Updated: Dec 10, 2019
Sometimes "toxic" is such a broad term, we don't even recognize it. Here are some specific examples to recognize.
Things Not To Do:
1.) Ramble on and on about negative topics. Extra credit if the topics are about you pushing anything that would drastically change someone’s lifestyle that they clearly don’t want to hear about. Extra credit if you can find a way to negate, spoil, or crush their dearest-held dreams.
2.) Ask questions, interrogation-style, when angry that someone has been doing something you don’t like. Bonus if they start avoiding you (you can guilt/shame/lecture/nag them about it) or even better, start lying to you. Be outraged at being lied to. Use this as evidence of how you never avoid them or lie to them (especially if you really do), and so are superior.
3.) Lecture everyone constantly to clearly demonstrate your superiority.
4.) Constantly demand to know someone’s personal business because you feel like you own them.
5.) Spy on someone’s personal business, get angry about their confidential information, constantly demand follow-up information that is none of your business.
6.) Get furious...then be fine...naggggg...get angry...cool off...be pleasant, nay, even charming...be boring and suck attention...interrogate, hover...be fine...get angry....be boring...be angry...be nice...naggg
7.) Drain their energy completely with a thousand+ cuts: Constantly demand answers to questions that you could easily check yourself, constantly ask for menial assistance you could do yourself, shout/call across the house so someone constantly has to drop everything to come see what you want or strain to hear you and respond. This way you can suck their energy dry. Get offended when they are always tired and crabby and deadpan as a result. Revel in their self-loathing, guilt, and depression. Lecture them on how if they had your lifestyle/god/practices they wouldn’t be that way. Works great with number 33, Never Do Things Alone.
8.) Never do anything new or fun. And if someone else branches out and has fun without you, get offended and furious. Make sure to ruin their day, or at least their next few hours. Guilt them for "wasting" money and/or time. Once they get in a bad mood, make a hard right into a good mood. Act superior when they lash out at you. They should be completely drained. Mission accomplished.
9.) Constantly tell someone not to do something you don’t like by bragging about how you never do those things (even though you totally do, but in a way that has totally different details). Bring it up at random moments. Pick like a vulture.
10.) You can also mix the above up by condemning the thing you don’t like as “being from the Devil” and brag about how the way you live is morally superior and righteous in every way. Feign humility by bragging further (“I am a sinner, but I’m better because I go confess my sins”). YOU ALWAYS HAVE THE MORAL HIGH GROUND. And remember, EVERYTHING is a moral issue (food, style, occupation, favorite color, EVERYTHING).
11.) You’ll need a partner for this one: Gang up on the other person. Loudly vent all your frustrations emphasizing embarrassing details. Humiliate! Two (or more) against one vulnerable person with damaged esteem has crippling isolating power!
12.) Constantly give orders. ESPECIALLY when you can see what someone is about to do; tell them to do that exact thing. Not only is it annoying (energy *slurrrrp*) BUT it has the added benefit of getting them used to you telling them to do things and then them *doing* them. It’s simple conditioning, if you will.
13.) Of course, it goes without saying that giving orders they can’t, won’t, or deeply dread are the most delightful. Nag, and then blame their reluctance or disobedience for the problems in their life so they feel worse about themselves.
14.) BEST OPTION: Give conflicting orders so that no matter what they do, you can claim credit if things go well, or say I told you so if they don’t.
If things go well, remind them that if they had done it your way, things would have turned out *better*. NEVER LET AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHAME GO TO WASTE. Shame and condemn experimentation, failure, unconventionality, and growth the most. Who do they think they are learning, growing, and pursuing happiness?
Failure means they are bad, and that makes you look bad by association, but claim it’s because you "don’t want them to suffer by making mistakes they could avoid".
They need to stay dependent.
15.) Constantly interrupt whatever they are trying to do. The more intense their concentration, then the more interruptive and the more obnoxious. When they are thinking, reading or writing, or enjoying something relaxing (entertainment especially) are the worst-for-them-best-for-you times to interrupt.
16.) Make sure that the time they want to sit and enjoy your companionship is *never* the time you want to. That is the time to get the most busy. When they ask again, criticize them for some chore they left undone that you "now have to" go take care of. Humiliating and the shame/guilt will turn their downtime into down time while you get to feel like a superior hardworking martyr who doesn’t need weakling stuff like quality time.
17.) Bonus if the above happens and then someone else calls and you drop everything to blow hot air for an hour+. Reinforces your prey's unimportance.
18.) Hate things they like, then later love those things and want to do them again. Hate them again. Beg to do them again. Reminisce wistfully. Complain. Never be consistent.
Turn every happy memory into a painful one and every painful memory into your favorite. Never be consistent.
The important thing to do is to bring up bad feelings from the past and drain the other person by constantly reminding them of it. Don’t realize you are never consistent. Be oblivious.
19.) Never laugh. Laughter is for losers who don’t give a shit. You can only keep the world spinning if you keep a dour face. Criticize others for being so frivolous and foolish. Make the other person feel alone and wicked for enjoying themselves.
20.) Enjoying music? See above. Life should be colorless and the other person should have no one to relate to. They should feel alone and freakish for the way they feel, and so lucky to have you accept them despite their putrid weirdness. Condemn music as morally evil for an extra-powerful guilt-packing punch. Guilt makes people regulate themselves. Less work for you.
21.) Attention and significance: you don’t get all that you so richly deserve. Use the most sketchy fringe science to develop the most inconvenient habits for others to deal with. Make it obvious you are full of shit and lying to their face by constantly changing symptoms and syndromes, changing habits, always getting worse until you want to do something, then have a miraculous “good day” where the “cure” finally “starts working” (of course, relapse as soon as the party’s over), etc. Be furious when the ingrates no longer invite you to things, avoid you, or start to disregard your “needs”. This can also work well with religious beliefs.
22.) Claim you are impoverished while continuing to make the *most* bone-headed decisions about money. Also, rub everyone’s face in your unethical and expensive hobbies that you don’t enjoy and that never work out but you do them because “you could earn so much money” doing it. Never study how to actually make real wealth. Make half-hearted crap efforts that could never succeed. Blame bad luck/situation and keep pouring money but not attentiveness, knowledge, or much effort into it. Cry.
23.) Refuse to do anything on your own. If they refuse to join in, rip them a new one where it emotionally hurts worst. Make sure they know their refusal is a sign of how bad the state of their soul is in, how much they will regret it, how much of a disappointment they are, how much of a failure they are, etc.
24.) Be indecisive always. Turn every choice (even choosing a restaurant) into a long, drawn-out gauntlet of back-and-forthing. Be as annoying as possible, then slip into anger and combativeness. Never let go of the other options, constantly question if this was the right decision even if things are going great and are super enjoyable. Never relax.
25.) Something really bothers you that the other person does. You could probably find an easy solution (laundry hamper in the right spot, for example), but you’d rather complain. Both be miserable. Conversely, do something that truly bothers the other person but doesn’t bother you. Keep not caring. Enjoy them upset while you feel fine.
26.) Threaten the things they value most. Best reserved for when you absolutely must have your way or when they are desperate and have nowhere to go. Be upset when they finally do leave you. Hold grudges when they come back.
For extended displeasure, ruin whatever they love (you could do physically, but that runs the risk of retaliation. Best use verbal sabotage). Constantly make fun of, criticize, hate on, pick apart, complain about, scoff and dismiss, interfere with, and generally be hateful and in a bad mood around their hobby, pet, or whatever brings them joy (why not all of the above?).
RUIN IT. You can do this with savage intent or just be a bored and mindless bully with no interests of their own who has to feel significant at all times.
27.) Similarly, burst in on them when they are most vulnerable. For example, when they are on the toilet. Badger. Don’t let them feel anywhere is safe or sacred.
28.) Do not let them withdraw, no matter how upset or henpecked they are. Hound them until they go crazy. Excoriate when they then react in a normal human way. Make them feel like an absurd, evil freak who can never get away, even for a few seconds to cool off. FOLLOW AND CORNER. Don’t take no for an answer.
29.) Ridicule all other points of view. Better, make it seem like they are not only illegitimate but don’t even exist, or only exist in the truly most craven and delusional minds. Also, constantly take total control and reinforce that you are the only person capable of getting anything done without disasterous results (this ties in perfectly with numbers 12, 13, and 14).
30.) Hold grudges. “Need” apologies and constant validation for things long past.
If you are thinking about it, say it out loud, no matter how hurtful. Never let unpleasantness die.
Actually, that can apply to any topic, no matter how mundane. Prattle on and on inanely and demand in-depth replies and whole-hearted agreement on pain of “not feeling loved” to long-winded diatribes on nothing. Constantly monopolize the airwaves. Never sit together in silence. Silence is wasteful.
31.) Not planning every second is also wasteful. NEVER be spontaneous and ALWAYS have a doomsday story for every activity or location.
Make sure genuine fun never occurs, but emphasize “family” and “fun” with awkward, uncomfortable, and rigid get-togethers where no one can be real or engage genuinely.
Force people to be with toxic people they can’t stand and then feel superior when the fireworks go off in the name of “reconciliation”. Or, force a “fun” activity no one really enjoys and make them see it through to a long, painful end. Remind them that only losers quit anything.
If you do happen to orchestrate an outing (contrary to your usual habit of never going anywhere), make sure everyone has to get up early and rush from place to place so you can “see everything”. Pack the schedule so tight that no one can enjoy any of it and are just exhausted.
32.) Extra credit if you do all of the above in an incredibly irritating voice: too loud, mumble, speak incredibly slow, ramble in a way impossible to follow even with chess-grandmaster-levels of concentration, mispronounce and misuse words, talk stiltedly and prissy like a lecturing televangelist creep, pronounce every word like the other person is an idiot, etc. Don’t be self-aware and don’t try to improve your speech patterns. Be as unmindfully obnoxious as possible.
33.) Be helpless. Proudly declare that “I’m not good at that” or “I don’t know anything about that”. Don’t attempt to educate yourself or try new things at all. Need constant care like an infant trapped in an adult body.
Conversely, claim or act like you are the best at everything. Mess things up because you are actually a clueless windbag.
Blame others. Ruin others’ attempts with your bad information.
34.) When something goes wrong, blame the other person for things that were your responsibility, no matter how far-fetched. Claim that they “distracted you”. (“I got a ticket because you made me late!”, “I dropped [thing] because you were talking!”).
Constant diet of blame and shame. Ask for their help and then when they get involved, tell them you don’t need them after all and shun them. Works for both incredibly short-term (“Would you get me [thing]? *Gets up from what they are doing, goes to trouble to find it and bring it to you* “Never mind, I don’t need it, I got it.”) or long-term projects. Once is nothing, do every day or multiple times a day.
35.) Insist on living in a natural-disaster-prone, ignoramus-inhabited hellhole where nothing interesting ever happens. Be one of the ignoramuses.
Do everything in such a way that takes the most effort. Make sure you waste the most money in the long (not short) run. Make sure it either doesn’t work out at all (or barely works, with great inconvenience) or looks terrible, in the noble pursuit of “saving money” and being “hardworking”.
Feel clever and superior to people who value time, happiness, and harmony (including visual style) more than money.
Never notice those people usually know how to make the most money.
Drag your prey into these unnecessary cockamamie nonsense busy-work chores with you. If they balk, label them lazy. Make fun of them. Over-extend yourself constantly and never complete projects or tasks.
Live in a filthy hoarder house of chaos and complain about it. Constantly talk about the end of the world and how prepared you are. Feel even more superior. Talk bad about people who don’t live in constant fear and don’t buy doomsday supplies.
Exploit every fear you know of in someone. Shoot in the dark until you hit a nerve. You are a predator hunting for superiority.
36.) Either ignore your health completely, eat terrible, never exercise, and constantly sleep off your intense depression, or never stop yapping about the latest health fads you think the people around you should do as if you were personally responsible for the fields of nutrition and kinesiology.
Never just quietly and joyously implement them and only point people in the direction of where you got your information when they ask why you look great.
Half-heartedly start to take your own advice, then quit. Save your energy for convincing others to do better in their life when they never asked you and you are the least qualified person to say anything about it. Be proud to be a martyr.
37.) Constantly bad mouth everyone. Especially happy people just living their lives. Make it clear that this is unacceptable and shameful behavior.
Never or rarely give positive feedback. When you do, make sure it is tainted or that you said something contrary to it not much earlier. Make it meaningless at best, or better, insulting.
38.) You feel bad and insecure so you talk and talk and talk. Vomit it all out. Be as depressing as possible.
Ramble. Rant. Prolong your rant until time stands still and forever opens wide. Speak depressing, stand depressing, walk depressing, lay depressing.
Don’t even realize you’ve sucked all the joy out of the room. Ignore signs of distress and irritation from your audience, or use them to feel unappreciated. Don’t take any actions to help yourself. Not even a first tiny step. Take no pleasure in anything so you have nothing positive to talk about. Don’t grow in any direction. Don’t read or discover. No positive or interesting topics. Talk a big game and future fake instead. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
39.) Get angry and personally offended when they don’t read your mind or instantly fix the problem at hand, waiting on you like a slave. Decide you are unloved and deserve better. Start a fight. Exude anger so palpable it fills the entire space. Don’t share how you actually feel (because you know you are being crazy).
Sneer and snarl. Be defensive because you are actually terrified of rejection. Don’t try to clearly express your needs in a few brief words because that would be beneath you or far too vulnerable a position. So stay defensive and angry. Feel validated when the person naturally shrinks away from you: you were right, they didn’t love or care about you.
Do this all the time. Don’t even realize this is happening. Ignore when they beg you to be open, expressive, and patient with them with your wants and needs. Start a fight instead. Works really well with 23 and 33, Do Nothing Alone and Be Helpless.
40.) Assume the worst in others. Ban them from things they want to do, or make it so difficult and miserable they resort to sneaking around and hiding. Hold that against them, never own your part in the play or accept that people need freedom. Constantly accuse. Need constant proof, of everything (love, fidelity, money spent, EVERYTHING. Be an insatiable glutton lunatic for *proof*).
Put their love for you to the test everyday. Never understand them. Make them feel alone.
Make it their job to heal your trauma. Get excited when they pull away because they can’t take it anymore; you were right! You were right! You were unlovable/they were a horrible piece of sh*t. Get more excited about your deepest sorrow and shame being confirmed than you were about having someone who emotionally bled every day to try to make you happy and show you that you are enough. Someone who tried to help you and stood by you.
Regret it all. Hate yourself.
Didn’t this feel yucky to read? I felt dirty just looking over it.
Even a few of these every once in a while is horrible, but I and people I know made this a way of life.
The worst part is, it doesn’t take almost any of this negative garbage at all to create long-lasting trauma but it was a daily routine.
Some of it was bad behavior modeled since childhood, some was coping mechanisms, and some was just selfishness, but most all of it was unintentional lack of self-awareness.
The self-awareness was the hardest part.
I usually felt terrible and desperately tried to change, but never could. I could never catch myself before or during, only regret and despondency after. I had failed to control myself again! Every time confirmed I was a hopeless, undisciplined, out-of-control, ridiculous, mean, selfish, horrible, UNLOVABLE, UNWORTHY PIECE OF CRAP.
I would never improve until I realized why I was doing what I was doing because once I realized the root of what I was feeling, I was able to disarm the alarm and select from a variety of behavioral choices instead of the default programming.
Once you know what you are *about* to do (you recognize that you do these sorts of things when [insert situation here]), you can choose a new path! Otherwise, you may as well be riding your brain chemicals to another bad trip.
When you take psychotropic drugs, and they hit, and you’re having a bad time, it doesn’t matter how badly you wish it was over or how much you regret taking them: you’re strapped into the ride until it’s done with you.
In my experience, the effects of emotional-trauma brain-drugs (the naturally formed stress chemicals in your brain) seem suspiciously similar.
Without knowing what I was feeling and why, my brain would literally go into lock-down and prepare for war (defending against further emotional trauma to a deeply wounded and nearly identity-less self). I was locked up or locked out while firing sequences initiated. I had pre-programmed responses for situations, and as incredible as this sounds (because of course, I was in my body, making it move and talk, right?) in the moment, it never occurred to me what was actually going on or that there were options.
Perceived slight = Mortal Combat
I didn’t know how I was coming across, or how acutely the other person was affected. None of it seemed real. Sometimes I felt outside of myself, experiencing a nightmare. None of it was real. Especially not the other person. Just pain and danger. I really was “tripping”.
The only antidote I’ve found: Awareness of the root trigger.
If you know that you were abandoned and so fear abandonment and want love, when you start to get upset you can identify your anger as panic, and you can ask yourself what course of action would be best for maintaining a strong loving bond instead, since that is really what you want.
Ask, "How do I make my behavior benefit me instead of looking crazy?" But you have to realize why you feel so triggered before you can know the desire behind it. Once you know the desire, THEN you can do a sensible and beneficial behavior.
You have a new, constructive goal! Stay loved! Work together! The other person isn’t all bad. You aren’t all bad. You are loved. They love you. You just need to work together on something for a second.
It becomes real. And safe enough to stay in the reality of the moment.
If you know you want to feel significant, you can share that. You can gently ask for a little boost. It is safe.
If you don’t know, you can’t ask. And then it’s much harder to get because people can rarely read your mind.
All My Love,