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Navigating Toxic Relationships – Identifying And Dealing With Toxic Person

Written by: Rachael Burgess, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Rachael Burgess

In our journey through life, we encounter a diverse range of individuals. While most people bring positivity, support, and joy into our lives, some can be toxic and detrimental to our well-being.

Man and woman holding each other's hand

Toxic people are individuals who exhibit consistent negative behaviors that drain our energy, break our self-esteem, and hinder our personal growth. Recognizing toxic traits and behaviors and learning how to deal with toxic people are essential skills for maintaining our mental and emotional health. Let us identify toxic people's characteristics, their impact on us, and strategies to manage these challenging relationships effectively.

Understanding toxic people

Toxic individuals, whether they're friends, family members, co-workers, or acquaintances, exhibit various negative traits that can significantly impact your mental and emotional well-being. These traits often include:

Manipulation and deception

Toxic individuals are adept at manipulation, employing deceitful tactics to maintain control and influence over those around them. This behavior is often prevalent in individuals with covert narcissistic tendencies or those who engage in compulsive lying as a means of manipulation. They may employ gaslighting techniques to distort reality and undermine your confidence, making it challenging to trust your own perceptions and judgments.

Judgmental and controlling

Toxic people tend to be highly judgmental and controlling, imposing their opinions and decisions onto others without regard for individual autonomy. Their domineering behavior can make you feel suffocated and coerced into conforming to their desires, ultimately stifling your sense of independence. Moreover, they may use passive-aggressive tactics to assert control, making it difficult to address their behavior directly.

Abusive behavior

In more extreme cases, toxic individuals may resort to abusive behaviors that inflict significant physical and mental harm. Recognizing and addressing these toxic behaviors is crucial for safeguarding your emotional and physical well-being. Abuse can take various forms, including physical violence, verbal insults, emotional manipulation, and financial exploitation, all of which can have long-lasting detrimental effects on your mental health and self-esteem.

Drama and conflict

Toxic individuals thrive on creating drama and conflict, often instigating arguments or amplifying minor issues to perpetuate tension and stress within relationships. Their penchant for chaos can disrupt your peace of mind and destabilize your interpersonal connections. Moreover, they may engage in gossip and rumor-spreading to sow discord and undermine trust among peers, further exacerbating interpersonal conflicts.

Emotional drainage

Spending time with toxic individuals can leave you emotionally depleted, as their self-centered attitudes and negative energy transfer onto you, impacting your mood and overall mental state. Constant exposure to their toxicity can drain your emotional reserves, leaving you feeling emotionally exhausted and drained. Additionally, their incessant demands for attention and validation may leave you feeling emotionally drained and unable to prioritize your own needs and well-being.

Guilt trips and verbal abuse

Toxic individuals frequently employ guilt trips and verbal abuse as tools for manipulation and control. They may use emotional manipulation to make you feel responsible for their problems or to coerce you into complying with their demands, further eroding your sense of self-worth and confidence. Moreover, they may use derogatory language and insults to demean and belittle you, leaving you feeling inadequate and powerless in the face of their verbal attacks.

The impact of toxic people

Interacting with toxic individuals can have a profound impact on our well-being. It can lead to heightened stress levels, increased anxiety, and even depression as a result of the constant negativity and emotional manipulation. Moreover, toxic relationships can impede personal growth and hinder one's ability to pursue their goals and aspirations. The toll of navigating such relationships can also lead to physical health issues, including headaches, digestive problems, and compromised immune function due to prolonged stress. Overall, the presence of toxic individuals in our lives can significantly diminish our quality of life and overall happiness.

Emotional drain

The energy-sapping nature of toxic people can leave you emotionally and mentally exhausted, draining your emotional reserves and leaving you feeling depleted and fatigued. Moreover, their constant need for attention and validation may leave you feeling emotionally drained and unable to prioritize your own needs and well-being.

Lowered self-esteem

The constant negativity from toxic individuals can chip away at your self-esteem, causing you to doubt your abilities and self-worth. Over time, this can lead to feelings of inadequacy and diminished self-confidence. Additionally, their critical and demeaning behavior may reinforce negative self-beliefs and undermine your ability to assert yourself in interpersonal relationships.

Heightened stress and anxiety

Engaging with toxic individuals can lead to heightened levels of stress, anxiety, and even depression, as their negative influence exacerbates feelings of worry and unease. The constant tension and conflict can disrupt your peace of mind and contribute to a cycle of emotional distress. Moreover, their unpredictable behavior and mood swings may leave you feeling on edge and constantly vigilant, further exacerbating feelings of anxiety and apprehension.

Isolation and loneliness

Toxic individuals may isolate you from other positive relationships, making you feel isolated and alone. This sense of social isolation can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and further isolate you from sources of support and connection. Moreover, their manipulative behavior may undermine your trust in others, making it difficult to form new relationships and seek help from friends and family members.

Halted personal growth

The presence of toxic people can impede your personal and professional growth by undermining your efforts and goals. Their critical and controlling behavior can erode your confidence and deter you from pursuing your aspirations, hindering your progress and development. Moreover, their constant need for attention and validation may distract you from focusing on your own goals and priorities, making it challenging to cultivate a sense of purpose and direction in life.

A personal account of dealing with toxicity

A toxic person can come in various forms—a covert narcissist, a manipulator, a compulsive liar, or someone judgmental and controlling. These individuals may be coworkers, friends, family members, or acquaintances who leave you feeling emotionally drained. They're essentially energy vampires, sapping your positivity and enthusiasm.

In my personal experience, I encountered toxic behavior from a family member—my mother. To describe her, one would need to list the attributes of a classic energy vampire. I recall having to mentally prepare myself before visiting her. Her constant negativity, complaints, and pessimism left me feeling exhausted rather than rejuvenated. I often found myself needing to employ self-preservation techniques, such as envisioning a protective white light around me, just to brace myself for the encounter.

My attempts to express my feelings and concerns fell on deaf ears. My mother had been entrenched in this behavior her entire life, making change seem nearly impossible. Even a simple inquiry about her well-being would inevitably lead to an exhaustive recounting of her problems, leaving no room for positive conversation.

5 strategies in dealing with toxicity

Dealing with a toxic person requires a keen self-awareness and an understanding of the warning signs. Some common indicators of a toxic personality include a constant need for attention, a tendency to play the victim, excessive criticism of others, and an inability to take responsibility for their actions.

1. Set boundaries

Protecting yourself from the negative impact of a toxic individual involves setting and maintaining healthier boundaries. While altogether avoiding the person may not always be possible, establishing stricter limitations can help minimize their influence on your life. This may include limiting your interaction with them, asserting your needs, and openly communicating your feelings.

2. Limit exposure

It's essential to recognize that toxic behavior can stem from deeper issues, such as personality disorders like narcissistic personality disorder or even mental health disorders like bipolar disorder. While understanding the root cause may provide insight, it doesn't excuse ongoing toxic behaviors.

3. Practice self-care

Prioritize self-care activities that rejuvenate you emotionally and mentally. This will help you build the necessary resilience to deal with toxicity.

4. Seek support

Dealing with a toxic individual can be emotionally challenging, and seeking support is crucial. Friends, family, or professional therapists can provide valuable guidance and a safe space to navigate these problematic dynamics.

5. Assertive communication

Develop assertiveness skills to communicate your needs and stand up for yourself without being aggressive.


Navigating the complex terrain of toxic relationships is crucial for our mental and emotional well-being. The toxic influences can cast a dark cloud over our lives, affecting our self-esteem, happiness, and self-esteem. It's not just about recognizing the signs of toxicity; it's about understanding how it infiltrates our lives and how to shield ourselves. In this modern world, where stressors abound, identifying toxic relationships is like equipping ourselves with powerful armor. It's a stance we take to protect our emotional sanctuary from intruders who drain our energy and spark negativity.

Yet, this journey is not one we have to undertake alone. Building resilience, setting boundaries, and seeking support form a trinity of defenses against toxicity. Our well-being is a sacred garden, and we are vigilant gardeners. Weeding out toxic influences creates space for positivity, growth, and blooming connections.

Setting boundaries isn't just an act of self-preservation; it's an act of self-love. It's a reminder to ourselves that we are deserving of respectful and nurturing relationships. It's a pledge we make to shield our inner light from the winds of negativity. Remember, you hold the key to your emotional fortress. Your emotional health is a treasure worth protecting. Letting go of toxic relationships doesn't weaken you; it signifies your strength and self-awareness. It's a declaration that you're choosing your well-being over fleeting attachments.

As you move forward on your journey, keep your compass pointed toward healthy, positive relationships. Surround yourself with those who uplift, support, and genuinely care about your well-being. By doing so, you pave the way for a brighter, more harmonious future—where your emotional equilibrium thrives and your heart finds solace in the company of those who enrich your life.

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Rachael Burgess Brainz Magazine

Rachael Burgess, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Rachael Burgess has been an inspiring entrepreneur for more than 20 years. At the age of 24, she has been serving more than 10,000 customers with her successful cake business, Rachael's DesignaCake. In Australia, she was a consistent small business champion state winner in 2007, 2008, and 2009. Rachael Burgess is not an ordinary entrepreneur. She struggled with dyslexia and became independent at the age of 18. She has faced grief, a 6-year divorce settlement, toxic family members, being a single mom of 4, and even more. But that doesn't stop her from pursuing her passion of helping others who may have gone through the same experiences or even worse. Now, she is a passionate Business and Spiritual coach.



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