• Tiara O.

Breaking the Toxic Barriers

Updated: Mar 23, 2019

By: Ashley Ammons

It’s one thing to recognize toxicity but it’s another to acknowledge and work from it. The first thing we as human beings tend to do is point out the toxic traits in others. However, we fail to realize that we can be most toxic to ourselves and everyone around us. We look for any and every red flag. These flags usually include how negative or draining someone can be to us and we eliminate them immediately. Before being so quick to cross them off your list, what about that time someone eliminated you for the same behavior? Crickets… you don’t want to speak about it huh? I bet you’re even reading this like “damn sis, you don’t gotta call me out like that…” It’s the self-reflecting topics like these that no one wants to speak on but I’m going to do it anyways.

I’ve lost people I thought I couldn’t live without due to my own toxic behaviors. With my biggest toxic trait being the act of isolation. When things happen to me that I can’t handle, I isolate myself from all parties whether it be friends or family. I disappear without telling anyone why. My routine then turns into staying in my room listening to sad songs, going to work, then back home to sleep to do it all over again and sometimes this would happen for weeks. The longest I’ve disappeared for was almost 3 months. The only people who saw me during that time were my sister and parents. Some may call it hiding but I take my hurting personal because my hurt is mine. I refuse to let anyone tell me otherwise so I keep it to myself. Bad idea!!

I think the biggest misconception we have is that if something was real then it’s supposed to hurt and that’s where I took the most comfort in my hurt. I basked in my hurt so much that I ended up losing a lot of people because I was too selfish to be there for anyone else’s hurt or to just be present in general. I more so took it as them losing me and them being bitter for whatever reason until I had my best friend, who I wasn’t even speaking to at the time, and my mother check me. My behavior had become unacceptable to not only them but to me as well. I couldn’t expect for people to stay around and help when I was so quick to close off and hide.

It has taken me a few years to realize that a part of me was hiding because people always had this image of me being so happy and having it together that I was terrified to show them that I didn’t. I was terrified to display my fears and flaws that I ended up being more harmful to myself than I thought. I was a walking, talking ball of depression. Part of me fixing the problem was informing my loved ones about things that I was feeling/experiencing and allowing them to be there for me. I couldn’t run any longer. Even at 25 years old, I am still trying to learn and work on not running. I thank God everyday for giving me the ability to acknowledge and take accountability for my shit.

It sometimes takes the ugliest of days or months even to make you get your shit together and reevaluate your own toxic behaviors.

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