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The word “toxic” is thrown around a lot and used in varying degrees, especially when describing people.
What it means to you is specific to you, but, to me, a toxic person is like poison. They come into your life and cause pain, usually by bringing negativity and upset with them.
(Honestly, by that definition, we’re all toxic to someone sometimes.)
And a toxic relationship is when the relationship between people does the same, with its unhealthy dynamics bringing the worst out in each other. I’m sure we all have at least some experience with toxic people and relationships. And I’m willing to bet you’re thinking of them right now. It doesn’t feel good, does it?
Realizing that you love someone who is bad for you is a painful experience, and cutting them out of your life isn’t a carnival either. But, having now sat on both sides of the fence, I think being the toxic person takes the cake. Because you can’t leave yourself. You have to stay, face, and work through everything that makes you that way. You have to put your love into the toxicity if you wish to survive this life as the person you long to be.
I have a whole slew of mental health issues that’s made me the toxic person in probably every relationship I’ve had and have. I haven’t always been this way, though. I used to be a ray of sunshine who got people out from under their rain clouds. But, when life caught up to me and plagued me with Complex PTSD, that changed. And the journey through healing is longer than I ever thought it would be, leaving me ashamed and regretful.
Hurt people hurt people. Keep in mind that many times, toxic people don’t know that they are toxic, nor do they try to be. Like me, some of us who have been deemed toxic truly don’t intend to be the negative-energy-ridden ones who “poisons spirits.” (I have known some who honestly do.) But many of us are just struggling with our existence so deeply that the unhealed pain body takes the forefront.
When I realized that I am the cloud in someone’s shining day, everything that makes me this way worsened. The negative self-talk deepened, and so did the root of my pain. I started to notice that I’ve become avoided like the plague. People talk badly about me—they stay clear of my path and tell others to do the same. This has taken my already broken spirit and covered it with a pang of guilt and shame that strips all pride away.
People have stopped coming to me for good times and see me only as “the one who struggles.” Friends show up when they need someone to understand their pain but save their fun, loving energy for the rest of their tribe. Meeting someone like me where I am—riding the low-vibe wave—perpetuates the cycle and keeps us stuck where we don’t wish to belong. It turns a struggle into an identity.
I’m a true believer that love heals (when one is ready to receive). I’m also a believer in surrounding ourselves with people who make us feel good. And that unintentionally toxic people need that, too.
If I could give any advice from my perspective, it would be this: take care of yourself and take care of others, yes. But don’t forget that everything must be balanced—there’s a grey area, a transitioning space. It’s within this space that differences are made.
In a world full of perpetual toxicity, make love.
“Love is all we need.” ~ John Lennon and Paul McCartney
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