Am I toxic? Have you asked yourself this question a lot of times without getting any clear answer? Ever wondered if you are the difficult person in the lives of people around you?
Are you toxic?
Toxic people can be found in every sphere of life and it can often be hard to identify them. But when you are the toxic influence in others’ lives, then it will require a lot of self awareness to realize that. “Draining, unsupportive, and difficult people are one of life’s greatest challenges,” explains Vanessa Van Edwards, national best selling author & founder at Science of People.
Although most of us can be negative at times as we navigate through the ups and downs of life, when our behavior starts to hurt others mentally and emotionally, we become toxic. However, identifying that you are the toxic person can be one of the most challenging things to do. “It can be horribly painful to admit that we are creating our own hardships but, once we take ownership, we can turn things around,” writes psychology professor Jeanne Croteau. However, before you start exploring the answer to your question “Am I toxic?”, you first need to understand what it truly means.
What does being toxic mean?
A toxic person is generally harmful to others. They can hurt others with their words, behavior, attitude and actions. With every interaction, a toxic person will make others feel worse off than before. At times, the negative effects of a toxic person can be realized immediately while at other times it may take effect more slowly.
Lachlan Brown, founder and editor of Hack Spirit, explains “A toxic person is someone who makes others feel bad with actions or words. They bring others down more than up, and they leave people exhausted, emotionally drained, and negative.”
Now that you know the definition of a toxic person, it’s time you ask yourself: “Am I toxic?” Are you the toxic person in the lives of your family members, friends and coworkers? Let’s find out.
Signs that you are toxic
If you always find yourself wondering “Am I toxic?”, then the following signs will help you find the answer out. Take a look:
1. You focus on the negative
Life is full of positive and negative experiences. Although we need to deal with and overcome our fair share of challenges and hardships, life can be very enjoyable and satisfying when we develop a positive, optimistic and abundance mindset. However, when you are a negative or toxic individual, you will be too focused on the negative aspects of life.
You will always worry about how things can go wrong in your life and give more importance to the negatives than the positives around you. Eventually the negativity will engulf you and you will start spreading your toxicity to others. “After a while, this type of behavior will attract other toxic, negative people and you may find yourself struggling to feel good about anything,” explains Jeanne Croteau, a psychology professor.
2. You always have to be right
When interacting with others, you always feel a strong need to be right. Even if the other person is evidently correct, you will choose to overlook the facts and stick to your opinions. As a result, it can seriously affect your career and your relationships. Whenever someone proves you wrong, you resort to toxic arguments to maintain your stand, even if that damages your relationships and hampers your mental peace. Accepting defeat is never easy for toxic people. This is one of the ways to answer the question: “Am I toxic?”
3. You are verbally abusive
You use your words strategically to shame, blame and abuse others. “It is pejorative and creates a power dynamic that causes others to pull back and not trust you,” writes Erica Bonham, a licensed professional counselor. Verbally abusing and shaming people, calling them names just to make them feel inferior to you is a prominent sign of toxicity. Even if your excuse is to motivate them, shaming someone is still a crippling behavior.