Through personal experience, I’ve had to deal with several manipulative and toxic people in the past. Although I’m not ashamed to admit that I should’ve worked better to avoid or get out of those relationships early on, it does get rough after a while because people tend to get used to those kinds of relationships if they’re the majority of relationships in your life. And because I’ve had some experience with manipulative and toxic people (& relationships), I’ve compiled a list of toxic traits and behaviors that are red flags so that you can keep an eye out for them in future relationships.
- Not compromise on things unless you are compromising your own health/safety/comfort/sanity for theirs, not matter what
- They tend to believe they’re always right & smarter/better than you and will talk to you and treat you in a condescending manner
- They will play the pain game (“my social life/mental health/school life is worse than yours bc of xyz, even though they really can’t/shouldn’t be compared, and there’s no point in trying to argue because I’m already struggling so much”)
- Gaslighting/making you feel crazy for being upset with them for what they’re doing
- Playing the victim so that you seem/feel like the bad guy, even if/when you’re not (tends to happen more often if you try to stand up for yourself and get away from their toxic behavior)
- Lying constantly (about who they are, what they’re doing in the relationship, who their friends or family are, how they’re treated by other people, etc.)
- Refusal to take responsibility for their actions, even when they’re the ones causing harm (and they freak out on you if you don’t take all of the responsibility or blame for something that isn’t entirely your fault)
- Put more effort into looking like a good person instead of actually being a good person (actions speak louder than words – if they really were good people, their actions should mirror what they’re saying)
- Guilt trip (A manipulation tactic that makes someone feel guilty so that guilt acts as an incentive to think or behave a way they normally wouldn’t)
- Take advantage of you when you’re weaker or more emotionally sensitive (ie, grieving the loss of a loved one, breaking up with an ex you used to really like)
- Their apologies are extremely empty (if you even get one) & are meant only to get you to like them again so that you’re at their beck & call again – they are never really sorry
- They don’t actually care about anything going on in your life & only want to talk about themselves (i.e., only asking you about your day without listening to your response only because you’ll ask about their day out of politeness; sometimes, they won’t even ask about your day and will only talk about theirs or other aspects of their lives)
- Disrespect your personal boundaries & don’t care about the repercussions of not allowing you to have your own personal boundaries
- They will turn you standing up for yourself into you trying to bully them into submission (no matter how untrue that is – standing up for yourself does NOT equal bullying someone else, always remember that)
Just remember that you still have healthy normal, relationships in your life, and there are people who are willing to help you get out of toxic relationships with manipulative people. And sometimes therapy is need to help you readjust to building and dealing with normal relationships after getting out of toxic relationships, so don’t be afraid to get the help you need from certified therapists if that’s something that you really need. In the event that you might need a restraining order, write down (in detail) all of their behaviors, past actions, and whatever they’ve said and done to you, and make sure to write down when and where it happen, for how long the behavior/actions lasted for, what happened before & after, and how they treated you – that way, the more evidence you have, the more likely the police & the law will be in terms of believing you and the higher of a chance that you have to get the restraining order.