Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on August 28, 2017

5 Kinds of Toxic People That You Need to Get Rid of Now

5 Kinds of Toxic People That You Need to Get Rid of Now

Associating with the right people can be the difference between happiness and misery. You may have heard the Jim Rohn quote,

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Others have an effect on the way we live our lives whether we like it or not. Choose your friends and associates wisely to foster positive and healthy relationships.

We only have a limited time to live a meaningful life. Just like you should avoid the 6 Biggest Wastes of Time We Regret Sooner or Later, you must steer clear of people who will waste your life.

Toxic People Are Like Soft Drinks, They Will Kill You Slowly

Cigarettes and drugs can kill you quickly, but toxic people are more like soft drinks. When you drink a soda, it is unlikely to cause you immediate harm, and it certainly shouldn’t kill you. If you drink a soda every day, though, you may notice the negative health effects of your soft drink consumption.

In the same way, toxic people slowly drain you of your vitality. The more energy you spend on them, the more stressed and empty you feel. Some of them create such a negative force in your life that they can turn you into a toxic person without you realizing it.

Advertising

You may enjoy the temporary high of drinking a Coke, but drinking them habitually can cause diabetes and obesity. Hanging out with that toxic individual may seem okay at first, but in the end you’ll feel tired and used .

5 Types of Toxic People You Should Avoid at All Costs

Nobody strikes up a relationship hoping that it will be a drain on productivity and happiness. Unless you pay careful attention, toxic people weasel their way into your life and use your mental energy, patience, and happiness without you realizing it.

We have all encountered people like this, and some of us may have even been toxic people at some point in our lives. If we really are the sum of the five people we associate with the most, it is crucial to avoid these five types of toxic people.

1. The Gossiper

The gossiper is an insidious force in any organization. They make you feel like they are bringing you into the fold by sharing delicate information with you. It seems like all they do is gather and disperse chitchat about other people.

When someone wants to talk to you about someone else behind their back, it is almost always a toxic situation. It doesn’t add value to your life, and if the gossiper will talk to you, you can be sure that they’re also talking about you to someone else.

This is the person at work that corners you during break time and talks badly about another coworker’s performance. When the person feels that they can come to you, they’ll be likely to repeat this over and over. People see you together, and they may even label you as a gossiper just for being associated with this type of toxic person.

Advertising

If you think about what you can get from the conversation, it is most likely that these talks will not benefit you in any way. In fact, associating with a gossiper could really hurt you. Think about how you’d feel if you knew someone was talking about you behind your back. Now imagine someone catching you in the middle of a gossipy exchange. You don’t need that drama in your life.

2. The Manipulator

A manipulator knows what they want, and they’ll use you to get it. They don’t care about your thoughts and feelings. It seems like the more time you spend with them, the less power you have over your own destiny. Stick around this person too long, and you’ll end up doing whatever they want instead of standing up for yourself.

Most of us don’t act without a purpose, but the manipulator is bent on achieving their mission at the expense of everyone around them. Manipulation can take several forms, but a classic way to manipulate is through victim hood.[1]

For example, I have a friend who is being in a toxic relationship. His girlfriend is controlling and abusive, and every time it seems as though he will get out of the negative situation, she manipulates him into staying. Whenever he tries to leave, she fakes a health crisis to make him feel sorry for her. Since my friend is a nice guy, he sticks around to try to maker her feel better.

3. The Judge

So many cultures revolve around shame, and the judge takes full advantage of our discomfort with shame to steal your energy. Regardless of what you say, think, or do, the judge will always have some criticism for you.

The judge never tries to put themselves in your shoes. Their only concern is what you did or didn’t do. The more time you spend with them, the more depressed you’ll be. You can never make them happy, and if their opinion of you influences your self-worth, you’re doomed to misery. When you’re dealing with a judge, you’ll always take the blame.

Advertising

I had a friend who was married to a hard-working entrepreneur. The entrepreneur loved his wife very much. Unfortunately, his wife epitomized the judge. Often, he would have to go away for long periods of time for work. She blamed and resented him because he was away for so long, even though his job required it. It didn’t matter that his efforts paid for their home, gave them security, and allowed them to lead a good lifestyle. No matter how much he tried to make her happy, she was too consumed with finding fault to appreciate him.

4. The Exaggerator

An exaggerator doesn’t know how to keep a small problem small. They often resort to saying things like, “You never do…” or “You have always been…” They don’t take the time to consider steps you’ve taken to fix the problem or correct your mistake. Mess up in front of an exaggerator, and be prepared to be labeled by your mistake. To an exaggerator, everything feels like the end of the world.

Imagine you’re on a team, and you’re planning a big presentation. You were assigned to work on part of the presentation, but then someone in your family became ill and had to go to the hospital. You miss the deadline to turn your part of the project in to the team, but the final presentation is still over a week away.

Most people would understand these difficult circumstances, and a few might offer to help you complete your work during this stressful time. The exaggerator is not most people, though. An exaggerator will treat missing deadline as a horrible oversight that demonstrates your lack of dedication to the team. They will continue to hang this missed deadline over your head long after the presentation.

5. The Emotional Expresser

Being vulnerable enough to talk about feelings can be valuable in relationships, but sometimes people take this too far. The emotional expresser loves talking about feelings, but they never do this in a constructive way. This is the person who repeatedly tells you how something makes them feel, but they never take any action to improve bad situations.

It is so easy to fall into this trap of talking instead of taking action. If you hang out with an emotional expresser, sooner or later, you’ll become just like them. People like this can become so caught up in discussing their feelings that they lose the ability to solve their problems. This is not a productive or healthy way to live.

Advertising

The emotional expresser comes to you with a personal problem that must be fixed. They’ll tell you about their terrible relationship or their evil boss, but they aren’t willing to do anything to solve their problems. They won’t cut ties with the person harming them, and they won’t look for a new job.

Any suggestion that you make for how they can improve their lives will be met with resistance. “I can’t do that…” and “I’ve already tried that…” are the default responses that the emotional expresser will give to you when you challenge them to face their problems head on.

Do Yourself a Favor, and Keep Excellent Company

When you allow these toxic people into your life, you set yourself up for a depressing, infuriating, emotionally exhausting experience. It can feel harsh to cut these types of people out of your life, but if they’re having a negative effect on you, then you need to act.

You have a limited amount of time and energy to apply to all the things that you want to do with your life. Don’t allow a toxic person to rob you of your potential.

Reference

More by this author

Anna Chui

Communication Expert

271 Best Answers on Quora You Might Have Missed Last Year 53 Relationship Questions That Will Change Your Love Life Workout Every Day: Thursday Music Playlist 35 Life Hacks for Kids That Make Parenting Easier And More Fun 25 Inspirational Movie Quotes That Will Teach You The Most Valuable Life Lessons

Trending in Psychology

1Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts 2Being in Narcissism Relationships Is Like Playing With Fire. It Is Risky. 313 Crippling Social Anxiety Symptoms Explained & How to Deal with Them 48 Powerful Reasons to Love Your Enemies 5Meditation for Beginners: How to Meditate Deeply and Quickly

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Published on July 13, 2018

Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts

Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts

What if you could discover some tools and methods that could improve your relationships? What if by gaining a little knowledge you could understand your relationship dynamics better and give them a boost up?

By learning what secure attachment is and how to restructure your thoughts, you can become more self-aware of your relationship dynamics. After becoming more aware, you can then take a few steps to make them better than ever. That’s something that many of us could benefit from.

When we hear the term secure attachment, our mind typically goes to a relationship. And that’s exactly what it’s about.

In this article I’ll discuss the concept of secure attachments in more detail and how restructuring your thoughts can help you strive towards achieving better relationships.

Relationships are a hugely important part of our lives and whatever we can do to improve them is a good thing for everyone involved.

What is attachment theory?

Let’s do a quick overview of what attachment theory is. This will provide a good foundation for the rest of this article.

The esteemed psychologist John Bowlby first coined the term attachment theory in the late 60’s. Bowlby studied early childhood conditioning extensively and what he found was very interesting.

His research showed that when a very young child has a strong attachment to a caregiver, it provides the child with a sense of security and foundation. On the other hand when there isn’t a secure attachment, the child will expend a lot more developmental energy looking for security and stability.

The child without the secure attachment tends to become more fearful, timid and slow to explore new situations or their environment.

Advertising

When a strong attachment is developed in a child, he or she will be inclined to be more adventurous and seek out new experiences because they feel more secure. They know that whoever is watching out for them will be there if needed.

Bowlby’s colleague, Mary Ainsworth, took the theory further. She did extensive studies around infant-parent separations and provided a more formal framework for the differing attachment styles.

How attachment develops

Simply put, attachment is an emotional bond with another person. Attachment doesn’t have to go both ways, it can be one person feeling attached to another without it being reciprocated. Most of the time, it works between two people to one degree or another.

Attachment begins at a very young age. Over the history of time, when children were able to maintain a closer proximity to a caregiver that provided for them, a strong attachment was formed.

The initial thought was that the ability to provide food or nourishment to a child was the primary driver of a strong attachment.

It was then discovered that the primary drivers of attachment proved to be the parent/caregivers responsiveness to the child as well as the ability to nurture that child in a variety of ways. Things such as support, care, sustenance, and protection are all components of nurturing a child.

In essence a child forms a strong attachment when they feel that their caregiver is accessible and attentive and there if they need them; that the parent/caregiver will be there for them. If the child does not feel that the caregiver is there to help them when needed, they experience anxiety.

Different types of attachments

In children, 4 types of attachment styles have been identified. They are as follows:

  • Secure attachment – This is primarily marked by discomfort or distress when separated from caregivers and joy and security when the caregiver is back around the child. Even though the child initially feels agitated when the caregiver is no longer around, they feel confident they will return. The return of the parent or caregiver is met with positive emotions, the child prefers parents to strangers.
  • Ambivalent attachment – These children become very distressed when the parent or caregiver leaves. They feel they can’t rely on their caregiver for support when the need arises. Even though a child with ambivalent attachment may be agitated or confused when reunited with a parent or caregiver, they will cling to them.
  • Avoidant attachment – These kids typically avoid parents or caregivers. When they have a choice of being with the parent or not, they don’t seem to care one way or the other. Research has shown that this may be the result of neglectful caregivers.
  • Disorganized attachment – These children display a mix of disoriented behavior towards their caregiver. They may want them sometimes and other times they don’t. This is sometimes thought to be linked to inconsistent behavior from the parent or caregiver.

What attachments mean to adults

So the big question is how does this affect us in adulthood? Intuitively it makes sense that as a child, if we have someone who will be there when we need them, we feel secure. And on the other end of the spectrum, if we aren’t sure someone’s going to provide what we need when we need it, we may become more anxious and fearful.

Advertising

As an adult, we tend to wind up in one of three primary attachment types based on our childhood experiences. These are secure, avoidant, and anxious. Technically, there is a fourth one, anxious-avoidant, but it is quite a bit less common. They are described as follows:

  • Secure – When you have a secure attachment, you are comfortable displaying interest and affection towards another person but you’re also fine being alone and independent. Secure types are less apt to obsess over a relationship gone sour and handle being rejected easier. Secure types also tend to be better than other types with not starting relationships with people that might not be the best partners. They cut off the relationship quicker when they see things in a potential partner they don’t like. Secure attachment people make up the majority of the attachment types.
  • Anxious – Folks who have an anxious attachment style typically need a lot of reassurance from their partners. They have a much harder time being on their own and single than the other styles and fall into bad relationships more often. The anxious style represent about 20% of the population. It’s been shown that if anxious attachment styles learn how to communicate their needs better and learn to date secure partners, they can move towards the secure attachment style.
  • Avoidant – Avoidant attachment style represents approximately 25% of the population as adults. Avoidants many times have the hardest time in a relationship because they have a difficult time finding satisfaction. In general, they are uncomfortable with close relationships and intimacy and are quite independent. They are the lone wolf type person.
  • Anxious-avoidant – The anxious-avoidant style is relatively rare. It is composed of conflicting styles – they want to be close but at the same time push people away. They do things that push the people they are closest to away. Many times there can be a higher risk of depression or other mental health issues.

Here’s where it gets really interesting:

Move towards secure attachment

The good news is that it is possible to move from one style to another. Specifically, it is possible to move towards a more secure attachment style.

Now as you might imagine, this is not an easy or a quick process. Like any type of big change where you are attempting to alter such a deeply ingrained mindset, it takes a strong will to accomplish.

The first step is developing an awareness of your attachment style. The next step is to have the desire and drive to move your attachment style towards the more secure style.

If someone with an anxious or avoidant style has a long term relationship with a secure type, the anxious or avoidant person can slowly get brought up more towards a secure style.

The opposite is also true, they could bring the secure person more towards their attachment style. Therefore, you have to be conscious of your type and if you want to move more towards secure, it takes persistence.

Therapy is an option as well. Anxious types many times need to work on their self-esteem, avoidants on their connection specifically and compassion.

How to restructure your thoughts

Ready for the way to do it? Here we go:

Advertising

For the Avoidant Style

As with any type of change on such a deep level, the first step is awareness. Realize you have an avoidant style and be aware of it as you have interactions with your partner(s).

Try to work towards a place of mutual support and giving/taking. Try to lessen your need for complete self-reliance. Allow your partner to do some things that make you a little uncomfortable that you would normally do yourself.

Don’t always focus on the imperfections of your partner. We all have them, remind yourself of that.

Make yourself a list of the qualities that your partner has that you are thankful for.

Look for a secure style partner if at all possible, they would be good for you to be with.

If you have a tendency to end relationships before they go too far, be aware of that and let it develop further.

Get into the habit of accepting and even instigating physical touch. Tell yourself that it’s good for you to have some intimacy. Intimacy can help you feel safe and secure.

And over time you can realize that it’s okay to rely on other people.

For the Anxious Style

For the anxious style, the #1 thing to work on is learning to communicate needs better. This is a huge issue for the anxious style.

Advertising

First and foremost if you communicate your needs more clearly, you will have less anxiety, that’s already a big win. This will also allow you to better assess if a potential partner is good for you.

Try to bring your feelings more to the surface and most importantly, share them with your partner. Remember that secure attachments typically communicate pretty well, this is what you are working towards.

For the Anxious-Avoidant Style

The anxious-avoidant is a very small percentage of the attachment styles. Since this type tends to be anxious in the relationship AND more or less a loner, the key here is working hard to be very self-aware of your actions.

Use the parts of striving towards secure attachment from the anxious tips and the avoidant restructuring of your thoughts to consciously work towards being more secure.

When you find yourself pushing someone away, ask why. If you feel worried that your partner is going to leave you, again, ask yourself where this is coming from. Have they shown you any reason to believe this? Many times there is no real evidence. In that case, allow yourself to calm down and try not to obsess over it.

For the Secure Style

Since the goal is to move towards a more secure attachment style, there isn’t much needed here as you might imagine.

Something to be aware of is being in a relationship just because it’s “okay”. Don’t stay if it’s not a good place for you and your partner. If your partner is of an anxious or avoidant attachment style, stay mindful to not start developing characteristics of those styles.

Strive towards Secure Attachment

As we wrap things up, you’ve probably developed a good idea of the benefits of secure attachment. If you don’t currently have a secure attachment style, here are some benefits of restructuring your thoughts more towards this style:

  • Positive self esteem and self image
  • Close and well adjusted relationships
  • Sense of security in self and the world
  • Ability to be independent as well as in relationships
  • Optimistic outlook on life and yourself
  • Strong coping skills and strategies for relationships and life
  • Trust in self and others
  • Close, intimate relationships
  • Strong determination and problem solving skills

If you are an anxious or avoidant style or the combination of anxious-avoidant, it is possible to move towards a secure attachment style.

It takes self-awareness, patience and a strong desire to get close to being secure but it can be done. You will find that putting the effort into it will provide you with more open, honest and satisfying relationships.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Read Next