Hello my beautiful readers! We are back at it again with another blogpost! How are you feeling? How was your day? My day was pretty cool. Tonight, I will do my best to get some much needed sleep. I haven’t been sleeping for a while and I believe it could be a combination of anxiety, stress and slight sadness. It has been hard getting through these past weeks, but I try to take it one step at a time. I really miss fresh air.
TOXIC SLUDGE ATTACKS!
I would like to thank my friend Savannah, who is such a gem, and she inspired this specific blogpost. Savannah asked about a blogpost on “toxic parents”, which is an excellent topic, but I will go even further. I want to discuss toxic behaviors, traits and signs that a person is emotionally abusive.
WHAT IS A TOXIC PERSON?
The good news is that a person cannot be toxic, however, their behavior is what can be toxic. According to PsychCentral, “it’s common for people with toxic behavior to: create drama in their lives or be surrounded by it; try to manipulate or control others; be needy (“it is all about them all the time”); use others to meet their needs (such as “narcissistic parents”); be extremely critical of themselves and others; be jealous and envious of others, bemoaning their bad fortune and others’ good fortune; abuse substances or harm themselves in other ways, and be unwilling (or unable) to seek help from loved ones, a therapist or a recovery program”. So, people cannot be toxic, but their ways of coping, releasing emotions and/or behaving can be toxic. In a way, the person is bruised by past experiences, so they act in a certain manner because that behavior provides a source of comfort. If that is the case, we ALL (including myself) are just a little “toxic” in the way we handle things LOL. I think that is why we are imperfect beings, because we do not always know the right thing to say or do. Especially us under the age of 25 since our frontal lobe of our brains haven’t fully closed. So, our logic and reasoning isn’t the greatest LOL.
THE TYPES OF TOXIC BEHAVIORS
These are a list of toxic traits/behaviors which can be seen within family, friends, peers, etc. You may even see one that you may be guilty of, which is TOTALLY OKAY. I promise because as I was going through the list, I thought “Yikes, Noah you are guilty of some of these LOL”. But, you live and you learn.
- The person creates drama in their lives or is constantly surrounded by drama.
- Please be wary of folks who consistently have conflict, drama or turmoil in their lives. Drama is inevitable, but it is avoidable at times. Seeing a person who thrives in environments that are hostile, cruel and ruthless shows that their character must match up in order for them to be in that environment. Watch out for this person and keep your distance, since their environment may not be ideal for you.
- The person who manipulates others to get what they want or use their power to control others.
- Whether they were a high school bully, jerk manager, older sibling or close friend, this person had the ability to trick and manipulate others to side with them or use conquer and divide tactics with groups of friends. This person can also become a sort of ringleader that gathers up others to increase their power and influence. Please avoid this person because if they dislike you, they will turn everyone else against you.
- The person who is always needy, it is about them all the time. (I am partially guilty of this one and I will explain).
- I have been guilty of asking friends or family if I am attractive enough, smart enough, cool enough or just enough period. I have noticed that can be quite self-absorbed of me, because my family, friends, and loved ones have lives of their own and I must be strong enough to check my insecurities myself. This person can also switch subjects around and make it about them. As human beings, we are able to relate to one another’s experiences, but if the person is constantly making things about them, they may not be the best person to be around at this time.
- The person who is extremely critical of themselves and others. (I am also guilty of this)
- The person who always say they look fat. The person who stares at themselves in mirrors constantly (GUILTY!). The person who GOES IN on other people’s looks, attire, mannerisms and/or personality. I know for a fact that people who go hard on others are their own worst critics. This person really would benefit from self-love and self care. No obsessing, comparing or judging, just pure self love and positive affirmations for you!
- The person who makes you feel that you are “walking on eggshells” when you are around them.
- The person is a wild card, who might not be the most easy-going kind of person. They might not be emotionally stable and can lash out at you, ignore you and/or mistreats you. They have a way of not making you feel comfortable. You may have to avoid contact with this person or not take what they say or do personally, which is difficult especially if it is family or a close friend. My recommendation would be to give them space, do your own thing and pray for their healing. Remember, you cannot change or control anyone, but yourself! So, please spare yourself the heartbreak. Trust me, I have been through multiple emotional heartbreaks.
RUNNING AWAY FROM THE TOXIC SLUDGE BOMBS
- My best advice is to give these kind of people some personal space. I know that when I am going through internal turmoil, I tend to run to other people instead of looking inside and figuring out what is wrong. Toxic behaviors are bad habits that must be rectified by the people themselves. We cannot change people no matter how hard we try. We have to love people who demonstrate these behaviors from afar, since we may get bruised in the process of “trying to help”. A person has to accept help in order to get help. The person must be willing to change in order to change.
A LETTER FROM A RECOVERING TOXIC PATIENT
Hey guys, so this has been great breaking down all kinds of toxic behaviors, but I want to fully address mine. My toxic behaviors have been: toxic masculinity, neediness, seeking external validation, negative self-talk, inability to express emotions, lashing out on others because of unresolved feelings, victimhood, holding onto the past, chasing after guys for love, being a control freak, lying out of fear, and putting myself last. I apologize to anyone that I have ever hurt, mistreated and/or spoken poorly to. I am sorry for not having the emotional intelligence to express hurt, sadness or that I was feeling depressed. I am sorry for not giving you the attention that you deserved. I apologize to myself for giving so much of myself, my time, my energy, etc. to people who did not deserve it. I gave so much in hopes of getting love back. I wanted consistency and honestly I wanted a friend. I wanted someone to be in my life. The Molly to my Issa. The Jules to my Rue (oh wait, that is a bad example LOL), but I was so desperate for love and friendship that I gave everything that I had. I also struggled with toxic masculinity, because I had not seen an emotionally intelligent man before. A man who can admit he was wrong. A man who did not have to yell to get his point across. A man who didn’t have a problem with admitting that he was feeling hurt. I had mostly seen a common trait. In the media, men who struggled with self-expression would release their emotions in angry outbursts or engaging in sexual intercourse. But, in order to be in healthy relationships, we must be healthy as men. We need to know when our feelings are out of whack. We must recognize when we are experiencing pain, disappointment or insecurity. It is okay to cry. It is okay to be human. That does not make you less of a man. I wish I would have known that sooner. As a Black, gay man, I recognize that my manhood will be questioned more often than my heterosexual peers because the common stereotype is that gay men are “not real men”. Who came up with that? We are men at the end of the day, no matter who we choose to sleep with. As men, we have the duality to be vulnerable, but brave. We can be loving and tough. We can be smart and daring. We can be all things and the same goes for women and non-binary folk. (Oooou we love an inclusive king LOL let me stop playing). In all seriousness, I also noticed that when I gave into people who really didn’t like me, I would be left feeling empty and hollow. That sorrow would seem to heavy to bear, so I would resort to anger. Anger is a secondary emotion y’all. It hides our hurt, fear, disappointment, anxiety, panic, discomfort, etc. We must take the time to figure out what we are truly feeling. Words said out of anger can never be taken back and please take it from me. It hurts to hurt the ones you love, even if you didn’t intend to. Give yourself some breathing room. Take deep breaths and I mean deep breaths. Do not feel that you have to have the last word? I know I do. I feel like I have to win the argument. I have to make the person understand where I am coming from. But, I don’t. You do not have to prove anything to anyone. Also, if someone experiences you in a certain way i.e. a bitch, a jerk, an asshole, a thief, a dumbass, a narcissist, a scumbag, a hoe, etc. (Please excuse my language, but I use it for relatability), it is their right to feel how they wish to feel about you. The way they view you has nothing to do with you. My fatal flaw is eavesdropping because I always want to know what other people are thinking of me, but honestly why the fuck am I caring about that shit? It does nothing but diminish my self esteem, breakdown my emotional health and distort my self perception. I am a good person. You are a good person. We are all good people who mess up. It is okay. But, I am no longer checking to see if other people think that I am good enough. I am enough and so are you! Oh my god, I need to write this book because this blog is like a therapy session y’all. I will write the book soon. I promise because I want to give you all more insight on me as a person.
In conclusion, if you or a friend, family member, etc. is encountering someone who demonstrates those traits above or even more, please leave them be. We are all works-in-progress, but inviting a harmful person in your space can be deleterious for your health, wellbeing and sanity. Please put yourself first and take my mistakes as cautionary tales. Do not put yourself last on the to-do list. Say “no” and don’t explain yourself. Do not repeat yourself, they heard you the first time. Be your own hero. Write your own story. Own your truth. Be grateful for what you have, so that you can prepare for what you will receive. Have fun. Do not take life so seriously. Get those Air Jordans for me LOL. For real though, love yourself because how in the hell is someone else going to, word to Ru. Be compassionate we all are going through something we do not know about. Most importantly, choose yourself. For so long, I felt like a second option. From being picked last for kickball in grade school to feeling like I would never have friends in adulthood. I am grateful that God has placed people in my corner who love me and I love on them every chance I get, because I am grateful. I am grateful for a second chance to start things over. I am grateful that God is not finished with me and I awake each day with a mission. The mission becomes clearer as I go. I am so proud of myself. A few years back, I had done another attempt at taking my life. I felt that I wasn’t worth it. I didn’t think God could love something like me. I didn’t think anyone could love something like me. I felt like such a freak. I felt worthless. I felt weird, awkward and unlikable. I hated everything about myself from the way I walked, the way I talked and the way I acted. I always thought that I was too gay. I thought my nose was too big. I thought my glasses were whack. I didn’t feel beautiful at all. I thought that God had skipped past me. Through constant self work, prayer, journaling, therapy and authentic conversations, I was able to slowly heal. I still have my moments, where I think that I may not be important, but I remind myself that I was born with worth. I am not a mistake. I am not an error. My life has meaning and so does yours. I am almost tearing up because life is so short and we can’t waste it hating ourselves. I wasted so much time hating myself and tearing myself down. I was my worst enemy and I am learning to be my best friend. It is an everyday struggle, but as long as I am here, I will continue to fight for my life. I pray that you will fight for yours, because you are worth the fight. I love you and during this COVID-19 pandemic, I pray that you and your family are safe, healthy and secure. God bless you.