We all have toxic people in our lives. But sometimes, we don’t even know how much poisonous damage they are causing. Today we learn about the signals of dangerous behavior and how to deal with it correctly.
What Are Toxic People
Do you ever feel negative around someone? Or find yourself being pressured into doing things you don’t want to do?
Chances are, there are some toxic people in your life.
The dangerous behavior of a toxic person is primarily psychological. This means that they don’t necessarily hurt anyone physically, although they might.
Toxicity is expressed through manipulation, discouragement, emotional abuse, and so on. Living among toxic people can often lead to depression, self-loathing, and even suicidal thoughts.
But the biggest trap of all is their talent for disguise. In many cases, we don’t even recognize the signs of potentially dangerous behavior towards us.
Our love, responsibility, and emotional connections with toxic people cause us more harm than pleasure. That’s why it’s important to recognize the signs and act fast.
Types Of Toxic People
Being toxic is not a single personality trait. Dangerous behavior comes in many shapes and sizes, making it slightly hard to categorize.
You can look at toxic people in your life from two general perspectives. First, is what is that person’s relationship to you?
Are they your relative? Your partner? Your coworker?
Depending on their significance and role in your life, you will need to find specific approaches to dealing with them.
Another way we can look at toxic people is by the level of their toxicity. Some make you feel slightly uncomfortable and others make it hard to breathe.
It is important to understand that every level of toxicity is potentially dangerous for you. Even if you believe that it’s not that big of a deal, address the issue and find a way to resolve it.
Having trouble recognizing the signs of dangerous behavior? Here are several red flags to look out for.
Signs Of Toxic People
We have already mentioned that toxic people act in a variety of ways. From insignificant manipulations all the way to emotional and physical abuse.
It is a little harder to spot the ones who are invisibly toxic. You feel bad around them, but you just can’t put the finger on it. Sounds familiar?
Learning to recognize the signs of dangerous behavior and spot toxic people in your life is very important, mainly because you will shield yourself from being harmed.
Additionally, you might find some of those signals in your own behavior. Learning that you are toxic is a bitter pill. But taking it is crucial to complete recovery.
Below you will find three red flag categories that will most likely point out to toxic people in your life.
Toxic people are often negative. They can do it both consciously and unconsciously.
Holding grudges, noticing the worst in people, making pessimistic predictions are all parts of this dangerous behavior. Whatever is causing it, these people just cannot see the good.
And for those around this means a constant feeling of discouragement and hopelessness.
Of course, nobody can be happy forever. But toxic people, in particular, are mastering the art of injecting their venom into absolutely anything.
Getting others to do what you want is not an easy task. Leadership can sometimes be very toxic if it is built on the wrong techniques.
There are so many tricks up toxic people’s sleeves, including guilt-tripping, pretenses, aggression, belittling, and more. But the result is all the same — you are forced into doing things you don’t want to do and feeling things you wouldn’t usually feel.
To everyone’s surprise, manipulative toxic people often don’t get enough power in their personal lives or careers. Their anger at the world causes them to spread the poison in small portions, slowly taking over the whole thing.
Of course, this doesn’t mean we should feel sorry for them and let the damage happen. But in the scenario when someone close to you is behaving that way, you might have an option to offer your help.
Not always, but often toxic people are extreme narcissists. They sincerely believe that all the love and attention of the world should belong to them.
Self-love is healthy when it comes to rational doses. But the moment it grows into self-obsession, there is a problem.
A narcissist’s dangerous behavior can easily grow out of proportion if you don’t deal with it on time.
All of the above are interconnected. They cause each other and often collaborate to achieve a certain goal. The wider the spectrum of the potentially dangerous behavior, the harder it is to address.
But there is still hope.
How To Cope With Dangerous Behavior
In some cases, toxic people are impossible to walk away from if they are your parents, your child, or anyone else of significant meaning.
What do we do when we can’t run? We hide. Let me explain.
The first thing you will have to work out is building a shield that will protect you from all sorts of dangerous behavior. Keep reminding yourself that you are worthy and strong, no matter what the toxic person is saying.
Recognize the signs of manipulation and don’t bend under it. Easier said than done, I know. But when there are not many options, it could be the only way.
You can also consider having a sincere conversation with a close person that is being toxic. Maybe they feel pain or confusion, which causes them to bite and scratch like a wounded animal.
Suggest getting professional help or simply start being open with each other. When it is someone who truly loves you and cares about you, there is a chance they will understand and shift the way they act.
However, if the amount of harm is too hard to handle, especially if it involves abuse of any kind — get help.
Some toxic people cause too much pain. And you do not have to handle them at all! Seek help from relatives, friends, psychotherapists, or police whenever you feel like it.
The longer you are subjecting yourself to someone’s dangerous behavior, the more poisoned and damaged you become.
But we also have people that are less significant to us in terms of connection. In that case, coping is not necessarily the only option.
How To Deal With Toxic People
You can always use the advice from above on any type of toxic person in your life. But when there is a need to resolve an issue, there are a couple of ways rather than shielding from it.
The first thing you can try is confrontation. If your boss, roommate, or even your love interest are toxic towards you — tell them.
Show that you recognize their toxic tricks and you don’t intend to follow them. If the person in front of you is toxic unintentionally, this method is going to work as a wake-up call.
A good example is when friends or love partners are copying their toxic parents’ behavior to show love or care. They think that being controlling and manipulative is love.
When they understand the way you feel, they might change their dangerous behavior towards something warm and actually caring.
But when confrontation leads to aggression or denial, there is really only one solution left.
You will need to leave. Leave your venomous partner, cut the connection with a toxic friend, avoid contact with a bitter colleague.
If leaving your job is not an option, consider sharing your feelings with HR. Maybe there will be a way to work out the situation with minimum harm.
Once again, if you are afraid that your physical health might be in danger, get help. Plan your escape from toxicity very carefully.
Contact the authorities, get a lawyer, move from a shared space: do everything in your power to come out unharmed.
And once you do, it is time to heal.
How To Recover From Toxic People
Recovery is necessary for anyone who encounters toxic people. Through healing, we ensure to stay positive, balanced, and whole.
If you do the recovery correctly, you will also become more immune to any future toxic people in your life and avoid becoming toxic yourself.
After being emotionally poisoned, to come back to health, start by reflecting on what has happened to you. Outline the dangerous behavior and remember how it made you feel.
You will most probably feel hurt, offended, and vulnerable. But as you go through the following recovery stages, it will become easier and easier.
Next, practice acceptance. Say to yourself: “This happened and it harmed me. I am hurting, but I will be alright”.
We can’t change the past. But we can definitely stop the past from poisoning our present.
Allow your memories to exist and consider the lessons. Yes, it is not very pleasant to become emotionally intelligent by dealing with toxic people, but it’s very effective.
Work with your own toxic thoughts and actions. Try to put yourself in the shoes of others as much as you can.
Seeing the same situation from different perspectives gives a deeper level of understanding and compassion. And these two usually work together to cancel out the toxicity.
Finally, share your experience of dealing with toxic people whenever you feel comfortable doing it. Someone may benefit from your story and address another’s dangerous behavior in their life.
Toxic People Make Us Stronger
Every challenge, even the negative one, ends up being a teaching moment. Your job is to learn that lesson and come out a better, kinder person.
Toxic people are inevitable. We all will come across them at some point.
But as long as we don’t let their dangerous behavior get to us and address the toxicity correctly — we are going to be just fine.