Boundaries and Recognizing Toxic People

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npdsurvivor

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Boundaries and Recognizing Toxic People
« on: May 20, 2016, 01:57:07 AM »
Hello everyone,

I would like to ask for advice on recognizing toxic people and setting boundaries. I've recently found myself in an uncomfortable position with a new friend who has proven to have some major red flags and manipulative behaviors. I posted about that particular friendship in another thread (Titled: Toxic Friendships) if you're interested in that story. This particular friendship has been frustrating and uncomfortable but it's also opened up my eyes that I'm clearly still attracting toxic people into my life and need to work on building up better boundaries. Both my Ndad and late Nmom had/have NPD so I essentially grew up in a boundaryless household. So my question is, does anyone have any advice for developing better boundaries, recognizing toxic people when you first meet/get to know them? Or does anyone else have any related stories to share about their experiences with these issues?

Thanks,

K

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alonenow

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Re: Boundaries and Recognizing Toxic People
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2016, 05:05:50 AM »
I see this in so many other posts or other stories............. "the red flags were there ....but............." . 
it is everywhere people who fell for scams and cons almost every breakup story I have heard or read.   
Did you really see them up front or just in hindsight?   
The reason I am asking is I remove that bad little word "BUT" out of all situations like this.  Is that the answer NO as I am isolated and find it very hard to make friends.   Somewhere in the middle is the correct spot I think.  I am trying to learn to be more open and not see red flags everywhere but it is hard for me because I have been burned before when making friends. 

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clara

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Re: Boundaries and Recognizing Toxic People
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2016, 11:40:55 AM »
In another post (forget where, now), I mentioned that it seemed people with PDs are attracted to a certain "type."  Now, I'm only familiar with NPDs and BPDs, and I think what they look for is primarily someone they think they can manipulate.  Most relationships involve some form of give-and-take, but PDs seem to search out those who will give and will settle for little take (or no take, in some cases).  If they come off as super charming and overly-friendly (getting too close too quickly) and they see you respond, they know you're their type.  They themselves try to behave as if they have no boundaries, putting you off your guard.  They immediately want to be your friend, offer to do something for you (often without actually following through but rather giving an excuse as to why they can't do something they offered), etc.  Too good to be true, I guess is a way of putting it.   Of course, many people are naturally friendly and generous, but they don't push things faster than you're comfortable with the way PDs do.  You have to constantly monitor your own reactions to the situation, and if someone is coming off a little too strong, you need to take a step back.  PDs instinctively seem to know when someone might be "on to" them and often quickly lose interest if it seems they're not going to get what they want, whereas a stable person is able to read your moods and themselves adapt.  Also, you don't need to totally cut PDs out of your life if they're generally benign (usually because they're getting what they want from someone else).  You  just have to keep aware of how they are and limit interactions to a more casual level.   

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npdsurvivor

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Re: Boundaries and Recognizing Toxic People
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2016, 09:47:30 PM »
Alonenow, I am definitely working on being able to see red flags and putting up appropriate boundaries. In the situation with my friend that I just posted about, I didn't immediately recognize the red flags until my husband met my friend and got a very strange vibe from her. Her behavior actually changed after she met him and she got even more clingy since then. Since my husband and I started seeing red flags with her, I began cutting back from her and turning down a lot of her invitations in order to distance myself. I now realize that when someone pushes to become close quickly that's a huge red flag and that I need to put up boundaries at that point. Most of my problematic friendships have all started by meeting someone that pushed the friendship way too quickly. At least I'm aware of it now.

Clara, I definitely feel that PD's target a certain type of person, usually empaths it seems. The way you describe it is great! I'm currently trying to distance myself from this toxic friendship and limit it to a more casual level, like you suggest. I'm kinda hoping she will realize that she isn't gonna get anymore supply out of me and get bored and move on. I'm trying to be as grey rock as possible so that she gets bored.


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thebutcher

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Re: Boundaries and Recognizing Toxic People
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2016, 12:01:10 PM »
Don't have much advice to give, just wanted to say I come from a similar family background as you and I'm also learning how to recognize toxic behavior early on. 

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openskyblue

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Re: Boundaries and Recognizing Toxic People
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2016, 12:23:35 PM »
I encounter this a lot in my life. Now, when making a new friend, I ask them to do something for me. Nothing big, just something simple like "how about you pick the place to eat" or I change plans to a different day or tell them in a conversation (politely) that I don't share their opinion about something. If they accept my opinion graciously and are flexible about the other things, I figure there's a better chance that they are not PD. I also keep an eye In how much drama is in their life or if they brag frequently or need to take credit a lot for succeeding in something.

For me, I've realized that there's often a little voice or feeling in me that says "that doesn't make sense" or even " watch out!" when faced with a PD. I've learned to listen to that voice. Also, I've learned that you don't have to give someone the benefit of the doubt, especially when they are demanding that I do.

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meringue

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Re: Boundaries and Recognizing Toxic People
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2016, 01:21:07 PM »
Hi Npdsurvivor,

Good thread. Learning to recognize PD behavior is important, especially when we feel there is something about ourselves that is attracting them.

I completely agree with the advice given here: as Openskyblue says, look out for drama they have with other people. If they seem to always be "in it" with someone - spouse, sibling, parent, coworker - they're gonna be in it with you too. I also liked the point about bragging and/or seeking credit for things.

Great idea to ask for something small in the beginning of the relationship that requires compromise and/or slight change of plans. This one might be a little harder to discern since PDs will do what it takes to reel you in, but it will help you get a sense of how they react to demands and change.

As Clara said, they do target a certain kind of person - the kind who gives and digs and asks very little in return. And unfortunately (and speaking as one), that facilitates our own manipulation. 😖(see "Working on Us: Fixing the Fixer" for some insights about why that happens).

I hadn't ever realized I had my own codependency issues before and with the help of this forum and the books recommended I realized that as long as there are people like us who want to caretake and 'rescue,' there will be people who will play on that until we have no more to spend.

So aside from developing the ability to recognize these behaviors, one of the best things we can do is fortify ourselves. 😌

You are fortunate and self-aware to be making this discovery in college. Many of us don't come to this realization until much later and some of us never get there. Keep plugging.
There's no reasoning with unreasonable people.