When I was a teenager, I played the victim a lot. If I acted out of line or did anything bad or harsh, I blamed it on other people, since I was never the type to be anything but nice, genuine, kind, and caring. If I did anything out of character, I thought it was due to the influence of other people. “They made me this way.”
Hi, my name is Liz, and I’m learning that I, in certain circumstances, can be a toxic person.
Let’s try that again: Hi, my name is Liz, and I have toxic traits.
I’m confident enough to know that I’m a kind-hearted person. I care for the people around me, I’m nice even when I’m not having the greatest of days, I’m considerate, and I’m an empath. Thank you, Nina, for reminding me that I truly am empathetic.
While that might sound good, it doesn’t mean that I don’t make mistakes. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ve hurt a lot of people throughout my years living on this Earth. I’ve hurt people who I’ve dropped as friends for no reason. I’ve probably broken a couple of hearts from secret admirers. I know I’ve hurt my family with actions and words throughout the years. I’ve probably hurt my ex throughout the years as well.
What I’m saying is that we are human, and we are bound to hurt the people in our lives no matter how kind-hearted or nice you are.
So, to the people I’ve hurt in the past, the present, and even those who I will probably hurt in the future: I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for not taking consideration in the things you may have adored, worried about, wanted me to care about, and everything in between that left you feeling like I didn’t give a shit about you. One of my toxic traits is not having a good enough balance of caring for myself and then caring for others. I tend to be harsh, not caring enough, even to some degree I lack empathy or sympathy, and I truly do not tend to be that way. I think I excluded myself from others for so many years, I think I just don’t know how to be present and openly supportive of the things that you care about. I’m working on it.
I’m sorry for leaving without a warning and make you wonder what happened and what you did wrong. The answer is probably nothing. My toxic trait is that I feel like I’m easily forgotten, which makes me believe I can hop out of friendships without anyone caring or noticing. I’m also sorry for never giving you any closure on why I left you in the first place. Maybe I just didn’t want to hurt your feelings and tell you I don’t want to be friends anymore. Maybe you did something to hurt me first and instead of being mature and speaking up, I stood quiet until I found the right time to slip out of the friendship. Again, my toxic traits really do come to life when it comes to dealing with friendships, and the fact of the matter is maybe I’m just not a good person to be close friends with. Maybe you have to keep your distance from me. Maybe it’s the social anxiety disorder. Maybe I just haven’t had friends in a really long time and tend to overthink the ones that stay. I’m working on it.
Lastly, I’m sorry for ever making you feel like you are always wrong, even in situations where I was in the wrong. My toxic trait is that I can’t take criticism without taking it to heart and that I get extremely defensive when I’m getting accused of doing something wrong or hurtful. I make things about myself sometimes, and sometimes I just wish that I was always right and that people saw things the way that I do. I’m trying to learn that not everything I believe will be correct or the right thing,, and when it isn’t, I should listen and take it for consideration without thinking I’m being attacked. Again, my toxic traits may stem from my mental health, and I’m working on both to be a better person for myself, and to those around me.
But, I’m human. We all are, and we aren’t perfect. Sure, tell that to the toxic trait that thinks I need to be perfect, but I know I’m not. The first step to any sort of self-healing and discovery is understanding that we have toxic traits and that sometimes we are the bad guy in someone’s narrative.
That doesn’t make us bad people, just people that need some work to do.
So, to my teenage self: I forgive you for not taking responsibility for the things you’ve said and done; you were young and didn’t know any better. I mean, who did? Because of you, I am able to learn and accept myself for not always being good, and for not always being right. Because of you, I’m learning, and I’m becoming more aware, even if I might not always get it right the first couple of times.