Toxic People Have These 7 Personality Traits To Watch Out For

Photo: wayhome studio/Shutterstock
woman watching out for toxic people and personality traits

We all have toxic people in our lives, whether it’s a boss or a co-worker, a family member or a lover, you have people you know who only bring you down.

And unfortunately for many of us, these toxic people bring us down every day.

The best way to avoid — or get rid of — the toxic people in our lives is to know what kind of personality traits they exhibit and to learn how to deal with them. 

RELATED: The 5 Most Dangerous Types Of Toxic People (And How To Get Them Out Of Your Life)

Fortunately, toxic people are fairly easy to identify, if you know what to look for.

Here are 7 personality traits toxic people have that you need to look out for.

1. Toxic people are self-centered.

Many toxic people are totally all about themselves.

Everything that happens in the world, the good and the bad, is a reflection of them. They truly believe they're the center of the universe, and that everyone and everything should put their needs second to them.

Because of they are so self-centered, toxic people are simply incapable of reading the feelings of others and having any concern that they might be causing pain. They have no interest in looking out for the needs of another person and would never put their needs above their own.

I know someone whose partner is as self-centered as they come. He pushes her away when he needs "time," and then draws her back in when he wants her.

He does this a lot and she blames herself. But it’s not about her. It’s about him.

2. They are insecure.

Many toxic people are paralyzingly insecure. And it is this insecurity that brings about toxicity.

For instance, a man might have had a horrible childhood; his father disappeared and his mother struggled with difficult relationships. He started drinking young, and now has a hard time staying employed, and is chronically unfaithful.

I think he knows that he has failed on many levels — and it consumes him.

How does this make him toxic? Because of his insecurity, he's quick to blame others for his failings.

He lashes out at people who let him down. He finds it hard to believe anyone could ever love him, so he won't commit to loving someone else.

So, how do you deal with an insecure person? Again, awareness is an important part of it. You can’t make someone who is insecure secure by telling them they are wonderful.

What you can do is make them feel safe and help them gain security by helping them find success. If you can do that, then you could help them manage their insecurity and, therefore, their toxicity.

3. Toxic people are overly possessive.

People who are toxic are often very possessive.

People who are possessive don’t like to share their friends or their lovers with other people. They hold on tight to someone who might try to live their own life, sometimes causing those people to become alienated from others.

Does your partner push back every time you want to go out and spend time with friends? Do they make up excuses as to why you have to be with them? Perhaps pretend they're sick?

If those things didn’t work, maybe they'll fly into a rage and insist you not go.

If this person is possessive, a good thing to do at the first sign of it is to talk it through. They need to understand from the beginning that you'll have your own life and you'll always want to do things on your own.

If your person doesn’t like that, leave them. Immediately!

RELATED: If The Person You Love Has These 10 Poisonous Traits, You May Be A Victim Of Narcissistic Abuse

4. They are controlling.

Toxic people are very often controlling. They insist on managing how their partner acts, what they wear, what they eat, who they hang out with, etc.

Their control and their possessiveness are the results of their insecurities. They believe that if their person is out of their sight, they will lose them. As a result, they do whatever they can to control the actions of their partner.

Your partner may insist on keeping you in constant contact with them, and if you fail, they'll blow up at you. You might even believe they're doing this because they love you, but it's actually controlling.

5. Toxic people have anger issues.

Toxic people are usually very angry. It doesn’t take much to trigger them into a rage. They're working so hard to control their world, even the smallest thing can’t set them off.

Anger is one of those personality traits you can’t do anything about. You can encourage your partner to get help, which they may or may not do.

You can also leave them. That might seem scary, but getting away from a person with anger issues might be the smartest thing you ever do.

6. They are cruel.

One very significant personality trait of a toxic person is that they're mean. Not just unpleasant, but cruel.

I had a boss once who was constantly insulting the people who worked for him. He would cut them down at staff meetings, undermine them in front of clients, belittle them for shoddy work habits, and continually mock the way they dressed.

As you can imagine, the work environment was toxic.

So, how do you deal with a mean person? Once again, you can quit your job or leave your lover. You can also choose how to manage your reactions to that person.

You know that their default reaction is meanness. If you know that, perhaps you can moderate your reactions to them — you can recognize what they say is more about them than it is about you.

Doing so might mitigate the damage done by their toxic words and actions.

7. Toxic people are passive-aggressive.

I believe the number-one personality trait of toxic people is being passive-aggressive.

Passive-aggressiveness is defined as, "behavior characterized by the expression of negative feelings, resentment, and aggression in an unassertive, passive way (as through procrastination and stubbornness)."

Passive-aggressive people don’t come out and say what they mean or what they want. They hint, suggest, undermine, and pry — whatever they need to do to get you to act in a certain way or do something, without directly asking you or taking responsibility.

The reason I believe that passive-aggressiveness is the most compelling personality trait of toxic people is that passive-aggressive people manipulate others to get what they want. That in and of itself is toxic.

So, how do you deal with a passive-aggressive person? Talk to them about their passive-aggressive tendencies. Don't allow yourself to be manipulated. If you do that, you might raise awareness in your partner of their manipulative ways, so you can work together to change them.

The personality traits of toxic people are ones that are key to notice if you want to be happy in this world.

Toxic people bring us down every day. No matter how hard you work to make your life a better place, you have no control over what toxic people bring into your life.

Life is too short to let your happiness be hampered by toxic people.

RELATED: 6 Twisted Things Master Manipulators Do In Relationships

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based certified life coach and mental health advocate. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live. Contact her for help or send her an email.