Toxic Traits: How to Identify and Overcome Them

toxic traits at work


Whether we want to admit it or not, most of us lean towards recognizing the good in others. As a result, often, we tend to ignore their faults and make excuses for their bad behavior and personality. Nonetheless, if left ignored, individuals who are challenging to deal with can end up causing you distress. Thus, leading to increased anxiety, depression, and other adverse emotions. Likely if you’re feeling this way because of someone, you may be dealing with someone who is toxic. However, it is harder for us to remove ourselves from harmful circumstances without identifying toxic traits. Therefore, keep reading if you want to learn more about toxic traits and how to confront them productively and healthily.

Key Takeaways

  • Dealing with someone who exhibits toxic traits can cause adverse effects on your mental health if not dealt with correctly.
  • It is essential to observe how you feel when you are around someone with toxic behavior to determine if you want to speak with them.
  • If a toxic person is unwilling to change their toxic traits, you can either set stricter boundaries with them or inform them that you would no longer like to be in their life.

How Toxic Traits Can Affect You

While toxicity is not technically considered a mental health disorder, in some instances, an individual’s toxic traits can be linked to an underlying personality disorder. However, while it is inconsiderate to diagnose an individual based on their adverse behaviors, it is okay to make observations for your own health and safety. Therefore, by recognizing these signs, you can make a well-informed decision whether ending a personal or professional relationship is a smart choice for you. However, first, let’s take a look at some of the negative thoughts and feelings you may be experiencing when dealing with a potentially toxic individual.

  • You find yourself confused by an individual’s behaviors towards you and others.
  • You May have a feeling you are being manipulated or pressured into something you do not want to do
  • Believe you deserve an apology for their behavior towards you; however, you never get one.
  • You feel like you have to constantly defend yourself when interacting with this individual.
  • Can never feel entirely comfortable or relaxed when in their presence
  • They make you feel bad about who you are as a person when they are with you

What are toxic traits in a relationship, at work, or with friends?

Furthermore, if you have experienced these types of signs for a prolonged amount of time with someone, you may be dealing with a toxic person. As a result, it may be time to evaluate your relationship with them by setting healthy boundaries or removing contact with them altogether. Nonetheless, now that we understand some of the consequences of dealing with a toxic person let’s take a closer look at some of the behaviors related to toxic traits below.

1. Gossip

The first tell-tale sign of a toxic person is their willingness and eagerness to gossip and talk negatively about other people behind their backs to you. For example, when you are with this person, they will feel the need to speak badly about your other friends. However, when you are all together, they will pretend to be best friends with them.

2. Inconsistency

Another toxic trait that you may notice is their inability to stay consistent in your life. For example, they may want to hang out with you every day for a month straight until they get bored and cut you out of their life for a little while before returning once more.

3. Take, Take, Take

Furthermore, when someone is a toxic person, they will expect more from you compared to what they are willing to give you. For example, they will expect you to show up for them when they are in need but are never willing to do the same when you need someone.

4. Boundaries

Moreover, another sign of someone with toxic traits is their inability to respect your boundaries. For example, you may tell someone you do not appreciate when they talk down to you. In the moment, they may be apologetic. However, the next time you see them, they will continue to talk down to you.

5. The Victim

Next on our list of traits and behaviors of toxic people is their constant need to play the victim. Regardless of if they are in the wrong, they will use their ability to manipulate you into believing they are the victim. As a result, they can do no wrong and lack the ability to take responsibility for their actions.

6. Gaslighting

Furthermore, another toxic trait that is worth observing is when another person tells you that you are overreacting. This is also known as gaslighting. When someone tells you that you are overreacting, what they are really doing is invalidating your feelings, another tell-tale sign of toxicity that needs to be addressed.

How to overcome toxic traits and toxic thoughts

Moreover, now that we have gone over some of the signs of toxic traits you may observe in others let’s take a look at how you can healthily overcome these individuals and situations.

  1. The first thing you will want to do when observing toxic traits in other people is to confront them respectfully. This will indicate to them that you have been paying attention to their behaviors and are providing them with the opportunity to explain and apologize.
  2. Another way to overcome someone who is toxic is to set stricter boundaries. Let them know that if they are unable to change their behavior, then you have no choice but to spend less time with them until they are willing to change.
  3. Lastly, if all else fails and a toxic individual is unwilling to change or work on their toxic traits, then the time has come to cut this person out of your life and move on rather than allow them to belittle you.


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