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Often, we get comfortable in our day-to-day lives that we ignore things that could use change. We blindly ignore the toxicity in our lives so we can continue to be “comfortable.”. But, in reality, it’s only making us unhappy and miserable. Instead, we should address these issues, whether in a friendship, familial, or colleague relationship, and decide what needs changing. Sometimes it could mean having some tough conversations or even no longer having someone in your life. But we have to understand that we’re changing our lives by doing what’s best for us. This week on La.Rue, we’re discussing how to recognize toxicity, how it can affect us, and ways to change it. Just like our ability to learn from failure, I believe our best way to move forward from a toxic relationship is to understand the role we played in it, learn from it, and move on.
When we allow toxic people to remain in our lives, their negativity can begin to manipulate our perception of ourselves. But, too often, we push that aside and ignore it for the sake of a relationship or comfortability. By allowing this toxicity to stay in our lives, we become bitter, resentful people, eventually embodying those traits and bringing them into other relationships we have. Today, we’re going to talk about how to recognize this behavior and ways to address it.
How to Recognize Toxic Behavior
Usually, we can recognize significant behavior traits from the very beginning of a new relationship. But sometimes, it takes time for that truly toxic trait to bubble to the surface until that becomes the only thing we can see. We like to give people the benefit of the doubt. Until one day, the doubt is no longer there, and it’s been replaced with confidence that this person is not someone you should have in your life. We have the ability to recognize toxic behavior, usually right off the bat, so why do we ignore it?
What do you consider toxic behavior? Manipulation, lying, narcissism, someone who is controlling, negative, someone who is selfish? We recognize this toxic behavior when we see the way these actions affect our own thoughts and actions. Our ability to recognize toxicity in someone comes when we walk away from someone feeling emotionally exhausted and depleted. We understand a toxic relationship is growing increasingly toxic when one side gives more than they’re receiving. Thus, the actions of the person feeling “overly giving” are underappreciated. But toxic behavior becomes truly toxic when someone’s behavior or actions affect you in a negative way, even when they’re not around. We see this when our emotions and energy begin to change around this person. A nervousness or anxiety sets in when you’re about to see them and it becomes toxic to your emotional state.
The first step in dealing with someone’s toxicity is setting boundaries. Boundaries also mean confronting this person about your own feelings. Let them know how you’re feeling and why. This is an important conversation to have because you’re offering up you’re own emotional vulnerability while letting them know how they’re affecting you. If you feel that this conversation can’t be had because it might be too difficult, then you need to step up some boundaries. Make it a point to do whatever makes you feel most comfortable. That could mean leaving a situation when you’re feeling it move in the wrong direction or stopping a conversation or situation when it’s moving away from your comfort zone.
Point blank, you need to be asking yourself if this is a relationship worth saving and if you’re willing to invest in it. If you decide this is a relationship you’d like to keep, try viewing the situation with compassion or empathy rather than judgment. If you’re able to see their side of things and maybe why they act the way they do, you can develop a better understanding of their behavior. But keep your boundaries and standards for the relationship. Ultimately, you’ll figure out whether or not the investment is worth it for you. Growing in a relationship means understanding your role in it. By setting boundaries and acknowledging what needs to be worked on, you can both attempt to move forward.
Understanding Your Role in the Relationship
Whether or not you’ve decided to keep this relationship, it’s always important to understand your role. None of us are perfect. We all have qualities that need to be worked on and developed further to become better people. So, what are your toxic habits or traits that you feel impede a relationship from moving forward? As I said in my Living Intentionally in Your Relationships blog, communication is key. If we lack communication, even with ourselves, the path for honesty and conversation becomes obstructed by all of the things we’re not saying.
Be honest with yourself and with the people you’re in relationships with. Understand how they affect you and, even more so, how you affect them. When you develop this understanding, you become a more self-aware person and better your relationships. Live more Intentionally by addressing or cutting out the toxicity in your life. Confront the situations that are negatively affecting you. You’ll learn that by facing situations head-on, rather than letting them fester and grow, you become a stronger, more independent person. You become more confident in the kind of relationships and people you want in your life.