How To Identify if Someone is Toxic in Your Life


By Heather Matzkowitz, LMSW

Human connection is one of the most important parts of life. Whether it be a family member, romantic partner, or a friend, relationships take many different forms and vary at levels of intensity. I have had many clients who come in speaking about someone who they feel brings them more negativity than positivity into their lives. Do you often feel like you’re being manipulated, judged, taken advantage of, and end up emotionally drained after spending time with someone? If so, then it is possible that this person could be toxic for you to have in your life. 

So what exactly classifies a toxic person? Someone who cares about you should be interested in and supportive of what is going on in your life. If you’re not getting a sense that they genuinely care about your wellbeing, then it might be time to reevaluate your relationship with them. Additionally, toxic people don’t ever take the blame or apologize when they are wrong. Why? Because they never think they are wrong. They will often try to gain sympathy from others by taking the victim stance. Toxic people can be incredibly manipulative, and use relationships to serve their own needs. They will use others to get what they want, even if it is at the other person’s expense. Furthermore, if someone is toxic they will usually have inconsistencies in their personality. For instance, they might change their attitude or behavior depending on what they want or are trying to accomplish in that moment. 

It’s imperative to take care of yourself and hold your happiness at the utmost importance. If you feel like you might be close with someone who is toxic, I encourage you to reconsider your relationship with that person. It’s always good to ask yourself: “How do I feel after spending time with this person?”

Heather Matzkowitz is a therapist at Cobb Psychotherapy. If you would like support in prioritizing and taking care of your mental health, contact Cobb Psychotherapy and see how therapy can help.