Where the Science of Psychology Meets the Art of Being Human

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. They’ll manipulate.

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

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

  1. They won’t own their feelings.

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

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

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

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


  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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Thank you for sharing this. I grew up with a narcissistic mother. I attracted many narcissist, “mother figures” in my life, and domineering friends. After I dated and narcissist man who caused much pain. I left the relationship and, I realized I had to put an end to this. I began to learn all that I could, and I got counseling, and grew stronger. I don’t have many friends in my life anymore. Just two, but they are quality friends. Now, I no longer have to separate myself from toxic people, they leave quickly. I think once they realize that you will not put up with disrespect and their nonsense they move on to find others who are more willing. It seems they are so anxious to wreck havoc in the lives of others, they can’t rest without it. But if don’t participate in their craziness, then they have nothing to work with. Keep learning, growing, and spending time with positive people, even if that only person is a book, podcast, encouraging videos etc., don’t give up.


Well I have a boyfriend and we have been together for 2 and 5months but thoes two years we weren’t together,he was living in the states so we were on a long distance relationship but then he came to his country where I also live there it was nice the first couple of weeks but then he started to spend more time with his toxic ass family and friends so he always gets mad at me for silly things he tries to manipulate me when arguing by saying that he came all the way just for me weather it’s my fault or not.almost everyday he asks me aggressively to meet up with my family or else he won’t be sure if I love him truly lol I know this sounds so funny but the long am with him the less I love him so I think everything that he does is toxic he also don’t get happy when I get to chill with my friends without him he brings up the silly bad things that they did long long ago and am sick of it

Dr gauri

I said something wrong in anger to someone few months ago . Should I go apologize now ? Won’t it exaggerate or bring old things up ? I don’t know how they gonna react .


Came to this article thinking my boyfriend is toxic; turns out I am the toxic one (8/12) 😐


So was dating this girl, and it ended for a year or so and now we are just friends.

I know she manipulated and lied her way into a lot of things, and I could c it done to other people and me but I never called her on it cuz I didn’t care, and the relationship wasn’t that serious at the time…. But there is one particular habit that she does that I don’t quite get!!!!

Long story short, she was getting divorced when we started seeing each other (or so I was told) and it turned out she was still with her husband or working things out with him.

Back then, when she flaked, id message her and she would call after an hour or so always in a hurry (lol) come up with some random excuse like walking into a store, ordering food saying she would call again then hanging up…

Now she reconnected again… we agreed on being just friends, but she still does that same stupid shit. I mean if she did this before cuz she were messing around and was trying to play smart with the lame ass excuses so I won’t end it.. i don’t get it now as there is nothing on the table what so ever.

Am I mad?


(oops sorry for caps lock). And then ask herself why did she reconnect? And how did she do it? Did she show remorse and was apologetic of her past behaviours or did she pretend as if nothing had happened?
I would strongly advise against being in contact with her. She will mess with you and you have nothing to gain but a lot to lose. It’s very easy to get sucked into drama by a manipulator or a toxic person, but getting out will be much more diffuclt.
Be careful!

Andrea R

I would like to receive an outsiders opinion on this. Recently a long time friend and I got drunk and I let it slip out that a guy who liked her had confessed to liking me, about a year ago. However I also did mention that I didn’t feel the same as he felt towards me and that I knew my friend liked him so there was no way I would ever date him because I cared about her too much. At the time I was also dating my friend’s cousin. Another important detail is that my friend‘a cousin knew about the guy liking me because the guy would constantly mention wanting to ask me out on a date. Her cousin also knew she liked the guy but he never mentioned what the guy had said to him ever. Now my friend is putting all the blame on me and saying that all I do is hide stuff from her, when in reality this is the only thing I’ve ever kept from her. She even told me that it wasn’t fair because “I was pretty and she had nothing.” I do admit that I should have told her about this incident when it happened but at the time I felt that it was best if I didn’t because in a way I thought I was going to protect her. She has now blocked me on everything, and I almost feel as if she wants me to say something that’s not true just so she can feel at peace.


Dear Andrea,

It does indeed sound like your friend is manipulating you.
The ‘incident’ does not seem to warrant such a strong response from your friend. A more appropriate response from her to would be to express her feelings, which you should acknowledge and try to understand without defending your point.
It does however seem like she now has no desire to be speaking to you if she has blocked you.
Blocking someone is a clear message which says: “I do not care what you have to say”.
If you care a lot about her, write her a letter which she can choose to read or not to read. Lay out how you feel, explain that you are open to a conversation (if you are) and that you hope that you both can grow stronger through this experience.
If she continues to manipulate you if any way, I would distance myself from her.


They are still active in their twilight years. Nothing stops them, the more power they have the more people they control.
But not me, so I’ve become a target and all narcissist traits being used against me.
A lifetime………

Please leave a solution

Turns out my girl has all these toxic qualities but I am unable to leave her because she gave me her virginity , she wants to be with me forever .. and also I have so much love for her even though she is like this..
Is there any way to make her change??
Please please help me out ..
I really love her and want her to experience a healthy relationship with Me
Because I know that her being toxic has no benefit to her and people around her
I just want to help her change


I am very sorry that you recognise your girlfriend in this article. It must be difficult to see that the person we love exhibits very negative and potentially harming behaviours.
In your post you write a lot about your gf, but very little about you and how you feel, or what outcome you’d like to see FOR THE SITUATION.
Is there a way to make her change? It’s very hard to force someone to change, if they themselves don’t want to change.
You say you’d like HER to experience a healthy relationship with you. But what about you? Would you like to experience a healthy relationship with her?
From your post, I get a sense that you put your girl first: her wants, her needs. Then you put your wishes for her life, and only then, at the end comes what it is that you want for yourself.
The best gift you can give yourself is more self-care and self-love.
Take a moment and ask yourself if you yourself are behaving in your own best interest. Ask yourself this: if you were giving advice to your best friend who is in your situation, what would it be? Remember, the goal is to give advice, which will be in your friend’s best interest.

It’s difficult to say anything about your girl’s behaviours without any concrete examples, however virginity should not be used as a bargaining chip by either of the partners. I recignise, that this may be different if you both come from conservative or highly religious backgrounds.

You certainly seem to be in a challenging situation and there isn’t a magic bullet for your problem, but my advice to you is, put yourself first. Not in a selfish way, but in a kind and compassionate way. Ask yourself if the person you are with is helping you grow as a human and would be willing to put so much thought about your well-being as you are about hers.

One practical tip I would suggest is to look up and practice non-violent communication technique. Familiarise yourself with it and practice it when speaking to your girl. Hopefully, by becoming better communicator yourself, you will be able to shape a kinder communication path for each other and you will find a way to express to her when her behaviour is crossing a line.


More than likely she will not change. It’s sad to hear, but trust me when I say I’ve been thru the ringer with an ex girlfriend who is toxic. I thought I could change my ex over time and ended up staying with her for seven more months than I should have. The lying, manipulation, deceitfulness, and narcissistic traits she had never changed. I even got told “you are trying to change me because you think you now have all this knowledge that you’ve read about, but I am never going to change”. “If you can’t love me for my faults then this isn’t going to work”. Needless to say I stayed about a month after that was said then we broke up for good. It’s been about 8 months now and looking back on all the shady stuff she did throughout I’m mad at myself for not leaving earlier. Just cause the sex may be great is no reason to stay. Really look at the red flags and determine if you believe deep down in your soul that she could eventually be a better person to you.

The Apathetical Man

Everyone has a purpose in life. Each and every person is born into this world for a certain reason. Some people can easily find their purpose early on in their lives, while others might have to spend half of their lifetimes trying to figure out the reason why they are here. Nonetheless, regardless of time, everyone has the capacity to find meaning in life.


Hey I read this great article and i do have a question and some tips. I have a toxic person I believe as a step brother (though I don’t call him one at all) and he was a boss that I had and if I can explain right he was always getting angry at me trying to stand up against him and he would always judge me and try to make me look dumb at work and he also would try to be slick with changing subjects and talk about logic even though he didn’t seen like the person to be logical. He had my sister call me and tell me I was hiding from him at my home and he seems to focus so much on me. And I even quite during fussing, but he keeps trying to make me work with him again but I dont and he also showed he would start begging or trying to make me work with him…so is this a toxic person? And how do I stay far away from this guy?


First great work of the author that wrote this artictle, it helped me understand some things better. i mean i just found out that my best friend can actually be toxic. She seems to do like 9/12 of the points above but i m not sure if she is and how can i deal with her being toxic without losing completely this person, hell i dont even know if i am toxic. Cause sometimes toxic people can turn it against you and make you feel you are the toxic one, it is pretty complicated if you thing about it. Feel free for suggestions and opinions.


Can I please get an outsider’s opinion? I’ve known my fiance for 2yrd and we’ve been engaged almost 1. Ever since we started dated we’ve had fights about nudity in movies/shows. I know I’m not the only girl who feels this way but he has in the past called me crazy for asking him not to watch that stuff and even offering him a website that easily filters it out so he can still enjoy his movies. I dont believe every relationship should be that way, and if both partners are fine with seeing other people naked on screen more power to them but that isnt how I feel my relationship should be. He always would try to make it about “you’re projecting your insecurities on my life” but I dont believe at all that I’m insecure about it. It’s a relationship boundary that I always hoped he’d respect…. he always brings up how his past rela8never had a problem with him watching that stuff too and it bugs me because j feel like he expects me to be like them just so he can watch a movie…. my ground point is that he feels that it’s me projecting my insecurities and mostly trying to use what he watches as a way to control him and manipulate him. I’ve tried countless times talking to him about boundaries and sanctity/exclusivity is so important in a relationship to me but he doesnt believe that’s what its about…please help it’s the biggest problem in our relationship and will most likely end it if it’s not fixed


Tessa, it sounds like this is a fundamental disagreement that marriage is not going to fix. If he doesn’t respect your views about nudity and exclusivity in a relationship, I imagine there are other things of equal importance (and even everyday decisions) that he won’t respect either – meaning that you’ll have to be the one to make all the changes, not him. Imo this more than a matter of personal preference like food or paint colors, but a world-outlook issue that affects both of you. I’m not a relationship expert and of course we only know what you’ve told us about him, but this is a situation I myself would not tolerate – not because of the nudity issue itself but his effective gaslighting of your feelings on such an important topic.


I can totally relate to the signs above ,we have been married for almost 3 years now, and there have been several instances where he just starts to give me a cold shoulder and I start to find ways to make it better but, in the end I never understand what went wrong? Sometimes he just blames it on his job that he had a bad day( I have requested him plenty of times to try for new jobs if, this one is affecting him so much but, he never tries). We are not financially stable,we are away from our families. When I try to talk to him about this he enters into arguments and is never willing to listen and understand what I have to say and always tries to get his way.

We both are working but since, the day I got married I have sacrificed everything,I save up money and give up on my wishes while he goes off spending on drinks and things, I find myself crying in corners of our apartment just thinking of a way out of all this, I miss my life before marriage but,I cant do anything about it I can’t hurt my side of the family by being a burden on them after divorce.

Now he even wants to have children and when I treid to explain him that we need time, that we are not financially settled and that I am not ready, he made a whole fuss about it he kicked away furniture in rage. Previously he punched our television,threw away food that I had cooked and this always happens. I dont understand what to do I feel trapped in my life.


I can agree strongly to this I have been in the worst relationship of my life for 5 consecutive years. At the time I was 22 years old .. I have been neglected, abused and manipulated from life itself. I new it wasn’t love from the beginning and I don’t understand why I’m still here.. I have tried leaving over over he only follows me around harassing me threatening my family and me. It like I can’t get rid of him. I have been lied to lied on by him ,cheated on several times prolly still is .. I’m consistently call b**** and just really awful names .. I’m consistently disrespected.. I‘m so use to hearing hurtful things that it don’t bother me anymore .. I can go on about this man that I’m no longer in love with but feel obligated to stay cause he won’t leave .. I feel like a been hurt everyday of every year we been together..now I’m here 4 months pregnant by a man I don’t love . Where does it end for me😢


Okay to start off, I have been in a 6 year relationship. In the beginning and first couple of years it’s has been good. But then now it’s like she’s more occupied with her phone. She doesn’t take initiative to do anything anymore. Doesn’t make plans or do any surprises, I always try to do them when I can. She doesn’t even say sorry when she knows she’s wrong. I have been constantly trying to make it work all the time. I really love her but she makes me a so frustrated. When I cry and tell her how she makes me feel when I’m sad, it’s like she doesn’t even comfort me or try to make me feel better. She just stays silent. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m trying to not get fed up and be mad, but I just can’t help it to feel that way now. But I still love her.


I’ve been seeing this guy for about 6 months now. His name is Chris. I’m not sure whether these are “red flags” or not? If i did know for sure, i would’ve left from the very beginning. But here’s literally everything on the list.. He makes plans with me but cancels the last minute A LOT! He never keeps any contacts in his phone because he says he doesn’t want anyone to see who exactly is calling/texting him if he leaves his phone behind? He ALWAYS clears out his phone/computer history after using it. (Waay more than anyone else i’ve ever known) He hasn’t told his family anything about me at all. Every time i come over, i noticed that his bedsheets are always in the wash at that exact moment? (They’re never on his actual bed) He only allows me to come over when it’s convenient for him. He never responds to my calls/texts around specific times i’ve noticed? (5pm-9pm) Every time we have an argument and “split” for a bit, he stays at motels for at least 2 days?? He claims he goes to motels to do his jobs work and to play video games, but i highly doubt that’s the case. Every time we argue, it’s always my fault and he never actually listens to what i’m saying or my concerns and just always asks “Why do you always do this?”… or “Why can’t you just focus on something more positive”? … He avoids all important questions and never leaves me with any answers or closure. He tells me how “f*cked up” i am from my terrible past of mental abusers that i’ve sadly been with in the past, and always brings up their names when he knows i can’t stand hearing it. I don’t want to be reminded of any of that?? He never is the first one to call or text and when he actually DOES call, he’s always either playing video games or multitasking, never paying attention to anything i’m saying to him. It hurts. All of this hurts so bad. It’s really hurting my heart. I don’t know what to do. It’s difficult having the strength to leave someone you cared so much about, even when they seem like they don’t care at all about you. 🙁 I need answers, please help me figure out what kind of guy i’m dealing with here and what i should do?


Hi Rita,

It sounds like you are in a very aweful relationship, one that I would not wish upon my biggest enemy.
With therapy and a ot of work from your bf’s side, you may be able to patch things up, but come on, you have been dating for 6 months and like you said: all alarm bells should be ringing.
You don’t describe your bf as a kind and caring person, so what makes you believe he will change?
The more love you’ll give him, the more he will treat you like trash, because effectively – sorry for being blunt – you do allow him such behaviour.
The only healthy path you can follow is changing your behaviour towards him, or letting him go completely.
Please please put yourself first, because he clearly won’t do it.
It’s hard to believe that love cannot overcome all obstacles and make people change.
If you have a lot of love in you, please practice some self-compassion, and self-love.
I hope with time you’ll grow stronger to leave behind what is clearly not good for you or your future.
Best of luck, Rita.


Hello Rita,

I sorry for your situation, it’s disappointing that he could ever do such things to you. To me, it sounds like he takes your for granted. and those look like red flags to me. People like him will never change, I know this from past experiences in bad friendships/relationships. In my opinion, if you don’t like his behavior and it isn’t changing, just walk away, he’s the only one getting anything from the relationship, and that’s not fair at all.
You sound like a wonderful, caring person and deserve better than that.
I wish you luck, and that you can pull through this, I believe in you. 🙂

Allison R

I’m not sure what end is up with me atm. I’ve been engaged to my fiancé since August.. been going together for 2 years but things aren’t what I thought they were. Or is it me? I was shunned from my religion back in Feb and lost almost everything about my life I knew including all friends and most of my family. My fiancé had seemed very supportitive up to this point but when the actual shunning took place ( i fell out with the doctrines ) he said I had changed. I was desperately trying to make sense of my world and was/am depressed. He is naturally quiet and I love talk and communication. It had seemed okay before.. but then he just retreated. If I try and broach conversations about our relationship he either won’t fully engage or worse… keeps turning it. Often he will say compassionate things or make promises but never follows up and I feel like that child who mummy says ‘yes dear’ to to shut them up.
I want a connection back. I don’t feel loving anymore because I feel lost and lonely inside. I want a cameraderie and openness that I’ve always craved with a partner. Am I asking too much? Can anyone see things from his perspective I could be missing?
I’m emotionally drained but I don’t want to just throw this away.


I can’t say much about your situation and I know that this is difficult right now with Covid-19.

But if you’ve lost your support network of friends and family members, you need to create yourself a new support network (either that, or get the old one back). You can’t depend on your fiance (or his friends and family) to fill that gap for you.

If he was attracted to you in the first place, it probably means that you had your own life to begin with. Once this pandemic is over, make sure to get your own set of friends, your own set of hobbies, and your own set of interests. Get a new job. Start a new hobby. Start studying. Or whatever.

Once you can rebuild such a network for yourself, your relationship will be stronger for it.

Sad wife

Hi, I am married to my husband, whom before we got married, cheated on me multiple of times on a lot of dating app, all possible social medias where he can find girls to talk to (mostly talking like theyre his gf, never slept or met them).
But apart of that, he is a great guy, family man who helped you with chores, or always there for me, always keeping contact with my family, pays a visit once a month even he stays far. I can see his cheating pattern is he cheats after we fought and gave silent treatment to each other. You see, we were in a long distance relationship(different citizenship) for 3 years, so its so easy for him to feel unloved so he cheats for attention.

So now we are married for 2months now(no more cheating, he shared everything) but due to Covid-19, we have to live separately for a while. Which messed me up so bad. I was really paranoid. i dont know how to trust him when hes away. So everytime we fought on the phone coz hes a bit sensitive, im scared he gonna do it again. its really hard that everytime we fight, he always said i dont appreciate him. even when he cheated before, he said he didnt felt appreciated, i didnt make him happy. i felt unloved too, unhappy too. but i never cheat on him. No matter whos wrong, i never think that he didn’t appreciate me. i dont know why he always think that way.

I tried my best to be a good wife, despite my working shift as a pharmacist, i went back home and cook for him, spend time with him doing what he wants, even when the days when im too tired. i never fail to cook for him daily. i clean the house most of the days, so that he’s comfortable. Even when we fought, most of the time im the one who come to him and apologise. So it made me sad when he said i don’t appreciate him. Hes my first and only love , he broke my heart to pieces when he cheated. But i focus on the good in him. I just wish he stop thinking negative about me


Hello guys
I believe i have a toxic boyfriend. I was chatting to my sister about my boyfriend and when are we planning to get married. During our chats through whatsapp my sister also asked about how is my job hunting and whether the person who is helping get a job has found anything new.So my boyfriend asks me who is this person helping you find a job and i tell him that its the same guy i had told him about few months ago. He starts claiming im lying that he is not a fool. I was shocked and tried to tell him that this person is the same person i told you about few months ago. He completely denies it claiming i have a new man and my sister knows him. I just told him i wont engage with him because he is just accusing me and yet i have not done anything. So now he has been ignoring me. It has reached a point i just feel tired of constantly defending myself.


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.


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.


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.


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Hey Warrior - A book about anxiety in children.

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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.