The world is filled with jerks, there’s no doubt about it. There’s even the slight possibility that you’re also a jerk. We all have a jerky side whether or not we’d like to admit. Actually, I do think sometimes being a jerk is necessary to survive, or at least to deal with certain people and events in life. The problem really lies when those die-hard jerks who are well aware of their venomous soul use it to take advantages of others. Those are what we commonly know as toxic people, and they can be as unbearable as they’re dangerous.
They start figuring you out, and once they know all your weaknesses, they attack. All of a sudden, without noticing it, you become their prey and the manipulation game begins. I’m not actually implying you’re weak or so dumb that you can be toyed with. Their manipulation game is so effective they can trick even the wittiest ones if they’re caught off guard.
Their strategies are diverse, but there are three that are quite recurrent and almost all of us have fallen for them at least once in our lives. Say, there’s a person you can’t stand, call it a coworker, a schoolmate, a family member, or even an acquaintance, the point is that for some reason you have to deal with them quite frequently. They start asking for something in a quite insistent way, and after some time dealing with them, the easiest thing to do is giving them whatever they want so that they stop bothering you. It’s like dealing with an annoying kid. They end up pissing you off until you yield just because you want to get rid of them.
It’s also very easy to find ourselves engaging in an endless argument with them. Generally, these people are extremely irrational (or at least they appear to play you) and won’t yield nor accept they’re wrong about something. They’ll just continue arguing until you accept they’re right and end up doing exactly what we were just talking about. The best way to avoid this is by putting some distance with that person. Yes, you might have to see them constantly, but you don’t have to spend more time than the necessary.
That was the irritating unbearable person, but there are also toxic people who play the pity card so they make you feel bad about them and in your eagerness to help them you end up falling into their trap. I mean, most of us that aren’t emotionless can’t help but feel bad for those we see as victims of life, well, at least the first times. Not only victimizing themselves but also complaining about everything is one of these people’s treats and, to be honest, sometimes they’re so good at it that it’s almost impossible not to fall for that. Now, there’s a huge difference between being empathic and helping others once in a while, and doing it just because you feel pity for them. Even when we’re talking about people who really need help, I’ve always thought that pity is one of the worst things to be moved by. If you want to help, it’s absolutely fine, just don’t do it for those reasons. Just put some limits to that person, and once they realize you’re not falling for their gimmick, they’ll stop coming to you.
Finally, perhaps their most dangerous method is their ability to register everything you do and say to use it later on their behalf. This is quite common in relationships, and even among friends. Everything is perfect at the beginning, no complaints, no comments on your activities and words. They’ll just take notes of everything and save that for the moment when they need them. So, they’ll strike and take you out of balance. They’ll probably add some things that didn’t really happened, but since it was so long ago, you won’t really remember and just in the blink of an eye you’re now the villain. If you want to make up for your mistake, you’ll have to do what they want. And since they’ve become so close and important to you, you’ll end up yielding out of fear of losing them. I told you, this is probably the worst, because with the previous ones you can just put some distance and you’ll be fine, but if you’re sleeping with the enemy, things can get really bad. The only thing you can really do to avoid this is to tackle and solve every problem you have with this person at the moment, no matter how minor they seem, so that it doesn’t backfire in the future.
Toxic people are everywhere, and even those that are closest to us can fit that category. They always show some feature that, at the end of the day, ends up giving them away. But in the meantime, before we discover that side, it’s easy to fall for their tricks. If you want to know more about how they behave, take a look at these:
Are You Trapped In A Toxic Friendship?
Math Knows Why You’re Still In That Toxic Relationship
3 Ways To Spot A Manipulative Person