While every toxic person is different, there are common traits and characteristics that frequently pop up. Here is a list of 50 warnings signs to help you spot and avoid toxic people in your life.
Some people have doubts as to whether or not they have been abused for various reasons:
- There are good moments mixed with abuse.
- Their ‘normal meter’ is broken. For people who have been brought up by “strict” parents, they may have difficulty spotting abusive behavior because it was normal to them.
Confused about “office politics”? This guide explains what people actually want and why they don’t tell you. Download the guide (PDF)
There have been many studies published on the effectiveness of domestic violence programs used to treat men who abuse their partners. Various researchers have performed meta-analyses on those studies to aggregate our knowledge on what we know about reforming abusive people. Unfortunately, the research so far has been rather depressing.
Steve Jobs was widely celebrated after he had died. But he left behind a very questionable legacy in terms of how he treated other human beings. His abusive behaviours have been documented in his biography by Walter Isaacson, by his friends, by his daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs, and by Chrisann Brennan (Lisa’s mother and Steve Jobs’ ex-girlfriend). Jobs had famously denied paternity of his daughter and absurdly claimed in court papers that he was “sterile and infertile”. His daughter and ex-girlfriend have detailed his emotional abuse in their books. Lisa discusses how her father continued to put her down shortly before his death and that she had given up on “the possibility of a grand reconciliation, the kind in the movies”.
As a society, we need to stop enabling abuse. Emotional violence occasionally has a cost to shareholders. More importantly, it has devastating effects on its victims. We need to stop whitewashing “successful” people simply because we admire their achievements and accomplishments.
Learning how to be spontaneously funny is a skill that anybody can learn. This guide explains the not-so-sexy secret to being funny: it’s about recognizing situations and applying the appropriate humorous formula for that situation. Download the guide (PDF)
- Was I abused?
- Dealing with narcissists + toxic people
- What to do if kicked out
- How to document abuse
- Restraining orders
- How to leave abuse
- Why is it hard for me to leave my parents?
- Trying to change your abuser: it’s a trap
- Therapy + mental health
- Life skills
- Someone I know is being abused
Toxic people have disturbing emotional needs that cause them to intentionally hurt others. There are two main reasons why toxic people hurt others:
Narcissism. Narcissists are people who are desperate for others to see them in a good light. They need others to constantly validate them with adoration, adulation, and admiration. If they do not get it, they will devalue others. If they can’t be seen as a giant, they will try to turn everybody else into midgets.
Control. Sociopaths and psychopaths desperately need to hurt and control others to feel safe. They sabotage others and try to make them miserable so that they don’t feel powerless.
(Note that some abusers are both narcissistic and controlling.)
If you stop supplying your abuser with validation, they will stop seeing you as their go-to source of emotional supply. You can take away their reasons for abusing you.
We all form illogical connections in our brains. For example, most of us have a problem with procrastination. When we think about homework (or other unpleasant tasks), we feel a sense of dread. However, procrastination is an illogical behavior because putting something off makes the problem even worse. Our feelings can lead us down the wrong path. When we finally do the task that we’ve been putting off, it’s never quite as bad as we imagined it. Our brains make a highly illogical connection between putting something off and the immediate relief of avoiding an unpleasant task. The erroneous connection can cause us to do things that don’t benefit us.
In most cases, abuse is complicated rather than simple. You may be confused and disturbed as to why the abuse victim didn’t simply leave as soon as the abuse started. While the victim does NOT like being abused, their actions may seem to be highly inconsistent with not wanting abuse. Unfortunately, it is quite common for abuse victims to stay in the abusive situation (or want to return to the abuse) because they want validation from their abuser. This article will look at what you can do to help them get out of their predicament.