Why do we tolerate toxicity? Why do we hold on to behaviours that we very well know are bad? It is fear of abandonment or starting over? Is it fear of grief and loss? Is it low self-esteem or self-worth? There must be a way to break free from this, or find our way out of any toxic situation/relationship, but that is not our talk today. We may give people we love free passes sometimes, but there are some behaviours we shouldn’t tolerate even from ourselves. The very first step towards any change is recognising you actually have a problem. In this article, we will look at toxic things we keep tolerating. Something toxic is something capable of causing serious harm and in this case, harm is not only physical. Gaslighting This is when you cause someone to question their own sanity, experiences, and reality. Ever heard of the “are you stupid?”, “you are too sensitive, dramatic, insecure”, “you are crazy”, “you have a short memory” comments? The kind of comments that make you doubt if you know what you know. Gaslighting manipulation also goes as far as, “I’m sorry if you think I hurt you”. You may be blinded by what seems like an apology but psychological experts say that this is a way of placing blame on the victim. Basically, it is like saying, “if you would stop thinking that I hurt you, you would live with it perfectly”. Humiliation Whether we will admit it or not, one feels humiliated when harsh criticism or sarcastic jokes are thrown at their expense in public. While friends often enjoy playful banter with one another, comments that are hurtful or target one’s insecurities may be more than jokes. You know the saying, “there’s always some truth behind jokes”? Well, it is true. Besides, if it’s embarrassing why bring it up publicly really? You will find this is done by people who often feel better about themselves at the expense of others. It may be time to stop pampering some egos. Guilt-shaming Have you seen those friends who make everything about themselves? For example, “I can’t believe you are choosing them over me”, “you are too busy with (anything), you don’t care about me”, etc. Another way is being constantly reminded, questioned, and shamed because of a fault or a mistake you made once. This may create a lump in your throat and push you to tears even, but they won’t stop, and it is toxic. Threats “What would you do without me?”, “If you keep doing (anything), you will lose (anything)”, etc. But friend, can’t you just pass your message without necessarily demonstrating how horrible one’s life might turn out if they don’t listen to you? These are different from warning of consequences in case one doesn’t adhere to a rule or advice. They are threats hidden in words, directed, and intended to cause fear or doubt. We’ll try not to mention how African parents like to threaten their children with things like ‘if you don’t listen to me, you’ll kill me with hypertension’. Huh? Blame shifting Have you ever apologised when you were the one actually hurt? Someone will be like, “I wouldn’t have cheated on you if you had not (fill in reason)”. Friend, the truth is they would still do what they did regardless. Instead of taking responsibility and maybe apologising, they will make you feel guilty. Blame shifting dismisses your own feelings about something and takes away the attention from what you feel and planned to do. According to PsychCentral, there are many reasons why someone may tolerate toxic behaviours or stay in abusive relationships, like, insecure attachment style (anxiety, jealousy, etc.), dependent personality disorder, trauma bonding, (when people survive something horrible together), and childhood traumas. So ask yourself, why do I tolerate toxic things?