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"toxic" people and relationships

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  • I don't really hear that term much, but it makes me think of a chemical that has a deleterious effect on the health of anyone that comes in contact with it. I imagine a "toxic" person would have the same effect to the life of those around them. It would be more than just a bad break here and there. That can happen to anyone. And we can all make decisions we regret that can hurt those we love. But a person with a life course and pattern of bad choices that negatively affects them and those around them would merit the label, I imagine. Contact with them brings more harm than benefit.

    I don't have anyone in my life like this. I try very hard to think about the outcome my decisions will have on myself and others and I hope that no one views me as toxic. I do have family like this and I've had friends like this. I just limit contact with them just like I would radiation or harsh chemicals. Every second spent with them is a risk that you'll be sucked into a cyclone of stupidity.
    "Those sowing seed with tears
    Will reap with a joyful shout." - Psalm 126

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    • I've known toxic people: I just don't get involved with them. I steer well clear. There are all kinds of people in the world and many I don't agree with and will never be friends with. I have had some people hate me, but I don't play their games. I can't change other people and am not going to endure anything they want to dish out. Anyhow, toxic people do need to just be ignored, if possible. I wouldn't confront the person but would simply not talk to them.

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      • I know I'm not toxic. I internalize most any negativity I experience so that it isn't projected onto those around me. I make it a point to smile a lot and am known for it. As a result, I have very little patience for toxicity from others. It is one of the main reasons I cut ties with the friend I posted about (my deceased boyfriends mother). She seems to have periods of times she does better, but or the most part she is negative and finds ways to inject negativity into almost any discussion. I know with certainty she speaks negatively about me behind my back and then tries to speak negatively about others to me. I just have no time for that. I can actually FEEL the toxicity injecting into my veins when I am in those situation. I have to mentally tell myself not to let it absorb. It doesn't matter to me what someone's reason is for being toxic. We all go through tough times in life.

        Wondering if you're a toxic one? My suggestion is to make it a point to smile more, even if it's not your nature to do so. Find things that make you laugh and shed happy tears (Love What Matters on Facebook is a great one!) and interject those into your day, every day. Those types of things help to remind me how many great people there are out there, how beautiful things are, how good life is and that helps negate cynicism developed through tough times. Additionally, it is fine to have those close who you vent with (like all of us here do with each other!) but if you find that the majority of your conversations involve you wallowing in some sort of self pity or negativity, recognize it when you're doing it and steer yourself in a new direction.

        Kitty, just from what I have seen from you here, I would not even be able to stretch and say you're a toxic person. And most importantly, I think because you don't want to be one, you will not be. You are too self aware.
        "Be what you're looking for."

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        • Thanks for that BD. I don't think I am but I guess I wonder sometimes, the reason for certain things.

          I think I will ask a friend of mine that I've known for several years now. He is honest and he would be that one person who would tell me if he thinks that, or saw any indication of that. We've been brutally honest with each other before, and I know he'd tell me straight.

          I think my mother is toxic and I realized the depth of that over Christmas. My sister and I had a conversation in which she confessed how much she thinks she's becoming more like Mom, even though she's always favored Dad.

          It's terrifying to me...as that is so far from how I view myself and how I've tried to live. It's the things that we don't know that creep up and guide us sometimes in a path we may not realize we're walking down.

          As for my mother, do I just let the relationship die?

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          • Originally posted by atskitty2 View Post

            As for my mother, do I just let the relationship die?
            Could you just put the relationship in a different place? Maybe not let it die, but relocate its importance level and your expectations of it?

            "Be what you're looking for."

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            • Well, she's not speaking to me. I don't know whether to attempt to reconcile and THEN relocate it, as you say, or should I just leave it alone. I don't think I can be at peace with myself if I don't make an effort to make this right. Then, I also know, there's no making things right with her. There's never been any way to talk to her, and now, I suspect it will be worse, as she has diminished mental function, some dementia at play or something.

              I just don't know if I can go forward, and she'll eventually pass away, and I've left this chasm between us, unbridged. She's 80. I feel like I need to try, yet I know, it won't work. She thinks what she thinks, there's no reasoning with her. There's no discussion, or effort on her part. She's the victim. Now I'm the bad guy too. In her mind, I've chosen Dad over her and that's what she thinks, so I'm to be forgotten. There really can be no in between with her.

              I'd hoped that this would just blow over, but it came to a point where I had to speak my mind, and I did, in not such a gentle manner. My SIL said, it had to come out-all of you need to get it out.
              I think there's a good book on toxic parenting, I may swing by the library today and pick it up.

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              • Originally posted by atskitty2 View Post
                Well, she's not speaking to me. I don't know whether to attempt to reconcile and THEN relocate it, as you say, or should I just leave it alone. I don't think I can be at peace with myself if I don't make an effort to make this right. Then, I also know, there's no making things right with her.
                you could apologize to her in person even though knowing you will not get anything back from her, so you at least can be at peace

                also, forgive yourself but also forgive her
                do what you need to do to be at peace with yourself before she's no longer here

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                • I like the idea of apologizing.

                  Not necessarily because you've done anything wrong, but a perceived wrong is just as bad isn't it? Have you ever tried saying, "Mom, I love you and I am truly sorry for anything I have ever done to cause you even an ounce of hurt."

                  "Be what you're looking for."

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                  • My plan is to apologise for the way I spoke to her, not for what I said.

                    I don't think that will be acceptable to her, so I am trying to decide what to say when it descends into the heap of poo that these discussions always do with her. I'm waiting until I'm calm and over the strong feelings I have, so I don't have another outburst.

                    I guess, really, what is happening here is that I'm trying to come to grips with the fact that I have probably lost my relationship with my mom.
                    She just is not a forgiving person and she is mean and heartless enough to leave it this way.

                    I think I am having trouble accepting that this is actually my mom. She could actually turn her back on me this way. It's really hard and right now I think I just need more time. If I saw her today or called her and she started up, I don't think I am strong enough to maintain my tongue.
                    I've tried to believe it's the dementia, but, this isn't new behavior for her.

                    I plan to ask my brother and sister-in-law for their thoughts. My SIL saw the interaction between mom and me that day, and maybe she will have some insight.

                    Comment

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