Are you a toxic person?

City built over toxic waste dump

In the 1900’s there was a canal built in the Niagara Falls region. It was originally built as the site for a dream community. The site was called love canal. It was chosen because of it’s location to the falls. This would provide an unlimited source of hydroelectric power. In 1910 Tesla created the alternating current system which allows electrical current to travel great distances. Love canal could not make it past the new technology and thus failed.

In the 1920’s it was turned into a municipal and chemical dumpsite. Company’s dumped and dumped chemicals, waste, and trash at this site for years. One day the filled up the canal with dirt and sold the land for $1. In the 1950’s the city built 100 homes and a school. For a while this worked well. Then in 1978 the proverbial bombshell was dropped.

The EPA Journal posted that many of these canals were nothing more then ticking time bombs. Any moment they could cause massive amounts of sickness and damage. As the story goes, a strong series of rainstorms caused the downward spiral and the leaching began. You could see corroded waste-disposal drums pushing up through the ground in backyards. Trees and garden were turning black and dying. One swimming pool was elevated out of it’s structure and floated on a puddle of chemicals. You could see puddles of toxic chemicals in peoples yards. The worse of it all were that children would return from play with chemical burns on their hands and face.  Children born with birth defects. Sickness and death were abound.

The whole tragedy could have been adverted.

We have become a wasteland 

I think the true story above is a sobering illustration for our own lives. Each of us have dreams and hopes for the future. Each of us desire the best out of life. A great number of us has experienced times when something happened and it derailed us from our purpose and potential.  Something that caused us to stop dead in our tracks.

Instead of thriving after the incident we fell apart. What could have been salvaged is now left to rot. I am speaking about our emotions. That which is under the surface. How many of you guys have had that happen to you? You have had something come into your life that just rocked your world and ultimately derailed you? Something that you never recovered from.

Then we go through life just surviving. We try to build things in our lives to see if we can truly live again. However, so many of us have never dealt with the underlining issues. Instead of building something healthy in our lives we have built a facade. We built something that looks healthy, but underneath is a time bomb waiting for a place to go off.

In truth, the painful emotions that we have been hiding have began to leach out. They are starting to surface and people are starting to get hurt. In essence, we have became a toxic individuals. We have never dealt with the real issues, only hid them, and now they want out.

We all have the potential to be toxic

Before I give you the list of what can potentially make us toxic I would like to give you some encouragement and context. The things in this blog are written from a a decade of ministry, over 3 decades of life experience and observation, and my own junk. These observations are not about any one person, but a series of life experiences.

If you find that many of these things hit home in your life then it is time to seek help. It is time to get before God and ask for His direction in your personal life. Your health depends on it. Your relationships depends on it. Your relationship with God depends on it. It is that important.

Emotionally Toxic people are emotionally and mentally unhealthy and can make other’s unhealthy around them. Ultimately pushing everyone away, blaming it on others, and complaining that they are the only one who gets it. This even goes for their relationship with God.

Here is your guideline to see if you are toxic 

They are very Manipulative

Manipulation is a way to covertly influence someone through indirect, deceptive, or abusive tactics. Manipulation can seem friendly, flattering, or harmless, but in reality it is designed to reach an ulterior motive. This is one of the most prevalent marks of toxicity.

People who are manipulative will oftentimes be people who get close to you, learn about you, become “friends” or some other form of relational connection, and then start to play on your emotions in order to get what they want out of you. This is a very selfish individual who may believe that have your best interest at heart.

Manipulation comes in many forms. I have had people try to emotionally manipulate me. They would either play the victim or they would always be hurt. Why? So I can encourage them and build them up. I have had people read my texts to other people and then come back to me trying to come back to me and play “dumb” as they argued from a position of superiority in attempts to trap me into something. One of the worst manipulation that ever happened to me is when I was in 4th-5th grade. I was in “love” with this girl. She knew it. She played on those emotions. Why? To manipulate me and make me vulnerable. She tore me apart through manipulation and opened me up to some of the most severe bullying I had ever experienced.

They are in a place of extreme desperation 

Desperation is a state of despair that results in rash or extreme behavior.

Desperate people are people who are often very clingy. If something doesn’t go their way they feel like everything in their world is falling apart and they have to do anything they can to save it. I find people who live in desperation are often people who have sever trust issues and little to no self esteem. These are people who will go to great lengths to keep what they have.

One of the best examples I have comes from a few years back. I knew this person who got close to me. There was a steadiness in my pattern of living. We would shoot texts back and forth. We would engage in some decent conversations. Then everything in my life began to change. My life was increasingly putting more and more demands on my time. I had to stop communicating with people as much. This person took it personally. They didn’t trust our relationship. They had little to no self esteem. I would even say that they had co-dependency tendencies.  Long story short, they became desperate. They kept trying to grasp for a relationship that they believed was ending. I would get increased communication. I started getting accusations. It was all a desperate attempt to keep what they believed was a lost relationship. In reality, it wasn’t lost just changing. They couldn’t handle that.

They are shrouded in negative and judgmental emotions. 

A toxic person is shrouded in negative judgmental emotions. If you are a person who is rarely known for giving kind and uplifting words then this is you. If you “think” you are very encouraging and uplifting try asking someone who is willing to be honest with you. You may hear a different story. Bottom line is that toxic people are known to be pessimists who cynically judge the world according to their standards. They judge to the point that it removes the joy out of things.  They create their own storms and then get mad when it rains.

I have known people that have never had nice words to say about people. They have complained to me about people that I have never even met. When you bring up ideas to them you are met with untrusting, uncertain, insecure, and oft times cynical behavior that it becomes very draining to be around them.

The people they deem “worthy” will be spared their verbalization of their judgement, but make no mistake they have still judged you. In their hearts and minds they have passed their judgement. They are only waiting for you to do what they already thought you would.

They are extreme in their emotions and very possessive

One of the possible markers of a toxic person is the unsteadiness of their emotional expressions. One moment they seem happy, but the next they are almost depressed. It could have been triggered by something you said or did. It could also be triggered by a lifetime of pain and hurt brought on by no reason whatsoever.

One of the markers of a healthy individual is consistency and stability in their emotions. Consistency and stability allows trust to be built. Basically, I never have to be afraid of what version of you I am getting in that moment. I should know what to expect when dealing with you. Even when we are emotional, broken, or discouraged there should be a reassurance that I don’t have to be afraid of what you are going to do.

The other side of this is Jealousy and envy.  A toxic person will be insanely jealous of anyone who they feel is getting more time with you are then they did. They will feel very dejected and down when you haven’t contacted them in a short time period. They will become very angry when you are close to someone more then you are close to them.  They will be desperate to know who you are spending your time with, what you are saying, and how they other person responds. Because in reality they believe that you belong to them.

They are there under false pretense

Red flags should be flying when someone approaches you under the pretense that it is their mission to protect you. Their reason? They believe that your judgement is off. This is an indicator that they believe that their judgement somehow is more solid then yours.

Toxic people misrepresent themselves. They are only showing you what they want you to see. There is very little “real” to their story. They have built their lives around a persona that suits their needs and then continually act it out in front of others.

The Skinny

This list isn’t exhaustive.  We could talk about so many other things that could fall into this topic. We could share about how toxic people are full of pride and are good at deflecting blame. We could bring up more on how toxic people do not like the people closest to you.

We could say so much else, but there is 1 bottom line: You need to remove toxic people from your life. It is unloving to yourself to keep them in your life. Don’t feel bad about it. One of two things are going to happen. You are going to change them or they will change you. The reality? I have never really seen a healthy person change a toxic person. Know why? Either the healthy person become unhealthy (Toxic people are good at bringing out the toxic in others) or the toxic individual leaves because they cannot handle being around healthy people.

Truth: people who surround themselves with emotionally toxic friends, but think nothing is wrong with them is living a fantasy. If your circle of friends are unhealthy and toxic individuals you are not the diamond in the rough. You are the coal amongst other pieces of coal. You have just convinced yourself that you are somehow different.

Bonus: If you were offended by this blog chances are you may be toxic!