Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Toxic People

One of my first blogs here was about Emotional Vampires.

And here's a good article on the topic:

Assuming you know what I'm talking about then, I'll continue.

Just lately I have had to help several people I care about who are having to deal with these types, and there have been a number of discussions in my circles on the topic.

Let's be clear. You cannot reason with these people. You can find yourself spending a lot of time trying, you may have all sorts of ideas on how you will "get through" but you won't. There is something wrong in their thought processes.

It causes them endless problems. Their lives are not happy. But it will do you no good to feel sorry for them, because there is nothing you can do.

A very kind friend of mine, in one of these discussions said:

"Everyone needs love, these people are no different."

Fine, but you don't have to be the one to give that love. Because it won't be appreciated. That's the whole point. As a loving, giving person of course you feel the need to give love to everyone, but let me give you an analogy to see the problem here.

Let's say you have a garden. You grow a variety of plants. Some of them are pretty flowers, some are things you can eat, and some are thistles that do nothing for you at all. They are still plants, they still have a right to exist, but they don't have to do it in YOUR garden. You can pull them out.

When you tend your garden, you do so by ensuring it has everything it needs. Sunshine, water, nutrients, and so on. Maybe even a barrier to keep bugs away. You treat all the plants the same. You effectively give them love. But no matter how much love you give a thistle, it's still a thistle. You could spoil it rotten, give it the finest fertilizer, never let one single aphid settle on it, it will always be a thistle.

Not only that, if you don't remove it from your garden, it will take all the nutrients that the other plants need, and in time will take over the garden. It will effectively crowd out the other plants. If you don't get rid of it early on, it will take all your time pulling out thistles. Therefore, for your benefit, and for the benefit of the rest of the garden too, weeding is the only sensible solution.

In other words, you have to have a limit.

There are a couple of named, diagnosed disorders out there, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and Borderline Personality Disorder. Like all disorders, these vary in severity and there are always those who don't quite meet the criteria, but come close.

These toxic people are sometimes on one of those scales, or something similar.

And they can't help it. It's part of who they are. There's no cure. But being compassionate simply enables them, so it's the last thing you should do.

People who love you do not do things to hurt you. If somebody in your life is deliberately causing you harm, however subtle that is, this is not love. It doesn't matter how many times they say they love you if their actions prove otherwise.

So, in an interesting twist, a friend of a friend complained of being shunned, and that this was unkind. I know nothing about this girl, and I have no idea what sparked the shunning. So I didn't have much to say, but as I was privy to it I asked:

"This shunning, is it the only thing they are doing?"

The answer was yes. Nobody had been unkind to her in any other way. It hadn't happened all at once, it was gradual.

My guess is that the girl is toxic, and everyone has reached their limit with her.

But it would do me no good to tell her that, even if I was sure it was accurate. The simple fact that she doesn't understand why she's being shunned proves that she simply doesn't get it. I bet she's had plenty of warnings, and ignored them. The fact that "everyone" is doing it is the biggest clue that the problem is her. But she can't even see that most obvious, basic clue.

I've said before that while listening to criticism is usually discouraged, if there is consensus among one's critics it might be time to give it some thought.

Understanding all of this requires a type of analysis that these folk are not capable of. They can't see what they did wrong. THEY CAN'T.


  1. I just think the condition of being an emotional vampire is spreading to more and more people. Or maybe I am becoming less tolerant of them. I am connected to more of them that I care to admit.

    1. Certainly thoughtlessness and self-centredness are on the rise. Or are we just getting old? LOL. I don't know. All we can do is be aware of it.

  2. Sometimes though...people don't even take the chance in getting to really KNOW you before they pass on all their judgments...just sayin...:)

    1. Of course they don't, therefore they're not worth knowing.

  3. Thing is they can seem so reasonable in many ways. Sometimes it takes a very long time to realize it's a Thistle until you suddenly realize it's choking other things out.

  4. My ex was like that. She was an emotional vampire. But now that I have some distance from that, I realize she is more like an emotional black hole. She could suck the life out of any situation and she could never get enough. Best thing I ever did was come to see this and leave.

    1. As Sherry says, sometimes it takes a while to see what's happening.