7 Signs of a Toxic Person & How to Deal with Them (2023)

The word "toxic" has been thrown around a lot recently, but "toxic" is not defined by any behavior we do not like. Toxic people carry out specific behaviors and strategies which are harmful to others. Here are seven signs of a toxic person to watch out for.

Toxic people might be a part of your family, workplace or friend group. Romantic partners can even be toxic for us. There are many different types of toxic people including narcissists, pathological liars and manipulators. In general, there are a few tell-tale signs for a toxic person.

If you feel the person you are spending time with is pessimistic, “fake,” and passive-aggressive, you may be dealing with a toxic person. Toxic individuals generally are surrounded by drama which leaves us feeling confused and drained of all our energy. The following list encompasses seven strong indicators of a toxic person that you should watch out for.

1. Hurtful Communication

A major sign of a toxic person is somebody who cannot communicate effectively, calmly and maturely. Every type of relationship needs healthy communication. Types of unhealthy communication include passive-aggression, yelling, and giving silent treatments. All of these are hurtful, ineffective ways of communicating that put the toxic person in a place of power.

2. Victimization and False Apologies

When people victimize themselves and refuse to give a true apology, they invalidate the feelings of others. This is a sign of a toxic person. For example, let’s say you tell your friend you are disappointed and upset that she showed up an hour late to your birthday dinner. If she responds by saying “well I’m sorry you are upset but I don’t see what the big deal is… you’re always getting mad at me for being late but that’s just who I am,” this is a classic turning of the tables.

Toxic people will not apologize for their actions, but rather blame you for having feelings. They then turn the situation around so that they themselves are the victim of the situation. This makes it difficult to communicate with toxic people as they do not take you seriously, and you often leave conversations with them feeling much worse than you did before.

3. Guilt and Manipulation

Guilt and manipulation tactics are often used by toxic people as methods to invalidate our feelings and experiences, and to get what they want. For example, your dad might call you in the middle of a meeting even though he knows you are at work. You reject his call and he texts you, “you never want to talk to me or spend time with me because all you care about is your job.” This is a way of guilting and manipulating you into leaving your meeting and calling him back.

Jumping to grandiose statements like “you never” statements are very dramatic and hurtful. In this case, your dad cannot accept the boundaries you have made clear regarding your work. He will not accept your call rejection and may continue to call and text you until you respond. This is a sign he is a toxic person.

(Video) 7 Signs of a Toxic Person

4. Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a definite sign of toxicity. Gaslighting is a very specific type of psychological manipulation in which a person invalidates one’s feelings and experiences to the point that the victim begins to question their perception of reality.

Gaslighters cause people to second-guess themselves and their mental sanity, become confused, and lose their confidence over time. Typical methods of gaslighting include telling others they are crazy or lying when they share their feelings.

Gaslighting may include feelings of shame, guilt, frustration and exhaustion. Because the serious effects of gaslighting are more gradual, it’s best to remove yourself from a gaslighting person at the first sign of the behavior.

If you feel that is the case for you, also check out: The 5 Types of Gaslighting With Examples and How to Deal With Gaslighting: 4 Tips

5. Love Bombing

Love bombing is another type of manipulation used by toxic people. This is generally used in romantic relationships, but can also be a part of a friendship. Love bombing refers to the excessive showering of love at the start of a relationship. This may include excessive praise, attention, presents, grand gestures and time spent together.

The person may even say they love you or mention moving in together in the first week or two of the relationship. When you are in a relationship with a love bomber, you may perceive the relationship as moving too fast. Then it ends as quickly and suddenly as it began.

Love bombing is done to manipulate people into relationships, and once the perpetrator is comfortable in the relationship, they pull back all the love and they become seemingly dull and uninterested. This is confusing and draining for those who experience it, as they want that love back.

Love bombing can sometimes happen again, as a way of “winning back” the partner when they decide to leave. This is part of a cycle of abuse that is extremely unhealthy and can even be dangerous.

(Video) 7 Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship

6. Lies

Lying is an obvious sign of a toxic person. If you continuously catch somebody in lies, especially in lies that are thought up for their own benefit and possibly at the expense of others, this person is toxic. Sometimes toxic people lie for seemingly no reason. It may be that they just want to stir the pot and cause drama. This is the type of person you should try to remove yourself from immediately.

Did you know that so-called flying monkeys could be helping a narcissistic person manipulate others — against their own will? Learn more: Are you a Narcissist’s Flying Monkey? 7 Signs to Watch Out For

7. Unnecessary and Hurtful Judgments

Judgmental and “fake” people are extremely toxic. There is a huge difference between judging somebody fairly and unfairly. For example, it’s okay to judge somebody as being a messy person if you know their car and home are extremely messy.

What is not okay, is judging people for things beyond their control. People who are needlessly judgmental and make comments on others’ bodies, clothing, families and parenting styles are typically toxic people. These people may seem to get joy out of talking behind people’s backs. They enjoy gossiping about their friends and neighbors and they are nice to them to their face.

This type of behavior is extremely disrespectful and toxic. You can bet if somebody is talking badly about all their friends to you, they are talking badly about you to all their other friends. They are not a true friend, and you may want to distance yourself from them.

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How to Deal with a Toxic Person

In general, the best way to deal with a toxic person is to distance yourself from them. Sometimes, this is not possible, however. If the toxic person in your life is a family member or coworker, you have to figure out a way to deal with them. In friendships and romantic relationships, it is up to your discretion of how to deal with toxic people.

If you feel the issues are minimal and can be worked through, you may want to consider confronting them. Remember, not all toxic people are intentionally creating master plans of how to manipulate others.

However, toxic behavior has the same impacts regardless of intentions. If a person wants to change their toxic behavior, they should be encouraged to work on that themselves so as to have happier, more fulfilling relationships. Here are a few ways to deal with toxic people.

  1. Stay calmeven as you get upset by the toxic person. Getting aggravated will only exacerbate the situation.
  2. End the conversation as soon as it becomes toxic.When you notice toxic behavior, note it out loud to the person and put an end to it. You can say things like “I don’t like where this conversation is going” or “I don’t want to talk about this anymore.” It is your right not to engage in conversations that are hurtful to you.
  3. Point out the problems in their behavior.When ending a toxic conversation or behavior, feel free to tell the person what it is you are upset about if you feel comfortable doing so. You can say “I don’t appreciate you invalidating my feelings” or “I have caught you in a lie and it’s making me uncomfortable.”
  4. Put yourself first.It is not your job to fix a toxic person. You can point out what they are doing, but it is up to them to work on themselves and try and be better. Remember to prioritize yourself and stick to what you are comfortable with.
  5. Walk awayif the behavior does not stop. This is you setting boundaries. If you are in a situation in which you can’t walk away, maybe you can put in headphones or take a bathroom break if you need to calm down a bit.
  6. Cut contact. If the toxic person in your life is not improving and you have the ability to cut contact with them, this may be the best decision. Remember, cutting contact is just another boundary. If somebody is consistently hurting you, you must put yourself first. This may be difficult as toxic people will make you feel that you are to blame. This is not true. If you are in an unhealthy relationship with a toxic person, you can consider limiting your time together or cutting them off altogether. You can even block them on social media to make sure you don’t have to be reminded of them anymore Depending on the context of the relationship and the toxic behavior, this is up to your discretion.

Read more:

  • Long Distance Friendship: Maintaining Relationships from Afar
  • 9 Effective Ways to Get Out of Your Head
  • Feeling Restless? How to Overcome Nervousness
  • 10 Coffee Substitutes That Are Tasty, Healthy, and Energizing

Important Information regarding Health-related Topics.

(Video) 6 Signs of a Toxic Person

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How do you outsmart a toxic person? ›

Read on for tips on how to respond to this type of behavior.
  1. Avoid playing into their reality. ...
  2. Don't get drawn in. ...
  3. Pay attention to how they make you feel. ...
  4. Talk to them about their behavior. ...
  5. Put yourself first. ...
  6. Offer compassion, but don't try to fix them. ...
  7. Say no (and walk away) ...
  8. Remember, you aren't at fault.
Nov 20, 2019

What are the 25 signs of a toxic person? ›

Signs you're in a toxic situation with someone
  • They gaslight or lie to you. ...
  • They don't apologize properly. ...
  • They don't understand how their behavior makes others feel. ...
  • They think they are superior to others. ...
  • They see themselves as a victim of their own behavior. ...
  • People can't change their toxic personality traits.
Jan 12, 2022

How do you mentally deal with toxic people? ›

Tips to cope with toxic people
  1. Set boundaries even if it creates guilt. When dealing with toxic behavior, knowing where to draw the line is critical. ...
  2. Avoid getting drawn into the drama. ...
  3. Talk with them about it. ...
  4. Resist trying to fix things. ...
  5. Limit your time around them. ...
  6. Above all, ditch the blame.
Nov 15, 2021

What triggers toxic behavior? ›

These behaviors may manifest from underlying feelings of low self-esteem and mental health conditions such as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), childhood trauma, or other deeply rooted personal issues.

What are things that toxic people say? ›

10 Things That Toxic People Might Say.
  • “You're being overly emotional.” ...
  • “I was kidding. ...
  • “I didn't say that.” ...
  • “You're crazy. ...
  • “I can't do anything right.” ...
  • “Stop bringing the past up and move on.” ...
  • “I'm going to sleep.” ...
  • “You're being possessive.
Jan 20, 2021

How do you talk to someone who is toxic? ›

Here is a process on how to initiate that conversation effectively:
  1. Share why you're having the conversation (create mutual interest)
  2. Shine light on the behavior (explain the behavior and the impact it is having)
  3. Ask a direct question out of curiosity (not judgment)
  4. Be quiet until they respond (sit in the discomfort)
Jul 24, 2019

What are the red flags of a toxic person? ›

By learning what they look like and why they are harmful, you can put an end to toxicity before too much damage is done.
  • Overly controlling behavior. ...
  • Lack of trust. ...
  • Feeling low self-esteem. ...
  • Physical, emotional, or mental abuse. ...
  • Substance abuse. ...
  • Narcissism. ...
  • Anger management issues. ...
  • Codependency.
Feb 1, 2022

What is the most toxic personality trait? ›

Controlling. One of the most dangerous traits of a toxic person is controlling behavior. They may try to restrict you from contacting your friends or family, or limit resources like transportation or access to money to restrict your ability to interact with the world around you.

What is the personality of a toxic person? ›

A toxic person is anyone whose behavior adds negativity and upset to your life. Many times, people who are toxic are dealing with their own stresses and traumas. To do this, they act in ways that don't present them in the best light and usually upset others along the way.

How do you cut off toxic family members? ›

Tips for cutting ties with a toxic family member

Acknowledge that its abusive. You need to stop minimizing and denying the harm that your family member has caused. Give up the fantasy that they will change. Grieve the loss of having the kind of relationship you wanted with this person.

How do you know if you're toxic? ›

Signs of a toxic person.
  1. You're always sarcastic.
  2. You deal with conflict in a roundabout way.
  3. Everything is a competition.
  4. You turn everything into a joke.
  5. You want to fix everyone and everything.
  6. You secretly crave disaster because of the care you receive from it.
Jun 29, 2021

Can a toxic person be fixed? ›

Toxic dynamics can be mended with conscious time, effort, and self-awareness. But both people need to be willing to change and accept responsibility to move forward.

Can a toxic person change? ›

If you've addressed toxic behavior with the person exhibiting it and they have taken it to heart, it's possible for toxic people to change. “Toxic people can absolutely change,” Kennedy says, “however they must see their part in the problem before they are likely to find the motivation to do so.”

How do you know when to stay away from someone? ›

15 Signs you should stay away from someone
  • You never enjoy your time together.
  • They've shown signs of dangerous behavior.
  • Their friends creep you out.
  • You feel bad about yourself when you're together.
  • They are controlling.
  • You complain about them to your friends.
  • They don't respect boundaries.
  • You stay up thinking, 'What If? '
Nov 16, 2021

How do you emotionally detach yourself from someone? ›

Indulge in a creative activity

This allows you to lose yourself into something you enjoy and also uplifts your mood. It will give you a sense of independence and you will rely less on other people for making you happy or filling your day. It's a great way to practice emotional detachment in life.

How can you tell if someone is unhealthy or toxic? ›

Your relationship may be toxic if it is characterized by behaviors that make you feel unhappy, including disrespect, dishonesty, controlling behaviors, or a lack of support.

What are the 10 red flags? ›

10 Relationship Red Flags
  • 1- Lack of Communication. ...
  • 2- Disrespecting Boundaries. ...
  • 3- Lack of Trust. ...
  • 4- Difficult to Rely On. ...
  • 5- Controlling Behavior. ...
  • 6- Friends or Family Are Wary. ...
  • 7- Dwelling on Past Relationships. ...
  • 8- They Make You Feel Insecure.
Apr 29, 2021

What are the 10 red flag symptoms? ›

Examples of red-flag symptoms in the older adult include but are not limited to pain following a fall or other trauma, fever, sudden unexplained weight loss, acute onset of severe pain, new-onset weakness or sensory loss, loss of bowel or bladder function, jaw claudication, new headaches, bone pain in a patient with a ...

What is considered a toxic woman? ›

Toxic femininity refers to the adherence to the gender binary in order to receive conditional value in patriarchal societies. It is a concept that restricts women to being cooperative, passive, sexually submissive, gentle, and deriving their value from physical beauty while being pleasing to men.

Why do I attract toxic people? ›

You're a fixer.

You think of yourself as a great problem-solver, but that often means overstepping boundaries and causing havoc in your relationships. Toxic people find you attractive because, much as they do with the pleaser, they take advantage of your good nature and desire to help.

What are the seven toxic habits? ›

There are seven toxic habits that you should quit today. Stop comparing yourself to others, letting your past impact your present and future, not taking your own advice, expecting the worst, not taking chances, not sharpening your saw, and being too hard on yourself.

What do toxic family members do? ›

Here are some common signs of toxic behavior from a family member: Their perception of you doesn't jibe with the way you see yourself. They accuse you of things that you feel aren't true. They make you feel like you're never enough or bad about yourself, or otherwise emotionally destabilized.

When should a toxic family member be cut off? ›

It could be time to cut the person off if you or your child start to dread visiting that family member, especially if they only interact in negative ways with those around them. "Recognize that spending time apart from them is important to one's own mental health," adds Dr. Halpern.

How do you heal when family hurts you? ›

Relationships: When Family (or Any Relationship) Hurts
  1. Don't let anyone else's behaviour change who you are. Be dignified. ...
  2. Make it clear this isn't personal. ...
  3. Now remind yourself not to take it personally. ...
  4. Find compassion. ...
  5. Hold the space. ...
  6. Accept what is. ...
  7. You don't need to convince anyone. ...
  8. It's okay not to be with them.

What does toxic behavior look like? ›

Lack of accountability

Toxic people do not want to take the blame for anything, and they'll make sure they don't. Not only do they display a lack of responsibility for their actions, Spinelli says, but they'll often deflect blame onto others.

Is my partner toxic or am I? ›

If a relationship stops bringing joy, and instead consistently makes you feel sad, angry, anxious or “resigned, like you've sold out,” it may be toxic, Glass says. You may also find yourself envious of happy couples. Fuller says negative shifts in your mental health, personality or self-esteem are all red flags, too.

What is toxic mental? ›

Toxic people care mostly about themselves. They don't think about how their actions affect others and believe they are better than everyone else. Someone who is self-centered is focused on getting what they want and is unlikely to compromise or consider another person's point of view. Difficulty with anger management.

How do you break a toxic cycle? ›

Toxic relationships: How to break unhealthy patterns
  1. Be active in your relationship. ...
  2. Make time to connect and share experiences. ...
  3. Take a step back and try and look at your relationship objectively. ...
  4. Learn to have better arguments. ...
  5. Beware that the thing you were once attracted to can be the thing that undoes you.

What does the Bible say about dealing with toxic people? ›

He did teach us to guard our own hearts: He instructs us to give up our anger toward abusers (Matthew 5:21-24). He says to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:38-39). He tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:43-48).

How do I stop someone from ruining my life? ›

Here are some nice ways to deal with annoying, rude, and mean people and prevent them from ruining your day.
  1. Remember It's About Them, Not You. Okay, I know this sounds cliché, but it's actually the truth. ...
  2. Kill Them With Kindness. ...
  3. Ignore Them. ...
  4. Stay Busy With the Good Things. ...
  5. Final Thoughts.
Oct 10, 2020

What does God say about removing toxic people from your life? ›

A glance at the book of Proverbs reminds us: “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare” (Prov. 13:20 ).

How did Jesus deal with toxic people? ›

Jesus also demonstrates the need to sometimes “verbally” walk away when dealing with a toxic person, like Herod. Instead of arguing with Herod and trying to justify himself, Jesus remained silent: “[Herod] plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer” (Luke 23:9).

What does God say about narcissism? ›

Narcissism is addressed in the Bible in Paul's second pastoral epistle to Timothy (2 Timothy 3:1-7) in the fall of A.D.67. Paul seems to be concerned about the character and behavior of leaders within the church, so he warns Timothy to beware of those who act out of a “self love attitude”.

How do you not let a difficult person affect you? ›

How do you not let a difficult person affect you?
  • Pay attention to how you react. How does this person's behavior make you feel? ...
  • Stay calm. Even when you're dealing with a difficult person, it usually doesn't help to blow up on them. ...
  • Do your own Inner Work® Sometimes, people bother us because they remind us of ourselves.
Apr 28, 2022

How do you tell if someone is trying to destroy you? ›

Characteristics Of Toxic People
  1. Gaslighting. ...
  2. Using Negative And Judgmental Tones. ...
  3. Trying To Bring You Down By Acting Better Than You. ...
  4. Make You Feel Bad About Your Achievements And Not Celebrate Your Success. ...
  5. They Point Out Your Mistakes. ...
  6. They Always Use Your Previous Failures Against You. ...
  7. They Play The Victim.
Apr 23, 2022

What to do when someone makes you feel unwanted? ›

How to Address Feeling Unwanted
  1. First, reflect on the feeling by yourself.
  2. Have a conversation with your partner.
  3. Switch things up romantically or sexually.
  4. Speak to a therapist or relationship coach.
Aug 9, 2022


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