Toxic people

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    Jan 15, 2013 6:47 PM GMT
    now that i am middle aged, and have been around the block, had several relationships, moved a lot, and gained and lost friends, i am really learning about toxic people, and how i have attracted them into my life over and over.... and....... i feel that i am in a space where i can truly start again...

    it begins with recognizing what a toxic person is, and what they do, its often very subtle, but manipulative none the less.

    then, i am able to see how i have become toxic.. often when one is surrounded by toxic people, a person will have to take on some toxic behavior in order to survive.

    so, one basically gains a new set of eye glasses, if you will, to see the world a new... how to spot toxic people, and avoid them, how to create boundaries for yourself, and seek out sane people...

    anyone else have a similiar experience???

    this is a video series which has helped me a lot!! its done by a fellow who mostly is refering to toxic women, , but it is great relationship advice. and it does touch a lot on toxic society, and family units..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_zNKSdECtQ
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    Jan 16, 2013 5:18 AM GMT
    Sorry but I can't listen to that computer voice on the suggested youtube.

    I don't enjoy thinking of people as toxic which I find dehumanizing but I get your point and am currently dealing with this myself, a situation I've mentioned on other posts that is taking me a long time to accept. I believe I am suffering betrayal trauma but am working to understand it.

    Basically I had a user cousin (and another friend who did something similar at the same time) who was an abusive person (and the other person was just a selfish bitch), but not until she finally crossed the line (and I moved that line quite a few times in their favor over the years) did I realize that I had engaged abusive relationships. Like being in housing bubble; you don't know it until it pops.

    The ending with my cousin almost destroyed me, I'm not even sure I've yet survived it. I even let my body go to shit, almost like I was abusing myself in her absense. What a mess. During our lives together, I always thought I was doing her favors but that narcisistic scum was just using me. I said so often that no one else in my life could get away with what she pulled and I remember once my best bud saying to me "you've been saying that ever since we met" when she'd done it yet again. But I knew she was lacking in her mind, I wasn't sure what it was though I suspect now a personality disorder by the magnitude of her final offense.

    The whole time I thought I was strong enough for the both of us. She was in my life for my entire life, we were just months apart and I kind of thought that was my job, to make sure she was okay in the world. I used to put her on a pedestal. She just used that to get a better kick at me.

    It wasn't until I buried my partner, my mom and even my dog who all died concurrently that she pulled her last manuever and that ended that. This person who I grew up with from our baby carriages couldn't even respect my mourning and just pulled the biggest shit she'd ever pulled, days before I was going to my mother's gravesite. I still can't believe it. But for her immediate family, she lost our entire family on that one. All my years of protecting her from herself, of being so supportive, all wasted.

    What have I learned? I'm not sure. I have healthy relationships as well so it's not like I patterned all my relationships based upon abuse. One of the problems with recognizing so-called toxicity is becoming paranoid about it. Fact is, people have problems and most people are not very self aware. It's natural for me to give the benefit of the doubt when I perceive someone else has fucked up. But I have been second guessing that since she hurt me so badly. I have not been able to offer that benefit of the doubt and though that might protect me, it leaves me less happy.

    You are so right on the subtleness of their poisons. There's a lot of lying involved though it all seems so real at the time. But when I look back, there's no way that she could have done what she finally did had the past ever been real for her. The only way she could have done what she did is if she'd been faking it the whole time. It's so creepy. And it leaves me feeling so disgusted that I ever let her into my life and that I still love this person who I was born to love but now despise. I guess that's the toxic feeling you're talking about. I don't know the remedy to purge it. I'm considering a lobotomy.
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    Jan 16, 2013 5:26 AM GMT
    I get bitter sometimes thinking of some of the burns I have had from people but time does heal wounds. Even toxic one's. My uncle once told my cousin and I while teaching us how to drive that "always assume the other guy is an asshole"! Best quote ever and true story.
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    Jan 16, 2013 5:38 AM GMT
    theantijock, thanks for your story,, your right its hard to tell that your in a toxic mess until it bursts,,, and then its true.... its easy to become paranoid about it once you gain a sniffer for it....

    often victims of this will simply attract another narcissist... so its a good sign to really feel the burn, it will actually allow for healing, but you need to have really gone through the ringer to get there...


    its been suggested that a victim of a powerful narcissist has a mild to moderate form of PTSD.... and that some therapy based on PTSD is a good thing!!

    the videos that i posted literally changed my life, because it helped me understand all the types of manipulation, and see all the gears in motion... and this..... was a tremendous assist, since i could see where it was all flawed!

    please try the vids some more... there are other great mini lectures on narcissism on youtube...

    best, jon
  • TheAlchemixt

    Posts: 2294

    Jan 16, 2013 5:42 AM GMT
    I know when I am with a toxic person because I feel like they drain me of my energy. I make it a point not to hang out with people like this.
  • stratavos

    Posts: 1831

    Jan 16, 2013 5:55 AM GMT
    TheAlchemixt saidI know when I am with a toxic person because I feel like they drain me of my energy. I make it a point not to hang out with people like this.


    I have a similar feeling, but it's more so with dependent people... they cause an anger to build inside me. Hopefully this is more easily controlled with age.
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    Jan 16, 2013 6:26 AM GMT
    jonnyboy saidtheantijock, thanks for your story,, your right its hard to tell that your in a toxic mess until it bursts,,, and then its true.... its easy to become paranoid about it once you gain a sniffer for it....

    often victims of this will simply attract another narcissist... so its a good sign to really feel the burn, it will actually allow for healing, but you need to have really gone through the ringer to get there...


    its been suggested that a victim of a powerful narcissist has a mild to moderate form of PTSD.... and that some therapy based on PTSD is a good thing!!

    the videos that i posted literally changed my life, because it helped me understand all the types of manipulation, and see all the gears in motion... and this..... was a tremendous assist, since i could see where it was all flawed!

    please try the vids some more... there are other great mini lectures on narcissism on youtube...

    best, jon


    Interesting you would mention PTSD based upon a relationship with a narcisist as I was not aware of that but it so describes what I experienced. And betrayal trauma, if I've identified my problem correctly, is actually thought of as a form of PTSD. Basically, the trauma being caused by a break of a social contract not unlike a soldier experiencing the trauma caused by wounds of "friendly fire". Hey, you were supposed to be on my side, not hurt me. So your brain just does this huge WTF.

    And if you think about how the brain works, with actual neurological connections, physical pathways, and then all of a sudden it breaks. This thought doesn't fit on that pathway. Holy crap. What just happened. It's like someone pulling not just the rug but the floor out from under you. It's brutal.

    And it's not just adult relationships. Think of all the betrayal trauma suffered by gay kids rejected by their families. Even with the trauma I think I've suffered it's hard for me to imagine that happening to a kid. When you think your family is supposed to love you. My God. How do people do what they do? And why I have an issue of thinking in terms of toxicity, even if that is what it is, is because it seems so endemic to living. This is probably also the case when people lose loved ones early. How does a kid cope with that? Relationships? Fucking life itself can toxic by that view.

    I've been doing some reading on it and going into some of my typical introspection and really studying how this all functions. Will now check out some vids as you suggest and thanx for that. I'd be interested to read more about what you changed, what you found that was flawed.
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    Jan 16, 2013 6:50 AM GMT
    well, i woke up one day and realized that i have been many peoples "feed".... in that a narcissist gets a narcissistic feed off of his/her "victims"...

    this is the driving force...

    victims, although i dont like that word, is accurate, in that they suffer this unseen, nagging abuse, slowly over time....

    there are different forms of this ranging from psychopathic narcissism, to intellectual narcissism, to a very low level of a kind of alpha male, one-up-manship kind of thing...

    also what i learned, and where it came into focus, is where a narcissist come from, and how it is formed, and how they find people that fit their 'need'..

    its unbelievably fascinating! and quite tragic, that as you learn about this, you might realize that MOST people engage is subtle psychological abuse, including the media, politicians, religion, and yes...... hollywood....

    our entire culture is a nagging bitch that constantly informs us that we are not 'there yet' ... we need new iphones,..... were fat,ugly, less than....

    i also learned the reason why I attracted all of this,,, its because i did not have clear boundaries with people... i was easy going, and i just let people into my life, and do whatever....

    so.... as I began to wake up to this, i started really paying attention to everyone,.... and learning everything i could....

    forming boundaries feels good, and i feel more confident, and have less social anxiety.!

    if i could teach anyone anything, it is this....

    especially young people need to learn this!!! it can prevent a lot of confusion in life..
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    Jan 16, 2013 7:40 AM GMT
    That's really interesting to me particularly when another poster recently accused me of oneupsmanship simply because I had counter arguments to his accusations. I frankly could have knocked down about everything he was saying but instead simply drew my boundry and clicked him onto ignore once he got rude. At last I am learning. But it's a shame because otherwise the guy has some good qualities.

    I also would rather be easy going and I do not care for cliques so I understand your attitude of just letting others in. I also specifically try to not control situations, being existentialist at heart, which I'm gonna bet strikes some as me being disengaged when I'm merely amused. Though I actually like to see people figure things out. I love when people think, really think.

    A problem with all this seems that the antidote for the toxin can itself be a poison. If it makes me happy to help someone then how can I feel used by that? And if I feel used by that such that I stop helping then am I happy when I am not acting according to my nature? And as you say, the vampires know this.

    The other aspect of this that I've difficulty is wherein does compassion lie. I've an adopted nephew with a personality disorder plus he's got some intelligence so that can be a scary mix. On the one hand, I love the kid, he's been in our lives for most all his life. But I wouldn't take an eye off him and I listen to every single word he says because he can be manipulative. But who knows, I mean, those are the people who become CEOs. Like history changing the further we get from it, they suck you into the reality they try to create for themselves and you can get wrapped up in that if not careful.

    I would like for him to get as good of control over that as he is able and to not hurt others by it, but can I fault him for what is essentially, actually, a physical problem with his brain? How can I not have compassion for that, even as he tries to manipulate? And does my having compassion for that target me for manipulation? So that you think that you draw this towards yourself might not be a weakness about you. It might be your strength. But we have to hold ourselves up too and maybe that's where your boundries come into play. I will definitely be studying this further.
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    Jan 16, 2013 8:12 AM GMT
    yes you bring up good points..

    about compassion, .... if you have solid boundaries, you will know when you give a yard, and they take a mile,,,..

    its like living awake every day, when you can be strong, and give to people, and share, but when someone takes it too far, you can say NO.....

    people manipulate because it works, dogs beg at the table because they probably get a treat sometimes.... with your nephew, you might be able to help him a little like training a dog..

    again, you are going to need more nuts and bolts knowledge, rather that a bunch of loose ideas....

    this.... is why the vids hit the spot.... you need black and white factoids, that will help you deal with these folks..

    and yes, they do grow up to become CEO's. and other power figures..

    our society rewards this psychopathy..
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    Jan 16, 2013 2:22 PM GMT
    I'm so glad you point out your own toxic behavior. Blaming others around us and pointing out their faults gets us nowhere. Taking responsibility for our own is what begins change, a change in the soul.

    Healthy people attract other healthy people and relationships. For years I lived amongst toxic people because the only way I knew how to live was by the rules that were placed as a child. I never grew up, and I was the toxic one myself. A true man will break the rules and create healthy boundaries. Boundaries can only be pushed and bent in a whimsical way but never broken.
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    Jan 16, 2013 6:17 PM GMT
    I think you have to be real careful about labeling toxic.

    toxic.jpg?w=600&h=211

    As I see a lot of room for the abuse of that.

    One thing with my xcousin, was she let herself be taken in by some very new agey shit whereby she believed that she couldn't have anyone around her but for people who felt just as she did at that moment. Thinking that if you don't believe what I believe then being with you is toxic to my beliefs fosters both intolerance of the thinking of others and rigidity within your own thinking. Just because someone else has chemistry which might in ways counteract yours doesn't necessarily make them a toxin.

    Also, a situation doesn't necessarily make a person toxic. My xcousin was perfectly satisfied being close friends with me when I was helping her with her problems of life (& there were many yet I never considered that a toxin, I considered it helping a friend) and she loved being with me when I was taking her boating with my parents or with my best bud and we were out on the water all the time, or when I invited her into my family life as she rejected her own immediate family, or when I invited her to enjoy my next best bud after my first died, and she got such a kick out of being with a TV star. But then when he died and my mom died and I became so depressed over those losses, all of a sudden I became so toxic to her that she would endeavor to introduce even more misery into my life? Bullfuckingshit. Not happening. Line crossed, boundry drawn. Abandon ship.

    So while I can see some carefully guarded, practical application, a last resort ditch after all other avenues of attempts to remedy have been exhausted, I've got a number of issues with this as being any sort of overall concept of how to look at things. Maybe it can make you feel good about past transgressions or oversights or whatever it is about yourself that you think attracts the vampires--as these monsters can not enter our homes without our permission--but also I think it can be a real easy excuse to dismiss people who actually, even in their own way, with their own problems and perversions, do love you. Toxic love.
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    Jan 16, 2013 7:19 PM GMT
    mmmmmmm toxic love.....

    that is quite a concept, and may require its own thread!!

    but you are correct, life is a rich tapestry, and we all go through phases, which make us toxic and medicinal to each other, constantly and at the same time!!

    i guess it just comes back to having a good sense of self, and good boundaries... like it was stated above, healthy people attract healthy people....

    live and learn. live and learn.
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    Jan 16, 2013 7:43 PM GMT
    Make me question why don't you? Intriguing topic.
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    Jan 16, 2013 8:21 PM GMT
    Toxic people. social diseases, etc. The best way to interact with them is to develop a good sense of steadfast discernment. Avoid them when necessary, but I don't like to always avoid. Sometimes I can see some hope. That is when I play my part in helping to cure them. icon_biggrin.gif
  • Laurence

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    Jan 16, 2013 8:47 PM GMT
    I have to agree with Antijock. I think the phrase 'toxic people' is a bit too severe.

    Some people are just not very nice.

    I think we have to meet lots of different sorts of people through our life for us to be able to work out who's nice and worth knowing and who isn't.

    Life is too short to give some people your time and energy. Even talking about them is a waste of time.

    We all get manipulated at some point, so there's no point worrying about it. Sometimes we have to take chances with people. Sometimes they let us down and sometimes they surprise us by being nicer than we imagined.

    Trick is to not get bitter bout these things. Everything and everyone is an experience that we can learn from.

    Lozx
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    Jan 16, 2013 9:14 PM GMT
    Funny. When I was a kid, just starting to see the larger world, I thought of my family as "toxic."

    To me, it means people who's negative behaviors transfer themselves to others. D'oh. I guess that would be "infectious." W/E.

    Anyway, once you recognize it, and have the will power "not to become that guy," you become immune to it.

    It's just too bad that so many toxic people have radio and television shows - while we lack any sort of mass immunization capability.
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    Jan 17, 2013 12:04 AM GMT
    ha! im still hoping for a big solar flare to take out some folks! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif
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    Jan 17, 2013 12:09 AM GMT
    Hmmm...I've been pondering the same over the past few weeks. This past year has really been an eye opener for me and I have been trying to let my mistakes be a teaching lesson. Though it is easier said than done.

    I find myself becoming close with "toxic" people or people who I know will only lead to heartache.


    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/2931685
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    Jan 17, 2013 2:27 AM GMT
    To my mind the healthiest person helps others who are not so healthy. Again, vampires (I won't call them toxic but apparently I will call them vampires who I would think of as those who purposely work their toxins) know this and so you have to be a little careful but sometimes the interaction, even at an intimate level is unavoidable.

    It's not enough to say, well, healthy people attract healthy people, such that if you wind up with troubled people in your life that necessarily means you yourself are a troubled person. Certainly that can be the case, but also we are, as noted, born into families with existing issues. We make situational friendships with people at work or in school and they come with their issues. Children with their issues ie personality disorders are born into families. And then there are those who we see in trouble who we try to help. And we become entangled in these lives.

    I have lots of perfectly healthy relationships. My friends are wonderful people. My two closest who became my best buds were two of the most wonderful men I could imagine. My mother who I was close to, though somewhat manipulative, was a hugely caring person. It has been my privilege to befriend these people. But also I became friends with seriously wounded people and I think that I was able to help them for long periods of time. But their toxicity kicked in fully and they directed that at me when basically i had broken a social contract due to life circumstances. I didn't know everyone would be dying on me at once. Pardon me if I can't tend to your personal problems right now. And they became vicious about it. I tried to wake them up from their exporting their little nightmares but they wouldn't have it. It's all about them. Always taking. Never giving but to set traps for more taking. The vampires.
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    Jan 17, 2013 3:58 AM GMT
    hhmmmm. this is sounding a little familiar to me....

    my mother was a bit manipulative.. and so creates the overly receptive son, with few boundaries....

    ive always enjoyed being peoples friend, at any cost, and thought of myself as an addition to them, and somewhat of a helper....

    then as we all got into our late 30's and 40's.... its like those vampyres bloomed, and their narcissistic behavior went full boar..... it was a lot to manage suddenly...

    similiarly at about the same time, my mom and dad passed, as did my cat, .....
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    Jan 17, 2013 4:03 AM GMT
    Toxic people are easy to get close to....icon_confused.gif

    tumblr_m8i3561gbY1r81wtbo1_500.gif