Are You A Toxic Person: 7 Signs You’ve Become Toxic In Life

A toxic person makes you feel awful through their constant criticism, manipulation, and insensitivity. You don’t remember yourself coming off from them feeling good.

I can sympathize with pessimists. They might have gone through some trauma that has left them stoic and sad. Sitting with them makes you feel depressed. But pessimists don’t steal your joys.

Toxic people, however, are a bad-natured breed. These people will find you, suck your joy, and infect you with their bitterness.

They love seeing the worst and wishing the worst in others. They can trigger toxicity in any relationship.

So, do you think you’re just being pessimistic, or have become destructive without realizing it?

How would you know if you’re the toxic one, since we’re often blind to our own flaws?

Are You A Toxic Person?

You are most likely toxic:

  • If you are usually mean, abusive, or exploitative towards those weaker or more vulnerable than you
  • If you consistently damage or sabotage personal and professional relationships
  • If you are intentionally harmful to others through your words and behavior
  • If you cause mental distress to others and take delight in their suffering
  • If you lack empathy and disregard the feelings or well-being of others
  • If your sole purpose is to make life difficult for those around you
  • If you are unwilling to take accountability for your toxic actions
  • If you cheat, lie, or manipulate others for personal gain
  • If you frequently blame, guilt-trip, or gaslight others
  • If you threaten, harass, troll, or cyberbully people

7 Signs You Have Become Toxic In Life

A toxic person is more than someone who always sees the negative in others and their surroundings.

Here are some signs to know if you have become a toxic person:

1. You always look for and point out faults in others.

Toxic people are malicious-intent people who find pleasure in bringing and seeing others down.

Some faultfinders are helpful team members because they allow the team to spot problems before a product’s final release. But not the ones who are always hypercritical.

Such a person will take it as their mission to find flaws in everyone and everything. They will put down even the most brilliant ideas with remarks like, “But it’s not going to work because …”

That unwarranted fault-finding is a toxic habit.

If you are a narcissist, you could also try to bring down their credibility by lying about what’s wrong with what they’re doing (when they are perfectly right).

Tell you more: Unsolicited opinion is criticism.

Are you always giving others unasked-for opinions?

2. Your natural reaction to people you meet is sarcasm.

Are you the type of person who, when someone says something nice about you, responds with,

  • “That’s a pathetic attempt to impress me,” or
  • What favor do you want from me?” or
  • “Can you really flatter me like that?”

Then, you are the sarcastic person who doesn’t know how to be kind when someone is being good to you. Your act of making a mockery of their compliments toward you makes you a toxic person. By the way, sarcastic people are smarter than people think of them.

If you always push people around you to act happy and see the bright side of things, then you are spreading toxic positivity.

3. You are a wicked cynic who wishes bad things for others.

The American Psychological Association defines pessimism as “the attitude that things will go wrong and that people’s wishes or aims are unlikely to be fulfilled.”

Anyone can get pessimistic at times and start seeing the world in a glass-half-empty way.

But if you’re always expecting and projecting negative outcomes, even when everything is going well, you qualify as toxic.

Ask yourself heart-to-heart:

  • Do you always undervalue people’s abilities?
  • Are you looking for ways to demotivate others?
  • Are you always focused on what could go wrong?
  • Are you always bringing down people’s dreams and hopes?
  • Do you jump to tell others that the risks outweigh the benefits?

Then you could be toxic. Or, at best, an extreme pessimist. Such a person often tries to deflect criticism by falsely claiming to be a realist while denying that they are toxic.

4. You impose your opinions on others while discarding theirs.

You will be considered toxic if you always try to see others through your own values.

You ignore their unique situation and set out to judge them solely based on your own righteousness.

When you witness people in misery, you feel obligated to preach to them instead of simply empathizing with them. In fact, you might not even know what empathy is.

This is a toxic attitude. It assumes that every problem must have a solution that works for you, or you think will work for them. As they say, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

“One man’s gospel truth is another man’s blasphemous lie. The dangerous thing about people is the way we try to kill anyone whose truth doesn’t agree with ours.”

― Mira Grant, Blackout

5. You run away from taking responsibility for your actions.

Toxic people often project they can do no wrong. This streak of impossible perfectionism makes it difficult to admit fault. Doing so makes them feel deeply ashamed.

If you too can’t seem to take responsibility for your mistakes and flaws, you may have become toxic.

If you too are constantly pointing fingers and trying to find someone to lay the blame on for your issues, you could have become toxic.

Take a step back and reflect on your own behavior.

6. You love to engage in gossip and drama.

You indulge in rumors and gossip, which can create a toxic environment for everyone involved.

Gossip is idle talk about someone’s private or personal matters, especially when they are not there.

Wert & Salovey (2004) found that aggressive gossipers compare themselves with less fortunate people to feel better. That is a downward comparison.

Toxic people often thrive on drama and gossip, and may even start it themselves to create a sense of excitement or control.

If you find that you are usually in the thick of the drama, talking negatively about others in their absence, it may be time to re-evaluate your behavior.

If you always assume that others have a bad side that you must expose, you might be negatively harming their reputation with your half-truths.

“People are almost always better than their neighbors think they are.”

― George Eliot, Middlemarch

Beware, your “rumor-mill” behavior can harm others as well as also harm your own reputation and relationships. And, as they say, your reputation precedes you.

7. You constantly criticize and demean others.

You are always hyper-critical of other people and have a negative image of them.

If you find that you are always putting others down and never recognizing their worth, it can be a sign that you have become toxic in life.

This can also harm your relationships with others, as it can make even your closest people feel unsupported and undervalued.

Write down one thought that comes to your mind when you think about the people in your life. If the bulk of them are critical, you must start changing yourself for your own and others’ well-being.

Can you change from being toxic?

Anyone of us can change from being toxic. Our personalities are shaped by our life experiences, but they are not static or fixed. All of us can become better versions of ourselves through self-introspection, positive efforts, and help from an expert.

Our results, therefore, suggest that personality can change and that such change is important and meaningful. ― Boyce, Wood & Powdthavee (2012)

We shouldn’t carry shame for life for our toxic habits. Instead, we should courageously try to work at changing them.

How can you change your toxic personality?

Acceptance is the first step toward transformation. The ball of self-empathy begins to roll when we recognize our harmful behavior. This self-awareness prods us to become better versions of ourselves.

Here are a few suggestions to change your toxic nature:

1. Don’t offer unwarranted critiques or help.

For a change, keep your critical opinions to yourself until you are invited to share them.

While being happy to help is a healthy attitude, forcing yourself to help on every occasion is a terrible habit. Stop that today.

2. Don’t react to everything with cynicism.

Don’t be cynical all the time. For a change, say “Thanks!” with a smile when someone praises you or your efforts. Gratitude has immense power to raise your happiness levels.

The modern definition of a cynic is someone who believes that human actions are entirely motivated by selfish interests. But the original Cynics were a school of philosophers who believed that the purpose of life is to live in virtue. It was a Cynic who mentored Zeno, the first Stoic.

  • Don’t force someone to be happy when they are grieving. Grief is an individual experience and everyone can have their own time to process their grief.
  • Don’t justify why someone should be sad when they just received a piece of great news. The happiness of the moment is the only real joy of living.

Instead, try to focus on positive conversations and activities that uplift those around you.

You always have the power to choose what kind of energy you bring to any situation, and choosing positivity can make a world of difference.

A positive environment can improve your relationships and contribute to a healthier, happier community.

3. Don’t seek advice only to dismiss it.

As a toxic person, you may have the habit of asking people for advice and making them believe you are in desperate need of their help. But as soon as they respond with their suggestions, you start to bring down their well-intended ideas with negativity.

Many of us have a few self-sabotaging toxic habits, like stress, indiscipline, mind-wandering, unrealistic expectations, and inappropriate language, though we may not always show them.

Actually, you merely desired their attention by posing as someone in need of aid and support. Over time, people become aware of your hidden intentions and distance themselves from you.

Stop asking for people’s advice if you do not intend to value them. Don’t lead people up the garden path to satisfy your narcissistic ambitions.

4. Take responsibility for your actions.

Learning to take responsibility for your actions can help improve your relationships with others, as it shows that you are willing to be accountable and work towards resolving issues.

It can also help you grow as a person and become more self-aware. Remember, taking responsibility is not a sign of weakness—it’s a sign of strength and maturity.


  1. Can you be toxic to yourself?

    Your overall toxicity can make you hurt yourself.
    1. You may try to justify yourself after doing wrong, and end up being punished.
    2. You may try to boost your self-esteem by comparing yourself to others.
    3. You may stand up for yourself so strongly that others leave you in fear.
    4. You may neglect self-care at the cost of scheming against others.

  2. How do you become toxic in life?

    A toxic personality habit can be the result of our childhood environment. We may have had a narcissistic parent who treated us poorly when we were young, or we may have had a teacher in school who was always hard on us. The way we reacted to those situations got ingrained deeply in our brains. When we face a similar situation as adults, we may react in the same way as our parents or teachers did. We may even react with increased toxicity.

  3. Does everyone have toxic habits?

    It’s not a perfect world, so all of us may have something that seems toxic to others. 1. We sometimes spread gossip, pass unkind comments, tell white lies, vent our wrath, and gaslight without intention.
    2. We may react with unexplained anger, put others down, boast of our achievements, get jealous or envious, or cheat a little.
    3. We may sometimes come across as overcritical, outspoken, confrontational, revengeful, impulsive, or overthinking.

One of my professors was so blatantly toxic that I used to get a bad taste in my mouth when near her.

Final Words

Finally, I’d ask you to give yourself some leeway.

You might not have become a toxic person if your current stress is making you act in a noxious way. To find out, look within for a poor self-image, constant anxiety and stress, and chronic anger. Consult a therapist to unearth your unresolved issues.

Toxic people carry their negativity everywhere they go. Make sure you are not the one who unconsciously gaslights a relationship into becoming toxic.

√ Also Read: How To Cut A Trauma Bond After A Toxic Breakup?

√ Please spread the word if you found this helpful.

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When it comes to mental well-being, you don't have to do it alone. Going to therapy to feel better is a positive choice. Therapists can help you work through your trauma triggers and emotional patterns.