A lot of us don't realize how many toxic people we're involved with. But whether we can see it or not, the psychological toll of dealing with toxic people comes out in all different area of our lives. It's only when can recognize them that we can stop blaming ourselves for all the baggage they're putting on us — which is why we need to learn the signs we've got toxic people on our hands.
"Sometimes, people are afraid of being alone, so we stay in a relationship or friends with someone because 'at least we have somebody,'" Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW, an NYC-based therapist specializing in relationships, tells Bustle. "Sometimes, people feel they don't deserve better. We get comfortable with the status quo and just continue on the same path because change is hard! People also stay in toxic relationships because they think their intuition is wrong. We engage in denial and go on because it's easier than going through the pain of conflict."
We don't always have the option to cut all toxic people out of our lives, but it's a good idea to limit our engagement with them as much as we can. Dealing with toxic people takes its toll on you. If you notice any of these signs, it may be time to reassess who you spend your time with.
1. You Feel At Fault For Other People's Behavior
One of the hallmark signs of a toxic person is that they blame people for their problems, says Hershenson. If you're often feeling guilty over circumstances that resulted primarily from other people's decisions, this could mean you've become the target of toxic people's blame.
2. You're Always Tired
Dealing with toxic people is draining — especially if they're emotional vampires, the kind of toxic person who takes advantage of you. "You just had a great night’s sleep or a full vacation, and yet you still feel bad and drained. Being tired and lethargic for no reason is a surefire way to tell you that you’re around too many toxic people," relationship expert Audrey Hope tells Bustle. Sleep can also became an escape from toxic people, she adds.
3. You Feel Bad About Yourself & Your Life
Toxic people's negativity is contagious. They'll offer you a negative lens through which to view everything, says Hope. If it seems like you're doing everything wrong or everything in your life is going wrong, that might just be because you've started to see the world through their eyes.
4. You're Always In A Bad Mood
There are myriad sources of anxiety, depression, and crankiness, but toxic people can definitely be one, says Hope. The people surrounding us have a huge impact on our moods.
5. You Have A Hard Time Saying "No"
A tendency to say "yes" to everything can bring toxic people into your life, Frank Healy, Licensed Professional Counselor and Life Coach, tells Bustle. If you find yourself feeling resentful of your plans or not looking forward to things you normally look forward to, it's possible you haven't been selective enough about who these plans involve.
6. You're Happiest Alone
When we're in healthy relationships, we come out of each interaction feeling happier and lighter, while toxic people leave us feeling worse, psychiatrist Meredith Sagan, MD tells Bustle. If meeting up with your friends or family leaves you feeling angry, anxious, or depressed, they could be toxic.
7. You're Becoming Toxic Yourself
People pick up behaviors from those around them, says Sagan. When we see people acting like jerks left and right, it becomes easy to forget that their behavior is actually not OK. Plus, when you're being treated poorly, you may have the impulse to take it out on other people.
While it may not be possible to cut every toxic person out of your life, you should try to ensure that overall, the people you hang out with are a positive influence on you. If you're surrounded by positive people, you'll be positive as well, which will bring even more positive people into your life.