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Toxicity-(NOUN)- the quality of being very harmful in a pervasive or insidious way.

Updated: Nov 2, 2022

By Dr. Lisa M. Coffey

Toxicity defined citation link below.

November 2, 2022

In life we will encounter toxic people it's inevitable. The experience leaves us drained as we try to rationalize the damage, balance our emotions, and navigate the encounter with our pride, confidence, and awareness intact. Toxic people remind me of the electric eel that slithers through freshwater, sending electric shocks to its perceived prey. Unfortunately, the electric eel has poor vision and lives in dark, murky waters like the Amazon River. When you have poor eyesight and live in a dark space with reduced clarity, it becomes easy to understand the characteristics and behaviors of toxic people. Poisonous people often prey on those who are not adversaries (perceived prey), fail to see the bigger picture (reduced clarity), and live in a state of darkness (unhappiness).

Let's be clear on some of the facts.

  1. Toxic people will stop at nothing to hurt you, including telling lies and inflicting emotional or physical abuse to control the situation.

  2. Toxic people do not care about your feelings because they are selfish and self-absorbed. They do not rationalize the damage they have caused because the damage and inconvenience make them feel better.

  3. Healthy relationships do not exist with toxic people because a poisonous person is abusive, manipulative, and has no self-control over their emotions or behaviors. In addition, poisonous people use others for their gain.

  4. Toxic people are charming, apologetic, and helpful sometimes. Yet, as soon as your actions and reactions don't align with their ideology, you will find yourself in a Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde situation.

  5. Toxic people must have the last word and will argue their point regardless if they are right or wrong. Therefore, they must be the winner!

  6. Toxic people are attention seekers and always looking for their next energy source: argument, confrontation, and pointless drama that feeds their need for negativity.

Have you encountered someone like this? If your answer is yes, you know navigating toxicity is draining and deflating. Nevertheless, we press on for swift resolutions, begin balancing our emotions, and calm our spirits to move on. But I have to be honest. None of that will occur before feeling broken and then letting off some steam! The critical concept is to not remain in a state of brokenness, " Dust yourself off and try again" (Aaliyah, Try Again, 2009)

In toxic encounters, we must affirm our position, stand confidently, and make healthy decisions to minimize conflicts and toxicity. Sometimes it's hard to avoid being sucked into the sinkhole of negativity. After all, we are human with emotions. But we must put ourselves first, say no, set boundaries, limit interactions, walk away, and have an exit strategy. In the long run, we will be thankful for removing ourselves and no longer giving permission to be villainized by toxic people.

Sadly, I have dealt with some toxic situations in my life. In my quest for clarity and self-reflection, I must be honest I've had some sleepless nights, worried about problems I could not control and how to enact damage control. Toxic people cast unnecessary hurt because they are broken and very good at attempting to harm others. I am relying on my core values (integrity, civility, empathy, and faith) to help mitigate this Amazon River phase of my life. Thankfully my sanity is intact, and my zest for life will allow me to rise above the toxic shocks of the eel. In my book iDid and uCan 2, I expound upon our core values and the faith necessary to navigate trouble times, grab a copy.

Key Take Away:

In the words of Public Enemy, "Don't believe the hype" (2010). Don't feed into the negativity, walk away, create a strategy, enact your plan, and say goodbye to toxic people. Most importantly, realize that you are on the road to recovery!

(C) Copyright 2022- Dr. Lisa M.Coffey, all rights reserved.



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