Negatively influence their environment and those around them

12.11.2020

It seems relatively easy to identify them, although it may not be so ... what if you were a toxic person and you are not aware of it? Let's see several considerations and reflections in this regard to know how to approach this issue.

Are you worried about being a "toxic person"?

Despite what we have just explained, it seems important to me to make a clarification and it is not to talk so much about toxic people as about toxic behaviors.

This needs to be clarified because it can happen that someone is going on a streak of toxic behavior directed towards others, without this implying that they always have to be a toxic person. On certain occasions, when we are overcoming a significant life problem (a loss, an addiction, a moment of various changes, etc.) and we feel unbalanced, in a situation of vulnerability, we may be acting in a way that is difficult for our close environment.

Our first conclusion is that, rather than talking about toxic people, we will talk about toxic behaviors or toxic behaviors. The difference is also supported by the danger of labeling people, since when someone is told "you are ..." they are placing a burden that costs a lot to get rid of and that conditions many behaviors in the future , since those mandates end up justifying behaviors; "As I am such a thing, I behave accordingly."

We are not always aware of what we cause in others and, as if this were not enough, we also tend to attribute to others the lack of empathy or understanding for some situations that bother us, hurt us or seem unfair towards us. The awareness that we are going through a bad streak or an intense emotional difficulty will allow us to realize this and face the deficiencies that we detect.

Personality traits associated with toxic behaviors

At the base of toxic behaviors we find some personality traits such as egocentricity or narcissism. Both traits are not the same. The self-centered person tends to think that their needs and interests are more important than those of others. As a general rule, as we develop as human beings, egocentricity decreases, since it is usually very present in childhood and even adolescence.

The narcissistic person has a great need to feel the approval and admiration of others and it is difficult for him to feel empathy for what others feel; You may feel superior to others, and those views translate into behaviors that are difficult to bear.

The tendency to victimization is another indicator of being toxic towards others. This happens because, on many occasions, the victimizing behavior brings direct or indirect benefits to the person who exercises it. It is the case that the events suffered turn into that person's letter of introduction, a claim for permanent care and attention and can lead to emotional blackmail towards others.

Closely related to this behavior would be the permanent pessimistic vision, or constantly putting oneself in the worst that can happen. The tendency to wait for negative events to occur and that their consequences trigger more negative aspects is a tendency of toxic behaviors.

It is a frequent learning that we give more value to the bad than to the good that surrounds us, that the focus is on the negative because it tends to attract more attention and, in this way, we develop a tendency to self-regret. to a certain impotence or to generalize towards the negative with expressions such as "everything goes wrong", "I can't do anything to avoid it". This pessimism is harmful because it generates stress, frustration, a tendency to depression, lack of assertiveness and other consequences that can be toxic towards others.

Another aspect that may be present is more or less frequent unhappiness, clearly related to pessimism and the tendency to victimization. Unhappiness is nourished by that catastrophic vision, of valuing the bad things that happen and feeding the belief that we can do nothing to be happy, when what we have to live is so negative. Unhappiness favors complaining that it is a highly toxic attitude towards others, and also distrust, which produces the same effect.

How can we correct our own toxic behaviors?

The first step is to realize this, to become aware that we are generating discomfort in the people around us and to assume it from responsibility, not from guilt.

Responsibility allows us to make changes in behavior, it encourages us to undertake improvement or correction actions. It is essential to change the focus and strive to find something good in our life, which there is. Learn to open perspective and broaden focus to see beyond.

In many cases it will be necessary to ask for help, both from people in the immediate environment and from a specialized professional. We will have to learn to accept the limits that place us in the face of these toxic behaviors and admit that this is also a way to get help. Be that as it may, it is necessary to face it, not run away waiting for the bad streak to pass and the matter to resolve itself. That usually doesn't work.

Psychotherapy is not simply about meeting with the psychologist and telling him out loud about the frustrations that we have been carrying over the last days or weeks; nor is it going to informative sessions in which as patients we internalize theoretical knowledge about what happens to us and we let go of false beliefs.

The concept of "addiction" usually goes hand in hand with that of "drug", but in practice, this is not the case. There are addictions in which the consumption of any addictive substance is not involved, and in fact, they are not statistically rare cases.