For the sake of your own health and personal growth, make sure you can identify these people in your life.
Although we might not believe it, we can often be surrounded by people who have what we might call “toxic personalities.” These are people who tend to make us feel guilty even when we’re not at fault, who take advantage of us, and who have us at their mercy without us even realizing it. We might know who these people are in our lives, but perhaps we aren’t aware of their toxic consequences on our lives.
Let’s look at a brief description of some of the most common kinds of toxic personalities. Identifying them is in itself a great means for not falling into unhealthy relationship dynamics and for being able to use efficacious means to defend ourselves and achieve personal growth.
Envious people will always try to find allies. That guarantees them the ability to poison other people with their words and negative thoughts. This kind of person is never happy. They always want what other people have or achieve, and they try to block other people’s progress. If we are the object of their envy, the best thing we can do is ignore them.
Authoritarians tend to be very insecure people; this is why they foment fear in their subordinates, so as to prove and ensure their control and power over them. No one should tolerate this, not even if the authoritarian is your boss. Currently, there are laws about harassment in the workplace. If you find yourself in a situation like this, don’t hesitate to take action, because otherwise, going to work can become real torture.
Manipulators are toxic people who can fly under the radar for a long time without being discovered. They are friendly and try to please you. They have a great ability to empathize, and consequently, it can take time to discover their manipulative activity. Manipulators often lie. If you have a problem, they will pretend to have a bigger one. They usually have a gift for contaminating their environment — if they’re sad, they will make all those around them sad too.
As their name indicates, pessimists always see everything in a negative light. They’re bothered by everything, and they give in very easily. The negativity they live in attracts more negativity; consequently, they fall into a vicious circle. As much as you can try to make them see that not everything is as bad as it seems to them, they’ll usually contradict you and will feed on tearing down your positivity to make themselves feel better. As a consequence, you won’t feel so good yourself.
This is one of the most dangerous personality types. Sociopaths are impulsive, with no affective boundaries and no regrets when they harm others. They are ambitious people who achieve their objectives without caring about whom they destroy along the way. They are incapable of saying, “I’m sorry.” In order to identify this kind of person, we have to be very observant. Since they feel no emotions, we have to watch their face to observe their gaze and their facial muscles. If they fix their eyes on you and don’t move a single muscle in their face, be careful: they’re probably manipulating you.
Neurotic people tend to be insecure. Consequently, they will try to obtain high social standing, although they will impose on themselves objectives that they cannot achieve because of the feelings of low self-worth that hinder them. They cannot stand having anyone know more than they do about something, so they will always try to be the center of attention. Neurotics tend to suffer from insecurity starting in childhood; if they’re not able to resolve it, they develop perfectionist, conflictive, egoistic, and infantile behavior. This leads them to control other people. In addition, their mood swings make it very difficult to live with them.
Any of these toxic personality types will contaminate those who live around them, through their negative energy. Realizing whom we spend time with is important for our health. The trick lies in taking the initiative to choose what kind of people you want to surround yourself with, avoiding toxic personalities than can harm you, and cultivating positive attitudes and behaviors in your relationships with others.
Since you are here…
…we’d like to have one more word with you. We are excited to report that Aleteia’s readership is growing at a rapid rate, world-wide! Our team proves its mission every day by providing high-quality content that informs and inspires a Christian life. But quality journalism has a cost and it’s more than ads can cover. We want our articles to be accessible to everyone, free of charge, but we need your help. To continue our efforts to nourish and inspire our Catholic family, your support is invaluable. Become an Aleteia Patron today for as little as $3 a month. May we count on you?