top of page

All posts/single post

  • Writer's pictureEugene Roginsky



HAVING CONVERSATIONS WITH TOXIC PERSONALITIES at the WORKPLACE. Toxic and difficult personalities in the workplace

Part One

Understanding Toxic Personality Traits

          This article aims to provide a conceptual grasp of the characteristics associated with toxic and difficult personalities in the workplace. It's crucial to emphasize that I refrain from using official labels or psychiatric diagnoses. Furthermore, I do not delve into explanations for behaviors or delve into the origins of specific personality traits. This article merely skims the surface of challenging personalities and offers insights into coping mechanisms. Its sole purpose is to provide information.

          While personalities exist on a spectrum, toxic personalities often exhibit one or more of the following qualities. Each trait corresponds to distinct patterns of communication and behavior. Part Two of this article will delve into strategies for managing communication with individuals demonstrating these personality features. It's important to note that handling each situation requires a case-by-case approach.

  • Pronounced grandiosity, a sense of superiority, entitlement, and an insatiable need for admiration.

  • Demonstrates impulsivity, a penchant for thrill-seeking, low levels of anxiety and fear, and a predilection for short-term thinking.

  • Exhibits difficulty in experiencing emotions, a lack of remorse, empathy, and guilt.

  • Displays false charm, a proclivity for manipulation, and a desire to inflict harm (emotionally, physically, professionally, etc.).

  • Tends to categorize people into Obstacles, Co-Conspirators, and Followers.

  • Shows a propensity to question or disregard rules and boundaries.


A. Blaming the victim and minimizing:

  • "You're too sensitive."

  • "You're exaggerating."

  • "Your mom did that when she was young too."

B. Changing history:

  • "I never said that."

  • "You're not remembering correctly."

  • “That was the night you drank too much at the office party. You never saw this. It never happened.”

C. Denying anger:

  • "I'm not angry."

  • “Please don’t tell me to calm down. You should calm down. I am fine. Please act professionally.”

D. Victim blaming:

  • "It's your fault."

  • "You made me do it."

  • "No one ever caused me so much emotional pain. Ask anyone. I am always professional."

E. Labeling, judging, and victim blaming:

  • "There's something wrong with you."

  • "You need therapy for constantly being suspicious."

  • “You are just like your mother.”

F. Implying others notice the victim's behavior(s). Coming across as someone who wants to help:

  • "People pull away from you. Did you ever see that? I’m surprised someone as smart as you never noticed."

  • "I've seen how colleagues react to you."

  • “I just want to help you. My words may seem like criticism to you, but I care about you.”

G. Minimizing and labeling:

  • "You focus too much on small things."

  • “Why do you judge me on one thing I did wrong, and not focus on the 100 things I did right? So, I stole something from you, but look at all the things I gave you.”

  • “Everybody does it.”

toxic and difficult personalities at the workplace


  1. Recruitment of "Agents" or "Flying Monkeys": Toxic people often try to recruit others on their side. This is frequently done using deception and manipulation.

  2. False Praise: The goal is obtaining loyalty and control.

  3. Temporary Idealization (Love Bombing): A toxic person may display Love Bombing behavior. The potential victim is put on a pedestal. The person feels loved and accepted. One may feel unique. The individual is “The Golden Child” worker, “the next to take over the business.” This always ends.

  4. Demonization: Seeing someone as ‘all bad’.

  5. False Charm

  6. Guilt Tripping

  7. Emotional and Verbal Abuse

  8. Physical Abuse and Aggression

  9. File Keeping: Keeping tabs on colleagues, family members, and friends. The purpose is to blackmail, threaten, or reinforce loyalty.

  10. Planting Seeds: Deliberately, slowly spreading misinformation to break down the way someone is perceived by others.

  11. Bragging/Name Dropping

  12. Diminishing Others' Success: “Sure John finished Harvard Medical School. But, back then, Harvard was much easier to be accepted into.”

  13. Pitting People Against Each Other: “Guys, Nancy did great on her quota this month. Herb was having a little trouble. Let’s all help Herb next month. Maybe Nancy, you can give him some pointers.”

  14. Covert Manipulation: Including Stonewalling, Playing the Victim and Triangulation

  15. Conditional Love: You are only as good as last month’s quota.

  16. Needy Behavior: Asking for more love, more attention, more favors, than they could ever give back.

  17. Rage at Real or Imagined Abandonment: “I need everyone to look at the Zoom cam and smile when I talk. Please do not look away from the screen or you are fired.”

  18. Lack of Empathy or Remorse: “Yes, I had to let Jennifer go. But she was a 15 dollar an hour employee. I can easily replace her. I didn’t like her talking about her kid over lunch so much.”

  19. Intentionally Excluding Information

  20. Lying

  21. Repeated Boundary Violations:

  • Physical Boundaries

  • Emotional Boundaries

  • Environmental Boundary Violations (no privacy)

  • Relationship Boundary Violation (Example: Directing a person as to who he/she should have a relationship with. Asking your employee to help you with plumbing for now pay right before evaluation. Etc.)

  • Ethical Boundaries

  • Legal Boundaries

Mastering communication with challenging personalities requires finesse. Explore Part Two of this article for valuable insights and strategies. For personalized analysis and professional guidance, reach out to the author.



Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
bottom of page