The thing about toxic relationships is that most of them are subtle. We don’t realize they’re draining us until the damage has been done. When you’re around someone who is clearly and extremely volatile, you’re forced to draw lines. When you’re with someone who operates with quieter mental and emotional warfare, you end up stuck without even understanding how you got there.
1. The person you “feel bad” about not being friends with.
When you get to the point that you are sustaining any relationship because you “feel bad” not to, what you have to understand is that you are not pitying them, you are feeding your need to seem universally liked and loved. You’re just using them in the process.
2. The person won’t take responsibility.
This is the person who always has something to complain about, and yet is resistant to any advice, or finds a way for it to be out of their realm of control. They are the people who want to marinate in their negativity, and base entire relationships around complaining, gossiping and other draining mindsets.
3. The person who is intentionally helpless.
This is typically the kind of person who is so afraid of losing people, they feign helplessness so that others feel that they can’t leave them. Another way this can manifest is if someone has been confronted with enough pain in their lives that they start to believe they are helpless, and stop trying to make change. Either way, they leave you responsible for their emotional labor.
4. The person who can’t tolerate other people’s pain.
This is the person who gets angry if you disagree with them, tell them that their behavior is upsetting you, or seem upset when they don’t want you to be. These types of people tend to be unpredictable, and often make you feel as though unless you are anything but happy all of the time, they will be mad at you for ruining their day.
5. The person who can’t tolerate other people’s happiness.
This is the person who is the devil’s advocate (for no reason). They don’t celebrate your victories, and are quick to point out what could go wrong, or what you should watch out for. They cannot process your success or wellbeing, and so they find ways to gradually sabotage your mind over time.
6. The person who makes you earn their love.
This is the person who makes you feel like you’re not quite good enough for them. They want to be with you, and yet they won’t commit. They talk to you, and then they ignore you for long stretches of time. You feel judged by them for basic things, like how many friends you have or what music you listen to. Their objective is to make others feel insignificant so they can feel better about themselves. Sometimes, it is confused for needing to earn their approval and love.
7. The person your gut instinct tells you to avoid.
When they call, you hesitate to answer. When you realize you have plans coming up, a sinking feeling comes over you and you want to bail. You can’t find any logical reasons that you don’t want to hang out with this person, and yet, every time you do, you both resist it at first, and leave feeling strained and aggravated. These types of people have a tendency to get very close to you despite this feeling, and that’s when the toxicity settles in. They are draining your energy, and you aren’t aware of it enough to set boundaries.