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10 Secret Signs of a Toxic Person: Are You One?

Here are the ultimate signs of toxicity, according to experts.  

Everyone knows that toxic people are to be avoided. However, what is a toxic person anyway? And even more thought-provoking, are you a toxic person? Jamie Mahler, a therapist based in Los Angeles, California, helps people heal themselves and learn how to cultivate relationships. Before she could do that, she was forced to come to terms with her own toxicity. She explains to Insider that she didn't realize she was toxic until she visited her boyfriend's family. "I genuinely remember thinking, "This isn't fake? You actually care and treat each other like this?"' After that moment, she knew she needed to make a change. Here are three toxic traits she identified, and several others as identified by experts. 

Passive Aggressiveness


The first toxic trait Mahler identified was passive-aggressiveness, explaining that she grew up with her family making passive aggressive comments. She ended up doing this as well. For example, when in a relationship if she wanted her partner to get her a glass of water, instead of asking for a cup, she would say: "My God, it would be so nice to not be thirsty right now. 

'Like, it would be so great if someone just paid attention to their partner's needs."

Seeking Constant Validation


According to Mahler seeking constant validation could mean you're toxic. She would place unrealistic expectations when it came to giving her compliments and words of affirmation. "The purpose of a relationship isn't to use each other. It's to honor and celebrate each other."

Staying in Unhealthy Relationships and Friendships

Frustrated couple.

Staying in unhealthy and unfulfilling friendships or relationships might mean you're the problem. For example, if you stay in friendships that make you feel unworthy, get into frequent arguments, or don't know how to set boundaries, then you might be toxic. 

Emotional Manipulation


If you notice someone is emotionally manipulative, it could be a sign they are toxic. "They'll put you down and insult you, often in a passive-aggressive or backhanded way," Neo says. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Maybe they make jokes about something you're sensitive about to get a rise out of you, or perhaps they withhold affection to punish you for seemingly no reason. "All they want is to make you squirm—they thrive on that," Perpetua Neo, DClinPsy, told Mindbodygreen.



If you notice someone being dishonest in any way, they are likely toxic,  Babita Spinelli, L.P., J.D. told Mindbodygreen. 



Another sign someone is toxic is if they engage in gaslighting, a form of emotional manipulation. They might deny your reality saying things like "you're making things up" or "you're being dramatic" when you express your thoughts and feelings. 

Refusing to Accept Accountability


Toxic people do not want to take the blame for anything. Spinelli says that not only do they display a lack of responsibility for their actions, but they'll often deflect blame onto others.

They Are Negative


If someone is negative and refuses to be happy for you, they are toxic. If they fake support, it can come off as "toxic positivity." 

They Drain Your Energy


Toxic people are draining to be around and are often likened to vampires. "They are depleting and leave you feeling exhausted," Spinelli says. Neo agrees: "They create stress, depletion, and negativity to those around them."

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Apologies Are Not Sincere


Toxic people might apologize but it's rarely sincere, and "they make it all about you, and make it all your fault," Neo adds, with phrases like "I'm sorry you think I was wrong" or "I'm sorry if I upset you." 

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