This phrase has been thrown around a lot lately in my circle of friends and family. I even find myself using it to describe people and relationships in my own life, past and present. It is easy to put a label on someone or something that we don't agree with or understand, but it is harder to truly examine someone or some situation. I truly believe that I have been and am being exposed to toxic people, but I also believe that when I find someone ruffling my feathers or shaking up my comfort zone, I tend to label them as toxic. It allows me to then be the victim instead of owning my words and actions and having to make the necessary changes to my behavior. I come from a long line of martyrs and occasionally find myself gravitating toward victimization even if it is unwarranted.
So, I am more often than not, checking myself and my behaviors. Am I exhibiting toxic behavior? Am I making myself out to be a victim when I really should be owning my actions and apologizing? Do my words and actions match up or am I contradicting myself?
Sometimes I am too hard on myself. Other times I am not careful enough with what I say and how I treat people. I have found myself in a few situations lately where my words have wrecked havoc on my relationships and even though I have been quick to apologize when I realized my error or was called out on my behavior, my apologies have fallen on deaf ears. It is hard to apologize and then when it is unaccepted.....it is even harder on my heart.
By nature, I am a people pleaser and very non-confrontational. I avoid conflict with everything in me. To a fault sometimes. But, lately, I have found myself so tired of being the nice guy, letting people get away with being hurtful under the guise of honesty or letting people get away with wrong, destructive behaviors. I have spoken up and defended people lately and then later had it backfire sending hateful backlash my way. Relationships have ended or been temporarily broken and I have questioned my motives, my words and my actions.
And here is my conclusion.....
Some people are toxic. They destroy people with their words and actions. They cause people to be afraid to be honest with them and make people want to stay away from them. They want to divide and keep people/family/churches/whatever divided. They play the victims instead of owning their own behavior. They do not accept apologies because doing so takes them out of the driver's seat and would cause them to humble themselves. They are selfish and self serving. They expect things from people that they themselves would never do for anyone else. They do not like it when someone sheds light on their BS or makes them responsible for their behavior. They have to be on control of their relationships at all costs. They lie, they manipulate, they hurt the ones they love. They accuse others of being toxic when in fact they are the ones spewing forth so much toxic waste. They are quick to call others out, but do not like it when someone calls them out.
And that is not me. I lean into reconciliation. I yearn for peace and resolution. I want to love others unconditionally and want to be loved unconditionally. I pray for redemption and wholeness. I abhor dishonesty, contradiction and division.
I can be labeled as many things, but toxic is not one of them.