Toxic people are everywhere – at work, at the gym, on the highway, you name it.
We all have seasons in our lives when we're frustrated, depressed, or discouraged. After all, those are all natural human emotions.
But beyond occasional bouts of depression or even just “the grumpies” lies a place where nobody wants to be: Toxicity.
So what happens when one of them lives in your house?
And when that person is you?
It doesn't take much research to find study after study associating negative close relationships with higher probabilities of things like heart disease, depression, adrenal fatigue, obesity, and early death.
And while we might all question the “need” for a study to tell us being a toxic jerk is a bad thing, the studies are there. So now we have common sense and science telling us being toxic is a bad thing.
Given that, how can you tell if you're a toxic jerk causing the person you promised to love forever – the person you love second most in the world (after yourself, naturally…) – extreme mental and physical harm?
Here are 9 warning signs that your spouse is living with a toxic person…
And, before you ask, the answer to “What if I only display one or two of these? Does that mean I'm toxic?” the answer is “I don't know, but if you only display one or two of these that at least means you have one or two things to work on no matter what the ‘label,'” wouldn't you agree?
One more thing: while I could suggest ways to get help, I asked my good friend and Toxicity Education Advocate, Jen Moff, to draft a couple of posts for all of us on that. Be sure to check back right here the next two Mondays to welcome Jen and thank her for sharing such important information with all of us!
Update: Here are Jen's awesome posts to read after you read this, which give you some things to think about if you or someone you love is toxic. Don't worry, these will open in a new tab or window, so you won't lose your spot if you click them now. Here you go: 7 Steps for a Toxic Turnaround and Staying Safe and Healthy When in Love with Someone Toxic. Thanks Jen!
Okay. As promised, here are the nine signs that you're a toxic person:
1. You're self-centered.
When you get home and your wife says she had a rough day, what's the first thing that comes to mind? If your natural reaction starts with something like “you think you had a bad day” you might be a toxic husband.
2. You're controlling.
Does she have to ask your permission to do things that normal people “just do”? How do you react when you ask her for something and she says no? Do you get mad? Pout? Go on a guilt trip offensive?
3. You would rather be right than happy.
There's a difference between being “right” and being “happy.” If you don't know the difference or don't care as long as you're right, you might be a toxic husband. Do you keep arguing until she gives in even when you're plain wrong? Are you so focused on being right that you lose sight of what you're actually arguing about sometimes? Bullying your way through an argument until your wife gives in even when you're wrong makes nobody happy.
4. You're negative.
Do you wake up in the morning waiting for the world to suck the life out of you? Are your days “bad” until something happens to make it “good”? Do you find yourself responding to pretty good news with “yea, but [something to the effect of it could have been better]”? Do you find yourself regularly seeing the negative in things?
5. You talk too much.
Is there anything more demoralizing than trying to express a want or need to the person who promised to love you forever but not being heard? When your wife is talking are you actually listening or are you just waiting for her mouth to stop moving so you can say what you want to next?
6. You've never met a “victim card” you didn't play.
You know those people. The world is out to get them. They have no luck. They can't do anything right. They were the only people stuck in traffic. Their boss won't listen to them. Their wife doesn't understand them. They, they, they.
7. You think your spouse owes you something.
Your wife promised to love you, respect you, and care for you. And you promised the same in return. You did not vow to “love and respect you as long as you go first.” If you withhold affection, emotional support, companionship or anything else that goes with being a loving husband because you think she hasn't done enough, you may have some serious problems.
8. “Everything” is “always” an extreme and you “never” get “any” “help.”
Does your wife never listen? Does she always nag you? Do you do everything around the house and never get a second to relax? If you're constantly going to the extreme, you've lost touch with reality and might be a toxic husband. The reality is that unless there's a toxic spouse or agreement where one spouse does one chore and the other does another, rarely is one spouse doing “everything” in a relationship. If you constantly say or think in extremes, you may be a toxic husband.
9. Boundaries? What boundaries?
Your spouse needs space sometimes. Respect that. If you get upset when your wife is tired or frustrated and asks for some time alone then you might be a toxic person. If your wife closes a door and you just barge in without knocking, that's pretty inconsiderate. Just like you want some space or boundaries, so does she. Oh, and if you thought “I'll respect hers when she respects mine,” you might be a toxic husband.
So what now?
All of us have our moments. But moments are fleeting. If you find yourself regularly engaging in activities like these, you're likely hurting the person you're supposed to love the most.
Chances are none of you are truly happy.
And maybe it's time for you to figure out what you can do to improve.
Be sure to check back next Monday for Jen's first post or subscribe to the site to have it sent right to your e-mail!