Most relationships with a toxic person do not start out poorly. In fact, the most skilled con artists do a very good job of using effective manipulation tactics to win their targets affection and lure them in. It is often not until a targeted person looks back that they see the red flags missed early on. If you are even feeling that something is off with a new love interest, this could be your mind telling you to look more closely at whether this person’s motives are sincere. Not all people have your best interest at heart but will have you convinced they are the love of your life. The 10 signs below will give you some great starting points to determine whether you might be involved with someone toxic and potentially dangerous.
1. They are very charming, and the chemistry feels too good to be true
The process of falling in love takes time. This doesn’t mean chemistry can’t be instant or that infatuation is not okay. This is healthy, and it is important to feel chemistry to gain interest. However, it should take time to feel bonded to another person and your feelings about another person will not be solely dependent on how well they charm you when you establish great chemistry. It is important that you know a lot about a person before feeling secure with the chemistry developed. When a situation with a love interest feels too good to be true, especially early on, it might be.
2. They want to form a relationship very quickly
Another red flag is that the person you have met wants to move very quickly and this is usually without you knowing a lot about them or having time to learn more. They rely on love-bombing and charm to progress things to the next level. They want to gain your affection and trust so that when you do find out more about them that isn’t appealing or if you find out that some of their values contradict your own, they have you hooked in enough to cause you to compromise your own standards.
3. They contradict themselves
You’ll catch them in lies and their stories will clash or contradict with the facts. Sometimes these may even seem like minor mistruths, but these cues are very important to pick up on. For example, you ask a person how long they have been single, and they tell you they have been single for a year. Later you find out that they were just in a relationship a month ago. If you confront them, they’ll come up with all kinds of excuses or they might get angry and turn it around on you and accuse you of snooping. They will always try to place blame on anyone or anything but themselves.
4. Gaslighting is common
Gaslighting is a brainwashing tactic that will cause you to question your own perception and doubt yourself. People that are manipulative and predatory are very skilled at gaslighting. One example of gaslighting would be when the toxic person says or does something that makes you feel uncomfortable and if you express that you feel uncomfortable, they will tell you that you are exaggerating. If a person ever expresses discomfort with another person’s actions towards them, that should be the end of it followed by some sort of acknowledgment rather than telling that person that the way they feel is unacceptable.
5. They will guilt you in very subtle ways
A toxic person will cause you to apologize for your behavior when you should not have to. Early on, this person might say that your lack of time spent communicating with them gives them the impression that you aren’t interested, when you do spend a lot of time communicating.
6. They will triangulate or stir up drama
If given the opportunity to triangulate, venomous people will do so without hesitation. This is especially common to do with your friends. They might attempt to speak with your friends behind your back and begin manipulating them in subtle ways. They also may attempt to get you angry with their exes. Abusive people will try to triangulate using your family or using their family.
7. Your intuition tells you something feels off
If something does not feel right, do not dismiss this, especially early on. Your intuition is picking up on cues and often this is at a subconscious level. You may not even realize why you have a bad feeling and dismiss this. After all, you are being swept off your feet and you really may enjoy the attention. However, your intuition can save you a lot of pain and time in the long-run.
8. They will often probe for information that is inappropriate
A common tactic is probing. They might ask sexual questions too soon or specific things to find out how you think. These questions won’t be the typical questions a person should ask early on and you may feel obligated to answer. It can be tempting to feel like it’s necessary to be an open book to prove you have nothing to hide. However, it is perfectly okay not to answer questions that you don’t feel comfortable answering. In fact, it is probably wise to make it a rule not to discuss certain things too early.
9. They will test your boundaries
When involved with someone who has caught your attention, note whether you feel like you are saying yes when you would rather say no, making time for the new romantic interest when it really isn’t convenient for you, or if they are asking you to do things that you have already said are against your beliefs. If you are unsure, say no or enforce your boundaries and see how they react.
10. They are unaccountable for their actions
Toxic people are unaccountable for their behavior and actions unless it suits them to act apologetic (and this is usually if put on the spot in public). A toxic person does not like to be wrong and they will lie and manipulate to divert the blame. This can be anything from past relationship failure, job losses, or if they are blatantly disrespectful towards you. Their behavior was provoked in their mind and they fail to see that they are responsible for how they react. Note: It does not mean that a person is toxic if they have had bad experiences with people and they share this with you. This refers to a pattern of rarely being at fault for anything.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.