Characteristics Of Unsafe People

Not all unsafe people are narcissists.  Unfortunately, those of us who have experienced narcissistic abuse can be so focused on spotting & avoiding narcissists that we don’t notice traits in your garden variety unsafe people.  It can be all too easy to overlook some unsafe qualities because if you compare them to narcissistic traits, they don’t seem all that bad.  That doesn’t mean that these people are ok, however.  It just means they aren’t as unsafe as narcissists.  They still can cause frustration, hurt & pain.

Below is a list of traits of unsafe people I have compiled.

Unsafe people can come on too strong.  Granted, narcissists do this, so it is at the very least a sign of an unsafe person, if not a narcissist.  Watch out for anyone who says, “You’re going to be my best friend!” about as soon as you meet, or someone you date who starts discussing marriage almost immediately.  Being so clingy simply isn’t normal.

Unsafe people also avoid facing their own problems, & will do about anything to avoid it.  When my father was dying, my family & even strangers came out of the woodwork to attack me for not being there to say good bye, as I’ve said before.  It went on for months but happened daily for his final three weeks when he was in the hospital.  I asked God why this was happening & He told me something interesting.  Some people were in deep denial.  They didn’t want to face their own past abuse.  Me not being there threatened their denial.  I have been open about the abuse in my past, & me having the strength to face it made them feel bad for not doing the same.  They felt they had to shut me down & make me do what they felt I should do so they could continue that denial.  Rather than face difficult issues, many people will go even to such extremes to maintain their denial.

Unsafe people have no interest in improving themselves.  Safe people want to learn & grow, lose bad habits, & other good things.  Unsafe people couldn’t care less about such things.

Unsafe people act like they know everything.  You can’t tell an unsafe person anything, because they know it all.  They aren’t open to any knowledge, not only knowledge about how to improve themselves.

Unsafe people also become defensive at constructive criticism.  Constructive criticism can help a person learn, grow & improve him or her self.  Naturally this is a huge turn off to unsafe people since they have no interest in doing any such things.

When an unsafe person hurts another person, chances of accepting responsibility for their actions, a genuine apology & changed behavior are very, very slim.  If you tell someone that something they said or did hurt you, & they act this way, it is a huge red flag saying this person is unsafe.

Unsafe people also demand trust rather than accepting the fact trust is earned.  So many people say, “You can trust me” that it isn’t often noticed.  It’s something that needs to be noticed, however!  A healthy, safe person knows trust is earned, not given on demand.

Unsafe people can be very selfish.  I don’t mean in a narcissistic way, where every single thing has to come back to them & they rage if it doesn’t.  Not all selfish people are malicious, they are simply thoughtless.  Even so, their selfishness can hurt you.  If this happens & the person accepts responsibility, apologizes & their behavior changes, this is a very good sign that this person is safe.  If none of that happens, however, this person is unsafe.

Unsafe people can be demanding of your time.  Part of the selfishness factor, unsafe people want to monopolize your time.  Naturally, not everyone who wants to spend time with you is unsafe.   Good friends & loved ones naturally want to spend time with each other.  Extroverts love to spend time with people.  The key to recognizing an unsafe person in this area is someone who pretty much demands you spend time together when they want, & either acts offended or gives guilt trips when you are unavailable.

I believe these tips can help you to recognize unsafe people easily.  And, when you come across them, always remember to keep your boundaries firmly in place, & be ready to enforce them as needed.


Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

4 responses to “Characteristics Of Unsafe People

  1. On this passage you wrote:
    “Unsafe people also avoid facing their own problems, & will do about anything to avoid it. When my father was dying, my family & even strangers came out of the woodwork to attack me for not being there to say good bye, as I’ve said before. It went on for months but happened daily for his final three weeks when he was in the hospital.”

    i was there when my stepfather died. I was the primary resource. I showed up almost daily even though my drive was an hour and a half each way. I helped clean his adult diapers. I did the laundry. I was there when the narcotic meds made him so delusional he raged at me. I was the one who had to take the hospice nurses outside to explain my mother was crazy.

    And during this time, my brother and all other family members were nice to me. My brother called me everyday. Because I am gay, I had always been viewed as an “other” prior to this.

    Long story short – ain’t nobody calling me now. Except my mother, who just uses guilt and shame on call to get me to serve her more.

    The other family members were only nice to me during that time because the didn’t want to be bothered. And they were bothered much less during this time because I was there.

    They were so not bothered, that the day my stepfather died, my brother and his daughter asked me to stay with my mother while they went shopping for a new car for her. And I stupidly said, “okay”. And waited.
    And then my niece went on a cruise the next week – pushing the funeral/”celebration of life” back a whole week. And then there was a hurricane and the whole family was concerned about this selfish niece.

    When the funeral finally happened, my niece showed up in her brand new car, fresh off her cruise. My brother and niece got right up on stage on put on performances pretending to be sad.

    Of course during this week, I drove over daily to help out. I wrote the obituary for the paper. (No charities should be mentioned in the obit – Mom only wanted all the money to go to flowers on the stage)

    On the day of the funeral, I was so traumatized, there was no way that I could speak. I had written a long post on Facebook earlier about my stepfather’s passing. My cousin got up on stage and recited it almost word for word. My mother had asked him to speak. He told me he had his speech written, and only later “noticed” it matched what I had written.

    And there was another cousin who sang, though he hadn’t been around to visit at all during the death phases.

    All this to say. You did the right thing by skipping out. Death and dying is just a show for narcissists and their kind.

    Other than my mother, who continues to terrorize me for not being her husband’s replacement, I haven’t heard from any of these other “family” members.

    Sorry, my “comments” are always so long on here.


    • Good grief! How on earth did you survive all of that with any semblance of sanity in tact?! That had to be horrific! Not only watching your stepfather die but the whole family once he was gone. I am so sorry you’ve gone through that. ((((hugs))))) The one positive is not hearing from those people now. They sound utterly toxic.

      Have you heard from your mother lately? I hope she’s giving you some breathing room…

      Thank you. I know logically I did the right thing by not visiting my father at the end of his life, but emotionally, even now, 23 months later, it still feels wrong, yanno? Emotions don’t always want to agree with logic.

      Don’t apologize, please.. .make your comments as long or short as you like. Whatever helps you to heal. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for “hearing” me!

        Because I have put up some boundaries,my mother only calls me once every two weeks.

        I have read that the problem with “low contact” is that when the narcissist does get some contact, they are especially hateful. The guilt and shame comes out really harsh if they don’t get to talk as often.

        So the shame and guilt is the same – only more concentrated
        “Don’t you love ME?”
        “Don’t you care about ME?”
        “Why aren’t you doing MORE for ME?”

        You did the right thing with your father.

        In theory, a funeral would be letting community members come over and say,
        “Hey, i really loved that guy you loved also”
        And it would be a comfort to that family

        But my family is so selfish,
        They view funerals as “pageants” to push their own agendas

        They don’t miss miss my Stepdad at all

        In FACT,
        They forgot about him 10 minutes after he died
        Went car shopping


        • You’re welcome!

          Interesting.. that does make sense about low contact. I never experienced it though. My parents found supply in my low contact by telling others how awful I was.

          I have no doubt my family would’ve been like yours if I had gone to my father’s funeral. They do love creating the illusion of being awesome, functional people.

          That is just heartless how they forgot about your stepdad so quickly. Utterly heartless!

          Liked by 1 person

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