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5 personality types that generate psychological distress

5 personality types that generate psychological distress

June 15, 2024

Given the emotional complexity of the human being, in many occasions it is difficult to discern what kind of interpersonal relationships become empowering for one's well-being or derive in harmful consequences. Thus, in a manner analogous to any individual psychological process, in the relations that are maintained with the people of the environment At the time of evaluating these interactions, emotional aspects converge with others of a more rational type.

These evaluations, reflections or judgments about the experiences we share with other individuals are fundamental because they guide our own social behavior, so it seems to be a determining factor that both factors (emotional and rational) are certainly balanced, without one of they can dominate the other. This can be especially complicated in the face of some of the so-called profiles of toxic personal functioning, Personality forms that generate discomfort with much ease . Let's see below what aspects characterize them and how we can identify them.


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Personal profiles that produce psychological distress

Since Stamateas published almost a decade ago the work "Gente Tóxica", as well as other later ones with a similar theme, this term has been popularized significantly.

According to the author, toxic people are those that present a high volume of negative emotional charges, very different frustrations and a tendency to emit destructive criticism in the form of personal attacks on the people around them. This pernicious functional style is capable of adversely influencing the latter since can cause the appearance of emotional insecurities or weaknesses , restlessness and significant psychological distress.


Therefore, it seems essential to learn to distance oneself psychologically from this type of group, with the purpose of preserving one's emotional well-being.

1. The critical profile

This type of individuals are characterized by presenting a profile tending to perform constant recriminations to exercise control over the other person . Through an operation based on the criticism of others together with an absence of self-critical capacity, they tend to be considered perfect beings that generate doubts and insecurities to those around them. They usually resort to confrontation and offense to make the other feel inferior. This reflects an intense feeling of inner anger whose channeling is carried out in this pernicious way.

This psychological style is associated with impulsive and irrational cognitive functioning, so when dealing with them, the oppositionist confrontation issued without prior reflection is not very effective . In this way, all this may result in the person receiving the criticism developing the same aggressive performance as the first one. Instead, both resorting to the use of humor, subtle irony or ingenious responses that dislodge the critical interlocutor seem to give better results. Also, following the principles of assertive behavior, a thoughtful, firm and rational questioning of the messages that the person tries to transmit to their "victim" can help to maintain a certain distance between both parties.


A variant within this same group is identified with the "envious type profile". In the same way as the critical style, it is focused on making judgments of disparagement on the achievements of others instead of orienting oneself to achieve their own goals. Usually they give greater importance to material issues as sources of happiness and wellbeing and hide in many cases personalities of low self-esteem and high insecurities.

2. The expert in blaming

Few aspects further distance the human being in the fulfillment of his goals and vital goals than the feeling of guilt. This emotion becomes the main method to block and emotionally paralyze one's self-worth and motivation to achieve one's own projects.

Guilt, unfortunately, has a significant function in our psyche that makes its overcoming more complex: it is an efficient defense mechanism that serves as an explanation when a goal is not achieved due to a lack of effort or the investment of energy in it. Thus, it seems more comfortable to blame other factors (or people) that are alien to oneself or it can also be an easy recourse to self-blaming the causes that have led to the "non-success" raised.

One aspect that should be taken into account is that of do not fall into the error of equating the concept "not-success" with that of failure . In this sense, people who present a profile tending to blame are governed by an operation irrationally rigid, inflexible and absolutist.Thus, for them not having fully covered their previous expectations can be understood as a failure, rather than a partial success. Therefore, a very relevant point to analyze in this psychological attitudinal style seems to be related to the type of expectations that the individual poses. These should be realistic rather than excessively self-demanding; This is one of the central elements that can activate the alarm to determine if the person in front of you has this maladaptive behavioral style.

3. The psychopathic manipulator

Given their inability to live in society in an adaptive way, these subjects act in their own interest and they understand other people as mere instruments to achieve their own objectives . This toxic profile in its most extreme expression, psychopathy, violates the rights of others and commits criminal acts without any remorse. Even so, there are different degrees in the intensity of the characteristics that this type of individuals present, so, fleeing from the false belief that the psychopath profile should be associated with that of a serial killer, this kind of person can be found in the social environment more often than expected.

The manipulators look unable to possess the ability to understand and empathize with the rest. They present an immature, irresponsible and egocentric functioning for which they are easily offended by the actions of other people and respond to it in an impulsive and angry manner, without hesitating to deceive the other to achieve what they propose. Externally, they show a profile of overconfidence and self-love, devaluing others and being unable to accept their own mistakes or perform any act of self-criticism. Before this group of people, the most effective coping option becomes the physical and emotional distance, since they have a great capacity for superficial charm and loquacity with which they usually manage to convince their "victims".

4. The complainer-conformist

Its most central feature is the fear of change and a low tolerance for uncertainty , for that reason its philosophy of life tends to be oriented to the monotony, the routine and it is devoid of aspirations and dreams to fulfill. The latter leads them to adopt a passive behavior in which they do not involve themselves or invest enough effort to achieve what really satisfies them.

His reasoning style is closely associated with "short term", immediate reward and comfort. Thus, everything that involves new alternative approaches (more expensive emotionally or simply different) is assessed as dangerous or unaffordable.

The result of all this is usually to achieve the same mediocre results and resort to constant complaint for not having achieved the purpose they truly want. In this case there is also an absence of self-responsibility when considering vital objectives and an excess of blaming other factors external to the person as the cause of the outcome of their actions and decisions.

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5. The neurotic style

This type of personalities tends to suffer a significant intensity and frequency of symptoms of anxiety derived from constant worries that generate for all kinds of everyday issues. In turn, their irrational and distorted belief system firmly believes in the need to be loved and accepted by everyone else, without exception. Therefore, they require the permanent obtaining of recognition from others and are usually marked unreal goals and perfectionists impossible to achieve.

They also use the expert's methodology to blame when they do not get what they want, greatly increasing their insecurities, their cognitive rigidity through the issuance of extreme reasoning and their general inhibition when carrying out an active confrontation in the face of adversity. The latter also serves as reinforced behavior since the expression of the complaint and the passivity before the circumstances allows them to receive the attention of the people around them, adopting a victimist role.

Before a person of this style, certain limits must be assertively marked in order to interrupt the vicious circle of unhealthy worries that they continually transmit to others, as well as the desire to control and obtain their exclusive attention.

  • Related article: "Neurosis (neuroticism): causes, symptoms and characteristics"

In conclusion

From the above, it seems that there are various ingredients that contribute to emotional level in the achievement of one's emotional well-being. It has been observed that self-satisfaction is a right that must be worked on individually through the self-responsibility of the goals, the assumption of the adaptability that results from making mistakes as a necessary process in personal growth and a discourse based on self-confidence and the rationality of personal approaches.

It is recommended to combine all of the above with an actively accepting style, where instead of pretending to change others, the diversity of opinions and ways of acting is assumed to be natural.This principle serves as a reference in the field of interpersonal decisions and behavior, although it is true that it can be complex to establish a clear differentiation between this premise, accepting the diversity of criteria, and relativism, whose recent boom is overshadowing the distinction between what can be objectified of that which is merely subjective.

Bibliographic references:

  • Stamateas, B. (2011) Toxic People. Ediciones B, S.A. (Barcelona).

Personality Disorders: Crash Course Psychology #34 (June 2024).


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