It’s easy to pinpoint toxic behaviors in others: she’s a perfectionist, he’s too controlling., they’re kind, too kind. But when it comes to people’s actions, they’re often oblivious to it. Or, they try to dismiss it and not make it a big of a deal. Ignoring could be well and good — if only it doesn’t harm you or the people around you. Beware of these toxic behaviors putting your mental health and relationships on the line:
People often don’t want to deal with pain, precisely because it hurts. The more that you think of it, the more it gets magnified and real. So you try to minimize it as much as you can. Perhaps you’ve told yourself the popular mantras, “Everything happens for a reason”, or “I’ll get over this soon enough.” Or, you probably gave these as pieces of advice to someone grieving over a loved one’s illness or death, in one way or another. But here’s why it’s toxic: you’re essentially invalidating your or other person’s suffering. That never helps in the healing process. It only sweeps the grief under the rug, just to come face to face with it again later, perhaps when dealing with another difficult time in life. What you want to do here is to exercise genuine empathy for yourself and others. Allow yourself to grieve and experience pain. Towards others, feel for their loss. Acknowledge the hurt. Don’t sweep it under the rug. Talk to someone who you can be very vulnerable. Or at least, put down into writing what you feel.
Expressing anger passively
Just like pain, anger is a negative emotion people don’t want to dwell on. Moreover, it’s tough to be real to someone you conflict with. Too much drama. Too many words to say. Too inconvenient. The result then is passive-aggressive behavior. You don’t lash out on your work colleague who doesn’t deserve their promotion and raise, but you joke about their incompetence in leading the brainstorming meeting. You don’t tell your boyfriend about the thing they said that offended you, instead, you ignore their texts and calls. Passive-aggressive behavior is particularly damaging because it’s often abuse disguised as humor or peaceableness. It’s often hard to break this attitude-habit, especially when there’s a long history of it. Some people need cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). Westport, CT-based psychologists recommend this to people who have serious anger issues, as the treatment allows patients to keep track of their thoughts, know when they’re mad, and rethink their assumptions about imagined confrontations. You might want to consider this as part of dealing with your own.
Dodging intimate relationships
You’re fine with building relationships and meeting people, but you’ve always been the type to build emotional walls, making sure that no one gets too close. Perhaps, you isolate yourself now and then or start a fight or excuse yourself from spending time with others so you can keep your guard up. This stems from a lot of reasons, but the majority of it comes from fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of the ruining the friendship. Fear of abandonment. It’s toxic for you because you can’t wholly grow as a social person, and for others, especially those who want to pursue a deeper relationship with you. It’s essential to identify where your intimacy issues are coming from. See a therapist so you can uncover those struggles.
Are Your Behaviors Toxic?
It’s not easy to admit and see that your own actions are unhealthy. But it’s the first step to getting better, growing better. Leave the toxicity behind by quitting these mentioned behaviors.