Toxic people - we often talk about them, how to avoid them, the kind of damage they do, but often we don't ask ourselves the question - what makes them act like that? What makes them do the horrible things they do?
I recognize not all people are the same and this myTake - or better said, this self-criticism letter, this confession - aims to shed some light on why some kind of toxic people are they way they are, and how they can change.
- There's usually a big discomfort or sense of inadequacy
At the basis of my toxic behavior there were insecurity and feeling inadequate to others. I was frustrated that my projects, my career and my succession weren't going as planned, and so I took it out on others whom I felt were more successful than me - or worse, I'd pick on people who were even more down than me because I knew I could strike without getting retaliation.
- Everyone is an enemy, or a potential one
It can sound paradoxical, but while some toxic people attack others just for their own satisfaction, others actually ''strike in defense'' - in their mind, everyone is a potential enemy or someone who might abuse or betray them. I was the second kind of person - I would block, purge and overall make life hell for people just for the suspect they might hurt me one day. Ironically enough, I ended up making enemies for real this way. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.
While most of the people I tormented or wrongfully accused eventually forgave me when I apologized and offered reparations, a few others have completely cut me off while another who was one of my biggest friends now it's one of my harshest critics, and already said she's moving to another town if I become mayor next year.
- Every action from others is an attack
That's how I pretty much saw other people. You criticized me? You are an enemy whom I need to get rid of. You complimented me? I would think - what are you hiding, what are you planning? Ironically enough, I would go after and persecute people who praised or helped me, more than those who criticized or got in my way. If you remember well, the cooperative girl whom always supported was at the center of my worst suspects, and I was considering terminating her internship and write to her University with a slew of fabricated accusations because of the imagined danger she posed - just for being helpful and supportive.
Thankfully I snapped out of it soon enough, although by then I had already alienated a lot of people whom had tried to help me and made them face consequences at work or in other areas. Much of time now is dedicated to reparate the damage I've done to them, and hope to earn their forgiveness.
- They can change, but they must want it
You can try to help them, but it can be a dangerous game. Some people who have dealt with me IRL and some G@gers here know that all too well. The toxic people who attack ''for defense'' and not out of sadism, can change once they realize that their lifestyle is unsustainable. I was degrading both physically and mentally, and after some very harsh discussions with both people IRL and G@gers here who finally gave up and closed the door, made me reflect that by going on like that I would have most likely ended up alone or worse in a year or two.
So I had to change, and work without sparing any effort towards those goals - change myself for the better, be a better friend and servant for society, and repare the damages and pain I caused. It's not easy and the few months I've been spending on this endeavor are still too little, but some fruits are already coming to bloom! People feel much better around me, I feel much better and both professionally and politically I've gained a lot of credit. I've found out that it truly takes little to live well, to prosper and make other people live well.
So! That was my experience as a toxic person, and I hope it gave you some insight on how such a mind works. Thank you for reading and I assure you that I shall spare no effort to keep up on this path of growth and change. If you have an opinion or a suggestion, feel free to share!