What Is a Toxic Person and What Are the Signs of One?

Updated on February 25, 2019
brittneylindstrom profile image

Brittney is a licensed professional counselor and a certified rehabilitation counselor. She has a Master's in counseling.

What Is a Toxic Person?

There are so many ways to define a toxic person. You can find many on the Internet by just doing a Google search. For the purposes of this article, a more broad definition will be used in order to identify all maladaptive and abnormal behaviors of toxic people.

It's not that the person as a whole is toxic. Rather, the behaviors they exhibit are considered toxic. These types of people may create unnecessary drama in your life or they may try to control you or certain people and situations in your life.

The following signs and behaviors discussed are important to be aware of. Educating yourself has never been more rewarding when it saves you from being hurt or put through horrible experiences.

Signs of Toxic People

Below is a list of behaviors that many, if not all, toxic people display with most people in their lives. Take these seriously and if you're questioning whether or not a person is toxic, you should be aware of these behaviors and listen to your intuition.

Initial Praise For Your Successes

Toxic people will initially praise you for your accomplishments no matter how big or small you feel they are. They make your accomplishments as a reflection of themselves rather than letting it be solely about you. At the same time they praise you and rant about you to others, they are resentful that you did something of value.

Highly Competitive

If you try to bring up something you've accomplished or achieved, toxic people will either one-up it or downplay what you've accomplished. They are also competitive in little games and becomes a sore "loser".

Condescending Attitude

They treat your goals and aspirations in life with a condescending attitude while making sure to bring the conversation back to being about them. They may undermine your ability to achieve the goals you have set out for yourself to make themselves feel superior while you feel inferior and down.

Make You Feel Bad

They make it seem like nothing you have accomplished is a big deal. This could be to make you feel less than or to make themselves feel better, or both.

Use Sabotage as a Tactic

These types of people may sabotage important events in your life such as school, work, an interview, or other types of events with deadlines. This can include going out with them and having a "drink or two", making things up to cause arguments or dishing out insults to make you feel small.

Final Comments

In conclusion, it is crucial to spread the message about these subtle signs of toxic people that can and will affect your life negatively. Make sure you educate others and if you know other people in relationships with a toxic person, be sure they are aware of the signs and behaviors. You could save a life. I know someone saved mine by spreading the message and I hope you'll be a part of that as well.

Narcissistic People

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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.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Brittney Lindstrom

    What's your experience with a toxic person?

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      • brittneylindstrom profile imageAUTHOR

        Brittney Lindstrom 

        2 years ago from Chicago, IL

        I completely agree. We all set our own "list" of things like deal breakers or things we absolutely cannot deal with.

        Thank you very much for your wisdom and knowledge.

      • dashingscorpio profile image


        2 years ago from Chicago

        Know yourself, Love yourself, Trust yourself

        Those are probably the most crucial things one can do.

        Anyone who seeks or lives for the approval of others puts them self at risk of being torn down.

        Lets face it most people are guilty of putting their "best foot" forward especially when they come across someone they're attracted to. They don't want to say or do anything that might "blow it".

        Therefore it's important not to become emotionally invested with anyone during the "infatuation phase".

        It's only after you have spent some time with someone that you get to see there "authentic self".

        Each of us has our own screening process and "must haves list".

        Each of us has our own boundaries and "deal breakers".

        If something doesn't feel right to you it's probably not right for you.

        Each of us (chooses) our own friends, lovers, and spouse.

        Choose wisely!

        Life is pretty much about learning to be a "better shopper".

        "Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary."

        - Oscar Wilde


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