I hate to admit it, but I used to be a toxic friend.
The woe is me, glass is always half empty, feigned happiness friend. The chronic complainer that never seemed to have anything positive to say but you tolerated her anyway friend.
That was me.
At the time, I was going through a quarter life crisis that seemed to last five years too long. There, I made some of the worst decisions in my life that costed me friendships, jobs, and ultimately, it cost me myself.
Imagine looking in the mirror one day and not recognizing the reflection staring back at you.
In our lives, we may reach a point where we are our own archenemy. Be it a failed relationship, trauma, losing a job, falling out with family or friends – anything can happen to change our behaviors drastically. The deep rooted negative vibes, the black energy, clogged chakra thing eclipsing your positive energy is your accountability radar going unchecked.
When you stop to listen, it's telling you that you are ruining your life, and consequently, sucking the life out of those around you. Beloved, you have become toxic.
My come to Jesus moment came in the form a friend whose trust I betrayed. He made me face the music and held me accountable for my actions and their consequences. I was forced to be better.
It's tough to hear and you probably didn't notice just how bad it was, but the people around you do, and if you don't check it – and soon – this behavior will create more havoc in your life than the Mayhem man from the Allstate commercial. Toxic lifestyles work for no one. Ever.
The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. And in order to admit you have a problem, you have to recognize what the signs are. Some are subtle, others not so much. Get ready to check yourself, boo.
1. You've Become the Negative Nancy in Conversations
Casual conversations about the weather, sports, or some viral video about cute kittens all trigger the same response from you. A tangent of negative criticism that, more or less, has nothing to do with the conversation at hand. You want to be a part of the conversation, but you cannot help but to have a fierce case of the negatives that spew with the intensity of a fire-breathing dragon.
2. You're the Epitome of a Short Fuse
Everything irritates you. EVERY. THING. The sound of cotton drying. The way people chew – well, that can be annoying, but for you it's 100x worse. People walking too fast or too slow, getting a medium fry when you ordered a small. Even the very sound of your voice can cause you to blow a fuse.
3. You've Become Petty Petisha and the Queen of Mess
You are not satisfied unless someone is swallowing a bitter pill, especially one that you have to give them. No shade left un-thrown, no curve left ungiven, and no means to an end of the drama that you bring with you. Some people find you entertaining, but others rue the moment you entered the room.
4. It Takes Battle Royale to Admit You're Wrong
It's a tough spot for many but you take the whole "never having to admit you're wrong" bit to a whole other level. You step on a crack and blame your shadow for blocking the light. You add salt to your tea instead of sugar and you blame the seasoning for looking similar. You break trusts and ruin friendships, and everyone is to blame but yourself. There's no end to the sword slinging deflection you'll use to avoid saying you're wrong.
5. You've Got More Rain Checks Than Lauryn Hill Ticket Holders
Dinner with the girlfriends at your favorite spot, rain check. Brunch with your cousins from out of town, rain check. Movies with your best friend to see the new Marvel flick, rain check. Friends and family curve you, but have never given thoughtful and logical reasoning for not wanting your company. Your invites to hang out and fellowship with friends quickly become rain checks or no invite at all.
6. You've Gone From Popular to Blocked
Your status updates are brooding, melodramatic, and all have the makes of a Shakespearean tragedy and your followers are just about fed up. You're a virtual vibe killer, with your life-loathing statuses taunting and harassing those that just want to see cute kittens and hilarious puppies on their timeline. You're a full-on buzz kill.
7. You Have An Involuntary Abundance of "Me" Time
Before you would have to set aside a set amount of time per month or per week to have your "me" time. Now you have more time than you know what to do with. Your social calendar is not popping. Your recent call list is abnormally dry. And you retreat to your hallowed halls like Bruce Wayne to the Batcave when he wants to obsess over his latest arch nemesis. Wednesday Addams is the poster child of extroverts compared to you.
8. You're A Grudge Holding Curmudgeon
Along with your short fuse, you have the memory of an elephant and the stubbornness of a mule. Anyone that allegedly does anything against you feels your wrath. Someone accidentally steps on your pumps, they're on the list. Someone gives you blue cheese instead of ranch dressing – on the list. Someone gets stuck in traffic and is late to dinner, on the list. Mole hills become mountains and you become the hermit that dwells there.
When it comes to curbing toxic behavior, the thing that matters even more than examining your own behaviors is getting to the root of your issues. Discovering your "why" alongside the "how". Why are you dwelling in and acting out negative energy? What happened that put a full stop on the way you show up in the world? What or whom has made you so unhappy?
Visit those feelings and discover what they mean by understanding the hurt you feel at its root.
Be cognizant of triggers and how you react to them and those around you. How you show up to people determines how they will react. Is there a shift in the atmosphere when you are present? Does the mood change? You have to be conscious of the energy, or rather the message that you send, when you share the same space with others.
Check your pride and ego at the door.
Featured image by Giphy