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15 Signs of a Toxic Person to Recognize the Bad Ones in Your Life

Signs of a Toxic Person

Not everyone who’s toxic has it written on their foreheads. Sometimes, it’s incredibly tricky to spot the signs of a toxic person, then… it’s too late.

We all encounter toxic people in our lives. And I’m surprised if you’ve lived this long without encountering a toxic person already. They don’t necessarily have to be your partner. Even family members, colleagues, and co-workers can show the signs of a toxic person. 

Even if you know exactly who’s toxic in your life, you don’t always know how to label it. There’s always one person in our lives we bend to in the hope of pleasing them, but it never works. I have a family member who’s like that; whatever I do, it’s never good enough, and it can really wear you down. 

In the end, you’re the one who ends up getting hurt while trying whatever you can to make them love and accept you. But, spotting the signs can help you understand the person you’re dealing with and how to get yourself out of this situation. Being around someone who’s toxic can be unavoidable, but knowing the signs will help you understand how to manage them.

[Read: The traits of toxic people that can hurt and emotionally damage you]

The 15 signs of a toxic person you always need to keep an eye on

If you’re not sure of the signs of a toxic person, well, now’s your chance to become an expert. Let’s get to the red flags of toxicity lurking in your life.

#1 They use language against you. There are many words that aren’t toxic or negative in nature. However, someone who’s toxic will manage to use non-toxic words against you through tone. They’ll never be upfront with how they feel.

For example, if you didn’t cook dinner like you said you would, instead of asking why you didn’t cook dinner, they’ll say, “It looks like you didn’t do much today.” [Read: Understanding how people use emotional manipulation]

#2 They manipulate you. In your relationship, it’s very one-sided. And if you feel that, you’re probably right. Toxic people will make sure to have you feel as though you owe them something. When in reality, you owe them nothing. 

#3 They never say sorry. This is one of those dead giveaways and signs of a toxic person. A toxic person isn’t someone who’s going to acknowledge their wrongdoings. If they hurt you, don’t expect an apology. And if they do apologize to you, it’s usually done to get what they want. If they always think they’re right, then apologizing isn’t something that comes easy to them. [Read: The early warning signs of toxic people to watch out for]

#4 You have to prove yourself to them constantly. Whenever you’re around them, you feel you always need to choose between them and something else. The problem is you must choose them, at least, that’s what you feel should be done. You’ll hear phrases like, “if you really cared…” or “you never…” These phrases make it feel like whatever you do is never enough, and that’s a sign of a toxic person you should keep an eye on.

#5 They’re not listeners. It can be hard to actively listen to someone, especially when it’s a topic that doesn’t interest you. But if it’s your friend, family, or co-worker, you want to listen and show support actively. But toxic people aren’t interested in listening at all. They’ll quickly change the subject, usually to a topic that revolves around them. [Read: How to set boundaries with a narcissist and weaken their hold over you]

#6 They play the victim card. The victim card is the only card toxic people know how to play because it always works for them. Why would they change now? They’ll blame everyone else for their problems while looking innocent and helpless. When in reality, they made a mistake and should take responsibility for it. [Read: How to manipulate a manipulator and escape their manipulative grasp]

#7 They blame you for their misfortunes. We all have our bad days and accidentally take it out on the people we love the most. In those cases, we recognize our wrongdoings and apologize. But, this can’t happen every time someone’s in a bad mood. They need to take responsibility and work on their feelings. 

#8 They’re not honest. When someone is toxic, one of the big signs you’ll see is that they’re not honest. Firstly, they’re dishonest to themselves, and secondly, to the people around them. It can be small exaggerations of a story to boost their self-esteem or to lie to get what they want. Whatever they tell you needs to be taken lightly.

#9 You’re never right. No one is always right, but no one is always wrong, either. But when you’re around this person, you’re never right *even when you are*. The minute you open your mouth, you’re put down and insulted. You’re dealing with a toxic person. If you’re always being suppressed by them, they’re not someone you need in your life. [Read: How to tell if someone wants to hurt you because they don’t care about you]

#10 You need to defend your decisions. Whenever you make a decision around them, whether it’s big or small, you constantly feel the need to defend your choices. You second guess your feelings and intelligence. Did you make the right choice? If you can’t feel like yourself around them, that’s a sign of a toxic person playing with your mind.

#11 They use sarcasm as a weapon. Sarcasm can be really funny; however, too much sarcasm can be belittling and really hurt people’s feelings. But, for toxic people, it’s one of their strongest weapons as sarcasm is based on anger and distrust. Usually, toxic people don’t see how damaging this form of communication is.  

#12 You’re always unsure of their behavior. When you’re around them, it’s like you need to walk on eggshells. One day they’re warm and friendly, the next day they’re moody and upset. You never know what you’re going to get, and it makes you constantly feel you’re on guard. Your need to please them only makes it worse. [Read: 16 reasons why you get taken for granted by the ones you care about]

#13 They dump their feelings on you. We all have good and bad days, but that doesn’t mean our friends, partners, and family need to feel those negative feelings. Just because someone feels bad, it doesn’t mean everyone else needs to feel bad. But one of the obvious signs of a toxic person is their malicious intent to make sure everyone around them is suffering as much as they are.

#14 They don’t have boundaries. We all have personal boundaries that need to be respected by others. Usually, people figure out pretty quickly what your boundaries are based on stories or experiences they’ve had with you. A toxic person doesn’t respect your boundaries. Your boundaries are there to help define who you are and protect you. If they can’t respect that, then that’s a red flag. [Read: Do you have broken bird syndrome? Be empathetic with boundaries

#15 When you’re on a low, they’re on a high. When you’re doing well in life, they’re not celebrating with you. But when you’re on a low, they’re shining. Your good news can never be too good because they’re insecure and jealous. But your bad news, well, that’s great news for them. They may pat you on your shoulder to “reassure” you, but their eyes would be gleaming with joy!

[Read: The 15 types of toxic friends who make you miserable and drag you down]

Now that you know the signs of a toxic person, what do you think? Do you have anyone in your life who may be a toxic person?

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Natasha_Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic is an intimacy, dating, and relationship writer best known for her writings on Kiiroo, LovePanky, Post Pravda, and more. She's the creator and ...
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