What is a dysfunctional or toxic person?

What is a dysfunctional person and how do you deal with a toxic person in your life? If you have a relationship that causes you anxiety, resentment, confusion or pain, chances are it’s dysfunctional.

Toxic, unhealthy, and dysfunctional people are all the same types with varying degrees of intensity.

The obvious types are the alcoholic, addict, narcissistic (personality disordered) or otherwise abusive people.

However, there are less  obvious relationship red flags that I want to share with you now.

This person is jealous, insecure, or obsessive.

While it’s nice to have some one pay so much attention to you it takes an ugly turn when it becomes intrusive, smothering or enmeshed.

They want to monitor who you’re with and eliminate potential threats to the relationship by constant interrogation   (“who is she/he”) or crossing your boundaries violating your space, searching through your things, contacting people you know to get information about you.

Or wanting to spend every waking minute together.

This person may constantly seek validation and approval from you needing your constant reassurance.

This person makes you question how they feel about you on a regular basis

One minute you feel loved, respected, and cared for, and the next minute you feel disregarded, hurt or rejected. 

This person plays ping pong with your emotions. They go back and forth with how they feel.

And sometimes they break up with you only to get back together.

They only seem to want you when you’ve finally had enough of the games and make a decision to distance yourself.

You’re left wondering what you did to make them disappear, feeling as though it’s always somehow your fault.

This person is controlling or manipulative

The person you are with constantly questions your thoughts, beliefs, opinions, or feelings and you’re reluctant to share your true self.

They consistently judge or criticize you and attempt to convince you how to BE.


They have impossibly high expectations and you always feel as though you are never enough.

You feel like you can’t do anything right. and even though it’s not your fault, you find yourself apologizing when you don’t “get it right.”

You walk on eggshells, never wanting to say or do the wrong thing, making mistakes.

This person can also be covertly controlling using charm and charisma to influence your thinking, feelings or behavior. 


This person is in denial about their issues or the problems in the relationship

Any problems in the relationship are caused by you according to this person and for that matter, “nothing’s wrong” because they minimize, justify, excuse or deny the problems in the relationship.

They refuse to acknowledge any problems and avoid confrontation by shutting down, ignoring you or disappearing.   

They refuse to get help because they don’t believe they need it. 


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