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Thursday, 25 January 2018

Avoiding Toxic People

We all have our flaws. I can be arrogant, needy, people-pleasing and exhibit low self-esteem. I am a person in recovery, which pushes me to look at my short comings and work through them. Not everyone likes looking at themselves and seeing the parts that need to be worked on.

In the short time I’ve been on this planet, I’ve realised a few things about people. You can’t assume the good in everyone. I try to look at the positive sides of all, but sometimes there’s no getting around a person. If someone is the way they are, it’s best to just let them be.

So how do you notice a toxic person? A classic thing I’ve kept noticing is that they always go on about past troubles. Usually childhood troubles, or other problems they’ve had. They will try to use this as an excuse to manipulate others into feeling sorry for them, or to justify their behaviour. EVERYONE has been through shit. Everyone has had stuff to deal with. There is no excuse to try and make those around you feel guilty because you’ve dealt with a lot in your life. We’ve all been through our ups and downs.

Naturally there is nothing wrong with sharing your past problems or speaking to someone or wanting a bit of sympathy or empathy. We’re all human and we all have feelings. But when someone time and time again keeps playing the ‘I’ve had such a hard life!’ card, it’s bullshit. Total bullshit. Don’t fall for it. They’re only doing it to make things revolve around them.

Additionally, toxic people tend to adore drama and attention seeking. (Takes one to know one; I’ve been involved in my fair shares of dramas hence no wonder I’ve been around so many unstable folks). They will always try to create drama, problems, or some sort of uproar involving themselves. They need to be the focus. A toxic person can create conflict out of anything. They may blame you for something you have little-to-no involvement in, or drag you into a situation you had no business with in the first place. They feed off the attention of others.

The best way to combat this is to ignore or cut ties with them. Do not give them what they want. If there’s no audience, they’ll back down. In the past, when I’ve tried to create some drama and the other party has ignored me, eventually I’ve moved on. A person who is confrontational, argumentative or constantly trying to win some sort of ‘battle’ cannot argue with the sound of silence.

They are also narcissists. They tend to have a superiority complex, and think they’re entitled to behave the way they do. This will stem from the troubles they faced in their life, usually lack of love or attention. But again, this is no excuse. I’ve been called a narcissist by someone who was quite toxic. The difference between that person and I is that I look at myself and admit my flaws, and try hard to work each day to be a better person.

 I would (hopefully) never try to use the things I have been through in my life as excuses for others to ‘feel sorry’ for me. In fact, the last thing I want is for others to pity me because I was bullied as a child or get panic attacks. Why would I want to try and make people feel sorry for me? That’s useless. I want to be an admired, respected member of society who is successful in her endeavours. The healthy way to deal with problems is to get help. Non-toxic people who have problems deal with them, and often tend to not even want others to know about them. But toxic people need everyone to see them. They need others to know about their past struggles, and they need to be seen as better than they already are. It’s all compensating for the pain they felt in the past that they probably haven’t healthily dealt with.

Toxic people will tend to blame their problems on others. Because they don’t like looking at themselves, they will tend to point fingers. Often they will find those that are naive, gentle and easy to manipulate and wind them around their fingers. They will then feed off that person with their high-maintenance personality, knowing that the other person will desperately want their approval. (I’ve been that person many times; feeling like I need others approval and doing anything to make them like me). When that person does something they don’t like, they will get angry that the person has ‘stepped out of line’, and thus resort to lashing out at them. This could be in different forms, not necessarily in an ‘angry’ manner. Sometimes it will be subtle or be masked as ‘disappointment.’

Am I a toxic person? I don’t think I am, but I do have some traits. My doppelgangers have brought out bad things in me, but unlike them I don’t want a life filled with drama and confrontation. I don’t need to be the centre of attention; I get enough fulfilment from my artistic passions. I don’t want to guilt people into feeling sorry for me. I’m hopeless at being manipulative; if I ever have been I probably didn’t realise. I’m almost uselessly nice.

Which is how I’m able to write this. If you’re the kind of nice person that goes along with things, there will always be someone out there trying to take advantage of you. Don’t let them.  You’re better than that. No one can argue with a blank wall or empty message. Never allow toxic people to walk all over you. You can usually hold your own with these people by avoiding them, walking away or standing up to them. They can come in all sorts of shades; friends, romantic partners, families, strangers, people online. Often they will wear a guise of genuine affection – until you do something they don’t like. They really are like the Beldam in Coraline - sweet Other Mother when you do what they like, evil monster when you don't. 

Someone that loves you no matter what will accept your flaws and never try to twist you into someone you’re not. Toxic people will always try to mold you to fit their needs or what they think is right. Break the cycle and get out of their web.

1 comment:

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I'm Zarina Macha, an author, blogger, and musician from London. I write about stuff on the internet 'cos having opinions is fun -- if you want to join the games, please note your thoughts below. All thoughts welcome, even if they're mean (just no spam links please -- can't tell you what a liability those are to remove).
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