Definition of TOXIC:
1: containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation
2: exhibiting symptoms of infection or toxicosis (a condition caused by the action of a poison or toxin)
3: extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful
4: relating to or being an asset that has lost so much value that it cannot be sold on the market
– Definition of “toxic.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Do yourself a favor and take a second look at MW’s definition of toxic located above. Let’s examine each definition as it pertains to a toxic individual.
- “containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation.”
In no way will we attempt to associate a human being with contamination in the literal sense. A person doesn’t contain some biological agent capable of throwing a wrench into society’s inner-workings.
Can a toxic person contribute to a stress-related condition that induces death? In our opinion, absolutely.
- “exhibiting symptoms of infection or toxicosis (a condition caused by the action of a poison or toxin)”
Well, people inflicted with some kind of toxic agent are severely ill, and in need of medical care. We’ll make no attempt to elaborate beyond what was already explained.
- “extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful.”
Now we’re getting somewhere. Harshness, maliciousness and harmful intent are all characteristics of someone toxic. More on this deviousness later on.
4. “relating to or being an asset that has lost so much value that it cannot be sold on the market”
There is some correlation here. When a toxic person’s presence is made known, how difficult is it for them to reestablish a semblance of credibility? How much more difficult is it for them to establish a connection with someone?
Something worth pondering. But the rationale underlying MW’s definition of “toxic” is not the purpose of the article. It does provide some meaning in a way, but it’s a digression from the main topic.
No, what we wish to do is elaborate on things toxic folks do to penetrate the outer layer of rationality. Some of these ten articles are crafty; some are obvious.
Here are 10 things that toxic individuals do to get underneath our skin:
1. They apologize to no one
Expecting a toxic person to apologize is like asking North Korea to embrace diplomacy: completely out of the realm of possibility.
They’ll construct an elaborate lie before admitting any fault, no matter how obvious. The cool thing is, as rational human beings, we don’t require some faulty rationale to move on. We can choose to realize and accept toxic manipulation – an action permitting us to move forward without regret.
2. They make you “prove your worthiness”
Unsurprisingly, toxic people bear a stark resemblance to the narcissistic. They’ll make you choose between something that’ll benefit your life, or decide to hang around with them a bit longer. In the event that you choose the former, the dramatic firework show will undoubtedly commence.
Forget it. Move on. You have one person – and one person only – for which you need to prove something to.
3. They project, not reflect
Projection is nothing more than psychological manipulation. Rather than take ownership of their feelings, they’re more likely to blame you as the source. This may be as simple as “You’ve been in a bad mood all day,” or “Your attitude is really bringing me down.”
Remember, this psychological manipulation has nothing to do with you. It’s all about them. It always has been and will continue to be.
4. Manipulation is in their DNA
It isn’t uncommon for someone that’s been involved in a toxic relationship to reveal what they now recognize as deliberately manipulative acts.
Attribute such realizations to entitlement, lack of self-esteem, or outright selfishness. The chances are that this manipulation is so deeply ingrained that even the most selfless and benevolent among us are unable to appease such outrageous and devious behavior.
5. Their “true self” is never revealed
One day, the person is loving and attentive; another, they’re distant and abusive. That’s how they want it to be. That’s how they maintain control.
Good-hearted people will almost always attempt to understand someone else’s problems – and contribute to some kind of solution. The problem is that there is no real “problem,” and a “solution” is nothing more than a mirage.
6. They’ll ruin the occasion
Have some great news to share? You’re better off not involving someone toxic. Did you receive a raise? Plan a vacation? Adjust your schedule to become more available?
Toxic people have a way of contorting any positive news into something negative. That’s their nature. It sucks. But again, you don’t have to participate.
7. Irrelevancy is irrelevant
Solving a problem that involves more than one person requires cohesiveness. Unfortunately, toxic people are utterly incapable of reciprocating what is, to most of us, a natural and fair response.
Instead, they’ll (once again) deviate from any sense of responsibility while redirecting your attention to an unrelated matter that may (but probably did not) result from your actions. Solving a problem is not important to toxic people. They’re more at home creating one of their own.
8. Mannerisms matter all of a sudden
On a related note, toxic people have a way of pointing out any and all acts of “division.” Sigh at the dinner table? Convey a frustrated tone over the phone? Anticipate and expect a toxic person to, all of a sudden, display a memory of someone with a 160-plus IQ.
Though you could likely allocate hours (days?) droning on about a toxic person’s offenses, you don’t. Why? Well, because you’re a decent human being with a good heart.
On the other hand, toxic people refuse to allow such “transgressions” to fall by the wayside. In their disillusioned sense of reality, they’ll insist on making any perceived shortcoming a pain point. Why? Well, to get their way, of course.
How we could go on and on about this last one…but we’ll desist.
Shockingly, toxic people embellish their accomplishments while depreciating anyone else’s. It’s not about them…so they don’t care. (The previous sentence may indeed explain human toxicity in the most accurate, concise way possible.)