How To Tell If Someone Has A Truly Toxic Personality, According To Science

By | dating, family, Food for thought, friends, Motivation, narcissism, personality, relationships, self, self-development, Self-Improvement, stories, toxic people, toxic relationships, uplifting news

Your friend or someone you know has gotten fired from every job they’ve ever had. Their dates always flake on them and their friends always betray them. The common theme: it’s never their fault and if you press them on it you’re the one to blame.

According to a team of psychologists in Israel, these types of people may have a toxic personality disorder called “tendency for interpersonal victimhood” (TIV), which they describe as “an ongoing feeling that the self is a victim, which is generalized across many kinds of relationships.”

People with TIV wholly and truly believe they are never wrong and that their victimhood is a core part of their identity.

How to tell if someone ‘plays the victim?’

Not everyone who feels victimized is toxic. Bad things do happen and it’s okay to be upset about it.

Rather, TIV occurs when someone constantly feels like a victim and they bring others down with them.

Rahav Gabay and her colleagues determined that people with TIV tend to have four dimensions:

Constantly seeking recognition

Of all the allegedly horrible things that happen to someone with TIV, people never apologize to them. Worse, they don’t even acknowledge their wrongdoing.

While apologies can be hard to come by, this only becomes an issue when the person who plays the victim is in desperate search of recognition for the supposed bad things that are done to them.

A sense of moral elitism

People with TIV are never wrong. In fact, their moral compass is better than everyone else’s and they use this assumption to manipulate others into their own perspective.

This behavior may be a defense mechanism as a way to maintain a positive self-image.

Lack of empathy for others

Everything that happens to TIV people is the absolute worst and no one else’s pain or suffering matters, or so they think. This can especially be toxic in a relationship as TIV people only care about their own problems, never others’.

The route of this behavior can be that since the person believes they have suffered so much, they don’t think anyone else deserves empathy for their suffering.

This lack of empathy can also show up in a group or national level in the form of “competitive victimhood” or an “egoism of victimhood” where members of a group cannot see things from another group’s perspective.

Rumination about past victimization

Since romantic relationships never worked out in the past for TIV people, there’s no chance they’ll work in the future. This is a fallacy as the past doesn’t dictate the future, but it’s a core belief of people who always play the victim.

Always ruminating about past grievances and thinking it reflects the future is something perpetual victims tend to do.

Why TIV is toxic

People who always play the victim are extremely difficult to deal with because they’re selfish and never wrong.

They’re also obsessed with seeking revenge for those who’ve wronged them and may punish others who had nothing to do with it just because they’ve been wronged before.

Forgiving is part of growth

We all play the victim from time to time. Sometimes bad things really do happen to us and it makes us sour.

The problem is when the victimhood because constant and when the person never learns from their mistakes. It’s also problematic when they never forgive others – you don’t know what everyone is going through and nobody’s perfect.

Ultimately, the problem with playing the victim is it doesn’t allow you to learn or grow from the past. If you don’t acknowledge your faults, how can you make adjustments for the future?

If you know someone who’s always playing a victim, it might be time to reduce your relationship with them or have a frank discussion about it. Life is too short to be surrounded by toxic people.

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4 Ways Narcissists Make You Think You’re Important

By | Food for thought, narcissism, romantic relationships, Self-Improvement, toxic relationships


Narcissists are master manipulators, so much so that you may have clicked on this not even realizing that you’re currently being used by one.


They’re notorious for being skilled charmers who know just what to say and when to say it, making you feel as though you’re extraordinarily special to them and that they truly care about you.

But unfortunately, that’s probably not the case.

Narcissists can’t feel empathy the way that you and I can, so not only do they not feel emotionally for you they can’t understand how you feel about them.

But that’s never stopped the narcissist from making you think they value you so that they can use you to their advantage, whether that’s to gain attention or another even less wholesome purpose.

Nobody can be kinder than the narcissist while you react to life in his own terms.

– Elizabeth Bowen

Here are four ways narcissists make you think you’re important.

1. They shower you with compliments

A narcissist uses certain tools to make you believe that you’re important to them. One of those is showering you with compliments and making you feel appreciated.

In fact, the compliments are often so heavy that when they abruptly stop– which they will– it leaves the mental equivalent of a bad taste in your mouth, as if something very wrong just happened but you can’t quite put your finger on it.

2. They’re completely attentive to your needs

Similarly, a narcissist will give you constant attention in the beginning. You’ll spend lots of time with one another and they’ll be fully attentive to your needs and wants.

In reality, though, they’re filling you up.

The rug will be pulled from underneath you at some point at that attention will stop– like the compliments, often leaving you thinking you were the one who did something wrong (and they won’t give a second thought to blaming you, by the way).

3. They only spend time with you

In the beginning, you interpret this as love and adoration– they want to spend every waking moment with you (and you do too). It feels great but…it doesn’t last.

It can’t because it was never real.

When the warmth begins to fade, you start to notice things. They never mention family, friends, or exes. And when you bring it up they get surprisingly defensive– even verbally abusive.

Narcissists do keep people around for their own purposes, but they’re known for burning bridges with anyone they don’t believe they can benefit from.

They don’t like you poking around in their business and they’re very easy to anger (0-100 in an instant), so when you bring up questions about the people in their life they often snap.

4. They’ve very seductive

The final way that narcissists make you think that you’re important is with sex and general physical seduction.

Narcissists are masters of coming at you from all angles and it’s through sex that they can make you feel empowered and attractive. The right amount of physical affection can make you feel wanted and this is very addicting

They know this and, as they do with their other tools of manipulation, they put it to full use.


If you’ve made it this far and you’re craving a transformation of your own, we can help you get there.
Jumpstart your personal transformation and get on track to build your best life with Goalcast’s new inspirational ebook, Explore Your Potential: Start the Journey to Your Dream Life.
Transformation doesn’t just happen. It takes a plan and a support system. This how-to guide is full of the top wisdom, tips, exercises, and success stories to inspire an old dream or create a new one.
Check out a teaser of what’s inside.


5 Subtle Signs Your Partner Is Controlling and What to Do About It

By | Food for thought, narcissism, romantic relationships, Self-Improvement, toxic relationships

Most of us would like to think that we’d be able to spot a controlling person if we met them.


We think that there’s no way we’d ever get together with someone that would seek to use and abuse us.

And you’d be right. If you knew it was happening to you.

More often than not, controlling people have been that way for some time, and sometimes they learned from someone else who was very good at it, so they’re very good themselves at covering up their behavior.

Some take control in a very subtle way, gaining a few inches here and there over time through the power of persuasive suggestion. Others are so good they make you think that you’re the messed up one and that they’re fixing or supporting you.

Sure, a controlling person can be more overt about things. However, there’s a very good chance that their plays for power are completely unassuming and difficult to detect.

If you think your partner might be controlling, it’s important to look for the signs now. Whether a narcissist, sociopath, or simply a power-hungry leech looking to make up for their own feelings of inadequacy by taking control of another human being, dealing with a controlling partner can be downright dangerous, so you need to look for the signs and take action if you believe you’re being manipulated.

Fortunately, while they may be slick about things there are some clear signs you can look for to identify controlling behavior.

Love does not claim possession, but gives freedom.

– Rabindranath Tagore

Here are five signs your partner is controlling (along with what to do about it).

1. The Toxic Scorecard

The “Toxic Scorecard” is a phrase meant to help you remember one of the most common forms of controlling behavior. It refers to the practice of keeping tabs on every single tiny interaction in a relationship and it’s one of the most head-spinning forms of control.

Every relationship has an ongoing trading of favors. After all, you should presumably love and care for each other and be doing little “favors” for each other all the time like taking out the trash, cleaning up after dinner, picking something up for the other person, etc.

However, the Toxic Scorecard is a way for a controlling person to keep tabs on what you “owe” them. By keeping track of every little behavior– and you can be sure they aren’t keeping score fairly– they attempt to manipulate you by making it appear as though they’re doing more for you than you are for them.

It’s a positively exhausting behavior to be subjected to and complete BS. Fortunately, once you know about the trick it becomes much easier to notice.

2. They’ll pepper you with criticism

A controlling person often doesn’t just want to control your where and when, they also want to control your who, what, and why.

By that I mean they don’t only want to control where you go and what you do with your time, they want to change and mold you into a person of their own image who does what they want and believes what they believe.

One of the ways they do this is by peppering you with criticism constantly: the way you dress, stand, sit, talk, what you watch, do on your free time, do with your friends, your job, the way your hair looks, etc., etc. These criticisms might start out small and sparse but they can quickly become a barrage if you succumb to them.

And the worst part is a controlling person usually offers a pretty compelling argument, so the criticism seems masked in logic and reason and therefore can be very convincing. After all, they’ve had practice.

Ultimately, you need to be more certain than the other person. Certainty and self-confidence are critical in dealing with– and protecting yourself from– controlling people. They won’t be able to crack your shell if you don’t succumb to the criticism they’re offering.

3. They make you appear guilty when you’ve done nothing wrong

A controlling person is often extremely skilled at making you feel as though you’ve done something wrong when, in fact, you’ve done nothing.

They’ll make you think you always leave messes everywhere and are a slob, that you always sabotage your professional success when it’s really them, and that the time you spoke with that one client was flirting and not business even if it was always anything but.

Even if you know these accusations are completely false, having accusations thrown at you relentlessly can be very tiring and eventually make you question yourself in a twisted way. Just as when a chronic liar becomes confused with what is the truth and what is a lie, you begin to confuse what is the truth and what is their lie.

To control you they need leverage and this is one of the most common ways a controlling person will seek to gain exactly that.

4. Veiled threats

The first time it happens can be very unsettling, even terrifying.

I’ve experienced some very manipulative people in my life and one of the scarier aspects of their personality is that they can and will become very threatening if you don’t immediately play along with what they’re saying.

This is often a sign of narcissism as the narcissist can go from calm one moment to a furious and violent outburst the next.

However, it starts with veiled threats. The controlling person can let slip comments nonchalantly that appear conversational but which the person is entirely serious about, whether it’s a threat of physical mutilation by the controlling person, cutting the person off financially, leaving you for another, leaving in general, taking your kids away, or something else entirely.

5. They’re attempting to isolate you from your loved ones

The only way a controlling person can truly gain full, unquestioned control over another person is by isolating them from their allies (i.e. their loved ones).

Doing so is one of the clearest signs of a controlling person and it’s also one of the most dangerous as it shows a high degree of manipulation.

Whatever you do, don’t ever let someone isolate you from those you love. The people in our life give us strength and offer unrelenting support and losing those people can mean real trouble, especially if you’re dealing with such a controlling, manipulative person.

The right person will fully accept your family and friends. If they don’t, there’s nothing to do but get the hell out of there.

What to do about it

We’ve touched on several signs to help you identify a controlling, manipulative partner as well as a few things you can do about some of those behaviors.

In addition to what was mentioned earlier, here are a few points to follow to help you deal with any controlling person:

  1. Keep your friends and loved ones close: More than anything, when dealing with potentially dangerous and manipulative people you need to keep those who love and care for you as close as possible.
  2. Self-care is a must: You need to have a plan for daily self-care in place, whether that’s simply daily exercise and reading a good book under the light of your porch or an entire regimen including meditation, exercise, and even therapy if you deem it fit.
  3. Create a plan: What is your plan for getting out if that’s what you’ve decided? Make sure you think a few steps ahead as they’ll be likely to have their own tricks in play to keep you around.
  4. Take the potential danger of the situation seriously: A controlling person, especially one with narcissistic or sociopathic tendencies, can become dangerous if pushed far enough, even if they’ve never been violent before. Don’t roll your eyes at this and think that it won’t happen to you. Take the potential danger of the situation seriously and do what it takes to keep yourself safe.

Ultimately, don’t be afraid to ask those closest to you for help. A controlling person is only as powerful as you are isolated.

Keep yourself surrounded by love, remember to take care of yourself daily, and it will be very difficult for them to gain, or maintain, a foothold in your life.

If you’ve made it this far and you’re craving a transformation of your own, we can help you get there.
Jumpstart your personal transformation and get on track to build your best life with Goalcast’s new inspirational ebook, Explore Your Potential: Start the Journey to Your Dream Life.
Transformation doesn’t just happen. It takes a plan and a support system. This how-to guide is full of the top wisdom, tips, exercises, and success stories to inspire an old dream or create a new one.
Check out a teaser of what’s inside.


Parents of Narcissistic Kids Do These 3 Things Wrong

By | Food for thought, mental health, narcissism, parenting, relationships, Self-Improvement

What makes a narcissist?

As someone who has experienced the damage of a narcissist, I became intensely interested in knowing what makes someone turn out narcissistic. If you’ve experienced the same, you know what I’m talking about.

Narcissists aren’t just difficult to deal with. They’re impossible. Their walls are so high, so impenetrable, that it’s almost always better just to get away when you can than try to help or change them.parents-encourage-narcissistic-traits

It’s mind-numbingly frustrating and can make you feel like you’re going insane.

As a parent, I know how it feels to want to make sure you raise your child the best you can…so they don’t turn out the same way.

While that might sound ridiculous to some (“Of course my child won’t turn out narcissistic…”), in the back of your mind…you want to know:

“Still, though….how does it happen? And how can I avoid it?”

The majority of meetings should be discussions that lead to decisions.

– Patrick Lencioni

First, it’s important to know something…

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is the result of certain environmental factors.

Specifically, the way a parent treats their child creates an environment that is either filled with– or devoid of– love, affection, attention, and compassion.

When a child grows up in an environment largely lacking these things, it’s the mind’s natural defense protocol to build the kind of thick, impenetrable walls of illusory self-worth at the expense of niceness and empathy.

In other words, a child can turn out narcissistic as a coping mechanism to the harshness of their environment.

Now, here are three things that parents of narcissistic children do wrong:

1. They give love conditionally, often only due to high achievement

Photo Credit: Natalya Zaritskaya on Unsplash

Parents of narcissistic children are all about worth. That is, everything they do revolves around influencing that child’s perception of either their performance or their self-worth as a whole in a negative way.

If you remember anything, remember that.

One of the ways they do that is by only giving love conditionally. And they do so by promoting high achievement.

If you perform at the top of your class, you’re showered with praise. If you come in second (or anything less than first) you’re overlooked entirely.

Children, and people, need unconditional love. They are valuable because they are beautiful as they are and that’s something no one can take from them, not because– and only if– they achieve.

2. They consistently devalue their child

The most obvious thing parents of eventual narcissists do is regularly devalue their child, to the point that they feel worthless.

Anytime the child spills a drink on the ground, takes a little too long to put their shoes on, or shows even the slightest bit of resistance to any task, they’re berated endlessly until they feel as though they’re so worthless they might as well sit around all day and do nothing. Because, well, what’s the use? They’re useless anyway.

This can lead to all kinds of heartbreaking results such as depression, anxiety, addiction, and even suicide.

3. They demand admiration and keep their child in a shadow

Photo Credit: Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

Another commonality of parents who raise children to be narcissists is that they are narcissists themselves. Specifically, exhibitionist narcissists who demand praise and attention.

These parents only give praise to their children so long as the child themselves is showering the parent with admiration. Twistedly, they want their child to remain below them, subservient to them to feed their need for external validation.

Children with a parent or parents such as this often end up as closet narcissists themselves as they’re taught that the only way to receive the attention they crave is by hiding behind others and not calling attention to themselves.

If you’re a parent, you need to take the time to show your child that they’re uniquely valuable and worthy as they are. They may look up to you as an example, but they also know their own worth as a human being because you remind them constantly, whether they perform or do as they– or you– would hope or not.

If you’ve made it this far and you’re craving a transformation of your own, we can help you get there.
Jumpstart your personal transformation and get on track to build your best life with Goalcast’s new inspirational ebook, Explore Your Potential: Start the Journey to Your Dream Life.
Transformation doesn’t just happen. It takes a plan and a support system. This how-to guide is full of the top wisdom, tips, exercises, and success stories to inspire an old dream or create a new one.
Check out a teaser of what’s inside.


Parents of Narcissistic Kids Do These 3 Things Wrong

5 Warning Signs You’re Dealing With a Sociopath

By | Food for thought, narcissism, relationships, Self-Improvement, toxic relationships

It can be one of the most frustrating, exhausting, and confusing experiences of your life.

If you’ve encountered a sociopath at some point in your life, whether now or in the past, you might not have realized it.

Photo Credit: Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

Most of us hear the word sociopath and think of a lunatic murderer, but most sociopaths lead normal lives.

However, that doesn’t mean they’re easy to deal with. The simple fact that sociopaths– and psychopaths– lack any capacity for empathy makes them frustrating and even dangerous, not to mention their other toxic qualities.

In many respects, sociopaths and psychopaths seem to be missing virtually everything that helps us connect effectively with other people, which is arguably he single most important survival skill in the scope of human history.

You might end up feeling like you’re going crazy when attempting to deal with them, as if they’re a different species altogether.

Without a doubt, the damage a sociopath can do is great and you’ll need to be able to spot the warning signs in order to protect yourself.

Everyone has friends or people they know, while they aren’t definitively sociopaths, they have sociopathic qualities.

– Dylan Sprouse

What is the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath?

It’s important to understand that, while sociopaths and psychopaths display several similar traits such as a lack of empathy, guilt, and disregard for social rules and standards, a sociopath is a product of their environment while a psychopath is born that way.

Sociopaths tend to be less organized and more erratic, possibly due to their difficult upbringing hardwiring them for instability.

Psychopaths, on the other hand, are the complete opposite in that one regard. They’re clean, calculated, and often very organized.

In truth, it might be a bit difficult to know if you’re dealing with a sociopath vs. a psychopath because they show so many similar traits (most importantly, the things which make them difficult to get along with). However, in either case, the signs are quite similar.

One last, very important note:

People can show various sociopathic tendencies without necessarily having all of the qualities of a textbook sociopath. This isn’t a cookie-cutter thing but a varying psychological phenomenon, so don’t expect to see all of these qualities in one person.

5 Warning signs you’re dealing with a sociopathbusinessman-exuding-confidence-body-language

If you’re wondering if you’re in a relationship with, or know, a sociopath, here are five big warning signs:

1. They show no signs of caring

Sociopaths can’t understand what you’re feeling and they have no capability to feel guilty when they hurt your feelings. In fact, you may have experienced them exhibit an almost empty response to many situations that would compel emotion out from someone, making them sometimes appear robot-like.

This can be an extremely nerve-wracking combination of traits, but it’s one of the clearest signs you’re dealing with a sociopath.

Also, keep in mind that they might shower you with affection early on in the relationship as they tend to be master manipulators, so it can take time before this behavior rears its ugly head.

2. They have huge mood swings

Sociopaths tend to be violent due, in part, to their lack of empathy.

They like to be in control and often lash out whenever something is said or done that they believe might threaten their sense of control over a situation.

If you notice the person tends to flip a switch unexpectedly and become very angry, you might be dealing with a sociopath.

3. They guard their personal life aggressively

Sociopaths tend to destroy the relationships they’re a part of and not keep many close friends or family.

It’s perhaps due to this that they become very defensive about their personal life. If you press them on their family and friends and they become visibly irritated or even angry, and have never once desired to open up to you, that’s a sign you might be dealing with a sociopath.

4. They’re very charming

Sociopaths tend to be very likable and leave a great first impression. They often have a witty personality and will flatter you with compliments in the beginning to build you up.

However, don’t let that fool you as it’s typically an elaborate scheme used by the sociopath to control the relationship.

If the person was very charming and sociable at first but has quickly reverted to a cold and emotionless personality, that’s a good sign you’re dealing with a sociopath.

5. They’re very manipulative

Lastly, as you might expect by now, sociopaths tend to be very controlling and manipulative.

Most of what a sociopath does with regards to relationships is with the intention to control others and get what they want. Remember, a typical sociopath can’t fully understand what you feel and feels nothing themselves when they hurt you. This, in part, has altered how they interact with others.

Sociopaths tend to be narcissistic and can be pathological liars. They often use psychological games like gaslighting to control a relationship, so if you’re dealing with someone that displays such qualities, you might very well be dealing with a sociopath.

If you’ve made it this far and you’re craving a transformation of your own, we can help you get there.
Jumpstart your personal transformation and get on track to build your best life with Goalcast’s new inspirational ebook, Explore Your Potential: Start the Journey to Your Dream Life.
Transformation doesn’t just happen. It takes a plan and a support system. This how-to guide is full of the top wisdom, tips, exercises, and success stories to inspire an old dream or create a new one.
Check out a teaser of what’s inside.


5 Warning Signs You’re Dealing With a Sociopath