Home Psychology The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
Psychology By Joe Burgett -

When you see the term “toxic person,” it is possible that a million thoughts rush through your head. We all have known that one person who seems to be toxic and might even have a horror story from knowing them. Of course, you could have one or a few of the most toxic personality traits yet you’re not “technically” a toxic person yourself. This is kind of a good thing, as friends or family can help you fix those specific problematic traits. Toxic people can often be related to narcissists, psychopaths, or sociopaths.

That is likely because most toxic people are at least one of the three. Again, that differs from just having a few toxic traits. Therefore, you could be forgiven for confusing toxicity with narcissism, for example. They are very closely related. Except the most toxic personality traits are simply performed by toxic people who can simply be toxic without a brain disorder. This might be worst of all because, unlike the others, they should be able to feel and know how terrible they are. We felt it would be good to discuss the traits of toxic people to help you know when you come across them. Let’s get started!

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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Refuse To Listen

Refusing to listen to others can be a bad thing. Usually, the listening issue tends to begin as we’re children as we get distracted and might not pay attention to something. By the teen years, some might still have an issue here. Yet more often than not, teens will start a habit if not prevented. They will begin to “refuse” to listen to others about anything that does not agree with their point or belief. This is a huge problem that only affects them worse as they become adults.

Refusing to listen to others is a huge problem and one of the most toxic personality traits you can possess. It makes having conversations with a person much harder, especially when you are on the side of an issue. It’s like they filter out anything else that is not their own thought. This makes having a relationship with them incredibly difficult, friend or romantic. As they might not listen about any problems you might have due to lack of interest.

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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Never Makes Sincere Apologies

When you do something wrong, it is good to apologize to others for what you did. Now, this does not have to be done all the time with various things. However, if you do something wrong that affects another negatively in any way, it is always best to apologize for that. However, many toxic people do not ever see their issue as truly wrong. Therefore, many will try to avoid ever apologizing at all. Yet there are times when this is necessary, which even they can see.

However, you’ll find their apology is usually pretty hollow without any real meaning behind it. Sort of like asking your two-year-old to tell another kid they are sorry. They really have no concept of what that means yet, so it is hard for them to truly mean it. In this case, the person knows what it means but still does not mean it. Plus, the only time they’d ever apologize is when they feel they must. There is something to gain by doing so, meaning you’re only doing it for that.

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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No Respect For Boundaries

When you first get to know someone, it can be hard to know how they will respond to things. Some stuff might be too far, while other stuff might be fine. For example, some men do not mind talking about their intimate life, especially with their male friends. It might be a totally different story with their female friends. As they might not want to discuss those things. Others might be more than willing, but the female does not want to hear about it.

All of this is a case-by-case situation with that specific person. Of course, once you know what they are okay with versus not okay with, you’re aware of those limits. Yet toxic people might not care about these boundaries and step over them, crossing the line. It is one of the most toxic personality traits one can have. As lines or boundaries are very important to a person and might potentially be present for mental health reasons. Even if you disagree with that boundary, don’t cross it anyway!

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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Anger Management Issues

While anger problems can be completely separate from toxic people, there are ways it connects too. Anger management issues can be pretty bad for some people and lead to them taking out their anger on nearby objects or even other people. It can get so bad that some have been known to injury themselves out of their own anger. This often begins when we’re young, as a person will have anger problems as babies or toddlers and usually end up hurting themselves.

After a while, they learn from this and usually stop. Some might not grasp how important it is to control anger even after, and by the hormonal teenage years, they will begin to struggle with anger that then fuels violence. Normally, punishment from parents or even their school will help but this is not the case with everyone. That causes one of the most toxic personality traits in this anger problem to arise. This could be a huge problem among couples in both a man or woman, as sometimes one or both could be abusive toward the other or to their partner in a same-sex relationship.

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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Big Gossips

Some people can be a real problem when it comes to gossiping. They have no secrets, making them incredibly untrustworthy with personal information. Heck, they may not even keep secrets about themselves. To some, this can come off as a person simply being open and honest about things. Yet there is a difference between being an open and honest person…and a gossiper truthfully. The line is actually pretty large here too.

A gossiper is someone who will tell secrets or information about anyone to others. Yet they might sometimes start rumors up too. A person who tells a lot of real secrets is often looked to as someone with information that can be trusted. Thus causing any false rumor they spread to be seen as real. This can be one of the most toxic personality traits to have that might alienate you from others. They cannot trust you won’t tell people about important things, which then only hurts you in the end.

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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Look Down On Others, Acting Superior To Them

This is, by far, one of the worst things you can do. While one of the most toxic personality traits, it has also been repeatedly mentioned as the worst quality among friends or prospective partners. It is incredibly wrong to look down on others, regardless of the position you started at in life. In fact, if you start off in a higher-class situation then you should do all you can to help anyone who started off with much less.

No one is truly better than anyone else. Outside the scum of the Earth, child predators, we’re all pretty much even when all is said and done. If you see yourself as better, that alone proves you’re not. For the moment you believe this, you have chosen to believe that you matter more. Yet pretty much anyone could die and be replaced at their job. Anyone could die and be replaced as a husband, wife, or even friend. It is those that choose to believe they are even with others that make the most impact and cannot truly ever be replaced. The hole they leave is just too large to fix.

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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Abuser Of Power

Abuse of power is a common issue among Kings and Emperors throughout history. While it was less common among Queens and Empresses, they too were known for it off and on. Particularly when they could be a possible head of state without a husband serving beside them. When we think abuse of power, it is common to see the historical or political connection. Yet people abuse their power in multiple ways. It can be seen in some random jobs among managers or even CEOs.

Usually, a King could threaten death while your boss might threaten to fire you or muddy your name publicly. All are problematic, but unlike with the King’s rule, you have to live with the others. Several who abuse their power are looked at as horrible people, as this is one of the most toxic personality traits one can possess. You’re literally victimizing another person specifically due to the position you hold. You should not need another person to tell you how wrong that is. It’s Ethics 101.

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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Refuses To Be Happy For Others

This often depends on how it is presented. It is not possible for people to always be happy for others. Simply put, it is okay to not be at times. Like if your ex-girlfriend gets engaged to another guy after dating you for 10 years. Yet she has only dated Todd for 10 months. You have our permission to not be happy for her…as if you needed it. You might be up for a big promotion and another person gets this opportunity you probably deserve more. Again, it’s okay to not be happy about that.

Yet if your friend says they are having a child or inform you they were hired for their dream job, this is well worth being happy for them. Even if you’d like kids or your dream job, the very fact they did either is proof it could still happen for you too. Yet beyond that, they are supposed to be your friend. Therefore, it is clearly one of the most toxic personality traits you can have to refuse to be happy for others when something good happens for them. It’s incredibly selfish, honestly.

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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Making You Feel Bad About Yourself

To pretend to call yourself a friend while making others feel bad about themselves is horrible. Yet there are people out there who really do this. They will weasel their way into someone’s life and slowly make them feel bad for anything they believe or any way they act. Of course, it is okay to correct people if they do something truly wrong. Perhaps, they might say something racist or sexist. Telling them that is not okay is perfectly fine, so we do not mean this sort of thing.

Rather, you find a way to go into someone’s life only to ever make them feel bad about things. At times, it is easy to call this the “Pop-Up Facebook Friend.” They only comment when they disagree with something you said. It is hard to judge that person by your social media interactions with them. But imagine if that type of thing happened with everything you said or did. It would be horrible, which is why we claim it is one of the most toxic personality traits.

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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Lack True Empathy

This happens to be one of the top reasons a child no longer speaks to one or both parents. For some reason, the parent(s) will never truly show they are supportive of their child. They might also rarely show they care at all for them beyond having to do the necessary things like feeding them. However, this can also be a problem that ends relationships both friend-like and romantic alike.

If a person is not a supportive or caring friend, how can they call themselves a friend, right? The same thing is worthy of questioning multiplied by 100 with a potential romantic partner. You need them to be caring and supportive more than anyone else. If they are not, this sort of ruins a lot of things. That is why lacking empathy is one of the most toxic personality traits for someone to have. In the end, though, this will hurt them far more as they’ll never have any real long-lasting relationships.

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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Energy Draining

One thing people often miss about toxic people might be how draining they can be. It is as if they suck up all of your life energy like some sort of leech that won’t let go. In some ways, this is technically what happens. Essentially, a toxic person often makes things about them and they need you to care about those things as much as them. However, you have your own life to live too. Thus, they put extra crap on your plate to take on that you’re likely not able to take on.

That could be something like stopping by your office to make things all about them while you’re trying to get a lot of work done for the day. You might try to get rid of them by telling them you have a lot to do. Remember, many refuse to listen nor respect boundaries. Therefore, you’re stuck with them in an attempt to be nice. You know they’ll guilt you if you force them out, so all of that extra baggage is put upon you. It is a constant issue that just takes your energy down while they never change.

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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Conditional Giving

It is understandable that in business if two companies work together then there must be something to gain for both. Of course, many businesses need supplies or parts and will buy those from other places. In this case, the business relationship gives you supplies while they get money. Yet this is not how things should be in a friendship. You should help or give to your friends just because they are your friends, nothing more.

However, one of the most toxic personality traits certain people have is an issue with “conditional giving.” This means that they will only “give” for a specific purpose. Usually, they will have something to gain out of it. This could be small like giving money to a homeless person, which they filmed and uploaded to social media. They did this to “look good,” making it their condition for doing good. Others will only give if they get something in return from people only, even when a person does not have much nor anything to give.

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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Controlling Nature

Those who leave abusive relationships often cite their ex-partner as controlling. This is not just women and men in abusive relationships who experienced this. Yet some men and women also claimed this about their ex-partner even when they were not being physically or mentally abused. Being controlling is literally the #1 most voted turnoff for all genders, so why do some people decide to do it? This is uncertain, as there are potentially several reasons why.

Some do not start off that way but become that way as a person gets jealous, assuming they might lose the person they are now attached to. Others might be controlling from the start, as that person has been cheated on in the past. Yet some people just have a controlling nature. Those people are the ones who are controlling in all aspects of life, which is a lot to deal with truthfully. This is why the “controlling nature” is one of the most toxic personality traits. Pretty much everyone hates it.

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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Blaming Others For Their Misfortune (Painting Themselves As The Victim)

It should be said that it is impossible for something to always be your fault, as that is a statistical impossibility for 99.99% of the population. But what is also just as unlikely is nothing EVER being your fault. This is why blaming others for your misfortune all the time is one of the most toxic personality traits one could have. It is possible that some stuff might not be your fault, but your position in life is often what you make of it.

Meaning, if you do the best you can possibly do then you’ll likely succeed. Yes, some get lucky and others might work less to achieve great things. Yet in spite of this, others doing well or even badly has nothing to do with you. Thus, blaming others for where you are is illogical and completely wrong. Never taking personal responsibility for your failures or misfortune is truly terrible. For you must take personal responsibility like this to grow as a human being. You’re not always the victim!

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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Lack Of Consistency

One of the worst things about toxic people is likely their lack of consistency. The reasoning for this will differ depending on the person, however. In our situation, we’ve invented our own toxic person as an example. This person will represent the base of the example on consistency. Essentially, they are known for telling you how they feel about things whether you ask for their opinion or not. They might even say they love the color red.

Thus, for their birthday, you buy them a red-colored shirt. Potentially even one that you know they wanted. Yet now, they don’t “feel” the color red and tell you to take it back. A month later, they now own the red-colored shirt. What gives? They presented one of the most toxic personality traits, in not being consistent about their feelings. This can happen to some with mental disorders too at times, so do not always assume toxicity. Yet you’ll likely be able to tell the difference pretty easily.

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
Man abusing his depressed wife, shouting, humiliating and threatening her. Photo Credit: Prostock-Studio/Shutterstock


Possibly one of the worst things a person can do to another outside abuse is gaslighting. Many women have referenced how their ex-partner used to gaslight them, putting a major mental strain on them. Ultimately, gaslighting truly is mental abuse at the end of the day. What happens is that the abuser, in this case, will make their victim of abuse question the true reality around them. This will affect a person’s judgment and often make them feel like they are to blame for all misdeeds.

Did he cheat on you? No, of course not. He did not cheat, he just sought emotional satisfaction from another because you were not able to give him enough. Does that sound insane? Good, because it is. A person will feel like they are losing their sanity, as the true reality they see around them does not seem to match what the person is saying. For some reason, people accept this false reality possibly out of love or affection. However, it is all a lie to keep you on a leash. Gaslighting truly is one of the most toxic personality traits and a form of abuse that no one should have to be put through by anyone.

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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It is good to use judgment at times, as you need to be able to judge a lot of things in life. If nothing more than for your own safety or those around you, it is clear one needs to be smart about their decision-making. Proper judgment can be helpful in accomplishing this. At the same time, however, using judgment can go over the top. This is when one becomes “judgemental,” a truly terrible thing to be.

When this occurs, a person is being excessively critical of others. Many often even ignore their own flaws yet feel as if they can point out the flaws of others in a negative way. This can make it seem like the person just takes some sick joy out of making fun of others, even to their face. Being judgemental is, naturally, one of the most toxic personality traits known. If you ever meet a toxic person, you’ll see right off how critical they are of others while believing they are God’s gift to mankind.

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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Takes More Than They Give

We already referenced that many toxic people only give when they feel they must for some reason. It is never out of purely good morality, rather, out of the idea that giving will help them in some way. If there is nothing in it for them, they do not seek to give…ever. Yet they will be more than happy to take, especially from those they have been able to have some sort of control over. They might happily give out of good morality, which the toxic person clearly knows. As a result of this knowledge, they can take advantage of others.

This is sadly where the good-hearted person is put in a bad place. They want to be helpful to those around them, but they will be taken advantage of by toxic types. How do they balance this sort of thing? Some manage it well while others do not at all. Hence the “toxic” part in all of this, where something good is infected with something bad. One of the most toxic personality traits, taking more than giving, has allowed a person to take advantage of another. Making them question whether their good-hearted nature should continue. It should, it always should.

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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Incites Drama

There are some people that seem to need drama in their life at all times. You have likely met someone in your own life that seems to be a walking reality show, as drama follows them wherever they go. Yet this drama, just like reality shows, is often manufactured and not real. A person often creates something dramatic out of nothing. For example, let’s say you’re late for work because you woke up late. Not the best excuse, right? You could walk into the office at work, be honest, and face the consequences. However, you could also dress up or lie about the ordeal.

Uhhh…your car gave you trouble (you had to really get gas on the way), and your alarm clock did not go off like normal. Others might dramatize little stuff, like how someone said in passing that your dress looked nice. Oh my, they just hit on you and wanted you so bad, but you turned them down. They have been after you for a while (they said hi twice), and it feels kind of stalkerish, so you’re getting a restraining order. While wacky, this is how it can be with people like this. Hence why this is one of the most toxic personality traits one can have. People hate being around people like this, it’s just too much all the time.

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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Encourages and Actively Works To Cause Codependency

There are some people that are so selfish that they cannot let a specific person have their time taken up by anyone else. It causes them to force codependency. This means they will try to force a person to only be connected to them and almost force a person to sever ties with other friends and even family members. Of course, this comes off as controlling but it goes beyond that. They want to psychologically affect a person so much, they’ll believe this person is their only friend.

That makes them completely dependent on this person, causing them to give 100% of their time and attention to them. Of course, that was the goal here. They might even train a person into believing the world hates them and friends, as well as family members, never cared about them, truly. It is a form of mental abuse, for sure. Forcing codependency like this is horrible, which makes it one of the most toxic personality traits one could have.

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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In school, we’re taught that the Earth spins on an axis and revolves around a big star we call the Sun. It is basic, 1st Grade science everyone tends to learn early in life. Yet some toxic people must have ignored this, as they believe the Earth revolves around them. Many toxic people are known for their selfish or self-centered ways, where they do not care one bit about other people. They only care about themselves.

If their best friend and wife were hanging on a ledge, and they could only save one, they’d likely let both of them fall as they order a pizza. That’s a dramatic example, but it is truly how these people are. No problems other than their own count, the health and safety of others will never be their concern. Wait in lines? Not them, they are too important for that. To know someone like this can be weird, as you see them glide through life assuming the world caters to their movement through life.

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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This should be obvious, but lying is rarely ever a good thing. Of course, while this is one of the most toxic personality traits one can have…one does not need to be “toxic” to lie. We often see this happen among kids, and it is usually done as a way to fit in with their peers. If there is nothing exciting about them, they need to come up with something to seem special. Hence, the reason for those lies.

Yet as we grow up, there is rarely a need to lie. Some might still do it if they have social problems, causing them to lack many if any friends. However, there are others who just lie for no real reason. It is part of their personality to do so, and that is when things become toxic. You also can never truly know when they are lying or telling the truth, making them incredibly untrustworthy. A certain public figure was known for this, making most dislike him because they saw through the lies.

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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Both men and women have claimed that one of the biggest turn-offs to a person is an overly negative mindset or personality. It makes sense, as nearly everything comes with a Debbie Downer-like attitude. You cannot tell them anything you hope to get a positive reaction about, as they won’t be happy for you. This makes it hard to be friends or romantic partners with people like this as any good news you’re excited about will be met with absolutely zero joy.

We want others to give us joy and positivity back when we tell them exciting things about us. It is part of human interaction, and we all truly need this. That is also why a more positive attitude makes a person more likable. You WANT to tell them happy news because they will give you happiness back. You might even feel comfortable telling them bad news as they will try to spin something positive out of it to make you feel better. Overall, a negative attitude or personality is like a black hole. No one wants to be caught up in that.

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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We should first reference that people who successfully manipulate others often tend to pick targets that are much easier to manipulate. This happens in politics all the time. A person can get involved and reference things people agree with. That builds up faith or confidence for you with that group. Then you sprinkle in fakeness or lies, and since you already have them buying that you believe as they do, they are more likely to believe you.

Yet in the real world, being manipulative takes more creativity and targets are sometimes hard to spot. The hardest to manipulate is a generally curious person, as they will never truly believe you unless they do research first. Yet easier targets can be taken advantage of often. That is why this is one of the most toxic personality traits. Those who were manipulated will naturally never want to be around the manipulated again. That makes this one of the few things one can do that, if caught, instantly ends any conversation or relationship for most.

The Most Toxic Personality Traits And Why They Affect Us
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They Bring Out The Worst In YOU

Your parents may have prevented you from hanging out with a specific friend. They might have even encouraged you to find other friends besides them. If this happened, they likely saw how that friend was changing you for the worst. As we age, our parents are not there to spot things and keep us from bad friends. We have to know how to do this for ourselves when we reach adulthood. Yet that is not always an easy thing to do, as some toxic people may not present as technically “toxic.”

Rather, they will appear normal yet slowly start to affect you. While family and friends can see the clear change, it is not always possible for you to see it for yourself. Truly, one of the most toxic personality traits is the ability to change others to bring the worst out of them. This is done for a few reasons. First, to make you act wrong enough to get others to say something to you about it. Then to use that to fuel wrongness in other ways, allowing them to manipulate you. See? It all works together for toxic people. They are like an infection while these traits are the symptoms. Remove the infection, get rid of the symptoms.