Growth 4 min read

It’s Not Me, It’s You

Recognize the warning signs.

Human behavior is a fascinating and frustrating thing.

Learning about ourselves is useful to identify troubling behavior that can stand in the way of fulfillment, but identifying internal issues doesn’t always prepare us for recognizing them in others.

Life would be easier if people walked around wearing warning signs for us to heed, but there’s no chance of seeing “Hazard Ahead” or “Dead End” around the necks of others.

Since the warning signs of danger aren’t always literal, it’s important to learn how to identify toxic behavior in others.

1. Judgment is their native language.

The old adage goes that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all, but toxic individuals never seem to take that advice to heart. They usually have no kind words to say about anyone and are perpetrators of gossip, negative opinions, and general discouragement.

Although mean natured, this alone doesn’t mean they’re toxic but what it says about their inner stability does. A study by Wake Forest University showed that how positively we see others is linked to how kind-hearted and emotionally stable we ourselves are. It was found that a person’s “negative perceptions of others are linked to higher levels of narcissism and antisocial behavior.”

2. They live for drama.

Some people live for drama. They’re entertained, empowered and satisfied by it. This is the clearest indicator of a toxic person.

This behavior is so problematic, in fact, that science and psychology have developed a test to measure one’s need for drama.

According to the researchers from the team at the University of Texas, "people with drama-prone personalities generally live chaotic lives and inflict contrived crises on family, friends, and co-workers." This means that people who love drama will use their toxic behavior to create more of it.

3. They’re the star of every story, even yours!

If all life’s a stage than toxic individuals think they are the stars.

This kind of intense self-superiority and self-centeredness is seen in psychology as narcissism. With narcissists, they see themselves as the MVPs of every situation. They will hijack any circumstance and turn it around to focus the attention on them.

When they find themselves without the attention they crave, they can become vicious and “punish those who do not support their grandiose image of themselves.” Narcissists are only friends when they are getting what they want and what they want is to be the center of everything.

Once the warning signs are identified, it’s much easier to make the decision to cut a toxic person out of our lives.

Sometimes we’ve just got to say, “It’s not me, it’s you.”

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