I want to start this post out by making it as clear as possible that this assignment does have a positive outcome, although the subject matter is quite negative. Discussing toxic emotions isn’t always easy, but the more aware we can become, the better off we’ll be.
Do you have toxic people in your life? Are you toxic yourself? Would you know it if you did? Many don’t. Toxic people in our lives can be in the form of family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, celebrities, elected officials and even the butcher. We can be toxic ourselves, which can be tough to accept. The easy toxics (as I like to call them) are really out there for all to see. They blatantly attack you at will, especially in front of others. I say they’re easy because you can identify them and get as far away from them as possible. Unfortunately many of us have the easy toxics in our lives at a very young age so we don’t yet have the means to get away.
There is hope
It’s ok though, these early associations with toxic people can hold great life lessons. They can also warp our perception of what “normal” may be. This can cause us to be toxic ourselves, and completely oblivious to the fact. Then you have your subtle toxics, the passive-aggressive types who make the back-handed comments and classically take opposite action to what was communicated. Romantic relationships and work situations can be a hotbed for this kind of behavior. Do any of these traits ring a bell for you? We’re all guilty of some of these behaviors from time to time (being human and all), but if you find them consistent and repetitive in your life, take action!
- Ambiguity or speaking cryptically: a means of creating a feeling of insecurity in others or of disguising one’s own insecurities.
- Intentional Inefficiency: Chronically being late and forgetting things, another way to exert control or to punish.
- Convenient forgetfulness: To win any argument with denial.
- Fear of competition
- Fear of dependency
- Fear of intimacy as a means to act out anger: the passive aggressive often cannot trust. Because of this, they guard themselves against becoming intimately attached to someone.
- Making chaotic situations
- Making excuses for non-performance in work teams
- Victimization response: instead of recognizing one’s own weaknesses, tendency to blame others for own failures.
Personally, I remember my first toxic relationships as friends in grade school. You know, hanging out with kids who either bullied you or others around you, but they were cool so you wanted to hang around them. High school offers a plethora of these kinds of relationships. Things are changing so much during high school, both physically and mentally. Everything is high drama. Whether we know it or not, we learn a lot about social politics in high school. Politics we carry into our adult life. Some is useful, some not so much. I find toxic people in my adult life are usually those who either didn’t have much social interaction in high school OR had too much and can’t mature into the real world (go see the movie Young Adult for more detail). Just a theory.
Do you have any toxic people in your life?