Toxicity. The word reminds me of the type of poison that slowly seeps through my body to kill me. I’m not a fan of toxic things, as I like to do my part to be greener. However, one area of my life where I fail with toxicity is in human relationships.
I have an uncanny ability for forcing myself to be around toxic people. Just because I find someone toxic, doesn’t mean they are a bad person and I should never see them again. Sometimes there are toxic people in my life, who once I realize are toxic I completely remove them. If I have chosen to remove a toxic person it is because I cannot handle the way they talk around me anymore. Whether it always be criticizing what I do or making snide negative comments. As an analyzer my brain overloads having to process information like that.
Other times it happens to be stages of life. Sometimes my friends and I are at different stages in life, and I find that just being in their presence can be toxic. I try really hard not to let it show when I’m having a hard time in other people’s company. However , lately it is getting harder and harder for me to stay in the presence of others. Constant complaining is something that turns me off. Constantly having to listen to you and your life, while having what I say get ignored after 10 minutes hurts. It’s a type of toxicity that reinforces the you aren’t good enough for my time mentality.
The other person may mean nothing by it, or they may have been told several times and still don’t see the problem. When someone is snippy, I want to leave the area. It is a tone of voice I can’t handle as I feel it is nipping away at me in judgement slowly. And just because it is a toxic behavior to me doesn’t mean that it will be very toxic to someone else. Our ability to handle toxicity varies from person to person. Self-absorbed people are very toxic to me, and mostly it comes down to how I don’t know how you can think the whole world is about you and you only. Maybe this is a product of sharing a room growing up, or constantly getting in the middle of fights, but I hate confrontation, and I hate fighting in any form. Selfishness will breed the right environment for toxicity to grow and infiltrate our relationships with others, its just a matter of time.
I may like a person, but I may find them to be toxic to me after a certain point of time. I don’t like voicing that I can’t get along with everyone. I try very hard to be accommodating to all types of people, but we all have our breaking points. The important thing is to know what and where the breaking point is so that it can be avoided. Other people may say well that toxicity could stem from the envy you feel for other people’s lives, and you know what, it might. I’ve entertained that thought before, is it just me being envious? If so, I can check myself and see why am I envious and then let the toxicity dissipate if I feel it’s taking over my body.
Normally though toxicity comes from me feeling unheard. I feel that my presence is underappreciated as a person and my thoughts and feelings aren’t as important as others. When I feel like this I realize I am near a toxic person. I can easily feel this way as I’ve often felt throughout my life that I’m not good enough or not worth anyone’s time. Toxicity seems to validate this view I hold of myself and the only thing I can think of doing in the minute is getting out. I want to find the quickest exit to abandon ship that I can, sometimes it isn’t always that easy though. Sitting around toxicity I can feel my heart race, my blood pressure rise, and stress creep into my back all just from having a conversation with someone.
As an adult, we don’t always get to choose who we are around. There are sometimes circumstances in which we need to suck it up and stick it out in a toxic environment. The best thing I can do for myself under these circumstances is to identify what can I do to realize when my time limit is up and it is time to vacate the area. I’ve found that this may mean I spend less time with people than I did previously, and you know what? That is okay. l am choosing to exercise self-care and protect myself from others and their toxicity to me.
However, there is always a flip side to toxicity. Even if I choose to protect myself, it doesn’t mean I am not toxic to others. For the longest time, maybe since I was a teenager I always felt bad for my friends and wondered why they hung out with me. I was always a down-trodden negative thinking person that was on repeat like a broken record. And I hated that about myself. Because I hated it, I rarely opened up to others when I was in pain or needed a shoulder to cry on. I kept thinking, nothing has changed. You speak and think the same as last time, most people will be tired of it and not want to help someone who can’t even change one fucking thing. And I imagine looking from the outside in that is very true. If you are going to complain and nothing is going to change, then stop complaining as no one wants to listen to that nonsense.
The thing about viewing yourself as a toxic person is that you are acutely aware of when other people are being toxic around you, because you are afraid of pushing others away due to your toxicity. After much struggling I am currently in a pretty decent place mentally and I’d never be upset if someone ended up saying I’m a toxic friend, because that is how I viewed myself for a long time.
I could just be over-reacting or over-analyzing, but the one thing I know is we choose the people in our lives. They are there for a reason and if they happen to bring toxicity with them, maybe there is a lesson to be learned at hand.