We all have seasons in our lives when we’re frustrated, depressed, or discouraged. After all, those are all natural human emotions.
But beyond occasional bouts of depression or even just “the grumpies” lies a place where nobody wants to be: Toxicity.
So what happens when one of them lives in your house?
And when that person is you?
Very few people approach life with deliberately ill intent. Very few people make it a goal to make their loved ones miserable. Very few people deliberately set out to wreak havoc within their personal relationships and yet so many of us do so anyway.
We let each other down. We fail to see the bigger picture. We prioritize things as X, Y, Z, not realizing that our friends or our partners or our loved ones prioritize them as Y, Z, X. And our relationship spirals into toxic territory without us even realizing it.
All of your problems are someone else’s fault
The number one sign of a toxic person is externalizing responsibility for stuff that goes wrong (i.e. foisting it on whoever else is convenient). Just think about it: seriously, what are the odds that in all of the fights and spates and disagreements you’ve ever had, you’ve never been to blame? It’s wildly unlikely, and this belief is self-serving, but at the steep cost of alienating others. Time to ditch it.
When you get home and your partner says he/she had a rough day, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? If your natural reaction starts with something like “you think you had a bad day” you might be a toxic.
You have enemies
Unless you’re some kind of political figure, why on earth would you have real enemies? It’s normal to have people float through your life at various times, maybe you’ve outgrown each other or were never a great fit in the first place. But if you can name actual enemies, either you’ve contributed to genuine, significant fights (bad) or you’re imagining that you have (also bad).
You’re negative, and you can’t stop complaining
Do you hate your job, your ex-boyfriend, your mother, and your last vacation? Fine…but stop talking about it! Expressing your negative feelings is fine — good, even — but polluting the air with a nonstop monologue about how terrible your life is won’t help you.
There’s so much drama
Bottom line: your life is not a sitcom, and every season doesn’t need a dramatic arc. “Drama” should be the exception and not the rule and toying with people in your life or using them as stimulation for your own purposes isn’t ok. If you’re bored, get a real hobby instead.
You would rather be right than happy.
There’s a difference between being “right” and being “happy.” You don’t know the difference or don’t care as long as you’re right, Do you keep arguing until someone gives in even when you’re plain wrong? Are you so focused on being right that you lose sight of what you’re actually arguing about sometimes? Bullying your way through an argument until someone gives in even when you’re wrong makes nobody happy.
You give back-handed compliments
“I love your new haircut! It makes your face seem so slim.” I’m sure you’ve received “compliments” like this. If you find yourself making snide remarks (and let’s face it, ladies, we’ve all done it), cut yourself a piece of humble pie and apologize immediately.
You’re always talking behind people’s backs
Though not every grumble deserves a confrontation, you should be willing and able to discuss problems with people when necessary, that’s the mark of a mature adult. If you’re always gossiping instead, you’re probably lacking in diplomatic skills and taking juvenile pleasure in the gossip to boot.