Think of that time you are around someone you dislike being in their company, what feeling do you get when you think of them? Would you describe their character as unsupportive? Judgmental? Controlling? Self-centered? Or negative energy to be around? Imagine someone referring to you as toxic…
Toxic behaviors communicate to us and other people that we are not safe, empowered or happy. These are things that contribute to feelings of insecurity, disempowered and unhappy.
Toxic behavior is characterized by:
- Inconsistency where there are extremes of either passive or aggressive behaviors.
- Support is usually conditional and your needs always come above of the other person.
- Negative attention. This may present inform of Seeking attention, manipulative tendencies or being held hostage for past mistakes.
- In validation. This presents as lack of empathy and sense of responsibility in our role on how things play out.
- Lack of encouragement, jealousy and feedback that discourages growth.
- Unhealthy support that is either clingy and violates personal boundaries.
- Abusive behaviors, coercion/threats, intimidation and gaslighting.
How then do we become aware of these toxic behaviors and deal with them?
1.Increase our self-awareness of our wants and needs. Being mindful of the impact of this toxic behavior on us and for us. Becoming aware makes us intentional on working on these feelings of unsafety.
- Recognize the insecurities that lead to emotional dysregulation. These are reactions that we result to, to make us feel in control. Instead of being in denial of our emotions acknowledging how we feel helps us work towards communicating better.
- Explore what our behaviors are communicating and what our survival responses are. Most times we seek validation to feel accepted and safe but can be interpreted differently by others.
- Decide what our goals and needs are and becoming assertive about achieving them rather than being passive or aggressive on having them met.
- Consistently maintain our boundaries and recognizing our role in how things play out. Learn how to respond and acknowledge your limits. This helps others feel safe around us and relate better.
- Practice good self-care. This improves our overall wellbeing and detox negative energy.
Living happy and meaningful lives means we recognize our toxic behaviors and their impact on ourselves and others. We can then work intentionally on improving on ourselves and existing relationships.
By Shalom Luvutse
Chiromo Hospital Group.