In the Gospel is written that it is easier to see the mote in another’s eye than the beam in our own eye. This idea is useful when we refer to toxic people. We are able to detect manipulation, deceit, aggression and lack of commitment in others, but when it comes to ourselves the meter changes.
We never passed on to others our bad mood, we did not act like a garbage truck, and we never manipulated anyone? It is hard to believe, simply because people are not perfect and we make mistakes too.
The fact that we are not expert manipulators in Machiavelli’s style, or do not complain all the times, does not mean that sometimes we do not turn into emotional vampires, that even without realizing it, steal energy to those who are close to them.
We look more outward than inward
Claudio Naranjo, a psychiatrist and a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, said that “the evil of our culture is that is looking more outside than inside”. He also added that “education should teach us to look within ourselves. But on the contrary, we have been educated to blindness”.
Undoubtedly, passing the buck out of us is very convenient. The fault is always of the officer too strict or too lax, the colleague incompetent or too efficient at work, the partner who does not love us enough or suffocates us, of politics or the apolitical… There is always a culprit, a scapegoat that helps us free ourselves from responsibility.
However, looking within ourselves is much more complicated, first of all, because it means doing an examination of conscience, and we do not always like what we find. We are deeply polarized, though we don’t realize it because the bad guys are always the others, and the good we are obviously us. We prefer to avoid any trace that casts doubt upon this image we have built.
On the other hand, looking within ourselves implies begin to assume our responsibilities, which means that we understand that we can do something, however small, to improve. And sometimes that turns us lazy.
Self-knowledge is a long hard road, but it is important to be aware of what we experience, feel and express. At the beginning it hurts, but taking note of aggressivity, pain, fear or insecurity turns us into better people.
How can we encourage a toxic relationship?
Often we do not realize it, but every time we assume the role of victims we refuse to intervene in the matter. Placing the burden on the other we refuse to act and, therefore, we choose to suffer. It is as if we deliver ourselves to the Executioner with our hands.
In the case of toxic relationships it is the same. In every relationship there are two roles, so, in a sense, we too are responsible for the way we treat others. For example, we feed a toxic relationship every time we show our loyalty to the partner when this shows jealous for no reasons. We feed a toxic relationship every time we pay too much attention to a friend who acts as a victim, whenever we show pity without doing anything to help him get out of that state. We feed a toxic relationship every time we give up, we adapt or show ourselves submissive to a dominant and aggressive person.
Of course, in some cases we cannot change the attitudes and behavior of that person. But we can decide whether or not to fall into his game.
Auto-toxicity is also harmful
There are people who create a storm in a glass of water and then complain because it’s raining. In fact, many will worry excessively about their relationships and do everything to respect others and not to hurt them, but neglect themselves. As a result, they do not express the toxicity that remains inside of them.
Therefore, it is important not to expand this toxicity. You act as toxic with yourself when:
– You remain next to a person who despises you and treats you badly.
– You recriminate yourself for your mistakes or demand too much to yourself.
– You do not worry about your needs and don’t dare to ask for what you want.
– You ignore your emotions, and instead of understand them choose to repress them.
– You focus only on the negative aspects and adopt a pessimistic attitude.
– You do not recognize your value and let others judge you.
What to do?
Maybe we cannot always avoid behaving in a toxic way because we carry on our shoulders too many constraints. But we can become aware of these behaviors and apologize for them, to others or to ourselves, as appropriate.
It always pays to look inside ourselves. And doing it with humility is even better.