Toxic People VS Toxic Behavior: Action Items

This is our final installment of this week's subtopic - Toxic people versus toxic behavior. 

So far we've covered what the differences are between a toxic person and someone who occasionally engages in toxic behaviors. We've also explored a concrete example with Cindy and Jessie's party planning adventures . In this post, we are going to cover some things you can do to begin unpacking the bigger question of the month: "Am I the toxic one" 

Since the major difference between a toxic person and someone who sometimes engages in toxic behaviors is the frequency and severity of those behaviors, you need to get in touch with your relationship to toxic behavior to decide which camp you fall into. 

This week's action items come in two flavors. The first is designed to get you started on collecting some data about your own behaviors. The second is designed to help you get some outside information about your behaviors. 

Track Your Behaviors

Its hard to think back on the recent past and accurately count how many times you engaged in toxic behavior. 

To get a more objective sense of how offten you engage in these behaviors, you can track your experiences. 

Grab a pen and paper, an excel sheet, a word document or whatever you are comfortable working with. 

Over the next TWO WEEKS make a ote every time you believe you engaged in toxic behavior. 

You'll want to make a note of several things

  • what the behavior was and why you believe it was toxic
  • the consequences of that behavior
  • how you felt about the interaction

Once you have that data, its time to analyze the information. Ask yourself the following questions

  • How many times did you engage in toxic behaviors?
  • How serious were the consequences of those toxic behaviors?
  • How different would your life look if you did not engage in those toxic behaviors?

Check-in with people you trust

Tracking is an excellent start to seeing how much you engage in toxic behavior, but it can be difficult to be very objective with just your own reflections. 

Since toxic behavior includes actions that cause harm to others, it is good to check in with others about how your actions have been affecting them. Be sure to find folks you trust and who are willing, to be honest with you. 

Here are some questions you can use to guide the conversation: 

  • Have I done anything lately that has made you feel uncomfortable or frustrated?
  • Are there any habits I have that lead to me causing you harm?
  • Do you think I am respectful of your boundaries? Can you give me some examples of when I was or was not respectful?

As you go through these action items there are a few things you should try to remember. First, only a licensed mental health provider can officially diagnose anyone. Second, it is normal for human beings to occasionally engage in toxic behaviors. Third, be mindful of your own mental health and emotional needs as you complete these action items. 

If you would like to review this subtopic's content, you can find a thorough discussion in one convenient video over on our Youtube. If you'd like to listen to a discussion of these topics, be sure to head over to our podcast. And if you aren't already following us, please check us out @empowermentthroughthought



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