Toxic People

Toxic People
Fecha de publicación: 
3 October 2023
Imagen principal: 

Toxic is a trendy term these days. Usually used in female genre, this adjective has gained popularity to describe annoying, authoritarian, extremely jealous people, energy vampires. In fact, these people negatively affect our lives by limiting our normal behavior.

Actually, toxicity comes from what is used to poison, not human beings. We are not radioactive. That is stated in the Real Academia Española. Hence, this is term that has been debased as it has happened to other common words that have been given metaphorical meaning.

Where does the expression come from and how did it become global? I read that it was the Argentine psychologist Bernardo Stamateas with his best-selling book Toxic People (2010) who entertained the issue of people who complicate our existence and how to treat them. But this formula can include almost anyone who questions, even from kindness and concern, as well as those who are neurotic, verbally aggressive, liars, manipulators, and so on, an endless number of other features that make the concept too broad.

However, no one is perfect. And we ignored this fact by categorizing the term. We all assume stances that at some point can be seen as conflicting, and that makes us human beings. It depends on many psychological conditions that we are one way or another, sometimes positive or negative because we have both virtues and flaws.

Usually, they call a person toxic and we immediately picture him or her as paranoid, exacerbated, a person we should be careful with because he or she is a bad person. It offers no nuances. It is a poor, imprecise conception that is used in diverse environments, whether work or personal, family, friends or partner. However, there is much more focus on this last category, as I see, hear, and read.

According to some literature that also replicates Stamateas, toxic behavior is what it seeks to control, and it goes much further. We emphasize that it is not okay to call a person like that just for one action as we can be too superficial and ambiguous; not to mention it can be cruel and insulting.

Self-help materials sometimes focus their arguments in a strange way to raise self-esteem at all costs or to get the afflicted reader out of their emotional chaos by any means possible, even by blaming others.

The advice is supposed to generate well-being, offer positive tools, get to know ourselves better. However, sometimes, motivational and emotional phrases come to represent procedures such as psychological disorders.

How can it be appropriate to label as toxic a person just to not approve certain behavior? Firstly, no one behaves the same way all the time. We all depend on the context surrounding us. Therefore, what some identify as harmful should not refer to the individual, much less to their personality, but rather instantly, a situation that can occur differently over time or a change in environment.

We cannot always be a calm sea, sometimes we are the storm itself because we have blood in our veins, we are capricious, frustration drags us down, we have negative feelings, and that is normal, especially when we believe we are right, or when we make our demands not very kindly. It does not mean it is correct, but it happens to us, and we live with it.

In this case, the term is for emotional lazy people with no interest in assuming their part in the conflict. It is never right to label people under any circumstance. There is at least a chance that the other person has some responsibility as we all have shadows.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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