Why so Toxic?

Putting a pin 📍 here on a topic worth much discussion. Sometimes we fall into being captivated by buzz words or phrases that creep in and somehow control how we think and see the world. In fairness, before we continue lets define “Toxic” as it relates to this text. “Toxic” speaks to things we encounter in personal relationships/interactions that endanger our wellbeing. This doesn’t have to be physical, but also emotional and psychological.

Since 2020, I’ve seen an increase in people speaking about others in very trivial situations and labeling it “Toxic”. Sure, the definition of toxic in these contexts are relative to author of the complaint, but we must still be careful of overuse.

Overuse leads to the slippery slope of using the word to define situations where it’s not applicable. For example; your partner not being able to make a decision about what food to eat or what movie to watch is not toxic behavior. Yes it’s annoying to some and may even be frustrating to others, but many would agree that this isn’t really toxic behavior.

Digging deeper, I’m finding that these frames when overused point to an issue that may speak more to an inability to hold ourselves accountable for our bad behaviors; especially those behaviors that effect our interactions with others. Of course this may seem like a bit of a reach, and to be fair it just may be for some, but my logic here is more about how lazily we generally deal with our part(s) in the personal interactions we tend to find the most challenging.

Lets get real for a moment…

Think about your relationship or the last relationship you were in. Consider for a moment or reflect on the thing that annoyed you the most. Are you there yet? Now with all of those things in mind, make a quick list of all of the things you honestly feel are toxic about this person. I’m depending on you all to be honest with your list!

Now look at the list you’ve made and see how many of the things on the list line up perfectly with things that annoyed you. After you’ve lined those things up, assess which of those are truly toxic. The things you identify as actually not being toxic should then be removed from that frame in your mind, and placed where they belong.

This is important because as we navigate life, we need the ability to properly identify when actual toxic behavior is present. Actual toxic behavior would blatantly or in a subtle manner diminish your quality of life. For example, seeing a very happy person become cold, shy and sad may be evidence of something or someone in their life being toxic. Calling your partners out of their names, picking arguments for no other reason but to put you in a bad mood, these are things that accurately point to actual toxic behaviors.

The takeaway – Change the frame. That’s it; understand that changing the frame isn’t a resignation or dismissal of your emotions, but more so a step towards a deeper understanding of yourself.

~ Mr. Croft