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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. They’ll manipulate.

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

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

  1. They won’t own their feelings.

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

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

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

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

    [irp posts=”1195″ name=”Toxic People: 16 Practical, Powerful Ways to Deal With Them”]

     

  2. They never apologise. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    [irp posts=”1762″ name=”When Someone You Love is Toxic: How to Let Go of Toxic People, Without Guilt”]

     

  6. They exaggerate.

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

  7. They are judgemental.

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

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

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

1,930 Comments

James

I just left a toxic relationship with a crazy woman. She demonstrated all of the traits above. She manipulated me to do everything for her and often she would use lies that I knew were lies but still accepted them to do some task for her. She was always hostile though and we could never finish a conversation or topic. She often called me derogatory names and often refered to me as them even when I requested for her to stop. She was not saying them as a term of endearment either. When I demonstrated resistance towards her such as refusing to do certain things due to past behavior she adapted and started coercing me by calling the police saying I was beating her. A few times they came and they did suggest I get of her and these were female officers. They saw I never hit her and they saw that she was a bit crazy and warned her each time about calling 911. The other tactic she would use is to conviently get a panic attack to the point that she goes to the hospital. When she gets there she began to act a little bit normal until I leave her side. A few times I would come back with them saying she went in a psychosis and they baker acted her. I felt sorry for her a lot of pity because she was seemingly helpless without me but she would still treat me terribly. It escalated to the point she started to attack me. First just some closed fist punching to my face on occasion (probably hurt her more than it hurt me to be honest but completely disrespectful) to her attacking with knives and throwing scalding water and some chemicals at me (Which really hurt and caused an eye injury and loss of sight) . Each of these incidents she either down played or made up a really bad excuse that’s laugable. But she just drew me in still I didn’t know how or why I just wanted to make her happy so she could be nice to me. But after self reflection and just thinking what I wanted for myself in life and how I wanted my life to be I decided that to achieve that I would have to cut loose this woman. It was hard as she really had no where to go and probably became homeless or is couch surfing other victims…. I felt that if I were to put her in that situation it was because I was not patient enough but in the end I had to tell myself that she is not my responsibility and if I stay with her it will not end well for either of us. Either she will: hurt/kill herself and have me go to jail, kill me and herself, have us both arrrsted, or at the very least make me lose my sanity. I gave her 90 days to find a place and leave and I cut my lease short. I drove off and left. She refused to leave eventually the police had to escort her out. I stopped talking to her after I left. It was a great decision as I got my life back on track to be where I want to be without her as a drain or distraction.

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Hey Sigmund

James, it sounds as though you have been through a really tough time. Without a doubt you have done the right thing by walking away from this person. I know that leaving a relationship isn’t easy, even if that relationship is a destructive one. Your warmth, openness and commitment to the relationship would be such strong qualities in a relationship with someone who deserved you, but it sounds as though they have been used against you in this one. There is no amount of patience, kindness or love that can change these type of people. They can change, but it’s unlikely that they will. I’m so pleased you have your life back now. You deserve to feel loved and cherished, and now that this toxic relationship is out of the way, the love you deserve can find you. I wish you all the very best as you move forward.

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Andy Robbins

I’m a guy in the UK living with someone like this. Men suffer at the hands of toxic people also. Thanks for the article – it really helps

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Hey Sigmund

Yes, absolutely! Men suffer every bit as much as women when it comes to toxic people. I’m really pleased the article has been helpful for you.

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Connor P

I recently left a toxic relationship and she continues to try to talk to me like I will block her on everything, from all social media to email, and even her phone number, but she goes and creates new accounts over and over trying to force me to come back and saying things to me like if I don’t come back she will commit suicide and tell me that her blood is in my hands, or she has constantly told me in great specific details how she would kill me and get away with it because all she had to do was put my body parts down the garbage disposal.

Eventually I got the courage to leave her and actually not come back but now she is not online harassing me like I had told you above but she is bullying me online and making false accusations against me and lying on my name, I am at the point I fear my life but she wants to go and turn me into the police and say she can’t even go to her apartment bc I happen to still have a key, because she is afraid that I would come in when she would be sleeping and kill her. I only have kept the key this long due to the simple fact that not only has she not stopped harassing me, bullying me online, making shit up and accusing me of it, but now she has decided to burn my personal belongings and even burn my transgender flag and record it and post mean threats about my sexuality all because I finally left her. She has nothing to worry about with me I just want her out of my life, but I am scared of her, afraid she might actually kill me. She had even gone to the point of having her underage cousins say that they sent me nudes and shit and that I have porn on my phone of her little cousins and I don’t nor would I ever do that. I’m fairly young and I have never gone through something like this but everything I have tried to do just makes it worse so idk if I should hire a lawyer or what because idk what she will do next nor if she would come kill me in my sleep. Any recommendations or advice on what I should do?

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Tushar

This is really true in my case everything has happened to me I had almost around 8 very close friends but I am left with only 2 of them .I don’t understand what I have done to them ,I feel like dying, I didn’t had any friends in my high school as they were very fake and I thought making some friends in college but now I realize being without friends is far better then getting cheated like this.
I thank this website as it made me realize how to make good friends and how to know who is a good or a bad friend.

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Hey Sigmund

Tushar, I’m sorry this has happened with you and your friends. Not everyone who comes into your life will deserves to stay. There are people who will be very grateful to have you in their lives. Please don’t give up on finding them. I’m pleased the information you have found here has been helpful for you.

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Haydee Cueto

I am on a toxic relationship right now,all what I read is really happening right now,all false accusation..I find it so stressful…and I want to say thank you for the indicate advice.

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Hey Sigmund

You’re very welcome Haydee. I hope it is able to give you the strength you need to do what is best for you and open your path to the love you deserve.

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Latoya

I just met a female who acts JUST like this. I thought it was me and I tried to readjust and also tried to be understanding, but this article describes her. She moved on to try to run with my business too and call her it her own. I’m certain that she does this often and calls it something different each time.

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Brand

I am having difficulties dealing with a chain of unfortunate events in my relationship. My boyfriend is a survivor of abuse from his father – and has had a difficult time dealing with it. This past summer he cheated on me. I have taken him back under the conclusion that it was a horrible mistake and he was in a really bad place at the time. Although now I am feeling very insecure and insignificant. Before when he didn’t want to be intimate I would understand – now i take it personally and have a hard time being sympathetic to him. I have been in bad relationships and cheated on many times in my past as well and feel like i am spiraling. He turns to porn often and it never bothered me before but now it does – as i feel neglected and unwanted. I don’t know how to balance anymore and i find myself trying to control his every move. Help?

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Hey Sigmund

It is really understandable that you would feel insecure and insignificant if you have been cheated on. It’s an awful thing to have happen. What’s important is that this doesn’t change who you are. Difficult relationships can send anyone crazy. Relationships can heal through cheating but it’s also going to take full commitment from your boyfriend, and deliberate action on his part to support you in feeling secure again. That will take a while, and it will take effort and commitment. If it gets to the point where you are feeling bad more than you feel good, it might be time to really think about what you are getting out of the relationship. You deserve to feel loved.

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Isabelle

Question if anyone has an answer. I recently had another incident with a friend. He is a wonderful person until he isn’t. Gets in moods and in a subtle ways digs, insults my intelligence. Keep in mind it is all so subtle, as described in many above posts, that you get off the phone furious and scratching your head having had let it happen again.

This time I email him, probably the best letter I’ve ever written. It was to the point finally addressing exactly what he does and that I have his number and will not continue tolerating this behavior.

The same day I heard back from him telling me to “have a nice week”. Now a week or so later I get another email where he speaks briefly about what he is up to in general and also lets me know about a T.V. series I might like. That is it.

So what do you do when you’ve really addressed a situation and the person pretends the incident never happened and that you never addressed it?

Would appreciate any input on this. Thanks, Isabelle

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Edward

OMG! My wife, as much as I dearly love her, can be the poster child for this article! I aw vague hints of her personality, narcissistic with paranoia and toxicity before I engaged her, then married her. I was so in love with her I overlooked the many little issues thinking all along it must be me and I would make it all better by trying harder. But soon after the wedding it got worse – routinely. About every 2 weeks there was some misunderstanding, or spat that she would never accept blame for & attack me for being loud, or getting mad at her kid, or using a bad word, etc. She refused to ever take my advice on family matters, or even hear me it seemed. I learned to avoid the conflict by backing off to let her have her way, but it caused more and more seething resentment within me, so every now and then, usually at the kids that were pushing buttons I would blow up at them. That would turn her against me even more, but typically we would kiss and make up great and all would seem o.k. for a couple of weeks or months & then wham! she would get riled up again at something I did not even know I had done wrong & I would go overboard apologizing and she would make demands on my time and take a week or two to get back to the kiss and make-up stage. A recent death in her family flipped a switch in her. After a few really great weeks when all seemed great her sibling died. I was there to comfort her as much as I could be, then she flipped a switch and ordered me away, never to come back to see her or talk to her. Week by week I begged and pleaded for her to let me see her and to attend counseling. I apologized over and over for this and that, but she never has once that I can recall apologized for anything and only barely accepted blame for our dying dreams. Finally after 8 weeks of this nightly begging from me and rarely getting a reply at all, she and I blew up via texts (the only form of communication she accepts) & I vented a lot that had been seething within me for our entire relationship. She announced she was filing papers and blocking me. She did not block me however, but I know her and expect to be served divorce papers any day. I have given and given in the marriage & dearly love her, quirks and all & would do nearly anything to save the marriage. But it seems to be a 1-sided marriage as scores of family and friends have told me. Maybe it is for the best to divorce and get on with our lives, but I know she will haunt me forever. I wanted to please her every day and had dreamed of making her happy each day for the rest of her life, but I realized finally – too late I guess that she is unwilling to be happy with me.

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Hey Sigmund

It sounds as though you have fought really hard to make this relationship work. I can hear how much you care about your wife. It would be no mistake that she chose you – your generosity, your warmth, your loyalty and commitment. I’m sure she has many good things about her as well, but that doesn’t make the relationship a good one for you. It sounds as though it has brought you a lot of pain. Listen to your friends and family and listen to what you now know. Toxic people find it difficult to be happy with anyone. It’s so important that you see it for what it is and don’t take it personally.

I really understand why it is so hard to let go and why it’s difficult to imagine moving on from her. Loving someone is like an addiction and moving on from someone you love is like a physical and emotional withdrawal – but the pain does end. Here is some information that might help you https://www.heysigmund.com/your-body-during-a-breakup/. You deserve a relationship that nurtures you and a love that feels nourishing and mutual. You deserve to be happy. You will find that, but first you have to let go of that which is getting in the way of it finding its way to you. I wish you strength and courage and the love you deserve.

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Edward

Thank you for the advice and reply. As I guessed I got the decree to sign today. Begged her to reconsider but her terse response was simply “I’m not coming back.”

I tried everything I could but the worse part is that she literally did not shed a tear over it I can tell.

Well, I hope she finds who she’s looking for and I will always love her but will never see her again.

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Theonlyone

She is probably doing you a favor. When one door closes another one opens. You will probably meet some new women and realize you have been missing out on some great times. It is a new beginning.

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Crystal

This is what a narcissistic person is like. But why do they need your approval? Are their self esttems actually that low that they need to lower yours as well?

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Hey Sigmund

Toxic people need control above all else. Sometimes this is driven by low self-esteem, sometimes insecurity, sometimes both or something else altogether. Having power and control over the relationship and the people they are with is everything. They don’t see their behaviour as damaging – they’ll be more likely to see it as your fault that you’re not doing things the ‘right’ way, which will always be their way. They are incapable of recognising the needs of another person above their own. One of the reasons they attack the self-esteem of those they are in a relationship with is because people are much easier to control when they are full of self-doubt. Toxic people choose well – they will often choose people who are generous and who work hard at a relationship. A toxic person knows that for these people, the more they are told they aren’t doing a good job, the harder they will try to make things right.

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Charmaen

I am in a toxic relationship right now all the things you mentioned are him to the T! Just today he threw burning hot pizza at me burned my arm with the sauce because I told him he was only thinking about himself and unless it benefits him he doesn’t care. Last time it was a hot plate of spaghetti off the stovetop because I said something he didn’t like. And the time before that was a glass of wine thrown in my face because he said I was lying about something I said and it wasn’t a lie. Prior to that he grabbed my hair, took my glasses off my face and broke them because I told him no to get mad at my daughter she just a baby. I said it more than 2 times and he snatched me up had to find the pieces to my glasses and tape them together to be able to work in the am. He told me next time I should learn not to open my mouth.
He tells me I don’t make enough money but I work 2 jobs while he doesn’t work, only every blue moon. He says I’m lazy and fat when I work 2 jobs and take care of all our kids, mine and his, 7 altogether. I get sick one day and I’m a lazy fat b*tch while he’s on the couch 3 weeks straight only to get up to eat, shower or use the bathroom. If he does anything it’s just for himself. I accidentally dropped his pants on the bathroom floor and he went off talking down to me, throwing stuff at me. It’s hard to leave and it’s hard to stay !!!! I just pray it will get better

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Wilma

My eldest sister (I’m the youngest of 5 sisters and 2 brothers), is so toxic towards me and has been ever since we joined the same religion. Long story short, we had been close (albeit dysfunctional) for 18 years, but no more since the last 2 years. The demise stems 10 yrs ago because of an inheritance my parents received. (Background: We grew up poor. She was abused physically/verbally by my father and left the house at 16. However, he had a respect for her once she got older. In fact, he nominated her as a successor executor in his will years ago. Today, she’s married and lives across country and I live very close to my parents. Though my father was verbally abusive to all of us kids and we all have issues as a result, he was least to me and another young sister.) Anyway, trouble started when two of my single elderly uncles (both of whom had sizable savings and lived together) declined in health and one died, leaving my father his savings account. The other, with dementia and anxiety, leaned on my father for help, who in turn, leaned on me for advice and help, which was very new grounds for me and nervewracking. However, that left my eldest sister upset b/c she wanted play by play and an accounting of every penny my father was receiving and spending because she was the “executor”. (Note, my father was and still is managing his own finances and he specifically asked me not to discuss them with my other siblings). When I refused to “comply” with her, she was so irate and yelling and screaming at me on the phone. So I gave in and told her how much he received. She flew out for the uncle’s funeral and was so cold and has been cold to me ever since. She has slandered me to our mutual friends, who give me the cold shoulder, for which I called her out on. We had other yelling incidences too, all revolving around my parents’ money. She was so upset with me one time, screamed abusively because she claimed she had to ask my parents directly whether they had gone to see a lawyer to sign new estate planning documents. (which they did not do and have not to this day). I said “good, you should be communicating with them yourself!” She has always claimed she wanted to manage their finances from afar with me (since she couldn’t be here to help out in other ways) and has told me that specifically. I believe she is angry because she knows my father was turning to me for support/advice and she realizes she cannot control me the way she seemed to think she could. (She also had plans for my parents’ inheritance, which included adding her name on a bank account and wanted me to propose that to my father.) I say we joined the same religion but she is more active than I am, and others see her involvement and seem to think she is so “fabulous”. She loves to awe inspire, in fact, that is how I joined the religion, through her (I was 20, she was 30.) She claims that she is following Jesus’ footsteps, which she does in front of others, but to me it is a whole other person that shows up. Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. She did make a very nice gesture at my wedding (to whom she did not approve of the man I married) recently but I wondered if it was more to save face in front of those we both know so she can have one up on me down the road. She’s always acting as if I am untrustworthy, questioning my moves. I feel obligated to reach out to her b/c we are of the same faith and encouraged to forgive/forget/love, but when I reach out to her via email (because I refuse to talk on the phone and have arguments), it is a stone cold response, so I stopped. I feel more at peace that way, but how do I feel good about myself in this situation? My parents though in good health, are in their mid-80’s and need more assistance, to which I am doing more than her and other sibling’s fair share of help. I can’t seem to feel good about my sister even though I feel she’s being abusive to me. She is very demanding behind closed doors. Help!

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Hey Sigmund

It sounds as though you have been having an awful time with this. It’s really important that you listen to your own feelings and intuition around who (and what) is good for you and who isn’t. I understand this can be really difficult when it comes to family because it’s harder to put up boundaries or walk away, but you can do this in love and strength without it being a complete rejection. By this, I mean you can reject your sister’s capacity to hurt you without rejecting her. Similarly, forgiving your sister doesn’t mean accepting her behaviour, nor does it mean that you have to open up yourself to her again. What it means is that you release yourself of anger or any other bad feelings towards her – BUT – that doesn’t mean that you have to feel good feelings and let her in again. Letting go of the bad feelings is something you do for your own sake.

One way to do this is to put up a really clear boundary, but with love and the option to have it come down, but on your terms. Let your sister know that you love her and care about her but that you won’t put yourself through the yelling and nasty conversations that are happening between you at the moment. Acknowledge that you understand that she doesn’t like some of things that you are doing, but that you are doing them because they are right for you. She doesn’t have to agree with what you are doing, but you won’t allow yourself to be shamed and mistreated for these decisions.

Let her know that she is important to you and that she matters, and that when she is ready to respect you and work towards a calmer, healthier relationship, you will be ready to have that relationship with her but until then, you aren’t prepared to engage with her – or something like that. Tell her what she means to you and be generous and loving, and also let her know what feels intolerable. Decide on the terms for your relationship and let her know what they are. Ask her what she needs from you and decide whether or not you are prepared to give her that. It’s completely okay to say that you’re not. That way, you are putting an end to her capacity to hurt you, but being open to being in a relationship with her in a way that is better for both of you.

If she is acting as though you are untrustworthy and questioning you a lot, that is an indication of her own insecurity. She lives away from the family and seems to have (or feel as though she has) little influence over what happens with your parents and the family. On the other hand, she suspects you have a lot. Insecurity has a powerful way of turning people against each other, but if you can see it for what it is, it will be easier for you to take is less personally. Keep her feelings in her front yard, and don’t let them cross into yours. See them for what they are. Of course it’s important to really be honest with yourself about whether there is anything you might be doing to contribute to the issues, but if you can say with an open heart that you are doing the best you can in the relationship, then it gets to the point where putting up a boundary is important and is a great act of self-respect and self-love. Showing her love and respect comes in the way you put up that boundary – don’t do it harshly or as a rejection. You have every right to decide what behaviour you will tolerate and what behaviour you won’t. It’s important because if you don’t do this for yourself, nobody else will. The main thing to remember is that you can love someone and decide not to tolerate them anymore. Loving someone doesn’t mean accepting them or the things they do. I wish you all the very best with this. Families can be a great source of pain. Love yourself enough to have the boundaries you need. They door to them can still be open, but make that entry on terms that are acceptable to you.

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Wilma

You’re so correct on all your suggestions. It’s just so difficult because I find her so harshly accusational, even over minor things. She’s slick only abusing me when we are either alone or on the telephone. I’m always left like a deer in headlights. She catches me off guard. I know it is “control-driven” on her end. When I start defending myself, then she says I’m too sensitive and that’s when the arguments start because I’m defending myself and she doesn’t like it and denies anything she ever said to me. Then she’ll tell our mutual friends that I’m fighting with her and they should avoid me. (when it is she that started the whole thing because she can’t get control of my parent’s money, which they do not know). Unfortunately, they believed her because they’re also her husband’s parents, which are/were close friends of mine too. Now it is just completely awkward.

I just don’t have the tools to deal with a personality like hers. I hear what you are saying but I don’t know how to actually deal with someone like her. I don’t know how to stand up for myself to her and create a boundary – I keep reading about it, but putting it into practice is another thing. She thinks because I’m the youngest, she can push me around behind closed doors. I know I have to be smarter about any interaction with her, but she is always “out to get me” it feels no matter what I do. She looks for the absolute worst and exaggerates everything about me. I have seen her do it to others who she feels have done something to her. I believe she is very narcissistic.

I find it hard to even reach out to her (though sometimes I want to just say hello and hopefully smooth things over) but I can’t even do that for fear of an attack of some sort. So I don’t. It’s too stressful and fearful. I have had nightmares of her.

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withheld

hello. what to do when a former good friend turns against you, sends you hostile emails, and won’t tell you why she’s upset-despite your multiple attempts to find out? this is very much complicated by the fact that our preteen daughters are good friends and in the same larger friend circle. she’s also a huge gossip, and my biggest fear is that she’s telling awful lies about me and my sweet, sensitive daughter. i worry because she did this (and much worse) to another woman, whose family eventually left our school. she’s extremely competitive, and honestly, i think her actions are based on jealousy over my daughter’s abilities, which is not a problem that can be “solved”. what do i do? i’ve asked her to talk, and i’ve tried ignoring her for several months, but she’s now sending more mean-spirited emails. i’ve reached out to a couple of mom’s in our circle who want to remain neutral. frankly, i think they’re all afraid of her. plus, she’s very good at being charming and helpful when it benefits her or her kids. the other odd think is that she is now angry that i’m not including her in group emails to the moms of other friends in our circle. i’m normally a very strong person, but this is really starting to bother me, causing me to lose sleep and feel nauseous. any help would be appreciated.

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Hey Sigmund

This is why toxic people are so damaging. You deserve better than this and I’m sorry you’re going through it. You can’t change this woman – if only we could change other people. All you can do is protect yourself as much as you can, by building the wall higher between you both. When you withdraw from toxic people, it’s not unusual for them to get worse before they leave you alone. They’ll do more of what used to work with you, or what has worked for them in the past. It sounds as though you still have to co-exist in the same environment and your daughters are friends so you have to tread carefully. Any contact with her will feel bad for you, so avoid her where you can without getting into a confrontation. It might be the case that any attempt you make to talk to her will be heard through her negative filter and twisted in such a way as to make herself the victim. If she has no intention of reconnecting with you in a way that is healthy for you, the only thing you can do is to pull away gently. If she is acting in such a way as to cause harm to you daughter, I would consider speaking to the school and asking them to deal with it discretely. If she’s telling lies about your daughter it’s a form of bullying, and I expect that the school will be quick to respond. There’s no easy answer for this one. I wish you all the best.

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Patricia

This woman sounds like a narcissist who needs her children’s accomplishments and status to reflect on her.
I was a school volunteer with a woman like this when my children were elementary/middle school age. When we moved to the area, her kids were on top of the academic pile. Here I come with my equally intelligent children, one of whom was found to have an IQ of 145. To me that didn’t change who my child was; to this mother, it was a threat. She found out only because she was an aide at the school. From then on, she was out for blood because she thought my kids were about to unseat hers. I still shake my head at this…..
The only way you can “win” is to withdraw from her presence. Serve only on committees she doesn’t. And like I always told my kids: when someone tells lies about you, conduct yourself in such a way that no normal person will believe it. Let her behavior reflect on her. If she involved my children, I’d go straight to the school principal, and higher if necessary.

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Josie

Thank you so much for this article and bringing awareness to the fact that some people are just, plain, toxic.

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Caron

Thank you for this, i will never understand the toxic people in my life who are so close to me, but this helps me realise that its not in my mind, its a thing, an ugly thing that exists.
How will i go forward? who knows, but at least now i can rest assured thats it not me, its them.

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Ms Taken

Any advince on how to deal with these toxic people when they are your only sibling and it is being enabled by your own mother and father? Mother has a tendency to also be toxic when the mood strikes, and father has a heart of gold. It’s hard to avoid conflict in some scenarios, but any advice would be awesome (especially with the holidays coming up).

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Dannie

My first impression reading the list is that hey my husband and I fit into some parts of this list so either everyone has some toxicity in them or we are both toxic people. Either way counseling has done us both a world of good.
His daughter on the other hand, very toxic and drains us both.

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Hey Sigmund

Yes, everybody does some of the things on the list from time to time. None of us are perfect but the people who are good to be with are the people who, like you, are open to their impact on people and are able to take responsibility for that.

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Brazen Lee

I have an ex, and a friend, who are what most people would consider toxic. I still see them both on occasion, but I’ve made some boundaries for myself, and have accepted that the problems they have – which my ex in particular likes to blame on me – which they both blame on other people, are of their own doing, and from their own behaviour. The people in my life who display toxic tendencies (and I used to be like this myself) are very much lacking in self-awareness.

I used to take it all very seriously and let it stress me out. I’ve since taken some steps back, maintain my boundaries, and have surrounded myself with more supportive, present, and unselfish people. When they come around with their drama and changeability now, it mostly rolls off my back. It’s not easy, but with some practice, self-love, and self-awareness, I’ve learned to manage pretty well!

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Hey Sigmund

You are acting with grace, strength and courage. That’s not easy, but it’s important when you’re dealing with toxic people. Keep going – you sound as though you are doing a wonderful job of managing this.

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Shirl

I have full and utmost sympathy for you. I have never experienced what you are going through but I know what that type of ‘abuse’ can do to a person. I know you care about your animals and you sound like a wonderful person.
I have an aunt who is a destructive, cruel person who has created unfixable problems in my family. For no reason other than she may have been envious of my loving and ‘normal’ relationships, who knows? I have nothing to do with her and have taught my children that even though she’s a relative they don’t ever ever ever need to spend a second of their precious time with a person like that.

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Hettie Trahms

I had a husband like Gata, and now I have a daughter like that. Gata, all I can say to you, is: carry on with your life as best you can. I can remember that I tried to see what I could do to make the situation better. What I found was that I could not. He found fault with everything I did, said and thought. I once asked him whether there was anything he was satisfied with and his answer was no. I found I could not discuss problems with him – it was always me making him unhappy. Carry on with putting money away, make your plans to get away. I remember that I felt disrupted the whole time. Keep telling yourself that you are right. Fortunately the man moved out to live with a mistress. That gave me time to relax and calm down. Even my children calmed down. I did not shout at them anymore. They are grown up now, but still think that I saved their lives by divorcing the man. Fortunately he died before any of them got married. My son did not want him at his wedding and my daughter said he is not giving her away in the church. Can you imagine the trouble that would have caused! I wish you best. Your life will not get better in a hurry, but carry on surviving. Remember, you are right!

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natalie

I met a guy in beyluxe messenger,we became friends on net,he accused me of jealousy when he talks and spends more time with other females.He always accuses of me of liar and many more toxic accusations.i always try and resolve the problem,he brings up old problems and circle never ends.he ignores all my apologizing texts and block my ids.

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Hey Sigmund

This person is showing you really clearly who he is, and it sounds as though he is someone who doesn’t bring out the best version of you. I’m sure he has his good qualities, but you deserve to have people in your life who make you feel wonderful.

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Elise

Just wanted to say thank you very much for this article. I have been dealing with a toxic friend for some time, and this article really helped put put her behavior in perspective (numbers 5, 8, 11 and 12 ring especially true for her). I have gone back and referenced this article a few times as as reminder to myself on how to view the situation. She has said some really unkind things to me that I have been trying to work through, but it has been very difficult to not take her words to heart. We also share many mutual friends, so that makes the situation a little more complicated. Do you have any advice on how to handle hurtful comments? I want to be the bigger person and not lash out at her, but it is very difficult to not respond back to her in an equally hurtful way. Thank you again for such a great article!

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Conscientious Observer

Hello! Hurtful comments? Are they jn social situations/ over the phone? Next time she puts her foot in her mouth, kindly let her know, so everyone can hear, to thank her for pointing out your flaw, and that she must really care about how you feel when she points out something personal/ or the obvious about you in front of everyone. Then make a joke ‘hey, Who needs enemies with a friend like that’. Depending on if she is a psycopath or not- yes that- if you ask her nicely to stop she will only go harder and get friends to join in. If she gets friends to join in, diffuse the situation with a funny comment. Say ok who is next to get hurt? Lets go (nasty friend), who is it? And by the way you do know this game you are playing also allows us to embarrass, humiliate and hurt you- and be prepared to follow thru. If u dont you will be her doormat to poo on until you die or never speak to her again. Just do it- at least for your own sanity. If you do and get nasty with her and she whinges about it- before you terminate the ‘alleged friendship’ just nicely let her know she has a talent for bringing out the worst in people and you have better things to do than associate with someone that likes to make others feel awful about themselves and others. All the besr.

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beth

I 4got 2 mention that she always acts so sincere and kind but then chooses to ignore me like I don’t even exist.

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beth

Any replies to my question/situation would be GREATLY appreciated. I have a toxic person in my life, unfortunately and I seem to always react in a way that I always look like the fool while this person walks away every time with all of her needs/wants met and with a smile on her face. I try to put up boundaries but that doesn’t seem to work. Here’s my biggest issue with her. Why does she contact me (text me) when she needs something/asks me for help and then when I do reply, I get ignored?! I sent her multiple texts back to her over a period of a few days and not one single response. What is going on with that?

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Hey Sigmund

The important thing to remember is that people only do what works. Sometimes what they’re doing might not be working well – in fact, sometimes it might be disastrous, but it will feel like it’s working in some way towards getting a need met. It sounds as though your friend can be guaranteed of a response when she contacts you. Each time you respond, you reinforce to her that she can get her need met by sending you a request for help. It’s impossible to know what that need is, but we can speculate. It might be a need for control (to know that she can control you if she wants to), a need for certainty and security (you’re still there for her), or perhaps it’s something entirely different. Once her need is met, even if it is met in the smallest way, there’s no need for her to respond – which is likely to be why you’re getting ignored. The reason she is so sincere and kind is because that’s what gets your attention. If you want her behaviour to stop, the thing to do is to teach her that her behaviour won’t work. Let your friend know that you will no longer be responding to her requests for help, because in the past when you’ve responded, you’ve been ignored. Don’t expect her to be okay with this – even if she appears to be, it’s likely that she actually won’t be – and that’s okay. It’s also likely that initially, when you stop responding to the requests for help, her behaviour will get worse. When something stops working, it’s human nature to do more of whatever it was that once worked. When you ignore the requests from the your friend for help, her requests might get more frequent, stronger, or perhaps even nastier – it’s hard to know. Eventually though, when she realises that it doesn’t change anything, she will likely stop. Hope this helps you to make sense of things.

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Drey

I was involved in a toxic relationship for almost 11 years. I loved this man with everything. He manipulated me every chance he got. I joined a car club and that was the ultimate betrayal. I loved those people and my car more than him. He didn’t want to join in, but he would always disapprove of me going to events. Well he allowed his mother and ex wife to do things to me and woukd not stopped them or at least say something to them. His thing was you are doing that club stuff, so my ex can call. He never said that outright but he woukd insinuate it with actions. My final straw, I told him where his mom and his ex could go…. It has been 5 months and he cut all contact and is seeing someone. The person he is seeing has managed to be one mutual friends with my friends on face book and she also has joined my car club supporter page. She puts mems on Facebook about ” What a good woman can do for a man.” And now he is telling mutual friends and family that I was the toxic person in the relationship. Doing the beginning of the break up I admit I became obsessed snd out of control. Constantly calling him, texting him, and going by his house. I just couldn’t conceive how he could just cut me and my children off cold turkey.. Well that’s when I found out about his new woman. I had to go into a mental health facility foe PTSD..this relationship has dropped me so low. I am still recovering and I am still tearful when I think about it. I am hurt as to how he manipulated me and now everyone thinks I am the toxic person in the relationship, how do I move forward with my life? Will this pain sibside will I ever feel better?

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Hey Sigmund

11 years is a long time, so it will take a while for you to find a new normal – but you will. Absolutely you will. Coming out of a relationship is like breaking an addiction – it’s physical, emotional, spiritual, mental. Here is some information that might help you about what happens to your body during a breakup. It might make it easier to understand why it’s so difficult to move on from long term relationships: https://www.heysigmund.com/your-body-during-a-breakup/ . Understand that sometimes the only way people can move forward is to completely cut contact. I know how much this is hurting you, but in time you will be grateful that he is getting out of your way so you can find the life and love you deserve. Be kind to yourself and know that you will stop hurting in time, but the time takes time. You will get through this. Light and love to you.

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Gata

Here’s my take on this: seems to me there is an epidemic of these self-absorbed, intimately dysfunctional people, of which I am married to one, also just recently discovered who/what he is. I am middle-aged (if I’m lucky!), disabled, nearly bankrupt, nearly friendless, short of family members, and most assuredly “stuck”. I get the ideas of stash money, build support network, seek counseling. I have been doing all the things that are supposedly my network of help, if I just reach out and ask for it. I even hear this crap from the few people I love and trust. People generally do not seems to understand not only the atomic devastation of self and assets, but the utter lie that is “women’s outreach”. I used to even promote this lie in my place of business, posting flyers and planting cards in the restroom, saying love shouldn’t hurt, call the crisis center, get help. Blah blah. When I first started reaching out, for real, I contacted a former client/acquaintance in law enforcement. She gave me multiple phone nos to call, websites to visit, etc. the numbers of course said if it’s an emergency, call 911. Otherwise, leave a message. I did that. With legal aid, crisis counseling, disability app process, blah blah blah. On legal aid websites, I saw the backlog of cases. One was a woman who was being physically assaulted, and had children. She was on the waiting list. How far down the list am I with “he’s being mean to me”. I met with my family doctor, told him what was going on, worst doctor visit of my life. His response was to give me 800 #s and scripts for mood enhancement, calm me down. I met with a crisis counselor at their secret, high-security, gated compound. Once I told her that he wasn’t hitting me, he has made a mess of our lives, and he is verbally and emotionally and psychologically flailing at me, every hour of every day. I have recently had major surgery that has obliterated my ability to work, care for the house and our animals, forget any fun stuff in life, no hobbies, no eating out, no jaunts with friends. All anxiety and stress and drama and worry about money. While he sleeps like a baby. When counselor heard he’s not hitting me, she actually put her pen down on her little notepad, and her physical demeanor was, oh, oooookay. Not real abuse. She advised me to write in a little journal my little feelings, And call her back to talk it out. Oh, and take some of my emergency money, get one of my friends, and go do something fun for awhile, no serious stuff. Go eat lunch, or catch a movie. Have fun. I have been winding my way thru disability system, dealing with failing parents, ailing animals, as well thru all this. Applied and was approved for a hospital charity program to help me get treatment and meds etc, went thru 1.5 months going back and forth with the hospital and doctor that they referred me to, only to be told yeah, no, we can’t help you out, it’s not valid anymore, we can’t help you get surgery that you’ve already tested for and been found to be necessary. Good luck. Signed up for and approved for psych counseling (both physical and medical ongoing treatment necessary for disability case, as well). Attended group session prescribed by screener. Our activities? Coloring mandalas and going over homework pages to work on our emotional control levels. Oh! And doing all of the above and more, under the worry that he will find my papers about my comings and goings to get help for myself, knowing full well that if he does see something, it will mean I have outed his behavior to someone of authority, especially our doctor and to law enforcement, that it will be considered by him an open declaration of war, and he will work tirelessly, night and damn day to make every moment of my existence,and that of our animals, just as miserable and soul-sucking as possible. As if he hadn’t already done all that, but just when I think he can’t stoop any lower or get any nastier or crazier, he creates a new level of agony. I am most certainly, utterly, in every way, stuck. Those people that say you are never stuck, you can get out if you really want to. Ok, let’s entertain that inane idea: if I just pack what I can fit in my vehicle, leave all my other worldly belongings behind, leave every animal we have rescued and cultivated to health that he is now determined to undermine, and he said he would, all our joint accounts (which by the way, were once mine solely, that I have spent lifetime creating and preserving carefully for retirement, emergencies, etc, he can’t even balance the checkbook), all now at his ignorant disposal, along with my credit name, and hit the street, with nowhere to go, and no way to get there, and not one real lifeboat in sight. Excuse me if I call bs on that, live in one hell, or trade it for another. At least under my roof I have shelter and air conditioning, for the moment. He managed to get fired early this year, and is eating on what’s left of his retirement account, having gone through all of mine, savings, investments, and a small inheritance I received over 10 years ago. Gone gone gone. Suggestions? Donations? And the first platitude I get, I will wad it up into a ball and throw it at you. The real truth is that some of us may be stuck in Pergatory forever. As long as I have living beings that I care for, I will never consider offing myself. After that? I feel quite solid in telling you that it might be game over. But I promise, I vow, I will send out letters he will rue for eternity. I might be gone, but for once, I will have the last word, not him.

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Hey Sigmund

I hear you. It’s never easy to leave a bad relationship and sometimes, despite the pain that comes with staying, there are so many barriers to leaving, to the point where it doesn’t feel possible. There are so many things to be considered when leaving a toxic partner, and I have no doubt that if you thought there was a way out you would have found it. I want you to know that I get it. There would be so many women and men who would understand exactly why you’f stuck. I wish things could be different for you. You clearly have incredible strength, courage and resilience to be able to stay and take care of the animals who need you. You sound like an amazingly strong, wise woman, and I hope you are able to own that for yourself.

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Rae

@Gata…Hey I felt your comment deep within my soul. And sidebar, you sho don’t sound like no middle aged women. Anyway, I’ve been reading up on toxic personalities for a few months now and this heysigmond’s article, as well as your comment have come the closest to articulating the sum of the toxic person in my life, as well as the hell I just traded out of. (Gotta mention this trade must have been brokered by the toxic mug I speak of, because I can relate completely when you said trade one hell for another) You left off commenting on how do you leave? Or saying, that you believed you are indeed stuck in your situation. Well only you know to what degree your bullshytn right, and I mean as far as what has your fear, and bring afraid robbed you of? As well as all the nasty damage done to us on multiple levels while in that relationship. So blah blah blah right. ..im rambling lol, but my point is this. THE energy and read I got from your comment, doesn’t jive right with the “leave the animals, he took all the money, and I forgot how to survive and do what I gotta do to keep my tail from being on the street”. You were clear, organized, insightful, aware, directed, and passionate in you telling your story. Those aren’t just in a great wtiter, they are your own character attributes, and they pretty damn awesome. I don’t even know you and I believe you got what it takes to strike out and hustle up you and them animals a lil piece of peace. Ya dig? I’ve never replied to any of these although I’ve read them all. I hope I haven’t offended anyone, most of all you. I dont know entirely what you deal with, or for that matter…too much about toxic folks. But I feel certainly inside my soul seat, that you my dear are a fighter. Seems like your in a pretty big fight now chic. Get to it. And like my daddy told us coming up…”Let go, or be dragged.” I let go, by far the hardest, most painful, heartbreak I’ve ever had. He is the 25 yr.long love of my life, and although I miss him, hate him, want him, don’t need anything from him….He can’t get better, if I stay and allow his sick ass to keep practicing his evil craft on me. Nor can your quite charming spirit remain in tact, or thrive, and better yet help another person through these dark times if you stick around. Just my opinion , not that you asked and it wasnt my place to say that really but…I DID. And if you stick it out you gotta get at me and share your best practices. I haven’t left my husband completely. Or forever officially, but the next few years are mine and I’M GOING TO GET FREE. MAY THE MOST HIGH CONTINUE TO USE YOU TO REACH OTHERS THROUGH YOUR TESTIMONY. ALLOWING YOU TO SEE YOUR TRUE IDENTITY, BEAUTY, AND STRENGTH DAY BY DAY. PEACE

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Rachel

I’m so sorry to hear about your situation. I really hope you’re okay. Has he always been mean to you or is it just since he lost his job? If it is just since losing his job, he may feel bad about himself and is taking that out on you. If it is just since losing his job that he has been acting this way, try talking to him (keeping your voice calm) and being kind and understanding of his situation. If this was going on prior to losing his job and it is a long-term issue then maybe consider seeking advice from a legal professional or organisation who understands these situations. If you decide to leave, take the animals with you or move them to an animal shelter or to a friend’s house so there is no risk he will harm them. If talking to him doesn’t work or if he is not open to relationship counselling of some sort, then you should maybe consider separating and staying with a friend or family member. Maybe time apart will help. But most importantly, look after yourself and stay safe. Leave when you know he won’t be back for a good few hours so there is no risk of confrontation. Make a plan in advance with a friend/family member to come and collect you and have your mobile phone on you (and make sure your friend has hers on her too) in case you need to call the police. You can start over. I know it may seem hard but you can do it. Maybe leaving for a week or so will make him realise he needs you and will make him realise he can’t treat you the way he has been treating you. If you feel that leaving properly is unsafe or too much, maybe consider visiting some friends a few hours away for a week to get a break. I don’t know your circumstances but just please stay safe and look after yourself. I think the advice to get out of the house with friends is good as it gives you a break from stuff at home. We all need a break from stuff at times. Even going for a coffee with friends can help clear your head. If there is a support group nearby, join it. It seems like both your husband and you have your own stuff going on (him with his job and you with your recent surgery) so maybe some space by going out for a few hours for a coffee or whatever will do you good. It can be difficult when a partner leaves a job as you end up almost spending too much time together. If he is frustrated with his job situation and he takes it out on you when you are in a fragile place due to recent surgery, it can be hard. Try talking about it with him. But obviously if you feel your life is in danger then get out and seek help though. I don’t know you and my advice may not be right but I wish you well and really hope that you will be ok. Look after yourself and please stay safe (and make sure a friend or two are there if you do leave even if just for a holiday) :).

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Lorraine Bergman

I started reading this article because, just like everyone else, there are some toxic people in my circle, but for some unknown reason, my demeanor never allows them to “bug” me, but it does hurt mutual friends/family so I am interested in how to help them. Maybe being the oldest of five kids and coming from a very laid back family has something to do with it, but toxic people just get the raised eyebrow from me and they seem to know not to “poke” me. My own husband of 40 years, started getting, for lack of a better word, miserable and snotty with me and others, including our kids, a while back. (figured it was his Manopause!) I did put up with it for a bit, but then wham! He got a talking to and an admonition that he could just leave if he wanted to stalk about and pout about nothing much at all. That did work in my case, because essentially he is a good man. Gata, I am sorry that with everything else going on in your life, the pets, the disability (and you never said how serious or long term it might be?) the lack of money, that you feel stuck. I can see how bitter you are about how your life is unfolding and the lack of help you are getting. The crisis agency is probably so swamped with women with broken bones and black eyes, that they just don’t have the resources for your particular problem. I guess the only advice I can give you is to not “swallow ” the whole elephant. Take some little bites. As hard as it may be, you first need to adopt out your rescue animals because other than your ailing parents, this is a huge problem that a disabled, abused and “broke” woman does not need. Contact an animal rescue group. (I know they can give you comfort, I have pets, but…. ) If you have siblings, you have to insist that they help your parents until you are back on your feet. If you have a best friend, you need to appeal to her/him for temporary shelter. This is not a platitude, these are practical, real suggestions; instead of depending on social organizations where you do not fit into their little box! My last piece of advice, not to you because it is probably too late, but to others is, sure you love(d) the guy/girl to start with, but you must still keep some autonomy, especially with some money for the unknown. And establish your very own credit while you are working….. Finally, I hope you can take a bit of everyone’s advice from where it comes from, a desire to help you. Good luck.

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louise

Take out life insurance on him and rescue a rabid racoon and lock them both in the bathroom. Lol

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Giselle

I was right where you are AND I was being physically abused as well. I was even homeless for a while with this man!! It was the most insane, depressing and rock bottom situation that I could have ever thought I would be in! I never experienced that kind of lifestyle and I hope to never again!! I turned to friends, family, women’s shelters, law enforcement, etc. and got pretty much little to no help. I stayed stuck and in constant fear and pain mentally, emotionally and physically for eight long years. I saw no way out! What I did have was myself and my goals. Despite all the setbacks, the abuse, the sabotages, the insecurities, the fear, the unknown, etc. that came from both myself, from him and from others I kept plugging away with my own soul searching and goals. I am happy to say that ever so slowly and dealing with even more difficulties along the way I have since found my way out. I am on my own and building two businesses at the moment. If you truly want out you WILL find a way but it damn sure won’t be easy!! You WILL have to sacrifice and face your fears! It is doable though and I did it!!

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Shana

I just want to say I hear you. And it can even be very subtle, more than they say in this article. I have been dealing with a masterfully toxic person for 30 years. I care for a number of animals as well and I don’t see any way I could do that alone. But maybe one day a way will appear. I haven’t given up hope yet and I hope you don’t either. Miracles happen. I believe it will take a network of real friends. Physical abuse is not the worst torture one can endure. The shifting ground of a person who undermines your independence and self worth is the worst. May doors open and ways appear that you haven’t seen before! Life is good. May you find the means the means you need to make changes. Please know that others are out here who understand. Blessings, peace and prayers to you.

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DJ

I did it. You have to just make a plan and leave. What would you expect all those other people to say? You seriously aren’t mad at the are you? If you cant move in with a friend or a relative then save money, get your name on apt. lists or low income housing lists and just make the plan to go. I know it’s hard. I’ve done it twice. Once when I was very young and once older (the hardest). My first husband was toxic and I am a rescuer, nurse, caretaker type, so I offered to help my dad when mom died and found out he was the most needy, self centered, narcissist, controller I have ever met! I lasted 5 years and then I had to make a plan to get the heck out of Dodge! Just do it. Life is too short to live in turmoil…I LOVE my little apartment with just me and my dog!

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linda

I have read your post and although I can understand what you are going through ( will not bore you with my experiences and divorce , so on).
However I do disagree with your view. It sounds like you can be rather quick witted and a doer, so I am puzzled as to why do you chose to be passive in your relationship?
If you wish to see a change , do something differently, or indeed start over. It is never too late .
Sometimes tough love is the better way, because we all have to deal with what life throws at us.
I don`t think you are STUCK, I think you already made a decision and it is extremely difficult to face up to it.
I do hope your circumstances changed in the past few months, do let us know how you got on.
All the best .

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Linda Deckert

I did reply about 10 mins ago please let me know later today if you received it
I did send BD card to sister today as it is her birthday… She ignored mine last week
I did wish her well and asked her to please email me and perhaps we could talk
I will probably not hear from her
This happens about every five years and she drops out of sight until someone is ill I feel this is a control issue and she knows myself and older sibling are upset by these actions
Her initial anger came from me stating that I was not willing to wait for 3-4 hours for her to come for a visit… She lives 1 hour away and is ALWAYS late
Yes, two years later I would still say the same thing as I am sick of waiting for so long and I end up not even wanting to visit with her

Reply
Lex

That toxic significant other may in fact be a person with a personality disorder.

Look up the following personality disorders;

1. Borderline (BPD)
2. Narcissistic (NPD)
3. Historonic (HPD)

Now, I can’t and won’t diagnose him but from what you’ve said, if it is in fact true, sound more like narcissism. By the time someone has a psychiatric disorder, they can’t be helped, only managed by professionals. Be aware of the 3, narcissists and one step beyond, known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be dangerous if you try to leave them or go against their wishes. In some cases, deadly.

My one word of advice is document to high hell what is going on, record audio and video, not just physical written documents give them to your public defender / court appointed lawyer to help you help yourself in this trying time.

It’s all about the external image, showing the he is of good moral character and he will try to paint the picture that you’re the crazy one. Good luck and be really careful!

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Carrie

I hope you leave and move on because I just know how much happier you will be and you will wonder why you didn’t leave sooner. Trust me I have yet to heat anyone tell a story of how glad they are for staying in a toxic relationship and how or why it was worth it. Life is too damn short.

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Sometimes we all just need space to talk to someone who will listen without giving advice, or problem solving, or lecturing. Someone who will let us talk, and who can handle our experiences and words and feelings without having to smooth out the wrinkles or tidy the frayed edges. 

Our kids need this too, but as their important adults, it can be hard to hush without needing to fix things, or gather up their experience and bundle it into a learning that will grow them. We do this because we love them, but it can also mean that they choose not to let us in for the wrong reasons. 

We can’t help them if we don’t know what’s happening in their world, and entry will be on their terms - even more as they get older. As they grow, they won’t trust us with the big things if we don’t give them the opportunity to learn that we can handle the little things (which might feel seismic to them). They won’t let us in to their world unless we make it safe for them to.

When my own kids were small, we had a rule that when I picked them up from school they could tell me anything, and when we drove into the driveway, the conversation would be finished if they wanted it to be. They only put this rule into play a few times, but it was enough for them to learn that it was safe to talk about anything, and for me to hear what was happening in that part of their world that happened without me. My gosh though, there were times that the end of the conversation would be jarring and breathtaking and so unfinished for me, but every time they would come back when they were ready and we would finish the chat. As it turned out, I had to trust them as much as I wanted them to trust me. But that’s how parenting is really isn’t it.

Of course there will always be lessons in their experiences we will want to hear straight up, but we also need them to learn that we are safe to come to.  We need them to know that there isn’t anything about them or their life we can’t handle, and when the world feels hard or uncertain, it’s safe here. By building safety, we build our connection and influence. It’s just how it seems to work.♥️
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#parenting #parenthood #mindfulparenting
Words can be hard sometimes. The right words can be orbital and unconquerable and hard to grab hold of. Feelings though - they’ll always make themselves known, with or without the ‘why’. 

Kids and teens are no different to the rest of us. Their feelings can feel bigger than words - unfathomable and messy and too much to be lassoed into language. If we tap into our own experience, we can sometimes (not all the time) get an idea of what they might need. 

It’s completely understandable that new things or hard things (such as going back to school) might drive thoughts of falls and fails and missteps. When this happens, it’s not so much the hard thing or the new thing that drives avoidance, but thoughts of failing or not being good enough. The more meaningful the ‘thing’ is, the more this is likely to happen. If you can look behind the words, and through to the intention - to avoid failure more than the new or difficult experience, it can be easier to give them what they need. 

Often, ‘I can’t’ means, ‘What if I can’t?’ or, ‘Do you think I can?’, or, ‘Will you still think I’m brave, strong, and capable of I fail?’ They need to know that the outcome won’t make any difference at all to how much you adore them, and how capable and exceptional you think they are. By focusing on process, (the courage to give it a go), we clear the runway so they can feel safer to crawl, then walk, then run, then fly. 

It takes time to reach full flight in anything, but in the meantime the stumbling can make even the strongest of hearts feel vulnerable. The more we focus on process over outcome (their courage to try over the result), and who they are over what they do (their courage, tenacity, curiosity over the outcome), the safer they will feel to try new things or hard things. We know they can do hard things, and the beauty and expansion comes first in the willingness to try. 
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#parenting #mindfulparenting #positiveparenting #mindfulparent
Never in the history of forever has there been such a  lavish opportunity for a year to be better than the last. Not to be grabby, but you know what I’d love this year? Less opportunities that come in the name of ‘resilience’. I’m ready for joy, or adventure, or connection, or gratitude, or courage - anything else but resilience really. Opportunities for resilience have a place, but 2020 has been relentless with its servings, and it’s time for an out breath. Here’s hoping 2021 will be a year that wraps its loving arms around us. I’m ready for that. x
The holidays are a wonderland of everything that can lead to hyped up, exhausted, cranky, excited, happy kids (and adults). Sometimes they’ll cycle through all of these within ten minutes. Sugar will constantly pry their little mouths wide open and jump inside, routines will laugh at you from a distance, there will be gatherings and parties, and everything will feel a little bit different to usual. And a bit like magic. 

Know that whatever happens, it’s all part of what the holidays are meant to look like. They aren’t meant to be pristine and orderly and exactly as planned. They were never meant to be that. Christmas is about people, your favourite ones, not tasks. If focusing on the people means some of the tasks fall down, let that be okay, because that’s what Christmas is. It’s about you and your people. It’s not about proving your parenting stamina, or that you’ve raised perfectly well-behaved humans, or that your family can polish up like the catalog ones any day of the week, or that you can create restaurant quality meals and decorate the table like you were born doing it. Christmas is messy and ridiculous and exhausting and there will be plenty of frayed edges. And plenty of magic. The magic will happen the way it always happens. Not with the decorations or the trimmings or the food or the polish, but by being with the ones you love, and the ones who love you right back.

When it all starts to feel too important, too necessary and too ‘un-let-go-able’, be guided by the bigger truth, which is that more than anything, you will all remember how you all felt – as in how happy they felt, how loved they felt were, how noticed they felt. They won’t care about the instagram-worthy meals on the table, the cleanliness of the floors, how many relatives they visited, or how impressed other grown-ups were with their clean faces and darling smiles. It’s easy to forget sometimes, that what matters most at Christmas isn’t the tasks, but the people – the ones who would give up pretty much anything just to have the day with you.
Some days are great days. We want to squeeze every delicious moment out of them and keep them forever somewhere safe and reachable where our loved days and precious things are kept. Then there are days that are truly awful - the days we want to fold in half, and then in half again and again and again until those days are too small to hurt us any more. But days are like that aren’t they. For better or worse they will come and they will go. Sometimes the effects of them will stay – the glow, the growth, the joy, the bruises – long after those days have gone. And despite what I know to be true - that these are the days that will make us braver, stronger, kinder and wiser, sometimes I don’t feel any of that for a while. I just see the stretch marks. But that’s the way life is, isn’t it. It can be hard and beautiful all in sequence and all at once.
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One of the tough things about being human is that to live wholeheartedly means to open ourselves to both - the parts that are plump with happiness, and the parts that hurt. We don’t have to choose which one can stay. They can exist together. Not always in equal measure, and not always enough of the beautiful to make the awful feel tolerable, or to give it permission to be, but they can exist together - love through loss, hope through heartache. The big memory-making times that fatten life to full enough, and the ones that come with breakage or loss. The loss matters and the joy matters. The existence of either doesn't make the other matter any less. 
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What I also know to be true is that eventually, the space taken up by loss or heartache changes space for enough of the beautiful to exist with it. This is when we can start to move with. Sadness still, perhaps, but with hope, with courage, with strength and softness, with openness to what comes next. Because living bravely and wholeheartedly doesn't mean getting over loss or denying the feelings that take our breath away sometimes. It means honouring both, and in time, moving with.♥️

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