Subtle Signs of Toxic Behaviors
How can you recognize when there’s mold on food? Mold starts out as spores that travel in the air and make their way onto your precious food. They feast on what they can and eventually, colored spots appear and you can easily detect infected items. Without knowing what to look for, you just might take a bite out of something harmful. The same can be said for the people in your lives. You don’t know who is harmful to you if you don’t know how to look for harmful behavior.
Harmful behavior is anything that affects you negatively. It is important to differentiate between behavior that instigates positive change as opposed to inducing negative reactions. Behavior that will make you react in a way that fosters self-growth don’t always seem positive or affirming. This can come in the form of critique. While at first you feel the burning sting of feedback, you can learn from it and improve yourself.
Condescending remarks and actions that belittle your self-worth aren’t constructive to your well-being. Does this mean that you should be selfish enough to look out for yourself when choosing who or what you surround yourself with? Yes. While tough situations push you out of your comfort zone, it is crucial that you avoid situations that are excruciatingly stressful.
Now, we all know how to treat moldy food: throw it out, but how do get rid of toxic people?
Unlike unwanted food, unwanted people aren’t easy to point out. Toxic behaviors are sometimes subtle and creeping. Eventually, they grow into something that can be fatal to your psyche, but sometimes those exhibiting behaviors like this don’t always know that they are toxic.
In the workplace, these can be individuals who devalue your input and demoralize with no effort. They cast a shadow over the room and may think too highly of themselves. They could be superiors who desire to show authority because it is missing from their lives or a workmate who can only boost their ego by putting down others.
Sometimes, it can be someone you wouldn’t expect, like a close friend or a family member. By common norms, a family is supposed to be at your side, but there will always be cases of relatives who thrive on picking on others. They don’t always do this in an intrusive way, but if they strive to cast doubts in your head, then these behaviors are toxic. It can be even more dangerous when anyone, family or not, instigate conflict with passive-aggressive behavior.
The worst cases are those who need you. That’s what they say. Without you, their entire fabric of existence will disappear; they are too dependent on you. It is a slow malicious type of symbiosis — one that is parasitic in nature. It is their specialty to impart guilt when you don’t act in their favor.
After recognizing these traits, stand up for yourself. This need not reach an explosive climax, but all you need to do is take a break. Throw them out of your life and don’t think about it as discarding a person, but as cleaning out your space. You are simply removing negative influences from around you. Most of all, use this as a learning experience, avoid exhibiting these types of behaviors.
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