Do you leave interactions with a particular person and consistently find yourself feeling drained, discouraged, or diminished? It’s possible you’re dealing with one of these 6 types of toxic people.
1. The Eeyore
We all remember Winnie The Pooh’s pessimistic friend Eeyore. It could be a gorgeous sunny day, not a cloud in sight, and Eeyore’s response would be, “Guess we’re all gonna get sunburned and die.” An Eyeore manages to see the “glass is half empty” side of everything, and bring everyone down with them. It’s draining to be around someone bent on seeing everything negativity. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
2. The Jellyfish
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I stole this title from the film classic, “Mean Girls.” “The jellyfish” will constantly take subtle jabs at you through their conversation and actions. Basically, this person is attempting to deal with their own insecurity or anger by being passive-aggressive. Everything seems harmless and cute, no reason to have your defenses up, which is exactly what “The jellyfish” wants you to believe. Then they casually swim by and you’re zapped before you even know what hit you. All while the stealthy attacker feigns, Oh, did I do that? innocence.
3. The Co-do
“Co-do” is short for co-dependency. I’m borrowing it from a friend who vowed never again to get into a co-dependent relationship. So she began trying to make, “Co-do!… no mo!” a catchphrase. It didn’t really catch on. But the sentiment is real. If you’re dealing with a co-dependent person, they will make you responsible for their feelings and well being. They do not feel able to manage their own internal world, so look to you to help do it for them.
4. The Victim
There is always a reason with this person for why they are not doing well. And it conveniently never has anything to do with them. “The victim” will forever be unloading onto anyone who crosses their path. And as they tell their stories of woe, the blame always comes to rest squarely on someone else’s shoulders. “The victim” is usually motivated by feeling powerless over their own life, so they are constantly looking to outside forces to blame for their circumstances.
So what can you do if you find yourself dealing with a toxic person? Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries!
5. The Never-Wrong
This person cannot handle the possibility of not being 100% right all the time. They cannot listen with an open mind, do not value your view, and live with an inflated sense of their own importance and intellect. One of the most devastating characteristics of this type of toxic person is their inability to apologize. I mean, why would they if they’re always right?
6. The Bully
While “The jellyfish” is a model of passive aggression, “The bully” is all about outright aggression. They are not trying to hide it, because they want you to feel insecure and afraid. Even if they don’t act out in actual physical aggression, “The bully” will talk a big game and threaten to get their way. They use fear and intimidation to feel in control of relationships.
It’s important to realize we all resort to toxic tactics at times in a relationship, especially when we are feeling afraid or insecure. This isn’t an opportunity to point the finger or judge, but to begin identifying areas in our relationships that are sick and need intervention.
So what can you do if you find yourself dealing with a toxic person? Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries! You must set up healthy limitations on the kind of access a toxic person has in your life. These will look very different depending on the severity of the situation as well as your relationship to the person. For example, you will make different boundaries with a family member or parent who will always be in your life in some way, versus a casual friend.
If you are struggling to deal with a toxic person, professional help, such as a counselor, can be invaluable. For additional resources, two excellent books on boundaries and healthy relationships are “Keep Your Love On”, by Danny Silk, and “Boundaries” by Henry Cloud. And finally, take hope and believe God has good relationships for you! Even if you’ve dealt with your fair share of toxic people, trust God to bring you healthy people and relationships. He loves you and is for you!