We often talk about physically abusive relationships but very less is spoken about mentally abusive relationships. Physical abuse is visible and therefore easy to see for everyone, however emotional abuse is invisible and therefore many a time goes unaddressed. However, mental or emotional abuse takes a huge toll on the victim. A victim can be emotionally abused by anyone parents, friends, colleagues, boss or partner. Emotional abuse can cause a deep scar to the victim’s mind and can often lead to depression and other psychological disease.
The emotional abuser is often a toxic person but apparently he/she may look like extremely caring but deep down within they will try to destroy the other person. I have come against numerous such toxic people in my life either directly or indirectly and these people actually make me feel sick. I feel claustrophobic and fatigued in the presence of these people.
The sad part is toxic people often do not realise that they are toxic. They never realise that they are causing harm to the other person or to the relationship. These people are so self obsessed and narcissist that the only thing they care about is themselves and never the relationship. It is often believed that toxic people never had a loving upbringing or were themselves involved in a toxic relationship either romantically or otherwise. They could have been bullied in school. They could be suffering from an undiagnosed mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety or bipolar disorder, an eating disorder, any form of trauma. Some kids grow up with toxic parents and later on start exhibiting the same toxicity in their own relationships. It is often some kind of a defence mechanism.
The sign of a toxic relationship is when one person wants to control everything and the other person starts feeling resigned, like you’ve sold out. In any relationship, be it with your parents, partner or a friend stop bringing joy and always make you feel sad, anxious or angry you could be in a toxic relationship. Relationships are meant to make us feel happy and complete however when they fail to do so they are definitely toxic.
From my experience I have seen that toxic people exhibit certain characteristics
They can never be wrong: These people never admit their mistake. They always feel that they are right and the word wrong is not there in their dictionary. I am sure all of you have come across at least one boss in your life who was like this.
They never apologise: As they feel that they can never do any wrong the word ‘sorry’ simply never figure in their vocabulary. Occassionaly they may say ‘sorry’ but mind you they never mean it.
They always criticise: They will always try to find fault in you. They will always play on your self-esteem and try to put you down. It takes immense strength to deal with their constant criticism.
They are master at blame game: The one thing they love to do is blame others. They always try to turn the table and blame others for everything. In a relationship their primary target is to blame and make the other person a scapegoat. Remember they would always try to blame you for their failures and mistakes. Example: Why are you sleeping so late? Because you did not set the alarm clock.. Some people are happy blaming everyone else for their problems, including those they should take personal responsibility for. So the chances are, whatever happens to them it will be someone else’s fault.
They always play the victim card: These people will always try to gain sympathy. They always behave as if the entire universe is conspiring against them. They always behave as if all bad things are happening to them and they are the only ones with problems. They are cynical.
They are narcissists: These people feel that they are god’s best creation. They consider themselves perfect and flawless. No wonder these people never grow as individuals. They are so self obsessed that they are incapable of thinking beyond themselves. They are I, Me, Myself always.
They are selfish attention seekers: They only think about their own comfort. They will always try to be the centre of your attention. They always want you to emotionally support them but never return the favour. If you tell them I am feeling sad their immediate reply will be ‘oh my god, you don’t know, how sad I am’ and then go on and on with their long sad story not listening to yours.
They are bad listeners: A lack of acknowledgement, lack of response and just plain disinterest is what makes someone a bad listener. Many times, they’ll just continue talking about themselves anyways. They will always expect you to ask them how was their day but never ask you about yours.
They want to control you: These people survive on controlling others. Their main motto in life is to manipulate and control others.
It is not easy to deal with a toxic person. Especially if you have a parent or partner who is toxic it can be extremely draining. It can make you constantly walk on eggshells. These people love drama and they will always pick up fights or worse start emotionally torturing you by stonewalling you. They can stop talking to you for months. They never try to resolve any fight and always expect others to come crawling back to you. It is never easy to discuss any issue with them. You can never talk about your feelings freely to them and always live in a constant fear that this may anger them. These people love to get angry and pick up a fight at the drop of a hat.
However, there are ways to deal with toxic people. If you don’t deal with a toxic person it can drain you emotionally and cause extreme stress and depression. The worst part is identifying a toxic person. It is not easy to identify a toxic person easily as many of them may apparently behave extremely caring and loving. Beware, it is the wolf in a lamb’ skin. Loving you is also part of their plan to control you. It make take you years to acknowledge the fact that the person is toxic. These people always play on your self-esteem and make you feel guilty in such a way that you start believing everything is your fault and the other person is a saint. They always tell you that you are good at nothing shattering your self esteem.
The best thing to do is to walk away from a toxic person, however, in many cases it is not possible. Therefore the next best way is to deal with them firmly. Many of them are not even aware about their toxicity and if you find your close someone as toxic do consider a visit to a counsellor to deal with unresolved issues. Next best thing is stop dancing to their tunes. Toxic people only have the power to upset you if you let them upset you. Even if you can’t distance yourself physically, you always have the power to distance yourself emotionally.
Draw a boundary, toxic people get freaked out by boundaries. Make them gradually that they cannot control you and trust me they would change their behaviour. They love to pick up fights. When you feel them they are trying to pick up a fight either keep quite or just move away. The less you allow them to fight with the better. They would come to understand that their strategy is not working. Don’t allow their criticism to get on your head. You know your worth and keep valuing yourself. Don’t let them break your self-confidence. Look at the positives.