Loving Yourself When You’re the Toxic Person

We are, on occasion, going to be the Toxic person in our relationships. This is probably one of the hardest things to admit to ourselves because let’s be real, it is easier if the hurt is the other person’s fault. But sometimes, it just isn’t. Sometimes it is us reenacting past behaviors, creating very real present pain. And in those moments, it’s easy to want to run from the truth.

Some of us are so good at running that we can really convince ourselves and others that it was the fault of the other person. Because hurt is strange that way, it demands an origin story. Admiting that we are a part of that story creates more hurt. An endless cycle of pain. It is excruciating facing our own wounds. Seeing that the very wounds we are trying so hard to heal have sunk their claws into us, carved themselves deeper. It is so, so hard to feel self love in those moments, to own the toxicity without being owned by the toxic. But, despite that difficulty, it is also one of the most necessary actions if there is ever to be any hope of healthy relationships down the line.

Original art by me: I’ve been hoping for a while that someone would come into my life and tear down the walls I built around my heart but I don’t suppose life works that way. I have to take the walls down.

In moments when we find ourselves lashing out, acting out anger, manipulating loved ones, or doing whatever it is that we do that gives us shame, we have to remember that we still deserve love. The behavior is not the person. You are not those actions. Those actions are salted wounds. They’re raw and angry. They’re the proof that you’re alive and you care. Instead of shame, choose love. Love yourself for being passionate and vulnerable. Because it takes letting someone close to get to those places. And yeah, maybe those places are damaging, maybe the behaviors are unhealthy but they do not define you. You define you.

You decide you are worthy. You decide you deserve love. You decide you’re a glorious, fierce, compassionate, brilliant, whatever kind of human being. You. Your love for yourself is where it starts. Not just you but me too.

My love. My self. My toxicity. I own this, too. I am choosing today, a day when I typically feel dirty by default, to not let my wounds define me. I am choosing to define me. I am not dirty. Those hurts were not mine to carry. And if I lash out in pain, I apologize to anyone in the way. I apologize to myself. I forgive myself. Because it’s the only way to break the cycle. Denial and shame and self-hate, they won’t do it. They won’t stop you from hurting or me from hurting. And they won’t stop anyone from hurting us or being hurt by us. Only love, only honesty has that kind of power. Only facing our own wounds and regarding them with tenderness. Only being kind to ourselves when our inner critic is shouting relentlessly. That’s how we neutralize the noxious, how we take back toxic, how we own all our parts. How we heal.

via Daily Prompt: Toxic

13 thoughts on “Loving Yourself When You’re the Toxic Person

  1. As I was waking up today I looked over at the serenity prayer which hangs close to my bed and saw in the wordd courage … cou (couer) and rage. I was thinking how rage often has a lot of a desire for love hidden deep inside it and when its being acted out others do not see this. I have raged at loved ones and later felt very contrite and ashamed but when Iook deeper I see what was hidden beneath. I see how in the past my actions out of my own lostness and pain did hurt others, but I was hurting. Its not excuse but seeing it is important and loving anyway, the person not the behavior. Thanks for writing and posting this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so right. I definitely wanted to make clear that it isn’t an excuse because ultimately we do still choose our behaviors. But, at the same time, when we are hurting and facing our own wounds we often go automatic. The behaviors aren’t in the realm of the conscious until much later. And it is then that we beat ourselves up. It is then that we have the choice to choose something different.


  2. I’m saving this so I can read it again and again. I have no problem admitting I am the toxic person in the relationship, but I’ve yet to find a way to choose love in spite of it. I love what you wrote, what a great way to choose to love and respect yourself. You are so worthy of that!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi KD,
    A few months ago, I think I stumbled across your blog and said I would follow it… and then I proceeded to forget to click the button. Oops! I was wondering why I wasn’t seeing any posts from you in my reader…
    I really needed this post today. I know for sure that I am the most toxic person in my own life – yikes – and I’m sure that’s true for many people. The sad thing is that we didn’t start out that way, but the good thing about that is that since we didn’t start that way, we don’t have to end that way. You’re right, we can learn to love ourselves. It’s incredibly hard, but it is possible. Thanks for the much-needed reminder. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, yes, and the beauty of neuroplasticity. It helps me so much to remember that the brain can change. We can develop new pathways.


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