19 Personality Traits That Signal You are Deeply Toxic

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Toxic is one of those words that everyone understands. You can feel the sickness that toxicity causes just thinking about it. When something is toxic, it is detrimental to your health when you’re exposed to it. Just like toxic chemicals, some people’s personality traits are hazardous to those around them. Whether intentional or not, their words and actions hurt in a way that is hard to recover from. Although having a toxic personality isn’t just one thing or trait, when you combine several, they form a poisonous punch to your psyche.


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When someone is selfish, they think of only themselves and always seek to put themselves ahead of others. Self-seeking behaviors are some of the most toxic ones out there. They leave no room for concern about anyone else.


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When people act impulsively as a character trait, they don’t take the time to consider how what they do affects others. An impulsive person lives in the moment. Instead of weighing the pros and cons or examining the consequences of their actions, they act. When people have no regard for how what they do touches other people, they do what they want, when they want, and often leave chaos and destruction in their wake.


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Most people don’t like conflict and do things to avoid it. Those who avoid conflict as a personality trait, however, refuse to validate others or take responsibility. Avoiding something doesn’t make it go away. When you are with someone who just pretends that a problem doesn’t exist, the situation becomes worse and more exaggerated. Much like a volcano that keeps it below the surface, eventually, a situation has to be dealt with. When you deal with an avoidance personality trait, it usually ends in eruption.


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Manipulation is a personality trait whereby an individual uses manipulation tactics to get what they want and what they want others to do. They twist the truth, lie, when necessary, and convince others that they are wrong, even when they aren’t. When you deal with a manipulative personality, you are often left hurt and scratching your head wondering what happened to get where you are at. Usually, you don’t even see it coming.


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Science tells us that negative personalities are more prone to depression and anxiety. Aside from what negativity does to them, it also affects those around them. It is oppressive to be with someone who is always searching for the dark cloud and ignoring the silver lining. Those surrounded by the negative personality tend to absorb the energy, and it brings everyone down. 


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Dishonest people are some of the most toxic people you can encounter. Because you can never trust them or what they say, it leaves you feeling like everything is unreal. The way that they can twist and turn the truth is really masterful, but it is anything but for the person who has to deal with the lies. The unpredictability of living with someone who doesn’t tell the truth and uses their version of the truth to get what they want can lead to mental torture and abuse. 


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Everyone has encountered that person who argues about everything, even when there is nothing to argue about. Argumentative people like to create drama and chaos. They can’t just go with the flow; they have to always be at odds, creating conflict. Half of the time, it isn’t really clear if they believe what they say or not. What is apparent is that they get some sort of satisfaction from inciting people and getting them to react.


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Cynicism is a trait whereby you don’t believe in things and are always suspicious about what people are doing and trying to find the hidden agenda. Cynical people tend to not only be negative; they use that negativity like a cloak to protect themselves. Whether their past experiences have made them weary or it is a genetic predisposition, it matters not. A cynic is continually distrustful and accusatory, which makes others in their wake continually guess themselves.


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Having a lack of respect usually goes hand in hand with a lack of empathy. If you can’t feel the emotions of others or how your actions affect those around you, then being disrespectful can be really easy. Respect is about having concern for others and decency to treat them in the way that you would want to be treated. Those who have little to no respect act without concern or care.


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Greed is something that drives people to do things for their own betterment, no matter what the consequences are. Similar to selfishness, those who are greedy are guided by wanting material things. They are usually also motivated by jealousy and the desire to gain what other people have. Greedy people have no problem lying, stealing, and cheating to get what they want, regardless of who they hurt in the process.

Victim Playing

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Playing the victim is a personality trait that is driven by gaining sympathy from others. Self-declared victims rarely take responsibility for what happens to them; rather, they look for how what everyone else did put them in their poor situation. Victim players often create drama around them for the “show” of it, which tends to drag everyone into the situation, and they cause turmoil just because they can.


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Being judgmental means that you hold yourself in high esteem, believing that you have some higher moral standard than everyone else. Judgmental people have no problem looking down on those who they believe aren't as just and moral and lack empathy and understanding. A judgmental personality type will speak freely about their opinions and assume that anyone who argues with them is wrong and not as chaste or as superior.


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A jealous person is similar to greedy in the respect that they want what other people have. The biggest difference is that they don’t as much want to take what you have; they just want to sit and be miserable about it. Jealousy can also be a manipulative behavior used to control someone by dictating who they can and cannot see. Jealousy stems from being insecure about yourself, but it manifests into a distrust of the person you are with. Because they don’t have the confidence in a relationship to know that they were chosen for a reason, they assume others are always looking to trade up. That leads to unhealthy patterns of thinking and controlling behaviors toward the people they are afraid to lose. 


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Someone arrogant believes that they are superior to everyone and knows everything. Arrogant people are not open-minded or willing to see other people’s points of view. That is in tune with selfishness and judgment, but it takes on a bit more looking down at other people. Arrogance is something that isn’t earned; it is something people feel entitled to simply because they are who they are. There is no way to bring arrogant people off of their pedestals. Their toxic words and actions usually end up hurting the least of humanity.


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Gaslighting is a trait that is usually tied to narcissistic personality disorder. It is a manipulation tactic where a person will approach conflict and immediately find the Achilles heel of the person they are arguing with. From there, they will cloud the situation by bringing in subjects and situations that are meant to confuse and threaten. When you confront someone who uses gaslighting as a tool, you start the conversation going one way, benign and wanting resolution. You usually leave in pieces, apologizing and feeling like you have no idea what just happened. It is termed gaslighting because a narcissistic personality will throw whatever gas on the argument fire so that it blows up in the opponent's face, rendering the opposition defenseless.


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Narcissism comes from the Greek God Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection. It is a term applied to people who think only one person exists in the world: them. Everyone else is just a means to get what they want through whatever avenue possible. The key characteristic of a narcissistic personality is that they are devoid of empathy. If you can’t put yourself into someone’s shoes and feel their emotions, it isn’t even possible to feel remorse or bad for the way you treat them. Everyone is self-loving to some extent and for survival, but if it is the way that someone views the world and their relationships as a whole, it is the most toxic trait there is. 


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Some people just never grow up. Humans are supposed to grow and learn from their mistakes, but those who never learn from their experiences and blame others for their failings don’t ever involve into a better version of themselves. Immature people are hard to reason and negotiate with. When they don’t get their way, they throw the chess board or take their ball and go home, ruining everyone’s good time.


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Some might argue that this is a trait that is nurtured over nature. When a child receives everything they want, they have no appreciation for it and develop a sense of entitlement. Those children, however, end up becoming adults, and their behaviors and entitlement never subside. They continue to walk all over and take advantage of whoever will give them what they need.


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Being entitled means that you think you deserve good things simply for being who you are. Similar to arrogance, entitlement is a character trait where a person thinks that just granting their presence to a room should command adoration and praise. If they don’t get it, they aren’t above battering and putting others down to show their superiority, even when they have no reason to feel above everyone else.

Toxic things are harmful to everything around them. Everyone can display any number of these traits throughout their lives and at certain stages and times. It is those who combine the worst of them working in tandem that can destroy the people in their lives and leave irreparable damage. The key to overcoming toxic people is to always protect your peace and put yourself above others. It doesn’t have to be outwardly, and you don’t have to confront or take a stand. Sometimes, drawing a line in the sand that you won’t cross and saving yourself is all that you need to do to maintain your mental well-being. 

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