Hanging around toxic people is kind of like walking into quicksand. You don’t usually know that you’re in trouble until it’s too late. So, it’s important to learn to recognize who is a negative person. That way you know when to exit the relationship. For those situations you can’t easily walk away from, it’s good to know what to do to protect yourself until you are able to make a clean break.
First, I’d like to point out that everyone has bad days. One, two, or even three bad days doesn’t make them a negative/toxic person. A negative/toxic person will leave you feeling bad after being around them the majority of the time. Some of the signs of a negative/toxic person are:
Signs Of Toxic People
- They worry a lot. Everyone worries a little, but if all they talk about is their worries…maybe it’s time reconsider how much time you spend around this person.
- They are always trying to tell you what you should do. Toxic/negative people usually think their way of being is correct, and everyone else’s is wrong. It is simply unfathomable to them that they could be wrong. This leads to the next point…
- They refuse to accept blame. Negative/toxic people are real quick to tell you when you screw up, but when they screw up…well, let’s just say that’s someone else’s fault too.
- They’re very secretive. Negative/toxic people are always suspicious of everyone else’s motives. Usually because their own motives are malicious. In order to prevent themselves from revealing too much information about themselves, they come off as overly secretive.
- They’re disrespectful. Pay close attention to how they treat others. If they’re rude to the waitress, they’re toxic. Everyone has the right to be treated with respect, regardless of their occupation, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, age or orientation. So if someone you are friends with is consistently rude to others, don’t walk…run!
- They’re all about what you can do for them. If the relationship is one-way, it’s not healthy. Relationships are give and take. If you’re always giving to them with nothing in return, they’re toxic. Now, I’m not saying that you should give expecting to get something in return. I personally feel like that’s setting yourself up for disappointment. However, a non-toxic person will want to give as well. They won’t feel good about always taking from someone else. Now, it’s important to realize that different people give in different ways. For example, say your significant other is having a rough time financially, they might not always be able to split the cost of things, however, they will find another way to contribute.
- They’re always the victim. If they’re always feigning the victim, they’re toxic.
- They gaslight. This is an important one because sometimes it’s hard to recognize in the moment. Gaslighting is when someone emotionally manipulates you. They’ll say things like “you’re just being dramatic” or “that didn’t happen” or “you’re making that up”. Overtime, this type of manipulation can lead you to doubt and trust your own intuition.
- They’re unsupportive of your dreams. If they’re constantly mocking your dreams, it’s time to drop them. Another sign that they’re unsupportive of you is when you talk about your goals or dreams they just don’t listen. By ignoring you, they’re showing you that your dreams are unimportant to them. Which means you are unimportant to them, so run!
- They drain the life out of you. Toxic people have a way of sapping your energy. They’re so negative that when you leave, your mood is depressed.
- They always have to have to upper hand or last word. Toxic people are masters at making sure they have the upper hand or last word. They want you to be depended on them. They need you to feel like you need them. In an argument, regardless of who is right, they’ll have to have the last word no matter what.
- There is drama wherever they go. If they’re always surrounded by drama, they just might be the cause.
- They don’t respect other people’s personal boundaries. Everyone has a right to feel safe. If someone is constantly touching other people in ways that they don’t like then that person is definitely toxic!
How To Deal With A Toxic Person
The sad reality is that you’re most likely going to come into contact with at least one toxic/negative person in your life. The good thing is if you pay attention to the signs then you can get out before it negatively affects you. You may want have the desire to help them, but the fact is you can’t save everyone. Especially if they don’t want to be saved. So, the best thing you can do for both of you is to remove yourself from the situation. Initially that may be painful, especially if you’ve been around this person for some time. But, over time, I promise you’ll be better off.
When You Can’t Leave
Now, what about the situations when you cannot easily extract yourself? If you’re a kid/teenager and have a toxic family. Then extracting yourself isn’t an option. In those cases, the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to keep your goals in your mind. Work hard and make a plan of action. Then enact that plan as soon as you are able to. So, start saving your money to put towards an apartment for when you are old enough. Work to acquire the skills you’ll need when you’re on your own. Learn how to budgeting, invest, pay bills, cook, clean and all the things you’ll need to know how to do once you’re out of that situation. The last thing you want is to remove yourself from one toxic situation just to end up in another.
My Own Ordeal With Toxic People
Here’s my own story of living with a toxic family. Take this and learn from it! I grew up in a toxic environment. We were poor, my mother was an alcoholic and emotionally abusive. My father was abusive. I started working when I was 15. Literally, I changed my birth certificate to get the job. I don’t necessarily recommend that. Both myself and my employer could have gotten in a lot of trouble. For me, it was worth it though. I worked under 40 hours/week during the school year, and full time during the summer. I saved most of my money to pay for a car and my high school tuition. However, since I was going to a catholic high school, I was surrounded by kids that had a lot more than me. As soon as I was approved for my first credit card, I started shopping a lot. I wanted to fit in and have the same things everyone else had. That was a very costly mistake.
Make A Plan
You see, I never learned how to properly budget or invest money. When I added the credit cards into the mix, I got myself into trouble. The credit card debt quickly spun out of control. Ultimately, I ended up filing bankruptcy just to get out from underneath all of the bills. The worst part of all of that was when I was 25 I left my job as an assistant manager at QuikTrip. I cashed out my 401K to help pay off some of my debt. I lost all of that, and still had to file bankruptcy. To this day, I can hear my old sales manager telling me “don’t cash out your 401K, you’ll regret”. I wish I had listened to him. Had I not cashed that out, it would have been protected from the bankruptcy.
So, if you’re in a situation you cannot extract yourself from, make a plan now. Work hard, educate yourself on how to invest, earn, budget, bank, negotiate, cook, and clean. Make sure that you are able to fully take care of yourself as soon as you’re able to get out! You don’t want to jump from one toxic environment just to land in another!
One more thing, find a mentor. Even if you never talk to that person. Study them. Take note of how they interact with others, speak, write, talk, how they educate themselves, how they invest if you can find the info. Find out any bit of information that will be helpful for you to learn so you can emulate those traits that make them successful.