138. SIGNS THAT THAT WORK COLLEAGUE, RELATIVE OR CHURCH MEMBER MAY BE TOXIC
(The Faith Forum Series – Batch 3)
Without apology, I am a very strong-minded, opinionated woman. This is my personality and leadership comes naturally to me, in any arena. However, based on an incident I observed recently, I went from trying to defend a person who others may have perceived as being too bossy, to realizing that this person’s behaviour was really out of control, in my humble view.
At first, I vouched for the person, explaining that not everybody has the same personality and that some people, like myself are strong-minded individuals. I even explained that sometimes, when a person has had several situations with people, where he or she has had to take the initiative, that whenever another situation arises, he or she naturally or subconsciously assumes the leadership role.
However, in continuing to observe and apply discernment to the individual’s operations, (I sincerely hope I’m wrong but) something more than just being strong-minded and leadership-oriented, appeared to be emerging and it was very troubling to my spirit.
I came to the realization that there is a difference between taking initiative and being CONTROLLING. There is a difference between being strong-minded and being DOMINEERING. There is a difference between having leadership ability and being a DICTATOR.
In all three (3) of these cases, the latter is not a positive trait to have, cultivate or enable and it got me thinking of some of the negative characteristics typically demonstrated by a person that is toxic to be around, whether in your workplace, in your family or in a Church setting.
I personally know of at least a handful of persons with whom I have had to interact, who possess most of these characteristics I’m about to share below. From experience, encounters with them have mainly been toxic! You don’t know why but ever so often, when you are around them or have to deal with them, you feel as if you are being poisoned for some reason and as if your peace, joy and happiness is being sucked out of you, without your consent.
Toxic people, many of whom are narcissistic or have some narcissistic tendencies, tend to drain the life out of you, make you feel fearful, guilty, ashamed, depressed, uneasy, careful, overly eager to please, anxious not to disappoint and tense all the time, when you shouldn’t. You may find yourself feeling a certain way and wondering why you get so tense when it comes to the person, long before you realize it is because he or she is toxic!
Usually, a person that loves to control others and situations, tends to exhibit most, if not all of the horrible behaviours listed below, whether he or she is aware of it or not. Toxicity tends to come in a package and so, one negative trait seldom operates in isolation. Where you see one, you tend to see another.
If a person exhibits more than half of these traits, take note of the red flags. If he or she has nine (9) or more, then he or she is definitely toxic and you should run! Toxicity is toxic to healthy relationships and friendships, plain and simple.
If you can’t run because it is a family member or a Church member with whom you have to interact, ask God for wisdom in terms of how to move forward in that situation, for your own sanity and the preservation of peace sake. Also, pray to God for that person in love. As you yourself know (because he has been working on your own dysfunctions), he can give anyone an attitude adjustment, especially if that person is his child.
Also, if the issue is a spiritual one, as it usually is, the toxic behaviours may not be easily observed by the naked eye or the average person. Through prayer and discernment however, if you are a Christian, the ugliness of the behaviours and the spirit behind it, will be manifested.
SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF A TOXIC INDIVIDUAL IN YOUR WORKPLACE, FAMILY OR CHURCH
- 1- Very popular, sociable and likable on the surface – On the surface, this person is popular, well-liked, thought of as a really nice person and he or she knows how to keep refueling that idea of the image he or she holds, by always doing seemingly nice things which people can see and take note of and just in case they didn’t see or hear, he or she makes sure that they are notified of what he or she did.
- 2 – Showy – He or she may not boast or be loud but makes sure to do lots of nice things which people can see. He or she may give money in public therefore or do kind deeds for people, so that others can see his or her good deeds and hold him or her in high esteem as a good Samaritan.
- 3 – Controlling and dominating – This person likes and needs to tell everybody what to do and expects no opposition, no matter how unreasonable the request or demand.
- 4 – Hates to be corrected – Even where the correction or advice is good for character and spiritual development, it is scorned, resented and not welcomed by this individual.
- 5 – Victim mentality – This person sees all opposition, all criticism, differing views and disagreement with his or her requests/demands, as a personal attack on him or her and paints the person who dares to do same, as the unreasonable and evil one.
- 6 – Quick to throw a childish tantrum or hissy fit – This may be in your face or subtle and it is demonstrated usually, when the person does not get his or her way or someone dares to disagree with what he or she has requested/demanded. The level of immaturity exhibited, may at times shock you.
- 7 – Has everybody feeling fearful and walking on eggshells – People tend to feel afraid to confront him or her or to disagree with his or her requests/demands or to voice a differing view, feeling compelled to just go along with everything he or she proposes or wants. They are also preoccupied with not upsetting him or her and think far too much as to what will please him or her, what will not please him or her, what to say around him or her, what not to say, how not to upset him or her and how to explain something so as to appease him or her. If it is a Church environment, the focus can become how to please the person and not how to please the Lord, which is idolatry. Without realizing it, the person becomes your centre of attention because he or she acts and causes people to respond as if the world revolves around him or her, while Christ, the true cornerstone, gets dethroned by this distraction. The Lord has called us to liberty, yet in this situation, people walk around in fear, suppressing their valid viewpoint on issues and keeping their silence, just to please him or her.
- 8 – Judgmental and presumptuous – If you don’t do as he or she says or act how he or she expects you to act (like the blind conformity he or she evokes in others), he or she jumps to conclusions without the facts and formulates erroneous views on your character and philosophy in life.
- 9 – Manipulative – This person knows exactly how to use situations to get what he or she wants. The outcome is planned and then the strategy to achieve that outcome is devised and implemented calculatedly.
- 10 – Pulls guilt trips – This may be done in a direct way or more subtly, the goal being to make you feel bad for not doing as he or she said or for having an alternative view to his or her proposal or perspective, even if his or her perspective is unreasonable.
- 11 – Vindictive – He or she finds ways, mostly subtle, to get back at you when he or she feels you have done him or her wrong and that wrong could simply be disagreeing with his or her view point or request/demand and talking sense into a situation, when everybody else is too afraid to speak up. He or she plays mind games, which means, he or she tries to mess with you psychologically, deploying subtle, very smart, indirect strategies to get you upset, preoccupied and bothered or to settle the score. Narcissists in particular are experts in this field.
- 12 – Inconsiderate – Such a person thinks only of self, what self wants, what self wants to do, the activities self wants to get engaged in and how an event or activity will positively reflect on self. Such a person seldom considers the needs, viewpoint, personality and feelings of others and that they may not like or want what that person likes or wants or choose the same interests or activities that that person chooses. The fact that we are all different people, from different walks of life with different pasts, different stories, different hurts, different challenges, different personalities, different means, different talents, different giftings and different outlooks on life is completely lost on such a person. He or she expects everybody to feel and behave like how he or she feels, to be passionate about the same things and to basically mirror him or her. For example, if the person is extroverted, he or she has no patience with introverts. He or she expects everybody to be outgoing and to love socializing. If things are good enough with him or her financially at that point in time, he or she expects everybody to contribute to the cause or event that he or she is passionate about, even the person who has no job at the moment or has a loan to repay and is barely making ends meet.
- 13 – Attention grabbing – Although such a person is very popular and sociable, he or she enjoys attention, the high esteem he or she has in the minds of others and still craves more. He or she is not content to sit quietly by or okay with the focus not being on him or her. He or she wants to be the centre of everyone’s mind, most of, if not all of the time and will tirelessly devise ways to do so, even if it means to create or stir up needless drama over a petty issue.
- 14 – Competitive – He or she wants to outdo the competition or who he or she perceives as competition and if the object of competition is not careful, he or she may find himself or herself feeling distracted by pettiness or tempted to show up the toxic person, as opposed to remaining humble and keeping his or her eyes fixated on Christ, that audience of one.
(Written on 20th December, 2018)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be informative, interesting, edifying or beneficial, you may also be interested in reading the following on my ‘SINGLE Daughters of God’ Page:
- Note 134 – ‘The Manipulative Woman’
- Note 270 – ‘Did You Imagine The Abuse?’
- Note 273 – ‘The Virtuous Woman vs The Odious Woman’
- Note 277 – ‘When Family Disappoints’
- Note 291 – ‘Can A Narcissist Be A Christian?’