We often think of a toxic person as someone who is constantly negative—a person who causes terror and rampages in other people’s lives.
We’re shaken by the thought that it could be us.
It isn’t easy to see ourselves as participants in our own drama. It doesn’t matter that we’ve just cursed out a friend—our intentions were pure. We give people unsolicited advice because we desperately want to help them.
Unfortunately, some of our well-intended behaviors are self-righteous attempts to avoid looking at ourselves. We are not acting this way on purpose, and it’s challenging to look at ourselves objectively. However, understanding our emotions and developing our character is more beneficial than obsessing over other people’s actions.
You think everyone else is the problem, but that isn’t always the case. Here are seven hidden signs you’re contributing to the toxicity in your life.

1. You don’t ask for help. 

Asking for help makes you feel weak. Why? The caregivers in your life have conditioned you to expect uncertainty. You wonder if they’ll disregard your feelings, ignore you, or outright say you’re too needy. In response, you avoid rejection by not asking for anything at all. Secretly you wish someone would make your life easier by helping you out. Instead of giving people the opportunity to do so, you expect them to read your mind and push them away.

2. You subconsciously choose chaotic situations.

You’re in survival mode, a state where you react to your environment instead of shaping it. You know how to fight. You know how to survive, so a drama-free life is a boring one. It’s a life where you have to sit and face the reality of yourself, the unpleasant experiences that happened to you, and confront who you are right now versus who you want to be. You’re creating drama in your life, even if it doesn’t benefit you because it’s comfortable.

3. You deal with conflict in a roundabout way.

Having difficult conversations is one of the quickest way to clear up misunderstandings. Confrontational discussions can be stressful, so you put them off or avoid them entirely. Instead of speaking with the person directly, you confide in a third party, which causes a he-said, she-said dynamic, ultimately leading to drama.

4. You blame others for everything going wrong in your life.

You blatantly point out other people’s flaws, how they need to change, how they’re toxic, and what they’re doing wrong. You believe their actions have ruined your life. This thought may have some truth, but it’s your responsibility to rebuild your life. 
It’s time to give yourself compassion and understanding. It’s time to realize that whatever happened in your past shouldn’t stop you from creating the life you want. You won’t always make the best decisions, but you must be willing to learn the lessons and move forward. Taking responsibility for your actions is what truly changes your life.

5. Your moods are volatile. 

You’re emotionally charged. You feel everything deeply, which is an attribute. It allows you to relate to others and offer compassion. On the flip side, when uncontrolled, you may lash out at others and subtly try to control them. 
You tell people how they’ve disappointed you and wronged you, hoping to get an emotional response. You don’t realize that this is a form of manipulation. You should not have to guilt trip people into treating you better. Instead of getting the closeness you desire, people become highly cautious about what they say and how they act around you.

6. People are slowly distancing themselves from you.

People are starting to avoid you. You might not notice at first because it feels like another confirmation of abandonment. Your friends hang out with you less. They start coming up with excuses to ditch you. They are wary of how drama seems to enter your life magically. If the majority of your friends are avoiding you, it’s time to start looking at how you’re showing up in these relationships.

7. You’re demanding and controlling.  

Of course, you wouldn’t think of yourself as demanding or controlling. You believe you allow others free choice. However, the control comes in your expectations. You expect other people to meet your standards. While having high standards is okay, not everyone will meet them. Instead of moving toward the people who do, you demand that others treat you better. Demanding that people act a certain way is not the same as stating your boundaries. Boundaries are about what you tolerate in your life, not about trying to control other people. You desperately want the other person to do better, and the fact that they won’t dramatically affect your self-esteem. Your demanding and controlling behavior may eventually lead people to resent you.

Here’s what to do instead:

The first step to stopping some of your unhealthy behaviors is becoming aware of your blind spots. You can get clarity on your undesired behavior by asking three of your most unbiased friends and family members this question: “What are three of my best attributes, and what are three of my worst?”
Make sure you ask people who are not afraid of hurting your feelings or of telling you the truth. You might be surprised to see how people also pick out strengths in your personality that you’re not aware of.
Next, extend yourself compassion and curiosity. It’s not useful to discover your blind spots and then start to hate yourself. Instead, it’s time to give yourself grace and affirm that you do not have to stay this way. You were trying to survive and did so beautifully. Get curious, not judgemental about your behaviors. Instead, think, “hmm, I wonder why I talk over people? What needs am I trying to meet here?” Coming from a place of compassion and curiosity diminishes shame and drives change.
The last step in becoming more of the person you want to be is taking responsibility. Taking responsibility for your actions is not about absolving people of the wrong they’ve done in your life. It’s about unburdening yourself from the toxic behaviors you’ve developed as a coping mechanism. It’s letting go of the fear, anxiety, and low self-esteem you’ve developed. Addressing your unhealthy behaviors is about you, your growth, and your healing. It is never meant to shame you, make you feel targeted, or not good enough. Please remember that you can have more happiness and peace in your life with just one decision.
 

WRITTEN BY

Arlene Ambrose