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  • Writer's pictureFood & Mood

Personality Traits of Toxic People and How to Deal

We’re exposed to toxic personalities in all areas of life- socially, professionally, virtually, academically, at the supermarket. If you interact with others, it's unavoidable. Here are some strategies to reduce negative energy from others.

“The Chameleon” is the toxic person in your life who changes their personality according to who they are with. This person might be super vulnerable and introspective when they are with you, then do a complete 180 degree turn around and be hard and dismissive of you when someone else joins your twosome.

Feeling uncertain and nervous about being in this person's company is a common signal because Chameleons are unpredictable. You never know who they are going to show up as at any given time. You can sense that they are unauthentic. Manage the Chameleon in your life by not sharing as much personal information with them. Keep your feelings about other people in your social circle tight to your chest. The Chameleon is unreliable and thus not trustworthy.

“The Judgey Mom” is the parent in your circle who offers the negative opinions about others. There's a vibe of competition and comparison. This toxic personality often takes issue with other’s decisions. They are ready to climb up on the soapbox about any topic. The Judgey Mom will most always talk at you, not with you. You will get the sense that she is not after a conversation, but for you to agree with her opinions without question. Manage your Judgey Mom friend by sticking to benign topics that do not lend themselves to controversy. When you hear The Judgey Mom starting up with negativity, it's best to disengage if possible. Know that most judgement of others is a projection of their own lack of self-worth and fears.

“The Digger” is the interrogator in your life who can push the boundaries of what is appropriate. They might ask prying questions or not take “no” for an answer. They often veil their need to know everything under a super pleasant and friendly front. But when you walk away feeling like you revealed way more than you intended to, The Digger got you. This is a discrete form of manipulation, wrapped up in a pretty box with a bow. Manage The Digger in your life by preparing yourself ahead of time. Review what you are comfortable sharing and what you are not. Also prepare a firm no statement to use when you have had enough of fielding incessant questions.

By setting boundaries, you can keep toxic personalities at a comfortable distance. If they do not respect your relationship rules, it's wise to consider disengaging completely to support your mental health. If you need help with specific personalities in your life, counseling is a wonderful tool. You do not need to maintain toxic relationships. Setting boundaries with toxic people is a form of self-care and helps increase your self worth.

written by Lauren Luppino, LCSW -

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