6 Signs of a Toxic Person

6 Signs of a Toxic Person

Understanding Toxic Behaviors and How to Change Them

Do you ever find yourself wondering if you’re the problem when things continuously go wrong in your relationships? It’s possible that you may be exhibiting toxic traits. Toxic behaviors can cause conflict and turmoil in the lives of those around us, but the good news is that there are ways to assess and change these behaviors. By understanding the signs of toxicity, we can identify and improve upon our own negative patterns.

A Note on Toxic Behaviors

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition, text revision (DSM-5-TR) does not classify toxicity as a mental health condition. However, individuals with personality disorders may display harmful traits and behaviors that can be considered toxic. Seeking guidance from a mental health professional who can provide support and offer mindful practices to improve overall well-being is a recommended course of action.

Signs of Toxicity

1. Avoiding Discussions

Someone exhibiting toxic behavior may have a tendency to avoid important discussions, which often leads to unresolved issues. In order to undermine the confidence of the other person, they may resort to tactics that belittle or make them feel inferior.

2. Not Taking Accountability

If you struggle to acknowledge your mistakes and instead blame others for your shortcomings, it can hinder your personal growth. Research from 2017 shows that reflecting on our decisions can have a positive impact on self-identification and personal development.

3. Refusing to Apologize

Individuals with toxic traits often warp the truth to make themselves appear as victims or shift blame onto others. Even when confronted with their mistakes, they may avoid apologizing and this can damage relationships with loved ones. Toxicity can make it difficult to listen to others’ perspectives and hinder the ability to offer genuine apologies.

4. Manipulating Others

Toxic behaviors include manipulating others for personal gain and control. Manipulation can take various forms such as lying, exaggerating, or withholding information to coerce others into doing what they want. Insults, making jokes about someone’s sensitivities, and withholding affection are other common manipulative tactics. Gaslighting, a type of manipulation that causes individuals to doubt their own reality, is also utilized by those with toxic traits.

5. Not Respecting Boundaries

Disregarding the boundaries of others can erode trust and a person’s sense of safety. If you possess toxic traits, you may neglect the needs of others and fail to be present for important events in their lives. This lack of reciprocity can have a detrimental impact on your relationships.

6. Being Inconsistent

While nobody is perfect and occasional inconsistency is normal, consistent erratic behavior can be seen as a toxic trait. If you frequently struggle to honor commitments or promises, it can affect your ability to provide support to loved ones. It is worth noting that women tend to face more intense scrutiny for inconsistent behavior, according to research.

Making Positive Changes

If you recognize that you display toxic traits, it is possible to make positive changes that will improve your relationships and overall well-being.

1. Improve Your Mental Health

Practicing mindfulness exercises, such as deep breathing and meditation, can help you observe and manage the thoughts and feelings that contribute to toxic behaviors. Consulting a mental health professional is also beneficial in addressing and improving unhealthy thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

2. Offer Heartfelt Apologies

When you make a mistake that warrants an apology, own up to it and make amends. Be open to feedback and take responsibility for your actions. Apologizing not only diffuses toxicity within a situation but also demonstrates your commitment to personal growth.

3. Respect Boundaries

Focus on respecting the boundaries of others and consider how your words or actions might make them feel. Cultivating empathy and a considerate mindset can help build healthier relationships.

4. Take Responsibility

Avoid blaming others for your mistakes and instead take ownership, even when it is uncomfortable. Recognize and acknowledge the impact your actions have on yourself and your relationships. Engaging in uncomfortable discussions shows sincerity in your desire for change and helps repair damaged connections.

Recap and Seeking Support

Self-reflection is key in acknowledging the signs of toxicity and initiating positive changes in our lives. If you recognize these toxic behaviors within yourself, take comfort in knowing that you can improve your relationships through personal growth. If you need further guidance, Psych Central provides a helpful guide to finding therapists and mental health support tailored to your specific needs.