17 Red Flags That Signal Toxicity in a Person

Every relationship experiences highs and lows, but when those lows start outweighing the highs and begin to affect your overall well-being and daily functioning, it may be a sign of toxicity. Here are 12 warning signs to be mindful of in identifying toxic individuals.

Constant Need for Control:

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Toxic individuals crave control over others and situations, often resorting to controlling behaviors like micromanaging or dictating how others should behave. For instance, a toxic boss might insist on overseeing every aspect of your work, leaving you feeling suffocated and disempowered. A partner could do the same.

Lack of Accountability:

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They refuse to take responsibility for their actions and may shift blame onto others instead. For example, a toxic family member might blame their financial troubles on external factors, avoiding accountability for their poor financial decisions or lack of initiative.

Isolation Tactics:

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They may try to isolate their victims from friends and family members in order to maintain control over them. For example, a toxic partner might discourage you from spending time with loved ones or guilt-trip you for wanting to socialize without them.

Jealousy and Envy:

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They harbor jealousy and envy towards others’ successes and achievements, often trying to undermine or sabotage them. For example, a toxic friend might feel threatened by your accomplishments and try to downplay or minimize your achievements in order to make themselves feel superior.

Inability to Accept Constructive Criticism:

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They react defensively or aggressively to any form of feedback or criticism, refusing to acknowledge their faults or shortcomings. For example, a toxic boss might lash out at employees who offer suggestions for improvement, viewing any criticism as a personal attack on their authority or competence.


Husband is angry because his wife has spent too much money on shopping.
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Manipulation is a common trait among toxic individuals. They often try to control you to get what they want, putting their needs above yours. For instance, a toxic friend might guilt-trip you into lending them money whenever they ask, making you feel obligated to comply.


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Criticism is a hallmark of toxic behavior. These individuals often put you down for your decisions, whether it’s what you eat, wear, or who you date. For example, a toxic coworker might constantly ridicule your work methods, making you feel inadequate and unappreciated.

Violating boundaries

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Toxic people often disregard both their own and others’ boundaries through their negative actions and attitudes. For instance, a toxic partner might constantly invade your personal space, ignoring your need for alone time or privacy, and expecting you to always be available at their beck and call.


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Dishonesty is a common trait among toxic individuals. They often lie and alter their actions or words based on the circumstances. For example, a toxic friend might lie about their plans to avoid spending time with you, but then act differently when they want something from you. They may also seem pleased when you’re going through a tough time but become resentful when things are going well for others.

Victim Mentality

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Victim mentality describes when someone believes they’re powerless. Toxic individuals often adopt this mindset, prioritizing their own problems over everything and everyone else. They exploit your kindness by constantly seeking sympathy and attention.

Expectation Of Perfection:

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Toxic individuals demand perfection from you, criticizing you harshly for any mistakes you make. For example, a toxic boss might berate you for a small error, making you feel inadequate and anxious. When it comes to them, they either ignore it or get enraged.


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They refuse to share you with others, trying to control your every move out of fear of losing you. For instance, a toxic partner might become jealous and controlling whenever you spend time with friends or family, isolating you from your support network.

Energy Vampires:

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Toxic people drain your emotional energy, constantly creating drama and trying to outdo you. For example, a toxic friend might always complain about their problems but never offer support or listen to your concerns.


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They spread rumors and talk behind your back, damaging your relationships with others. For instance, a toxic coworker might pretend to be friendly but then gossip about you to colleagues, undermining your reputation.

Lack Of Empathy:

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They dismiss your feelings and opinions, becoming argumentative and insensitive. For example, a toxic family member might ignore your emotional needs and refuse to listen when you try to express yourself.

Episodes Of Rage:

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Toxic individuals explode with anger over minor issues, making you feel like you’re walking on eggshells around them. For example, a toxic roommate might yell and insult you over a small disagreement, creating a hostile living environment.


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They can be emotionally, physically, or financially abusive, making you feel unsafe and trapped. For example, a toxic partner might manipulate and control you, using threats and violence to maintain power and control in the relationship.

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