Columns / Discourse / May 16, 2018

How to recognize the toxic people in your life

A toxic person can be hard to spot when you are so consumed by the feeling you have when you are with them. I know for me, it was easy to be around toxic people because of how comfortable I got around them and how blind I was to the manipulation that came with it. As I look back on those past relationships, I wonder how I was so adaptive to the toxic environment I was in. To try and avoid these situations in the future, I have put together my situations and done some research to notice the signs of toxic people before becoming a part of them once again. The three main aspects I have noticed in toxic people are manipulation, dependency and holding you back from your goals and your future. So starting off,


They are manipulative.

They can transform you into a completely different human being than who you are. I have become someone I don’t recognize whilst with toxic people. It has left me confused about who I truly am today.

Toxic people can put you into situations where you don’t know how to say no, especially when they are special to you. The peer pressure that comes with someone who has manipulated you into someone else can put you in regular uncomfortable situations that soon become normal in your everyday routine. It can push people into forgetting what is healthy and what is productive. You can lose track of what is important to you and what was making you happy before this person came into your life.

One way to notice this happening is to think about how you are spending your time lately, have you done things that are important to you in the past couple days? Do you still have a grip on how you feel when you are with this person? It is easy to forget emotions when you are so caught up in their manipulation. Do constant check-ins with yourself and ask people close to you if you have been changing the way you act recently. It is important to keep track of who you are, even when spending so much time with someone new.


They are dependent on you.

Dependency can be a good and bad thing. It is important to realize when it is productive dependency and when it is overcoming your life. In a past relationship of mine, the person had their entire life planned around mine. Their only goals and aspirations involved following me through my journey in life. This kind of dependency put a massive weight on my shoulders. I felt like I couldn’t let them go from my life because then their entire life would turn upside down. They didn’t know how to take care of themself. They didn’t have any productive goals for themself; their only goals involved me. It was tiring and overwhelming. It took me much longer to let go of this person because of the fear of ruining their plans, yet in the end it was the only plan that was productive for me. I had to make sure they were on their own so they could actively move forward without me.

Dependency can come in many different forms, and for me it was literal dependency on my plans. It can also be seen through emotional dependency, such as when they need you to always be there for them or they will fall apart, which is equally exhausting. I have also seen it through forms of materialistic dependency, where the person is always pushing you to shower them with physical objects instead of your personality being enough. It can come in all shapes and sizes and is hard to get away from. When someone is important to you and has provided you with warmth and happiness at one point, it can be difficult to let that go, but remember that it is the best for your health, wellbeing and your future.


They are holding you back from moving forward.

As stated before, a past partner was planning their entire life around me, which ultimately was holding me back. This is because I felt like the plan they had made did not leave me any room to explore and find out what I really wanted to do. It left me without a curiosity for different fields, places and adventures that may cross my path. Everything had to follow their plan for both of us to live comfortably. This is not fair to me. The people you surround yourself with should not be taking you away from an exciting and unpredictable future. They should be supporting you to try new things, work hard and travel to new places. It is important to make sure that you are still living for yourself and not the people around you.

To make sure you are aware of a toxic person, make sure you stay grounded. Write down how you are feeling and keep in contact with your emotions. Remember that your life is for you and not for the people around you. It is okay to share experiences with people, but remember to stay connected with yourself. It is important to know who you are and continue to learn who you are every day.


Sadie Cheney, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Sadie Cheney is a Gender and Women Studies major with a double minor in Journalism and Dance Studies. They started as a volunteer writer for discourse and then staff writer their sophomore year and was a mosaic editor in their junior year. They also have interned at The Times Indicator in Fremont, Michigan, The Register-Mail in Galesburg, IL, and OUT FRONT Magazine in Denver, Colorado.

Tags:  healing toxic people

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