The Danger Of Calling Someone A “toxic Person”

The danger of calling someone a "toxic person"

Be careful when you label someone a “toxic person” as that label is easily given in an argument. It means that we transfer full responsibility for one problem to the other. The problem with that is that we then put ourselves in the position of victims, which is of course a very tempting idea. This is why it is so tempting for emotional idlers or people who think they are perfect to classify others as toxic people. And for people who think that a toxic person doesn’t deserve empathy.

The last group does not want to recognize that a person’s toxicity is a reaction to a complex past. These people may believe that this is an inherent quality. In other words, the person using the label “toxic person” is unaware that the toxicity – if it exists – has a history and a reason.

Another reason we should be careful about the label “toxic person” is that it is not a scientific label. There are no studies of human toxicity. There have been studies of behavior that others later describe as toxic. However, they do so a posteriori and without considering the many variables that once caused this behavior. And it’s only a small step from labeling behavior to labeling a person.

The term toxic person has become so popular that it is very likely that we will be called that too. Nobody is safe from being put in this category.

Why did the label “toxic person” make such an impression?

Labeling someone toxic is not harmless. In fact, it can be understood as a downright attack. As a cruel insult hidden in moral superiority that you may have gained by leafing through some self-help books.

The term “toxic” is easy to understand. It gets its strength because it sounds like “poison”. In our minds it indicates a dangerous substance that we must be very careful with. So when we say something is poisonous, we mean that we shouldn’t get close to it.

Girl with rabbit ears

It’s a shame that this hurtful label’s weapon does so much damage in the ignorant hands of so many people. This deserves a closer look, and that is what the rest of this article is all about.

There are no toxic people, only toxic relationships and behaviors

Nobody is inherently toxic. Human beings never have arsenic in their vessels instead of blood. Sometimes we are the calm sea on which sails and oars take us where we want to go. At other times we just feel the storm without even seeing the water. A storm that we sometimes heat up and pass on.

In life, our expectations, behaviors, and values ​​will collide with those of our fellow human beings. When we feel emptiness and uncertainty, we may choose to ignore this emotional emptiness. Instead, we shift our responsibilities onto other people.

Couple with gas masks

It may take some introspection and a little work on ourselves before we even think about calling someone a “toxic person”.

Toxic dynamics instead of toxic people

Anyone can become a victim of toxic behavior. But we are usually more a part of toxic dynamics than toxic persons ourselves. This is the case when we are proud to stop talking to someone because that person is not talking to us. When we insist on something just to highlight the other’s ignorance. When we become dependent because the other person is overprotected.

You see, the term “toxic” is as strong as it is imprecise. Saying someone is a toxic person only shows that they are dangerous or potentially dangerous. It says nothing about how it can be dangerous to us, what aspects this label affects or how we can protect ourselves from the danger if necessary.

Nor does it show how we could help that person. Stop pigeonholing others and see them better for the individual they are.

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