What does It mean if you are seriously considering if you are the toxic one? - Theory

Today's exploration of this question requires pulling on some of the BIG IDEAS from the last two weeks of this season. 

For your ease and comfort, I will briefly recap on the pieces we need to accomplish today's task. If you need a refresh on any of this stuff, I've gone ahead and include links back to those earlier posts, so feel free to click around if you find yourself feeling a bit confused. 

First off, we need to touch base with who the heck are these "toxic people." When I use the term "toxic people" as a blanket term for folks who have cluster b personality disorders. These include folks with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. 

Some of the key features of toxic people include 

  • very insecure
  • cannot tolerate crticism
  • dedicate much of their efforts to avoiding criticism by trying to control others
  • focus on creating a narrative where they are the perfect ones and everything that is bad is because of others

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Why We Wonder If We Are Toxic: Action Items

In this post, we are going to cover some things you can do in order to investigate why you might be wondering if you are the toxic one. If you'd like to know more about the theory behind these actions or learn about some examples of what this might look like, be sure to check out our earlier posts in this series! 

The first thing you can do is work on identifying the source of your questioning.

Earlier we covered that toxic people sometimes cause us to worry about our own levels of toxicity as a tactic to control us. Now, if we can identify the source behind our question "Am I the toxic one" we can sort out whether this is a question we need an answer to, or whether this is something the toxic person in our lives is using to distract us. 

The way I recommend doing this is through writing your story. Specifically, write out how you first came to wonder if you are the toxic one. 

Now here I am saying "writing" but you could also record yourself explaining your story,...

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Why We Wonder If We Are Toxic: Examples

In this installment of "Why We Wonder If We Are Toxic," I'm going to walk us through a concrete example. I've created this example based on my personal experiences and from the people I've worked with.  

For this example, we are going to have Cindy our stand in toxic person and Jessie our non-toxic person. Jessie has been in a relationship with Cindy for two months. Jessie has recently learned some about toxic people and is wondering whether Cindy might be a toxic person. Jessie decides to gently have a conversation about toxicity with Cindy. 

Jessie brings up the topic of toxicity over dinner one evening. Almost immediately, Cindy recognizes that Jessie is suggesting that she is toxic. Even before Jessie gets too many words out of his mouth, she starts to interrupt him.

Cindy begins to tell Jessie that he doesn't know what he is talking about. She then begins to give a bunch of reasons that everything Jessie just said actually applies to Jessie. Cindy is careful to...

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Why We Wonder If We Are Toxic: Theory

Welcome to Week 2 of Season 1. Our topic this month is "Am I the toxic one?" and today is our first of three posts on why we might be wondering if we are the toxic ones. In this post, we are going to cover the theoretical answer to this question. In our next post we will look at a concrete example to help make the theory stuff make a bit more sense. Finally, our last post will cover some action items you can do in order to start unpacking this question for yourself. 

To begin, we need to get in touch a bit with some of the major goals of toxic people. Toxic folks are generally very insecure. Exactly what they are insecure about varies, but in general they are not authentically confident folks. As a result, a major goal of these folks is to soothe their own insecurities. 

How do they accomplish this? Well they typically have a bunch of tools in their toolbox. Some of the most important methods include exercising control over others, asserting themselves as more important...

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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...

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Toxic People VS Toxic Behavior: Examples

Here in Season 1, we are exploring the question "Am I the Toxic One?"

For our first subtopic, we are investigating the differences between toxic people and toxic behaviors. 

In our last post we explored the theoretical differences between these two. In this post, we are going to illustrate some of those differences with some real-world examples. 

We are going to look at two different folks: Cindy, who is a toxic person, and Jessie who is not a toxic person but does engage in occassional toxic behaviors. Both Cindy and Jessie are going to be independently planning parties for the friends and coworkers.

To plan the party each of our characters will have to complete three major tasks: 

  1. Select a date, time and location for the party
  2. Get decorations and food for the party
  3. Tell party-goers about the party and collect RSVPs

Let's take a look at how Cindy, our example toxic person, manages: 

Cindy begins selecting the time, date, and location by reflecting...

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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...

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Season 1: Am I the Toxic one?

Welcome to our first official Season launch of Empowerment Through Thought! 

Folks over on our Instagram @empowermentthroughthought voted on our topic of the month and they chose: "Am I the toxic one?" 

In this Season, we are going to cover four different subtopics: 

  • The differences between being a toxic person and engaging in toxic behavior
  • Why we might be wondering if we are the toxic ones
  • What it means if you are seriously considering that you are the toxic one
  • What you can do to determine once and for all if you are the toxic one

Each of these subtopics will be broken down into three different posts here on the blog. We'll cover-

  • The Big Idea
  • That idea applied to some real-world examples
  • Some things you can do to start crafting your own answers to these questions. 

My goal here is not to dictate to you all the answers to these challenging questions. Instead, my aim is to help you develop your own thinking about these questions. That's the core of what...

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Let's Get This Started!

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Welcome to the official blog for Empowerment Through Thought! 

I thought I'd kick off this new space with a bit of an introduction. 

My name is Louise Williams and I am the founder and CEO of this company! We are dedicated to helping survivors of toxic relationships create the life they deserve! 

I am currently wrapping up my Ph.D. in Philosophy and I have personally endured four toxic relationships in my life - 2 parents, 1 partner, and 1 mother in law. 

Like most folks getting a Ph.D. in philosophy, I was headed into a career as a University Professor. As I came toward the end of my studies, I realized I wanted to help with more than just writing essays. 

Today I am committed to helping folks survive some of the toughest relationships any human has to face. 

While it might not seem obvious, the tools of philosophy have proved truly invaluable to my own journey through toxic relationships. 

Philosophy gets a bad reputation for being a really...

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