Signs You’re the Toxic One–Not Him

Man and woman in fight back to back

You’ve been in many relationships where he broke up with you, and you can’t figure out why it always ends this way. It may be time to do a little self-reflection. 

Do you find yourself constantly in drama-filled situations? Are you constantly arguing with friends or in an eternal make-up-to-break-up cycle? If this sounds like you, listen up—you might be the toxic one.

Several years ago, I had a friend who used online dating apps to find guys, but nothing ever came from them. She’d match with someone, talk to him for a couple of weeks, and then they’d always disappear into the dark, cold abyss of potentials that were never meant to be.

It didn’t matter which site, either. She had accounts with eHarmony, Zoosk, and Match, just to name a few, but each match fizzled out faster than the last. When I finally asked what happened to all the guys she was so excited about, one after another, she came up with excuses.

“He was a jerk,” “He was weird,” “He talked way too much,” “He didn’t talk enough.”  

Even the guy from the dating site Christian Mingle was just “a little too religious” for her. Whatever the reason, it was always them. 

But what if it isn’t always them? It takes two people to make a relationship go, so have you ever considered that you’re the toxic one? In case you’re wondering, here are a few signs that say you’re the problem, not him.

The good news is that self-awareness is the first step toward change. Be honest with yourself as you continue reading because a healthier and happier life depends on it. 

9 Signs You–Not Him–Are the Toxic One

1. You Blame Shift

Whether you lost your job, argued with your partner, or forgot to pay a bill, it’s never your fault. In fact, you regularly feel that it’s everyone else making you act in a manner that leaves all around you disappointed and shocked. 

Blame-shifters are the ones who constantly say things like, “he started it,” and “if you didn’t do this, I wouldn’t have done that.” They never take accountability for their actions because, to them, they’re never at fault.

For example, if they miss a bill payment, they’ll blame it on the bill being due in the middle of the month when “hardly anyone remembers to pay bills at that time,” even though they’ve done it several times before. 

But the reality is, no one is holding a gun to your head. Your decision stem from what you value and your character. Do you value your reputation, relationships, and happiness? Then figure out how to use the power of accountability to take control instead of playing the victim. Even if you are a “victim” once, ensure it doesn’t happen again.

For instance, in the example above, you missed the payment; it’s not a big deal. You can keep from missing it again by changing the due date or using automatic pay.

2. You’re Always Talking about Other People

Sometimes we have a lot to say, so dishing a little bit of dirt with a trusted companion is one thing. But if you spend over half the day talking about other people and their decisions, lives, clothing, or recapping what they said, you’re a primary contributor to a toxic environment. 

The true mark of a well-intentioned adult is having the ability to distinguish what is worth repeating and having the confidence to have a much need discussion with someone with whom you need to work something out.

Unfortunately, when we disagree with someone, our first move is to tell everyone else instead of settling the situation with the original person we disagreed with. Those you discuss your business with typically become involved when they shouldn’t. 

The remedy is simple; stop discussing your business with everyone. Your hairstylist doesn’t need to know what your neighbor did last night. When you gossip about others, the only thing you do is prove yourself untrustworthy. 

If you want to talk about someone, talk about yourself and all the positive things you have going on in your life. 

3. You’re Always Negative

Do you always find the worst part of any situation and harp on it? You claim to be a realist, but you are a drag that no one else can be around. Life might not always be happy-go-lucky fun, but it’s also not constant long lines or stale chips. Even if misery loves company, people who are healthy, happy, and productive don’t want to hang around someone who talks gloom and doom.

You might be that constant negative person and not even realize it. So, to determine if it’s you, check your Happy Meter. Do you feel good about life, or are you worried about something? Check again tomorrow and the next day. If you find that you’re hovering around 2-3 out of 10 on the Happy Meter, you may need an attitude adjustment.  

Start looking for things to be grateful for and make a list. Start writing down ten things every day that you appreciate. Can’t think of ten? Begin smaller. Once you start looking at the positive aspects of your life, you’ll see your mind shift toward more positive things automatically. 

4. Your Friends Begin Distancing Themselves

Everyone is busy and has their own life, so you probably won’t be hanging out every weekend. But if you notice that your friends seem to be distancing themselves further and further away, there might be another reason than what you see.

It happens gradually. For example, your weekly lunches turn into bi-weekly and then into monthly. Eventually, you have to hunt them down with calls and texts if you want to get together at all.  

It’s obvious they are no longer interested in hanging out. When people want to spend time with you, they will take time out of their busy schedules, even if it’s just for a quick coffee to catch up.

If you sense something like this going on, it’s best to be direct. Ask why they no longer want to hang out with you. You can’t force people to be your friend, so if they stop returning your calls and texts, you have to accept that and move on.

Three women sitting on a couch arguing

5. You’re a Control Freak

While we all appreciate some advice and input from people we care about, having others constantly push us to do what they feel is right and be who they want us to be can sometimes feel suffocating.

People may not want to be around you because you have the “my way or the highway,” mentality, and if others have an opinion, you immediately reject it. 

Instead, learn to relax and allow others to take the reins every once in a while. Feel free to offer some input but don’t feel as though you need to dictate every move.  

6. You Believe Your “Brutal Honesty” Is a Good Thing

In grade school, it made sense to have constant playground arguments, but grown adults who constantly battle their friends are energy-zapping. Of course, no relationship is always simple, but your friendships should be a place of joy and support, not a battlefield for petty arguments.  

Telling someone the truth and being brutally honest are two different things that usually revolve around the delivery. People who call themselves brutally honest claim they’re ‘just being real’ or ‘telling it like it is.’ The truth is, they’re being bullies and disguising it as helpful. 

In case you don’t know the difference, here’s an example:

  • “Your hair looks awful. Why did you color that shade?” This statement is brutally honest. Maybe their hair doesn’t look good, but your delivery doesn’t, either. And you can’t figure out why no one wants to be around you.
  • “You should try a brownish shade. That goes really well with your skin complexion.” This statement is being honest, but the delivery is much more acceptable.

7. You’re Always Easily Offended

Everybody is always doing you wrong. From the lady in the Starbucks line who moves too slow, to the way your cousin drinks his coffee, you’re always ready to highlight everyone else’s “flaws.”

Something is constantly getting under your skin, and you love to point out how much better it can be done. You’re often part of the problem with your many complaints but still have yet to come up with any solutions. 

This type of person always feels like they’re the only ones that can get it right, which makes them want to do everything themselves (See the control freak explanation.) The remedy for this is simple–mind your own business! The only way you can have so many complaints is if you’re judgemental and critique everything others do.

8. You’ve Stopped Thinking about How You Come Across

One thing about toxic people is that they don’t care about how others view them. Your mentality is that you say whatever you want to, and if they don’t like it, that’s too bad for them. We won’t always say the most politically correct things, but those who ‘speak their minds’ without regarding anyone else’s feelings aren’t people you necessarily want to be around. 

So, how do you know if you’re the type of person that doesn’t care what others think, so you come across as abrasive? Are others regularly asking you to tone it down, or do they tell you that you hurt their feelings? If so, chances are it’s not just a case of them being too sensitive; you’re just coming across as a jerk. 

9. You Always Create Drama (Even Out of Boredom)

The smallest things tick you off because you love drama; in fact, you thrive on it. You’ll make a mountain out of a molehill with situations that don’t usually bother others. “Are you going to accept what she said to you?” Another term for this is a shit-starter because you’re not happy until some chaos ensues. 

Woman angry at her male partner

How to Stop Being Toxic

We all have good and bad days, and we all can act toxic at some point. However, if you see those traits within you, you must nip those destructive behaviors in the bud so you can enjoy a peaceful life of positivity. 

  1. Stop complaining and start apologizing: We all exhibit bad behavior. But when you exhibit these behaviors, apologize so you can get back to creating positive memories with family and friends.
  2. Be open to a little feedback: Sometimes, it can be challenging to accept constructive criticism, but free and open communication is one key element of every healthy relationship. Learn to listen more than you speak. Begin asking others what you can do to have a prosperous relationship with one another. 
  3. Do regular self-assessments: Toxic traits often stem from low self-esteem and underlying trauma. Begin journaling your thoughts to help improve your self-awareness. Doing so will help you work toward better mental health and wellness. 
  4. Practice mindfulness: Few people actively set out to be toxic. Unfortunately, they can fall into toxic habits and can’t figure out how to fix them. When you practice mindfulness meditation, you have the tools to shatter negative thought patterns and determine why you behave this way. 
  5. Deal with past issues:Ever heard the saying “hurt people hurt people?” In other words, people who dealt with hard times in the past and found themselves in painful situations are likely to create issues and unfortunate situations for others. To deal with these specific wounds, seek help from a licensed therapist or a religious leader. No one deserves to suffer, so the sooner you heal, the faster you can help someone else heal. 

Final Thoughts

It’s so much easier to blame the other person for the issues in our relationships, but sometimes, that’s not the case. When it comes to being a toxic person, self-awareness is essential. Take a look within yourself, and if you have one or more of these traits, you could be what’s wrong in your relationship. 

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