Michelle is a self-love and self-awareness coach on her personal healing journey. She empowers women through her experiences.
1. Their actions don't match their words
We always say that actions speak louder than words. I agree with this wholeheartedly! Words are easy to spew out without thinking of the aftermath. But actions, most of them are formed from habit and habits are harder to break. So if someone tells you something and you don't know if you believe them, give them a few weeks and watch their actions. Sooner or later, their true nature will show face and when it does, take it at face value. Habits are formed over weeks, months, and years. Habits become patterns. Do I believe people can change? Absolutely! I have put in tremendous work in changing my ways but this takes time, effort, and honesty with one's self. The will to change has to be present.
How do I know if they're willing to change their toxic behaviours or not?
- See how they are with other people, not just with you
- Who and what are they surrounded by
These things will help you in seeing if they're willing to put in the work or they are comfortable where they are.
If their actions don't match their words then that spells disaster for your connection.
Can you trust them?
2. They judge and gossip about other people
Confession: I used to do this daily.
The question is why?
- I hated life
- I didn't love myself
- I was jealous
- I felt inferior
- I envied their freedom of expression
Someone who judges and gossips about others based on anything from decisions that they make romantically or fashion choices is someone who struggles in their own lives, period. When we are struggling personally, we often try to relieve our negativity with materialistic items, following trends, or putting down others.
Whether you agree with someone else's choices or not, when you are right with yourself, you don't feel the need to judge, point, or give an opinion. Instead, you recognize that you don't agree with them but also respect the other person and admire their will to be themselves. You secretly cheer them on and pray for their happiness.
Someone who judges others will often also judge themselves. They'll make you think they're confident or appreciate themselves when things are positive but look closely when things aren't going their way. Do they still love themselves? Most often than not, you will catch them speaking negatively about themselves. These comments will be so subtle that you may not catch them right away, but your subconscious will and eventually, their negative self-beliefs will seep into your mind.
People who judge themselves and others will also judge you, in private.
Is that someone you want to be around?
3.They lie to get what they want
When someone is struggling at home, they will find ways to relieve their struggles and the fastest way to do that is to lie and manipulate. What are they getting out of it?
- Materialistic items
- Behaviours that make them feel better
If someone is struggling financially, they will find ways to manipulate the system, break the law, or take advantage of people's trust.
Someone who is struggling will also engage in unhealthy behaviours like giving into drama instead of ignoring it and walking away. It becomes a power struggle, especially if you're feeling powerless in your own life.
When someone is struggling, they lie to people close to them or manipulate their words (or the truth altogether) in order to receive the preferred reaction from the other person to benefit themselves. This will especially happen when they are avoiding their truth and need others to believe their illusions.
When someone is struggling, they are attracted to other people's dramatic lives for two reasons:
- To lessen their own drama
- To feel like they're helping someone
Sometimes, they will lie to obtain information about such lives.
If the people around you lie to and manipulate others, you can guarantee that they will do it to you as well the moment you don't benefit them.
4. They project and allow abusive behaviors
When someone lacks self-love and self-worth, their behaviours are often abusive, towards others or themselves. When someone allows abusive behaviours from others, they are self-harming. Something inside somewhere is saying, "I don't deserve better."
This statement is often hidden behind excuses like:
- I love them
- It is only one time
- They didn't mean it
- It was an accident
They use these excuses because facing the truth is too painful. If they faced the truth they would realize that this is not love, they may be alone, they need to feel loved, or they need to feel important. The thing is, abusive behaviour is contagious. If you accept it, you will project it and you will view it as normal.
What is considered abusive behaviour?
- Physical abuse or threats
- Verbal slurs
- Negative self-talk
- Excusing toxic behaviours
This way of living can influence your own relationship with yourself and others. It can blur your beliefs and boundaries. It can convince you that abusive behaviours are not that bad if they are little or infrequent. After a while you may start adapting the same mindset as them, you will notice yourself slacking on your boundaries or excusing behaviours you otherwise wouldn't have. Often, the abuse you will be subjected to will be their own. Get out while you still have that self-worth and self-love you worked so hard to attain!
Abuse is abuse no matter how you look at it.
5. They hide their truth
You can't hate yourself and stand in your truth. When you don't love yourself, there is shame, embarrassment, and this belief that if you don't look a certain way or do things a certain way, you will be rejected. This can also mesh in with the lying and manipulating paragraph. When you make a mistake, or you don't look well, your first instinct is to hide, lie, or manipulate, whether to get what you want or to simply be accepted.
Someone who hides their truth struggles with honesty, self-worth, apologies, and accountability.
It's hard to trust someone who hides their truth. This can also make you feel like YOU need to hide YOUR truth for any amount of reasons. You don't and you need to be around people who value truth and have no problem speaking their truth no matter the consequences.
6. They have a victim mentality
Life will always have its ups and downs. It will always go wrong at some point. Whether we like it or not, this darkness teaches us and forces us to grow. When the lessons are not learnt and cycles are not broken, it continues, until you learn and level up. It's important to practice gratitude in these moments. Gratitude will relieve the heaviness of the dark moment and move your focus on the positive parts of your life. Gratitude helps you understand and see your blessings despite things falling apart. Gratitude keeps the hope alive that things will be okay. Without gratitude, you sink in a well of why me's and feeling powerless over your life. This kind of negativity can consume you and interfere with daily tasks. After a while you adopt the mindset of, "what's the point?" and give up altogether. This spirals into depression, resentment, feeling trapped, hopelessness, and this craving for control usually unfolding itself within unhealthy behaviours.
I am not saying that people can't grieve or be sad. But healthy people will feel the emotions, then release them through gratitude and/or forgiveness allowing themselves to heal and continue to be at peace. Unhealthy people will not feel, they will suppress them and eventually be consumed by them. They will blame everything else instead of taking responsibility for their person and life.
A victim mentality will hold you back because you will be controlled by excuses.
Being around someone with this mentality can be draining because it starts to make you feel like maybe they're right. Next thing you know, you are joining them in their pity party.
Remember there is a difference between someone who can't better themselves and someone who won't.
How do these people affect me?
No matter how much you have healed, worked on yourself, or changed your habits, never underestimate the influence of someone else's energy, choices, and behaviours.
Remember that sometimes, the negative energy you are absorbing is not directly coming from your friend, but absorbed by them from someone and then transferred to you.
Wherever the energy is coming from, you don't need it and shouldn't put up with it. You have worked way too hard to build your peaceful life to stick around people who spill their toxicity into you, on purpose or accidentally.
The influence is so powerful that at times, it can alter your own thoughts making you revert back to old beliefs and old habits.
Sometimes, we notice their influence too late due to us letting things slide or saying, "they wouldn't do that to me", or thinking you're able to separate yourself from that energy.
Make sure you practice your boundaries and stay true to yourself before it's too hard to walk away.
Stay or walk away?
My daughter asked me yesterday, "What if you love the negative person? Do you still have to walk away?"
It depends. Some connections are worth saving. Some are not.
1. How long have they been engaging in toxic behaviours?
2. Who are they surrounded by? Are they toxic people?
3. Do they know their worth?
4. Do they love themselves enough to do whatever it takes to heal?
5. Do they keep themselves accountable?
6. Are they honest with themselves?
These are just some questions you can ask yourself to determine your decision. At the end of the day, if their behaviours hurt you, you need to put yourself first and protect your peace. No matter what.
You can love someone but not be able to have them in your life. Wish them healing and continue on your path to better living.
Healing is hard but necessary
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 Michelle Brady