Toxic People VS Toxic Behavior: Theory

Welcome to the first week of Season 1 "Am I the Toxic One?" 

In this post, we are going to focus on the theory behind our first subtopic "Toxic People versus Toxic Behavior"

To start, it's important to note how I use the word "toxic." In everyday life, we use the term toxic to describe a wide range of problematic behavior. When I talk about "toxic people" I am being more specific. I use that phrase as a blanket term for folks who fall into the Cluster B personality disorders group. These folks have serious mental health problems and should be under the care of a team of licensed mental health professionals. A few examples of Cluster B disorders are Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. 

With that on the table, we can now unpack our main question "Am I the toxic one?" If you are thinking about this question and your concern is that you are a toxic person, then you are wondering if you suffer from one of the Cluster B personality disorders. But that may not be the only way to unpack this question. 

This is where we need to make a distinction between a toxic person and toxic behaviors. 

Toxic behaviors are actions that: (1) cause harm to folks involved and (2) ultimately undermine the actor's overall quality of life. 

Everyone occassionally engages in toxic behavior. Toxic people engage in these behaviors to a much greater extend than non-toxic people. 

So another way to understand the question "Am I the toxic one" is "Am I engaging in toxic behaviors in a way that is preventing me from living the life that I want to live? 

The major difference between someone who occasionally engages in toxic behaviors and someone that is actually toxic is how widespread and disruptive those toxic behaviors are. If someone consistently engages in very disruptive toxic behaviors, then they are more likely to be a toxic person. 

Toxic people struggle to live a functional well-balanced life because this engagement in toxic behaviors dominates the way they relate to the world. These behaviors are often so natural for toxic people that they often fail to notice that these actions are problematic in any way. 

For folks who occasionally engage in toxic behavior, we sometimes do things that cause harm to others and get in the way of our quality of life. It's pretty common for folks to sometimes engage in these behaviors. Typically, we notice, at least upon reflection, that we are engaging in these kinds of behaviors because they are not the typical way we approach difficult situations. 

If you want to see a more complete breakdown of this week's subtopic, be sure to check out our first episode over on youtube. If you'd like to listen to a discussion of this topic, be sure to check out our podcast. Finally, if you aren't already following us over on Instagram, be sure to give us a follow @empowermentthroughthought




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