Life coach Cheryl Richardson describes six types of toxic qualities in people.
The Blamer: This person likes to hear his own voice. He constantly complains about what isn’t working in his life, and yet gets energy from complaining and dumping his frustrations on you.
The Drainer: This is the needy person who calls to ask for your guidance, support, information, advice or whatever she needs to feel better in the moment. Because of her neediness, the conversation often revolves around her, and you can almost feel the life being sucked out of you during the conversation.
The Shamer: This person can be hazardous to your health. The shamer may cut you off, put you down, reprimand you, or make fun of your or your ideas in front of others. He often ignores your boundaries and may try to convince you that his criticism is for you own good. The shamer is the kind of person who makes you question your own sanity before his.
The Discounter: This is the person who discounts or challenges everything you say. Often, she has a strong need to be right and can find fault with any position. It can be exhausting to have a conversation with the discounter, so eventually you end up giving in and deciding to just listen.
The Gossip: This person avoids intimacy by talking about others behind their backs. The gossip gets energy from relaying stories, opinions, and the latest “scoop.” By gossiping about others, he creates a lack of safety in his relationships, whether he realizes it or not. After all, if he’ll talk about someone else, he’ll talk about you.
See Cheryl Richardson’s book Take Time for Your Life. Read more.
From the free website leadership-and-motivation-training.com
Your life will be unpleasant when you are around toxic people and you are the only one who can do anything about it. Here’s a couple of tips on how to improve the quality of your life by neutralizing the impact of toxic relationships:
- Make a list of the Positive Aspects of the person. This technique helps you to shift your focus. If all you only focus on their negative aspects, then they will be like this whenever they are around you.
- Get perspective by working with a neutral person, who has no agenda about you and the relationship with the other person – maybe a counsellor, a coach, a neighbor or a co-worker. The key here is that this isn’t about creating for yourself a pity party, and/or looking to dump on the other person. This is about asking the other person to help you focus on what is going on, the part you have played and what you are willing to do to move forward.
- Take Responsibility. A part of you is allowing the behaviors to happen and continue to happen. Ask yourself why am I allowing this to happen? What could I be learning from this?
- Set Boundaries. Let the other person know what they can and cannot do around you. If you have the skills, such as those from the Successful Conversations workshop, you will be able to describe quite specifically what the person is doing and what your expectations are for the future. (You can even do this with someone who seemingly is in the more powerful position e.g. a boss)
- Keep Working On You and improving your mindset and emotional capability. The book Anatomy of Peace is a terrific book to help you view situations like this from a very different and freeing perspective.
- End the Relationship. If after trying all of the above and nothing changes then it is time you walked away from the relationship.
You might also find helpful this interview about Emotional Vampires with Dr. Judith Orloff: