Toxic People: How to Recognize and Avoid Them

February 6, 2020

Just as the environment has its toxins, humanity includes people who consistently do toxic things. Recognizing and avoiding toxic people is an essential skill to learn as early in life as possible.

Toxic people can spread unhappiness and personal suffering. They ultimately poison things with which they come in touch: other people, careers, businesses, marriages, and especially children. These people are often virtually immune to insight, remorse, or lasting positive change. I’m not talking about people with criminal personalities, but rather people who live and work with us every day.

There are at least four basic types of toxic people: the narcissistic-aggressive person, the “frenemy,” the negative-complaining person, and the seductive, overly-dramatic person. Let’s take a closer look and see if you can recognize any of these folks in your daily life.

The Narcissistic-Aggressive Person

Aggressive and selfish individuals tend to be adventurous and risk-taking. They are superficially charming, glib, and exciting. Inclined to be possessive, verbally abusive, and sometimes even physically abusive, they tend to be controlling and intimidating towards other people. They seek out friends and partners of the opposite sex who tend to be needy and look up to them. They tend to see themselves as assertive, rather than aggressive. They have a sense of entitlement that leads to remarkable selfishness. As a result, their entitled selfishness extends to usurping the rights of others as if it was their God-given prerogative.

Rules, and sometimes even laws, are acceptable only if they do not keep them from doing something they want to do; otherwise, such rules and laws are seen as not being applicable to them. People who have low self-esteem are often targeted by, and sometimes even attracted to, these types of people because they see them as protectors. The protection soon wanes and verbal and physical abuse often follows.

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