Saturday, April 16, 2016

8 Toxic People to Avoid

It was a perfect day until she arrived. Within no time, my world became clouded with misery. I searched and yearned for a glimpse of happiness. She left after a while. By then, my emotional energy was at an all-time low. It felt as though I had faced a Dementor attack. All the joy had been sucked out.

Note for non-Potterheads: (Dementors are mythical creatures created by JK Rowling in Harry Potter’s world who suck out all joy from its victims)

Does this situation sound familiar? The ‘she’ I mentioned belongs to a category of people who are toxic to our emotional well-being.

Many of us don’t recognize them as we have been around them for long. They live among us. A friend, a colleague, a spouse, a sibling, a cousin they can be anyone. We accept their hurtful behavior and suffer in silence.

They come in many hues. Let me list eight such toxic people whom I have encountered.

1.     The Toxic temperamental

Do you know that one person who has a short fuse and hot temper? They are addicted to anger. Anything and everything might provoke them. The weather, a sneeze, a pet, a social media update… the list can be endless. They always have a justification for their anger. Their anger manifests as emotional, verbal or even physical abuse. We need to bend backward to please such a person.
It seems like walking on egg shells when this person is around.
Do you think they will change if you stoop and twist yourself into knots?
No, never.

Solution: Distance yourself as far from them as you can.

2.     The Toxic Victims

They are the perfect drama kings and queens. Always the victims of one or another sinister plot. The whole world is out to get them! The cruel mother, the Hitler boss, the bossy husband, the sick mother-in-law…
You are pleased initially that they are confiding their life problems to you. You spend hours on the phone, offering solutions. Do they listen? No. They will call the next day with a more serious and deadly problem. Sigh!
Will they change? Sadly, never.
Don’t invest a lot of time and energy on them. Every speed breaker in their path often appears like an insurmountable mountain for them.

The best dialogue to employ:”Oh, dear, I hope everything turns out well. I will keep you in my prayers. I think I hear another call coming. Speak to you later. Bye.”

3.     The Toxic Manipulators
These are professional guilt-trippers. They won’t take no for an answer. They employ a variety of methods to manipulate people to get what they want. Emotional blackmailing, threats, rosy prospects, they have all the tools to trap you. When you feel you are being pushed to act due to a feeling of guilt or implied obligation, beware, you are walking into the web of a manipulator.

The word they need to hear: ‘No.’ In fact, NO is a complete sentence. There isn’t any need to explain further.

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4.     The Toxic One-ups

You have this one ‘friend’ who always has done everything better than you. The moment you finish telling them of your latest achievement, they take a moment to jog their memory and vomit out a grandiose version of the same event. But this time, they are the stars in it. Your experience is nothing, you see! You feel disappointed that this person doesn’t congratulate you or share your excitement. Sadly, these people have no idea that they are annoying you. These lonely people crave attention and want to impress you with their accomplishments.

Solution: Tell them in kind but clear words to let you enjoy your time in the spotlight. If they don’t get it, remember to never share your happy moments with them the next time.

5.     The Toxic Unreliable

This person makes promises one after the other and never keep even one. They will miss get-togethers, appointments and never honor their commitments. They will promise to call on you and never turn up. They will make plans with you, promise they will be there for you and will slip away leaving you stuck.
Often such relationships leave you feeling unloved and worthless. Sometimes, seething with anger.

Solution: Set boundaries with the person ahead of time clearly stating that you value your time. Any delay means the deal is off.

6.     The Toxic Critic

The critics are experts at finding faults with you. They will correct your grammar, pronunciation, snigger at your dressing sense and ridicule you openly in front of others. When you protest, they will blame you for being sensitive. If you live with such a person, you are bound to develop a low self-esteem.

Solution: Tell them exactly how they make you feel. If you are lucky enough, it is an unconscious habit which they will try and change.

7.     The Toxic Controllers:
         These people need to be in charge at every point of time. They will make rules, others shall obey. If anyone steps out of the line, they are doomed. They turn on their unpleasant bossy behavior on everyone. They often turn abusive; verbally or physically.
Solution: Controllers are usually insecure persons and have deep-seated fears of abandonment. They think of everyone as a problem. It is a no-win situation with such people. Stay away from them and seek professional help if the situation goes out of control.

8.     The Toxic Gossip:
We all like to indulge in gossiping every now and then, don’t we? But do you know that one person who is always up-to-date with all the latest juicy gossips? Be aware of them. If they tell you tales about other people they are equally capable of talking about you to others. Never trust them. And gossiping spreads negativity. The whole aura of a chronic gossipmonger is always negative. Check how you are emotionally after a particular gossiper leaves you.

Solution: Stop encouraging them. It is the only possible way out.

Now friends, check this list. How many such people do you know? Are they always around you? Are they lurking around disguised as friends? If yes, cut them out of your life. Such people make us miserable. Recognize them and weed them out of your life.

Tell me about the other kinds of toxic people you have encountered.


  1. So well said, Preethi. There are quite a few I know and the best way is to ignore them for they can never change.

  2. True. In some cases, ignoring them can be tough work too :)