Monday, July 13, 2015

Hidden Messages of Toxic People

How do you know if a friend, acquaintance or family member is toxic? There are some usual tell-tale signs. First of all, you must know, when you're dealing with a toxic person, you're not simply engaging with them. You are in a battle; a battle for power and control. Toxic people base their interactions on power and control. They want to engage with you, but only in a way that puts them on top, and you on bottom.

Unfortunately, these disordered human beings feel out-of-sorts when you are equal. They need to feel superior in order to maintain their self esteem. They come across as aloof and as though they don't need you, when in reality, they're quite needy. They only get their self esteem from external sources... from doing things that subtly put you in your "place." One of the main ways a toxic person sends a message of inequality to those around him or her is through subtle ignoring, withdrawal and the Silent Treatment. This is the process of leaving you hanging, not answering your texts, not responding to your invitations or checking their phone when the two of you are having lunch.

Checking phone when you're in mid sentence during lunch, dinner or other 2 way conversation. 

You may think this is no big deal, when in fact, it is a big deal because it sends a subconscious (and often conscious) message that you are not worth listening to. It causes the speaker to question him or herself and to feel less-than interesting. If a speaker is codependent and unaware of this mean toxic tactic, he or she may try harder to engage the ignoring other, or simply be quiet, assuming that what they say is not important. Everyone has a need to be heard. You have a right to expect your needs to be met, and you have a right to be heard. A toxic person ignoring you as you're speaking is rude and inconsiderate. If you continue to put up with this behavior, it will erode your self esteem.

When I am eating, drinking and/or conversing with someone, I am aware of the messages that the other person is sending to me. I listen to my own gut about how I feel. If I feel uneasy, or if the person starts ignoring me as I am speaking, I stop speaking. I may even let them know that I can't talk while someone is texting others. If they won't stop after I set a boundary, I will end the lunch. Yes, I will get up and walk away. Life is too short to pour myself out to disrespectful people. I need my self esteem and I need people who respect me enough to listen to me and show me that they are interested in what I have to say. I MATTER and so do you.

Ignoring your texts.

This is an interesting one. There are 2 types of ignoring (probably more, but I'm only dealing with 2). One type is when you send a text and the person never responds. The second type is when you say something and the person glosses over what you said by not answering. Here's a nice breakdown of unacceptable behavior of toxic people that over time will rob you of your self esteem and take away from you rather than build you up.

"A skilled emotional manipulator gets you to put your sense of self worth and emotional well-being into his hands. Once you make that grave mistake, he methodically and continually chips away at your identity and self-esteem until there's little left." ~ Psychopaths and Love 

1. Not responding to your initial text. This is a sign that the other person is not interested in communicating with you or that they did not receive the text. You can let this slide once, but if it happens 3 times within a few months, you can bet this person is sending you a subtle message that you are unimportant and less-than them. If a person is too busy to send a quick text back, this person is too busy for you. Go find someone more interested in you who can meet your needs equally.

2. Saying something totally unrelated to what you've said. Some people have the nerve to totally ignore your topics of conversation by text, phone or in person. They may not answer your question, but instead say whatever it is they want to say. This is a subtle form of dissing. It sends a message to your subconscious that you are invisible; and that what you have to say is not important.

3. Not responding to the last thing you said. How hard is it to send a smiley face? Say haha or finish up a conversation? I've noticed that people who have a stake in being one-up over others do not reply or finish conversations. They leave things open, which leaves you feeling like you just said the most stupid thing in the world. I know this is subtle, but that's how nuts toxic people are. They use every opportunity to dominate over others and make people they're dealing with feel less-than and worthless.

4. Waiting a long time to respond to texts. Everyone is busy. We live in a busy world, and we can't expect to be at the top of everyone's agenda 24 hours a day, however, there is a limit to how busy a person should be before you scrap the relationship and find someone else who is more attentive to your needs for reciprocity.  If someone you're dealing with consistently fails to respond to your texts in a timely manner, or leaves you hanging, then you could be dealing with a toxic person who is trying to dominate you and ultimately control you. I recommend letting this person know this behavior is bothersome and setting a boundary to protect yourself from being negated in any way.

Some people like this you have to deal with, for example people at work and/or family members. Other people, you have a choice to walk away and find people who treat you well. I have found that the text process is a great way to find out if you're dealing with a person who is sane... that is, interested in a reciprocal, give-and-take, equal relationship... or the opposite. A narcissistic control freak who wants to gain power over you--or somewhere in between.

Being less available.

A toxic person is all about controlling you. When you are being controlled by a toxic person, you may not even realize it. They do little things. Tiny things that seem like no big deal to you. Let's say, for example, they are pulling the Sweet/Mean Cycle on you. They want to control some aspect of your life, so they've been LOVE BOMBING you by being nice and meeting all your needs--and more. Now, it's time for the leveling. This is when the narcissist goes from idealizing you to devaluing you. Some toxic people use this process to control you and bring you back into line.

You may not realize it, but you will subconsciously notice that the toxic person is no longer attending to you like before. You may not see it plainly, but deep down, you will associate this person's poor, declining treatment of you as an indication that they're no longer happy with you. You're no longer accepted. Maybe you got a new job, a new boyfriend or a raise. A disordered person, who was there for you like Mother Theresa when you were down, now suddenly starts pulling away. Subconsciously, you may start to sabotage your new found happiness in order to maintain this relationship. WATCH OUT. This is a powerful form of control that can cripple your life and frustrate you immensely.

Pay attention when people are there for you and when you are feeling needy. Notice changes in the relational style of those closet to you, especially if you've been a victim of emotional abuse or narcissistic abuse. It may not be you. You may be the puppet of a toxic controlling person without even realizing it!

Insinuating there is something wrong with you and/or your decisions and life choices.

Let's face it. Happy, well-adjusted people with high self esteem do not feel the need to tear others down or to make them feel like there is something wrong with them. It is only people who feel little, insecure and intimidated that will go the extra mile to try to make you feel badly. A toxic person is very subtle, but will make statements and ask little questions that are intended to make you second guess yourself. Watch for this! Someone who loves and cares about you, someone who is good for you will build you up and encourage you--they won't be making little digs that negate and deflate you. A healthy person will not cause you to have to defend yourself or give excuses. Only sick, unhealthy people try to downgrade others.

The key to stopping these negative messages from infiltrating your soul is to build your own identity and seek out healthy people. Do whatever it takes to build a positive support system of people who are on your side and who are not toxic. Weed out negative toxic people from your life by limiting your communication and time you spend with them. Remind yourself that you matter. Continue to cultivate rich friendships with people who value you and who have something to offer. Steer clear from envious others and those with an agenda. So much more I could say, but this is all for today.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes i think this is the only kind of people i attract, and yes the signs are always there but we choose to remain blind. Thank you for the writing i really needed this today, i'm trying not to go insane.