for his son, he has no clue how to deal with, but grandma here cant see the grandson because i told her she was a lair and manipulator and I could only pray one day he will see it , she is a horrible person,, worst of all I introduced her to him, she put off a fake personality, but once she got in the family, she has put a wedge between my son and my daughter as they were very close and she is so jealous of her, he is never allowed over there with out her,, she now has ruined my chances with my grandson ,

Breaking Point

So I have a girlfriend who has had surgery, and I been losing sleep with no problem to help, but every time she asks me to do something and I do it and it’s not specifically up to par, I’d get treated like shit, whether it be from a certain tone, to callin her mom saying I’m gettin upset cause I don’t want to help, Meanwhile it’s nothin of that. As an example, she asks me to get a scoop of ice cream , so I put two scoops in a cup, then she goes “what the hell is this” then I obviously say that’s what you wanted then she will ramble on telling me that’s not what she asked for and tells me to shut up (Basically trying to shut me up) And if I don’t Shut up I’d have to go travel back home because I’m staying at her home…And every time I state facts and want to get down to the bottom of it I’d have to shut up because if I don’t I’d have to leave..
It’s like damn me if I do and damn me if I don’t…
like I love this girl and don’t want anyone else cause I know she is loyal and doesn’t cheat but all the extra stuff really drags this relationship down… can anyone tell me what type of toxicity this is… There’s soo much more but it’s too much to type….
Thank you for reading, have a great one everyone!

RS Lewis

Not long ago my mother who is ill (but not elderly) moved in with me after her 4th divorce and it has been a nightmare for me & my teenage daughter. She is very demanding on the both of us despite me offering to hire help, which she refused. We feel trapped because I can’t afford to move or sell my house right now and I feel bad just putting her on the street. I pay all of the bills and when I asked her to either cut back on usage or help pay towards something, she quit her job. My daughter and I make ways of coping and getting out recreationally but even then we come home to toxic, even jealous behavior from her to the point my kid is afraid to post mommy/daughter time on her own social media. I feel that she is jealous of our relationship because my mother and I have never had a relationship as my grandparents raised me. I tried to set money aside to move but then one of her “emergencies” came up. For the most part I try not to feed into her but some days, she catches me off guard. How do I rid myself of this nightmare?

Eve N

It’s hard, but you need to put yourself and your daughter first. I’ve finally escaped my toxic mother and, you know what, when I’ve simply left during her tirades since then, nothing ever comes of it. It’s all a sick, twisted game they play to try and make themselves feel big. The truth is, no matter how hard it is to accept, those people don’t truly care about or love people like us.

Stand your ground. Not from a place of resentment or hatred, but from a place of love for yourself and your daughter. That is your house and she is simply a guest. I know what it feels like to feel trapped in this, but you have the power to say “enough” and tell her to leave if she keeps disrespecting the two of you. If things get out of hand (if she becomes violent or won’t leave), you’ll handle it. 🙂

Stay strong!


Sit down and have a very honest direct chat: “shape up or ship out”

What you can’t see is she will ruin the relationship with your daughter. She’s jealous of the relationship you have with her.

A. Betterfuture

Hello RS, I’m sorry to hear you and your daughter are suffering the toxic effects of your Mother’s disordered behavior. To deal with this you will need to use logic over feelings. Toxic people manipulate emotions for their benefit. Dial back your empathy temporarily and look at the situation as if it were a problem you are solving for another. Make a plan and stick to it without exception. It sounds like your mother refuses to observe or respect boundaries. This means you will need to take extra care not to share personal information with your mother and to remain firm in your decisions. Your mother is not required to approve or be happy about them. As you pointed out, your mother is not elderly, so she needs to take her own personal responsibility to take care of her own needs. Make your plan to get away or get her out. Stick to it. Remember, “No.” is a complete sentence. RS, you and your daughter deserve better. I hope you take the reins and stop this abuse from persisting. Once you do not live together, be sure to maintain a healthy distance so you do not fall prey to her manipulations ever again. I know this will be hard, but you can do this. Wishing you the best

S. Nark

we have a very bad supervisor who allows a toxic couple who volunteer at our non profit to stomp on everyone . He enables them by playing Dr. Phil due to his own issues and in the process is destroying morale with the group. The person who tries to enable toxic people’s behavior is worse than having to deal with the toxic person. Please wirte an article aobut how an insecurely attached supervisor can create hell for staff when toxic people are manipulating the conversation.

Diamond J

I have a toxic mother and toxic family everything say or do is so fake too me like even when say like who ate my chips I’m getting these mfs in this house like her voice is so dramatic everything she says everything I does she don’t appreciate my love ? she don’t or her kids doesn’t like I wish for a better place for my kids to be in it’s driving me nuts being here with all the toxic now the younger siblings are so toxic like omg unn everybody in this house is so toxic one min I’m cool with everybody next min they have attitudes when they woke up they didn’t wash they face or brush they teeth in the morning but have the nerves to have a attitude .

Linda b

My family is the same I tell my own mother thing personal stuff and she rans and tells my hole family then when push come to shove she sits there looking all inasant as if to say iv never said that to them or she would try telling me about them and I would say I don’t want to no about them

Jay N. T

Simply don’t tell your mother anything about your personal life. That should solve half of your problem.

You never mentioned your age. If you’re an adult I would suggest you get as far away from Mama as you can. This woman isn’t a mother. Caring mother’s don’t do such things to their child.

If you’re a minor, I would suggest that you talk to your favorite teacher, a school counselor or even a pastor.

Don’t give up. There are people out there who do care and can help!


I’m dealing with someone who is blind to their own crazyness and never apologies or sees fault on anything, I’ve gon thru extreme measures to change for myself and her, even legal issues, guess it’s time to hang it up, she won’t change on her own, I deserve better.


I’ve just ended a relationship with a person that fits 99% of this list. I loved her with all of my heart n soul, and I put up with all the abuse for too long.

I thought that if I just changed my attitude, if I made myself different, into the man she wanted me to be, things would be alright. It was never enough. It never will be with these people. They trick you into not caring about yourself and to only cater to their needs.

Get away from and find someone who loves you for being you, and be happy.

Ellys B

The biggest realization have made in life is that we have to know how to handle toxic people. They are all around us. We cant avoid them 100%. We can’t keep running away from them.Knowing the signs of a toxic person helps one not get tied up with the individual. Anyone who treats you badly is the one with the problem and not you.


I know I have someone in my life that calls him self my friend. And I don’t know how to tell him I want him to exit my life, because I can’t handle him. But reading this makes me feel that at times I myself could be toxic to others around me. So how do I work on myself from being that person?


I think many of us have touches of toxicity at certain times and in certain situations (myself included). The difference is that you recognize your potential to be toxic and want to take steps to avoid it, whereas the truly toxic people described here don’t. Another consideration is that to an extent we become the people we hang out with. If you want to avoid picking up your friend’s bad habits, you should find ways to distance yourself from him. Friendship is a two-way street, and if he’s the only one benefiting (in his mind at least) then it’s time to move on.


Robyn, do not ever tell that person that you want them “to exit” your life. I second Terry that you should find ways to distance yourself and how they choose to respond is up to them. You have no obligation to invest any form of energy or time into that person and you should always defend yourself, but telling someone those words will be incredibly hurtful, especially for an unstable person, and even possibly instigative. Just be nice and if they begin trouble, again make sure to defend yourself.


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