post written by: Marc Chernoff

9 Warning Signs You’re in Bad Company

9 Warning Signs You’re in Bad Company

It is better to be alone than in bad company.

A big part of who you become in life has to do with who you choose to surround yourself with.  Sometimes luck controls who walks into your life, but you decide who you let stay, who you pursue, and who you let walk back out.

Ultimately, you should surround yourself with people who make you a better person and let go of those who don’t.  Here are some warning signs you’re in the presence of the latter:

1.  They only make time for you when it’s convenient for them.

It’s obvious, but any relationship without regular interaction and communication is going to have problems, especially when there’s a lack of commitment.

Don’t waste your time with someone who only wants you around when it’s convenient for them.  You shouldn’t have to force someone to make a space in their life for you, because if they truly care about you they will gladly create space for you.

Being in a relationship with someone who overlooks your worth isn’t loyalty, it’s stupidity.  Never beg someone for attention.  Know your self-worth, and move on if you must.

2.  They hold your past against you.

Some people will refuse to accept that you are no longer who you used to be – that you’ve made mistakes in the past, learned from them, and moved past them.  They may not be able to stand the fact that you’re growing and moving on with your life, and so they will try to drag your past to catch up with you.  Do not help them by acknowledging their negative behavior.  Keep moving forward.

Holding on to the unchangeable past is a waste of energy and serves no purpose in creating a better day today.  If someone continuously judges you by your past and holds it against you, you might have to repair your future by leaving them behind.

3.  You feel trapped.

Healthy relationships keep the doors and windows wide open.  Plenty of air is flowing and no one feels trapped.  Relationships thrive in this kind of unrestricted environment.  You can come and go as you please, but you choose to stay because where you are is where you want to be.

If you want to be a part of someone’s life, all the open doors and windows in the world won’t make you leave.  If someone has closed them all in an effort to trap you into something you don’t want to be a part of, it’s time to find the strength to kick down the door.  (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the Relationships and Self-Love chapters of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

4.  They discredit your dreams and abilities.

If you allow others to define your dreams and abilities, then you enable them to hold you back.  What you’re capable of achieving is not a function of what other people think is possible for you.  What you’re capable of achieving depends on what you choose to do with your time and energy.

People will throw all sorts of assumptions your way about what is possible and what is impossible.  Look beyond the presumptions and mental limitations of others, and connect with your own best vision of how YOUR life can be.  Life is an open-ended journey, and what you achieve comes from what you expect to achieve and what you work to achieve.

So don’t worry about what everyone else thinks.  Keep living your truth.  The only people that will get mad at you for doing so are those who want you to live a lie.

5.  They have lied to you more than once.

Love is a verb, not a noun.  It is ACTIVE in all relationships.  Love is not just feelings of passion and romance between lovers; it is also a behavior among friends and family.  If someone lies to you, they are unlovingly disrespecting you and your relationship.

When you keep someone in your life who is a chronic liar, and you keep giving them new chances to be trusted, you have a lot in common with this person – you’re both lying and being unloving to you!

Bottom line:  Those who avoid the truth and tell you only what you want to hear do so for their own benefit, not yours.  Don’t put up with it.  (Read Emotional Vampires.)

6.  Their negativity is rubbing off on you.

The negative people in your life don’t just behave negatively towards you, but towards everyone they interact with.  What they say and do is a projection of their own reality – their own inner issues.  Even if they say something to you that seems personal – even if they insult you directly – it likely has zero to do with you.

This is important to remember because what these negative people say and do shouldn’t be taken to heart.  Although you don’t have control over what they say and do; you do have control over whether or not you allow them to say and do these things to you.  You alone can deny their venomous words and actions from invading your heart and mind.  If you feel like these people are getting to you, take a break and give yourself some space to breathe.

Positive things happen when you distance yourself from negative people.  Doing so doesn’t mean you hate them, it simply means you respect yourself.

7.   They are excessively envious of what you have.

A little bit of envy is OK, but when someone is excessively envious of what you have, there’s a good chance what they really want is to take it from you.

Excessive envy doesn’t tell you how much someone admires you, it tells you how much they dislike themselves.  If you can, try to help lift them up, but also be careful that they don’t pull you down.  Oftentimes no amount of love, or promises, or proof from you will ever be enough to make them feel better about themselves.  For the broken pieces they carry, are pieces they must mend for themselves.  Happiness, after all, is an inside job.

8.  They motivate you to be judgmental or hateful.

Truth be told, no human being is superior.  No faith, race, size or shape is inferior.  All collective judgments about others are wrong.  Only judgmental hypocrites make them.

If you judge others by their skin color, their body size, and their outer beauty, you will miss EVERYTHING about who they really are.  It is amazing the quality of people you will learn about and meet in this world if you can simply get past the fact that lots of people are not dressing and living the way you do.

People who motivate you to judge or hate others are as bad as bad company gets.  Avoid them at all costs.  (Read The Mastery of Love.)

9.  They want you to be someone else.

Spend time with people who see you the way you are, and not as they wish to think you are.  Spend even more time with those who truly know about you, and who love and respect you anyway.

If someone expects you to be someone you’re not, take a step back.  It’s wiser to lose relationships over being who you are, than to keep them intact by acting like someone you’re not.  It’s easier to nurse a little heartache and meet someone new, than it is to piece together your own shattered identity.  It’s easier to fill an empty space within your life where someone else used to be, than it is to fill the empty space within yourself where YOU used to be.

Your turn…

What would you add to the list?  What’s one big warning sign you’re in the presence of bad company?  Please leave a comment below and let us know.

Photo by: Bhumika Bhatia

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  • How would the world be if we do not judge people as good or bad. There are few people who have different values, priorities and way in life that do not match ours. Categorising them as ‘bad’ people may not be entirely correct. They are the ones who do not suit or go along with us. When in a such a company, I get an uneasy, uncomfortable feeling. I am unable to express myself freely and tend to become introverted. This is the warning sign that I get.

  • They leave you feeling terrible after your time together. This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s something you don’t realize until you look for it. Are you feeling less happy than you started after spending time with them?

  • You feel drained all the time rather than energized after an encounter with someone.

  • Your “friends” expose you to danger.
    Your “friends” encourage you to join illegal activities.

  • It is especially tedious and tiring if those negative people are your parents and relatives. Spending too much time with those people - given their roles - is detrimental if left unchecked.

  • Excellent list. I would second the suggestion from Mark Cheney, above. If you feel energized and inspired after being together, that’s a major plus. If you feel demoralized and exhausted after being together, something’s wrong…

  • People who speak poorly about others behind their back. I strive to see the best in people and it is easy to get sucked in to focusing on the flaws if I’m not careful and cut the conversation short. Besides, if they are speaking badly about others while they are not around, what do you suppose they say about you when you’re not around?

  • When you frequently feel compelled to edit and review what you want to say before saying it. Then, it’s time to loose the editing job and get into the business of being yourself!

  • Wonderful article!

  • As soon as a friend starts disengaging, I think you have the first sign of your relationship getting into tough waters. A lot of other problems in the relationship are symptoms of this behaviour.

    A good friendship requires engagement. I think as soon as that part is removed, the relationship will suffer.

  • When you are paralysed by thoughts of how someone will react to your actions. We all have things that we know we should do; if you are adjusting that list because you are concerned with how someone else will view your actions, that’s a bad sign.

  • I liked Vincent’s reply; toxic people leave you like that. I’d like to add that these people also love to ask you favors; oops, not ask, demand.

  • Some of these points sound like my family. Nowadays I even avoid going home to check up on them… and guess what, they wouldn’t be bothered to check up on me if I don’t check up on them. In all honesty, it hurts, a lot.

  • Vincent has got it right. Trust your guts. If being with someone leaves you feeling uncomfortable, listen to that.

  • People who encourage you to work for money more than for interest and challenge.

  • This is the best website I have found for understanding life. I very much appreciate the efforts you put into this site, Marc and Angel. YOU ARE THE BEST… KEEP IT UP!!!

  • What do you do as a parent if the person who brings nothing but negativity and drains the life out of you is your 27 year old son? His father and I feel trapped.

    Mentally he is not stable and will not seek proper treatment which is always offered to him. I want to breath freely and have some serenity in my life but I feel hopeless to this situation. I love this site and the posts. Thank you shedding light on a dark situation.

  • This is spot on. Last year I ended a relationship with a woman who presented many of this issues you write about here. At first, I was hurt and it was hard. But, right here, right now, it was the best thing and the most loving thing I could have done for myself. Thanks for spreading positivity and letting people know: You gotta love yourself and be good to yourself. You’re all you’ve got. Cheers!

  • I know I’m around the wrong people for me when I feel anxious in their company. This can be for many reasons, but I do believe if a person is sarcastic toward you, or someone else in your company, then they are using negative comments to raise false humor. The “I’m only joking” comment dies not discount anything that was said to or about you or anyone else. Sarcasm is a disguise for rudeness.

  • They criticize you all the time…they only see your flaws..manipulate you.. Don’t just walk away from these kind of people…run away!

  • I believe you should spend time with people you feel good with.

    The way you feel around them is a clear indication of the degree to which you resonate with each other.

    If they are negative and engage in any of the behaviors you mentioned, you feel that something is not right.

    And I agree that in such a circumstance, there’s no point in forcing it. We just need to move on.

  • For a long time now I have realized that it is the best to be alone rather than you have a bad relationship with someone.

  • I love this site and always find inspiration here. However, I echo other’s frusterations on what to do about family members who drag you down. I wish there was more advice on how to manage relationships rather than just abandon them.

  • Jackie Countryman
    June 10th, 2013 at 9:37 am

    I had a 25 year marriage to a man who had all of these and more. I believed “once married always married” and I tried to “fix” myself all of the time. I finally realized that the real me was dead and it was time to walk out of the tomb. I became free in 1993 and have never looked back. I am married to a totally different type of man now and I am glad that I did not judge marriage by my first experience. I am presently working on a book about all of this titled, “Down but NOT Defeated.”

  • Awesome writeup and so true…we are many times surrounded by such people…and at time we wisb break those shackles but are unable ….
    I love this peice.

  • Thanks for always speaking the truth… I have held on to people who have brought me real pain in my life. It took a crisis for me to realize that the price of loyalty on my part was a lose of self. I have gladly chosen solitude over a crowd of people who bring toxicity into my life.

  • Thank you for this posting. For a long time in my ex relationship I felt I had to be smarter, prettier, thinner, more organized, etc.. I see that this was the symptoms of a bad relationship. It was him but it was also me trying to jump through hoops to please him.

  • And to add to the list- I would say look at how you’re feeling after being around certain people. If you feel “bad” then you do not need them in your life. Recently, I worked up the courage to speak frankly to someone I considered a real friend. I’d been frustrated with her behavior towards me and I was struggling with how terrible I felt after talking to her. She asked me what I needed from her as I broached the subject. I told her I needed her to be supportive and non-judgmental as I go through an experience she is uncomfortable with. What I received was silence and it has been more than a month since I have heard from her and I feel so much better. Instead of sadness, I feel blessed to have learned this lesson.

  • Great list!

    Dr. Phil uses the term BAITER: backstabber, abuser, imposter, taker, exploiter, and reckless. His book, “Life Code” is a must read. I haven’t been able to put the book down. Your mom, dad, son, daughter, friend, co-worker, etc. could be a BAITER. Have the courage to walk away, or somehow transform the relationship. But remember that you can’t force a person to change. You can send them love and light and picture them as being transformed, but it may not happen overnight.

    @Posey… I’m sorry to hear about your 27 year old son. If your son won’t seek counseling, maybe you and your husband could seek counseling, if you haven’t already done so, to help you cope with your son.

    If your son sees that you and your husband are in counseling, maybe he’ll come around to the idea of it. Then again, maybe not. You can’t force a person to do something they don’t want to do.

    Parents want to help their children no matter what; however, you could be an enabler. I know this is hard for some parents to read/hear, but it’s the truth. An adult child is an adult and could take responsibility for their life. It may suck to do this, but it will be worth it.

  • I agree entirely with this article. Now, where do we find these kind, positive, encouraging friends? I find myself alone because the people around me are not the people you would want as friends. They drain the life right out of me.

  • My so-bf broke with me a couple days ago. He said I was being argumentatives all because I’ve noticed in his behavior was changing. For the last month, he’s been coming late. When I asked he said he’s busy.I know his schedules. Thru out our dating, he was always hiding his phone from me. I just let that go. He never tell me what part of town he’s at. 8 months, we dated and I never met his friends. Later, he told I was good enough to meet them. I let that go too. Then towards end he told we don’t get along, we should be friends, the morning he left, he was in a rush to get out. Then Saturday, he called to said to never contact him again. He accused me doing things on Facebook. I told him I was with my mother but he hung up on me. I’m just angry that he would do that to me. I called his cell about this belongings but he changed his number. How could someone be so cruel?

  • I used to have a friend EXACTLY like this who I recently severed ties with. I have never felt better in my life! Never let someone’s own negativity and insecurities bring you down and make you feel less than you are.

  • I think that it’s inevitable to bump into negative people and sometimes we have to live or work with them on a daily basis. So, I agree with the nine points above but I would add that this is when our positiveness and all of those self-growing courses, readings, lectures, meditations and everything we do to be “better” persons, come to play. Compassion for ourselves is important as it is also important to be compassionate with those who do not think or act like us. Otherwise, and without warning, I can become a “negative” person, by trying to figure them out. Cheers!

    Thanks Marc and Angel, reading your blog is definitely part of my daily routine! and precisely because I ran into negative people everyday and everywhere…it keeps me focused.

  • People who make you feel solely responsible for their social life, their entertainment, their emotional health, and are just generally needy…

    It’s too much pressure and you begin to resent the guilt feelings they inspire if you don’t fulfill their need for a “you-fix”. Very hard to disengage, for fear of hurting, but mostly because they would act totally taken aback by the news that they’re energy sucking!!!

  • Wow…how do these blog posts seem to come at the most appropriate times in my life? I am currently going through this with my “best” friend. After years of a strained relationship, I finally was honest with her about my feelings with how she always put me last in her priority list. Her response to me was denial and she even went as far as to tell me how I should feel. I had to love and respect myself enough to take a step back from that “relationship” (or what was left of it) and I am now looking for new opportunities for friendships that mirror the person I am and can give and take the love I am so willing to share.

    Thanks, Marc and Angel for this awesome post. Sometimes we all need affirmation that we are on the right track…the road to peace and self-love can sometimes be a lonely one.

  • This is one of the best posts you have written. Thanks!

  • When they judge you for the old car you drive or your old house and encourage you to keep up with them by living out of your means. True friends don’t care what you drive or where you live.

  • #2 is all about me and I’m learning how to let go of the past and forgive myself first and then let go of the people and things that hurt me.

    Thanks for this today. So needed.

  • Reaching out to educate readers who suffer extreme cases of 1,2,3,4,5,6,& 9 above, extreme examples of Vincent’s words:

    Between scrutinizing management of your every move - that they claim is an expression of their love and concern - and unpredictable outbursts of violence or threats, these people erode your autonomy and leave you in fear.

    Beware of these ruthless and obsessive controllers and get away as fast and as far as you can.

    Quickly breach this private terrorizing and attach to a friend, popular or public figure; enroll in a higher ed school or seminar; develop immediate “outside” connections to the greater community. Since these people who crave control over another person are very careful to avoid being found out, if they find that you have escaped psychological dependence on them, they will lose their grip on you. Then leave.

  • I’d add to pay attention if you tend to frequently catch colds or have other negative physical symptoms after spending time with someone. This can be another clue that you are spending time with someone who drains you.

  • Great Post.
    And the comments were VERY helpful too.
    Thank you!

  • A friend who I don’t see much anymore shared your website and what a blessing it has been. Just so many wonderful life lessons here….Think I may need that friend back in my life more.

  • Co-dependency, because they can’t handle life on their own or they are too lazy to take care of themself. Coupled with many of those listed above, it drives the one taking care to no longer care. It’s time for a change and I’m moving to make that change. It will be rough at first because children are involved but the changes to an even more positive life will be well worth it.

  • Thank you for this post. It gives me new encouragement to break out of an old mindset.

  • P- Thank you for sharing your post-relationship comments and experience that it’s the “most loving thing I could have done for myself.” In an effort to love others and receive love from others, often times people forget to love themselves. Thanks for the reminder - so true.

  • Confirmation...
    June 10th, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    No. 1 hit the nail on the head for me. It’s not that I didn’t already know this, but I just needed to hear or read it from someone else. This is where I’m at right now, and it hurts beyond words. I am so lonely right now….but I’m moving on.

  • If someone feels more like a force field than a person, I’ve learned to go in the other direction. Staying near the negativity that emanates from folks like this leaves me feeling “slimed”. I will be passing this article along. Thanks!

  • Great, scary post for me. I’m scared of what I need to do and yet, I have such a sense of responsibility that I can’t move, or even breathe. This list tells me what I knew. Thanks.


  • Great and thought provoking article.

    People who are only interested in themselves, don’t ask you a thing and really need you to affirm their greatness. Show offs, snobs and know it alls.

    If you feel comfortable with a person, then those people are right for you and I am so blessed that there are plenty of them around.

  • Hey Posey, sounds like we’re living with the same man-boy demons. My 26 year-old fills my air space will LOTS of negativities, reminding me of things I haven’t accomplished or am “unable” to accomplish (because I’m trying to keep him stable…). But his anger is b/c of what he has been unable to accomplish because he is quite mentally unstable. Because I suspect bipolar, I’m joining a NAMI support group tonight, may I suggest you & your husband might do the same. I’m sure I’ll learn something & gain some much needed strength from a roomful of other parents living with the same demons. Maybe I’ll see you there!

  • I was involved with a man whom I thought was “sent from Heaven”. However as we became more comfortable with one another and “let our guards down” pretty much every warning sign mentioned was present.
    It wasn’t until I removed myself completely that I realized how denigrated I was and began to build back up what had been torn down.

    Today I look back at that relationship with gratitude of lessons learned.

  • Negativity can totally create a desire to refrain from being in that person’s person. If you lie to me once, what else are you lying to me about? If you hide matters from me, what will be the result when they are revealed?

    Lord, please have truthful words, and I will bring a positive attitude, and my life as an open book to You.

  • Excellent list, as always. Really opened my eyes to some dysfunctional relationships that I need to fix or flee.

  • How can I have a relationship with my children who fall into this category?

  • Great list! About a decade ago I became friends with a woman with whom I confided certain personal struggles that I was having. Time went on, I worked things out for myself and got on a better track doing work that was important to me. Regardless of the changes that I had made in my life every time I would see this person she would always bring up the negative thing I had shared with her and never ever want to talk about the good things that I has happy and excited about. It was as if she was trying to cancel out the good by reminding me of mistakes I had made and thought she could convince me that I hadn’t changed. I realized it was because she hadn’t changed and my moving on made her feel badly about herself. I don’t talk to her any more because I realized the friendship was completely toxic. I don’t miss her at all.

  • And what to do when they are your immediate family?

  • Think back on how many times they have said something tacky and insisted they were “just kidding.”
    Once or twice is one thing, but in every conversation?
    or said “But you know I love you!” after saying something hurtful. or how many times they have told you you’re too sensitive.

  • Number 4: They discredit your dreams and abilities is so true. It’s best I don’t talk about my plans with some people.

  • Marc And Angel… Thank you lots for this post. I so badly needed this advice at this time.

  • I love reading your posts, they are so inspiring.

    It is hard to decide to move on from someone holding you back, but once you do it is so freeing. Be willing to move forward in life, because if you aren’t moving forward you are moving backwards.

  • Great list. This was my marriage. :-(

  • I would have to echo ” you feel drained after you are with them.” I have a couple people like this in my life and it simply is painful to spend time with them.

  • Marc & Angel: Thank you so much for this one!
    It has been a few months since I “broke up” with a couple of close associates who demonstrated these qualities. I kept working on the friendship and feeling guilty. Now I have a greater measure of peace on the issue.
    Jackie Countryman: Thank you for your comment. I married a man and expierienced the same as you mentioned….in 1993. I was able to break free of that 17 years later. Congratulations, and best wishes on your book.

  • Be especially careful of liars. Liars are dangerous. If someone will lie to their spouse/partner/family about something, why won’t they lie TO you and ABOUT you too? What makes you so special?

    People who say or imply “do not judge me” are especially to be watched. Why are they afraid of judgement? It is our right, always to judge people and, if we find them wanting, walk away. You would not deliberately drive into a car wreck, you have a right not to steer your life into the equivalent of one either.

  • Absolutely fantastic and bang-on, as always :-)

  • So many great comments. And so very fitting for the relationship I’ve been on & off in for the past few years…. The lies about any & everything just kept on coming. I took a 6 month break from the relationship, after explaining what all I knew was wrong with it, in the hopes the dude would straighten his act up. Did he? NO! The only thing he was consistent in was telling lies. I told him that the only thing I could rely on from him, was that he’d never change, the lies would just keep on coming. And as much as I deeply cared for him, without truth, and trust, I wasn’t willing to “FIGHT” for a place in his life. His response was so very negative. He tried to pass all the blame on me. Well, that just didn’t work… I had never lied to him, I had always looked for the best in him, and had hopes for our relationship…until he proved, and kept proving over and again, that it would never work… Yes, I’m heart-broken, I truly cared for the guy. But while being with him endlessly left me feeling so sad, and confused, and angry I knew that, in spite of my feelings of love for him, I was in a NEVER gonna win situation. I cried for a few hours, and then kicked myself (you know where) and have moved on. I gave all, and got nothing back. So now, yes, I have some regrets, but I won’t dwell, i refuse to dwell on the “what might have beens.”

    Thank you Marc and Angel, for all your great articles. They’ve helped me and so many others in so many ways… and for the rest of your readers who are struggling with whatever it may be… please remember to put yourself first. Do what you know in both heart and mind that’s right. If you’re not happy with yourself, if you don’t love yourself, you can’t love anyone else.

  • Amandah, thank you for taking the time to connect with me. I love the visual of sending him light and love and picturing him transformed. Yes, his father and I are enablers. Your words are very true.

    Kathy, I wish you well with your son. I am going to find a NAMI support group today!!! May you find some peace in your life.

  • Thank you! One of your best posts! I just left a husband who was very bad company. He was all this and even more! Thank you for constantly showing me that I made the right choice! Cheers x

  • My sister fits all 9 of these reasons - 2 weeks ago, decided to let her go in my life. She has been bad company for my entire life — time to move on and live life. Healthy for me and my family, sad for her and all she has hurt.

  • I believe when you start getting those negative vibes, its an indication that you’re in bad company and you just need to get out of it quickly.

  • Some really useful thoughts here. I usually work on gut feel and the majority of time it is proven correct!!!

  • Wow, great post Marc and Angel. More grease to your elbows and keep it up. May God and Life continue to inspire you with these great words. From this post I’ve learned to love myself first and not get my self involved in a bad company - for it is better to be alone and be happy than being in a bad company. Thanks once again.

  • Thank you for this article and inspiration as always :)

  • @P: Straight from the horse’s mouth. Thank you! =)

    @NL: Great point, we’ll definitely take a look into managing these relations.

    @Jackie Countryman: Congratulations! I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

    @Amandah: Thank you for the recommendation, looking forward to the read.

    @All: Thank you for the additional warning signs. Let’s make sure we’re not exhibiting any of these signs in our own personal relationships. As many of you have stated, family is a tricky one. We plan on discussing this in more detail in the future – perhaps even in a small eBook or course. As always, thank you for the feedback, thoughts and conversation. =)

  • It’s so hard when we have friends who are on the edge of what a good friend is and what a bad friend is.

    It’s posts like these that can help us really decide whether or not that person is good for our lives.

    If they qualify for most of those listed here, probably not…

  • These advices made me realize once more about how the quantity of friends isn’t important, it’s the quality of friends that is important. Couldn’t agree enough to each & every point here.

  • I have the same question as Heidi, what do you do if it is family? If they are part of the family group, attend all the same functions, have no friends and basically flush the toilet of their lives on the family? What if they cannibalise their own?

  • They’re happiest or most excited when you are in pain. An old friend of mine was amazing up until the point that I actually started manifesting the dreams & goals I’d always talked about with her. Then if I had a rare bad day she would want to talking & talking about it, to the point it was like she was trying to convince me that they were always put to get me. Then she only seemed to make time for me when I was upset? I’ve heard that misery lives company but support should happen in the good times & the bad times. Friends should lift each other up & encourage one another to keep striving for all the goals we talked endless hours about. It was painful trying to figure out a way to cut her out but I plainly told her, I’m not saying get out if my life forever, I’m saying you can’t be in my life “that way”. After that talk, a lot of drama quit following me. I’m still in contact with her but we have a very different relationship.

  • When you are with someone who asks you to do something you are uncomfortable with, yet the person keeps pushing you until you either do it or get angry…that, to me, is a sign you are in bad company. No one who really cares for you will pressure you into doing things you don’t want to do. Granted, this does not include your parents telling you to get a job and move out after college graduation, lol; however others putting pressure on you is not fair or acceptable.

  • They take every opportunity to puff themselves up at your expense. To exploit your vulnerabilities.

    They show ongoing disrespect for your worth and value.

    They hold you in contempt for your differences.

    They breach your trust and lack loyalty.

    They repeatedly demonstrate they do not have your best interest at heart.

  • They resent your successes or accomplishments.

  • Self proclaimed Pharisaical people are the worst! I was recently engaged to a man who claimed to be Godly, wanted me to change my entire life (quit my job which I love, move an hour away, have my daughter change school (when his are home schooled))t o marry him. He ended up judging my past mistakes and wrong choices and making false accusations. I knew him a long time ago and know for a fact he too has sinned greatly but chose to judge me, I cut all ties and thank God he is out of my life.
    “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”

  • I feel like I am in this situation as of now, because, well, my friend is very busy with 2 jobs and I understand that. However, when we are both free I end up looking into his eyes as he is watching TV, it could be that he has no energy left but I am starting to really wonder what happened to our everyday life when we used to laugh together. Do I just walk away?

  • I’m currently in a relationship with a narcissist. The traits are that he’s very controlling, everything that goes wrong in his life is because of me and he has this need to change me (this has to do with forcing me to wear high heels, remarking on my weight, comparing me to other women). His positive traits? He’s a social genius and makes everyone around him fall in love with him. I have just recently come to realize the dynamic in our relationship and I am on my way out it. Your post has helped me a lot. Looking forward to the time where I can heal and focus on myself again.

  • Thank your for a well written blog post dealing with a central and important issue.

    I once read: “You are the average of the 5 people you spend most time with”. Think about this for a second and apply it to your own life. It is true!

    Before I became aware of this fact, I spend a lot of time with lazy people without ambition to make a difference. I became lazy myself and I mirrored their unhealthy habits: sleeping late, eating unhealthy etc.

    At one point, I decided that I wanted to change my situation. I wanted to grow. I moved in with an ambitious fellow student from university and started spending time with people who were hungry for success.

    I can feel today what major difference it made in my life and I would advice anyone to take action if you find yourself in bad company.

  • Wow. Almost that entire list described many of my friends and family members. Makes me kinda sad…

  • My issue right now is with friends who are chronically underemployed or unemployed and who are experiencing significant financial difficulties. They have made some life choices and/or been affected by the recession. They are always needy, depressed and complaining, yet they are picky about what jobs they are willing to do and don’t take advice about improving their conditions. Some just have so many issues - overwhelming child support payments, near homelessness, hunger, etc. that I feel overwhelmed just from listening. I have helped them out countless times with money, job connections, advice and comfort and I feel drained. They are all great people under normal circumstances, but they are being sucked into a whirlpool of misery and I don’t want to drown along with them. Help!

  • Andrew Cargenie Once wrote “Pay any price to stay in the company of great people.” I suggest you look for alternatives to negative relationships through social groups, school, church, etc.. Something that has helped lots of folks called Meetup groups ( and you put in your interests and it will recommend groups from self help, positive growth to sports social events, hobbies and (my favorite) dance. You need not discard your negative friends, they need some moral support and direction but you have to love yourself first.

  • I have these issues with family, to the point that I close up about issues and downplay successes. They can be good people in many ways but I trigger very negative, even mean, remarks/reactions. I did well in college and had some small recognition for my work but I’ve been careful not to make those a big deal. But when their friends, or even their children, say positive things there is a rebound, a reaction to make me small again. After a lifetime of it, I decided to remove myself from the target zone. Trying to still love through it, but keeping a safer distance.

  • When they don’t like you, but never tell you. They just keep you so they can use you in the future.

  • Great article; and yeah I believe that you don’t have to force someone to make space for you in their life. If they like you and care about you they will do it anyhow.

  • People who discuss others then imply it was you who entered into the subject. My husbands x family is dominated by his x wife who is a bully. The children copy her ways and intimidate others to get their way. The children are passive by comparison ignoring predominately but they will call when they want to create a scene or bring up the fact that they have a rotten history to manipulate and control events. The under current when they are around stems from a loyalty to the past life that is alive in their imagination rather then the reality of the new. Their time is spent planning how they can manipulate whoever they have entrapped into their vicious circle. I asked them to please stop calling me and my life is the calmest for 20 years! That’s how long my husband and I have survived their torture. Glad to be out and my husband doesn’t miss the turmoil either!

  • Wow, I see a lot of posts like this;
    “I come back drained rather than energized from being with them.” So should I then not be friends with this kind of person because its inconvenient for me to be drained? It’s a tough decision. Just wondering.

  • They dont wanna see u doing better than them whereas they really want to be you.

  • People who belittle or humiliate you in front of others to make themselves look better than you. I used to have a friend like that who was constantly criticizing me and calling me names and laughing at me to get attention, She was a complete spotlight dweller. It was like she was trying to make me her and if i wasn’t doing things the way she did them then i was obviously wrong and in need of correction and ridicule. Getting rid of her was the best thing i did. I went from miserable and demoralized to happy and confident.

  • People who use body language and expressions to put you down and act dismissive of you because they’re too cowardly to have an overt go at you verbally. Also, when they just use body language to insult you (eyerolls, shrugs, sneers), it’s hard to call them on it. If you do confront them, they say: “What did *I* do?” or the fake: “I’m sorry if I upset you.” (which was their intention all along).

  • This article really makes a lot of sense to me and I hope someday soon to have the courage to end a ‘friendship’ with a guy I have known for 4 years, been close to, have a crush on, but in the past 6 months or so he’s not been treating me well at all. The red flags are there but I’ve been ignoring them (thanks to my heart and emotions!!) due to what i feel towards him. He’s hurt me, and I feel used and discarded. Makes me feel pathetic that I am not strong enough yet to tell him goodbye :( .

  • I try not to let ” the baiters” change the loving and giving person I want to be. I’ve learned to say no I can’t help or just be a good listener without giving advice. Negativity still enters my mind and is hard to push out. This list will help me stay in the present and be positive. Thank you!

  • I hear you, Lotus. The biggest damage in my life was done by family. I had to cut them off in the name of survival. To be clear, they cut me off emotionally at age 13, over a lie my sister told. It took me decades to give up on fixing the abyss and reciprocate.

    Jury still out on which is easier, being the family scapegoat or not having a family.

    Regarding other relationships, for sure you know it is over when your partner starts: 1) lying; 2) ends sexual intimacy; 3) is starting to primp their appearance; 4) is moving out. Even if they are saying something different…it is over…they just don’t want you to end it at an inconvenient time.

  • My “friends” totally make me feel drained after an encounter with them. They enjoy criticising me about silly things or things that don’t exist. They are sadistic bullies. They try to make me feel like I’m internally flawed so they can feel superior. I left them but I still have to see them in lessons. They try to hang out whenever they see me. I literally worked out my timetable to avoid them. You can tell your friends are wrong for you when you have a good time with non judgemental normal people. You feel a very big difference. Hang out with other people. Then you’ll see what I’m talking about. Good people do exist. Leaving them was one of the most liberating things I have done this year.

  • Thanks for the article, will send it to my friend who’s in a similar situation :)

  • When the person expects you to jump through hoops or cannot understand when you need to focus on something other then them. Or when they treat you badly, take your kindness for weakness and tell you what a horrible person you are and then want you to come to their beck and call… Not good company.

  • This has helped me more than I can say. The original post was fabulous and the comments were so thought-provoking that I am almost stunned. I hope and pray that those of you who are still in turmoil will find a way to separate yourself from the negative people around you. As for myself, I will now move in the other direction (or as one person said…”run…”) Thanks, everyone!

  • When you feel unhappy, apprehensive and drained even before meeting them somewhere, not a good a sign.

    People who have this satisfied look (sometimes even laughing) when they have just angered you.

    People with insincere demonstrations of empathy and people who cannot stop talking, chewing your ear out but never let you put in one word in a converstation.

    People who are rude with others, causing offense and try to justify their behavior.

  • When someone says hello to everyone else in your group but completely ignores you. I know this girl who constantly did that to me and I felt very low every time I had an encounter with her. Now I’m a much stronger person and making the most of the friends I have and enjoying the little things in life!

  • People who want to own or control you, make your choices for you either directly or indirectly, speak for you, and generally “protect” you from being a functional independent adult with free will.

  • Add an unwillingness to forgive.

  • My parents and family members were very negative to me when i was growing up. My dad was narcissistic enough to do things like put our dog down if we moved like they were furniture. My parents were never physically abusive just confusingly emotionally abusive. The rest of my family especially my sister 5 years older then me, and cousins were bullies and left me out of everything. Call me names. I always made friends easily but my mother was controlling and my sister too jealous that these friendships would be sabotaged somehow. My first bf was narcissistic. But I wasn’t familiar with the term then. We were together for 2 years before I broke it off. Felt fantastic to be on my own. I finally left my family too and haven’t looked back. I’ve been on my own for 12 years.

    I did date again after 5 years of leaving my family but didn’t settle for anyone. I thought I was getting really good at choosing the right company for myself. And then I chose someone. I thought I chose well. A rational, level minded man who did love me for me, or so i thought. He does get negative on plenty an occasion but i think i handle it well. He isn’t controlling but we only ever do anything he likes. he mingles with my friends but while he remains socially acceptable with them in behavior, i know what he really thinks of them. It turns out the worst thing he does is he makes me feel bad for leaving my family. he does this when he feels i attack him personally. I don’t think i do but maybe there are issues for the both of us that we need to heal from. We’ve been together for 2 years. I worry that he would never open up to me. But having someone who uses my past like that is too hurtful. I don’t think I have the strength to be strong enough To help him heal. Is it over?

  • I just started reading your blog. I am stunned and so grateful at the of this. I have been struggling to understand a recent breakup. The bizarre, confusing, heartbreaking behavior I have endured from my ex-boyfriend has left me so baffled and bewildered. So much of what you write is exactly the negative and sometimes frighteningly “evil” tactics and manipulation I have witnessed. Thank you for taking time to reinforce the significance of such behaviors and treatment. The early stages of the relationship showed no indication that it would take this dark, destructive turn without provocation on my part. As hard as it is to accept, the person I fell in love with wasn’t real. This negative person is who he is. I have prayed incessantly for God to intervene, change his heart, and to use me in any way to fulfill His purpose in this effort. But God has bigger and much better plans for me. The understanding and hesitant acceptance that this is my time to move on, seek the next opportunities to realize my full purpose. It has been a true awakening within me and I sense major changes in my future.

  • Being controlled by a loved one or friend is not the right company to be in because you get comfortable, especially if that’s what you are used too. You help them with everything even supporting them to go back into activities and college. Then when you get the strength to get out they become co,dependent but with somebody else who just replaced you so the best thing is your out of it and can live your life not feeling trapped and hope for the best for them.

  • Fantastic blog! I find that one of big warning signs for me how people treat other people. I’ve learnt the hard way that eventually that is how they will me. We all have conditioned patterns from the past and makes mistakes, but if the patterns involve disrespect, exploitation, abuse, deception or other characteristics that violate others then it is a sign to leave.

    I’m not saying that we cannot work on ourselves and authentically change our destructive patterns! I’m a perpetual optimist!!! What I am say though is that I now keep my eyes open and look at the actual rather than the potential.

    I loved your wisdom!

    Have a fantastic day

  • I found this site because I was thinking about my fam.. I don’t want anything to do with them… They’re negative lying manipulaters. I don’t live with them, therefore I can easily let go, but it just makes me sad. They’re family after all…

  • The relationships I value most in my life are the ones in which I am lovingly held accountable for my irrational or immature feelings. I trust them to be honest with me…and love me unconditionally, even when I act illogically. I recommend limiting the time and loyalty we might allow to “yes men” in our lives. Their support is flimsy at best.

  • They are often angry and make you feel responsible for their bad moods.

  • Thank you for the positive information. It is so helpful. I have severed ties recently with long time friends after accepting that feeling depressed every time I saw them was not how I wanted to live. It has been hard to move on (old habits do die hard!) but I am a better person for it.

  • Excellent, excellent blog and comments. So happy I found this. I agree with almost everything here, but wanted to throw out a few more thoughts: I would respectfully suggest that there might be A FEW religious creeds/philosophies that are “less than equal”, e.g., those that encourage their members to embrace the kinds of negative actions listed in Marc and Angel’s excellent list above. Creeds that tell us that our only responsibility is to ourselves, that destroying or ending the lives of peaceful people is justified when we want it to be, that “weak people” deserve only contempt …Such “philosophies” and “religions” don’t deserve to be affirmed as valid any more than the KKK does, in my opinion.

    On the subject of judgment that Oculis Mundi raised, I would say that each of us has a reason and a right to withhold affirmation of (i.e., NOT CONDONE or RATIONALIZE AWAY) the behavior of another person which is clearly self destructive and/or genuinely harmful to us or to others. However, I think it is wrong to PASS JUDGMENT ON (i.e., CONDEMN AS INHERENTLY WORTHLESS) someone who has done something wrong —especially if that persons owns his mistake and genuinely wants to avoid repeating it. We all screw up sometimes. I think sometimes when people say “Don’t judge me!” they are they ARE really saying, “You must affirm everything I do without question”, and I would agree with you that that is way lame. On the other hand, I know that I have been guilty at times of presuming to understand other people’s situations better than I really did, and of truly judging them (i.e., viewing them with all-around contempt based on my erroneous assumptions about things).

    Which brings me to my next point: Sometimes we feel uncomfortable with others because they are deeply narcissistic and want to offload their own shame onto us. This is toxic behavior, and we shouldn’t tolerate it. On the other hand I think it’s possible to come away from an interaction feeling uncomfortable because of our OWN issues. For example, I used to feel uncomfortable with my cousin because of my own confused boundaries. She has certain vulnerabilities and limitations that are real, and because of unhealthy stuff I’d learned from my own family I joined in on attaching some sort of stigma to her and viewing her as a person of less worth than I had. Deep down I understood that this was wrong and I felt shame about my feelings and behavior, but the pain of the shame then would make me feel angry, and I’d get resentful and basically blame her for “acting pathetic” and “wanting to be rescued”. But the problem was me and my faulty assumptions about my cousin —my cousin is actually quite cool. So cool that when I came to my senses and apologized to her for having behaved badly towards her, and why I’d been doing it, and how messed up my thinking had been, she was totally understanding and forgiving. She was such a model of human dignity. And here she had been labeled “negative” and “needy” by so many in the family! All she needed was not to be scapegoated and to receive a reasonable amount of emotional support.

    Sad Girl, I loved your contribution about how some people communicate great hostility in nonverbal ways like rolling their eyes, avoiding eye contact with you, exchanging weird glances with each other in front of you, shrugging, etc. (This is the kind of stuff I used to do to my cousin.) And yes, when people do this and deny what they’ve just done it deepens the injury so much because it’s just …dirty pool. Totally unfair.

    Anyway, thanks again to all of you for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

  • When I was a child, I was severely abused by nearly all of my relatives. Somewhere along the line, I met someone who became my best friend. And this is why. When we were both children and he simply sat down beside me, I felt a sense of peace and absolute safety. I never found that feeling again. I haven’t seen my friend in 50 years but the thought of him still brings back the love he felt for a child who was not worth loving, or caring for. I think we find ourselves surrounded by bad people ( no other word comes to mind) because they move in on us before the good people have the chance to get close to us. As an older person, I now see that I permitted this. If I had a do over (and many of you do because you are young), I would be very, very, very discerning in all my relationships.

  • I reconnected a while ago with a person I had loved deeply in high school more than 30 years ago. We embarked on what seemed a profoundly loving and deep relationship. As time went along, I began tolerating increasingly violent behaviour and almost all the signs discussed here. More and more volatile, and fights that were always my fault, I should know why he was mad, a constant focus and magnification of my negative qualities and complete blindness to anything positive in me, screaming rages and abuse. I finally realised how hard I was working to keep him happy, how hard I was working to change myself and grow, to take ownership of what I was supposedly always doing wrong . . . always editing, often unable to even begin a conversation I was so hesitant about the tirade it might bring. And every conversation peppered with apologies from me for my mistakes. I realised I was doing all this for the memory of the young man I had loved, and that it had no basis in today’s behaviour. I ended the relationship abruptly last night and received your article this morning. Wow. Thank you for the validation, I kind of needed it today.

  • Wonderful. Insightful. Needed!

  • Thank you.

  • If you were swimming in deep water and a heavy weight was dragging you down, you would get rid of it. Right ? Well then why tolerate a person that is dragging you down. Cut Him/Her loose and move on with your life…

  • People who constantly act like life is a competition. They have to compare materialistic items to what you may or may not have and who’s is better. You haven’t heard from them in a months or longer and they call you to brag about their new car… etc.

  • Warning signs you are in bad company.
    You no longer like the person you are when you are with them. They bring out the worst in you.
    People who blame you for their mistakes.
    People who always leave you with an uneasy feeling after you talk with them.

  • My husband of 40 years - my ex best friend to whom I could say anything…with whom I have been separated for 7 years - still comes over when it is convenient for him, which is rarely because of his work. I enjoy his company as he does mine. It still feels so familiar and comfortable but he has no qualms leaving…to live alone and I am left with questions about why we are not still intimate. He will NOT answer why he wants to live alone nor how he feels. I am contemplating moving away . He says my decision has nothing to do with him. I guess I should acknowledge the signs.

  • I read this article and many signs I have been seeing with a few close friends were confirmed. It is difficult because letting go of people you genuinely care about hurts. At the same time, how much longer can one be willing to keep their dreams and life on hold to better suit someone else’s?

    I am 30 and have achieved no personal goals or dreams. My whole life has been about people - serving, encouraging, motivating, inspiring, etc. What are my dreams? What do I want to achieve? When will I stop following and begin leading? I know it’s in me. I know I’m capable. And I know you are, too. So let’s do something different. Let’s stop living like we don’t have our own dreams. It’s 2014 now - do YOU this year. Find yourself, create yourself, build yourself up, and embrace a new life. You can’t bury your own dreams just to see someone else’s come true. 2014 is about YOU!

  • What a great subject! I have been in a relationship for about 12 years and during that time I checked out of life using and abusing alcohol. It’s been 8 months since my last drink and I’m now seeing the damage that I chose to be in. I’m gay and she is….well…a transgendered person. She would tell her friends that we are married and that could be further from the truth. I allowed myself to rely on her financially and that fueled her controlling behavior and mind. She even goes further to tell me how she hates “my type” while I’m in the room. There is a lot more to this and I’m on my way out. Thanks for the article! Nobody should own anyone….regardless!

  • When the trust between you two has been broken many times, and he or she still wants you to believe their lies.

  • OMG! Number 1 & 5 is so pertinent to me…

    It feels like this article was created with me in Marc and Angel’s mind…

    Again-great article!

  • Great advice. Especially the sentence that it is easier to get over a breakup than putting back together the pieces of your own shattered identity. It has happened to me in any romantic relationship I’ve had so far that my partners took control of my identity by telling me, who I was, how I should be, what my dreams in life were, etc. The problem is that after a short time I had always lost myself so much that, even though I knew, I had to get out of the relationship, somehow I felt unable to live without that person. This always resulted in me breaking up with my ex-partners every few weeks, whenever I felt like they were swallowing me up completely and begging them to take me back after 1 or 2 days on my own. The last relationship ended a few days ago, when my ex partner finally broke up with me, claiming that he couldn’t take my continuous break-up attempts anymore.

    I am heartbroken, but more than that I’m incredibly relieved that it’s finally over, so that I can heal inside and then look for my real self again (or maybe for the first time) and it’s such a beautiful, liberating feeling. Don’t get me wrong, all of my ex-partners were great guys, but our relationships were totally effed up, because of the destructive dominance-submission dynamics in them. Maybe the main reason for it was that I have always looked for myself outside of me, by asking everyone around me (mostly not verbally, of course): Am I good enough? Attractive enough?Successful enough?Clever enough?Am I loveable? And if not, what should I do to become more loveable? Is it OK, how I’m living my life? And what should I do next? Now I realized that the only place, where I can find satisfying answers to these questions is within myself and I’m looking forward to discovering them. I also believe that only then I will be able to have a happy relationship, instead of dependency. I am a little sad that I didn’t find this out before my last relationship, because my ex-boyfriend and I might have been a really good match. But maybe there is a reason why everything went ad it did and maybe the person, who is just right for me, is still somewhere out there. Peace

  • Awesome read! Very helpful article, as well as all the comments. Thanks.

  • I was loyal and devoted to the love of my life for 12 years. In fact still love her like that. But it became clear, I was in a relationship with her, and she had me at about number 5 on her list. Not of men, but importance. This list is right on. I’d like to find a cabin in the woods and just escape from the kind of people I seem to attatch to, or that attach to me. A good dog and a cat, and I’d be fine.

  • Love your site…. Thank you!

    I’d like to add that they talk only about themselves. They never ask or engage you in a conversation about you.

  • When I feel invisible, transparent in their presence.
    I always make it a point to never leave anyone out of a conversation, some people will just ignore one another like at lunch or in meetings. I feel really bad when someone is being put through that and I try to do something about it, when it’s with me , honestly, it makes me want to run away from them and go hug my friends! I really need to overcome this and to be more self confident and AVOID THEM, and this article has given me a lot of insight, thanks.

  • I’ve just ended a toxic friendship. Two of the main warning signs were 1) I saw her chronically lying to Everyone else around her to hide her addiction, and 2) She was trying to get me into her addiction and at that point I knew I had to be strong now and cut the cord rather than be strong later and drag myself out of her addiction. She was grooming me into it.

  • You know your in bad company when a so called friend treats you differently in the company of others in comparison to when it’s just you & them.

    Alarm bells ring loudly in my ears! Distance yourself as you know they are not being true to you…

  • My motto was it’s better to stay with the devil you know than to go to the devil you don’t know! So I stayed with my former devil for 49 years, but he now is my sweet kitten by comparison. How? I learned techniques of assertiveness which means always to be kind yet FIRM. I used to be weak and wimpy. Finally after 19 years of it, I stood up for myself and announced it was enough. Now we are BOTH happy.

  • Ask yourself: “Do I shrink or grow in his/her presence?” Yikes or Yippie !?

  • Avoid the three A’s; aggressive, arrogant, abusive. If someone always expects you to put their needs and wants above your own, and they talk over you, or you feel fearful to express your own opinion because they might get mad, then stay away from them. Don’t spend your time with anyone who treats you like you are inferior.

  • I believe with a little love and effort people can become great …

  • I like this post about the “bad company” we keep. I am having a hard time figuring out how to deal with this when the “bad company” is one’s own family…

  • #1 and #2 really describe the two people my husband and i decided to let go in our lives. We’ve given these two so many chances, but the disrespect was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Particularly this friend who used to be my husband’s ex (we all became friends) who cannot seem to let go of the past and keep bringing it up with my husband. I think that’s inappropriate and already crossed the boundaries. My advice to people who are friends with exes: if you still feel resentment or have unresolved issues, it’s either you deal with it in the beginning and get it over with, or don’t be
    friends at all. This is out of respect to your ex, the spouse and their families, especially when everyone is nice to you. No one deserves to be exposed to your decades old drama and no one has the time to deal with old issues concerning you. People have enough problems of their own without you adding to it.

  • #1 & #5 kinda hit home for me this morning. I’m sick of second guessing everything & wondering if I’m being fed a bunch of lies. I just don’t know how to decipher the truth anymore. I’m scared that my questions and insecurities are pushing him away; but I’m also scared that maybe my instincts are spot on this time around.

  • In the midst of ending a relationship with a woman whom I have shared a life long friendship. Over the years I have chosen to ignore her petty comments and judgements about anything in my life…and I have a pretty good life and I am extremely content with my existence. She exhibits so many of the traits above it is disturbing. When someone is missing “pieces” they tend to become impossible to be around if your life is on a positive track. Once jealousy or envy enter the room there isn’t any room for love or friendship. She has formed some new relationships and they appear to feed on the same negativity, as well as mistreat each other in passive/aggressive ways. Once I decided to remove her from my life, I felt like a huge weight has been lifted.

    Deep down I always thought we would go our separate ways once we really started to age, as I am a naturalist and she is stay young no matter what type. Really, if you can’t respect aging, how can you embrace/respect wisdom and growth? Just something to think about.

  • COMPLETELY MY EXPERIENCE, but with the lying and few others added to it.

    “They take every opportunity to puff themselves up at your expense. To exploit your vulnerabilities.

    They show ongoing disrespect for your worth and value.

    They hold you in contempt for your differences.

    They breach your trust and lack loyalty.

    They repeatedly demonstrate they do not have your best interest at heart.

    They resent your successes or accomplishments.”

    Re: Stephen’s comment

  • They stop by to visit and all they do is complain about how they feel and what they need. They never come up for air to ask you how your doing they just keep going on about them.

  • I am currently involved with a wonderful man whose ex-wife is this toxic person. Your article describes her exactly. She manipulates him, makes him feel guilty, and lies to everyone to make herself look better. My question is, how can he get her out of his life when they have children that they share 50-50 custody with? She texts him all sorts of negativity, and it comes in waves. He has tried telling her to only text him in an emergency with a child, but she totally abuses that and makes every little thing a big deal. When he tries to get her to stop, she only makes things worse for him. How does he end this cycle? We need peace in our lives, not only for our new relationship to thrive, but mostly for the kids sake. I have my own children, and I do not wish to bring them into this type of situation.

  • Wow this describes all of my relationships with every boyfriend I’ve had, except this last ex who I hope to get back very soon. Not to mention it is 100% on point with my ex husband. Great article. You have convinced me totally that leaving my ex husband was a correct decision. Add all of those things mentioned plus the physical abuse.

  • Sometimes people are in so much of their own pain they have no idea the damage they are inflicting on those around them. However most of the time they are actually aware and they are determined not to get close so they can’t get hurt any more or again… And as so many of your blogs say, you may very well still love them, but if they are damaging your soul you have to leave them. It’s not because you don’t love and feel, it’s because you do. You put yourself at the top of the list of who you love.

  • The people that are my extended family just ignore me. I have a mental illness and they judge me and tell me what to think and feel. I get so mad, I don’t say things right and it makes it worse.

  • Hi a very enlightening post . I guess if someone tries to manipulate your life, the decisions you make, somebody who keeps reminding you about the mistakes you have committed, then it’s about time to think that you are in bad company. Good people always gives you a positive perspective in life. Thanks again for another great article.

  • When you realize that you have lived with a person for several decades and see the Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, attitude more frequently, then you know it is time to take a step back and plan for another adventure anywhere else but the place one called home !

  • If they make you feel unwanted, stupid or worthless then stay away from them because you can’t constantly stay around someone who is making you feel this way. In any relationship, both people are supposed to boost each other up, not bring each other down! xx

  • Another thing is to consider is this:

    If they always come to tell you about the ‘ill’ being spoken of you from other people, they gotta go. Sometimes you have to play ‘Shoot the Messenger’ … Why are they telling you this? Why should you care? Why was it OK for others to talk bad about you in their presence, and they did not defend you? Why can’t they disclose the sources (the people and their names) where this information came from? Seriously, what is the real deal behind all this?

    Bottom Line: Don’t tell me what they said. Tell me what YOU said to defend me. Tell me why it’s was OK for them to talk about me and for you to report back to me. Tell me why it was OK for them them talk about me in your presence so comfortably.

    BEWARE of the Messenger who tells you of the ill that’s been spoken about you from other people.

  • What about grown men who are momma’s boys who have never left home? They take the time to be in a relationship, love you with all their hearts and tell you that you are ‘the one’ they have been looking for their entire life….. but 2 1/2 years into the relationship they realize that they can never leave their mother for you. Can they not leave because of guilt or is the fear of leaving the only home they have ever known too much for them? The man in question is 49. I just cannot wrap my head around this and I keep hearing his words to me over and over again how much he wanted to be my life partner. It’s very painful.

  • The comment about a partner wanting you to do what THEY want you to do reminded me of something i watched on T.V the other day. The singer , Elton John, when he was struggling to make it as a professional, his then girlfriend , told him to ‘ GET A JOB!!’ He told her to ‘F.CK OFF’ walked out forever, and years later got signed!! hahahahah!

  • Sometimes I wonder if people have a negative effect on me. Some people don’t come into my space until I am feeling down. I have noticed people don’t (98% of the time) come into my space (unless I have to meet them for study or shopping) until I am in a certain mood. Usually worse.

  • I hear lots of people on hear asking what to do if the offenders are their family. It is way harder to separate from this but the answer is the same - you need to at least create a safe distance from them.

    I grew up with two parents that did and still do have an extremely dysfunctional, toxic relationship. They fool themselves into believing they are ‘normal’ people, but they are not. I could fill a book with all the ways this has screwed my head up, and the battle its been to get out from under their metal and emotional oppression.

    I have spent half of my time here on earth wasted in careers I hate, second guessing my own judgment and ability to think. I have wasted years my time in toxic, abusive relationships, romantic and otherwise, all because they brought me up to believe I didn’t deserve proper boundaries. I was brought up to think I didn’t deserve any better. How could I even know what proper boundaries were? - I had no examples of it ever displayed before me and my mother would put up with anything.

    It’s been a long hard battle in which I had to make some very difficult decisions. They have effected me in ways that have severely impeded my quality of life. Even a brief phone convo feels as if poison has been shot directly into my veins. I have two sisters who are still under their spell, who do not even realize how twisted their thinking is and who try using the same tactics on me as well. I don’t speak to them anymore. I thought this would leave a tremendous void in my life and that I would miss them terribly. I don’t. But this of course makes me the big bad black sheep of the family. I don’t care.

    I now am extremely careful who I let into my inner circle, and have made a concerted effort to steer my own children in a very different direction - I have realized that its up to me to break the cycle. Still, its a battle every single day to ignore the negative voices in my head and to trust my instincts and not second guess myself and my decisions.

    My parents, however, are old now. Still, I keep them at arms distance. If they need my help, I will help them, because of course I still love them, but I have done lots of work to emotionally separate myself from them. Still, when I do see them, I am screwed up for at least a week, a week I’ll never get back to live my life in a positive, productive manner. I am very careful in sacrificing my sanity for them anymore.

    If I’m going to be completely honest, I must admit, that the only reason I stay in contact with them at all is because they are old, and I don’t need to feel that inevitable guilt I will feel when they pass away. So I guess my reasoning for staying in contact with them is, in a way, selfish. I don’t want their toxicity controlling me from the grave.

  • This absolutely commendable this list has opened my eyes to my detractor. Thanks a lot…

  • Add to list:

    If they do not let you into their life, keep you a secret, do not introduce you to friends &/or family, and do not offer reasonable explanations after a consirable amount of time with that person.

  • Was starting to think some people in my life weren’t the best people to be around, then I read this and I’m almost certain they aren’t healthy to be around.

    Another red flag for if someone is better not being in your life is when you dread talking to them or being around them and make “i dont know if i can” your go to answer for when they ask to do something or go somewhere with them.

  • Trust your gut. Stay strong. Not giving up is strength. Don’t get a habit of seeking the easy way out. These are things that I’ve learned from the relationships I’ve had with people whom made my life a carousel of uncertainty. But I am thankful for the lessons I’ve learned and the devotion to myself that I now have. Above all, trusting my gut is something ill never forget.

  • Fantastic article and great responses.

  • I am in a relationship with a man that no one in my family likes. They don’t like him because of his past. He was addicted to cocaine. An alcoholic. And somewhat of a violent past. He has not drank in 10 years and has done no drugs in over 4 years. They hear past stories about him and think that he treats me hora be. But I have never had someone love me like this man does. Yes he is hard to deal with sometimes but is the most caring loving man I have ever meant. He has no problem saying exactly what he feels in every waking moment of his life. He expresses every day how much he loves me. But everyone one in my family hates him because of how open he is. He is brutally honest in every situation. The only one out of 7 siblings in my family that likes him is one of my brothers and my mom. Am I wrong? Or do they see something I don’t.

  • It is important to know that people do not have personality flaws, they have character flaws.

    All you have to do is review their past and you have it all figured out…

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