My understanding of a toxic person is someone who is able to evoke a negative emotional response within another person. When it comes to a controlling person, they use these negative emotions to get other people to change their behavior.Almost everyone knows a toxic person but many people have not identified them because their behavior is unanticipated. Evoking negative emotional responses or guilt within other people is not a socially enhancing trait so most people do not possess or use their capacity to do it. As a consequence to its rarity, the victim doesn’t even know they are being manipulated. Very often your first awareness of their toxic nature is not you feeling like crap being around them, but comes out when someone asks the question “is there anyone in your life who seems to leave you feeling bad or different from how you view yourself?”
Very often the answer is “yes” and it is then followed with the question “what does that mean?” It means, simply, that you have someone in your life who is able to get you to feel bad things that you do not spontaneously feel. They are able to do this without changing anything about the physical environment so, in essence, they are able to control your internal environment in the form of your emotional state.
The real world implications of having a toxic person in your life is that you will need to be very diligent when engaging them as they are not entering the conversation with the same motives of purity as you are. They are after something, they are out for themselves, and you are just a tool or an object that will help them achieve their end goal. Make no mistake about it, you are not an individual to them. You are a means to an end and you will be used up as they move themselves toward their goal. The safe guard comes when you realize that they are not working with the world under the same assumptions you are and when you make the conscious and permanent decision to treat them as an enemy to an objective reality. They are only dangerous to you when you let your emotions be controlled by them.
My advice to EVERYONE when it comes to interacting with other people is that you should be left feeling one of three things after the interaction. At worst, you should feel no different from how you felt with you started the interaction; your mood and outlook should remain unchanged. At best you should feel either elation or challenged. Elation is very positive as it indicate an improvement in your mood. Challenged is fantastic too as it indicates a possible or pending change in your understanding of the world.
For example, when I visit my friend Tony, most of our interactions leave me feeling no different – this is because I am generally a happy person who enjoys laughing and when I hang out with Tony, we spend most of the time laughing and making jokes about everything. But since he has moving towards a career as an osteopath, a growing number of our conversations are about what he is learning, so I am left challenged to understand some new information he as given me or I leave the conversation with a changed understanding of my world – an understanding that is more complete and therefore elating to me. I NEVER leave my conversations with Tony feeling drained, emptied, guilty or bad. Tony isn’t a toxic person.