Have you heard the myth about the boiled frog?
If a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in tepid water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and cook to death.
So many of us grow up in toxic situations that we don’t even recognize as toxic or even worse, lethal. They affect us in ways we may be blind to, and this can even cause us to perpetuate these situations in the future. A good example of this is growing up in an abusive home, where the abuse just seems like a normal part of everyday life. But in reality, these behaviors are deeply damaging and invalidating to your sense of self.
However, because you don’t realize that you are even being abused, like the frog being boiled to death, you tolerate it. Sadly, it is even possible to pick up these behaviors and become toxic to somebody else. Most of our parents have learned toxic parenting techniques from their own parents and see nothing wrong with them in the slightest. This can just perpetuate the cycle of abuse and undermine the confidence of those you are trying to nurture.
Toxic behaviors can be defined as behaviors that diminish others and undermine their sense of self- confidence or self-worth. This can include physical, emotional, and verbal abuse, manipulation, and coercion. You may find that you have a friend who is interested in nothing but their own issues, and will undermine your problems by saying “that’s okay, this happened to me and it was so much worse.”
You may find yourself in situations with people who don’t show you respect or who criticize and poke fun at you for no good reason. You may find yourself in a relationship with someone who takes far more than they would ever be willing to give, then when you act like they do, they get furious at you and call you selfish.
If you find it difficult to remove yourself from situations with toxic people, ask yourself why. Are you the kind of person who has little confidence? Is it difficult for you to even identify toxic behaviors? Why do you feel you need to hold on to the toxic situation in your life? Is there something tying you to it that you can’t control?
If so, is there some way to limit your exposure to the toxic person or situation? You would not believe the weight that comes off of your shoulders from finally freeing yourself of a toxic situation. Everybody deserves that peace of mind, and you can have it to.
You don’t have any obligation to be with or put up with someone that is toxic. They will do everything in your power to make you feel that you do, but you don’t. don’t let them manipulate you into believing that is the case. Treat these toxic situations as learning experiences so that you can begin to understand where your boundaries are and what you need to do to enforce them whenever necessary. Do not be afraid to set your boundaries and maintain them, it is one of the most important things you can do to build up your self-worth and lead a fulfilling life.