In daily interactions both online and offline the term toxic is thrown around. The circumstances could be valid or invalid once the situation is carefully observed. On social media with ‘ cancel culture’ still standing you face periods of fear regarding what you post because a simple tweet can be misconstrued and used to attack you. The ‘calling out’ habits that happen online have now been brought into the real world and you might be labeled as toxic undeservedly.
The term toxic is general as in encompasses a multitude of varying habits that are both lethal to those that cause slight inconveniences. For simplicity we will use the definition presented by WebMD, ‘A toxic person is anyone whose behavior adds negativity and upset to your life.’
There are certain ways you can tell you are toxic without being directly called out for it. By observing your interaction with those around you, you will be able to see how you affect them.
Qualities of a toxic person
You are always right
When you have discussions or do something you do not accept correction. It is impossible for that to have been a mistake as you know how to do everything or carry a heavy debate on it. Even sitting across from a professional on the topic, you use your meager knowledge to prove that you are right and insist they are wrong. This is not good as it reduces the social circle around you to very few people who can tolerate your presence. Human beings are not perfect and neither are you. You might have the right idea but if it is wrong simply allow yourself to learn from it.
You lack the appropriate communication skills
If you find issues with what someone said or did, you don’t talk about it. You fail to inform the other party of how their words and actions affected you. Instead you choose to resort to unsavory and immature tactics to get your point across. One is by giving them the silent treatment while shooting daggers or ignoring the offending person. This does not help the situation in any way or solve it instead it is a glaring red flag of the mistreatment they could face in your hands.
The best way to resolve anything is by communication, where you open up about your feelings on the problem situation. You can then discuss boundaries and emotional trigger topics that you do not agree on and how to handle them. Be amicable and respectful, all opinions expressed no matter how wrong are valid and you can correct where there is misinformation. One of the best things about people is the differences they have. Sharing opinions is great but differing opinions create discussion where you can learn and gain new outlook.
Stuck in a hamster wheel
This is where you are stuck in a loop, same things happening over and over with different people. It could be in the dating scene where you meet people but the relationships end the same way. You probably think you are the full package, a well-rounded person but take a step back to evaluate yourself. If you cannot figure it out on your own contact previous partners and ask them what went wrong. The other option is to seek therapy to come to terms with were the problem lies.
It’s not only with romantic partners but also your friends and family. You burn bridges everywhere you go making them maintain low or no contact with you. Maybe the way you express your opinions is cruel but you say its brutal honesty. It could also be that you look down on people and verbalize it without realizing it.
Insecurity and possessiveness
You keep checking on your partner every chance you get because you think they are unfaithful. Your insistent need to know their location at every minute takes over you to the point of stalking them. This leads you down a spiral where you go from being insecure to being a controlling partner.
You could be an over dramatic partner who tries to control your partner as soon as you start dating. If you see them talk or look at another female you start a fight or act passive aggressive while posting about it online. Any female friend they have is a threat to your relationship; it could also be your female family members who are single and young.
You stalk their social media and invade their privacy by snooping on their phone constantly then blowing up when you see an innocent message or compliment and take it the wrong way. You start to create scenarios in your head that end up with you sending nasty messages to each other. Your toxicity is born from your insecurities.
You try to mirror your partner’s likes and dislikes so that they don’t leave you. You don’t allow yourself to exist. You do it all to make others happy. You are a people pleaser in your family. As a result you expect your partner to kill their true personality for you to prove their love.
Having a relationship suck the life out of you instead of being a safe and fulfilling space builds resentment. That is why your partner leaves. You should get therapy to work on the insecurity, paranoia and need for control. Seeing a mental health professional helps you build your confidence in a healthy way.
Same problems every day
Friends act as support and companionship. A safe space where you can vent about what is bothering you and they listen and give advice. This however changes one you keep talking about the same issue repeatedly. It is as if you don’t actually want them solved, you prefer wallowing in them for a long time and have your friends beside you in it.
Do the work to solve the problem after receiving the advice. Your self-improvement is a show of growth into someone people want to hang out with, not a broken record.
You are always complaining
Everything and everyone has an issue you cannot stand and infuriates you to different degrees. Everyone is rude, slow or toxic and everything is annoying, boring or below your preferred standard. It doesn’t matter if it is the first time you met the people or ate that food, it is not good enough.
The complaint can also be about someone doing something the same way you do. You know it but do not admit it instead insist on continuously vocalizing your criticism. Hypocrisy be damned.
You are a publicly toxic person who always seems to feel everyone is out to get you. All you do is cry foul and think that they all mistreat you. Your neighbors, baristas, delivery people and other service workers are on the list of those who have it out for you. You are not always the victim, you are the problem.
Take a moment away from the moans, groans and grumbles to self-reflect and see why everyone but yourself has faults in your eyes. Build your self-awareness so you can see imperfection in not only others but yourself.
You never apologize
Even though you admit fault in the situation you never apologize to the people hurt by your choices and mistakes. In some families apologies are not normalized from childhood which flows over to adult hood. It becomes a difficult thing to do which is not a good thing as it burns bridges fast. Many see you as an unrepentant person they do not want around them.
An apology is a step in healing the fractured relationship especially when it shows in your actions as well. Relearning how to add it into your life builds great relationships with those around you and break the generational habit with your kids.
Your happiness and successes should not be dependent on your partner. They are not meant to complete you, you complete yourself. They are the cherry on top that you can do without. By being dependent on your partner you overwhelm them beyond the required limits. Do not make your partner responsible for your emotions and insecurities, take responsibility for them and change.
Don’t act out when you don’t get your way; you are an adult who can vocalize your displeasure in a mature way. Frustrations build up fast when you are dating an adult woman throwing toddler sized temper tantrums frequently and you are dumped by everyone in your life.
Introspection is a good tool to help you face your issues head on and communicate better on what is bothering you. Your friends and therapy helps in getting those feelings out instead of bottling them up.
You bottle it all
You don’t handle your emotions in a healthy way, you pile it inside you. It could be because you have an unhealthy way of expressing them such as lashing out that you haven’t grown out of. It could be that as you grew up you never had a strong healthy support system that could provide a safe environment to express all your feelings. There is also the chance that you view your feelings as an inconvenience to another person’s joy.
Perhaps it is the fear of falling apart after holding yourself together for years. The out-pour carries with it years of memories and emotions you chose to bury and power through.
The damage is you sometimes expect others to know what you are feeling and help you out. Your circle does not have a mind reader so you build up unnecessary tension in your relationships leading to them being destroyed.
Actions vs. intention
If you find yourself judging others for their actions yet in doing the same you judge by intention, you are toxic. You hurt those around you but don’t see it as wrong instead you say ‘I didn’t mean it that way’ as a cope out. You don’t care about the words and intonations you use in communicating so you view others as ‘too dumb’ or ‘too sensitive’. You then look negatively on the hurt person and make them feel bad for accusing you of being a bad person.
If the shoe is on your foot if a negative word is said about you that hurt you, you get angry not caring for the intention behind it. It is a slight against you that you have not misunderstood.
You are always blameless in conflict
When you have a disagreement with someone over their actions or statement that results in conflict you are not to blame. Both sides must participate for things to escalate to a conflict so they are all to blame. The blame might not be proportional as one party may be more at fault than the other by starting it but you never see it that way. You are the constant victim being attacked and vilified for your own opinions.
You have to be accountable for interpersonal conflicts and apologize for the wrongs you did. The other party will see your attempts of healing the rift and apologize as well. You don’t have to always cut people out of your life, there are better ways. There is strength in admitting you made a mistake as it means you are self-aware of your actions and how the impact your environment and those around you.
If the person does not receive the olive branch then it’s clear to say you don’t want them in your life.
Your jokes are truths
When you sit down with your friends or work colleagues your to go jokes are about those who confide in you. Their fears and problems they face are ammunition and content hub for others entertainment. When you do it is not painted positively but in a negative manner to be mockeries that cause laughter. You never ask for their permission or feelings about the entire issue instead saying ‘it is what we do’ or ‘she is used to it, we are friends.’
Your positive attitude turns negative when they are not around and you ‘vent’ about them. It could be about how your employers and workers are incompetent and are always against you. How your friend is ‘stupid’ and ‘slutty’ for doing something she told you in confidence.
Everything has a price
When it comes to helping others when they really need it or buy them gifts you count it as a debt they owe to you. You never let them forget about that one time to helped them and tell everyone about it to get social brownie points. Anytime you ask them for a favor or help you expect them to jump to it and when they font you get disappointed and angry. You want them to bow to your wishes on a whim because ‘you owe me for helping you out of the goodness of my heart’
You are alone
One day you wake up and realize you have no one beside you by your own choices. It could be because they don’t work hard to please you. You think they are too dramatic or not dramatic enough. They don’t indulge you or your reckless attitude behavior so your relationship comes to a fiery end. They distance and detach themselves completely from you.
Truth is you are fine the first time it happens as you are a social butterfly. You make new friends who you see as even better. Over time the dance starts over until the new friendship fails. Every year you throw a party the social circle changes. Your best friends are a short term relationship.
You have no boundaries but get upset when those close to you choose to put theirs up. You see it as an affront to yourself and proof of their lack of trust in you. To you they don’t share the same bond in the same way you do.
You don’t realize you over step by always being in contact through texts that you expect them to reply to as soon as possible. If they don’t you freak out and make mountains out of mole hills.
Your friend can also choose what to share with you and what not to. When they confide in someone else or tell them big milestones first you get angry as you have over shot your importance and position of your relationship in their life.
Testing their love
You ask your loved ones to go above and beyond for you in order to see if they truly care for you. Creating elaborate games and challenges that your loved ones often take due to the severity of the challenge issued. There are times where people lie about having suicidal ideation and intentions in order to get affirmation that they are still loved and cared for.
In which case if someone issued this challenge does not answer for one reason or another, they become a target for constant attacks. Simple acts of love from those around you aren’t enough so you go the extra mile.