What Makes a Toxic Person and How You Can Avoid Being One

“I’m addicted to you. Don’t you know that you’re toxic?”
– From “Toxic” by Britney Spears

Something that I didn’t know growing up was that our American society has a disheartening surplus of unintentional toxic people.

Yes, even you can be a toxic person.

Defining a toxic person can be tricky because most people think a toxic person as someone who brings others down in some way with their venomous words and actions.

Perhaps someone who talks bad about others or who brings down your emotional morale.

Let’s take a more significant step back and look at this from a bigger picture.

Toxic people encompass everyone on the emotional spectrum from mentally optimistic to severely depressed.

When I was in college, my depression got the best of me. Luckily I had someone to talk to during those dark years. Unfortunately, each night became a one-sided rant fest with my roommate about how much I hated everything in life and all the people in it.

My friend, bless his heart, took it all in without judgment for several semesters, only to later feel a little resentful of the things I resented as well as time went on.

Intentionally, unintentionally, I put negative thoughts and ideas into his head that subconsciously motivated his thoughts and ideas about his own life and the people he was around.

I gave him a poison I didn’t intend to give him, and he sipped it down each night without noticing the effects.

I find that the most toxic people are those who think that they are stagnant in their ability to change. These people define themselves to a particular character and have no attempts to stray away from it for the betterment of themselves.

“I’m a badass bitch, so I take orders from no one. I want to be a boss and control others.”

“I’m a quiet, shy person. I can never meet anyone or talk to anybody.”

“It’s hopeless. I can’t do it.”

What I find in toxic people versus people willing to change are the following:

Growth Mind: Have positive outlooks in the midst of struggle
Toxic Mind: Stay negative in all circumstances

Growth Mind: Stays away from gossip
Toxic Mind: Starts gossip or looks for it

Growth Mind: Has dreams, vision, goals in all areas of life
Toxic Mind: Lets life happen to them and complains when it’s not going the way they want it to

Growth Mind: Takes action
Toxic Mind: Takes no action

Growth Mind: Thinks about others before themselves
Toxic Mind: Thinks about him/herself

Growth Mind: Try to give before they take
Toxic Mind: Takes before they give

Growth Mind: Finds ways to make it work
Toxic Mind: Dwells on the ways it doesn’t work

There’s much more of course.

The basis of a toxic person roots him or herself in their own self-loathing and self-pity. They are solely thinking about themselves and their issues without any regards about others.

The overly confident and pretentious person doesn’t care for other’s well-being. Their world seems to revolve around them, and because of this, they make others feel uncomfortable and resentful towards them.

The shy and timid person wants to remain comfortable in their shell so that they don’t need to associate with people. Then, they start to believe that hating people is valid and complain about others in a much more quiet way.

I mentioned earlier that even the overly optimistic person could be toxic as well. This is because ignoring the reality isn’t going to allow for internal growth. Often suffering is what will enable us to grow and become better.

What’s worse, of course, is the negative people in life. Negativity brings about a subjective dwelling on what is, versus what could be, thus never allowing room to grow. Those who are negative, are never happy and will bring more unhappiness upon others.

What’s the secret cure to your toxicity? It’s simple.

Think about others before yourself.

Think deeply about how, when, and what you say around someone for their benefit. What value do you bring to the table for them?

If you’re depressed, are you looking for actual help? Or are you merely trying to bring them down with you subconsciously? Are you a self-righteous jerk who thinks they’re better than others? Change.

Remember, you’re only toxic because you want your self-made “reality” to be other people’s reality as well. “Misery loves company” as they say and the key to happiness is to look beyond yourself and look towards the betterment and well-being of those around you.

That’s when you not only learn to help others; you end up helping yourself along the way.

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