You are here

Toxic or Just Wounded?

DENIP's picture

TOXIC TRAITS: •manipulative •controlling •disrespectful •selfish •envious •secretive •judgmental •critical •dishonest •gossipy •unsupportive •competitive •angry •and even abusive.

TROUBLED TRAITS: •manipulative •controlling •disrespectful •selfish •envious •secretive •judgmental •critical •dishonest •gossipy •unsupportive •competitive •angry •and even abusive.













Toxic people

●Will stand firm in their sin/wrongdoing, never working on the inner (self).

●They resent authority and constructive criticism, taking a defensive stance.

●When they have hurt you, they deflect, retaliate, deny, and shift the blame. 

●They will "flip" the narrative and make themselves the victim. 

●They will exploit any vulnerability they see in you. 

Wounded people

●Will always make the necessary corrections and adjustments to grow as an individual.

●They appreciate the "tough love" and support even if they don't necessarily "like it" at the time.

●They are more open to discussion/communication.

●When they've hurt you, it bothers them, and eventually will want to make it right. 

 We need to not ABSORB the effects of either of these but rather OBSERVE to know the difference and how to proceed. 

Merry's picture

I believe you have described both my SD (toxic) and SS (wounded).

A therapist, who was working on anger with my ex, said "be curious, not furious." That was helpful to me but my ex "didn't understand it." Right. 

DENIP's picture

My 20 y.o. SD is in the toxic category right now. 

From what I understand, so is SD mom. I believe most of how SD turned out is because of the abuse of the mom. However, she lived with us from 16-20 (this January she was told to leave by DH). We rescued her out of a physical/emotional/psychological situation with her mom that had escalated. We tried our best to provide for her and teach her what "healthy" should look like. But, she could not receive any of it, especially from me because I'm married to her dad. 

Things became so toxic with her here that I began to resent her. I never ever told DH to tell her to leave but he knew it was time. She is back with her mom and very uncomfortable. We're hoping she will learn the lesson. 

Toxic folks are unable to see other perspectives when they differ from theirs. They aren't looking for the solutions, only supporters. 




SeeYouNever's picture

In many situations it seems the ex is toxic (at least by the time we're in the picture to witness) and the skids are usually wounded.

The thing is, if a kid is wounded long enough they become dug into their attitudes and learn the reactions that they get from the toxic/wounded traits they exhibit. Wounded people transform into toxic once they stop being sad.

Being wounded hurts whereas being toxic is a way to have control over others and over the narrative. Younger kids still "have a chance" but it seems many older ones are too far gone into toxicity.

If the BM poisons the kids to their dad "daddy abandoned me" quickly becomes "I dont want to talk to that jerk" or "I'm going to make him pay for abandoning us".

DENIP's picture

If the wounded person is left unchecked it will morph into the toxic person. 

My 20 yo SD is still manipulating, triangulating, deflecting, minimizing, and all the others via text to her father. He hasn't responded lately which is good. 

She was raised largely by her mother since birth until 16 when she came to live with us due to escalating abuse from her mother.

On the 4 years she was here, she managed to deplete my trust in her for many things. She never honored or respected our rules or to our directives. 

In January, it all came to a head and now here we are. She lives back with her mother and she is miserable. She's trying so hard to appeal to her father's softer side by twisting facts, manipulating emotions, triangulation, gaslighting, blame-shifting, minimizing, and the like. 

I on the other hand have been educating myself so that I am not pulled into her delusions or abuse. I've shared what information I have learned about myself and SD with DH as well because she has said some pretty messed up things, trying to make him feel responsible for her wrong-doing and crappy character. She's very immature for her age, even talking while sucking her thumb, which is why at this juncture, she desperately needs a CBT to help her heal and grow up. 

We pray and we protect our boundaries and peace. That is all we can do at this point. I'm not engaging with her at all, nor do I want to at this point. 


AgedOut's picture

Remember, it is your home too and you do not have to allow the door to be revolving for her, even if she gets her Dad on her pity train. She is an adult. She can work to fix her situation w/out her moving back into your space. 

Rags's picture

Just because a person may be wounded, does not preclude them from being toxic.  Who isn't wounded at some level?  We all are. For that reason, whether someone is wounded or not, just does not matter.


Toxic is determined by the observer or receiver of the behavior.

Yesterdays's picture

I feel like the point is truly toxic people don't learn and grow. Wounded people max act toxic but then possibly learn and grow and not make those same mistakes (ie the acting toxic will end. It was temporary) 

DENIP's picture

That's correct! This is showing you who can learn and grow from wrong behaviors and mind-sets, being empathetic as opposed to those who don't care who they've harmed to get what they want, as in their eyes they are never wrong, are the victim, and just see people as "supply" to some degree. 

Harry's picture

If BM is crazy nosy likely the kids will be crazy.  There SO divorce them, unfortunately the kids can't divorce there parents.  That why you must disengage from toxic people.  SD is not going to change. She is just going to have crazy kids    DH will have to deal with crazy GK.  

'You can't do anything about this, that why disengagement is the only way to try to be normal. Have a normal life.

Merry's picture

I think BM and DH laid the foundation for toxicity. They both went far beyond normal parental encouragement. Everything SD and SS did was the best, they were gifted, they were so smart and talented and creative and born leaders and on and on.

SD has never been able to take criticism, but she can sure dish it out (in the guise of "helping"). She firmly believes that she is right in all cases and anyone who disagrees must be stupid, or worse. SS, also praised to the point of disability, was probably rescued by his drug rehab program and has learned about personal responsibility.