It’s common to hear about romantic relationships that get tainted by toxic behaviors. However, toxic behaviors don’t just come from “significant others.” They can also come from colleagues at work, people at your church, and even random people you encounter as you go about your day.
No matter what form they take, toxic behaviors are never acceptable.
Here are ten common toxic behaviors you should not tolerate:
One of the most amazing things in life is that we can change our appearance. Whether it’s gaining or losing weight, choosing a new hairstyle, or getting a tattoo, people frequently change the way they look throughout their lives. But whether you’re trying to change how your body looks or not, body shaming is something you should never accept. Anybody who’d criticize your appearance or attempt to make you feel bad about the way you look doesn’t deserve to be in your life.
There are many different forms. For example, “kink-shaming” derides the fetishes or sexual idiosyncrasies people enjoy. “Slut-shaming” judges people for the frequency at which they engage in sexual behavior. But your sex life is yours alone. As long as the intimate activities involve consenting adult participants, it’s nobody else’s business to judge you or anybody else for what goes on in the bedroom.
One-upmanship is the competitive attempt to gain a feeling or appearance of superiority over somebody else. And we’ve all encountered a one-upper at some point or other. Usually, this takes the form of just talking up their own accomplishments and talents to make themselves look better than you. Not only is it annoying, but it’s also pretty toxic, too. One-uppers are best left behind.
People who belittle your achievements are somewhat similar to one-uppers. But instead of attempting to make themselves appear superior due to their own experiences and accomplishments, belittlers try to cut others down to their level. But people who downplay your achievements aren’t worth your respect, energy, time, or love.
Simply put, abuse is not acceptable behavior. Though it stems from a complicated variety of sources, it’s something that should be tolerated. Abuse can come from anybody, including family members, friends, or colleagues at work. There are many different types of abuse, including verbal, emotional, sexual, and physical. No matter the reason or the source, abuse is a toxic behavior, and you shouldn’t tolerate it from anybody.
Gaslighting is the psychological manipulation of another person leading them to question their sanity and the reality in which they exist. This disorients the victim and forces them to depend on the abuser. Gaslighting is often practiced by toxic romantic partners, but other people also attempt to use this form of manipulation. Gaslighting may be difficult to identify because it ranges from relatively minor behavior, such as an abuser denying past abuse, to more significant and involved schemes such as the staging of elaborate situations.
Jealousy is a common feeling that everybody experiences at one time or another. So, experiencing jealous thoughts doesn’t automatically make someone a toxic person. But when their jealousy motivates behaviors such as manipulation or abuse, there’s no doubt it’s toxic. This type of jealousy should be cut out of your life as soon as possible.
- Disrespecting boundaries
Disrespecting boundaries people have established for the people in their lives manifests in a few different ways. It can be something as petty as a neighbor who borrows something of yours without asking your permission, or something more intimidating, such as somebody who physically invades your personal space. All of us have probably crossed boundaries that somebody else has set, but we usually didn’t mean to. Once you’ve established your boundaries, a person who continues to cross them is behaving in a toxic way.
- Downplaying your experiences.
Our experiences in life mean everything to us. The things we’ve gone through in life determine much of who we are. Downplaying your experiences can come in the form of ignoring or dismissing your guidance, advice, or directions. Or, the other person may insist that their experiences are somehow better than or superior to yours. Don’t let anybody make it seem as though your experiences don’t matter or aren’t important.
Everybody should have the opportunity to say their piece and speak their truth. That’s why constantly interrupting others is a profoundly toxic behavior. Interrupting forms a noxious conversational framework, whether the offender simply doesn’t care about what you have to say, or is obviously impatient for their opportunity to speak again. Conversationally assert yourself over habitual interrupters. Tell them that it isn’t okay for them to butt in and that you have more to say.
It’s virtually instinctive to tolerate toxic behaviors from the people we love and to rationalize it in ourselves. But each toxic behavior we encounter sucks a little more joy out of our lives. So, find joy again. Stop putting up with toxic behavior.