How to Stop Toxic Behavior

two women arguing

You are the architect of your life. The actions that you take, the energy you release, all of it shapes your environment. In the same way, the energy you release and accept from others also impacts you. It's the way you treat others and yourself, all wrapped up together.

Sometimes, the chaos of life throws things off balance.

That is the nature of living. Life can be unpredictable, but if you can't cope with that unpredictability, you will struggle to deal with adversity healthily. These are the moments your toxic traits tend to come out.

You may show toxic behaviors at other times, but we rely heavily on them when the chips are down.

Examples of Toxic Behavior

There are a vast number of toxic behaviors that may affect your relationships, friendships, life, and happiness. However, there is a handful that is much more common than others.

Being Mean or Cruel

The most obvious toxic behavior is the intentional infliction of hurt or harm to others. If you use your actions or words to tear someone down, that's toxic behavior.

Selfishness

If you consistently put your own needs and wants above others to the point where it is harmful to relationships or others, then it has crossed into toxicity.

Lying

It's toxic behavior to lie to avoid consequences, to make yourself look better, or to get what you want. It doesn't matter what the intent is, it breaks trust.

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Manipulation

When someone seeks to manipulate and control, it's toxic. Nobody needs the upper hand in every single interaction. This behavior can make others feel powerless, worthless, and submissive.

Excessive Use of Alcohol or Substances

This only masks the pain you're dealing with, it won't help you overcome toxicity.

Eliminating Toxic Behavior

Luckily, you have a choice. You can allow that toxicity to control you. Or you can take active steps to eliminate those behaviors from your life. If you've ever wondered if others class you as a toxic person, then these next steps are important.

Self-Awareness

You can't eliminate toxic behaviors unless you are aware of your reliance on them. You can't live a fulfilling life unless you start thinking for yourself and pay attention to the tenor of those thoughts.

Are you hurt? Are you scared? Or are you wounded or angry? Start paying attention to the signals your body sends you when you want to raise your voice or bite back.

Do you feel tension or pain? Rather than immediately lashing out at others, you need to take a moment to assess your needs. Is hurting someone back going to meet the need you feel at that moment? Or is that your pain talking?

The reason we lash out at others is that there's something lacking in our own lives or an unhealed pain.

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If you continue to marinate in pain, you will continue to hurt others, whether you're cognizant of that or not. You can either learn to soothe your own panic and positively impact others. Or you can cause panic and drag people down with you.

Self-Care

It can be incredibly difficult to treat others better when you feel overwhelmed or wounded. It's just as difficult to treat yourself well in those periods. However, in order to improve your ability to do both, you need to practice self-care.

How you practice self-care is your choice but take at least 20 minutes a day to do something that positively impacts your mood and stress levels. It could be meditation, it might be reading, it should be a quiet, peaceful, solitary activity.

Think about your goals and your needs and how you can serve them better. If you practice self-care, then you relieve stress, tamp down toxic behavior, and give yourself a fighting chance at serving those needs and achieving your goals.

Opposite Day

Our behavior is often habitual and as such, we behave instinctively. We don't need to think about it because it's the way it's always been. This one will take some work because you have to pay more attention to your behavior and when you feel yourself about to respond in a toxic way, you need to do the opposite.

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