Toxic behaviour. This is something that we read about quite a lot these days, in fact, it’s quite a regular thing that we bring up in conversations isn’t it?
I love the progression we have had over the past decade alone, where there are more open conversations about mental health, what is acceptable and unacceptable in relationships/families/friendships, but the one thing I don’t see enough of: people admitting to and acknowledging their own toxic behaviour.
Fun fact: we have all been a toxic person either to ourselves or someone else.
(Let’s be honest: we have definitely been toxic to someone else one way or another).
It’s okay. None of us are perfect. We are human, we live and we learn. But in order to grow and be the better person you wanna be, you need to address the toxicity and lose it.
To make this a bit more personal, I’m going to take this time on this post to talk about my own personal life and experience with my own toxic behaviours…
It is no secret that I have had a lot of mental health battles since as far as I can remember. One thing I am quite upfront about as well is that, I spent most of my life being desperate to be liked by other people and loved by men. What does this have to do with a post about toxic behaviours? Everything.
I cringe now when I think back to some things I did to myself and other people over the years. It’s literally no wonder some guys I dated don’t talk to me (although in a lot of cases with my exes – they were the toxic ones but we won’t go there), I found myself in this never ending pit of desire to just be ‘cool’. I was never cool or popular growing up, and my quest for validation made me very toxic at certain points in my life.
Emotional abuse and gaslighting were two things as an example that I found myself doing in some relationships to a degree. Without actually acknowledging I was doing it. I remember being in this situation where I was so desperate to be loved by someone, have an endgame plan and be the love of someone’s life that I didn’t care what I said or did, my main goal was to make them stay no matter what. I remember in my late teens (or early 20’s, they all blur into one), I did the whole ‘oh my god if you broke up with me I don’t know what I’d do, I think I would just kill myself’ line. That literally makes me shiver as I write it. It’s sickening.
In my head back then, it was just this very odd way of me trying to be all like ‘you’re my world’, while at the same time encouraging him not to leave me. ‘Encouraging’ being a loose naive word here because we all know that’s not what this is.
In a lot of friendships too, I found myself getting so defensive about things I had done wrong. Doing the whole okay yeah, I was a shit friend there, but you made me go to that level because you did this.
I’m not proud of those parts of my history where I enacted these toxic traits. But I also don’t regret having them. I know that sounds weird, but it’s not because I think being a toxic person is cool or that we should all gaslight each other. It’s because I love myself so much more now for having that progression.
I have acknowledged I have not been the best person in a lot of situations, I’ve learnt from that and I have changed the game for myself. I also now know how to recognise a lot of toxic behaviours in others around me that I used to think were normal.
Sometimes it’s down to the upbringing you have, sometimes it’s the friends you associate with, there are a lot of things out there that encourage how you react to things. To me, I think it was a bit of everything. But most of all, it all stemmed from this complete desperation to be the most liked person, or the hot guys girlfriend. Or whatever ‘cool’ was back then.
It does not make any of the behaviours okay. It is never okay to behave in a toxic way to others or to try and manipulate or upset others. But we are human. We make mistakes.
I know I am not perfect. I will never be perfect. But I love myself so much now, I love the journey I’ve been on – even though some of it has been shit. I love the people I choose to be around. I love love. I love that I am finally (after thirty five fucking years) comfortable in my own skin.
And part of what got me to this point, was going through the shit times, reacting to them in the only ways back then I knew how, and then acknowledging what’s right and wrong and changing for the better.
We should always be putting ourselves first but we should not be hurting other people intentionally in the process.
I hope this post has not been a complete bunch of garbage to read, and that some people out there may actually be able to relate to what I’ve said. Just remember: it is never too late to learn from our mistakes and grow. 🌷