You have probably taken at least one personality test. The DiSC profile. Myers-Briggs. Perhaps even the IDAK. But have you ever seen a personality test that identifies toxic personalities? I haven’t.
Here’s a quick personality test I’ve developed for identifying toxic personalities. It’s not really a personality test, it’s just a list of seven draining personalities I’ve come across over the years, along with ideas on how to recognize them and why they are so toxic.
(NOTE: Yes, the labels are cheesy, but they’re also descriptive!)
Manipulative Mary: These individuals are experts at manipulation tactics. They are so good, you may not even realize you have been manipulated until after the fact. They like to push your buttons to get what they want.
- Why they are toxic: They find ways to get you to do things you don’t want to do. In their world, everything is centered exclusively around their needs and priorities.
Narcissistic Norm: These people also believe the world revolves around them. But unlike Manipulative Marys, they aren’t secretive about it. Instead, they overtly demand their needs get met. They make you want to scream: “Life isn’t just about YOU!”
- Why they are toxic: They are solely focused on their needs. Nothing more, nothing less.
Debbie Downer: These folks simply cannot appreciate anything positive in life. If you comment that it’s a beautiful day, they remind you of the dreary forecast. If you tell them you aced a test, they’ll tell you how difficult the final will be.
- Why they are toxic: They are joy vampires who suck the optimism out of life.
Judgmental Jim: If you find something unique and refreshing, they find it “wrong.” If you like someone’s eclectic taste, they find it “disturbing.”
- Why they are toxic: Spending too much time with judgmental people inadvertently converts you into a judgmental person.
Dream-Killing Keith: They love explaining…in excruciating detail…just how silly and impossible your dreams are.
- Why they are toxic: These people are stuck in what is instead of what could be.
Disrespectful Danny: These individuals say and do things at the most inappropriate time and in the most inappropriate manner. Maybe it’s a friend who you confided in and he ends up using your secret against you. Or maybe it’s a family member who puts her nose into your affairs when it is none of her business.
- Why they are toxic: They have no sense of boundaries.
Never Enough Nancy: You can never give enough to make these people happy. They take you for granted, have unrealistic expectations of you, and find ways to continually fault you while never taking responsibility for themselves.
- Why they are toxic: They require enormous amounts of time and energy, leaving you worn out and used up.
All these toxic personalities have three things in common:
- The more these people get away with their behavior, the more they continue.
- Unfortunately, they usually don’t recognize their behavior is harmful, which means talking to them about it usually falls on deaf ears.
- Their habits get more ingrained and destructive with age.
Frankly, toxicity is dangerous. We should always look for opportunities to help people and build them up. At the same time, be cautious about spending too much time with people who are addicted to toxic patterns and are not to open becoming the best version of themselves.