What can you do to determine if you are the toxic one once and for all: Action Items

In our last post for Season 1, we are going to cover two different action items you can pursue to make progress on your journey to determining once and for all if you are the toxic one. 

How badly do you need to know?

To determine once and for all if you are the toxic one requires seeking help from mental health professionals. That is an investment bot of time and most likely at least some money. In order to know if that kind of investment is justified for you right now, we need to take a look at how badly you really want to know the answer to "Am I the toxic one?" 

This activity comes in a three-step process. 

(1) Free Write - Just let yourself stream of consciousness respond to the following prompts. 

  • How different would my life be if I had an answer to this question?
  • How much peace would knowing the answer bring me?
  • Will knowing the answer help me make informed decisions in the future? Do I want to be able to make those kind of informed decisions?
  • Would knowing this answer help my friends and family understand me better?
  • Am I prepared to hear the final answer?
  • How much effort am I willing to dedicate to finding the answer?
  • How much time and money am I willing to spend to find the answer?

(2) Synthesize - Once you have answers to all those smaller questions, I want you to step back and try to write a few sentences on this question: Am I ready to settle once and for all if I am a toxic person? 

(3) Plan

If you are ready, then bust out your calendar and schedule in the time needed to do the following: 

  • Identify at least two mental health professionals you would like to work with
  • Call their offices and schedule the appointments
  • Budget so that you have the funds needed when the appointment time comes

If you are not ready, then bust out your calendar and schedule in the time needed to

  • Reflect on why this question seemed so important to you at first
  • Identify concrete things you can do to address some of the reasons you were worried about this question
  • Make a plan for completing those concrete things.

Make the Case for Yourself 

Remember that only a mental health professional can officially diagnose someone with a personality disorder. However, if you are seriously worried that you have a personality disorder, then it makes sense to get some of your thoughts organized.

We are going to lay out the reasons you believe you may have a personality disorder. That will have two benefits for you

1. You’ll be able to explain to the mental health professional you may eventually work with more about your thinking on the topic.

2. You will get all of those different worries you’ve had floating around your head out on paper and you won’t need to keep revisiting them for fear of forgetting them.

First, you need to brain dump your answer to this question: What do you think it means to be a toxic person? You can use some formal tools like the DSM if that informs your thinking. You can use some of the ideas that you have gathered from your time on the internet. You can also pull on your personal experiences working with folks you thought were toxic. Whatever sources you pull on, just try to write down everything you think makes a toxic person toxic. 

Next, you need to go through each item and ask yourself if you participate in that problematic behavior. Try to be as specific as you can as you go through the list. This means giving specific examples of situations where you acted like a toxic person. The more specific you are, the more you can have an informative conversation with a mental health professional. 

Finally, its time to write up a summary. This involves taking a bit of a step back. You've just created a long list of specifics, and now we need to try to see what all of that meant for our big question. 

Try to write just one paragraph answering the question "Am I the toxic one?" You'll want to include a direct yes or no to the question. Then I want you to identify at least 3 reasons that you think you are or are not a toxic person. All of the work you did making that big list was generating a bunch of different reasons. Here you should select the three strongest reasons you think best support your answer to this question. 

Now remember, this is not a diagnostic tool. If you do your analysis and you come to the conclusion that you are a toxic person, that does not mean that you are actually a toxic person. There are good reasons we should not rely on self-diagnosis when it comes to these kinds of things. You need the perspective of an expert who has studied mental health for their entire career to confidently know.

This exercise is specifically designed to help give you some structure to your own thinking about this question. You can use this information to help guide a conversation you may have with a mental health professional in the future. 

As always, I want you to remember a few things as you are completing these action items. First, it is normal for human beings to occasionally engage in toxic behaviors. Next, please be mindful of your own mental health and emotional needs as you complete these action items.  

In our next post, we will begin working through Season 2! If you want to stay up to date with all of new content and help vote for topics we will cover in the future, be sure to give us a follow over on Instagram! I regularly get input on topics to cover in our stories!  


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