ASK ANU: Are You Living With A TOXIC Person?

If you feel that being around the person is physically and mentally draining, then it’s a red flag that you should not ignore, warns mental health expert Anu Krishna.

Have you stopped to think of how many people you meet every day? And how different they all are?

Some can instantly lighten up your mood. Some make us cringe. Some leave us upset and annoyed.

If the first option is not you feel about a person or a relationship, what does it imply?

According to Anu Krishna, mental health expert and NLP (neuro linguistic programming) trainer, “if being around a certain person feels increasingly uncomfortable or suffocating or leads to your having negative thoughts and feelings, chances are the person and/or the relationship you share with the person is toxic.”

Unfortunately, toxic people and relationships exist all around us in varying degrees.

While some are borderline toxic, others are probably not even aware how harmful their actions are.

If this person is close to you, you may want to help him/her. However, you are in no way obliged to suffer in silence.

In a two-part interview, Anu helps us identify the situations and circumstances that influence individuals to become toxic or stay in potentially disturbing, abusive relationships that hamper their mental peace and emotional well-being.

Interview: Divya Nair/
Videos: Rajesh Karkera/

How does one know if a person is toxic or harmful?

According to Anu, toxic behaviours have patterns that repeat over a period of time.

The feeling that ‘I don’t want to be around this person’ is pretty strong.

If your intuition tells you that a person is negative, if you feel that being around the person is physically and mentally draining, then it’s a red flag that you should not ignore.

Watch out for individuals who display controlling behaviour or passive aggressiveness, Anu warns, while listing potentially damaging signs of toxicity in individuals and relationships:


Would you be surprised to learn that being excessively independent can be a sign of toxicity?

While differentiating the types of abusive behaviour, Anu explains how being overtly dependent or excessively independent or abusive can be damaging in intimate relationships.

“If a person is constantly manipulating or invalidating your feelings, it’s also a form of disrespect,” she says.

“Always call out these behaviours in a kind manner. If they are willing to work it out, seek help. But if you have the choice of a better relationship, please walk out.”

In the video below, Anu explains how to say no to a toxic person:


When something is not going right, we tend to externalise and blame the other person.

But what if you have caused the toxicity in the relationship?

If you see a chronic pattern of abusive or negative behaviour, ask yourself: Have I been doing something to elicit this behaviour from other people?

Am I being too jealous or insecure?

Am I stalking a person too much?

If the answer is yes, you know what to do — seek help!

According to Anu, the sooner we acknowledge our toxic patterns, the faster we can salvage the situation.

Part 2: How to move out of a toxic relationship?

  • Read all of Anu Krishna’s columns here!

Anu Krishna is a mind coach, author and co-founder, Unfear Changemakers LLP and Soulful Exploration LLP. She’s an NLP Trainer (National Federation of Neuro Linguistic Programming, NFNLP, USA), Energy Work Specialist (Institute for Inner Studies, Manila), Executive Member of Indian Association of Adolescent Health (M.I.A.A.H) and Member of Quality Circle Forum of India (QCFI). She has authored the self-coaching book: The Secret of Life – Decoding Happiness.

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