Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

Signs you are a toxic person

toxic person

We all know someone who is toxic. The type of person that drains you emotionally and who doesn’t necessarily have your best intentions at heart. Toxic people have their own issues such as self-loathing, low self-esteem, a lack of purpose and often see themselves as a victim. This blog post is more about self awareness and whether you hold any of the characteristics of a toxic person.

Typical symptoms of a toxic person


1) You don’t have many/any long term friends

Good friendships last because there is no hidden agenda and you truly like each other as people. Good friendships last longer than the average friendship where there are realistic expectations. If you keep people around you because they might be useful, it’s a bad foundation going forward. Good friends aren’t fickle and tend to keep in touch even if the contact is sporadic. The best friends don’t hold grudges or take it personally when a friend isn’t regularly in touch. Toxic people tend to take irregular contact as disloyal and see it as a personal affront. There is a lot left unsaid by the toxic person as they struggle to make the friendship fit their idealised version rather than accepting their friend as they are because the fundamentally LIKE their friend. Friends of toxic people feel the pressure and this can cause the friendship to dissolve.

2) You tend to lose friends

When you don’t fully understand the dynamics of a friendship, it’s harder to keep them alive. Friends have minds of their own and won’t fit your ideal version of what a friend should be.No one is perfect and friends that remain usually see the good and bad in their friend and accept things as they are. Of course, if your friend repeatedly cancels on you or gossips about you behind your back, that’s a different story. Apart from malicious behaviour though, quality friendships can chug along without too much effort.

3) Friends keep secrets from you

Toxic people tend to be judgmental and foist their beliefs and opinions on to their friends. As a friend you can offer your opinion, but acting superior or being patronising isn’t going to strengthen a friendship. The more judgemental you are, the more friends will keep information from you to avoid your judgement. Learn to enjoy your friendship without parenting your friend.

4) You enjoy conflict and gossiping unnecessarily

If you seek out conflict and like to cause drama, you might be a toxic friend. If you feel the need to go on groups on facebook or forums and cause issues, it is a good idea to ask yourself why. It normally suggests unhappiness within and projecting some of that inner misery on to others helps you to feel better about yourself. It’s unhealthy and focusing on what you are unhappy about in your own life will help you to be a better friend.

5) You feel empowered when you see others unhappy or sad

We all hope that our friends will want the best for us. Happiness is out there for everyone, if a friend is happy it doesn’t mean there is less happiness available for you. Be happy for your friend especially when you think about how everyone struggles in life. If you get a kick out of seeing a friend being miserable – take a look at your thoughts and actions. Something in your own life isn’t working.

6) You feel jealousy towards your friends especially when they enjoy success

Friendships should be about bonding and connecting, not about competing. A good friend will be there for you hen times and tough but they will also be there to celebrate the wins. We all go through ups and downs and having someone who cares is a fantastic support in life. Use your friend’s success as inspiration that the same could happen to you.

7) You regularly compare your life negatively to that of your friends

Again, you aren’t in competition with friends. If they are competitive with you, then perhaps talk to them about it as their behaviour is toxic. Friends offer us moral support and comfort in life and this connection is so special. Some friends are competitive but in a less formal, jovial way. That’s fine…it’s when you can’t stand good things happening to your friend that you need to analyse your own life. What’s not working for you? Why isn’t it working? Look at problem solving and taking steps to improve your own life rather than resenting your friendship.

8) You always see yourself as a victim

When you see yourself as a victim you automatically feel hard done by and resentful. Perhaps try to empower yourself by thinking in ways that don’t leave you feeling powerless and at the mercy of others. When you stop blaming others/the world around you and decide to move forward, you will be amazed at how opportunities will appear.

Friendships are there to be cherished. A friend is not a possession and you have to accept your friend with their strengths and weaknesses. If your friend has a good heart and you know they aren’t malicious, give them a break. Friends will hopefully be there throughout your life to celebrate the successes and commiserate when things go wrong and it’s a precious two way street. Keep your expectations realistic and you will enjoy your special connections.

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