Updated: Sep 1, 2020
As the main characters writing our own stories, we often feel like we're heroes combating everyday life events. But one wrong turn or move and you can end up as the villain. Sometimes we can repeat hurtful behavior without meaning to. It doesn't mean you're a bad person, just human. But self-awareness helps you get better. Feeling like the mean spider bit you? Here are seven surprising signs you're becoming toxic.
One: You can't seem to maintain relationships. Ever wonder why your relationships always end up in the dumps? It might have to do with toxic partners, or it might have to do with you. Toxic relationships aren't always necessarily manipulative, controlling, and abusive. Sometimes they stem from over-analysis. Studies show that individuals with low self-esteem are more likely to expect rejection from their partner, and avoid telling their partner how they truly feel. In this case, self-fulfilling prophecies win. The more afraid you are that the relationship will fail, the more likely it will.
Two: You can't fully trust your friends and you drain them out. Do you feel like you have more enemies than friends, or worse, are your friends just enemies in disguise? Behavioral scientist Clarissa Silva says, We are supposed to be a better version of ourselves in our relationships and support each other's goals, but when you're too busy making everything a competition... No one wants to keep up with that attitude. Instead, Silva states, You'll begin to drain people out rather than energizing them. On top of that, with your obsession with surpassing them, you'll forget to provide the emotional support that your friends need.
Three: You apologize once in a blue moon. Psychologists Abigail Brenner says that toxic people often claim the victim card, meaning that they seldom ever take accountability for their own actions. When you have a hard time swallowing your pride and apologizing, this can truly sabotage your relationships. In fact, researchers discovered that there are many benefits to the art of apologizing, such as stress relief and rekindling friendships. When you don't say you're sorry, you miss out on understanding how you might have hurt someone. It isn't too late now to say sorry.
Four: Drama follows you everywhere. Do you have a habit of breaking promises or leaving others hanging? Consistency is important, but when it isn't, serious consequences follow. According to psychologist Perpetua Neo, bringing drama to the table, such as spreading rumors and starting fights, is a big red flag you're becoming toxic. Is telling a grandiose story really more important than your friend's feelings?
Five: You're addicted to social media. This is different from tuning in to the Psych-2-Go channel to watch our new uploads. Who doesn't appreciate many likes on Facebook and Instagram? But when your self-image becomes a bigger priority than staying present, that can lead to a bigger problem. Dr. Sadie Letterelder says that letting technology get the best of you can make you accidentally be the toxic one in your relationship. When you rely on an audience for validation, you also rely on social media for ego boosts. This may cause others to resent you for having your eyes glued to your phone, rather than on them.
Six: You talk about people behind their backs. High school drama sucks. And if you constantly talk about people behind their backs, it'll feel like you never left, even when you graduated. You might think you're avoiding conflict when you complain about the down-low, but passive-aggressive behavior becomes a gateway to becoming toxic. When you can't openly share your opinions with others in a healthy fashion, it only hurts them in the long run. Even if you never meant to cause harm in the first place, people always have a way of finding out the truth.
Seven: You shut others out when their opinions differ from yours. Dr. Brenner says that being judgmental is a common characteristic toxic people possess. When you dominate the conversation and shut others out for having different thoughts, you end up marginalizing them. Not acknowledging another side of the argument doesn't make you right. It just makes you close-minded.
Do you admit that you're becoming toxic, or knows someone who relates to these signs? Please share your thoughts in the comments down below. You can also join our community of those who help each other out in the comments. Pressing subscribe really helps us out a lot. Thanks so much for reading!