No matter how toxic…

No matter how toxic…

The Death’s Cap mushroom.

Deadly to humans. Will kill you quickly, or cause lingering issues spread over months, eating away at your organs, creating lesions, and shutting down your kidneys.

And they look like harmless mushrooms. And in their ecosystems, in their forests, and in the places they grow naturally, they are not only not harmful, they are beneficial.

Not unlike many toxic people.

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MOST people we meet in our lives are not intentionally mean, cruel, or malevolent.

That does not mean that they do not cause harm or are not toxic.

And just because they are toxic, and harm us doesn’t mean they are bad people.

Or that they don’t love us.

Or that they are a narcissist, a psychopath, a sociopath, or even an abuser.

Most people exhibit toxic traits at various times of our lives. It’s natural. A function of our developmental process, learning how to handle trauma and maintain our sense of self in times of high stress or pressure.

But most people are toxic not because of who THEY are—they may love us deeply, and care (or not)—but because of who WE ARE.

Some people are toxic to us because in order to love them or like them or work with them, we have to change who we are, to soften (or break) our boundaries and give up what makes us happy to align with how they exist in the world.

Some people are toxic because our love and their desire for it forces them to soften (or break) their own boundaries, and give up what makes them happy in order to align with us.

And when people do that—for love, for friendship, or even for a job—they often lose part of their humanity. Part of their spark. Their light. The bits and bobs of themselves that bring joy to themselves and others.

And honestly, they rarely even realize it.

WE rarely even realize it.

  • We feel out of control, so we try harder to control others.
  • We feel insecure, so we try to make ourselves seem more important.
  • We feel useless, so we try to make ourselves feel needed.
  • We feel unheard, so we raise our voices.
  • We feel hurt, so we try to close ourselves off, and protect ourselves from harm.

Toxic behavior is a warning sign.

For YOU.

It’s not about them. It’s not about trying to fix them or telling them that they are wrong.

It’s about taking a hard look at your life, and determining if you can be 100% totally YOU with this person. If your boundaries are safe. If your happiness is growing. If you are better off when you spend time with them than when you do not.

If the answer is “no,” then it really doesn’t matter if they are cruel and uncaring, or just going through a phase. If they love you deeply, or if they couldn’t care less.

Because what matters is not whether they might fit in well with others or be loved or needed or happy elsewhere in the world.

But whether or not they are toxic TO YOU.

What are your thoughts?

Have you ever had an ex where looking back, you can see how you brought out the worst in each other?

Have you ever looked back over a relationship, and realized that you were not the best you that you could be to someone else (for whatever reason)?

And have you ever felt the relief of removing yourself from a toxic person or changing your relationship with a toxic person (regardless of why they were toxic)?

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