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How to Identify Your Toxic Behaviors

Are you starting to wonder, “Am I the toxic one?”

Maybe you have relationships or friendships that never seem to last. You feel like everything keeps happening to you. But what if you are the one manifesting or creating these situations? What if you are the reason these things or situations keep happening?

The truth is that we all exhibit toxic behavior at one time or another. No one is perfect. However, identifying these toxic traits can help you become a better person and, thus, lead a better life.

So, how do you know if you’re a toxic person or not? In this article, we’re diving headfirst into understanding how you can identify your toxic behaviors (and quit doing them!).

What Causes Toxic Behaviors?

Oftentimes, toxic behaviors happen due to other issues in your life. This might come in the form of family issues, addiction, past trauma, or deeply complex insecurity issues.

We struggle to cope with these problems. Thus, we end up behaving poorly in other situations, letting our negativity seep into other people’s lives.

But just because you’re acting toxic, it doesn’t mean you are a toxic person. A simple flip of the switch when it comes to adjusting your behaviors can help you cultivate healthy and long-lasting relationships.

This often comes down to finding healthy ways to cope with problems in your life, which might mean talking to a therapist or seeking advice from a trustworthy friend or family member.

Additionally, taking the time for self-reflection and looking inward can help you become more aware of these toxic habits and help you eliminate them entirely. After all, acknowledgment and recognition of your behaviors is the first step to changing them.

Related article: Signs You’re in a Toxic Emotional Environment

Identifying Your Toxic Behaviors

So, you’re ready to face up to the truth. You want to be better! Reading this article is a wonderful place to start. Self-development will always lead to a better life via improved mindset and mental health.

So, let’s determine where you might be going wrong and get you back on track toward a healthy and fulfilling life.

Examples of Toxic Behavior

1. You’re Overly Sarcastic

Sarcasm has its place. Yes, it can produce a good laugh, but it shouldn’t do so at the expense of others or by cultivating negativity.

Often touted as “clever,” constant sarcasm can come off to others as “bullying” styled antics that don’t respect their thoughts or feelings.

Think about it:

Do you use sarcasm a little too much?

Have you possibly stepped on others’ toes in the process?

It might be time to pull in the reins and dig deeper to uncover why you feel the need to do this in the first place.

2. You Make Everything a Competition

We all know someone who “one-ups” everything we say. While sharing stories can be a great way to relate to others and foster empathy, there is a fine line here. Bouncing off of what someone else said without acknowledging it and diving straight into your story (that, in your opinion, is way better) can come off as dismissive and insensitive.

Ask yourself before your next story: Are you telling it to feel validated or to share and relate to others in some way?

3. You Dodge Conflict

Arguments and disagreements can be tough. Yet, getting through these hard-to-have conversations can help us understand each other better and come out with a new level of depth than we ever thought possible.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you stubborn?
  • Do you hold onto resentment and not talk about it?
  • Do you bottle up your emotions?
  • Do you use passive-aggressive insults or comments to get your point across?

This might be your way of beating around the bush. But it’s likely not working. Use direct and compassionate communication. This will not only work better but help you become better, too.

4. You Try to Find Solutions to Everything

Sometimes, we just want to be heard. We don’t want a fix. We just want someone to listen, to empathize. Yet, it’s easy to jump in and try to find a solution to all that causes them distress.

Instead of jumping on the “solution bandwagon,” try asking if they want to talk about it. If you feel you have advice, ask before giving it.

5. You Believe Pointing Out a Person’s Downfalls Will Change Them

Feedback is a good thing! But constant criticism can quickly eat away at another’s self-esteem. The truth is that shame never works. And chances are, the person already realizes where they are going wrong.

A simple way to go about this over criticizing the other person is by stating that you’ve noticed something and you’re here if they want to discuss it further. This leaves it up to them to discuss or dig deeper.

You might also want to read: 3 Easy Ways to Improve Low Self-Esteem

6. You Push Your Opinion or Perspective on Other People

The realization that your truth isn’t the full truth is a hard lesson to learn. Sure, your feelings were hurt. You feel wronged. Yet, you should never force your end of the story down other people’s throats.

Recognizing that there are often multiple perspectives and feelings being thrown in the mix can help you become a more open-minded and compassionate person. While you shouldn’t let yourself be pushed around, you also don’t need others to always agree with you or see your way to be validated. True validation comes from within.

Additionally, just because something worked for you and your life, this doesn’t mean it’s a one-size-fits-all and that it will work for everyone else too. Everyone walks a different path. Recognizing that before voicing your opinion can help you step back and come at the conversation from a more open perspective.

Toxicity is a Fine Line

We’re all figuring it out as we go, and we are doing the best we can with what we know and have. Realizing that others are also just doing their best is a great perspective to take on and thwart toxic behaviors. The fact that you read this article through to the end even demonstrates that you are growing and changing.

When you’re open to growth and change, you can’t possibly be a toxic person. Yet, you can still exhibit toxic behaviors.

Working on these behaviors and uncovering why they happen in the first place can help you overcome them and foster healthy relationships that last a lifetime.

Read next: Why Toxic Positivity is Harmful for Your Mental Health

Krista Bugden

Krista Bugden

"Believing in yourself is really half the battle," says Krista. Anything is possible and you really can achieve anything you set your mind to, is her motto. Physiotherapist, Piano player, skydiver, yogi, adventure traveler and energetic force of positivity, Krista is herself a (delightful) force to be reckoned with! As... Read More

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