Given the emotional complexity of human beings, it is often difficult to discern what type of interpersonal relationships become improvements for their own well-being or lead to adverse consequences. So, analogously to any individual psychological process, in the relationships they have with those around them when evaluating these interactions, emotional aspects converge with others of a more rational type.
These evaluations, reflections or judgments made on the experiences we share with other individuals are fundamental because they guide their own social behavior, so it seems crucial that the two factors (emotional and rational) are certainly balanced, without one of them can dominate the other. This can be particularly complicated when faced with some of the so-called toxic personal functioning profiles, personality forms that very easily generate discomfort. Let’s see below what characterizes them and how we can identify them.
Personal profiles that cause psychological distress
Since Stamateas published the work “Toxic People” almost ten years ago, along with others on similar topics, this term has become very popular.
According to the author, toxic people are those who exhibit a high volume of negative emotional charges, a wide variety of frustrations, and a tendency to issue destructive criticism in the form of personal attacks on those around them. This pernicious functional style is able to negatively influence the latter because they can cause insecurities or emotional weaknesses to appear, Agitation and significant psychological distress.
This is why it seems essential to learn to distance yourself psychologically from this type of group, in order to preserve your own emotional well-being.
1. The critical profile
These types of individuals are characterized by the presentation of a profile tending to perform constant grumbling to exert control over the other person. By an operation based on the criticism of others and an absence of capacity for self-criticism, they often consider perfect beings who generate doubts and insecurities in those around them. They usually use confrontation and offense to feel inferior to each other. It reflects an intense feeling of inner anger, the channeling is done in such a pernicious way.
This psychological style is associated with impulsive and irrational cognitive functioning, so when it comes to managing them, the oppositionist confrontation launched without prior reflection is not very effective. In this way, all of this can lead the person receiving the criticism to develop the same aggressive functioning as the first one presents. Instead, resorting to a sense of humor, subtle irony, or ingenious responses that dislodge the critical interlocutor seem to work better. In addition, by following the principles of assertive behavior, a thoughtful, firm and rational questioning of the messages that this person is trying to convey to his “victim” can help maintain some distance between the two parties.
A variant within this same group is identified with the “envious type profile”. Much like the critical style, it focuses on contemptuous judgments about the successes of others rather than achieving one’s own goals. They generally place more importance on material issues as sources of happiness and well-being, and in many cases hide personalities with low self-esteem and strong insecurities.
2. The expert blame
Few aspects deter human beings more in the accomplishment of their vital goals and objectives than guilt. This emotion becomes the main method for blocking and emotionally paralyzing self-esteem and motivation to carry out one’s own projects.
Guilt, unfortunately, has an important function in our psyche which makes it more complex to overcome: it is an effective defense mechanism that serves as an explanation when a goal is not reached due to a lack of effort or investment of energy. Thus, it seems more convenient to blame other factors (or people) outside oneself or it can also be an easy resource to blame oneself for the causes which led to the “unsuccessful” being raised.
One aspect to keep in mind is that of do not fall into the error of equating the concept of “non-success” with that of failure. In this sense, people with a blame profile are governed by an irrationally rigid, inflexible and absolutist functioning. Thus, for them, not having fully met their previous expectations can be interpreted as failure rather than partial success. Therefore, a very relevant point to analyze in this style of psychological attitude seems to be related to the type of expectations that the individual himself arouses. These should be realistic rather than overly demanding; it is one of the central elements that can activate the alarm to determine if the person in front of you is having this inappropriate style of behavior.
3. The psychopathic manipulator
Faced with their inability to live in an adaptive way in society, these subjects act in their own interest and they see others as mere instruments to achieve their own goals. This toxic profile in its most extreme expression, psychopathy, violates the rights of others and commits criminal acts without any remorse. However, there are varying degrees in the intensity of the characteristics that these types of individuals exhibit, so shunning the false belief that the psychopathic profile must be associated with that of a serial killer, this class of people is found in the social environment more often than expected.
The manipulators seem unable to possess the capacity to understand and empathize with the others. They exhibit an immature, irresponsible and egocentric functioning whereby they easily feel offended by the actions of others and react to them in an impulsive and angry manner, without hesitating to deceive the other to achieve what they set out to do. On the outside, they show a profile of overconfidence and self-esteem, devaluing others and showing their inability to come to terms with their own mistakes or to do an act of self-criticism. Faced with this group of people, the most effective option of confrontation becomes physical and emotional distance, because they have a great capacity for superficial charm and eloquence with which they generally manage to convince their “victims”.
4. The Rondinaire-conformist
Its most central feature is fear of change and low tolerance for uncertaintyThis is why his philosophy of life tends to be oriented towards monotony, routine and lack of aspirations and dreams to achieve. The latter causes them to adopt a passive behavior in which they do not engage or invest enough effort to achieve what truly satisfies them.
His style of reasoning is closely associated with “short-term”, immediate reward, and comfort. Thus, anything that involves new alternative approaches (more costly emotionally or simply different) is assessed as dangerous or unbearable.
The result of all of this is usually getting the same poor results and resorting to constant complaint for not achieving the goal they really want. In this case, there is also an absence of personal responsibility when setting vital goals and an excess of guilt of other factors external to the person as the cause of the result of his actions and decisions.
5. The neurotic style
This personality type tends to suffer from significant intensity and frequency of anxiety symptoms resulting from constant worry that they generate for all kinds of everyday problems. In turn, his irrational and distorted belief system strongly believes in the need to be loved and accepted by all others, without exception. By Consequently, they require permanent obtaining of external recognition and unrealistic and unachievable perfectionist goals are usually set.
They also use the expert’s methodology to blame when they don’t get what they want, which dramatically increases their insecurities, cognitive rigidity through uttering extreme reasoning, and general inhibition when doing so. an active confrontation in the face of adversity. The latter also serves them as reinforced behavior because the expression of complaint and passivity in the face of circumstances allows them to receive the attention of those around them, by assuming a role of victimization.
In front of a person of this style, it is necessary to mark in an assertive way certain limits in order to break the vicious circle of foolish worries that they continuously convey to others, along with the desire for control and their exclusive attention.
From what has been said, it seems to be noticed that there are various ingredients that contribute on an emotional level to achieving one’s own emotional well-being. It has been observed that self-satisfaction is a right to be worked on individually through self-responsibility for goals, the adaptive hypothesis that turns out to make mistakes as a necessary process for personal growth, and a discourse based on self-confidence and the rationality of personal approaches.
It is recommended to combine all of the above with a style of active acceptance, where instead of trying to change neighbors, diversity of opinions and ways of acting is assumed to be natural. This principle serves as a benchmark in the field of interpersonal decisions and behaviors, although it is true that it can be complex to draw a clear distinction between this premise, by accepting the diversity of criteria, and relativism, the boom recent obscures the distinction between what can objectify and what is simply subjective.
- Stamateas, B. (2011) Toxic people. Ediciones B, SA (Barcelona).