Toxic People. We’ve all rubbed elbows with this fearsome group of people who are just downright difficult to deal with. The friends, family members, significant others, or even acquaintances who require so much work, who leave us mentally exhausted, who just don’t make us feel like our best selves.
Toxic people are emotional vampires, capable of sucking the energy and positivity out of us. Like chameleons, their toxicity can change its spots – staying one way, or alternating between depressing, negative, jealous, self-centered, and even controlling. Quite simply, toxic people are exhausting.
I know all about the tangled web of toxic people because, not only have I experienced toxic people, but I’ve been a toxic person myself.
The older I get, the more I am given to introspection. For this I am incredibly thankful – I know it’s not a quality that everyone possesses, but it’s an important one. Looking inward and examining one’s thoughts and behaviors is incredibly uncomfortable. A lot of times I really don’t like what I see. More often than not, I’ve cringed at some of the things that I remember doing, saying, and feeling.
This is why I am certain that I’ve been a toxic person in other’s lives at one time or another. I’ve been jealous. I’ve demanded time and attention. I’ve been self-centered. In my younger years, I was incredibly dramatic and took enjoyment in stirring the pot more than once in my friend groups and amongst family members. It’s not pretty, but it’s the truth.
I’ve been on the receiving end of this level of toxicity, too. And it’s awful. I’ve been in relationships that were incredibly toxic and didn’t even realize it at the time. I knew something was off, but oftentimes I thought it was me. Consequently, I would work harder, adjust, and pivot to try and make the friendship or relationship work.
Because I am now able to recognize toxic qualities in myself, I am able to see them more clearly in others. Moreover, I have looked back on my past relationships and friendships that just didn’t stay the course. In retrospect, I now understand why I was so exhausted and drained at the time. There’s also a sense of closure and relief that I wasn’t able to feel before. Toxic relationships are often irreparable. One or both of the parties has to make a significant change. If not, the relationship will run its course or turn into a cycle of toxic behavior.
Toxic relationships can take on many forms and can escalate to a number of levels. I am not proffering myself as an expert. Nor am I addressing any sort of physical or extreme mental abuse. I am aware that these scenarios exist, and I am not a professional.
My wisdom comes from personal experience and, again, a ton of introspective probing and analysis. I look inward to better myself, and to grow. I aim to be an overall good person. I want to set a positive example for my children and strive to be the best version of myself in any situation or relationship.
But I’m human, and certainly not infallible. If i have ever been a toxic person in your life, I humbly apologize.
I’d like to think I didn’t realize it at the time, or that my immaturity or even unhappiness at that point in time wasn’t healthy for me, and that I projected it onto others. Whatever the reason, if I created a toxic environment for you, I sincerely apologize. I am a continual work in progress, always aiming to know better and do better.
Toxic people are so challenging. If you’re dealing with a toxic person in your life currently, I hope that you are able to identify the relationship for what it is. I encourage you to seek support and guidance. I am fortunate to know many amazing, supportive, and strong women in my life. These female friends and family members have set positive examples, have grown with me, and have helped to teach me who I’d like to be. Thankfully, toxic is on my radar but is no longer a part of my life in any way.