How to Spot Destructive People Before they Impact You

The warning signs are as clear as day. Here’s what to look for

Mike Goldberg
3 min readOct 23, 2021


Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

When you are driving, you need to be hyper vigilant at all times.

Not only must you be aware of what you are doing, but you need to be aware of everyone else on the road, and think a few steps ahead. If the truck on the right doesn’t merge soon, they’ll be forced to cut off the guy in front of you, so you better either give some distance or get out of that lane altogether. Don’t be there.

And if you look over and see that the person driving next to you is texting, only putting down their phone long enough to take a swig of beer, you can make a decision that you probably want to get as far away from this person as you can. If you don’t, and they crash into you, you bear the responsibility of not acting.

I look at dealing with people the same way.

Ever meet someone who is ALWAYS the victim? A person who claims that every bad thing that happens to them is someone else’s fault? The damage they cause to other people is never their doing? When you see that, you know what’s going on.

So what happens when a train wreck of a person enters your life?

For the purpose of this writing, I define a “train wreck” as:

A person who refuses to take responsibility for themselves, through self deception and/or lack of self awareness. Given the opportunity, their self destructive behavior will impact everyone around them as they develop codependent relationships to perpetuate their behavior.

Train wrecks will come into your life if you let them, and will destroy everything you hold sacred. But there are almost always warning signs. They’re as clear as day if you know what to look for.

In the definition above, I’ve given you a huge clue of how to identify them. Did you see it?

Read it again. It’s in the first nine words.

A person who refuses to take responsibility for themselves



Mike Goldberg

3x Top Writer | Traveler | Real estate investor | Storyteller | Occasional columnist | I talk about personal growth and seizing opportunities.