How to Spot a Toxic Person from a Mile Away
I have been meaning to write about toxicity, having had my fair share of toxic people, it only makes sense. I think I’ve reached my saturation point when it comes to toxic people, be it someone close or someone that I barely know. Anyhow, it is about time I make good use of my bad experiences and offer reasons of why people become toxic, how to spot them, keep your distance and sanity intact at the same time.
Let’s begin by understanding what we mean by toxic people. First off, we all have issues, quirks of personality and what not but toxicity is more of an entire personality, a lifestyle that is incredibly hard to get rid of. Long story short it can be both covert and overt, therefore sometimes it is very under the radar.
How to Spot A Toxic Person
I’ll talk about some hallmark traits, when you spot even just one of them, pack your bags and leave. I repeat: pack your bags and leave. Because they are the only kind of people who do not deserve second chances. You’ll know why in about a minute.
They are manipulative. They exploit your weak points, emotionally blackmail you into almost everything they can, because they have a dysfunctional need to win. They have to win every time, whether it costs them losing people, messing with people’s mental health.
They have limited vision. They are truly incapable of seeing the good in others. I cannot even begin to imagine the miserable existence of a person who simply cannot see the good in others, but that’s how they are. This is because they can only see the “good” in themselves. They cannot, for the life of them, handle blame.
Which brings me to say; they suck at admitting mistakes. They have an astonishing lack of sense of accountability. Everything that goes wrong is due to other people. And this formula just never changes. They play victim the moment you try to confront them. Moreover, they extract your vulnerabilities when you are emotionally honest with them to later backfire them at you. They will be in denial of their own faults.
They are incapable of loving someone unconditionally. Love, to them, always comes with terms and conditions. They lack genuine warmth, affection and empathy. Interestingly enough, they have cognitive empathy in the sense that they are consciously aware that they are hurting others etc, but they lack emotional empathy, meaning they just can’t relate to other people’s pain or simply: they couldn’t care less. They are basically void of real emotions.
Sadly, they are most hurtful to those close to them. For the outside world, they have a blingy facade of being awesome. Needless to say, they are extremely high strung, yet most of them are highly functioning, as in they can get degrees, hold jobs, and live apparently “normal” lives. Which is why they go unnoticed.
They develop fear in you, you kind of dread being around him, it is like living in an emotional war-zone. You just cannot relax because you have to constantly watch out for bombs and arrows directed at you.
The worst thing about toxic people is that they see no problem with themselves, it is the people around them who suffer the most, often times unknowingly.
[I tried to make a numbered list, but only to realized, all the traits are so closely linked and enmeshed that it is almost impossible to separate them but you get the picture so yeah.]
You might begin to wonder what causes people to become toxic. Of course nobody in their right mind chooses to become toxic. It is a series of unfortunate events that makes a person such. Speaking of personality, it all boils down to parenting, or how a person was raised. To date, there are only two known reasons: overly adored or overly criticized. Either these people were raised by toxic individuals and therefore never learnt healthy emotional expression and behavior. Or they were raised by parents who showered them with extreme adoration and treated them as if they are God’s gift to mankind. As you can well imagine, neither parenting strategy is good enough, balance is always key. Nonetheless, no matter how screwed up was your childhood, it is never a justification to treat other people like crap. Anyhow, what’s done cannot be undone. But we can brace ourselves for the future.
When you do have the unfortunate incidence of meeting such a person, run in the opposite direction. Not even kidding. Toxic people have a way of wriggling their way back in your life – through halfhearted and insincere apologies. Watch out for the above signs when a toxic person offers remorse. It is never true remorse, just emotional manipulation.
Toxic people compensate for their fragile ego and low self esteem by bringing other people down. Be careful as they can easily leave your self esteem in shreds and feel no guilt for it, or take responsibility. They have an utter disregard for your feelings. Your emotions for them are a nuisance, rather emotions in general are inconvenient for them. Don’t waste your words trying to communicate to them and being emotionally honest.
Do not try to confront them. No amount of logic, rational thinking or compassion can help them see what is wrong with them. They will become defensive, dismissive and create drama. Yes, they love drama as long they are the center of attention. They can be the most unreasonable people you can meet when they want to get their way. Just because they cannot bear losing.
The only way to keep your sanity from this is to break contact with them and walk away both literally and figuratively. They have zero respect for boundaries, so don’t invest yourself in a relationship with them.
If you know more than one such a person in your life, watch out for common denominators and do the math. Do not try to fix or help them. Leave them be. You cannot help a person who is not ready to get help. Stay focused on yourself, heal from their attacks and keep distance from them.