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This is a classic example of harmful, uninformed journalism on lifestyle and
relationship topics. See my comments after the article. The
hilights below are mine. -
Peter Gerlach, MSW
+ + +
Although we like to think that
the people in our lives are well-adjusted, happy, healthy minded
individuals, we sometimes realize that it just isn't so. Personally, I've
had moments where I'll be skipping through my day, happy as can be, thinking
life is grand and BAM, I'll be blindsided by someone who manages to knock
the happy wind out of my sails. Sometimes it is easy to write it off and
other times, not so much.
Maybe you are a positive person, but when you are around a certain
individual, you feel negative. Or, maybe you have an idealistic view of the
world and when you are with certain people, you are made to feel silly,
unrealistic or delusional. Or, maybe you pride yourself in being completely
independent and in control of your life, but when you are around a certain
family member, you regress into a state of child-hood.
Some of these situations, and yes, these people, can have a tremendously
negative impact on our lives. And, although we are all human and have our
'issues,' some 'issues' are quite frankly, toxic. They are toxic to our
happiness. They are toxic to our mental outlook. They are toxic to our
self-esteem. And they are toxic to our lives. They can suck the life out of
us and even shorten our lifespan.
Here are the worst of the toxic personalities out there and how to spot
1. Manipulative Mary: These individuals are experts at manipulation
tactics. Is a matter of fact, you may not even realize you have been
manipulated until it is too late. These individuals figure out what your
'buttons' are, and push them to get what they want.
Why they are toxic: These people have a way of eating away at your
belief system and self-esteem. They find ways to make you do things that you
don't necessarily want to do and before you know it, you lose your sense of
identity, your personal priorities and your ability to see the reality of
the situation. The world all of a sudden becomes centered around their needs
and their priorities.
2. Narcissistic Nancy:
These people have an extreme sense of self-importance and believe that the
world revolves around them. They are often not as sly as the Manipulative
Marys of the world, but instead, tend to be a bit overt about getting their
needs met. You often want to say to them "It isn't always about you."
Why they are toxic: They are solely focused on their needs, leaving
your needs in the dust. You are left disappointed and unfulfilled. Further,
they zap your energy by getting you to focus so much on them, that you have
nothing left for yourself.
3. Debbie Downers: These
people can't appreciate the positive in life. If you tell them that it is a
beautiful day, they will tell you about the impending dreary forecast. If
you tell them you aced a mid-term, they'll tell you about how difficult the
final is going to be.
Why they are toxic: They take the joy out of everything. Your rosy
outlook on life continues to get squashed with negativity. Before you know
it, their negativity consumes you and you start looking at things with gray
colored glasses yourself.
4. Judgmental Jims: When
you see things as cute and quirky, they see things as strange and
unattractive. If you find people's unique perspectives refreshing, they
find them 'wrong'. If you like someone's eclectic taste, they find it
'disturbing' or 'bad'.
Why they are toxic: Judgmental people are much like Debbie Downers.
In a world where freedom rings, judgment is sooo over. If the world was a
homogeneous place, life would be pretty boring. Spending a lot of time with
these types can inadvertently convert you into a judgmental person as well.
5. Dream Killing Keiths: Every time you have an idea, these people
tell you why you can't do it. As you achieve, they try to pull you down. As
you dream, they are the first to tell you it is impossible.
Why they are toxic: These people are stuck in what is instead of what
could be. Further, these individuals eat away at your self-esteem and your
belief in yourself. Progress and change can only occur from doing new things
and innovating, dreaming the impossible and reaching for the stars.
6. Insincere Illissas:
You never quite feel that these people are being sincere. You tell a funny
story, they give you a polite laugh. You feel depressed and sad and they
give you a 'there, there' type response. You tell them you are excited about
something and you get a very ho-hum response.
Why they are toxic: People who aren't sincere or genuine build
relationships on superficial criteria. This breeds shallow, meaningless
relationships. When you are really in need of a friend, they won't be there.
When you really need constructive criticism, they would rather tell you that
you are great the way you are. When you need support, they would rather see
you fail or make a fool of yourself.
7. Disrespectful Dannys:
These people will say or do things at the most inappropriate times and in
the most inappropriate ways. In essence, they are more subtle, grown up
bullies. Maybe this person is a friend who you confided in and uses your
secret against you. Maybe it is a family member who puts their busy-body
nose into your affairs when it is none of their business. Or maybe, it is a
colleague who says demeaning things to you.
Why they are toxic: These people have no sense of boundaries and
don't respect your feelings or, for that matter, your privacy. These people
will cause you to feel frustrated and disrespected.
8. Never Enough Nellies:
You can never give enough to these people to make them happy. They take you
for granted and have unrealistic expectations of you. They find ways to
continually fault you and never take responsibility for anything themselves.
Why they are toxic: You will spend so much time trying to please
them, that you will end up losing yourself in the process. They will
require all of your time and energy, leaving you worn out and your own needs
All of these personalities have
several things in common.
1) the more these people get
away with their behavior, the more they will continue.
2) Unfortunately, most of
these people don't see that what they do is wrong and as a result,
talking to them about it will fall on deaf ears, leaving you wondering
if you are the crazy one.
Most of these people get worse
with age, making their impact on you stronger with time.
Frankly, life is too short to
spend your time dealing with toxicity. If you can, avoid spending mucho time
with people who are indicative of these behaviors and you'll feel a lot
happier. Have you encountered these personalities? What have you done? Any
personalities you would add?