How to Manage and Live with Toxic People

Dan Duncan's picture

You have heard that we should avoid toxic people or at least minimize our interactions. But what if this is not possible to create the separation you want or need? What defines a toxic person? How do you know that you’re hanging out with one? And if you are, what can you do about it?

toxic/ boundaries/ issues

What is a toxic person?

Typically it is not that the whole person that is toxic. Their behavior is toxic and/or your relationship with the person is toxic.
These people often act out the parts of who they are, such as the victim, bully, perfectionist, or martyr in extremely unhealthy ways.

Toxic people are often deeply wounded and mostly unaware of how deeply wounded. Due to these deep issues, it is common for people with toxic behavior to:

  • Create drama in their lives or be surrounded by it 
  • Manipulate or control others
  • Be needy and make things about themselves
  • Use others to meet their own needs
  • Be extremely critical of themselves and others
  • Be jealous and envious of others
  • Abuse substances or harm themselves
  • Be unwilling or unable to seek help

What also makes a relationship toxic is how you respond and interact with that relationship. You will often feel and react to feelings of betrayal, withdrawing, numbing yourself or being overly accommodating to manage the relationship causing you to have feelings about your behaviors.

Both people play a role in toxic interactions. So it’s important to consider your personal role as well.


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