Human snakes … How do you deal with a “toxic” person in your life?

Human snakes ... How do you deal with a "toxic" person in your life?
Human snakes ... How do you deal with a "toxic" person in your life?

Interpreter’s introduction

“Our life may pass without us knowing that we spent it near toxic people, and we may be surrounded by many of them. They may be the closest people to us. But who are toxic people in the first place?” And how can their personality traits coincide to a large extent around the world, questions he answers The next report is from Psychology Today.Text of the article

Christine Porath was an accomplished athlete who had just graduated from Division Eye College when she ended up with a dream job, working as an assistant at a global sports company on a project to launch a sports academy. But the dream soon dissipated; Its president was, according to her description, a narcissistic dictator who added to his bullying, insolence and reprehensible behavior.

His illness was later withdrawn to the crew. “Many of us have emptied our frustrations on others, from shouting to colleagues and making lowly remarks on customers, to reaching an inability to deal in the way that good team members deal with each other,” Porath says. Some of them deliberately destroyed the company, by stealing tools and equipment, filling in hours’ reports with hours they had never worked, and adding the expenses of many personal items to the expense accounts of the boss.

A sense of exhaustion from the meanness of the workplace has developed in Porath in just a few months. “We soon became husks of our former selves,” she adds. Porath finally gave up the job in favor of one of her competitors, but her experience has left an indelible mark. After receiving a PhD in Business Administration and another in Organizational Management, she has devoted the last two decades to the study of abusive behavior in the workplace.

As an associate professor at Georgetown University’s School of Business, Porath continues to research behaviors that can poison the atmosphere in a workplace, the prohibitive costs of toxic behaviors of individuals within organizations, and what it takes to establish cultures that allow everyone to thrive in them.

As you cite, toxic behavior is common in the workplace. It stems, in part, from the selfishness and ruthlessness that can stem from certain personality disturbances of the personality that do not easily diminish by the passage of time. And it is particularly destructive in the close relationship Albinthia.

But toxic behavior is a product of certain types of environments, from cynicism to inducing people to question their personal motives by manipulating them, especially those environments in which productivity is the only criterion for success or where the atmosphere permeates a lack of confidence or suspicion, especially in those intimate relationships, where Insecurity or anxiety runs in intensity.

The time period plays a role as well; Periods of cultural turmoil, volatility, and uncertainty also tend to trigger aggressive behaviors that play on the fear of others. Whether it appears in the meeting room or the living room, toxic behavior is known by its vibrations. It loses stability and its negative emotional impact is known immediately. In the first punch it will cause confusion, while in the second it will feel a deep detraction and understatement.

It drains our energy. It is known when those affected easily feel tired without being able to determine the cause. Toxic behavior harm is not limited to the psychological aspect, as it affects our bodies as well. It generates stress and frustration of severe devaluation. The profound fatigue it causes when it destabilizes us is because it makes us believe, albeit for a moment, that it reflects the way all people see us.

But our being near toxic behavior, without necessarily being targeted, is also fatiguing, Porath states. It is related to nervous tension, cardiovascular disease, insomnia, low immunity and overeating. Toxic people not only harm others emotionally, they are also dangerous to health.

As with all negative phenomena, it has a great influence on the mind even if it is only seen. As soon as an employee sees his boss berating another employee, he will quickly find himself repeating that behavior. The abusive behavior may be passed down in families from one generation to the next, as well as the color of hair. In personal relationships, the matter is tied more subtle within the bonds of engagement.

Toxic behavior has grown in popularity over the past two decades. Where it was fueled by cultural turmoil and accompanied by a general rise in insolence and crudeness. In the latest issue of the McKinsey Quarterly, Porath disclosed that half of the workers surveyed in 1998 said they had been treated roughly at least once a month. By 2016, the number had jumped to 62%.   

Global communications company Weber Shandwick has monitored, since 2010, American taste levels, to find that they are decreasing. In January 2017, it was reported that 69% of Americans said they believed that the American people were suffering from a severe crisis of kindness, compared to 65% in 2010. The majority concluded that the greatest blame for this lies with politicians, the Internet and social media.

One in four Americans found that the recent US election was unprecedentedly toxic. While 72% of Americans found Donald Trump a savage – including the majority of those who voted for him, who accounted for 53% -. Those surveyed say that the level of indecency in politics has risen to extreme degrees, preventing good people from joining the public life.

Whether the crises of toxic behavior arose out of sheer recklessness or outright malice, they are always part of the humanitarian repertoire. No matter how many times we find that we are going through toxic times, we still need to know how to define lowliness and how to forestall it. Dealing with toxic people may not be easy, but it is crucial for your happiness and the common good.  Toxicity varieties

But who are toxic people and where do we encounter them? He is the boss who does not give an opportunity for dialogue, or the one who is busy with his Twitter account the moment you start talking. Or a friend who excuses himself with a sarcastic remark that it is an apology such as “Sorry that I am late for our appointment, but I know that you don’t do anything in the afternoon hours anyway.” Or a relative who always spoils your joy with phrases like “My mom told me that you got a high position in Atlanta, you will have to buy smartphones for your kids just so they can remember who you are.” Or a partner who exposes your flaws in front of others only to scold you for being hypersensitive when you say it is offensive. Or the parents whose ignorance leads their son to feel invisible and thus worthless.

However, what is proven among toxic people is that whatever the insult, confusion, or wounds they inflicted on you, it is either your fault or you exaggerate the matter. They are absolutely not responsible for their actions. They might even see that they were trying to help. These encounters surreptitiously disrupt the sense of self-worth, however, to the point where you begin to search for ways to avoid these confrontations with abuse and their perpetrators.  

Theo Feldsmann, head of the Industrial Psychology and Personnel Management Unit at the University of Johannesburg, points out that there are two types of sins, the first being the sins of insincerity and may not go beyond bullying. But its inherent humiliation painfully stings, especially if the events take place in the presence of other people, such as the barbaric statement of the disparity of power that establishes it, for the terror if it is harmful in any case at the moment in which it occurs, but it sows feelings of panic in the long run. Or outright insults that may destroy a person’s bright self-image.

But collateral behavior can be toxic, too, especially when committed regularly. Spreading rumors is especially pernicious, because one does not know what kind of lies are being told about him, to whom, or who is doing the thing. Blaming others is also an implicit poison, because it harms people just by cramming them into moral weakness.

The second type are the sins of neglect, such as excluding a co-worker or family member from a group meeting. Or ignoring a particular person – in a meeting or social event – which may be a toxic way to criticize a person without knowing or knowing what they have committed exactly. Toxic people tend to put their personal interest before anyone else, whether it is commanded by excessive cruelty, unintended aggression, passive-aggression, or any other reason. They refuse – and in some cases are unable to – take into account another person’s perspective or emotional state.

Toxins do not care to admit the toxicity of their behavior with others, they ignore the issue of personal boundaries varying from one person to another, and they avoid acknowledging it when they make a mistake, and are not bent on change.

Fieldsman focuses on toxic leaders in his research on the impact of toxic individuals in work environments. He finds they are adept at psychoanalysis in a number of ways. They have a sharp focus, not only on their own self-interest, but also on the weaknesses of others. And they know, dependency, how to pressure each one of them to detract from their employees. Because this ability is one of the components of the survival skills they honed during their advancement up the career ladder.

Feldsmann attributes the increase in the number of toxic leaders to a culture of absolute individualism. But toxic behavior is exacerbated when organizations define competence with technical skills to the detriment of human values.

Experts say that a lot of toxic behavior is circumstantial. There are those who have personality traits such as paranoia, hostility, narcissism, psychopathy, and everyday sadism push them to attack others with multiple patterns of negativity. They bring havoc with them wherever they go and whoever addresses them. And there are those on the other extreme, who know nothing but sympathy. But most people, in between the two, are influenced by their surroundings. They do not automatically consider toxic behavior, it is something they engage in if the overall situation is encouraging.at work

The pattern of work in 2017 seems to have the ability to release toxins lurking in people’s psyche, Porath says. Over the past two decades, the business environment has undergone a process of transformation. Whereas in the past employees worked separately, today they are forced to work in teams and cooperatives.

Toxic colleagues on teams therefore have a greater chance of inflicting damage, which is usually measurable – to morale, or productivity – which is why research on toxic behaviors focuses on their sphere of influence at work. But toxic behavior is the same wherever it occurs; That is because what happens within the scope of work, and the reason for its occurrence, applies to other aspects of life.

Porath finds that toxic behavior primarily stems from the heavy psychological load that people carry. It conducted a survey of thousands of employees from various companies, and found that “more than 60% of them claim that the reason for their lack of kindness is their feeling of psychological pressure or defeat.” The researcher attributes much of the psychological pressure to the general rise in global competition, which forces companies to make a sharp reduction in time-out, in addition to what she considers to be an excessive dependence on technology that may delay employees in work if they suffer a breakdown.

Technology also fuels toxic behavior, because it creates ample opportunities for misunderstanding and meanness in written communication. “Insults are much easier when they are not face to face,” the researcher says. Moreover, communicating with email correspondence during a one-on-one conversation or team meeting, or any kind of multitasking, may leave employees – not to mention a partner and children – feeling inaudible, indifferent and in a desire to respond to abuse.  

The diversity of the workforce may have many advantages, but one of its disadvantages is that bridging the differences – ethnic, cultural, generational – requires hard effort, which makes achieving within a work environment extremely difficult. However, toxic people in organizations may have an advantage if they gain expertise in a particular field, says Dylan Minor, an assistant professor in the Kellogg School of Management in the Management Economics and Decision Sciences Unit at Northwestern University.

In fact, those who have distinctive skills tend to over-confidence that they are above accountability for bad behavior, and in his studies, it was found to him that excessive self-confidence is an indicator of toxicity if it is combined with the preference of self over others.

The problem with toxic behavior in the work environment is that its effects are not limited to the target person, for everyone suffers. Minor distinguishes between tough employees and toxic ones. Both cause harm, but the toxic person’s behavior extends to others. It is spreading steadily due to emotional contagion. “People can pick it up without even realizing it,” Porath says. This seems to be a key feature of barbaric behavior.

Whether it is initiated by absolutely toxic individuals or by those who exhibit bad behavior driven only by the current circumstance, toxic behavior can instantly become a fixed mode of dealing, Feldsman points out. Reaction is either responding to the abuse or concluding that it is the best way to deal in environments where people notice aggression, rudeness, and bullying or where they regularly prey on the offender.


Discontent behavior – by toxic employees – urges the best employees to leave. No matter how talented a toxic employee is, he hits rock bottom when the company incurs losses in recruiting and training new employees.

It is noteworthy that 80% of 800 workers from different companies in a poll conducted by Porath and published by the Harvard Business School, said they spent a good amount of time in their jobs anxious because of witnessing hostility in the workplace, while 63% of them spent time trying to avoid the abuser. . She added, “The emotional impact on others in the organization extended to the point where productivity – not to mention the happiness and stability of the employee – is subject to continuous disruption.”

Porath reports that toxic behavior also has a cognitive tax. “It impairs memory and focus on information. It reduces creativity and the ability to innovate,” Porath says. As a result, job satisfaction diminishes, morale evaporates, and engagement diminishes.

The consequences can be dire, as the discordant behavior prompts the best employees to leave. No matter how talented a toxic employee is, he hits rock bottom when the company incurs losses in recruiting and training new employees.

So it is best not to hire toxic people in the first place. Especially when looking at a research paper Minor wrote recently for Harvard Business School, it says that companies pay $ 12,500 annually in employee resignation and training costs for new ones because of one high-ranking employee on the team, which is much more than the company would earn from hiring a skilled person.Love in the time of toxicity

The goal at work is usually to stay away from toxic people. But we tend to include them in our personal lives. And this happens the most times we are looking for love.

It is no secret that the Semites usually have charming qualities, such as self-confidence. But the most manipulative ones of them do not reveal their authentic nature immediately, as they resort instead to throwing a flood of compliments and paying attention to a general display of affection, such as sending a wonderful bouquet of flowers to your office, to impress your colleagues as much as they may want to impress you. This is done in order to gain the admiration and trust of another potential partner.

In addition to confidence, the speed of acting, as they begin to act in a strange way, such as asking for irrational things, we will have attached themselves to them. Neuropsychology analyst Rwanda Freeman also points out. It becomes difficult to objectively look at their behavior, and the more difficult it becomes the further into our souls. Let us forgive their transgressions from countless criticisms of us, blame us for their own problems, and ignore our needs and demands, trying to understand or justify their bad behavior “He is under tremendous pressure in recent times” or “She is at her core a very good person.”

We might blame ourselves: “I must be very demanding” or “He’s right. I’m so lucky to be in a relationship with him. Who else could have put up with me?” This dynamic, Freeman says, traps especially those who experienced emotional or physical abuse at the hands of a family member while growing up.

The closer we are to a toxic person, the more he knows about us, the more we are attached to him, the more we welcome them into our lives, the greater the harm they inflict on us. Where they have more information in their hands about us that allows them to manipulate or attack us. As long as we bond with someone, Freeman says, we do our best not to experience the painful feelings of loss that come with a breakup.

Partners in an intimate relationship always have to negotiate the line between control and attention. The most destructive behavior in a relationship occurs when a partner deliberately and habitually misuses trust in order to control the other. Manipulation is always an abuse of force, but the collision of malicious intent on one side by assuming the other a positive consideration has a particular impact on stability.

One of the most blatant forms of romantic manipulation is “love targeting,” which is a dark alternative to excessive kindness. This title was first launched in the 1970s and spread by pastor Sun Myung Moon to win converts to the Unification Church he established. It was introduced to the deceased psychologist Margaret Sanger, best known for her work uncovering the exploitative tactics of religious sects.

As she stated in her book “Between the folds of religious sects,” “targeting with love – or offering immediate companionship – is a fraudulent trick that has caused many successful recruitment campaigns for sects. Those who are being targeted say it. “


Although manipulation is not limited to romantic relationships, the close knowledge shared by the two lovers enables it to be the most toxic and destructive type of behavior. When you lose your self-confidence, you also lose your grip on the truth

Being targeted with love is intense, caring-filled courtship that paves the way to making extreme demands effortlessly. And the targets of it seek – either due to the internal insecurity of some, or the exploitative nature of others – to keep their partner for themselves, isolated from friends and family and complete independence, so that they alone are the focus of attention. The detraction begins by the target, when the target blocks the end, or the controlling party gets tired of the game. To be the target For the target, the party is always to blame.

The target may require a lot of detraction and seizure events until he finally realizes the matter and moves to ending the relationship. Some people may be drawn to falling in love with those who are particularly targeted. People are most vulnerable to falling victim to masks of love, those who lack a sense of confidence, or are suspicious of what they are or what they will be like, or those who do not have enough justification to talk about it. Just as bullying behavior chooses those who are not self-advocate, the target can also spot the doubters themselves.

The types of manipulation are many, but the most insidious of them may be “lighting the gas lamp”. Although manipulation is not limited to romantic relationships, the close knowledge shared by the two lovers enables it to be the most toxic types of destructive behaviors. When you lose your self-confidence, you also lose your grip on the truth. Psychologist Robin Stern, an assistant trainer at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and author of The Gas Lamp Effect, says, “The organized attempt by one person to nullify the other person’s truth – by telling him that what he is going through is not what he thinks – and the gradual surrender by the party. The other. “

The lighting of a gas lamp always involves someone who needs control to feel himself and another who is “ready to submit, and needs a relationship to feel himself.”

 The phrase “Gas Lamp Lighting” originates from a 1938 play, with the same title, Gas Lighting, by Patrick Hamilton, and was filmed as a later film starring Ingrid Bergman. In it, his wife’s husband convinces that the footsteps that she hears at night – whose voice is – and the fading light of the lamp she sees at night in the house – which is the lamp he carries in his secret search for hidden treasures in the attic – are a figment of her imagination.  

Soon, those subject to the distortion of the truth by their partners become skeptical of their beliefs and perceptions, as well as seeing themselves as bad partners just to question the wisdom of the other side. Stern adds that lamp-lighting operators often demonstrate enormous self-confidence, as do toxic bosses in the workplace. This gives them sufficient power to contest their partner’s judgment. The tactic of illuminating a gas lamp inherently nullifies the instincts of courage and boldness that might perceive the aberration of truth. Its owners tend to isolate the other party from the individuals around him who can help him uncover the cruelty committed or verify all the fabricated allegations.Why are they behaving this way?

Freeman says it is possible for toxic people to admit sometimes if they have been alerted to the maladaptive behavior. But often, the problem, from their perspective, is the other person.

Some people may experience overt personality disorders that non-professionals cannot identify. Toxic individuals are defined by one or two personality traits – among them signs of paranoia, narcissism, and psychopathy – that meet the diagnostic criteria in pathology when they are in their prime. Freeman, who created a web-based educational unit called Neuroscientists to help people recover from toxic relationships, argues that perpetrators of toxic behavior lack the skill for emotional control and are unable to regulate the intensity of their expressions to suit a wide range of situations.

Under normal circumstances, emotional control prevents you from exploding if a co-worker disagrees with you, as well as enabling you to receive criticism from your partner with open arms. This trait is acquired during early development by exposure to strategies for controlling emotional frenzy, especially negative ones. As Freeman points out, “emotional control allows us to accept accountability for our behaviors, to feel compassionate, and to be mature.”

Some flaws in empathy play a role. Excessive sensitivity to the pain of others may lead to more harmful behaviors such as bullying and aggressive manipulative behaviors such as lighting a gas lamp.

Studies show that those who meet the criteria for borderline personality disorder – whose emotional fluctuation typically manifests itself in the form of angry outbursts or self-harm – reveals flaws in the neural circuitry that allows empathy. They are the same faults that make it difficult for them to think about the consequences of their actions.

Neural circuits are known to be responsible for part of the problem, as it is with most behaviors. Upbringing is usually undertaken in command. An abundance of research indicates that parenting strategies contribute to the “trigger response”, which causes some people to explode in anger. The way in which parents help their infants and older children manage rampant negative behaviors directly affects lifelong emotion control skills. It remains to be seen whether the pre-existing toxic behavior will continue in the future.Psychological protective suit

Perhaps the best way to protect yourself from toxic behavior is to cut off or mitigate any contact with the people who trigger the behavior. But this is seldom possible, let alone practical. So it would be a good idea to equip yourself with a number of basic skills, all of which fall into the self-management box.

Adjust your visibility

The most important thing you can do is cut back on communication. If you work around a toxic person, ask your boss to adjust desks. Never sit near a toxic person, it’s contagious, according to Dylan Minor of Kellogg School of Management. If you are working with a team that has a toxic person, request that you be transferred to another project; If not, ask your manager to have your toxic colleague work more from home, or at least ask for fewer team meetings.

If your boss is a toxic person, limit the amount of time you spend with him or her and try to get close to others in the organization who may listen to you. If nothing can be done, start looking for another job. If this is not an option, ask someone else to supervise you.

And if you have the authority to hire, learn how to inquire from candidates about signs of emotional competence and clarify coping systems from the start, says researcher Christine Porath.

If the toxic person is your partner, or a former life partner with whom you have children, then you will most likely need the help of a mental health professional to direct the relationship, advises psychologist Rwanda Freeman.

Adjust your response

Here is the source of the greatest control; It is important to draw critical boundaries, says Robin Stern of Yale University. Rejection when the demands seem illogical on your part, without the need for justification. Prepare a number of good short sentences for the moment the toxic person is blaming you or bullying you, such as saying, “I will not continue with these notes as long as you reject me,” or “I will be happy to discuss this with you when you calm down.”


Monitor these potential toxicants, identify and ignore personal traits that spill toxicity before there is any contact.

Stern recommends taking notes of how you felt before, during, and after each toxic interaction in order to clear toxins. Doing so will help you keep the incident marginal. Plus, bonding with friends and others you trust is important. Especially if the toxic person is your partner. Relationships with people who treat you with respect can take your stress out and help you balance your new perspective. Agreeing with your point of view may boost your self-esteem and counteract the isolation imposed on you by the toxic person.

Find activities that take you away from the toxic person or environment. Participate in a book club, or take a cooking class. Because you will also gain a better sense of your position in this world.

Not justify

Avoid trying to explain your decisions. A toxic person refuses to listen anyway. Attempts will only frustrate you. So it would be better to say “I’m sorry but I’m busy right now” or “I can’t do that now.” Do not display any explanation for the other.

Fortify yourself

Monitor and ignore these potentially toxic ones before there is any contact. Identify the personal characteristics that fuel toxicity. Drama queens; Those who arouse suspicion or have perceived aggression and those who do not show much interest in the feelings of others.

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