Toxicity. Let’s talk about it.

Now, everyone and their brother has heard the phrase “This is toxic” or “That sounds toxic”. Now what does that actually mean? Typically when a person is described as “toxic” it means that they actively cause distress and negatively impact someone’s emotions and life. I think it is fair to say that everyone has experienced this at least once in their lives, and if they haven’t; lucky them. With that being said, it is not always so easy to recognize the toxicity in your life. It could come from a family member, an old friend, a new romantic partner, or even yourself. The worst is when it comes from a source that you initially thought you could trust.

Trust and toxicity go hand in hand. More often than not, the toxicity in your life will come from someone that you have convinced yourself you can trust. Someone like a close coworker, a friend, or even a loved one. For the purpose of this post alone, let’s go with a friend. Say you have been friends with someone for three years. This friend of yours has always been someone you feel you have to drag along to things, but if you do not they get upset because you didn’t include them. This is a prime example of toxic behavior.

It is relatively common to have to work for people’s attention, but when it is someone close to you, like a friend, you shouldn’t have to work that hard. If you care about someone, you have to make the time to give them the attention they both need and deserve. A toxic person will often make you feel that you should make them your highest priority. Usually, this behavior can present itself as someone acting offended or hurt because you didn’t cancel previously made plans to spend time with them. Or they could make you rely on them and then they just disappear and make you feel like you are overreacting to their absence. They basically devalue your concerns and make you feel ridiculous for having them in the first place.

Recognizing these toxic behaviors is incredibly difficult. Especially if they are coming from a source you have trusted for an extended period of time. Throughout this series, we will cover how you can identify these behaviors, in yourself and others, and how to remove them from your life. The most important thing to remember is the journey is never linear. When we are attempting to make our lives better, we can often make mistakes. That can mean trusting the wrong people, using the wrong coping skills, or even developing toxic behaviors. What matters is how we learn from those mistakes and how we heal from them. The first step? Eliminating toxicity.



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