Where the Science of Psychology Meets the Art of Being Human

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

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The 12 Things Toxic People Do and How to Deal With Them

We have all had toxic people dust us with their poison. Sometimes it’s more like a drenching. Difficult people are drawn to the reasonable ones and all of us have likely had (or have) at least one person in our lives who have us bending around ourselves like barbed wire in endless attempts to please them – only to never really get there.

Their damage lies in their subtlety and the way they can engender that classic response, ‘It’s not them, it’s me.’ They can have you questioning your ‘over-reactiveness’, your ‘oversensitivity’, your ‘tendency to misinterpret’. If you’re the one who’s continually hurt, or the one who is constantly adjusting your own behaviour to avoid being hurt, then chances are that it’s not you and it’s very much them.

Being able to spot their harmful behaviour is the first step to minimising their impact. You might not be able to change what they do, but you can change what you do with it, and any idea that toxic somebody in your life might have that they can get away with it.

There are plenty of things toxic people do to manipulate people and situations to their advantage. Here are 12 of them. Knowing them will help you to avoid falling under the influence:

  1. They’ll keep you guessing about which version of them you’re getting.

    They’ll be completely lovely one day and the next you’ll be wondering what you’ve done to upset them. There often isn’t anything obvious that will explain the change of attitude – you just know something isn’t right. They might be prickly, sad, cold or cranky and when you ask if there’s something wrong, the answer will likely be ‘nothing’ – but they’ll give you just enough  to let you know that there’s something. The ‘just enough’ might be a heaving sigh, a raised eyebrow, a cold shoulder. When this happens, you might find yourself making excuses for them or doing everything you can to make them happy. See why it works for them?

    Stop trying to please them. Toxic people figured out a long time ago that decent people will go to extraordinary lengths to keep the people they care about happy. If your attempts to please aren’t working or aren’t lasting for very long, maybe it’s time to stop. Walk away and come back when the mood has shifted. You are not responsible for anybody else’s feelings. If you have done something unknowingly to hurt somebody, ask, talk about it and if need be, apologise. At any rate, you shouldn’t have to guess.

  1. They’ll manipulate.

    If you feel as though you’re the only one contributing to the relationship, you’re probably right. Toxic people have a way of sending out the vibe that you owe them something. They also have a way of taking from you or doing something that hurts you, then maintaining they were doing it all for you. This is particularly common in workplaces or relationships where the balance of power is out. ‘I’ve left that six months’ worth of filing for you. I thought you’d appreciate the experience and the opportunity to learn your way around the filing cabinets.’ Or, ‘I’m having a dinner party. Why don’t you bring dinner. For 10. It’ll give you a chance to show off those kitchen skills. K?’

    You don’t owe anybody anything. If it doesn’t feel like a favour, it’s not. 

  1. They won’t own their feelings.

    Rather than owning their own feelings, they’ll act as though the feelings are yours. It’s called projection, as in projecting their feelings and thoughts onto you. For example, someone who is angry but won’t take responsibility for it might accuse you of being angry with them. It might be as subtle as, ‘Are you okay with me?’ or a bit more pointed, ‘Why are you angry at me,’ or, ‘You’ve been in a bad mood all day.’

    You’ll find yourself justifying and defending and often this will go around in circles – because it’s not about you. Be really clear on what’s yours and what’s theirs. If you feel as though you’re defending yourself too many times against accusations or questions that don’t fit, you might be being projected on to. You don’t have to explain, justify or defend yourself or deal with a misfired accusation. Remember that.

  1. They’ll make you prove yourself to them.

    They’ll regularly put you in a position where you have to choose between them and something else – and you’ll always feel obliged to choose them. Toxic people will wait until you have a commitment, then they’ll unfold the drama.  ‘If you really cared about me you’d skip your exercise class and spend time with me.’  The problem with this is that enough will never be enough. Few things are fatal – unless it’s life or death, chances are it can wait.

     

  2. They never apologise. 

    They’ll lie before they ever apologise, so there’s no point arguing. They’ll twist the story, change the way it happened and retell it so convincingly that they’ll believe their own nonsense.

    People don’t have to apologise to be wrong. And you don’t need an apology to move forward. Just move forward – without them. Don’t surrender your truth but don’t keep the argument going. There’s just no point. Some people want to be right more than they want to be happy and you have better things to do than to provide fodder for the right-fighters.

  1. They’ll be there in a crisis but they’ll never ever share your joy.

    They’ll find reasons your good news isn’t great news. The classics: About a promotion – ‘The money isn’t that great for the amount of work you’ll be doing.’ About a holiday at the beach – ‘Well it’s going to be very hot. Are you sure you want to go?’ About being made Queen of the Universe – ‘Well the Universe isn’t that big you know and I’m pretty sure you won’t get tea breaks.’ Get the idea? Don’t let them dampen you or shrink you down to their size. You don’t need their approval anyway – or anyone else’s for that matter.

  2. They’ll leave a conversation unfinished – and then they’ll go offline.

    They won’t pick up their phone. They won’t answer texts or emails. And in between rounds of their voicemail message, you might find yourself playing the conversation or argument over and over in your head, guessing about the status of the relationship, wondering what you’ve done to upset them, or whether they’re dead, alive or just ignoring you – which can sometimes all feel the same. People who care about you won’t let you go on feeling rubbish without attempting to sort it out. That doesn’t mean you’ll sort it out of course, but at least they’ll try. Take it as a sign of their investment in the relationship if they leave you ‘out there’ for lengthy sessions.

  3. They’ll use non-toxic words with a toxic tone.

    The message might be innocent enough but the tone conveys so much more. Something like, ‘What did you do today?’ can mean different things depending on the way it’s said. It could mean anything from ‘So I bet you did nothing – as usual,’ to ‘I’m sure your day was better than mine. Mine was awful. Just awful. And you didn’t even notice enough to ask.’ When you question the tone, they’ll come back with, ‘All I said was what did you do today,’ which is true, kind of, not really.

  4. They’ll bring irrelevant detail into a conversation.

    When you’re trying to resolve something important to you, toxic people will bring in irrelevant detail from five arguments ago. The problem with this is that before you know it, you’re arguing about something you did six months ago, still defending yourself, rather than dealing with the issue at hand. Somehow, it just always seems to end up about what you’ve done to them. 

  5. They’ll make it about the way you’re talking, rather than what you’re talking about.

    You might be trying to resolve an issue or get clarification and before you know it, the conversation/ argument has moved away from the issue that was important to you and on to the manner in which you talked about it – whether there is any issue with your manner or not. You’ll find yourself defending your tone, your gestures, your choice of words or the way you 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.

     

  6. They exaggerate.

    ‘You always …’ ‘You never …’ It’s hard to defend yourself against this form of manipulation. Toxic people have a way of drawing on the one time you didn’t or the one time you did as evidence of your shortcomings. Don’t buy into the argument. You won’t win. And you don’t need to.

  7. They are judgemental.

    We all get it wrong sometimes but toxic people will make sure you know it. They’ll judge you and take a swipe at your self-esteem suggesting that you’re less than because you made a mistake. We’re all allowed to get it wrong now and then, but unless we’ve done something that affects them nobody has the right to stand in judgement.

Knowing the favourite go-to’s for toxic people will sharpen your radar, making the manipulations easier to spot and easier to name. More importantly, if you know the characteristic signs of a toxic person, you’ll have a better chance of catching yourself before you tie yourself in double knots trying to please them.

Some people can’t be pleased and some people won’t be good for you – and many times that will have nothing to do with you. You can always say no to unnecessary crazy. Be confident and own your own faults, your quirks and the things that make you shine. You don’t need anyone’s approval but remember if someone is working hard to manipulate, it’s because 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. 

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1,572 Comments

Nick

There is but only one defense against toxic people: Study their behavior, know the signs, draw upon your experiences with them, and avoid being drawn into pathology! All this easier said than done, but you owe it to yourself to try! The alternative is: punch holes in walls, fist fighting, destroying items, etc. That can be avoided by merely putting effort into knowing how these people think, and behave, no matter who they are, you must defend yourself!

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Janice

Staying in an unhealthy relationship is not teaching your children anything all it teaches them is that it’s ok to be mentally abused – then what happens they go marry exactly the same person.
I first saw my new husband out driving with two women in our car when he got home I asked him who the women were – he said ‘ it wasn’t our car’! ‘it wasn’t him’!! ‘its all in my mind’!! this was the beginning of the mental abuse to follow, a constant happening in our home, till I got to the point where I couldn’t be bothered asking him anymore as all I got were lies, lies and more lies. It didn’t matter if we made love, the very next day my husband would be off chasing women, didn’t matter what they looked like after all they were only sluts and hoars he would tell our councillor years later. He would reinforce how I should look to the point that I would try so hard to keep myself trim, my doctor would tell me I was boarding on anorexia, my hair the way he liked it as he had seen in a magazine, trying to make him happy and love me. He came home late from work one day, my children and I decided to make a veggie garden which we wanted to do for a long time but he wasn’t interested, we planted the seeds in the drain like pattern then covered over stuck a stick through the packet placed it at the top of the drain like, where the seeds were then watered our garden we were very proud of our new veggie garden, when he got home we told him, we had made the garden what did he do – he got this look on his face (years later I realise the look was jealous), he went straight downstairs dug up the garden – destroyed what we had built – ‘why did you do that’, was all I could say this was done in front of our children (my daughter reminded me of that years later) I had buried it with so many other mean things he had done to me over the years. He would play mind games with me I was slowly going into shut down mode to survive. He would make trouble for me with family friends where ever he could but I couldn’t see it happening. He left his fathers business to work for someone else he told his parents it was me who wanted him to leave his father so I got the dagger looks from his mother (at the time I had no idea why I didn’t realise he had used me as his excuse to leave his father).
He would tell me if I want to play up make sure it’s with someone married as they won’t make trouble. Then he would run me down to anyone who would listen (it’s amazing how other husbands wives will listen and jump on the bandwagon with him). He would sneak out all night arriving home at 5:30 in the morning crawling into bed stinking of perfume until I woke through the night only to realise he wasn’t home – when I would ask him where he was he would tell me to go get you to know what and he will do what he wants!! he wouldn’t do anything for me, he was grooming our son, eventually, I found the strength to pack up all his clothes etc and kicked him out but only to discover I was suffering from post-traumatic stress from years of mental abuse –

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kimberley

I live with one of these toxic A holes. So sick
Of it. We are meant to be a ‘couple’ but there is no intimacy anymore. I’m at the point where I can’t stand him anymore and have fallen out of love.

He’s pure toxin. Constantly negative and moaning. Every time I say something that he doesn’t like, for instance, why haven’t you do this or that, he is straight away on the defensive. He never admits he’s wrong or that he should of done something he was meant to etc, instead he makes up a make belief story, twists it all, brings up something I’ve done from a week, month or even year before…. deflection. Things can easily start an argument. It’s like talking to a brick wall most of the time.

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Jan

This article reminds me of several people I know. One is worse than the other! I really think toxic people are of no use to your mental well-being because they manipulate and use you then chuck you aside until they need you for something else.

I stopped allowing these individuals to keep using me and although I still speak to one of them now and again and the other very occasionally, I am more than happy to live without either of them and if they both never spoke to me again I would not lose any sleep, because they have been really awful at times!

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GLC

Well well well, on the duckduckgo search engine i asked “how do ppl who dont know what they want act?”, and found this article.

Im speachless, this is my current bf to a ‘T’. I dont want to end it cause as your article stated, i have been handling slash adjusting to his slight(spoiled) immaturity-really- as a whole for 5 years. Im at the point however i am going to sneak him in to see a therapist. It’ll be something like, ive got Wrestle Mania tickets, you know something he wont refuse. LOL

Now thinking about it, most of the men ive dated were this way. Guess ive had a lot practice, however i usually end it after a year or 2, however we are very much connected everywhere else in our relationship. Now today after a break, he opens up more about the terrible decisions he has made throughout our 5 years; so progress is possible. I have come to attribute his behavior to his family dynamic. Its a ‘grin & bare it’ type of atmosphere. Oh my i think the breaks have helped too. Now to read the comments……

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Sarah

I agree with these pointers – however I want to ask, does it make you toxic if you decide someone in your life is all these things and as such, it’s better to reduce or stop contact with them? Coz I mean, what about it you spend months listening, empathising and giving all the advice within your means to give. And then finally give subtle indications that the behaviour is too much (Eg “It’s not such a big deal to be obsessing over it for 8 months. And it’s something you really need legal advice on, not that of a friend”) yet the behaviour does not stop.

At what point is your own sanity more important than trying to communicate something that the other person does not want to take on board?

I struggled with this for a long time and tried to be the person you describe above – ie caring enough to try an open a conversation about how “it” is damaging the friendship – but now I’m like, “it’s not my job”.

And the total lack of awareness has convinced me that any change might not be possible at this point. No “sorry I have put in you in this position, it wasn’t fair and I can see it’s made you distant- and I can understand why”.

So maybe it’s not fair to say that decent people will always try to have conversation about it. Coz the chances are we did or have tried. And if we cut contact with them, its because they didn’t care enough to listen?

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Abbee

Hi this article is very interesting…
I was trying to help my friend out she was having some difficult times I’m quit a sensitive person and I was asking if she would like to come back to my place I said it twice, then her friend called me the c word… I’ve never been called the c word before, i was only trying to help…

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Billy

God bless you Art, and congratulations on conquering your demons. Can I ask a question? When you were in the depths of “uncontrol”, besides the drinking itself, do you think that the alcohol made your personality a toxic one?

I ask because I always thought that there was some cause and effect between to 2 in that area.

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Billy

I tried to be friends with my wife’s uncle for a long time, and i let a lot of stuff he would do and say roll off of my back because he is her deceased dad’s only living core family member.

He has done everything from telling me things like “you can’t be stupid enough to believe that”, accusing me of stealing something that was mine, trying to make me feel guilty for missed phone calls, and more.

At first he wasn’t like this, and only got this way as he aged. I have spoke with mutual friends and one in particular told me he has done similar things to him, but he just fires it back at him. I asked him why he would put up with behavior like that and he said it was because he liked him, to which I again asked, “why?”

The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was this – I was westbound from my house going to Publix supermarket one day. I called him on the phone. He asked if I could come by his house, which is south of my house, and remember I was headed west and only 5 miles from where I was going. I told him where I was at currently, where I was going, and that after I left the store I would come by his house.

About 45 minutes later I pulled up at his house. He was sitting on the porch with a distressed look on his face. He came off the porch as I approached the house and asked, “are you ready to go?” I asked him where we were going, and he said “Publix”. I asked why would I go to Publix because I had just came from there. His face turned red, and he said, “you told me on the phone that you were coming to get me and I was going with you”. I told him he was mistaken, and he only seemed to get madder. I asked him, “I told you where I was at when we were talking, which was 5 miles from where I was going, so tell me why I would tell you that I was gonna drive 12 miles back across the county to get you and go back to where I had almost arrived to….that would have more than doubled my trip, so again tell me why I would tell you that”? He was walking back up onto his porch and said, “I don’t know why, but you did”, which was completely absurd. He opened his door and told me he didn’t want me around, and to “get the hell outta here”, so I left and haven’t spoke to him for 6 months, and have no plans to.

I have friends ask if I have spoken to him and I tell them I have no intention of talking to him because I don’t need the drama he seems to crave. I’m not sure if he actually truly believed that I would tell him something so absurd as he claimed, or if maybe he was pushing me to try to see if he could make me give an apology for something I didn’t do. Either way it ended our association.

I do think there is a slight cultural aspect to it in his case. He was raised closer to the nearby large town , and growing up his go to for hanging out was to head to town, whereas I’m a country boy through a d through, and grew up (I’m 52) in a community where dude behavior like his was not tolerated, and many time during one of his many rants over the years I would think “you are so lucky that I’m not on top of you right now taking the skin off of your nose with my knuckles”, because 30 years ago that what I would have done.

He’s is 67 by the way.

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Gene

Damn. Sounds very similar to an experience I had with a relative of mine…..except I did take the skin off of his nose!

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sharon

okay, here’s my situation.
i know my partner is exactly like 90% of these points, i know he’s toxic. but i just can’t find it in my heart to get rid of him, he means way too much to me to throw it all way.

i think: damn i rlly need to get rid of him
then i think: but i love him, but also i can fix him it’s okay
then i think again: hah uhhh can i tho? probably not.
then i end with: who cares i love him

and that way of thinking is so toxic, i know. and so many of his friends are telling me to dump him. but because of the way he’s guilt tripped me, i still feel guilty for our relationship being the way it is. i also have recently discovered that he likes me so much less than i like him and that hurts a lot, but i feel guilty because he’s made me think i’m the one who made him feel so little towards me.
i also have the situation where i can’t just cut him out of my life completely because we’re in the same friendship group and have been for three years. i love that group way too much to cut them all out of my life. they’re also the ones who are telling me to cut him off and that he’s toxic.

i know what i should do, but i just can’t. i feel guilty no matter what situation were in and i’m sick of it!!
anyway, i don’t expect any reply from this but it was nice to get a chance to write it all down.

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Angela

The biggest question you must ask yourself, and be honest with the answer, is why you allow him to treat and manipulate that way. Your boyfriend has problems but you have waaayyy more problems with yourself. Get therapy to come to quips with yourself…fast… you need it badly.

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LeQuesha J

I just got out of a situation like that my lord does it hurt. Look babe before u do something u regret just leave and do not contact them ever seriously. My car is wrecked now due to that. I’ve fallen off so bad because of that. Your worth way more my love. I’m still in the process of dealing with a situation like this I just left like 1month ago if that. It kills me everyday. I feel like I have no life without him but it’s netter than felling how I was. I’m here anytime u may want to talk

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Alex

When someone you are in a relationship with tell you to “Guard your heart delligently” what do you think it means and what he is thinking

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art f

the best thing in life is your life. sobriety is equal to sanity. when I am sober I will allow other to take my inventory. because I don’t have time to take my own. today I am free becsue I have been sober for 38 years helping others without looking for something in return. god has blessed me because I believe that my life and yours is precious. each day is christmass. because you have just one day, today, which is clled the present. live your life well, phyciall, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. I have been blessed!

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Angie

I recently got dumped, and usually I dump the guy. It’s dumb I know. But I was looking for ways to feel better when I finally realized it. I’m a toxic disgusting person. I’m so sad that I lost my ex because of this but I am so happy that the break up made me open my eyes. I am now working to fix my toxic traits. It’s sad to admit that I’m toxic, but I am so happy that I can work on changing and making myself a better version of myself. Everyone may think that I deserve to die or something and that’s okay. I did some terrible things but I am happy to be able to realize my mistakes and fix them.

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JannaG

We all have some hang ups. By recognizing this, you’re being a lot braver and more self-aware than most people.

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Senga

Hi Angie,

We all have a little of that, everyone has an ego. If you want to evolve as a person, that’s amazing & you have already taken the biggest and most difficult step. I am wondering, though, it you are indeed a toxic person as I haven’t met a single one who owns up to it but I have met empathic people who question themselves.
Counselling is so useful. It helps you look into you character traits and address what you feel you need to address. To begin with, I would recommend you always examine your motives but also examine the motives of any other person involved as you may be wrong about this. Hope that helps!

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Fatahiyah

no one deserves to die least of all you. you shouldn’t feel that way. there are still other good traits in you. don’t let that ‘toxic traits’ of yours define you because it’s not. That being said I think there is always room for improvements and it’s important to realize our weaknesses and try to go from there.

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Sharon

Thank you so much for this article. I have had to cut a family member out of my life because of her Toxic behavior. This is clarified it for me.

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todd

Have Tuesday dinner group people. They hug me on Tuesday dinners but NEVER invite me to any weekend get togethers…….TOXIC?

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Buzz

Oh my, my ex did all these all the time, except maybe 6, and 12 not all the time.
Number 7 was the worst and the reason i finally walked away. She would forever give silent treatments and dump then just relentlessly pursue until you’d finally cave in and talk and take her back. Even going as far as making a fake facebook pretending to be someone else to talk to me. I knew was her but she kept it up for 5 days before she said she knows i know its her.
The worst part of it is is that she’s a psycho-therapist. She’s a psycho alright, the therapist licesnse should be banned.

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Ronald

I have totally checked out emotionally from my marriage. We haven’t said a word to each other in 6 weeks. I totally relate to having her feelings projected on me, her narcissistic rage, walking on eggshells, her endless exaggerations of I always do this or this or never this. We go out somewhere and she asks why am I in a bad mood. She constantly needs approval. When we are going out somewhere she will ask me dozens of times how she looks while she makes faces in the mirror. And you know after the 20th time of being asked I can get irritated and then she says I’m in a bad mood, I don’t like how she looks and no matter how I try to defend it she “knows” because she can tell.
I don’t even care anymore, we have been married for 21 years and have three kids, I love our children dearly and recently took just them on a beach vacation, because when she is there, we will fight because she can’t get ready in less then 4 hours, I kid you not, she has high OCD too. So the kids want to go to the pool or the beach and I take them while she gets ready and then by the time she is ready I’m tired and then she says I don’t like how she looks, I’m in a bad mood etc. One time on the beach I looked in the vicinity of a bikini clad girl and I know how she is so I try to avoid looking at people altogether but she insisted I was looking at bikini girl when I was not.
I can remember early on in our marriage we would go to my sisters for a cookout or birthday party and when we left she would say she was mad, I ignored her, or that no one talked to her. A few times we were at her moms house for a holiday and she was mad at me for the same reasons! Its like Hello, I am your guest at your moms house. I feel like I was alienated from my family because she didn’t want to go and then if I went alone I had to make excuses for her. Recently I told people we don’t get along and she is not here.
2 months ago my mother passed away, family came in from out of town and two days after the funeral they wanted to get together at an amusement park with the kids since we have similar aged children, she starts going off that she is not going and I shouldn’t go during the day because I missed too much work and I was complaining about work, except I didn’t complain about work. It’s funny cause she asked me earlier how work was as I had to take time off for this and I said not bad. So fast forward 2 weeks after my mother passed and we are at a family cookout at a park mostly her side is there. It was hot and humid, miserable. She starts with comments like what’s wrong, I say nothing really, she starts looking at me and rolling her eyes. The moment we are alone she accuses me of not liking how she looks. I said you look great. All I said was it’s a bit warm out that’s all, and her go to line is yelling it, do you want to leave then! So then I give it back to her and then that was the last we spoke.
There are a lot of other things I can point out. Like the time she got mad at me on my birthday, the time she got mad at me on fathers day, and the previous fathers day. We were not talking on the last two anniversaries, last thanksgiving, mothers day two in a row, the kids birthdays, two in a row, almost Christmas, but we did fight the next day after Christmas, two Christmases in a row.
Did I mention I have anxiety and used to have panic attacks about 10 years ago (halfway through our marriage) I am on anti depress. Medication and that has helped.
I have nothing more to give to this relationship.

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Sassyadria

Wow. I am sorry. I hope that you have found a way to somehow find your own peace. It sounds like she needs to open her mind to getting help, and getting therapy to help to get better with her insecurities. It sucks when you look back and realize how many holidays and special occasions were ruined by these things, doesnt it? Good luck to you.

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Dominic

2 years into a relationship with a woman I had so much fun with. Stupid inside jokes. Man, I feel dumb. It took me almost 2 years to identify a problem. And almost 2 years to get out.. My daughter, from a previous non marriage- 20 years ago, when I was only 20. Yes my cute. Childish daughter was a problem… there was never a reason. Or a why… I actually asked? The response. Oh. Your perfect daughter and perfect family… no.. but. Please, tell me what she. Did. Said. Didn’t do. Didn’t say…. somehow this went on for a year. Mind you. I’m paying all of “our “ bills while my daughter lives with my parents. Who are also shit. Says her. I have a great loving family. Why I feel dumb. It was easier for me to distance myself from daughter and family than to continue to argue w her and deal with the stress!! I was convinced that it was my inability to handle stress., and that I was lazy….

I’m 2 months removed from said problem. My relationship with daughter and family, thankfully is back to normal. I had to take some lumps, and I had to admit my wrong doings, and I did not blame “ her “ for my distance and my poor choices. I did not claim to be the victim. Simply. I admitted to being dumb. And it was hard to admit that I was used, and controlled. I sure wasn’t dating a lawyer or doctor. I still feel weak and unsure of myself, so, I’m taking advice. I’m staying with just myself.

On a side note. When with her. I had such sever pains, consistently. I thought I was having kidney stones one day, that my hernia surgery had ruptured another day. I mean. Real. Serious pains!!! Just days after leaving her. I noticed the pains stopped. I think it was just stress…

I never said to my woman. My daughter is #1 or she’s this. Or that. Don’t think I had to. Don’t think as people we need to identify who’s placed where in love order in our lives. But. Somehow my love for my daughter was a negative towards her. So many things I just cannot understand or even just relate to, even if I don’t agree. I can usually relate to most things. How wrong, obvious and stupid things were makes me crazy. Oh. I wanted to shake that woman so many times. I literally said. Can you please tell me a fact. A reality. Please. I cannot fix. Help. Do. Or solve a problem w only your rude ignore attitude as the issue. Who did what why where how who. Something…

Good luck to anyone trying to get away from said crazy. And make sure that your NOT the said crazy in someone else’s life!

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Elise

I’m the toxic one I think. Am I also toxic to friends and family? How do I fix this? I need real life answers like “Say this chant of positivity” or something. I don’t want to be that person! I’m in the job market right now, do I come across as toxic in job interviews?

Reply
Brenda

I could not believe that all 12 examples fit my husband. Well, actually I can. Honestly if I wanted to tell the truth, I’d have to say I probably knew he was this way from the beginning. I have to take responsibility for my part in staying. I’m ready to look at my options now. This has been too much of an eye opener

Reply
Tina

This is my brother , sad and it’s true. For as long as I could remember he has always gave my parents a hard time from skipping school, drug abuse to the copes coming to the house because he wasn’t able to control is temper. Now he’s doing better but still every once in a while he will blow up. The blow ups are either for something that has happened or all in his head. For example if he thinks someone looked at him a certain way or something he will play all this in his head and verbally attack the person. Then the other person is like wait we were talking normally like 10 minutes ago what’s wrong with you.
Im proud at where he has come educationally but I’m still disappointed in the past and the present on his stupid attitude sometimes. I don’t understand how some people can think this way and think that this behaviour is acceptable. Does anyone else feel the same way?

Reply
Bill

My wife Uncle is similar…or maybe he is better or worse now…. don’t know….couldn’t deal with his possibly bi-polar, over active mind anymore.

One of our problems was our political difference of opinions. I have always avoided talking politics with anyone that I wasn’t close to philosophy in political opinion. He the kind of guy though that likes to take jabs at you, but then when you give in and come back with facts he will get mad, turn red and have a raised voice blow up, but then when you attempt to calm him down by saying something like “calm down man or your gonna have a heart attack!” (because he does have heart trouble), he will ask, voice still elevated, “why?”…”well, your mad man, your turning red”, and he will exclaim, “I AM NOT MAD!!!” But during these blow ups I have gotten things yelled at me like, “you can’t be that stupid”….”there’s no way you are ignorant to believe that”, for putting my 2 cents worth into a conversation he knows I didn’t want to have with him to begin with. I walked away from the guy many many times to keep from punching him

Now to the straw which broke the camel’s back. We live where medical marijuana is acceptable. When my herniated discs in my low back cause me pain I can smoke it and it alleviates the pain, and if more is needed I don’t have to worry “is this damaging my kidneys”, and it keeps me from having epileptic seizures by having a couple of puffs upon waking, post dinner, and bedtime. I had spoken to him earlier in the day, told him I would be going to buy some in the afternoon, and he said he wanted to ride with me. Several hours later, when about to leave, I tried to call, but got no answer on his cell or landline….tried multiple times. He lives 10 miles due south of me, and the place I was going was 10 miles slightly Northwest of me. When I was about 5 miles fr.my destination he finally calls me on the phone. He asked if I would come by his house, I think he wanted my help with something. Anyway, I told him where I was on the road, where I was going, and that when I left there I would come by his house before I went home. He said, “ok”, and I said, “I will see you in a little bit”.

I went on to where I was headed, virtually ran in, ran out, stopped and got gas, and was headed to his house. When I pulled into his driveway it had been maybe 45 minutes since our phone conversation. He was on the porch and came down and started walking down his sidewalk. I thought, “I guess what he wants help with is around back”. As he neared I could see his face was a little flushed, and he said something like, “where have you been…it’s about time…are you ready to go?” I asked him, “where are we going?”. He answered, “over there where we talked about this morning”. I told him I had already been and he blew up, “well you told me you was coming to get me and I was going with you!!!” I told him, “that’s what I told you this morning, but when I called you multiple times, before leaving, you never answered. When we spoke on the phone I told you I was almost to where I was going, and would come by your house afterwards, and you said ‘ok'”.

He retorted, “no, you told me you were coming to get me and I was going with you”. I told him he just didn’t listen to me when he and I talked. I asked him, “think about it. Why would I tell you I was almost to where I was going, but was going to drive 15 miles fr.where I was to his house to get him to go back toy destination, which I would pass coming to his house to get him?”. His reply was, “I don’t know, but you did”….and my written words don’t really show his agitated state during this encounter…the entire time he was walking back up his sidewalk to his porch. He walked up to his door, opened it (I was still on the sidewalk), looked and me and said, “I don’t even want you around me, now get the hell out of here!!!” As he was shutting the door I told him, “YOU ARE ONE CRAZY DUDE!”

He and I had an actual phone conversation where it appeared we effectively communicated, but apparently he was having a different conversation in his mind, and the unreal conversation is the one he remembered.

I think he may be waiting for me to call him. I’ve heard from more than one person who knows him, and knows the story, that he has asked about me, but I refuse to call him. One of those people asked me once if I had talked to him. I told him I hadn’t, but I had no intentions of calling him, but if he were to call me I would talk to him. And I would, but I would never try to look out for the old guy like I used to do. He has no one….he’s shacked up with some chick a lot younger than him….he’s almost 70 and she’s 50, but my wife is all the real blood family he has left, and she already knew how he was, because her dad was similar….must be a family trait. Thank God I’ve not seen it in my wife….yet.

Reply
Talon

I’m trying to be a fireplace.

I’ve been on both ends of the “toxicity”. Now that’s my goal. To be a fireplace.

Fireplaces are not moved. If someone wants to sit where they can feel my warmth that’s fine. If they try to get in and mess with things they will get burned. If they try to move me they will have to tear the whole house down first and then realize it was built around me.

I don’t seek to move towards others. I don’t play the games any longer. There is an open invitation to anyone who wants to respect boundaries and space. They can have warmth and caring that I freely radiate.

There’s also a warning to anyone who seeks to alter my state of being. The fires of Hell are waiting for them. Wrath. Fury.

Most of all though I have learned to try to stay “above it”. I have had toxic people criticize this as being “withdrawn” or “on a high horse” or tell me that I think I’m “better than they are”… none of that is true. I simply stop participating in their drama, and that leads to more drama… which I do not participate in.

I have my truth. I know who and what I am.. I know my boundaries. I have rules for myself.

I still slip… but not so much these days. It’s very hard for anyone to lie to me about who I am… because I know me… and I will not be moved.

I believe that with enough dialectical therapy I could give up the toxic response… that I could stop fighting fire with fire when I am cornered… but, for now, I will be a fireplace.

Good luck and well wishes to all of you.

Reply
Hassan

OK so I’m having to deal with someone who fits every issue in the list above. And sadly she knows exactly what she’s doing, that’s where the problem lies. What do you do if it’s your perant the is this way and more???

Reply
Meghan S

Mother in law(MIL) emailed BM to ask her if granddaughter was allowed to attend a family gathering. It was to celebrate granddaughter and her cousins birthdays. She gave plenty of notice about 2 to 3 weeks. No response. MIL went on vacation and when she returned home emailed her again. No response. Emailed day before party with a firm but polite tone. Finally a response. Her excuse was that her tablet/phone was charging and just saw the messages. Also she is going out of the city and it tooks months to plan. MIL called her out on her charging her devices excuse. BM should have replied right away. BM didn’t like that and told MIL she shouldn’t talk about stuff she doesn’t know nothing about. Also to stop harassing her and to never contact her again. Found out BM and child went to a beach that is an hour away. You don’t need to plan anything if you are going there. I can post this and head straight there. She just didn’t want kid to go. She hates us more than she loves child. She rather hurt us and child then put daughters best interest first. We talked to child while she was at beach. She sounded so miserable and defeated. She wanted to go but her wishes are never considered. BM manipulates her and makes her feel guilty. Worst kind of monster.

Reply
Gillian

Hi my name is Gillian thank everyone for making me feel less alone I have suffered mental abuse all my life I am empath and you seem to attract narsasists

Reply

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Hey Warrior - A book about anxiety in children.








Hey Sigmund on Instagram

The need to feel safe is primal. We’re wired to The need to feel safe is primal. We’re wired to fight or flee anything that presents itself as a threat - and shame, punishment, judgement, exclusion, humiliation all count as threat, even if they come with loads of love.
.
When our kids or teens mess up - which they will, because they’re humans not robots - the way we respond can open them up to our influence or shut them down to it. It can expand the fight and the disconnection, or it can shrink it. In time they will learn to be more in control of their urge for or flight, but for now, we will need to lead the way. (Of course, we are also human, and sometimes despite our biggest efforts to stay calm, we will step into the ring rather than wait for them to step out. We’re human. It’s going to happen. And that’s okay.)
.
If we want them to be open to our influence, we first need to calm their active amygdala (the seat of anxiety and big emotion) by sending the message that we aren’t a threat. We can do this by validating their feelings or the need behind their behaviour (if we know what that is).
.
Validation doesn’t mean agreeing with them, and it doesn’t mean approving of their behaviour. What it means is letting them know that we want to understand the world through their lens. ‘I can see you’re really upset about this.’ ‘It sounds as though you’re worried I’m going to get in your way. I can see this is important to you. I really want to understand. Can you talk to me about this?’
.
When we do this, it sends a message to the protective, powerful, emotional amygdala that it’s safe and that it can back down. This will start to switch off the need to fight us or flee (ignore) us and open them up to our influence, support, warmth and guidance.
.
It also doesn’t mean giving them a free pass on ‘unadorable’ behaviour. What it means is letting them know that we see them, and that we understand there is something important they need. When things are calm, they will be much more open to exploring their decisions, their behaviour, the consequences of that (including any consequences for them), and what they can do differently in the future.
⠀⠀

The need to feel safe is primal. We’re wired to fight or flee anything that presents itself as a threat - and shame, punishment, judgement, exclusion, humiliation all count as threat, even if they come with loads of love.
.
When our kids or teens mess up - which they will, because they’re humans not robots - the way we respond can open them up to our influence or shut them down to it. It can expand the fight and the disconnection, or it can shrink it. In time they will learn to be more in control of their urge for or flight, but for now, we will need to lead the way. (Of course, we are also human, and sometimes despite our biggest efforts to stay calm, we will step into the ring rather than wait for them to step out. We’re human. It’s going to happen. And that’s okay.)
.
If we want them to be open to our influence, we first need to calm their active amygdala (the seat of anxiety and big emotion) by sending the message that we aren’t a threat. We can do this by validating their feelings or the need behind their behaviour (if we know what that is).
.
Validation doesn’t mean agreeing with them, and it doesn’t mean approving of their behaviour. What it means is letting them know that we want to understand the world through their lens. ‘I can see you’re really upset about this.’ ‘It sounds as though you’re worried I’m going to get in your way. I can see this is important to you. I really want to understand. Can you talk to me about this?’
.
When we do this, it sends a message to the protective, powerful, emotional amygdala that it’s safe and that it can back down. This will start to switch off the need to fight us or flee (ignore) us and open them up to our influence, support, warmth and guidance.
.
It also doesn’t mean giving them a free pass on ‘unadorable’ behaviour. What it means is letting them know that we see them, and that we understand there is something important they need. When things are calm, they will be much more open to exploring their decisions, their behaviour, the consequences of that (including any consequences for them), and what they can do differently in the future.
⠀⠀
...







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