Toxic people sometimes exit our lives in their own, and then suddenly reappear years later and act as if no time has passed.
They pretend that none of the cruel things they did to you ever happened or that your perception of them is exaggerated. They suddenly, out of the blue want to rekindle the old relationship.
Or you may have been the one that left and now they are suddenly talking to you as if nothing happened. It is like you are long lost friends who accidentally drifted apart.
As a kindhearted and somewhat curious person, your first reaction will probably be to feel confused and then you will allow them whatever contact they are asking you for. It might be a lunch date or a phone call. They may be asking for your new address or wanting to confirm your old one.
They will ask you how you have been doing, as if they have great concern for you and have been worried about you all this time. There is no apology from them for anything.
More likely they will make you feel as thought you were over sensitive about the past situations with them or that your memory is in question. They will deny, avoid, redirect, and minimize any conversation you bring up about the past.
If this is a toxic personality that is skilled in gaslighting tactics, then they will create a false past reality that is not the way you remember it to be,
They were very supportive of you an always believed in you. They will attempt to draw you into this fantasy reality in order for you to trust them,
If your memories do not match what they are telling happened then they are gaslighting you. This is an intentional manipulation of reality, in order to confuse you, make you question your own memories and perception, and also create a false ideal of them in your mind.
If they begin to do a lot of talking about themselves and how many great things they have been doing, then they may be trying to get you to see them in a false light, that makes them look like a more compassionate person than they are.
They may want themselves to appear more together, more mentally balanced or more successful and desirable than they really are.
If the relationship did not mean enough to them, to keep up on it for a long time, then why are they suddenly interested in you now? If this is a red flag going off in your head, then listen to it.
If there is any cognitive dissonance occurring in your brain, then something is wrong with this situation. They are playing a game with your memories and your thoughts. Cognitive dissonance happens when you have two realities that are co-existing in your mind and they do not match together. In fact the two realities are mutually exclusive.
Here is an example.
You remember this person talking about your family as if they hated them. They called your sister a stupid slut who lived off of others like a parasite.
They called your other a greedy manipulator. And they said that you were always defending your family and putting their needs first.
Now, in this present conversation, they ask how your lovely sister is doing. They talk about how they always used to like her and knew that she could do something good with her life.
The ask about your mother. They say how they know she always worked hard for all the things she has and never asked a soul for help.
They tell you that you were always independent minded and did things for yourself. Maybe you could have done more to be supportive of your family, but you can’t help but to have the personality that you have.
Thus they have altered your perception of the past and how they see your sister and your mother.
They always cared about them and thought well of them. You however have changed from the clingy daughter, who did too much for the family to a selfish daughter who let her mother struggle and did not offer to help.
This is Gaslighting.
You remember one thing and the person is telling you a completely different version of reality and hoping that you have low enough self confidence that you will believe that your own perceptions are wrong. They are so smooth and certain about what they “remember” that they do not seem to be lying.
If this is kind of toxic person that is trying to hoover their way back into your life, then do not let them. They want something from you and then they will leave you injured for letting them in. The “hoovering” tactic refers to the vacuum cleaner that sucks up things in its path. If you are “old Supply” of their and not they are drawing you back in then it is called hoovering.
Maybe you have run into this person at a family event. Maybe you were hospitalized and this person has suddenly appeared to be there for you, even though they have not given 2 cents about you for 2 years.
What does your rational brain tell you?
If this person has turned their back on you in your times of need in the past, then why do they suddenly care now? If is does not make any sense to you, then it is not right.
Another characteristic of toxic people is that they are self centered and cannot help but to center the attention around themselves. They may be able to play the game of pretending to care about you for a short time, but they will go back into talking about themselves and how everything affects them.
I had not heard from my sister in 5 years. I was recently (about 2 months ago) put into the hospital. I notified my step mother, so that she could tell my father. I got an email from my sister.
She was sooo concerned. At this point during the hospital stay I was very ill and I was very week. I told her that, but she decided to ignore my state and just chat cheerfully away over the email.
She talked about how she understood my suffering and that it was so bad to have to be the hospital. Then she went into her story about being in the hospital and how it was so much worse than my “little situation”.
This is interesting because she did not ask much about my situation and had no frame of reference to decide that hers was worse.
Their is always more than yours.If you are sick, they were once sicker. If you almost died. they came closer to dying than you and their pain lasted longer.
I had gastro specialists called in for my case in the hospital. Her version of her own story, had to top mine. Her version was that she ended up with such a bad infection that the Center for Disease Control was called in.
They had to isolate the entire section of the building. Now, I have some recollection of this incident and I hardly remember the CDC coming on the scene.
And all of this was while I was lying sick in a hospital bed. Your rational mind tell you that this person is not being considerate, they are being rude, and they do not seem to care what you are feeling.
But your compassionate and trusting side might want you to believe that this person must be telling you the truth. They must actually be worried and concerned for you, not just trying to top your situation because the family is worried about you and it is taking attention away from them.
So, once you feel these 2 contrasting realities beginning to collide, take a rational look at what is happening. Do not assume that the other person is always telling the truth , especially when they are clearly changing the facts.
Don’t assume the toxic person has changed.
Look at their behavior. Not what they are saying about themselves and how great they are. But their behavior. What are they attempting to do with what they are saying? Are they listening to your feelings and thoughts ir just telling you what to feel?
Are they letting you talk and being considerate about whether or not you want to talk to them right then or at all? Are they listening to you or are they dominating the conversation? Is the conversation based in reality or is reality suddenly magically in their favor and against you?
Be careful allowing toxic people from the past, back into your life.
If they were self centered. selfish, malicious, cruel, energy sucking, or even dangerous in the past, they probably still are. If they tell you they have changed, they are probably lying. If they tell you that things were not as bad as you remember them to be and that your perception is wrong, then they are lying.
You have other people that actually care about you. Do not let anyone guilt you into having to interact with them, give them your new phone number or whatever.
Do not allow people to tell you that their perception of the past is the actual version and yours is the version of an overly sensitive, confused person.