Toxic Family Members, Friends, & Others
What you can do for the toxic individuals in your life, is pray for them to become Christians and for God to remove the wickedness from their hearts and the scales from their eyes. Pray for them to become "born again" so that their old natures will be replaced with a new spirit of love and kindness. But trying to change them yourself is pointless. They are driven by a dark spirit that has nothing to do with Christ and everything to do with the devil. Until they choose to follow Christ, they will continue to see you as their enemy. The devil's mission is to "kill, steal and destroy" and that is what toxic individuals are doing to you. Only you can put a stop to it.
Patricia Jones, M.A.
If you would like help or advice on how to deal with the toxic individuals in your life, please do not hesitate to contact me via email or telephone counseling. See below for instructions on how to contact me.
Articles By Patricia Jones, M.A.
Copyright © 2006 - 2014 Dove Christian Counseling Center. All Rights Reserved
All of us have at one time or another been involved with, worked with, or been related to toxic people. Those are the people, who when you are with them, never fail to make you feel bad about yourself, or say or do something that is critical of you. You could be in the best mood, and have the best of intentions and they will cut you down, make some sarcastic remark, give you a dirty look, or accuse you of something that you never did or said. They have a way of ruining your day, your life, and your good moods. And if you dare to challenge their perceptions of you or something that they say you did, they immediately blame you and make everything your fault. The bottom line is, after you have spent some time with them, you feel lousy. You feel emotionally drained, and you feel sick. Sometimes even physically sick.
This is why we call such people TOXIC: The dictionary defines toxic as "poisonous." These people are actually POISONOUS to you. Let's take it a step further. The dictionary defines POISON as "a substance that can seriously injure an organism or destroy life." Wow! So toxic people can end your very life because they are that poisonous to you.
Toxic people are dangerous to you. They can be annoying, obnoxious, irritating and depressing. They can dampen your spirits. They can ruin your reputation. They can get you fired from your job. They can destroy your relationships with spouses, lovers, relatives and friends. They can erode your self esteem. They can cause you to go into deep depression. They can cause you to get sick which can take the form of anxiety, panic attacks, and make your life miserable.
How do you recognize Toxic Indivicuals?
They are not hard to spot because they make you feel so bad after being around them. Chances are if you've encountered a toxic person you immediately sensed their toxicity...even if you didn't call it that. Toxic people come in all ages, colors, shapes and sizes. Sometimes toxic people aren't immediately identifiable, but over time, their true nature is inevitably revealed.
Following is a list of commonly encountered types of toxic people, with descriptions of their basic toxic characteristics.
The Psychopath: The Psychopath lacks empathy and sympathy, is completely devoid of a conscience, and derives pleasure from others' suffering. But they can be very charming, charismatic, and almost cast a spell over their victims. You are drawn to them and it takes time before you realize who they really are. They appear to be good, but in reality are "wolves in sheep's clothing."
The Sociopath: The Sociopath completely disregards the rights and feelings of others, and is incapable of experiencing remorse, shame or guilt.
The Pathological Liar: The Pathological Liar lacks the capacity to tell the truth-in fact, the pathological liar lacks the ability to even recognize the truth. Every word out of their mouth is a lie. They can lie their way out of any difficulty they get caught in.
The Emotional Wreck: The Emotional Wreck is constantly on an emotional rollercoaster. This individual simply cannot keep it together. Their entire life is a series of crisis and if they don't have a crisis they will create one. Then they will talk about it endlessly and never be interested in your life, only theirs.
The Putdown Artist: The Putdown Artist is constantly making others the butt of jokes in an attempt to deflect attention away from their own shortcomings. These jokes are usually very cruel and abusive. They are not funny, they just are meant to inflict pain on the person being joked about. They will do this in front of others.
The Hatemonger/Blamemonger: The Hatemonger/Blamemonger hates everyone who is nicer, smarter, richer, better connected or more successful than they are. The Hatemonger/Blamemonger blames every individual and every group of individuals that is different from them for all of their particular problems, as well as for everything the Hatemonger/Blamemonger believes is wrong with the world in general.
The Misogynist/Misandrist/Misanthrope: The Misogynist hates women. The Misandrist hates women. The Misanthrope hates ALL humans without regard to gender. The Misogynist/Misandrist/Misanthrope blames women, men or people in general for all of their problems and failures.
The World Class Jerk: The World Class Jerk is a classless, uncouth, foul-mouthed individual who offends everyone the world over. You will find that it is embarrassing to be around them or to even be seen with them. Pitifully, they actually think they are funny.
The Moocher: The Moocher constantly asks to borrow money and everything else that you have. The Moocher develops a "loss of memory" when it's time to pay back a loan, and is never able to reciprocate a favor.
The Downer: The Downer is always in a bad mood. In fact, The Downer takes great pains to maintain their bad mood and to broadcast it to anyone who will listen. Moreover, that is all they talk about, every negative thing that has happened to them, is happening to them, or will happen to them in the future. When you try to cheer them up, or give them some positive advice, all you hear is "yes, but ... "
The Slanderer: The slanderer/gossiper seeks out bad news and rumors and works overtime to make sure no one misses out on their malevolent gossiping. You know that when you are with them they will talk about everyone else behind their backs, including you.
The Instigator: The Instigator lives to create discord, hostility and strife. The Instigator actually nurtures confrontation. They are just waiting for the right moment to create the discord in the room. Then they look for your weaknesses and exploit those in front of others, and then when you get upset and defend yourself, they accuse you of being "too sensitive."
The Bully: The Bully thrives on dominating and humiliating those they perceive as weaker than them. They can be very dangerous if their bullying involves physical attacks.
The Master Manipulator: The Master Manipulator uses cunning, trickery and deception to control victims. Like the instigator they will purposely go after any weakness that you have, make fun of it, and then become super charged when you fall for their trickery. They actually will start a fight, and then make it look like you started the fight or argument and then pass that on to everyone else. You come out looking like the bad guy.
The Blackmailer: The Blackmailer works hard to gain your trust so they can learn your secrets and weaknesses and exploit them when you cross them. They can be extremely jealous of you but pretend to be your friend. All the while planning how they are going to bring you down. They can appear to be very trustworthy when in actuality just the opposite is true.
The Generally Malcontent: The Generally Malcontent finds dissatisfaction with everything and makes a point of never being happy...ever. They will find a cloud in every clear sky, even when there are no clouds.
When these toxic individuals are members of your own family, such as your own Mother, Father, brother or sister, or your spouse, or even your own children, then it becomes especially serious to your life.
What did Jesus say about such people? He told the disciples to go into a town and preach the gospel and give that town their "peace." If the town accepted the disciples, then well and good, but if they did not receive what they had to say Jesus told the disciples to "dust off your shoes and leave that town" He also said, "do not cast your pearls before swine." He told them to go where they would be heard, loved and accepted without having to jump through hoops to get people to listen to them.
The same thing goes for the toxic people in your life. You are "you" and your real friends, do not treat you badly. You can be yourself around them, say and do the same things you want to do without being in fear of their criticism and put downs, and manipulative set ups, etc. This is because they are not "poisonous" to you.
The bottom line is this: You cannot afford to associate with people who are trying to destroy your very life. Without using a weapon, they are systematically destroying your sense of happiness and well being, and your joy and your peace.
If the toxic individuals in your life are members of your own family then God tells you to leave that family. I am talking about the adult toxic individuals in your life, not toxic children who you cannot leave until they are at least 18. If your young children are toxic to you then you need to get them professional help before they turn into one of the above described toxic personalities.
God promises to provide you with another family if yours lets you down. Many times our true friends are more of a family to us then our own blood relatives. Even Jesus had a hard time with his immediate family and had to leave the place of his birth to perform miracles because in his own town they did not believe him.