TOXIC, POISONOUS PEOPLE

They spew negativity to demean and deflate you. And they think you’re the problem. It’s happening more and more. it grows from selfishness and callousness that can derive in extreme form from certain character disorders that don’t magically recede after hours and are particularly destructive in close interpersonal relationships.

Toxic behavior is identifiable by its jolt. It’s destabilizing and has a negative emotional impact out of proportion to any immediately identifiable cause. In a one-two punch it delivers confusion, then the feeling of being deeply discounted and deflated. It steals your energy. Its signature is repeatedly—and repeatedly is important, because anybody can have a bad day—making its targets feel ill at ease without their being able to pinpoint why.

Toxic behavior doesn’t just inflict a personal hurt. It assaults systemic well being. It generates stressand frustration at the crippling devaluation. It is deeply disturbing because, as it destabilizes us, it prompts us to believe, even for a moment, that it reflects how all others see us.

Katherine Schreiber

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