Confessions: Am I a toxic person?

By Chris Hart | Fri,Dec 10 2021 08:30:00 EAT

 What should I do about the people in my life I do not like? (Image: Shutterstock)

Hi Chris,

I have gradually come to realise that I have not liked a lot of the people I have interacted with over the years.

Difficult colleagues at work, evil bosses, some of my family, and definitely several boyfriends! How come there seems to be so many?

Am I to blame in some way? And above all, what should I do about the people in my life that I do not like?

Toxic People

Chris says,

Hi Toxic People!

There are lots of toxic people in the world. Some have personality disorders, but many are that way just because it works for them.

Initially, they are charming, so no one ever sees them coming. And they are subtle, so you are forever wondering, “Is it me? Was I over-reacting, or was I too sensitive?” Worry not; it is not you. It is them.

They are forever getting upset about something. You find yourself trying everything to make them happy. That is why it works for them!

They are controlling and do things that hurt you while implying it is for your own good. They are judgemental and never apologise. They lie and twist everything around them. They project their own feelings onto you and end up convincing you that you are mistaken or confused.

They never share in your joy. They bring up stuff from a long time ago. And somehow, everything seems to be about what you have done to them. Or the way you are communicating, rather than what you are trying to say. They can go quiet and stay offline for days at a time.

When you spot stuff like this you should cut them out of your life, but chances are that you won’t. So what must you do? Choose your battles carefully. Conflict is the only way such people feel important. Therefore, save your energy for what really matters.

Do not run to their side in every crisis they purport to have. Ask once, discuss it, apologise if need be, but do not offer help.

You do not have to explain why, justify your decision or make excuses. Simply stop trying to please them. Walk away, especially if they start ranting at you, and come back when their mood has lifted.

Note that you cannot change them, so stop trying. Be clear about your boundaries, pay attention when your intuition says something is not right, set your own rules, and stand firm.

A poisonous boss is particularly difficult because you can never win. So just do your best, and consider looking for another job.

Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself, and always watch out for signs that someone could be toxic.

All the best,


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