Often we talk about how some people or traits are “toxic” to us. But we seldom talk about the signs one should look out for to figure out if someone is bad for your mental health.
If you come across someone who is always causing drama and problems in your life, you might be dealing with a toxic person. These people can create a lot of stress and unpleasantness in your life. This toxic person even has the potential to cause you physical and emotional harm.
Anyone whose actions bring stress and negativity into your life is harmful. Toxic people frequently have their problems and traumas to deal with. However, they might act out in ways that might negatively affect you. It might be a common assumption that only romantic relationships are toxic, however, any relationship between two people can be toxic or unhelpful.
How does it feel to be in a toxic relationship?
In toxic relationships, disagreements or conflict isn’t something that gets resolved – it’s a permanent theme. Through time, this constant unpleasant energy and drama can get under your skin affecting not just the relationship that you two share but also your mental health and sense of well-being.
These relationships are draining but we seem to be a part of such relationships or friendships because we feel friendships are so hard to come by, especially when we are adults and we tend to overlook these toxic traits.
Many of us fear confronting or ending these relationships because we might think that it will make our lives difficult. After all, these people are often intertwined with different aspects of our lives. Therefore, we accept the idea of a dysfunctional friendship rather than terminating a toxic relationship. According to Handley-Schmitt- “There is a mental and emotional price to be paid when we ignore our need for boundaries.”
How do identify if a person is toxic?
Here are some signs that can indicate that a person is toxic-
They are over-critical - A toxic person might criticize your looks, choices, or opinions and make several attempts to bring you down. They usually maintain a proud outlook however it’s just a mask they hide behind. They usually have low self-esteem and criticizing the other person is a way for them to feel better.
The Person Blame-Shifts- In any relationship. The toxic person displays a tendency to shift the blame to the other person. They are self-centered and blame the other person if anything goes out of the way. In such a relationship, you might feel unnecessary shame or guilt and a constant requirement to “make it up” to the other person out of fear of conflict.
- The relationship feels one-sided- Relationships should always move in an “Ebb and flow” motion where both the people give and take, talk and listen, etc. In a toxic relationship, the toxic person doesn’t respect the other one and might treat them as means to an end. Yes, it is normal to fluctuate once in a while where one person might need more support than the other but the give and take should be balanced and feel like a two-way street.
- They’re Somehow Always Right- The toxic person finds a way to justify every action- even the wrong ones. This means that you might feel unheard, manipulated, and misunderstood when you walk away after an interaction with them. In a healthy relationship- the conversation should be two-sided where each person should accept the responsibility for things they did wrong and should be able to express themselves in front of each other without feeling wrong.
- What You Do Is Never Enough- Your efforts are never enough for a toxic person even if you bend over backward to show that you care. A toxic person always wants more from a relationship without giving back. You might find yourself going against your morals and values to please them.
- You are not comfortable around them- Toxic people have a way of pushing our buttons that make us behave in ways we wouldn’t under normal circumstances. If you feel that you lose your control, pull away in isolation, or say things that you usually won’t - it might be a sign that someone is toxic. You don’t feel yourself around this person.
When you are in the company of a toxic individual you feel exhausted. Spending time with them doesn’t feel like a leisure activity, instead, it’s a task. You might even feel bad about yourself or life in general. If you or anyone you know come across a toxic individual, it might be useful to confront that person. You can let them know that you do not appreciate their behavior and set stricter boundaries with them. It might be useful to keep your distance from them unless they decide to improve. In this way, you are giving them the chance and time to change for the better. If nothing works, know that this person is more harmful to you than good and cut off ties with them.
A WORD FROM SOCIALLY SOULED
Dealing with someone toxic can take a toll on your physical and mental health. It can be overwhelming for many of us. Early recognition can help us identify unhealthy patterns in people and take the necessary steps to deal with them. If this person is not adding any value to you and only provides negativity then they should not be a part of your life. You can do better and deserve to.