Do you know a toxic person? Even if you don't now, at some point in your life you're bound to have come across a person who fits the description. Dealing with such an individual can be difficult and draining, to say the least. In fact, it may challenge what you know about yourself and push you to the limits. Here are some traits to familiarize yourself with, and to help you navigate these trying relationships:
Toxic people often make you want to fix them and their problems. They want you to feel sorry for them, and responsible for what happens to them. Yet their problems are never really solved, for once you’ve helped them with one crisis, there’s inevitably another one. What they really want is your ongoing sympathy and support, and they will create one drama after another in order to get it. “Fixing” and “saving” them never works, especially since you probably care more about what happens to them than they do.
Toxic people are draining; encounters leave you emotionally wiped out. Time with them is about taking care of their business, which will leave you feeling frustrated and unfulfilled, if not angry. Don’t allow yourself to become depleted as a result of giving and giving and getting nothing in return. At first, you may feel for them and their plight but once you observe that every interaction is negatively charged you may want to limit your contact with them, or maybe even cut ties. Your time and energy are essential for your own life. Don’t be overly willing to give them away.
And beware especially the narcissistic toxic person. Their modus operandi includes gaining total control of a situation, and that means of you, too. They will demand your undivided attention and attempt to convince you that you need to join their camp. To their way of thinking they know better than you. They’re right; you’re wrong. And you need to do what they say. This kind of toxic person will think nothing of invading your space and may try to isolate you from others you are close to.
This post is meant as a general overview: Relationships are complex and it may not be easy to deal with toxic people until you have learned from previous interactions. I understand that many relationships, especially familial ones, are more difficult because it’s not so easy to close the door and say goodbye. But the bottom line is that if you feel bad about yourself as a result of a relationship with another person, it’s time to sit down and assess the issue. They may be unlikely to change, but you can. Weigh the pros (if there are any) and the cons, make a decision to limit your time with this person or end the relationship—and don’t look back.