There are a lot of toxic or seemingly toxic people out there. At one time or another most everyone in society today has a toxic persona. We are only human right? Now I could rehash everything that is online and blogged to death about – concerning toxic relationships and how to heal from toxic relationships. I could give you tips and tricks on how to deal with toxic people, but that has all been done before. If you want to know more about the signs of toxicity, just look it up in Google, and you will get a million hits.
This blog is about how to be the man (or person) that people want to be around. Face it, nobody likes to be around a toxic person, and if you turn toxic – as so many people do – what can you do to change that behaviour and get back to the harmless, less toxic and amicable you.
I think the thing that we need to understand is: Nobody is born toxic. When we come into this world wrinkly and naked, we are not toxic. Yes we have no boundaries as young children, but those are things we learn. We also learn toxicity. Since behavior is learned, it can be unlearned.
So here is a list of some things that are toxic:
“Hey, white liar, the truth comes a little at a time.” That song White Liar from Miranda Lambert’s album, Revolution, released in 2009 is a song about someone that is cheating on her and then lies about it. However there are more facets to being dishonest then just plain lying.
First the lie – all lies are lies and we lie all the time. There are socal lies, “I’m great, how are you?” There are lies to protect someone else’s feelings, “No, that meatloaf tastes great.” There are the lies that try to protect ourselves, “I didn’t have sexual relations with that woman…” The fact is lying is the cowards way out. You say what you say, because you are afraid of hurting someone’s feelings or the backlash. This is one of my faults as well – and when you lie, you only destroy the trust in the relationship.
However, dishonesty is not just being a liar. Being dishonest is also about not being trustworthy. If a friend tells you – in confidence – about a situation where they were feeling vulnerable, and you, in turn, tell someone else – you have broken their confidence – that is toxic. If someone does something incredibly stupid and makes a fool out of themselves and you laugh about it behind their back: You are being dishonest – that is toxic. The best way to think about dishonest people is that they don’t care for anyone’s feelings except for their own.
So when you catch yourself being dishonest to someone, admit it right away. Let them know why you were dishonest and make an intention statement to not be dishonest anymore. Check out my post on being intentional https://thecongenialmale.com/2020/12/14/be-intentional/
Complainers complain about everything. I must admit, I was and still am in certain respects a complainer. I had another blog years ago, and I put out a blog post everyday. I have gone back to read some of those posts, and I complained in every post. “Oh woe is me!”
Honestly, I could only read just a few of those posts and I was done. No wonder my blog never went anywhere. If you are a complainer, then figure out what you are complaining about and fix it. My problem was that I didn’t like the job I was in, and it just seemed to get worse. My fix, I just quit.
Nobody wants to hear complaining all the time. Now I understand, sometimes things are rough, and you just need to vent to someone. Ask permission first; you might say, “I have had a hard day, and I really need to vent, could I vent to you?” Give them a chance to say no, and that is alright if they do. If they do listen, accept their advice if they give it. Don’t just go on a tirade, and then ignore what the other person says, because that is a toxic behaviour. If you need, get a professional you can talk to and vent to, just don’t live there.
Slight others/boost themselves
Sometimes we need to feel validated, sometimes we feel that we are not being noticed and we are in the shadows, so we try to come out of the gloom. If you don’t feel like you are getting the validation you deserve, then you start to feel jealous and judgemental.
Unfortunately, there is always going to be competition for the limelight, and so we start to disparage the person getting all the attention. It’s alright to get noticed, it is fine to want to be noticed, but getting noticed at the expense of another person is not alright – it is toxic: Judging is also toxic.
So how do we get the attention that we want, without hurting other people. Well I would like to give you a formula, but – sadly – there is no magic pill. What we have to do is think about why the other person is the one getting all the attention. Maybe, they have a new girlfriend and the happy couple is with the family, and you are not getting the attention they are. So you start cutting them down, and you take cheap shots.
The need for validation has to be controlled. If you are looking for validation from external sources, you become shallow – always looking for that praise. We don’t need praise all the time. That need for constant affirmations means that there is something missing in your own life. You might not have a clear picture of yourself or what your own worth is, your internal monolog is pessimistic and you need to turn that into optimism.
Once you can change the self-talk that you have to an optimistic voice, you can be supportive and contribute to the well being of those around you – you will become more amicable, and you’ll get noticed.
Poor listeners – Toxic talkers
What? That is always my response when someone says I was not listening. However, being a poor listener is not only missing what someone was saying, but sometimes we don’t even let the other person talk. We feel that we have the right to talk and that no other opinion is necessary
When you are a toxic talker, you are not allowing the other person to talk. They cannot insert any words into your steady stream of vocabulary vomit. You are only talking to hear your own voice. I used to call them “pigeon people,” because pigeons like to hear their own voices. Settle down, wait for a response and then continue with a normal conversation. A steady soliloquy is not a conversation.
Guilt Tripper –
“Hold on, we are going on a guilt trip.” Guilting someone is a controlling and manipulating action; that is the only reason for guilting someone. If you want to be someone that people want to be around, guilting them into whatever action you need at that time is not a way for them to be around – at least not for the long term.
People that guilt are not dependable, but they want everything and need everything. They suck your soul dry, and if the expectations aren’t met – you are made to feel like you have failed them.
There is never a reason for guilting someone into something you desire – no matter what it is or your justification for it. If you are resorting to that state of manipulation, you need to adjust your thinking and realign your attitude. Happiness is not what you can get from this world, but what you can give. However, when you give, don’t hold it over the person either: Give and let go.
This one also falls under guilt, but – more importantly – it is also manipulation. If you are forcing someone to engage in an activity that they don’t feel adds value to their life, but you are wanting them to do it anyway, “so we can spend time together.” That is value deprivation. A good example of this is forcing people to do an activity with you, that only you like, but if they don’t do it, you sulk around and make everyone’s life miserable. This person will go after the emotional, conversational, and mental freedom until the other person has nothing left.
When I was a kid, I heard all the time, “Well, I guess you just don’t want to be part of the family.” That was always a trigger for me when I was younger, but it was just straight up manipulation. You might get what you want, but the other person’s not free to do what they want.
If people don’t want to do what you want, you need to respect them for their feelings and give them their space. If they don’t want to go to the bar with you, then they don’t have to.
You have met this person, not only do they think they are the smartest person in the room, they press their “knowledge” on those around them and if you disagree with them they will argue until their last breath; you will finally just give up, because arguing with this type of person is really exhausting.
Not only does this person feel they should argue every point, but they will also put down those around them. They feel superior to everyone else and rarely do they perceive anyone else as their equals.
The last quality of a crusher is that they think they know best. All of your ideas, dreams, hopes and ambitions are crushed. Because they perceive you as stupid, their opinion is fact and you are wrong. Anything you attempt at doing, they are on the sidelines telling you that you are going to fail. Sometimes crushers don’t have animosity behind their actions, sometimes they feel their advice will help avoid catastrophe. However, this is toxic
Don’t be a crusher. Sure, you might think you know best, but you need to let the other person live out their dreams. Don’t rain on someone’s parade, if you think their ideas are going to crash and burn, let them make the mistake – unless you think it might cause them death – and be there when they fail – to be supportive not an “I told you so.”
Face it, everyone is toxic at one time or another in their lives. Seldom do people wake up and think, “It’s a bright sunny Tuesday, I think I will be toxic today.” Situations can cause the toxic person to come out. Sometimes people have been affected by toxic people and so they become toxic by association (that’s another blog post).
Being aware of your emotions and situations can help you not be a toxic individual. If you are dishonest, admit to it. Look on the bright side of life and don’t complain all the time – if you have to vent ask for permission and listen to advice. Don’t be an attention seeker, let others enjoy the spotlight and give them support. Be a good listener and a conversationalist. Don’t guilt and manipulate people into what you want them to do.. Lastly, Don’t rain on someone’s parade, celebrate their victories and comfort them in their failures. There are many ways to be toxic, but there is always a way to turn that around.