What Is TOXICITY….Really?
When we get acid on our skin, it burns! We may experience redness, pain, inflammation and even destruction of the skin’s integrity. Some acid is so caustic, it will eat through flesh and bone, causing irreparable damage and much worse, death.
Acid is toxic!
By simple definition, toxic is really just that which is POISONOUS, meaning anything that can cause ‘illness’ or death to the physical body, mind, relationships or situation.
So then WHY would we as humans tolerate a known potential to illness and death?
Because we as humans FAIL to look at the internal value of ourselves and focus on that which is our palpable exterior. We will take medicines for pain and immunise against disease, but we will embrace those people in our lives who are more destructive than a curable, yet terminal illness.
Toxic people are everywhere! Unlike products containing a warning label, we may not always SEE the degree of toxicity in a certain person and how that individual can negatively impact OUR OWN health and wellness, including the potential for our own death! We will intentionally ignore the warning labels held up by others and make excuses for the toxicity of an individual, until of course we are burned.
What is a toxic person?
A toxic individual is any person in one’s PRESENT (REMINDER: we don’t look at the past, as those individuals who are no longer in our lives cannot create toxicity) who is abusive, narcissistic, chronically draining, both emotionally and physically, stresses you out, chronically irritating or bothersome, energy-sucking and whose words, behaviors and actions leave you feeling an array of negatively charged emotions on a regular basis.
In best case scenarios, a healthy individual can quickly identify someone who is toxic and SHIELD against their chronic toxicity. However, in worst case scenarios, there may be feelings of obligation, guilt, shame and even a need to ‘rescue’ (what I call FEEDING STRAYS) or feeling sorry for a toxic person such that one may find themselves subconsciously allowing the poison to drain them or their healthy relationship with others, including their partner or spouse.
You see this most often in obligatory relationships with family, such as a toxic mother-in-law who takes FROM the marriage and CREATES disharmony within the marital bonds or a father who is degrading and controlling.
You may also see it in ‘obligatory’ behaviors such as feeling as though you HAVE to say hello or goodbye to a toxic person you may run into in public, or what others may call courtesy…taking up your resources and time, no matter HOW little….so as not to ‘come across’ as an asshole. This can be an EX-partner, former acquaintance or friend, someone who has wronged you on some level or even someone whose life is plagued with drama but is in your present.
Who is toxic?
The people in one’s life that leave them chronically stressed out, drained, angry, resentful, jealous, in tears and in a state of constant irritation, these are the potentially TOXIC folks. If they are someone YOU speak of chronically as a negative in your world, and yet they are still in your world, they are TOXIC!
Just like any other REFLECTION, these individuals are ‘triggers’ for areas YOU need to work on, which may be learning how to set boundaries and even releasing people from your life to teach and grow you as a person.
An example might be an ‘old friend’ whom you stop talking to who no longer serves your sense of friendship and whose life is no longer congruent with yours.
However, this is not to say that just any person who sets you off or leaves you feeling a little low is indeed a toxic individual. Quite the contrary!
I have found, especially within the esoteric feminist and extreme relationship movements, a penchant to call EVERYONE who creates a conflict or negative emotion within, whether inner or outer, in your life as ‘toxic’. This is highly erroneous because people are fallible and will most definitely do something you do not like.
This doesn’t make them toxic.
A toxic person doesn’t simply create conflict. NO! They leave COLLATERAL emotional damage to you and your inner circle of trust! They work at dividing or creating conflict between YOU and your healthy fulfilling relationships.
As a gym owner and wellness coach, I SEE toxic people come into our place on a regular basis. They work, some with humor, some with boundaries and some with talking directly to others about me or my husband in order to divide us.
Anyone who becomes a constant negative in terms of personal life discussions and even creates an argument within your own circle of relationships, this is WHO is toxic in your life. They need to GO.
It can be a parent, a boyfriend, an ex-husband, a client, an old ‘friend’ and even the people you are forced to hang around due to job or lifestyle.
Who does a toxic person Influence?
Toxic people influence everyone around them, both directly and indirectly.
They have an impact on the immediate situation as well as creating negative vibrational waves for later interactions. These waves can impact anyone or anything within your present.
As a wellness coach, I experience these waves on a regular and consistent basis. Fortunately, I have mastered the ability to filter out toxicity. A skill necessary to not allow toxic people to ‘ruffle your feathers’. However, there are still times toxic people slide through the fence and before I know it, are creating negativity in my world.
An example of just how impactful a toxic person can be is best described through how we allow EX husbands and EX wives in our present lives and relationships.
Have you ever met a person who doesn’t shut up about their abusive EX husband or wife and how they were done ‘SO WRONG’, even decades later? Even though they are an EX for a REASON, possibly being toxic themselves, to constantly latch onto the dried up nipple of a past experience by spewing out the negativity of what they have ‘done’ is an excellent indicator of toxicity. This is a toxic person.
People begin to avoid conversations with you because they know you are going to talk about your drama or loss in such a ‘poor me’ or angry fashion that the audience slowly dwindles to zero. This compounds the issue because now you are alone and depressed.
The depression can lead to behaviors such as drinking alcohol, gambling and even drug use, opening the door for addictions and more negativity. Loss of friends, family, health and resources.
This is the WAVE that causes collateral damage
How to deal with toxic people?
Identification of a toxic individual is the EASY task. You can do an inventory right now, identifying those people who you do NOT ENJOY being around or who bring more YUCK than GOOD vibes into your space. I take inventory often, assessing the return on investment (ROI) associated with each person. If they are in my space and do nothing for me, I will place intention on having them removed. I will do everything within my power to RUN them off. It’s that simple. However, doing what is necessary to shield and release them is much more difficult!
Depending on HOW CLOSE an individual is in your CIRCLE, the appropriate process to address and potentially remove a toxic person must be adjusted. This means you would not simply respond to your girlfriend or boss the same way you would to a customer, client or stranger, especially if you desire a growth in the relationship.
You already know they are toxic to you. Now it’s figuring out how to:
~Protect yourself from their negative impact, including IGNORING
~Understand the reflective lesson for your own growth
~Hold an intention that places HIGH value on your highest self and your journey
~Take the appropriate steps to set clear boundaries
~Be willing to walk away/leave if necessary
Notice that at no point is their anything stating you must be rude, mean or negative back. NOT engaging a toxic person is NOT RUDE…period…and neither is ignoring or walking out of the room or building!
So, the next time you are feeling stuck listening to your brother degrade you at a family function or you are forced to keep silent even though your in-laws are violating your boundaries, or you are having to listen to that one member who never shuts up, think about what CONTROL you actually possess in the situation.
You cannot control THEM (they are toxic and poisonous to you, remember?) but you CAN CONTROL how you let their toxicity cross into your life. Stand firmly for your value, your rules and your sanity…with compassion.
Otherwise, the outcome can be fatal!