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Have you ever heard the saying, the key to overcoming a problem is to admit that you have one in the first place? Often, in the aftermath of trauma, brokenness or crisis… you may find yourself feeling alone and left to pick up the pieces all by yourself. Even if it’s circumstantial, you are toxic at that moment and likely not open to receiving help.
We realize that you may be easing into this article with the suspicion that you could have a toxic personality and seeing how you may change that. So, in this article, we will discuss, “What is a toxic personality?” and explore how to stop being toxic with 15 helpful steps.
What is a Toxic Personality?
A toxic personality is a negative personality. This type of personality can be generally unsupportive and exhibit disrespectful and unpleasant behavior. In addition, other toxic personality traits include a controlling nature, manipulative character, and a self-centered attitude.
When you are toxic, it’s all about you. A toxic personality spins a conversation to be about or reflect on themselves. For instance, a person could explain a tragic event to a toxic person and how traumatic it was. However, rather than showing empathy for a person, toxic people will tell of their own traumatic event as if to outdo the other person. Simply put, toxic people make a competition out of pain.
When you have toxic behavior, you require your spouse or significant other to put your feelings above theirs. Little do you realize; it gets to the point that they feel they are losing a part of themselves.
If this type of behavior sounds like you, there is always an opportunity to change.
You may be exhibiting toxic behavior due to past traumatic situations or harmful behaviors you saw displayed by others of influence in your life. For instance, a parent left when you were a child, or you’ve suffered years of mistreatment for no reason.
Pouring your all into relationships, home situations or systems – with anything but heartache and abuse in return – can lead to an inability to forgive. This lack of forgiveness turns into bitterness… and bitterness into toxic behavior. But there are ways to get away from this and distance yourself from the people who hurt you in order to heal.
When you are toxic, it ruins personal relationships and friendships and hurts you professionally. The people in your life will seek to avoid all the negativity you give via guilt trips, backhanded compliments and jealousy. It is hard loving and living with a toxic person who always finds fault in everything you do and appears to be very dramatic.
Toxic behavior spills out into your personal life, causing domestic issues… which can even overflow onto social media and, worse case, may even involve law enforcement.
Toxic people who are insensitive to the needs of others simply don’t play well with others. It creates chaos in the workplace, and no matter how qualified or skilled you are, supervisors simply don't want the drama of a toxic person in the workplace. The longer they keep someone toxic, the more non-toxic employees they lose. If no one wants to work with you, or you have trouble getting along with everyone you work with, you just may be toxic.
Being toxic is just not a good way to live. So, you need to stop… and here is how!
15 Steps to Stop Being a Toxic Person
1. Let go of your ego.
We often hold on to bad behavior because we are too prideful to admit we are toxic and need help. To stop being harmful, we must lay aside the thoughts of why we are so important and look at how we are affecting those around us.
2. Become a better listener.
When your spouse has a rough day or your friend calls you to vent, just listen. We all need someone who will just let us get our feelings out without judgment or blame.
3. Think before you give a reaction.
Toxic people tend to think before you speak. So make a conscious effort to think about making wholesome and productive comments to someone without angering them or making them feel worse than they already do.
4. Reach out to someone you know is hurting.
Show some humanity by reaching out to comfort someone you know may be struggling at the moment.
5. Assume the positivity in others.
Not everyone is out to get you or take advantage of you. Take time to give people the “benefit of the doubt.”
Their intentions may be for your good, not harming, criticizing, or judging you.
6. Remember, your job is not to change a person.
You can support and offer solicited advice, but it is vital to remember that it's not your job to fix someone. Most want your ear and compassion as you support them but not trying to fix them.
7. Desire to see everyone win.
Strive to see the enjoyment in everyone doing well and thriving. Give sincere compliments to others. You don’t have to be jealous of anyone.
8. Be fully aware of yourself.
Take note of how you may be feeling at the moment. If you are angry, frustrated, or depressed. Then consider if hurting another person will genuinely make your issues go away. We must be aware of our influence and stop ourselves before we hurt others.
9. Take time for self-care.
Often when we are toxic, it can be because we are stressed and just need to tender, loving, care, and rest to get us mentally back on track. Read a book, go fishing, or a walk to clear your mind and put you in a state of peace. Everyone can benefit from less stress.
10. Get professional help.
It may be time to call up a psychiatrist if you have issues overcoming toxic behaviors on your own. They can help you get to the root of the problem and take steps toward healing and fixing relationships.
11. Look at how it is affecting those around you.
Take note of how your spouse, children, family, and co-workers act around you. Does it seem they are avoiding you or seem uncomfortable in your presence? When you see their discomfort, think of previous interactions with them and strive to treat them differently. Lastly, you could even try printing worksheets to help you develop and maintain healthy relationships.
12. Apologize to those you have hurt.
Apologize to family, friends, or co-workers you know have been victims of your temper, hurtful words, and all-around negativity. Let them know you are trying to do better in the future.
13. Live by the golden rule.
Start doing unto others as you would desire for them to do unto you. You don’t like negativity when you accomplish good things.
You don’t like it when your good is always evil spoken of as if you can do nothing right. So, treat others better. You’ll see a change in relationships around you.
14. Be honest.
A toxic trait of many is to lie. But, just tell the truth, people will be more comfortable around those whom they trust.
15. Remember, others have preferences too.
Everything doesn’t have to go your way. Consider others' feelings and stop manipulating others into seeing things your way or doing what you prefer. Show others around you that you value them as a person, and their ideas are not worthless.
Final Thoughts on 15 Steps to Stop Being a Toxic Person
If, after reading this article, you’ve realized you are not toxic… great! Maybe you were just having a bad week, or month. Chalk it up to a blip on the radar… and simply add it to the list of life mistakes you’ll learn and grow from.
However, if you are still having doubts, you can take our toxic person test to see if your behavior is unhealthy to those around you. The last thing you want is to unintentionally go through life ruining relationships… especially when you can change your course. The power is in you!
However, if you realize you just may be a toxic person, don't worry; because now you know how to stop being toxic, and it's never too late to change. You just need a good plan and support system to guide you through the process. This article is a great tool to help you plan. But being open with your close loved ones and friends about your desire to change may give you the grace to keep going when you fail and support from them to become more patient with you during the process.