Sometimes, we encounter people who match the description of a “toxic person” – someone with whom your relationship does more harm than good. Dealing with such a person can be emotionally draining as you try to keep up with their demands. If every interaction with someone in your life makes you feel bad, it’s likely that person is dripping with negativity. Knowing how to identify a toxic person, and cut ties with them as necessary, is essential for your emotional well-being.
Signs of a Toxic Person
Toxic people share a few common traits you can pick up on if you know what to look for. Here are three signs you might have a toxic friend, family member or co-worker in your life.
1. They’re Manipulative
Someone who genuinely cares about you will encourage and empower you to be the best version of yourself. Toxic people, on the other hand, expect you to serve them and do what’s best for them, not you. They take pride in controlling those around them. If you have a friend who always asks you to lend them money, give them rides or run errands for them and never repays the favor, you may be dealing with a toxic person.
2. They’re Dishonest
Toxic people are masters of deception. They focus on problems, not solutions. They may change their behavior from one day to the next, depending on what they are trying to get from you. If you never know what version of a person you’ll be dealing with at any given moment, that’s a sign of toxicity.
3. They Never Apologize
Toxic people don’t like to admit when they’re wrong, so trying to get a simple “I’m sorry I hurt you” out of them isn’t a good use of your time. A toxic person will always try to shift the blame for their bad behavior onto someone else.
How to Deal With a Toxic Relationship
If you are stuck in a relationship that’s turned sour, what are your options? One thing you can do is to examine your behavior. Are there patterns you can identify in your interactions with this person? Do they always cause you to react in specific ways? Perhaps you are always trying to rationalize the way they treat you, or you believe you can “fix” them given enough time. The truth is that you only get one life, and you don’t deserve to let someone else ruin it for you. Start setting boundaries and telling them no.
Often, the best way to handle a toxic relationship is to end it – even if the person in question is a family member. Perhaps the best-known recent example of this is the duke and duchess of Sussex’s announcement that they were planning to step away from their responsibilities as members of Britain’s royal family in favor of becoming financially independent and reestablishing control of their time and energy. Though this headline news came as a shock to many people around the world, the young couple did what they thought was best for them and made a change that nobody else around them was willing to make.