When It’s Not You, It’s Them: The Toxic People That Ruin Friendships, Families, Relationships

When It's Not You, It's Them: The Toxic People That Ruin Friendships, Families, Relationships

One of the joys of being human is that we don’t have to be perfect to be one of the good ones. At some point we’ll all make stupid decisions, hurt the people we love, say things that are hard to take back, and push too hard to get our way. None of that makes us toxic. It makes us human. We mess things up, we grow and we learn. Toxic people are different. They never learn. They never self-reflect and they don’t care who they hurt along the way. 

Toxic behaviour is a habitual way of responding to the world and the people in it. Toxic people are smart but they have the emotional intelligence of a pen lid. It’s no accident that they choose those who are open-hearted, generous and willing to work hard for a relationship. With two non-toxic people this is the foundation for something wonderful, but when toxic behaviour is involved it’s only a matter of time before that open heart becomes a broken one.

If you’re in any sort of relationship with someone who is toxic, chances are you’ve been bending and flexing for a while to try to make it work. Stop. Just stop. You can only change the things that are open to your influence and toxic people will never be one of them. Here are some of the ones to watch out for.

15 Versions of Toxic People

  1. The Controller.

    Nobody should have to ask for permission or be heavily directed on what to wear, how to look, who to spend time with or how to spend their money. There’s nothing wrong with being open to the influence of the people around you, but ‘the way you do you’ is for you to decide. Your mind is strong and beautiful and shouldn’t be caged. Healthy relationships support independent thought. They don’t crush it.

  2. The Taker.

    All relationships are about give and take but if you’re with a taker, you’ll be doing all the giving and they’ll be doing all the taking. Think about what you get from the relationship. If it’s nothing, it might be time to question why you’re there. We all have a limited amount of resources (emotional energy, time) to share between our relationships. Every time you say ‘yes’ to someone who doesn’t deserve you, you’re saying ‘no’ to someone who does. Give your energy to the people who deserve it and when you’re drawing up the list of deserving ones, make sure your own name is at the top.

  3. The Absent.

    These versions of toxic people won’t return texts or phone calls and will only be available when it suits them, usually when they want something. You might find yourself wondering whether they got your message, whether they’re okay, or whether you’ve done something to upset them. No relationship should involve this much guess-work.

  4. The Manipulator.

    Manipulators will steal your joy as though you made it especially for them. They’ll tell half-truths or straight out lies and when they have enough people squabbling, they’ll be the saviour. ‘Don’t worry. I’m here for you.’ Ugh. They’ll listen, they’ll comfort, and they’ll tell you what you want to hear. And then they’ll ruin you. They’ll change the facts of a situation, take things out of context and use your words against you. They’ll calmly poke you until you crack, then they’ll poke you for cracking. They’ll ‘accidentally’ spill secrets or they’ll hint that there are secrets there to spill, whether there are or not. There’s just no reasoning with a manipulator, so forget trying to explain yourself. The argument will run in circles and there will be no resolution. It’s a black hole. Don’t get sucked in.

    You:   I feel like you’re not listening to me.
      Are you calling me a bad listener
      No, I’m just saying that you’ve taken what I said the wrong way.
      Oh. So now you’re saying I’m stupid. I can’t believe you’re doing this to me. Everyone told me to be careful of you.

    They’ll only hear things through their negative filter, so the more you talk, the more they’ll twist what you’re saying. They want power, not a relationship. They’ll use your weaknesses against you and they’ll use your strengths – your kindness, your openness, your need for stability in the relationship. If they’re showing tenderness, be careful – there’s something you have that they want. Show them the door, and lock it when they leave.

  5. The Bullshitter.

    They talk themselves up, they talk others down and they always have a reason for not doing what they say. They’ll lie outright or they’ll give you versions of the truth – not a lie, not the truth, just that feeling in your gut that something is off. You can’t believe a word they say. There’s no honesty, which means there’s no intimacy. At worst bullshitters are heartbreakers. At best they’re raving bores.

  6. The Attention Seeker.

    It’s nice to be needed. It’s also nice to eat peanut butter, but it doesn’t mean you want it all the time. The attention seeker always has a crisis going on and they always need your support. Be ready for the aggression, passive aggression, angst or a guilt trip if you don’t respond. ‘Oh. You’re going to dinner with  friends? It’s just that I’ve had the worst day and I really needed you tonight. Oh well, I suppose I can’t always expect you to be there for me. If it’s that important to you then you should go. I just want you to be happy. I’ll just stay in by myself and watch tv or something (sigh). You go and have fun with your friends. I suppose I’ll be okay.’ See how that works? When there’s always a crisis, it’s only a matter of time before you’re at the centre of one. 

  7. The One Who Wants to Change You.

    It’s one thing to let you know that the adorable snort thing you do when you laugh isn’t so adorable, but when you’re constantly reminded that you aren’t smart enough, good-looking enough, skinny enough, strong enough, you have to start thinking that the only thing that isn’t good enough about you is this loser who keeps pointing these things out. You’ll never be good enough for these people because it’s not about you, it’s about control and insecurity – theirs, not yours. As long as they’re working on changing you, they don’t have to worry about themselves, and as long as they can keep you small, they’ll have a shot at shining brighter.

    These people will make you doubt yourself by slowly convincing you that they know best, and that they’re doing it all for you. ‘You’d just be so much prettier if you lost a few pounds, you know? I’m just being honest.’ Ugh. Unless you’re having to be craned through your window, or you’re seriously unhealthy, it’s nobody else’s business how luscious your curves are. If you feel heavy, start by losing the 160 pounds of idiot beside you and you won’t believe how much lighter you’ll feel. These ones aren’t looking out for you, they’re trying to manage you. The people who deserve you will love you because of who you are, not despite it.

  8. The One You Want to Change.

    People aren’t channels, hairstyles or undies. You can’t change them. Someone who snarls at the waiter will always be the kind of person who snarls at the waiter – whether they’re snarling or not. People can change, but only when they’re ready and usually only when they’ve felt enough pain.  It’s normal to fight for the things that are important, but it’s important to know when to stop. When a relationship hurts to be in, the only thing that will change will be you – a sadder, more unhappier version of the person you started out as. Before it gets to this, set a time limit in which you want to see change. Take photos of yourself every day – you’ll see it in your eyes if something isn’t right, or check in at the end of each week and write down how you feel. Have something concrete to look back on. It’s easier to let go if it’s clear over time that nothing has changed. It’s even easier if you can see that the only thing different is that the lights have gone out in you.

  9. The Abuser.

    The signs might be subtle at first but they’ll be there. Soon, there will be a clear cycle of abuse, but you may or may not recognise it for what it is but this is how it will look:

    >>  There will be rising tension. You’ll feel it. You’ll tread carefully and you’ll be scared of saying or doing the wrong thing.

    >>   Eventually, there will be an explosion. A fight. There will be physical or emotional abuse and it will be terrifying. At first you’ll make excuses – ‘I shouldn’t have said that/ did that/ gone out/ had an opinion/ said no.

    >>  Then, the honeymoon. The abuser can be wonderfully kind and loving when they need to be, but only when they need to be. You’ll be so desperate for things to get better that you’ll believe the apologies, the tenderness, the declarations of love, the promises.

    >> The tension will start to rise again. Over time, the cycle will get shorter and it will happen more often. The tension will rise quicker, the explosions will be bigger, the honeymoons will be shorter. 

    If this is familiar, you’re in a cycle of abuse. It’s not love. It’s not stress. It’s not your fault. It’s abuse. The honeymoon will be one of the things that keeps you there. The love will feel real and you’ll crave it, of course you will – that’s completely understandable – but listen to this: Love after abuse isn’t love, it’s manipulation. If the love was real, there would be mountains moved to make sure you were never hurt or scared again.

  10. The Jealous One.

    Your partner is important and so are other people in your life. If you act in a trustworthy way, you deserve to be trusted. We all get insecure now and then and sometimes we could all do with a little more loving and reassurance, but when the questions, accusations and demands are consistent and without reason, it will only be a matter of time before your phone is checked, your movements are questioned, and your friends are closed out. Misplaced jealousy isn’t love, it’s a lack of trust in you.

  11. The Worse-Off One.

    These people will always have problems that are bigger than yours. You’re sick, they’re sicker; you’re exhausted from working late every night this week, they’re shattered – from the gym; you’ve just lost your job, they’re ‘devastated because it’s really hard when you know someone who’s lost their job’. You’ll always be the supporter, never the supported. There’s only so long that you can keep drawing on your emotional well if there’s nothing coming back.

  12. The Sideways Glancer.

    Ok. So the human form is beautiful and there’s nothing wrong with admiring it, but when it’s done constantly in your company – in your face – it’s tiring, and it feels bad. You deserve to be first and you deserve to feel noticed. That doesn’t mean you have to be first all the time, but certainly you shouldn’t have to fight strangers for your share of attention. Some things will never be adorable.

  13. The Cheater.

    Infidelity doesn’t have to mean the end of a relationship – that depends on the circumstances and the people involved and it’s not for anyone else to judge whether or not you should stay. It’s a deeply personal decision and one you can make in strength either way, but when infidelity happens more than once, or when it happens without remorse or commitment to the future of the relationship, it will cause breakage. When people show you over and over that they aren’t capable of loving you the way you want to be loved, believe them. Move them out of the damn way so that better things can find you. 

  14. The Liar.

    Let’s be realistic – little white lies happen. In fact, research has found that when lying is done for the right reasons (such as to protect someone’s feelings) it can actually strengthen a relationship. ‘So that’s the orange cocktail dress you’ve spent a month’s pay on? Wow – you weren’t kidding when you said it was bright. Oh, it has pandas on it. And they’re smiling. And the shop doesn’t take returns. And you love it. Well keep smiling gorgeous. You look amazing!’. However, when lies are told with malicious intent and for personal gain, it will always weaken relationships. Relationships are meant to be fun, but none of us are meant to be played.

  15. The One Who Laughs at Your Dreams.

    Whether it’s being a merchant banker, a belly dancer, or the inventor of tiny slippers for cats, the people who deserve you are those who support your dreams, not those who laugh at them. The people who tell you that you won’t succeed are usually the ones who are scared that you will. If they’re not cheering you on, they’re holding you back. If they’re not directly impacted by your dreams, (which, for example, your partner might be if your dream is to sell everything you both own, move to Rome, and sell fake sunglasses to the tourists) then you would have to question what they’re getting out of dampening you.

Being human is complicated. Being open to the world is a great thing to be – it’s wonderful – but when you’re open to the world you’re also open to the poison that spills from it.  One of the things that makes a difference is the people you hold close. Whether it’s one, two or squadron-sized bunch, let the people around you be ones who are worthy of you. It’s one of the greatest acts of self-love. Good people are what great lives are made of. 



“It’s so helpful to read the experiences of others as well as the great article above. I have recently come out of an 18 month relationship with a woman that exhibits almost all the symptoms described. The first couple of weeks were fantastic, like a dream and I had that enormous hormonal feeling of being in love. She was very attractive, charismatic, confident, and the sexiest woman I ever came across. But then when I committed to her after about a month, things began to change. Small lies started to creap in about innocuous things, her sensitivity heightened to any perceived slight, and before long we began arguing with such heated fury it was totally exhausting. She lied about her past to me (which I found out after), acted like everyone had wronged her and she was a massive victim. Her relationship with her mother was terrible, they were both as mean as each other and her father had committed suicide. It sounds like something from a soap opera. Her nastiness in arguments and total disrespect for any normal boundaries were alarming and Everytime I tried to point this out, it was ignored and the same thing would happen again. Such hate in her eyes and abusive name calling etc. I blamed myself for her behaviour, thinking I must be provoking her and altered from a pretty outgoing guy to someone who was overly watchful of what I was saying. I started to get depression for the first time in my life, walking around like my head was under water and surrounded by a heavy fog. I told her about the depression after a few months and she had no empathy or sympathy but instead called me weak and not “a real man”. After arguments, she would never apologise, and in most cases would make things worse by refusing my first approach to make peace. She would sulk, pout, and occasionally hit with fists. If she annoyed me, she didn’t care a damn, but would then be upset with me for being upset and I would have to then apologise!! It was bizarre! The times I did stand my ground would result in her ending the relationship. She was a control freak and always wanted to be top dog. In day to day living, she would escalate small things in to disasters and big arguments. Every day life to her was tough, and she would project her negative traits on to me, calling me negative, saying that I complained about my job, and yet these were her characteristics. However when you hear these from your partner, you begin to question yourself. Slowly my confidence eroded and the depression got worse. All I could think about was my ex girlfriend who was kind and caring. I would stand at the front door of our apartment, heart beating through my chest, not wanting to go through it as I just didn’t know what I would be getting. Door slamming, name calling, all the crap that destroys relationships. It wasn’t like this every day, she could be amazing, really funny, great sex, but it always felt like I was living with an actress. Her mood swings would be vile. Sometimes literally within minutes of a party or night out, she would become visibly depressed and sink. This become contagious in the end and had a real negative effect on everything. It was disturbing and something I’ve never witnessed in anyone before, but she would only do this once away from others. She frequently changed jobs, living accommodation, opinions, stories from her past. It felt like I couldn’t learn who she was. The drama was insane and in the end when I looked at her, my brain was sending me signals she was a monster, and making me question what would be left when the sexual attraction becomes less important after a few years. It gave me rotten anxiety, and I asked her to move out. She had no long lasting relationships with anyone, but could make friends so easily. People were drawn to her but I guess after a while people see through the act. I only ever met people she met recently or the occasional work colleague of hers. Her facebook page is full of selfies and sexy photos, that get 100 likes, but she doesn’t have any real friends. She was a huge attention seeker, would dance incredibly well, but caused arguments on first meetings with my best friends and my parents. She never seemed grateful for what I did for her, I took her out all the time, and it was never enough. Her words about love would never match her actions, and it left me totally confused. Often she would speak to me like I was a troublesome 10 year old, with a condescending and aggressive tone. I spoke to her repeatedly about this but she refused to change and even denied it. I’m not the kind of man who can be spoken to like that, it’s soul destroying and just a another way to exert dominance. She always wanted to rule the roost. The moment she left, my depression went, literally within hours. I spoke to her ex boyfriend who was with her for 7 years, and he confirmed everything I had been thinking saying that she drained the life out of him. He spoke to me of her instability, intense rage and troubled past with interpersonal relationships. I did this so I had some sort of reference point to know my perception of her was correct as I didn’t know anyone from her past because she didn’t have anyone. It turns out all her folks think she’s bipolar, but I don’t. I’m almost certain she is a cluster b personality, showing signs of narcissistic, histrionic and borderline. She was incredibly intelligent, articulate, witty, and physically super attractive. In the end my depression and anxiety stopped us being together as she just made me miserable. I have learnt to value kindness, consideration and generosity, rather than take it for granted all women have these traits which were missing from her. Frankly I don’t know what kind of man can be in a relationship like that for the long term. She even tried to drive a wedge between my mother and I, saying I was controlling about what she wore, a total exaggeration. After everything, I still love her, despite how hard she makes life. We don’t choose who we love, so what the hell is wrong with me to feel like that over a woman who is a bottomless pit. Because she could be the most fabulous person in the world on some evenings, that’s why, and the mind prefers to remember these qualities. But would I want to have children with her? The cycle would continue I think and she would screw up any hope of a happy family life forever. My thanks goes to the author and to those who have written on this page”


Wow Andrew, it’s like you’ve written about me! Currently going through this and it is a living hell.


Walking away from the same things guys. I have two children with this women. I’m still trying to find the strength to carry on I’ve been with her for 6 years hoping that it would get better and better and better and it just got worse and worse


Great information! Thank you for example Andrew. It is a true gift for those who need to be enlightened. Glad you got out. Be blessed.


wow you are amazing!! you wrote she had no lasting relationships ….but then later wrote that you spoke to her ex boyfriend of 7 years……??
You know you also created this beautiful relationship!!


7 years indeed, but it didn’t last and it was on/off for years. He was a young man when he met her and thought “women are like that”, but he soon realised he was wrong. She had/has no old friends for her to confide in, her fractured family was living in another country, and there was nobody in her life that was consistent and around for longer than a couple of months. Right now, she lives in Holland, again another restart where nobody knows her, no consequences/links to her past, constantly searching for happiness in a physical location rather than from within. You’re right, I played my part in staying too long in a dysfunctional bond and should have left sooner rather than blaming her reactions on my behaviour. Hormones are powerful things to counteract with rationale. Since leaving, I have met another woman and have realised its very easy to have a relationship with someone not so volatile and mentally unstable. We are all moody, poor company and irritable at times, and this is acceptable as we are all human and fallible, the problem when in a bad relationship is deciding how bad is worth leaving for, especially when intermixed with days that are wonderful. Thank you for your comment Sue.


This is I interesting for me, in the recent years I have become a lot like your ex, but I am constantly feeling guilty and unable to find a way to change, my mother was like this, and I have spend a lot of years in pain because of this, seeing myself become like this is horrible. My worse nightmare has come true! I cannot control how I behave although I later understand, generally I am the one that distances myself from people because i also have episodes of intense self- hatred. I understand it’s hard for you, and I’m not sure about her, but considering we are similar, it is double as hard for us because changing isn’t easy


Hey there, I really appreciate the time you took to write all this. I’m in my first relationship and everything is new to me. After reading the article and your response I realized what type of relationship I was in. I love him and want to stay and help him get better but I’m mentally drained. Literally coming home to negativity the very second I touch base with him. I’m a very optimistic person and I’m known for it. I try to do my best to cheer him up but nothing ever seems to work. He recently got laid off and so things have escalated quickly to an even worse state. I stay because I feel that this experience has changed him and I hope he can get better once he finds a job. Situations where I would have to tell him before we start to conversat that I’m exhausted and don’t feel like talking about anything negative, only to wait half an hour for him to start bringing bad energy again. He’s not close with his family at all. He talks bad about them all the time and I’m so different when it comes to my family. I don’t like to judge them, only help them get better. Then he will tell me things like ” I won’t let your brother bring u down, it’ll ruin our relationship if u keep babying him.” Mind you our mother past away just a year before (only parent) and my brother is 21 years of age. It’s very rough. I don’t want to lose faith but I’m scared I’m doing more damage to myself by being selfless and wanting to stick around to help him out.


I’m also a victim of this toxic relationship… maybe i’m late to read this article hope i get this before… but as life goes on i have too… he have all things mention in this article… he destroy me mentally….

nothing worse then mental rape … physical harm heals one day but mental rape destroy your inner soul…

i wont say i don’t love him i still do… but i won’t forgive anymore… i still talk to him just to hear his voice n he’s still just trying to break me…. atleast now i know what he’s trying to do…
i hurt my loving n wonderful family because of him,… i commit sucide because he wanted to know how much i love him…. i love my body can bear a pimple on my face today i have scars n suture on my hand… luckly i’m still alive… i won’t say i don’t have thoughs to die on my mind… but i won’t do this again… just because of my father when i was hospitalized n unconcious for days my father cry … i never saw him cry he always show me how strong he is but when i get consious in between those days i saw him weak very weak …i’m his first child he love me more than anything from my childhood gave me every he’s capable of or not but for me he tried his best sacrificed his all wishes n need just to make my life comfortable… that’s the reason i won’t die now but the pain killing me everyday ..now my condition is like i won’t die or live

i thought by my love he will change he always saying n still saying ….i’m pure gold… but a weak ago he married to other girl… and the reason is i’m not belong to his caste… she’s not better then me and always say he loves me but she belong to his caste….
he cheated me two times i cought him n left he cried like kid i forgive him because i love him but at the end of the story what i have…” a scar on my hand with loss of strength ” “a broken heart” “used because i was innocent” “dreams destroy” or “a victim because i truely trusted,love someone with my whole heart”…

i have everything but he always felt me bad about myself…i was thinking he wants to make me perfect… i have pretty face,figure,best degree… but i don’t him or can say fell in love with wrong one… n best love bhi usse hua jo na kabhi mera crush tha na koi infectuation thi towards him… even i didn’t like his looks n now i want to see his face only… my frnds always said to me why you choose him .. u r so beautiful you deserve a handsome person he won’t look good with me… but i never listen them … i never loved his face i love his heart … but now all things looks fake… all his promises was fake.. all memories the time we spend together is fake …
“not knowing” kills me more n more…

please i share this just to help someone who will inspire i don’t want good people will suffer because they will get another one on our funeral …

Hey Sigmund

Neel thank you so much for sharing your story. This man didn’t deserve you and one day soon you will see that. I know you are in a lot of pain right now, but you will move through this. Now that he is out of the way, the love you deserve can find you. Protect your brave open heart – someone is waiting to love you for everything you are. Love and strength to you.


Please remember you cannot help him. There is no outside help for him. He’s done– stick in the fork. Make yourself happy and find a healthy relationship!


People who we imagine could be all right, but aren’t are everywhere. What’s with them? Largely, they are mentally ill. How so? The average person, lest they cook their food from scratch, and it’s certified raw milk, butter from pastured cows, organic fruits and vegetable, meat from pastured animals, etc., eat stuff that makes them stupid, mentally ill, fat, ugly, and impossible to get along with. If you want to be happy with this person get them on a diet that is not toxic, off booze, drugs, tap water, etc. and the change within a month will be astounding. The trouble is, they’re addicted to the horrors of processed food, the taste, the convenience, and even the addictive reaction it causes. How does one get them to see what’s happening? It depends on how logical and rational they are, but even then will they be intelligent enough to make the changes, or not? Chances are it won’t happen. I spend 600.00 a month just for the best food on the market, but here’s one hopeful choice that if made many people will not only continue with it but look forward to it, here’s the statistics: High quality fats like home made lard, raw milk and butter, coconut oil, beef tallow, ghee, duck fat, and small amounts of cold pressed olive oil on salad, not used for cooking, moderate clean and organic protein, but if high carbs with sugar, agave, HFCS, white bread and rice, grains, etc. are eat, the first two, the good fat and moderate protein will reduce the chances of Alzheimer’s by 42% and 21% respectfully, but the latter, the high carb junk food will increase it by 400%. The high carb thing will also lead to diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and many, many more afflictions. So, what if the high fat thing is enjoyable, delicious, makes one pretty, strong, sexy, and energetic, that might influence if diehard carb addicts. Try it for one month and you’ll have a new addiction and a good one. It’s not what one presently is, it’s what one is presently eating and drink, quit the booze, cigarettes, and drugs, who needs them? People who don’t eat good fat, moderate protein and organic fruits and vegetables and where are the most calories recommended? From good fats named above. It’s a win, win, win situation. I’m 85 years old and a tiger. I did the plank for the first time and lasted over three minutes, I walk 5-6000 steps per day, I like women, and so forth. Boasting? No, giving an example of what to expect, and it’s all true and I’m happy.


This is my first time I kind of feel like a wanted Fugitive. I must be mentally ill but I’m not atleast I don’t think I am I’ve been married 10yrs after my first year with my wife I wanted to be single again but stayed ? married for I sadly don’t know how to be on my own I told myself it must be me ? I try my best to bend to her way I felt my life sliping away every day until I became sad and dark over the years. ? I thought how I might end my life ? why stay in this world it’s too much ? I started off reading many books watching lots of videos that might help me stay balance none worked I started planning how I might end my life with no pain involved lots of reading along with research & percentage. ⏳ unfortunately I havent set up a date or time that would be my last moments on earth. Every time I think I might be ready I’m interrupted a friend calls needs help or someone to talk to abit. I try to have many sit downs with some close friends even with my asawa but none were capable or educated enough to help me I even called one of those help lines during my chatting they wanted me to call 911. I just need someone to talk to complain to that’s all. I have decided I must be free so in the month of August next year I’ll be so free the only new trouble I have is how to enjoy being single once again.. Best of luck to me. To live again.????⌚? no need to be alarm I don’t think I ll take the ez way out any tym…


Andrew, you have just described the 3 year relationship I have just come out of with my ex-fiancé. I still love him too. But have come to accept he is incapable of change. It’s been six months and I’m still coming to terms with it, still grieving. Some days are good, other days I get depressed thinking maybe I could have done more. I know I couldn’t have though, the relationship was slowly killing me emotionally. I had to make the change and leave for myself and for my children. How long were you together?

Lisa Palmeno

Andrew, My life has been like this for a long time, it’s as if you are me. I stood up to him and his flying monkeys, got in touch with my inner bitch. Don’t let anyone break you, that’s what this is about; they find someone who is good, and then they use them for a doormat because no one ever whipped their asses when they were kids and they think the sun shines on their special little hind ends, that’s what. They are spoiled and jealous and will never grow up. It’s a waste of time to talk to someone like this as they are so convinced, you’re attacking them! Attack, attack! Attack, my ass. Someone needs to stand up and make people do right and if they can’t, they need “treatment.”
I finally wised up and none of my old man’s flying monkeys are laughing anymore. I’ve some narcissistic traits myself, i.e., I’m a conceited bitch with a sharp tongue and I’ll use it. The anxiety nearly crippled me and left me agoraphobic and nearly unable to function in life. I have a BA and studied overseas as a young woman. I let someone steal my time, my dreams and my self esteem by not being more aware of users and their goals. Now I know, it’s a one-way street for them. What you have to do it, stoop to conquer. I did and it feels great. He never wins because I never let him escalate it and I never take shit and I never go to him for comfort for anything he has done because I know he is getting a kick out what he did and for getting to reject me more for reaching out for comfort. It’s a sick cycle. Now when I’m blue, I turn on some Christian music and kiss my cats. Allergies and asthma and the possibility of imminent crucifixion is more pleasant than going back to the panic attacks and depression. True story. Jesus saves. Lies will never be rewarded by God. God sees everything she did to you, Andrew, and she will be dealt with accordingly.

juliette rogers

“She had no long lasting relationships with anyone but made friends easily…”
How was it you were able to communicate/contact her past boyfriend – of 7 yrs.? And only after your relationship was over?
I sure wish I had the opportunities you seem to have had. That said, I’m surely not the queen of good choices but if I had the knowledge of how to contact a former albeit long term partner, especially within the relationship, I could have stopped blaming myself and cut the cord a hellava lot sooner – and saved myself some very precious time.



Well done for the willpower to get out. I finished a 7 year relationship 3 months ago that was very similar to yours. Although my ex girlfriend didn’t take it to the extreme like yours but she showed many of the traits mentioned in this post. And had I not started educating myself on personality disorders, I would’ve never figured out what the hell I got myself into. The hardest part is that you cannot reason with them no matter how nice and loving you are to them. I don’t demonize these kind of people, they have serious problems and there is a good chance that they will never sort them out, thus never experience true intimacy in this love.
This article is great.


RUN don’t walk away from this women, I was in a relationship with a man who is every single one of these! I am in therapy now, I wish I had listened to that little warning voice in my head. But I tried to make excuses, tried to help NO, you can’t help them they will sux your soul dry. RUN


Hey Andrew

I must say I have never laughed so much in my life. When I read your article I actually asked “is he for real?” I thought it was a comedy piece only to realise that you were serious. Sorry I found your experience hilarious but how did you end up with her in the first place? Please continue writing other short stories. You are a brilliant writer and I enjoyed reading your piece. Sorry about your experience . Someone I know was in the same predicament but they were so hurt 5 years later they have still not quite recovered and will not dare date anyone. I’m glad you survived in one piece.


Good on you Andrew, you are lucky to be alive. Your story sounded exactly like my story with my ex, reading this even made y eyes watery. Maby she was an actor who knows. Mine used to cut herself, attempt suicide, cheated on every guy she had. When we met she blamed her ex for throwing cat off the clif, to justify why shes cheating on him. She told me once that she locked kids in the basement and watched them cry and enjoyed it. She made me who is an endless romantic -an animal who is still recovering. She would drink excessivel and fuck every guy for attention. She loved drama, put me into shit on every occasion, got me STD (Clamydia) which is gone now but i physically didnt cheat on her. I was scared, paranoid and vulnerable. She knew how to play her game and she was blaming all my friends for being assholes. She even blocked them all on facebook for warning me of her. Her mother warned me of her, her co workers but i was too weak. She would beat me, mentally abuse me, show messages of other guys wanting to have sex with her, saying that i am complete shit. I rescued her in home country twice from being locked up in mental ward. I always gave her roof over head, food and love. I left to cyprus to leave this toxic relationship and other problems, but she would write 4x a4 long explanations how she feels guilty and that she has done wrong. I risked my job, arranged her a job in cyprus. She go me again. Fucking other guys and telling im worthless peace of shit and nobody would not wànt me anyway. I showed her world, but i have left with a feeling that either she was an actor or she really had scizophrenia. I was scared to leave her because she would cut herself, then lie to everybody about me. While she put into shit i started doing mistakes under pressure. Later we had brother – sister type of relationship because she made me weak and think that she was the one. When we broke up i stopped my anti anxiety medication. I was lovable person, plenty of friends, but always tend to do mistakes under pressure. Im still thinking why she did this all, was she an actor? Was her mother lying? Why in the end i started using her and taking advantage of her instead of leaving? Why was i scared to leave her? Why didnt i listen to all my friends? Why oh why. Prioritys and i got them all wrong. She would lie about me killing unborn babies, but she had weak memory and we were not even together at that time. She made storys up. Was she a russian spy? Was she just one of the toxic girls? Why did she ruin me. People remember me as happy person, but what i have become now. Who am i now. I remember good things with her and keep forgetting how she really set me up. Life is never fair. Can i ever be strong again ? And will i have family? Question is still open.


Well. Done. Andrew i was in a relationship for 15 years. And was to get married this may .but all the above storys about the taker,the cheatet, the lier and yours is this man to a T he has put all the blame on me iam in pain so much that i through up cant eat and he has the nerve to treat me like i never meant anything to him and that really hurtswe parted in july. and got another girl in a week that really hurts.how do i stop the pain.


Wow that is exactly what I am going thru I am glad to know that I am not the only person going thru this


I was in a very much identical relationship with a guy. I did the same, contacted an ex to question my own sanity as you become so caught up in it it’s like Stockholm Syndrome.

I questioned why I stayed in it. It was an eye opener to me that I needed to work and understand myself and to really dig deep as to why I would put up with it. I am now giving myself the self-respect, compassion and put myself first rather than put up with this level of toxicity by anyone ever again.

There are alot and I mean alot of people out there with those traits and you really need to follow your instincts and find truth.

Good on you for leaving, and remember you are number 1!


There are many humans out in the community that are suffering from mental disorders. I have understood after a few relationships that it is I, who had not learnt to flee, when a characteristic toxic change happened. But I did learn that you will be safe guarded from having toxic romantic relationships when you learn to listen to your gut and read up on articles , as above. The last relationship ended when he threatened me as I was mucking around with a hose in the pool. After I had squirted him on a boiling hot day in Palmwoods he threatened me. I got out of the pool and went home without saying a word. He rang and questioned my leaving . It just confirmed my concerns. He found another women within a week and I pondered at what length she will find herself very unhappy. When there are signs that are not within the the normal range of behaviour and they happen on a regular basis , you need to go . Remind your self it will never get better, and you will become a different person. Love has nothing to do with it . Self respect has everything. I have also found toxic encounters in the street , supermarkets , driving your car etc neighbours and this is not confined to only men . Women are now becoming crazy and their behaviour can be deadly if you have the misfortune to become involved in a dispute with them . I ponder and become so baffled as to why these certain humans do not have empathy or understanding . What has happened in their life to be come devoid of the basic human element to love?

Janie M

Without sounding mean, did you figure out why you dated someone like her? In my experience with a truly bad relationship, it was a blessing in disguise because I had to look at myself. Why I was attracted to this poor excuse for a person. I was highly motivated to get in emotional recovery for a good many years, and now those types of guys are a thing of the past. When I see them now, I see then immediately for who they are, because I got rid of the majority of my toxic insides. They say, like attracts like. I hope you’re doing well, and seeing yourself as worthy and not a compulsion to see only the icing on the bitter cake. I want to be ready to receive that healthy person, because that healthy person wouldn’t want me as is. God bless you


I want to apologize on behalf of women like this. I was one of them for a very long time, and it destroyed more than one relationship before I realized I was the problem and needed help. Lots of anger management and therapy helped me to realize that due to an abusive childhood and dysfunctional family relationships, I had incredibly low self-esteem, a shame-rage complex, and an inability to face my own shortcomings or handle any level of criticism (even if it was constructive). I am still not perfect, but have learned a lot about setting boundaries, controlling my emotions, and being ok with being imperfect (so that I don’t completely lose it if my imperfections are discovered or pointed out). I currently am not in a relationship because I am taking time to heal and being careful of feeling more in control before trying again to be in an intimate relationship with anyone. If someone is treating you badly, it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them (no matter how much they try to tell you the opposite). The best thing you can do for yourself, and for them, is to have strong enough boundaries to walk away. It’s the only thing that will hopefully bring them to the point that they know they need to change.


I agree with you. I have a best friend who suddenly showed his true colors after surgery. He disappears, doesn’t text, won’t return calls or texts and is cryptic when talking. If I ask him for help with something or see if he wants to hang out, he just vanishes. No text back. It’s heart breaking and I have been physically sick because of this. He does not know that tho. I don’t know what to do because I feel like I need to see him in person to resolve this. Any advice ??

Hey Sigmund

It’s important to be clear about what you expect from any relationship. Once your friend is clear on what is important to you, give him the opportunity to show you that he can act in a way that is respectful, generous and not hurtful. If he continues with the things that he knows will hurt you, then it is up to you to decide if you want to stay in a friendship that is confusing and seemingly one-sided.


Thank you for the response ! He also makes me feel guilty if I do not reply to his text immediately. Usually I am just busy and don’t see it…I reply an hour later and he won’t reply at all. I’ll suddenly hear from him a few days later. It’s soooo angering. I want to talk to him in person and tell him how it’s hurting me but I can’t ever get him to commit to coming over.

Justin Sorensen


I will not make excuses for your friend. He is definitely in the wrong. I would just like you to consider that he may have been slowly becoming aware of this aspect of himself, recently.

Perhaps he is even trying to notice when he makes these bad choices and hurts the ones who love him, so he can cut out those behaviors or respond differently to those triggers.

Maybe he is in a relationship now. Maybe that new love takes up more time than it should, but if you know the way your friend behaves, imagine what he is putting his new love through, and be patient.

If you love your friend and he loves you, then he will eventually come back around and make up what he owes you. Who knows? He could be hoping that you and his new beau could become friends.

If I were him, I would want to lose neither my boyfriend nor my dear friend.

Anyway, again, I am not trying make excuses for your friend. I know he is wrong. I just have a strange feeling that he is trying to improve himself and stop the manipulation.

Justin S


There is no excuse to not responding to a text. Busy?? Cmon. If your child was in trouble are you going to tell them you couldnt respond because you were busy? Of course you wouldnt. You chose to either respond or not respond. You chose the texts you respond to immediately or wait an hour to respond. There is no harm in responding with, ” sorry, im busy, will get back to you in an hour”.
Busy, is not an excuse. Texting is the easiest, quickest and most private way to communicate. Busy is no excuse.


I absolutely agree! Unless you are I.
In Surgery or space – you choose who you respond to – within reason ! Too many people play the passive aggressive game with texting- rather than come out and say to,your face – I no longer want to communicate with you- they are too busy with their important stuff to respond. On ther other hand I personally get sick of texting and just want to talk face to face and I will tell yiu so!

juliette rogers

Let it be known all……….. and I would think the moderator of this blog would be cognizant of this…. depending on the type of surgery, especially “heart”, aspects of a person’s personality MAY change. And not for the better.
I think this perspective at least should be addressed so that there might be some slight consideration for the person on the other end. I don’t see anywhere here where perspective enters the stage.


Brilliant article. My husband walked out without any warning after 8 years. He was / is a totally toxic man in all of the ways you say. I had enough of his lying, cheating and manipulating so I became very rigid in my approach to him. It was like playing a game of chess and every time he lied or put someone else first ( all the time) I would pull him up on it and ask him if he thought that was appropriate. Low and behold his only option was the aggressive move to walk out taking some of his belongings whilst I wasn’t at home. He is now ” having some me time” leaving me with a busy business and the kids. Adios MF you’re out of here. Enough is enough.

Lisa Palmeno

Putting someone else first. Boy, have I been down that path before. I also watched an aunt go through it the whole time growing up, as an uncle came home late every night because he was doing favors for everyone but her. I now see, he made her look like the crazy, selfish one, when she’d been waiting for him all day, and being a dutiful wife. She passed unexpectedly as number of years ago, and he was devastated. We were all his “flying monkeys,” and I guess this is my payback. He played the victim card pretty well. It wasn’t until after she passed I learned, she had cause to not trust him. Oppression of a person happens because the people around them need a scapegoat for their beloved’s bad behavior and who better to use up than the married-in spouse. When I realized that my partner’s family was never going to validate me, that it was a gas lighting game to make me feel I didn’t “do well,” I quit going to their houses and events and interacting. I couldn’t care less if they approve because now, I’m with my own family and not wasting time on people who don’t care about me.

Pia Suffredini

Ive been with my partner for about 3 years now and around a year ago, we decided to move in with his brother and his brothers partner to save money. Before we moved in, my relationship with my parters bro and his partner was great, however I did notice that the partner occasionally ignored me at weekly family dinners and would sometimes shut me out. I used to spiral into deep thought and anxiety, tracing my steps back to see what I had done wrong. Before we moved in, I was excited but also a little worried (of her mood swings), but I thought if we lived together maybe we would become closer..

After a few weeks of living together, I became a nervous wreck, scared everyday of going home. Not only was she just a generally negative person about life and people, she was very passive aggressive, so when there was a problem she would slam doors or pack up all of her belongings and leave them at the door. We would question her and the brother about it, asking “Is there a problem?” and they would say “No, everything is fine.”

Every few days the relationship would change. She would be nice, and I would think “It was all in my head!” and then a few days later, the doors would be slammed and I would be ignored. Finally, I decided I needed to change my ways so she had no reason to hate me. I came home and cooked them dinner, complimented her on as much as I could, smiled continuously, laughed, agreed and sympathised with her, even when I totally disagreed with everything she was saying. I thought “If she gets angry at me now, I know it isn’t me because I am tiptoeing on egg shells..”

One morning I came home from the gym and I said “Is anybody home?” and she came out of the room and angrily said “YES! WHY?” And I was surprised at the way she was talking to me. I asked her if she was ok and she yelled “IM FINE!”. Later on I tried to make conversation with her and she barked at me. I asked her if I had done something to upset her and she no.

That was the point where I gave up. I decided I didn’t want to try my best to be nice to her and not upset her because no matter my actions, she was going to treat me like shit anyway.

We all moved out of that house 3 months before the lease was up.

My partner and I have not spoken to her in about a year, even though we have to see them every week for dinner. Recently, I was invited to her baby shower so I sent her a message saying “Thanks for the invitation, but I don’t think I should go because we are not on good terms but I would consider going if we could start talking again or at least acknowledge each other”. I didn’t receive a reply, so I didn’t go. My parters mother found out about it and had a chat to her, saying that the non-talking has to end. There next time I saw her, she ignored me again and we all ended up in a massive argument. She showed no concern for the fact that I had been suffering for so long over this issue. She didn’t want to resolve it at all! I still don’t even know what I did wrong.

The thing is, I have been suffering from anxiety since living with them and it seems to be getting worse. Every week I feared going to the family dinner to the point I feel like throwing up. I cannot seem to get over it. And now my partner and I live with his parents – and the brother and his partner come over here every few days to drop things off, or pick things up. I am afraid to live here because at any minute, one of them might show up.

I feel like I have so much potential in life but I am so afraid of this person that all I do is think about them, leaving me with no motivation to better my own life. I could be having a good day, working out at the gym and then suddenly something that they have said to me pops in my head and I feel like shit. I just want to know how to let it go!?


It is clear that the problem is not with you. I can only suggest that you set boundaries to preserve your peace of mind. Make it clear to your partner that you’re becoming unwell due to the presence of the toxic person in your life. At least temporarily stop having weekly dinners with them.

If you can shake the misplaced guilt that you have and recognise that you don’t own responsibility for the way she treats you, you can put the necessary boundaries in place to keep yourself happy. Your health and wellbeing are worth more than people pleasing.

People pleasing will make it worse, but reassuring yourself that you are reasonable and she is unreasonable will help you make the right choice.

You can’t change her- you never will. This sort of person is narcissistic and derives pleasure and energy from. The misery of others.

If I was in your situation I would remove myself forever from her presence.

Good luck and get some counselling to get you through this from a good relationships counsellor.


Andrew, that’s pretty much my situation, just adding a pregnancy. That hits so hard.. No idea how it will all end up.


I am so confused on my relationship. I met my bf 10 years ago and we dated we split because apparently he had just got out of a marriage unbeknownst to me . Then a natural disaster occurred we kind of lost touch but wound up being friends on facebook. He tried to pursue me a few times but i saw he was with someone so I shot him down. Fast forward to last year I was about an hour away from home at the beach for a weekend getaway, and posted where I was coincidentally he was there at the same time . He facebook called me and we were 20 feet from each other. We had breakfast talked all night and had lunch the next day We were doing the friend thing hanging out watching movies no sex nothing serious. We got real close, and decided to go for it. Then I lost my job we were on his income alone a struggle. I found a job 2 months later, but bills were piling up . . But i discovered that he was controlling got mad whenever I went somewhere with my friends when i wasn’t working he made the comment to me that he was at work and felt i shouldn’t be out having a ball while he worked. If he wasn’t there it was an issue Then my car got totaled another blow now we have one car. This happened while i was bringing him lunch when i told him i didn’t feel well . No biggie it’s my guy whatever. The biggest blow was to discover the gambling $800 a week during football season . $800 collectively we have 6 kids wtf . It got so bad he would gamble the light and food money away then it would be my fault because I made him mad. I argued with him. He even was sleeping with his married co worker different women messaging me on facebook telling me he wont stop messaging them and could i ask him to stop. Then my dad died now he lost his dad and someone near to him this is the first close to home death i experienced i had a mental break down i lost it i wasn’t able to function he gave me the equivalent of i don’t have time to worry about your feelings. HE will be so sweet so kind then it is Jekyl, and Hyde idk if I am coming or going . I’m depressed i lost weight i don’t look like me all i do is sleep and work. I even had a breast cancer scare, and he told me I wanted pity. I think he is bi polar he was diagnosed ptsd and depressed, but it is far deeper than that. I just want to be happy with the guy I love but i’m afraid i’m holding on to venom. At this point we are in 2 separate homes that is another story in itself. But i’m hurt he even answered the phone for another woman in my face and tried to lie to me. At this point i know i need to leave but my heart has to catch up to my mind. His moments of remorse and normalcy confuse and baffle me.

Hey Sigmund

Dominique you actually sound very clear about your relationship. You know in your heart and mind that this man doesn’t deserve you. Don’t let his moments of ‘normal’ confuse you. Even the most toxic people aren’t toxic 100% of the time. They can be kind when they want to be, though often this is part of the manipulation. This makes it worse not better, and only proves that the cruel things he does are a choice. You deserve a love that is warm, kind, gentle and nurturing – not one that breaks you. Love and relationships take hard work, but they should never feel cruel. You are strong and brave and you have everything you need inside you to act in self-love and self-respect. It will be hard – so hard – but never as hard as what you are doing now. Love and strength to you.


I’m in a divorce process after 11 years of marriage. Funny thing is i always knew that he’s bad for me. But i stayed just cause of compassion, for the kids, for staying out of trouble, for fearing the word DIVORCED, idk, lame excuses, social stats, humane excuses, believing in God’s mercy, believing on his words..
I connected so deep into all of those mentioned above, every abuse he’s done to me, all mental breakdowns, tears, emotional roller coasters, feeling not good enough, dying inside, feeling so low that he had all the power and the rights to treat me like i’m nothing, physical and mental abuse..until about 5 years ago i started to grew tired of crying, of screaming, of getting beat up for nothing..told myself i won’t cry anymore, he could do anything i won’t care, i won’t listen to anything he said to hurt me, i won’t take his beating up on me again..
I started to grow..i even grew brighter, shinier, but on top of my glow he started putting me down again, kept looking for my flaws, said i was better when i was the old me, he sabotaged my works, he kept making me feel guilty..
Even now when we had been separated for over a year, i still don’t like myself around him, when he texted me i feel like..i don’t like my vibe..he’s still intimidating, blaming, using those on and off words, controlling, whatever he wants..
And other funny thing is..i don’t feel lonely..i realized with or without him is the same, i’m still struggling alone, he was never there to care or support me, so i don’t feel like losing someone, not a friend or anything..he was never even there for me..

Hey Sigmund

Rochelle it sounds as though you have reached a peaceful place with this. You sound strong. Not every relationship is meant to stay. Some come to teach us – resilience, strength, courage, and once we uncover those qualities in ourselves, the need for the relationship fades. It isn’t always easy to leave, even if you know you would be better of out of the relationship. Now that you are away from the relationship, you will start to glow again.


My oldest son is in a relationship like this with a toxic person for 2 yrs now. She has manipulated me and him so much now that him and I don’t even speak anymore. Which is very upsetting to me because me and my 3 sons have always been really close. So now I don’t know what to do except sit back and let him get hurt to learn from it. When as a mom all you want to do is take the pain away. I’m just afraid that this is going to change mine and his relationship forever. I don’t know how to handle it since she picks arguments with me every chance she gets. I got to where I ignore her texts all the time and then she makes me out to be the one with the problem and my son is so manipulated by her that he seems to believe it. I didn’t raise him to take this kind of crap from no one but he is. Now he’s talking about marrying her. So what else can I do to make him see her for what and who she really is? So lost and confused.

Hey Sigmund

Ramona this is such a difficult situation and I completely understand why it would be causing you so much pain. Here’s the problem – the more you try to convince your son that she’s harmful, the more he may feel the need to prove that she isn’t. If he asks you directly for your advice or about what you think, gently let him know. Otherwise, give him the space to figure things out for himself. This doesn’t mean you have to approve of her, what it means is not getting in his way. The more involved you get, the more material you’re giving her to make you seem like you’re the one causing trouble. Your son has chosen her, and as much as you want to, you can’t be the one to ‘unchoose’ her for him by convincing him that she’s not right for him. Let him know that you support his decision and that you just want him back in your life. Let him know that you understand this means embracing her and that you love him enough to work on the relationship with her. You are absolutely right – all you can do now is sit back and let him learn the lessons he needs to learn to make the best decision for him. I know how painful this is, but this is his growth now. Once he gets through this, he will have the wisdom and insight that will ready him for something better to come into his life.


I have given my son the distance needed to learn his lesson. I have tried on several occassions to embrace her and make it work, when I think everything is going good she starts another fight over stuff from the past and blames it on me. My son is really big hearted and when he falls he falls hard. I speak to him when she’s not around which isn’t often. So now I just pray for the best whatever happens cause he’s talking about marrying her now. I hope he learns before he does if not I will have to just deal with him not being in my life as often. All I can do since he is grown now. I do love him and it pains me him having to deal with her but he has to learn from his mistakes now. Thanks for the comments.

Hey Sigmund

You are acting from such a strong, loving place. I know how difficult it is to watch someone you love with someone who doesn’t deserve them, but you are doing the right thing. This is your son’s growth now, and nobody else can learn the lessons for him. He is very lucky to have you.


Although I do fully agree with this article, I also feel there is two sides to every story. Early relationships I had highschool-25 years old, we’re extremely unhealthy. My highschool boyfriend cheated a lot and was an alcoholic. I didn’t understand a lot of why he could treat me the way he did. I was young. From then on, up until a few years ago, I carried the pain and patterns from one relationship to another. It was abusive and unhealthy and not love. I lived with severe anxiety and always had chaos in my life and relationships. I got married and had children. A combination of him getting arrested constantly and trust issues ended that quickly. At 26 I decided to focus on my 2 children and myself, stay single and heal. Looking back now I see how crazy and unhealthy they were. I was abusive and had no control over my emotions. I would say hurtful things and threaten to break up and try and hurt them because I was hurting. I didn’t get it at the time. I started dating again after a couple years of being single and was in a relationship with someone that was abusive. He acted like I used to when I was hurt and had low self esteem. The whole time I had a good heart and didn’t see what I was doing to the person I said I loved. Let me tell you there is nothing more eye opening then having a close relationship with someone that has the same flaws that you do or did have. Being treated the same horrible way that you used to treat previous significant others is something that will change you forever. I still make mistakes but continue everyday to try and become a healthier kinder person. I believe a lot of the abuse was because I was hurting and wanted someone else to fix me. No one should be expected to fix someone else. I went years without realizing the pain I was inflicting because my pain overshadowed the pain I was causing. I have grown up and deeply regret not getting my head straight at a younger age, can’t go back now, can only move foward.


At least you are moving forward- you can’t change the past and it sounds like you continue to learn from it- well done.


Toxic people have cycle.. i’ve been married to one for 11 years and it’s been an on and off tiring process.. exhausting daily process.. 11 years until i decided that he won’t be treating me that way again.. but the divorce process was also as hard.. cause toxic people won’t let go easily.. ego, control, using my compassion, using threats, sweet talk, lies, whatever he usually did to get me back.. but it’s a cycle.. he said sorry..he said he realized it was all his mistakes.. he said he’ll change, won’t do it again..but once given the opportunity, more damage will be done.. it’s a never ending cycle.. to heal from a toxic person takes courage, strength, love, and determination cause he’s like a lost puppy who keeps following you and once you turn around he’ll bite you, he’ll destroy you all over again..

Little Jenny

I see myself in all of these situations.
I am currently on the receiving end of yet another totally unprovoked bout of bad treatment, disrespect and name calling followed by the usual ‘walk out’ and silent treatment by my partner.
After 7 years of this I virtually have no love left for him and that makes me very sad .
I have allowed this crazy existence with him to continue for far too long and have wasted years of my life on this self -centred , negative and controlling man.

I’m lucky, he has not broken my spirit -yet !
I know I have to end this destructive, lonely relationship and although it will be hard I will heave a huge sigh of relief when I have.
Find courage and don’t wait as long as I have , nip it in the bud when it begins.
Unfortunately they will never change -because they don’t want to !!


Thank you ive been through 12 years with someone like this I think it started with them being angry and wanting to punish me for a past mistake. I lost everything friends, family and self respect including having an emotional break down, everything was turned back onto me so friends feel they can’t trust me as I allowed thus person to control even this aspect of my life. I would ask him to stop calling people names but now feel ashamed that I didn’t fight hard enough for friendships as he needed to turn everyone against me while I was struggling with feeling guilty that my problems should be minimizer to make way for his, which at the start weren’t so big I’d gone through a lot myself but he’s managed to manover, everything in his favour. I feel better having read this because I thought I was insane and it’s harder knowing that friends don’t want me any more.. and that he’s out there with their full support.

Hey Sigmund

Katrina I’m so pleased this has helped. Things always look clearer when you’re out of the mess, so don’t give yourself a hard time for anything you did while you were in the relationship, such as not fighting harder for your friends not to be called names). You had good reasons for not fighting harder, and it’s important to remember that. To hang on to the shame is to hang on to a part of your history that isn’t true for the person you are now. Now you are free to move forward and find the happiness you deserve – but let the shame go.


I feel this with my daughter I love her but it’s been a hard slog she’s disowned me because I stood up for myself but it’s not help with silent treatment from my now husband I feel drained and I e given up the fight


Ive had enough of my toxic family. Im treated differently from everyone else I am not speaking to my mother due to her verbally abusing me and my dog. Im left out of all family occasions its like I dont exist. My mum was very physically and emotionally abusive to me all my life as far back as i can remember her brother died on friday after a long illness and no doubt she is telling everyone how im not there for her. I wasnt allowed to visit him in Wales before he died but everyone else went they do it all sneakily and blame my dog saying i cant go to wales because she is naughty……that makes no sense as my dog is only 4 but i havent been allowed to see my family for over 16 years. I am not part of life any more i feel so depressed I dont know how to go on I dont see anyone from one week to the next my friend got a boyfriend so thats me out the window as usual…..i have nobody to turn to yet you read on all these depression sites to talk to someone you trust……is that some kind of a joke people are depressed because they have nobody to talk to in the first place. My family this includes my aunt her son my sister her two daughters and even my own daughter never bother with me I feel like im dead but i dont know it. Im last on everyones list I feel lost lonely and its been that way forever but its just getting worse and worse I hardly ever eat its a real chore. My aunt is a bitch because I told her about my mothers beatings to me when i was a small child and how she would tell me she wished she never had me and the next day she was getting my mum to do her gardening for her like her slave basically. Ive been very ill with womens problems up and down hospital im in constant pain nobody has come to help me at all i cant bend over as it hurts my groin and back too much. I have ovarian cysts and fibroids but this back and groin pain is like nothing ive ever felt before. I feel like I cant go on I joined friends in need site and underneath what i wrote two people are chatting away to each other and totally ignoring me same old same old so whats the point in joining these sites when you just get ignored. I end up feeling angry and hatred towards these people. My mum got her partner to ring me and he left a message on my voicemail saying in a spiteful tone YOUR UNCLE IS DEAD. How delightful. Ive blocked him and my mum on my phone but somehow he can still leave messages on my voicemail. I could be dead for all they know but they obviously dont care. I cannot face my mums abuse any longer im 45 years old and 45 years of abuse is enough as far as im concerned. Even my own daughter abused me and beat me up in the end i had to throw her out with the help of the police she ignores my messages even though we are meant to be talking now so another one bites the dust. Im sick of trying to seek help to get some kind of advice or something anything only to be ignored. I know im abused and treated like utter crap by my family as im too nice…..they talk over me interrupt me and basically ignore any opinion i have like im nothing. My cousin talks for too long for anyone to stay interested in what he is saying so i ask a question and the next thing he is jumping down my throat saying if you let me finish!!!! Im like in my mind obviously if you didnt speak for an hour at a time like he is making a speech i wouldnt have to interrupt his boring speech my aunt then gets angry because her son is so bloody damned special that everyone should stop and listen to every word he says! She then berates me for asking a question. Why do people talk to me like im nobody and nothing? Now they all ignore me basically I have no body and have had to drop quite a few friends due to their selfish behaviour that was intolerable so im basically all alone in the world. I have such deep depression I cant function. Sorry for the long post but 45 years is too long to suffer for. I need some help but cant seem to get any. Much love……Missy

Hey Sigmund

Missy I can hear how lonely you are feeling and I know how painful that can be. It sounds as though you have had some cruel people around you throughout your life. If you are being ignored by the people around you, that is about their dysfunction, not yours. You are important and you deserve to be noticed and heard. Are you getting support for your depression from a doctor? One of the things that depression does is to increase feelings of hopelessness and loneliness. This is why it can be so difficult to move forward through depression. If you aren’t speaking to a doctor or counsellor, that would be a good place to start. Keep your boundaries strong between you and the people who hurt you, but try not to judge all people based on those relationships. There are good people out there. You are one of them.


Sorry for my late reply I have been very unwell and have had an operation. Thank you for commenting back to me I didnt even realise my comment had been printed till today. I am still being ignored and nobody has asked me if Im ok after my operation! No surprise there but still hurts a lot. My aunt text me a couple of weeks ago saying she didnt have her car and could I take her to the shops so I said of course I can I wont be long I took her to the shops and I text her about how cute her new puppy is only to get ignored again! My mum ignores me, her partner has also just had an operation and Ive been texting him saying how are you etc only to be ignored yet again! I sat here crying at my pc last night wondering what I have done for this to happen im a good person maybe thats the problem I really dont know. I have googled today I feel like I dont really exist im not even religious but I was thinking about going to the church down the road I might find some kind caring people there who knows. Im still recovering from my operation. My aunt hasnt text me my sister hasnt bothered either nobody cares about me as for my mother the hospital had to release me into her care….care she didnt I was in terrible pain but she couldnt wait to get rid of me she is a narcissist maybe even a sociopath im not sure. When we were up the hospital before my operation the nurse had to ask me questions about where my pain was and my mum was sitting on another chair and kinda making faces as i answered questions looking very annoyed at me I didnt know why…..after this she said tomorrow you are going to have to give me a lift to her partners place but they told me I couldnt drive for 24 hours! She didnt care I was in such agony but she said go on go shopping and do this do that and the other and ushered me out of the door in terrible pain I cried as I walked around the shop I couldnt hold it in. I dont see why people treat me this way but thank you all for your support


Hang in there. I had to distance myself from my family for a while as they too were abusive – adoptive mother, father and sister.
I established my own I dependant life at 16, married and had two wonderful children.
I have found – for me- that sometimes because of past rejection – I am not as trusting as I would like to be. Keep your heart open to new people, volunteer with something you love and yiu will meet like minded people and perhaps form new friendships .
Give yiu dog a hug and feel better.


Thank you Judy im glad to hear its not just me I was beginning to get paranoid about it being more than one person ignoring me. I realise they are all very twisted ……when my mother returned from her visit to her partner she got stuck in a traffic jam as the jam finally started moving she saw a smashed up car and a lorry inside it! She was so angry about this I said to her hey someone has probably died in that car or more than one person you should be thinking of them not moaning about being hot! She is so self centred doesnt she think about the poor people in that car I said to her if you get hit by a massive lorry like that no doubt you would be dead I cant believe how heartless she was about this but it said it all really. Ive had to delete my facebook as I was getting ignored on there only a few people would bother with me. Had another argument with my mother last night I asked her why does all my family hate me why does she hate me what have i done? She said in a text OH HERE WE GO AGAIN and totally dismissed me saying she was turning her phone off she hates being around other people she hates people turning up at her door to see her she cant wait to get rid of them. Horribe nasty person she is. She makes it so blatant that she loves my sister and not me yet Im always the one who took care of her when she was having a crisis and my sister was nowhere to be seen. My friend still hasnt asked if im ok after my operation on Friday she is so self absorbed she even wrote this on facebook i quote “I dont need to photoshop myself because im already perfect” i nearly puked over my computer! lol…..what the hell is wrong with people. You can tell a lot about a person by their facebook page and all I can say is gosh does she love herself why I dont know because she isnt attractive at all delusional maybe! She doesnt like the fact ive had an operation and am in pain because she is the only one who can be in pain she is the only one who has feelings! I had a tooth infection come up over the weekend probably due to being run down after my operation. I text my friend who lives about a 3 minute walk from my house asking her if she had any clove oil as I was in agony she totally ignored me this was around 4.30 in the afternoon….the next day she text me back a sarcastic text saying “dont they do that in the chemist” but when I sent her the text she knew the chemist wasnt open so she waited a whole day to text me back to say that knowing it was open then. Hahahaha she treats me like something you put in a doggy poop bag…….she only rings me when something goes wrong in her life in fact two weeks ago she rang me crying saying her ex had tattooed over her daughters name. I was very sympathetic and told her not to care about him as he hasnt seen his daughter in a couple of years. Then I started to tell her I was having problems with my family and daughter and she said immediately I have to go I have to feed the kids she does this all the time she is A ME ME ME ME person. Ive given up texting her in fact when she finally texts me back now I do it back to her and text her the next day which is faster than her responses to me. She forgets that when everyone let her down when she was moving house I turned up with my friend and lugged all her stuff into the lorry and into her new house she also forgets how i was there for her when her husband left her for another woman! I really dont know what is wrong with the world. Im sure that there are some nice people out there but I never meet them. I try to make friends everywhere I go but I think its quite hard to make friends at my age as everyone has their set friends and dont want to have another. I have never dumped a friend because I got a boyfriend. Well what did I expect from someone who meets a man on say a saturday and by the monday he is moved in and new daddy to her kids. I feel sorry for her kids but thanks for all your support and sorry for the late reply I even forgot i wrote on this site. Anyway all of you take care and much love to you all. P.s. I do hug my dog when im feeling sad she doesnt ignore me 😉


You sound like a really good person with a heart don’t let them pathetic excuses for human beings make u think otherwise .i have had to isolate myself from my family and a few friends whilst having to deal with the deaths of my two only genuine friends .at the end of the day I would rarther learn to be comfortable living by myself than to continue a life of always being treated poorly by those closest to me .please take care of yourself and start enjoying life you deserve it!


This article is very on point and insightful. I only wish I read this information many years ago so it wouldn’t have taken me 40 years to open my eyes. At least I could have spent my best years with more love instead of hurt and self-hate. But then I wouldn’t know what I know today. I guess everything happens for a reason or season.

I let my childhood upbringing and later certain judgemental church people add to my unhealthy and uncalled for guilt and I spent 20 years in a marriage with a person who displayed 9 of the 15 traits described in this article and didn’t open my eyes until I was “outside the box” and that’s when anger, then resentment, then bitterness, then self-love and finally forgiveness started to take its natural course.

I only recently started to rebuild myself and understand my relationship with God better. And healing is coming through praying, reaching out and eventually making the “right” connections and decisions for me instead of always making every one else happy. Over 25+ years of making wrong connections of negativity…finally being reversed…nothing is impossible and God is GOOD and works miracles!!!

I think my mental self-esteem from childhood affected my decision making in choosing my partner and environment throughout my years. My stepmother always made me feel that my opinions were worthless and distasteful and that her kids were the best thing that ever walked the earth, leaving me no room to “fit in” or feel part of the family. The first incident I remember, when I so much loved and admired and looked up to her as if she could do no wrong, was when I was about 12 years old. I didn’t feel like I was very attractive and wanted to know what she thought since her opinion was always right and mine was wrong. I asked her if she thought I was beautiful and she said, “There are only 3 people in this world that I think are beautiful…Marilyn Monroe, my stepsister” (her daughter), and some other famous person’s name I didn’t know. I was so devastated. Because what she said meant EVERYTHING. She seemed to see my sadness and then replied, “but I think you’re cute.” Although she did try to help me not feel bad she couldn’t help her feelings from coming out no matter how damaging or hurtful they were. Other things she said and did (intentional or not) throughout the years kept adding more weight to the terrible things I felt about myself. She is a good hard working woman and did teach me many good things, but I feel her resentment towards me, love for her own children before her husband’s children, and any inadequacies I had, were thrown in my face at such a young tender age making me doubt any opinions I had about life. She put my stepbrother and stepsister in charge of disciplining and ruling over me. So my stepsister amusingly learned how to manipulate me into doing anything she said threatening me if I didn’t do as she said no matter how bad it was. So I learned to let people put me in a box and when I tried to get out I was made to feel so bad that even physical torture would’ve been better. Even my only best friend in school wouldn’t come to my house anymore because she didn’t like the way I was treated when she came over.

That was then…this is now over 25 years later. Even now my own 24 year old son has had his own experience feeling outcast in my family (and only spent one year being around them during college). My siblings all make excuses for my stepmother’s behavior and say I’m too sensitive. I just realized 2 years ago that I was doing the same thing for my kids about their dad. I was making excuses for their dad’s behavior, lies, and neglect so his actions wouldn’t hurt them as much. Now that I have left the unhealthy marriage after our children were grown, they are making excuses for him (as I used to do) and looking for the bad in me. I pray they will see the good and pray for their happiness every day. They seem happy so I think my prayers are working. I’m not even sure what advice to give them so they don’t make excuses for people and allow them to walk all over them like I did (family or otherwise).

My stepsister recently said, “why do you care so much what mom thinks or says?” This made me realize that I had to let go of needing her approval and love. It will never change. Which made me face my fear of losing my dad’s love too, since he’s all I had left and I know he’ll always standby his wife no matter how wrong she is. But I love and respect him for standing strong and faithful. He will always be my hero.

I rarely keep in touch with any family now but have been blessed with a positive, healthy, God-loving man. I am on the road to healing, recovery, positivity, love and self forgiveness. It’s the only way I’m able to forgive others. After all, it’s me who chose to let people hurt and affect me so deeply. I made that choice unknowingly, regardless of their intentions…but now I know!

Thank you for helping me to see the importance of barriers for protecting myself since I struggle to stop people from trampling all over me. By not putting my barrier up people automatically think that I like to be treated bad and they will continue to do so without that barrier. I am facing this great and overwhelming fear, and I’m finding that this monstrous fear is smaller than I imagined. I only felt fear, guilt and selfishness if I tried to protected myself or have a voice. I had enslaved myself to my own fears (because of listening to self absorbed people) and now I’m finding my freedom!!! I’m learning not to feel this way by changing my environment, people I CHOOSE to let near me, and listening to and reading uplifting messages. And when the enemy (fear) comes, my armour will be too strong to break!


just feel to write this burden in me today…

i cry & suffer a lot for manipulated, bias, betrayal, & taking-for-granted people from those relationships that called as a family, friends, acquaintances, etc; that due to so much lost on my identity, confidence, self-esteem, studies, ambitions, dreams, passions, & even my independency.

i. lost. everything…

hell life started on my age 12 & i getting some of anxieties/disorders since then (although i just read the symptoms, not a proper diagnosis). but still i keep fighting with my HSP to give so much cares and loves to everyone.

finally i give up on my age 26 (right after i left my previous job early of this year) & today i try to live my life as a relationships’ “atheist” that don’t give any damn to cares, loves, appreciates or trusts matter with anyone, anymore. i don’t want if one day i will hate myself for being what i was alike, although i know that i’m going to be suffer for the rest of my life.

now i just want to live myself only as a part of His creatures, but i never let myself be conquered by any kind of relationshiTs as possible as i can —

thanks for reading.


This was an excellent article. I’ve been with a very toxic man for 2.5 years and am in the process of leaving. We had a child together, which is a big reason for me having stayed this long. Even though I’ve always been a very confident and strong woman, when someone you love repeatedly hurts you, it takes a serious toll. He may have called me “ugly” and a “whore” regularly, but I know I’m neither of those things. There were other things I was insecure about that stay with me, but it was the bullying and the threats and the violent anger outbursts that make me worried about suffering PTSD. I think once we get the strength to leave these relationships, professional therapy is in order to help process it all. Why did I make so many excuses to stay? Why did I even want to stay? How will this affect my daughter? Why do I love him so much after all the awful things he’s done and said? Why in God’s name is it so hard to leave?? I know I will find peace. It will be a struggle to be a single mom, but millions of women do it every single day. ‘One day at a time’ is my mantra.


My 15 year marriage; you described my wife to the tee.there are a few things looking back now that I can say made it just as much my fault. I’ll share with you:
1. Too young to realize or listen as to what I was getting into. I was 19, she was 28. I had one kid who passed, she had 4 ranging from 8 down to 7 months old.
2. No or little life experience. Never had to hold down a job for family to survive, wasn’t raised by real parents who were busy raising other children. Which means we both had mommy/daddy issues
3.Never knew how to command respect as a man/she learned to be her own authority.Wanna know how many other so called men came into my house trying to be the man instead? Plenty
4. Which bought on depression, ocd, paranoid schizophrenia. Flunked 3 colleges cause all I could think of was which one of my fake friends she might flirt with or have sex with(jealousy) and she did, but all anyone could see was that I was a jealous clingy husband. Couldn’t leave; gluten for punishment.
5.Wasn’t yet a man. Couldn’t see that I was a babysitter for the kids whose own fathers never were there, using them as weapons against me when she’s mad,and when her side thing calls, her week long trips without me to new York, a door mat, a convenience , a person to blame instead of both absent fathers . And all because I needed her and what she had to offer instead of using my “child who fell through the cracks” youth to make a success of myself and prove my own family wrong about me.

Now I sit in a 1 bd apartment at 37 wondering what the hell I’m gone do now, 2 years separated, no bio kids,no wife, lost my truck, just all the stuff in the house, bad credit,after 11 vehicles catching the bus and cheap moped,abandoned by the family I moved up here to be closer to cause she screwed an inlaw and I looked more jealous and clingy so they got away with it even staying naked afterwards and I can’t kill him or her, so they put up with him cause his job pays well and I’m only a step. My mother threw me to other family, but raised them well, b it somehow like my dad feels the right to be dissapointed in a kid they left it up to everyone else to raise, no wonder I’m used to it. But take this away from it, it is up to you no one will change it for you be the person you needed when you were younger never shy from psychiatry/ therapy or martial arts.

juanita juniper

Gunna, I hope after these three years since you wrote this that you were able to get some breaks and get back on track in your life. Your story touched me, but you really did have it all figured out. Being able to look back and see all the occurrences in your young life and the choices you made when you got together with this woman means you really have grown and that you really accept responsibility , EVEN THOUGH it was NOT YOUR FAULT how you were raised or maybe, NOT raised. Anyway, I just wanted to say I hope things are working out for you better now!!! You were right and brave to just leave! It was wrong what she did to you.


I am 41 and my boyfriend is 54..we’ve been together for 2 years now and I have a daughter from my previous marriage. This man gives so much as far as taking care of me and my daughter, I don’t work which means I can stay home and do all the “mom” stuff and be there for her when needed. He pays the bills, buys the food, clothes, vacations….. Part of me feels as if I have nothing to complain about.
He has a lot of anger issues and gets his feelings hurt over some things I might find minimal. Never has he raised a hand to my daughter or I, but what scares me a bit is that he has said freely and without apology that he could easily hurt or kill someone who stole, hurt or wronged him. I feel protected in a sense that he would do anything for my daughter’s and my safety, but knowing he doesn’t have a problem harming someone or taking their life…that frightens me a bit. He has a very hard time trusting people and I get that. As a 12 yr old boy he was bullied and beat up almost everyday for years before he stood up for himself, fought back and now he never lets his guard down. We can laugh till we cry and also have long conversations that are very real and make him cry with joy. However, the one piece of our relationship that is inconsistent and what I think should be a strong presence is our sex life. It’s almost as if he can’t give of his entire self during that process either. Very mechanical, lacks passion and just unfulfilling to say the least. I have brought it to his attention a few times and he has either said, “I think we have great sex” or “Yeah. I don’t give all of myself during sex”
As much as I do love him and appreciate all he gives… it’s clear I need to start getting on my own two feet, get a job and have more options as far as getting out if needed. This man is amazing and yet his past and all the anger and hurt he harbors is really getting to me.


I’m in shock right now as I’ve just literally realized how toxic the person I’m with actually is. I come home after a hard long day of work, do dishes, make dinner. Now the Caveat, I’m currently suffering symptoms similar to that of colon cancer so I’m constantly exhausted, lightheaded,bleeding etc. I try to be positive until I know for certain, but it’s difficult. She knows about this entirely

I literally finished dinner, and sighed “because I’m exhausted” and I offered to make her a plate as I know shes been having neck pain. She states she has to restart the clothes dryer “I restart the dryer” and sigh again because I’m tired.

She then gets off the couch and proceeds to snap at me in regards to all my “negative shit”. I just looked at her in horror, told her to have at it. Handed her, her plate and went upstairs.

I came home in a good mood “tired” but a good mood. Now I feel worse than ever, as I sit here typing this, realizing that now we have a lengthy discussion ahead all about how I was out of line, how I need to change, and I just don’t understand her.

Sigh wish me luck.


Sometimes thinking about what is to-do that is ahead of us is just as exhausting as just doing it.
Try to promote “not sweating the small stuff” I found myself in this habit with my boyfriend. Coming home to cook, clean and then debate??
There is already enough to stress daily outside of the home, setting boundaries and or specific duties on each person’s part is neccessary for better mental and physical relaxation.


Thanks for for taking the time to write this this has helped me get someone who actually appreciates me for who i am but what should i do if they are hanging out in gang i tell her to don’t go but she does anyway?

Karen - Hey Sigmund

All you can do is talk to her about your concerns. Be gentle with this though – sometimes the more you tell someone not to do it, the more it can push them towards it. Let her know the exact things that you notice or that concern you. Stick with facts, rather than feelings or opinions and have the conversation without sounding critical or judgemental. This will make it easier for her to hear the specific things you’re worried about.

Steven S

Im not perfect but she had a free place to live never contributed an a free car to drive that wasn’t good enough wanted me to kick my daughter out i didnt an she left now she pays somwhere else to live even tboygh she had the whole house

Kathleen Agnes McKeon

I am all of the above except a cheater. How do i tell the difference between mental illness of depression, possible PTSD or a toxic personality?

Karen - Hey Sigmund

It’s about intention and impact. Toxic people don’t care who they hurt and don’t care about the impact. People with depression and PTSD do care. They might hurt the people they care about, but it’s not how they intend it to be.


I’m super confused about my now ex husband! He seems like he truly cares and that he doesn’t want to hurt me, but when he goes sideways he has verbal vomit. My counselor who met with him several times in the past, believes he has border line personality disorder. Which would definitely complicate things!! I’m just not sure how to know if he is truly sincere and genuine or this will all blow up in my face again. He wants to get back together and win me over. I don’t know what to do.

Ricardo R

Hello. My name is Ricardo and I’m 28 I’ve lived with a woman for 3 years and we do everything together we were best friends and we started caching feelings from each other but when I do tell her I much I love her and how much I care for her and she always told me that we can not be together because of her religious she married before that’s why but she does love means care for me. But one day I decided to leave her and go live with a girl that I started talking to and Now I was regret to go live with that girl because I don’t love her. What can I do to tell her that can not live with her anymore because I love the woman that I used to live with???


@Ricardo. You’re in quite a pickle. I would suggest you save up your own money for a place first. Make sure you have somewhere to go. I somehow don’t believe the other woman will take you back because I know that when a woman really loves a man, it will be a hard to understand why and how he left her for another woman. So before you decide to go back to her, get your money in order. Look for a place to stay and figure out where you want to go. After you have figured this out and have secured a place, sit the other woman down and express to her how you don’t love her and it’s best to go your separate ways. Do not tell her you are in love with someone else because that will create other issues. Just let her know you are not interested in pursuing the relationship further. Depending on how she acts either explain to her that you have been looking for an apartment or just leave. If she gets upset and starts acting crazy, just leave. If she is calm and able to listen tell her you plan to move and give her specific dates. Don’t tell her where you plan to move or where unless you really want to. However, I would suggest you have your place because if you have relationships that you want to build with people, it’s best to be sure that it’s what you really want by moving in with them. Have your own place until you find the woman you really want to settle down with and she wants the same. Ok?


I have a great heart, me & this girl tammy were good friends, she one day pulled me over & kissed me, she has a girl friend for almost 11yrs now it’s like 15, we started seeing each other she took me everywhere her daughter, sister,mom,aunt all new one day Tammy’s guilt kicked in she wouldn’t answer my texts,calls, nothing & put all these things in my head & told me she loved me , now she acts like I ain’t nothing. Why she do this to me


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Would you be more likely to take advice from someone who listened to you first, or someone who insisted they knew best and worked hard to convince you? Our teens are just like us. If we want them to consider our advice and be open to our influence, making sure they feel heard is so important. Being right doesn't count for much at all if we aren't being heard.
Hear what they think, what they want, why they think they're right, and why it’s important to them. Sometimes we'll want to change our mind, and sometimes we'll want to stand firm. When they feel fully heard, it’s more likely that they’ll be able to trust that our decisions or advice are given fully informed and with all of their needs considered. And we all need that.

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"We’re pretty sure that when you say no to something it’s because you don’t understand why it’s so important to us. Of course you’ll need to say 'no' sometimes, and if you do, let us know that you understand the importance of whatever it is we’re asking for. It will make your ‘no’ much easier to accept. We need to know that you get it. Listen to what we have to say and ask questions to understand, not to prove us wrong. We’re not trying to control you or manipulate you. Some things might not seem important to you but if we’re asking, they’re really important to us.❤️" 
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The move towards brave doesn’t have to be a leap. It can be a shuffle - lots of brave tiny steps, each one more brave than before. What’s important isn’t the size of the step but the direction.

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You know who I love? (Not counting every food delivery person who has delivered takeaway to my home. Or the person who puts the little slots in the sides of the soy sauce packets to make them easier to open. Not counting those people.) You know who? Adolescents. I just love them. 
Today I spoke with two big groups of secondary school students about managing anxiety. In each talk, as there are in all of my talks with teens, there were questions. Big, open-hearted, thoughtful questions that go right to the heart of it all. 
Some of the questions they asked were:
- What can I do to help my friend who is feeling big anxiety?
- What can I do to help an adult who has anxiety?
- How can I start the conversation about anxiety with my parents?

Our teens have big, beautiful, open hearts. They won’t always show us that, but they do. They want to be there for their friends and for the adults in their lives. They want to be able to come to us and talk about the things that matter, but sometimes they don’t know how to start. They want to step up and be there for their important people, including their parents, but sometimes they don’t know how. They want to be connected to us, but they don’t want to be controlled, or trapped in conversations that won’t end once they begin. 

Our teens need to know that the way to us is open. The more they can feel their important adults holding on to them - not controlling them - the better. Let them know you won’t cramp them, or intrude, or ask too many questions they don’t want you to ask. Let them know that when they want the conversation to stop, it will stop. But above all else, let them know you’re there. Tell them they don’t need to have all the words. They don’t need to have any words at all. Tell them that if they let you know they want to chat, you can handle anything that comes from there - even if it’s silence, or messy words, or big feelings - you can handle all of it. Our teens are extraordinary and they need us during adolescence more than ever, but this will have to be more on their terms for a while.  They love you and they need you. They won’t always show it, but I promise you, they do.♥️
Sometimes silence means 'I don't have anything to say.' Sometimes it means, 'I have plenty to say but I don't want to share it right here and right now.' We all need certain things to feel safe enough to put ourselves into the world. Kids with anxiety are thoughtful, observant and insightful, and their wisdom will always have the potential to add something important to the world for all of us.

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