Often in coaching sessions, and even in casual social conversations, I hear folks state with some exasperation that they have a knack for attracting the wrong kind of people.
By ‘wrong kind of people’ they mean the types that make their life worse, often much worse, instead of better: manipulators, codependent people, severe substance addicts, violent persons, total narcissists, perpetual complainers, constant criticizers, and so on. I usually refer to the whole bunch as toxic people.
It’s important to liberate yourself from toxic relationships with such types of people, but it’s equally important to be able to avoid getting into such relationships in the first place. And for this, you need to understand why you attract the wrong kind of people.
So, based on my confidence and communication coaching experience, as well as my personal experience dealing with toxic people, I’d like to offer what I deem as the two chief causes for this phenomenon, plus some advice for dealing with them.
You Have Strong Emotional Vulnerabilities They Can Detect
A lot of individuals will stay away or break away from toxic people as soon as they realize how troublesome they are.
So to have relationships, toxic people must target individuals who are visibly emotionally vulnerable. These are individuals who care too much about pleasing others, or they can’t say no, or they have a savior complex, or they have low self-esteem, or some other deep-seated insecurity.
Such persons have a hard time staying away or breaking away from the wrong kind of people, because they’re very afraid of their disapproval, or they would feel very guilty afterwards. And toxic people are implicitly or explicitly aware of that. They sense they can have their way with such a person, so they jump on them like a lion on a gazelle.
Now, you can try to hide your emotional vulnerabilities, but sooner or later, toxic people tend to spot them. They have an acute mental radar for them.
So ultimately, your only real option is to identify your biggest emotional insecurities and work on overcoming them. You wanna close the chinks in your armor. Not only that it will keep away most toxic people, but it will also enhance your life in many other ways.
You may require some help. Emotional insecurities are not easy to overcome. If you can find and work with a good therapist or coach, I definitely recommend you do it. At a bare minimum, educate yourself about the psychology of emotions and the effective techniques to fortify yourself emotionally; then apply that knowledge on your own.
In particular, I suggest you check out this video presentation I created especially to teach others an effective method to overcome any emotional vulnerability and boost their social confidence, based on my years of confidence coaching experience. I’m positive that it will help you a lot.
And also, make sure you join my free social confidence newsletter to get more practical advice from me.
You Let Yourself Get Absorbed By Their Superficial Qualities
Toxic people are not all bad, especially when you first meet them. Lots of them have quite a few superficial qualities, which come out much sooner than their more profound flaws.
Some come off as very interesting and charismatic initially. Some always know what to say to make you feel good (as well as make you feel bad, as you may eventually find out). Some seem very nice and kind at first. And some appear highly confident and exciting.
The problem is that you may be engrossed and reeled in by these qualities, only to discover a boatload of flaws lurking out of sight as you get to know the person better. Only by then, they’re already your boyfriend or girlfriend, spouse, house mate or good friend.
This usually happens when you let somebody’s superficial qualities trick you into thinking that’s all there is to them. You only see them through the lens of those strengths, failing to consider there are parts of them you have not yet discovered, which may not be as virtuous.
Thus, in or order to avoid attracting the wrong kind of people, you wanna adopt the mindset that people are often not what they seem at first. And you must always bear in mind that toxic people in particular often come off as very appealing initially.
Coming from this mindset, have patience when meeting new people and do not rush into any kind of serious relationship until you get to know them better. Take your time, observe people’s communication model, and don’t let the initial exhilaration dictate your actions.
These are the two causes. One pulls the wrong kind of people towards you, and one pulls you towards the wrong kind of people, which in turn pulls them even closer. I think you can see how this dynamic can create a lot of complications for you.
So it’s important to apply the above advice and work on overcoming these two factors. It will completely change the quality of your relationships. When you posses the self-confidence to evade toxic people and you don’t let eagerness lead you to misjudge people, you create the possibility of amazing relationships in your life.