How To Deal With Toxic People

Last Update on April 22, 2022 : Published on April 22, 2022

If you’re surrounded by controlling, manipulative, and negative people that are always making you feel uncomfortable and distressed, then you might be surrounded by a toxic personality. Toxic people behave in hurtful ways and harm others around them with their words, actions, and even vibes.

We all, at one point or another, encounter a toxic personality – whether at home, school, or work. The toxic personality traits these people exhibit can take a heavy toll on our mental and emotional health, eventually.

But what exactly is a toxic personality? Is it a disorder? What are toxic personality traits? The causes? So many questions! Well, in this article, let’s answer these questions and learn how to deal with toxic people/personalities in different scenarios.

What Is A Toxic Personality?

What Is A Toxic Personality

A toxic personality can be hurtful, manipulative, controlling, and negative with their actions and words. Such actions or words often cause others distress. Such personalities often put other people at odds with their significant others or close friends.

A toxic personality is in which you do not take responsibility for your actions and blame others for your actions and problems.

Examples of toxic behavior include:

  • Lying and overly dramatizing a situation
  • Belittling others or being overly critical
  • Having a victim mentality
  • Not taking responsibility for their actions
  • Using manipulation tactics such as gaslighting

Toxic Personality Traits To Look Out For!

Here are some signs of toxic personality to look out for:

  • Negativity
  • Blaming others
  • A lack of empathy
  • Manipulativeness
  • Emotional dysregulation
  • Being passive-aggressive
  • Being untrustworthy

Often people with a narcissistic personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder show toxic personality traits. Intermittent explosive disorder can also show signs of toxic behavioral patterns.

Risk Factors For Toxic Personality Traits

Anger and genetics can be linked to personality disorders or personality traits. Children with attention-seeking behaviors or who are often agitated may, in adulthood, develop a toxic personality.

Also, during a child’s development, any disruptions in their growth and environment may contribute to a toxic personality. Examples of these disruptions include:

  • Having inconsistent parents/guardians
  • Having absent parents/guardians
  • Childhood trauma
  • Childhood neglect

Such issues may hamper the psychological and social development of the child resulting in an unstable sense of self, an inflated ego, poor boundaries, low self-esteem, low self-awareness, low empathy, and no sense of self-regulation.

More often than not, toxic people have insecure attachment styles such as anxious-avoidant attachment.

Way to Deal With Toxic People

If you have a toxic personality in your life, then you can deal with them in these ways:

1. Learn To Be Assertive: Learn to speak for yourself when dealing with toxic people. You need to identify your values, and beliefs, and learn to self-prioritize.

2. Limit Your Interactions: When dealing with toxic personalities, it is recommended that you limit your interactions with them and keep your boundaries. Don’t allow yourself to get attached to their drama. Being empathetic is good but don’t try to fix their problems.

3. Keep Realistic Expectations: You need to understand that toxic people may never change their behavior. Try to keep realistic expectations when dealing with toxic people.

4. Take Care Of Yourself: When dealing with a toxic personality, you may lose your patience, so to keep yourself calm, try breathing exercises and prioritize your mental safety and health.

When the need arises, you can also consult a professional mental health counselor to learn coping techniques to deal with a toxic personality.

Dealing With Toxic Family Members

It’s common to find a toxic family member – whether a parent, sibling, spouse or relative. In such cases, when you can’t avoid (or blatantly ignore) a toxic personality, here’s what you can do.

Understand that boundaries (even with a toxic partner) are important. Keep the communication with the toxic family member tight. It is advised that you don’t take their toxic behavior personally. If they have a toxic personality, then it’s likely that they behave that way with everyone. So instead of defending yourself and wasting your time arguing with them, leave them alone.

You need to understand that with a toxic family member, the interaction and the relationship you have with them may be stilted but remember, acceptance, setting boundaries, and having realistic expectations are the key to dealing with a toxic personality.

Dealing With Toxic Co-workers

You may likely encounter a toxic personality at your workplace as well, so, when dealing with a toxic co-worker, make sure you document their behavior. Understand that, in a workplace, where you encounter a toxic personality, your professional growth may be limited.

If you do interact with a toxic coworker, then you need to reach out to HR and consider seeking help regarding workplace ethics, rights, and laws. You don’t need to tolerate a workplace where you may interact or work with a toxic personality every day. Your workplace wellness matters too!

If You Have Toxic Personality Traits

If you are the one who’s exhibiting toxic personality traits, then you can find help in therapy. Therapy can help you work through your toxic behaviors and patterns. In therapy, you can also learn how to take responsibility for your actions, figure out your goals, and work towards them.

A therapist can help you work on your communication skills and learn how to be emotionally vulnerable. To stop your toxic behaviors, you need to:

  • Allow yourself to be vulnerable and true to yourself
  • Allow yourself to take responsibility for your behavior and understand how it affects your loved ones
  • Work on self-awareness and self-reflection

It may not always be easy to spot toxic personality traits in others (or yourself, for that matter) but knowing the traits and signs of toxic people can help you know how to deal with them.

If you’re in a toxic or abusive relationship, then you need to immediately reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline for assistance.

I hope this blog helped you understand what a toxic personality is, the traits of a toxic personality, and how to deal with toxic people. You can share your thoughts in the comments below.

Take Care!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.


  1. Aayushi Kapoor
    Aayushi Kapoor

    I think I really need to learn to say "No". Have been experiencing toxic people from the past two weeks! This blog gave me the strength to overcome toxic people in life.. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

As Seen On