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Self-Help: 5 Reasons Why you Shouldn't use the Phrase Toxic People

This is just one girl and her rant about a phrase she super duper hates, words by Rosa Fairfield, photos by Linda Smith

I really hate the phrase 'toxic people'... or 'toxic person'... or whatever variation you want to use. I also hate how quickly and easily it's thrown around these days. You only have to type it into the internet or social media and it feels like millions of potentially harmful graphics come up; detailing the criteria you need possess to be a 'toxic person'. I think some people really do use the word with the best intentions - to help raise awareness for victims of abuse - but on the whole I feel like it's a way of attacking anyone who doesn't have a 100% healthy mindset.


It's too vague
I think this is the main problem I have with the phase, there isn't really one set criteria that means 'toxic person'. I mean some people use phrases like: 'has no empathy' but other people say things like: 'acts out of insecurity'. If you label a person whose insecure - and therefore having a difficult time - a toxic person, isn't that just going to make them feel worse? Also, technically, aren't you showing a lack of empathy for not understanding how they might be feeling?

Damaging for mental health 
That leads me on to this point. A lot of the criteria people use for toxic people are the same criteria associated to various mental disorders or illnesses. If someone's brain doesn't process things in the same way as everyone else's that doesn't by defualt make them poisonous.

I think it has a negative effect on mental wellbeing in general too. I know on one or two occasions I've started panicking. Like, arh, what happens if people think I'm a toxic person? Unless, you have a really confident, completely bullet proof sense of self, I think it has the power to get into your head and hurt you.

Don't we all have our moments
No one's perfect. It's like Harry Potter teaches us. We all have light and dark. I think most of the criteria people are classing as toxic, we can all probably apply to ourselves at some point in time. Does that make us all toxic people? What's the fool-proof scale to measure it by.

Should we really be isolating people?
Grouping together a certain group of people and putting a negative label on them, at it's worst is isolating a group of people from mainstream society. I don't think any good really comes of that.

Also, we seem to be living in this culture where so many people spot a person who they perceive to be bad and deal with them by saying horrible things about them. To me though, does that make the person that held the moral high ground to begin with any better than the person they're attacking? Is it healthy to fight fire with fire?

Everyone's labelling people
It feels like a lot of people are tending to put labels on others, like sociopath, or psychopath or narcissist, without actually being trained in any kind of way to do that. Then by default they're labelling those people as toxic. I mean, I just don't think that's very healthy or helpful.

Anyhoo, that's my rant over. I really had to put this out there.