Hey Optimist Minds!
The word “toxic” is traditionally used to describe something that’s poisonous or harmful to life. When used as an adjective for people, it refers to anyone whose behavior adds negativity and upset to your life. A person can be toxic for you if their words and actions get in the way of your health and wellbeing.
We’re all growing more aware about how to recognise when an individual is toxic for us. However, there’s not as much awareness about how to notice when we’re being toxic for someone else.
Most people with toxic behaviours have little to no insight about it. Nevertheless, you can learn to identify the signs. In this video, we’re going to go over nine ways you could be becoming toxic.
If you think you engage in any of these behaviours, now would be a good time to change that. Unless, of course, you don’t mind being disliked and avoided. We recommend consulting a psychologist to learn more about how to change these habits.
Now, let’s begin.
You’re not a good listener.
Do you often find yourself eagerly waiting for others to finish talking so you can say your point? Toxic people almost never listen to others with attunement. Their attention keeps wavering and frequently focuses back on their own life.
If you find it hard to listen to others attentively, you probably don’t respond in ways that the speaker needs. For example, you might hijack the topic and start talking about it in your own context. Or, you might jump in with unsolicited opinions and advice that make you feel better but aren’t of much use.
You keep boasting about yourself.
Notice if you are able to hear about other people’s success without chiming in with your own accomplishments. Doing it occasionally is fine as long as you remember to acknowledge the victory of others.
In contrast, if you’re toxic to people, you usually manage to shift the focus of the conversation back to you and all your wins.
Jealousy is a regular feature in your life.
Do you get preoccupied with feelings of envy or thoughts about making others jealous? Life is always a competition for people who are toxic. They have a need to feel superior, which stems from longstanding feelings of inferiority.
You tend to become toxic to others when you start comparing people’s belongings, connections, and achievements with your own. Jealousy is okay if you feel it, acknowledge it, and then practice gratitude for what you do have. Otherwise, it gets unhealthy for you and others.
You don’t take accountability for your actions.
Chances of becoming toxic increase if you’re not accountable for what you do. Making mistakes is a normal and necessary part of life. Even if you hurt others, it’s better to acknowledge what you did and to make amends.
Conversely, if you deny, defend, or minimise your mistake, you hurt the person twice and rob yourself of the opportunity to become a better person.
You’re constantly criticising or complaining.
It’s exhausting to be around someone who never has anything good to say about things. If you spend much time talking about what’s wrong, your negativity starts leaking, making it unpleasant for people listening to you.
Typically, when someone only has negative comments to make, they’re going through some emotional distress that they don’t know how to deal with.
You don’t encourage communication when you’re in a conflict.
Being toxic is all about interpersonal relationships because you can’t be toxic in isolation. All relationships need effective communication to function well.
That’s why behaviours that discourage conversations can seem toxic to the people in your life. These behaviours include passive agreement, intimidation, stonewalling, anger outbursts, and humiliation.
You feel like others need to do what you ask them to.
People also find it toxic if you try to control them. Everyone should be given a chance to develop autonomy. You take away this chance when you decide your judgement is better than theirs.
It’s possible you may be right about that if you’re working on something together. But if you try to control how they behave in their personal lives, you’re being toxic.
You try to trick people to get your way.
Manipulation is extremely toxic because you make people do things they wouldn’t normally do. Not only do you attempt to steal autonomy with mind games, you also put their mental health at risk.
By manipulating others, you break the trust that they put into the world. After being used or exploited, they have a tough time healing and finding the trust again, without which, they cn’t function optimally.
You’ve started hurting people on purpose.
You can know for sure that you’re becoming toxic if you intentionally cause someone harm. This can include bullying, violence, shame, disrespect, or anything else that negatively impacts another person.
Now that we’ve covered the nine ways, do you think any of them described your behaviour? Are you becoming toxic to the people around you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
A link for further reading and the studies & references used in the making of this video are mentioned in the description below.
Thanks for visiting optimist minds, take care. Until next time.