I heard a statistic that most of the people you meet are good and kind and well adjusted. But there are those people that are on the other side of the spectrum that tend to take up all of our time, energy, and effort. But how do you recognize when someone is actually “toxic” for you? Firstly, the word “toxic” is used synonymously with the word “poisonous”. So you would think it would be fairly easy to identify these poisonous people like rattlesnakes, right?
Well, if you have a kind heart (which as the statistic goes, most of us do) we tend to give the people the benefit of the doubt. More often than not, we do not realize we are slowly being poisoned until we feel completely sickened later on.
The following list has helped me identify these types of people:
- Never Listen/You Are Invisible: These people love to talk, but when it is your turn to speak they have the attention span of a gnat. You suddenly become invisible or your needs do not exist. They have that glazed look in their eyes as if looking past you, they interrupt you as if you were not speaking at all, and may even physically turn and walk away from you when you speak.
- Constant Drama/High Maintenance: These Drama Queens tend to blow everything way out of proportion. They are in constant crisis, conflict, victimhood, and clamor with someone or something. They are constantly gossiping and badmouthing someone too. Although they will surely deny it, they thrive in the craziness and the attention it brings them. At all costs these people make sure they are the center of attention.
- Prone to Exaggeration & Lies: They over embellish or lie in their stories to the extreme thinking it adds something to their story or helps validate it in some way. Attention to details and omission of facts are of no consequence either so they will just make stuff up to whatever sounds best to suit their needs.
- Controlling/Manipulative: These people pressure you into thinking as the saying goes “their way or the highway”. Theirs is the only way of thinking and whatever you are thinking is either wrong or misguided. They are arrogant and try to act superior over everyone around them
- Extremely Judgmental/Critical: These people have nothing nice to say about anyone or anything. Some believe that if they are criticizing it makes them look like an authority or expert. They are quick to jump to conclusions and use very little empathy for someone else’s feelings in a situation
- Sense of Entitlement: They always feel that they are most important and superior. Their feelings and needs MUST come first and other's wants/desire are not even a consideration. If you do something for them, it was because they deserved it. Why should they thank you or even acknowledge YOUR contribution?
- Lack of Moral Character: They do not take responsibility for anything even when they are blatantly at fault. They have no integrity or honesty and are completely inconsiderate. Behaviors like lying, envy, cheating, manipulation, gossip, and greed are part of their norm.
There are probably more characteristics but the most important thing is how you feel after engaging with them. Most likely you are anxious, exhausted, frustrated, angry, confused, and probably want to run away screaming in the opposite direction.
Now that you know how to recognize them… stay tuned for next week’s article…”Weapons Against Toxic People” . . .