Tag Archives: toxic people

5 Ways to Stop Attracting Toxic People

A while back I found myself in a conversation with someone about the topic of being around toxic people — or, as I prefer to call it, people who exhibit toxic behaviors.  This conversation led me into a place of reflection where I thought back to what my life had been like a few years ago when I had absolutely no concept of boundaries nor any idea what toxic relationships were.

Up until a few years ago, I was so much most susceptible to people’s toxic behaviors.  I would often deal with people who were envious or jealous of me in some way, who were influencing me to feel guilty for doing something for myself, who were making judgmental or critical remarks towards me, and who were, overall, just downright negative.

Despite this being such a struggle growing up, I realized that at this point in my life I don’t experience many toxic behaviors from others.  It is as if I simply announced to the universe “I am done with toxic people!  I am no longer going to have any toxic behavior in my life!” — and so it happened.

Though simply making that announcement would be oh-so-awesome and oh-so-easy, it definitely wasn’t that simple.  There were solid action steps that I had to make along the way.  So here are the methods I used that will hopefully help you to stop attracting toxic people in your life as well:

Consistently set boundaries with anyone and everyone who exhibits a toxic behavior.

Every time the someone says something critical or negative towards you, tries to manipulate you in some way, or seems to be envious or jealous of you rather than supportive, then set a verbal boundary to let them know that you will not tolerate their behavior.

So for instance, if you’re out singing karaoke one night and your friend comes up to you and makes comment like “You were totally off key” then immediately respond by saying something like “I don’t appreciate your comment” or “Please don’t talk to me that way”.  If they continue to make negative remarks towards you despite your comment then reinstate the boundary again and tell them the consequences, such as: “Please don’t talk to me in that way.  If you continue to talk to me like this when I will leave.”

This can be incredibly challenging at first (trust me, I know!), but it has to be done in order for any change to happen.

Try to avoid feeding them any of your energy.

If a person is exhibiting toxic behavior, the person may very well not want to respect your boundary initially.  They may try to push you to a point of starting an argument or manipulate in a way so that you feel guilty enough to give in and do what they want you to do.

It is incredibly important to not give the person any of your energy when and if this happens.  Meaning, try to avoid giving their actions or words any time or attention.  This is important because, if they are continuing to try to push your buttons, it’s because they want you to crack.  They want you to lose your composure and argue with them because then they can get their way.

So when setting boundaries or making any confrontations, try to appear as calm as possible.  If you have any emotions that you need to deal with later on after the confrontation (which is very likely), then deal with it later through a relaxation method on your own or with someone who can safely support you, like a trusted friend or a therapist.

Create distance from people who tend to be toxic.

One very effective way to get toxic people out of your life is to, simply stop spending so much time around them.  Perhaps this means to minimize conversation with the person or to stop spending as much time with one another.

By creating distance from the other person, we are sending the unspoken message that their behaviors are not something that we not to be around.  Depending on your relationship with the person, this can be extremely difficult.  Keep in mind that just because you are no longer talking with the person as much as you were, it doesn’t mean that the relationship is “over”.  It simply means that the relationship is moving on to a new phase.  The two of you may become close again someday and it will be even better because of this phase — and, on the flip side, it may remain a bit distant.  We can never really fully know.

Recognize your own toxic behaviors.

This is incredibly important.  If we wish to be respected by others, then we have to be willing to be completely honest with ourselves by recognizing our own toxic behaviors and to actively change those behaviors.

For some of us, these toxic behaviors may be obvious while, for others, it may be more challenging.  If it is relatively challenging, then ask yourself: “How do I try to control other people in my life?  Do I struggle to except the decisions that others make?  Do I try to fix other people’s problems for them?  Do I, in some way, try to force them to do something that they don’t really want to do?”

Struggling with a need to control others is what many (myself included) define as codependency.  All of us struggle with this need to control others in some way to some extent throughout our lives.  It isn’t really a “I’m codependent” or “I’m not codependent”.  Rather, it is a matter of looking at it on a continuum or scale.  So for instance, if we were to look at ourselves on a scale of 1 to 50, with 50 being very codependent and 1 being very little where would you rate yourself?

Trust that things will get better.

When we’re in the midst of stress in trying to set boundaries with the people with toxic behaviors in our lives, it can be very difficult to see the “light at the end of the tunnel”.  We may find ourselves wondering why we decided to even bothered to start setting boundaries in the first place because it is causing so much extra stress in our lives.

I can assure you — it does get better!  So keep on doing it and, eventually, you will eventually find yourself in this comfortable place that is virtually free of toxic behaviors.


Take action now!

Reflect upon you current relationships and ask yourself: Is there anyone in my life right now who tends to exhibit toxic behavior?  What can I say to them next time they make a remark to me that I don’t appreciate?  What other actions can I take in my life to cleanse my relationships of toxicity?

Toxic Behavior Warning Signs

If you’ve ever lived, then at some point or another you’ve run into a person who is exhibiting toxic behavior. Toxic relationships can often be the cause for our lack of fulfillment in our relationships, so it is VERY important to be able to recognize toxic behavior in ourselves and others.

toxic behavior
Though this can seem to be a “hot topic” in the realm of self-help, co-dependency, and relationships, I also feel that it is a very touchy subject. The topic itself can lead to a rise of many negative emotions — and, coincidentally, influence we ourselves to habitually express toxic behavior. For this reason, I really don’t enjoy bringing up because by bringing up the subject, rather than to actually stop the toxic behavior, people habitually start the blaming game, which influences even more individual toxic behavior… that is, if we are not mindful in the process of discussing it.

So why am I bringing up the topic? Because it is EXTREMELY important to be aware of if you want to have fulfilling relationships. If you can’t clearly recognize a person’s toxic behavior then you don’t know when to set boundaries in the relationship or to simply leave or keep your distance.

Please also note, that I am using the term “toxic behavior” rather than toxic people or toxic relationships, which are more popular terms. My reason for this is because I feel that by saying “toxic people” or “toxic relationship” it implies that the people themselves are toxic and therefore cannot grow or change, which is very far from the truth. I see it as more so as traits that we express when at various stages in our development, depending on a variety of factors.

We have all crossed paths with someone who exhibited toxic behavior at some point or another. However, we also have to keep in mind that the chances are equally as good that we ourselves have also expressed toxic behavior at some point. So as you read through this list, I encourage you to focus on behavior patterns that YOU have or had and THEN look at the people in your life.


Here are various of toxic behavior patterns

– Mostly negative about other people and things.

– Always needs to be right – can’t ever be wrong. Has trouble apologizing and admitting wrongs.

– Everything has to be their way. There is no room for other people to influence the decision. No compromising

– Idealizes you and/or others (a sign of possible Narcissistic Personality Disorder)

– Sporadic outbursts of blame.  Family members, friends or co-workers may never quite know what’s coming next.  Unpredictable.

 – Chaotic emotional life. Emotional outbursts. Temper-tantrums.

– Manipulative and exploitative. Needs to feel in control of other people.

– Expects more from other people than they themselves are willing to give.

– Passive-aggressive. Has trouble expressing anger, so it is internalized and they express it passively.

– Judgmental of others in order to make themselves feel better.

– Has trouble accepting and respecting other people’s decisions and may use guilt to try to influence others to change their decision.

– Never satisfied with what other people give. Satisfaction from what was given may only last for a very short while or what was given may be immediately dismissed.

– Disrespectful of the boundaries you set. Example: Mary says, “Can you please not talk about my brother that way? It hurts my feelings.” Jack responds, “Whatever. I can say what I want to say.”

– Very self-involved. Focused on own emotions, moods, needs, and insecurities and expecting others to regulate how they feel for them. See themselves as the victim.  They make others responsible for their feelings rather than to take responsibility for their own feelings.

– Constantly needs attention, reassurance, and validation.


If you are first discovering toxic behavior patterns in yourself and others then be patient with yourself. If you are in a relationship where these behaviors are present, then it can be a very messy process to decipher what traits are yours and which is the other persons. Start by focusing on YOUR feelings.

To survive someone with this type of behavior it can involve a combination of boundaries and possibly creating distance from this person. Check out these other articles of mine that explain how to cope with toxic behaviors:

6 Steps to Setting Boundaries in Relationships 

How to Be Happy When Other People are Draining You

How to Heal from a Toxic Relationship 

But, before we part ways, lets focus on some self-reflection…


Eliminate Toxic Behavior Patterns from Your Life!

Get out a piece of paper or your own journal and answer each of the following questions:

What toxic behaviors have you seen in yourself (either in distant past or current life)?

Keeping in mind the list above, in these situations how could you have handled it better?  What could you have done instead?

What do you think you can do to help yourself break these behavior patterns? (there is no right or wrong answer – write whatever comes to your mind… be creative!)

Now, what toxic behaviors have you seen in others (either distant past or current)?

What do you think you can do to help feel yourself of this person’s toxic behaviors or avoid any toxic situations to happen again in the future?