Today a lot is written and talked about how to recognise a toxic person – someone who speaks negatively about everything, interferes in the lives of others, poisoning it, devaluing the words and actions of others. But how do you realise that such a person is yourself?
HOW TO UNDERSTAND
They say that other people’s opinions of us shouldn’t bother us too much. It’s also true that how we are perceived by the majority can say a lot about who we really are.
If you’re wondering how your actions affect others, that’s a good sign
The most toxic don’t care about such trivialities. They don’t recognise until the last minute that the problem may be in themselves. If you are a 100% toxic person, you are unlikely to pay attention to the warning signs that others use to mark boundaries.
If you recognise that something is wrong in your relationship and are willing to work on it, you will find the courage to agree with some of the statements.
- You suffer from social anxiety and are afraid of embarrassing yourself in public, avoiding people and criticising them, thus controlling them.
- When friends tell you about what’s going on with them, you dredge up negativity instead of being happy for them.
- You are constantly trying to mentor or “fix” someone with whom you have a bad relationship.
- You only do what you say about the unacceptable behaviour of some person, but for some reason do not stop communicating with him.
- You have very few friends, and for those who are, you hold on with an iron grip.
- You show love or admiration only when you need something.
- In the last year you have never once admitted to another person that you were wrong, but you will try to improve.
- Your self-esteem has two poles. You either think you are better, higher and purer than others, or you are sure that you are one of the most pathetic and unworthy people.
- You can’t say that you get along with a lot of people, yet you know for sure that you can charm them one way or another if you need to.
- People break off relationships with you and avoid you.
- Everywhere you make enemies, everywhere there are people who speak negatively about you.
- Chances are, deep down, you know what long-standing trauma is causing you to suffer and feel vulnerable and devastated.
Whether or not you recognise yourself in the above statements, the litmus test that will reveal who you are is your answer to two questions.
- Are you the kind of person who sows negativity in another’s life, yet you manage to convince them not to break off a relationship with you?
- Are there times when you realise you’ve hurt the other person’s feelings, but you still don’t apologise or stop doing it?
WHAT TO DO
You have a long way to go to change.
1. Listen to others
If someone says you hurt their feelings, don’t respond by listing reasons why that’s not true. If others say you are negatively impacting their lives, you probably are. Such words are not thrown around in vain.
2. Learn to empathise
Of course, you can’t start empathising with others straight away – that’s okay. First, try to empathise with yourself. And until you change, try – but only as gently as possible! – stop communicating with those whose life is negatively affected by your presence in it.
3. Deal with the past
Your toxicity in your relationships with others is a reflection of the toxicity in your relationship with yourself. Underlying trauma is preventing you from truly getting along with yourself, and it’s affecting your interactions with others. This is what you need to work with, ideally in conjunction with a specialist.
In the coming weeks, months, or maybe even years, you will have to devote to yourself and healing from long-standing traumas. You didn’t hurt others because you are a bad person – that’s just your defence mechanism.
This, of course, does not justify your actions, but at least it explains it. It means you can and should be cured.
If not for your own sake, then for the sake of others. Don’t let the past rule your life. Sure, you can apologise to everyone you hurt, but that won’t solve the problem. You have to change, stop ruminating on what’s wrong with others and focus on yourself.
Feeling happier will make you a little kinder. You’re not helpless, you’re just deeply wounded. But there is a light ahead. It’s time to see it.