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Destructive Personalities: Can You Spot Them?

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Do you consider yourself to have a second sense? A strong intuition that sends up red flags when communicating with others? Is it typically correct? If so, consider yourself blessed. Most people in today’s society are trusting. We all want to trust each other, get along, and be altruistic. That’s wonderful. That’s a heaven on earth. But the reality is that we are not all made the same. We look the same (human flesh), want the same things in life, and strive to live and experience life as we see fit. But don’t be fooled. We’re not all made the same and although we have brains, we don’t think alike neither do we all love the same or strive for love.

This article will focus on 7 ways you can identify and question feelings or thoughts you may be having about a person who you believe isn’t as wonderful on the inside as they appear to be on the outside.

Human behavior is one of the most difficult things in life to predict, understand, and sometimes even control. Humans are very unpredictable and it can be extremely tiring trying to communicate with other people, even those we have had in our lives for years. The focal point of this article is the fact that unhealthy, dysfunctional, and unemotional people can “blend in” to society and deceive a great number of people. These individuals know (and have “studied”) exactly what humans want or believe they will encounter in everyday life. This gives them an advantage over unsuspecting people. For example, the behaviors and thinking styles of a female narcissist would lead her to hypothesize (and possibly test her idea) that almost any stranger she would encounter would be open to helping her if she needed it. This female narcissist may attempt to manipulate an unsuspecting person into giving her a ride home, donating money, etc. A dysfunctional person would “study” the vulnerability of other people and set out (unconsciously or consciously) to use, undermine, or manipulate an unsuspecting person.

Would you ever leave your house thinking that you might run into a person like this? Most likely not! This is exactly what the unhealthy, dysfunctional, and unemotional person knows is true. An unsuspecting person’s lack of awareness is the dysfunctional person’s greatest tool. Scary.

As a result, I  am adding a few ways that you can protect yourself when you feel something is off between you and another person. It is important that we strengthen our intuition and our abilities (to the best of our knowledge) to determine when a situation or person (no matter how attractive or kind the situation may be), will be our worst nightmare. It is important that we all:

  1. Don’t go with the flow: If you are feeling uneasy, uncomfortable, in-genuine, or just simply outside of your normal way of communicating, take notice of this and question why this is happening. My mother always responded to her internal sense of truth and when she would, she was right. What I love the most about the way my mom communicates with new people is that when she doesn’t feel comfortable with you, she isn’t going to put herself in another situation where this can happen again. She adjusts her perspective or her approach so she can survive whatever future encounters she may have with that person. For example, when I feel a negative vibe or feel as if I am being unnecessarily judged by a person I often limit personal information giving, remain objective, and communicate as needed. You are not being rude, you are being safe.
  2. Acknowledge the whispering voice in your heart and mind: Are you spiritually receptive? I found out just how spiritually receptive I was when I was about 14 years old. I didn’t realize that my intuition and spiritual discernment of human behavior would grow into a skill I could use in my profession one day. Go figure. But I often encourage my clients, who are in relationships and feeling uncertain about its future, to acknowledge and avoid trying to hide or deny that internal voice that is trying to protect you.
  3. Keep a safe distance: Avoid getting too close to the person until you are able to clearly categorize who they are. If you are uncertain, feel nebulous about their intentions, or cannot correctly place them in your life, keep away but be friendly about it. There is no harm in putting up boundaries until you can identify who you are actually dealing with.
  4. Don’t jump to conclusions: There are some people who are sweeter than you could ever believe and may trigger your “is this too good to be true” signals if you have never seen anyone else behave like this person. We should give people the benefit of the doubt when necessary. We should also question why we are having such a difficult time with accepting the person. Until you can clearly identify where the person is or should be in your life, steer clear of them. Steering clear of them does not mean you have to be rude, discriminatory, or unfair. Just have some boundaries and determine a safe distance.
  5. Give the relationship time: Some relationships start off rocky and end up being wonderful. Some relationships start off being wonderful and end in tragedy and chaos. The best way to enter any relationship is to question your intentions and the intentions of the other person. When you ask yourself questions, you are better able to explore your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Relationships need time to unfold and rushing into them can lead to major regrets. You don’t have to be negative about the relationship or even overly positive. I am merely encouraging you to give your relationship time.
  6. Share minimal information: Are you an open book? Why? I remember asking a client years ago if they thought being genuine was being an open book. The look on my client’s face said it all. She couldn’t see the difference between not being “an open book” and being genuine. Being genuine means being yourself, not sharing every detail of your life. I’ve had teens say to me “Ms Tamara, I am being myself because being myself is being an open book.” This argument is fair but being yourself needs boundaries. “Being yourself” may include drinking alcohol, using profanity, or doing some other thing that could be offensive. We cannot do these things in every setting or we would not have a job or have respect from others. When I say “share minimal information” I mean, adjust your behavior based on context.
  7. Don’t get too comfortable: Getting too comfortable could include things such as giving someone a key to your house or car, electronically wiring money, sharing personal pictures or pictures of family without their consent, giving someone your passwords or passcodes, talking too openly about your family, etc. Know how much to share and how much to keep to yourself. A dysfunctional person can take your personal information and run with it.

Dealing with humans can be one of the most challenging experiences we may ever have to have. It is wise to consider what you may be getting yourself into. You don’t have to take a negative, overly protective stance in life. But you should consider the consequences of everything you do with another person, even if you think they would never hurt you.

For information on 7 personalities you may want to avoid, visit my website:

As always, I wish you all the best

Destructive Personalities: Can You Spot Them?

Támara Hill, MS, NCC, CCTP, LPC

Támara Hill, MS, NCC, CCTP, LPC, is a licensed therapist and internationally certified trauma professional, in private practice, who specializes in working with children and adolescents who suffer from mood disorders, trauma, and disruptive behavioral disorders. She also provides international consultations and works with some young and older adults struggling with grief & loss or life transitions. Hill strives to help clients to realize and actualize their strengths in their home environments and in their relationships within the community. She credits her career passion to a “divine calling” and is internationally recognized for corresponding literary works as well as appearances on radio and other media platforms. She is an author, family consultant, Keynote speaker, and founder of Anchored Child & Family Counseling. Visit her at Anchored-In-Knowledge or Twitter and Youtube Youtube If you are interested in scheduling a telehealth family consultation, feel free to let me know.

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APA Reference
Hill, T. (2017). Destructive Personalities: Can You Spot Them?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 20 Apr 2017
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