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RoseRed135

Defining "Toxic"

73 posts in this topic

I don't know anyone that is happy to have someone they consider toxic in their lives. I don't know of anyone that wouldn't welcome a positive relationship w/others, rather than being forced, for their own health and well being, to walk away from family members.

But, I do think that people recognizing toxic behaviour, refusing to accept abuse, and ending the relationship is a healthy thing to do. The willingness to accept abuse simply b/c someone is family only enables abusive behaviour to be learned and experienced by the next generation.

People have the right not to be abused, regardless of who the person is that is being abusive.

Abuse is abuse, and nobody should accept it.

And even if it's not abuse, even if the person simply makes everything miserable when they're around, why should anyone accept that? Why should someone set themselves on fire to keep others warm?

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I'm sure there are toxic people out there.  But I also agree that it can be over used.  After all-   if you define someone as toxic- they then have all the blame and you have none of the blame.   It's not that it exactly makes you happy to call someone toxic.  But it sure as heck can get you off the hook.

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53 minutes ago, skipped said:

I'm sure there are toxic people out there.  But I also agree that it can be over used.  After all-   if you define someone as toxic- they then have all the blame and you have none of the blame.   It's not that it exactly makes you happy to call someone toxic.  But it sure as heck can get you off the hook.

True- The fruit usually doesn't fall far from the tree- But at least when toxic people decide not to be around each other there's less toxicity under one roof ..

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14 minutes ago, skipped said:

I'm sure there are toxic people out there.  But I also agree that it can be over used.  After all-   if you define someone as toxic- they then have all the blame and you have none of the blame.   It's not that it exactly makes you happy to call someone toxic.  But it sure as heck can get you off the hook.

I guess I don't understand why anyone would be 'on the hook' for another person to start with.

I'm responsible for my choices, actions, and reactions. When I screw up, I apologize, and seek to repair the issue. Doesn't matter if it's my husband, my children, a neighbour. Taking ownership is important to me, and it's actually taken decades to realize that no, not everything is my fault. I'm not responsible for what another adult does, doesn't do, or behaves. And I'm not responsible for teaching an adult the way I do my kids. If they haven't gotten it by the time they're grown, I'm sure as heck not about to try to get it through to them.

I don't have the time, energy, or frankly interest, to navigate a relationship w/someone that hasn't figured out that they can't get away with treating others badly, that expects/demands that nobody holds them accountable for their negative behaviour, just b/c they're somehow related.

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I'm sure you are the exception Imp. The problem is that there seem to be a lot of people out there that don't want to accept responsibility and just love to deflect/ blame others for everything.

ETA- a "long" while ago Rose had a topic on whether there was something we the members of this blog could have done differently to prevent issues with our DIL/MILs.  The majority of the people stated that they should have "nipped" it in the bud earlier.   I remember it especially because it was a dil who posted how interesting the answers were- no one "really" wanted to take any responsibility

Edited by skipped
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15 minutes ago, skipped said:

I'm sure you are the exception Imp. The problem is that there seem to be a lot of people out there that don't want to accept responsibility and just love to deflect/ blame others for everything.

ETA- a "long" while ago Rose had a topic on whether there was something we the members of this blog could have done differently to prevent issues with our DIL/MILs.  The majority of the people stated that they should have "nipped" it in the bud earlier.   I remember it especially because it was a dil who posted how interesting the answers were- no one "really" wanted to take any responsibility

I don't think I'm an exception at all. All the folks I know who get to the point of low contact/time out/no contact have tried for years to repair things. Maybe it's just that I've seen, first hand, the generational dysfunction and abuse cycle play out, in more than one family, and have yet to see someone where they've considered having a toxic family member 'easy', at all. Especially if they're the scapegoat in the family, b/c they've been taught their entire childhood, that all bad things are their fault, and they better fix it all RIGHT THIS VERY NOW.

And, the funny thing is, pretty much all of them, when they got to the point of LC/TO/NC were ALL, without exception, pressured to forgive, pressured to give up their boundaries, "That's just the way he/she is!", "you just have to love them anyway!" "Well, my mom/MIL/Dad/FIL/other family member was so much worse, but I never stopped having a relationship with them!" and a bunch of other guilt tripping attempts.

Always interesting to me that rarely, if ever, someone goes to the person who's being toxic and suggests that *they* change. It's always the pressure on the victim to give in and go back for more, b/c they're the ones that are rocking the boat by refusing to accept it any more.

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I personally think that BOTH sides need to take responsibility.  That doesn't seem to happen.

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11 minutes ago, skipped said:

I personally think that BOTH sides need to take responsibility.  That doesn't seem to happen.

What does that look like to you? How does someone who has asked someone else to NOT do a particular behavior but they refuse, take responsibility in that situation? Since I can't control others behaviors but have asked MIL NOT to be a jerk to kids. What, in your opinion, thoughts...is my responsibility?

Edited by Cupcake55

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Cupcake- All I can say is - Does the fact that your MIL refuses to do exactly what you say make her TOXIC or make it so that you have absolutely NO  blame whatsoever in your problems with your MIL.

Do you define your MIL as toxic.

Example.  Sue- you think your MIL was toxic.  What if your daughter started telling the community your husband is toxic?  Do you agree with that?  Does your daughter have absolutely NO blame whatsoever in the problems she is having with your husband?  

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26 minutes ago, skipped said:

Cupcake- All I can say is - Does the fact that your MIL refuses to do exactly what you say make her TOXIC or make it so that you have absolutely NO  blame whatsoever in your problems with your MIL.

Do you define your MIL as toxic.

 

Yes, I do define her as toxic. NOT because she refuses to do as I say. She is toxic because of HER behavior. How is HER behavior my fault? How is HER behavior my responsibility?

ETA: To be clear, DH and I have done everything we know to do to "fix" the relationship. We can not, however, take responsibility for anothers' actions. That's on them alone.

Edited by Cupcake55

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1 hour ago, skipped said:

I personally think that BOTH sides need to take responsibility.  That doesn't seem to happen.

I'd still like to know what BOTH side taking responsibility looks like to you, without what if's.

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6 minutes ago, Cupcake55 said:

I'd still like to know what BOTH side taking responsibility looks like to you, without what if's.

I believe I used the example of Sue STX dghtr.  I see both sides as responsible in that situation.  If your MIL defined you as toxic what would you say about that?

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11 minutes ago, skipped said:

I believe I used the example of Sue STX dghtr.  I see both sides as responsible in that situation.  If your MIL defined you as toxic what would you say about that?

I don't know if she does or does not and I couldn't care less if she defined me as toxic so I wouldn't say anything. People accuse you (general) of what they are, and what they are doing. IF she defines me as toxic that would reinforce, to me and to DH, her toxicity.

1 hour ago, skipped said:

Example.  Sue- you think your MIL was toxic.  What if your daughter started telling the community your husband is toxic?  Do you agree with that?  Does your daughter have absolutely NO blame whatsoever in the problems she is having with your husband?  

You used a "what if" though...Do we know if Sue's daughter defines Sue's DH as toxic? You stated BOTH sides need to take responsibility. How does that look to you, not using, what ifs.

Edited by Cupcake55

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3 minutes ago, Cupcake55 said:

I don't know if she does or does not and I couldn't care less if she defined me as toxic so I wouldn't say anything. People accuse you (general) of what they are, and what they are doing. IF she defines me as toxic that would reinforce, to me and to DH, her toxicity.

You used a "what if" though...Do we know if Sue's daughter defines Sue's DH as toxic? You stated BOTH sides need to take responsibility. How does that look to you, not using, what ifs.

Since I don't know your MIL sides of the story I can't use you as an example.

All I am saying is, just because someone says someone else is toxic doesn't make it so. '

 

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2 minutes ago, skipped said:

Since I don't know your MIL sides of the story I can't use you as an example.

All I am saying is, just because someone says someone else is toxic doesn't make it so. '

 

I agree with that. BUT you also said BOTH sides need to take responsibility... Just because I say or think someone is toxic does not mean I have any responsibility to that. In fact, I can't control another's behavior, another's actions, another's words so it is NOT my responsibility, I have NO ownership in that. The ONLY ownership is to the person doing the negative behavior, negative action, negative words, and maybe the people who continually enable that. That's what I am saying.

 

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Example.  Sue- you think your MIL was toxic.  What if your daughter started telling the community your husband is toxic?  Do you agree with that?  Does your daughter have absolutely NO blame whatsoever in the problems she is having with your husband?  

Maybe MIL wasn't "toxic" by your definition, but she was sure enough the meanest person I have ever met.

For beginners, I've never told anyone even my kids when teens that my MIL was toxic.  I did tell hubby that I couldn't be taking anymore of her "meanness".  He knew she was an odd duck since she pushed him out of the nest at exactly 5 years old when his baby brother was born and she was incapable of loving more than one person at a time.

IF my daughter ever told anybody that hubby was toxic, nobody would believe it.  Does she talk about others that way?  Sure, I had a two hour conversation Saturday morning about her fellow workers.  She only had a nice word to say about one.

My daughter is the one who drug hubby into her divorce saying if we didn't support her unconditionally, that meant we didn't love her.  Then when they got back together hubby was suppose to believe SIL was the best thing since sliced bread.

Was hubby to blame at all?  Sure, he is suppose to love DD and want the best for her and she never came to him and explained why SIL was the best after trashing him for several months.

Does that make either one of them toxic...I don't think so, just both as stubborn as the other.  She learned that from him for the past 38 years.

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To me, toxic is a newer word as words go to describe behavior in an unhealthy relationship.  I do agree that often times both parties share responsibility when a relationship goes South, but taking responsibility may not solve problems in the relationship although this awareness from taking responsibility would be good going forward with future relationships.  I think so often in problematic relationships that the two (or more) people involved are just incompatible.  I've said this before and I will say it again, but I like the word incompatible because it doesn't point fingers, eliminate responsibility or assign blame - rather it is a neutral word to describe why a relationship ended or is in the gutter.  This word does have it's limitation, however,  such as with abuse as you wouldn't say in this situation that "we were incompatible"

For example, with my MIL, she believed (as does the rest of this IL/extended IL family) that DH's loyalty is to his parents/sib first than to me/the kids.  I believe DH's loyalty is me/the kids first then to parents, sibs and DH believes the same.  DH/I and his parents/sibs/extended family are not compatible when it comes to these beliefs and the behavior that stems from became "toxic" (at times) to our marriage and our family.   If you were to ask the IL side they would probably say the same about my/DH's behavior.  We are incompatible here. 

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26 minutes ago, BSW said:

To me, toxic is a newer word as words go to describe behavior in an unhealthy relationship.  I do agree that often times both parties share responsibility when a relationship goes South, but taking responsibility may not solve problems in the relationship although this awareness from taking responsibility would be good going forward with future relationships.  I think so often in problematic relationships that the two (or more) people involved are just incompatible.  I've said this before and I will say it again, but I like the word incompatible because it doesn't point fingers, eliminate responsibility or assign blame - rather it is a neutral word to describe why a relationship ended or is in the gutter.  This word does have it's limitation, however,  such as with abuse as you wouldn't say in this situation that "we were incompatible"

For example, with my MIL, she believed (as does the rest of this IL/extended IL family) that DH's loyalty is to his parents/sib first than to me/the kids.  I believe DH's loyalty is me/the kids first then to parents, sibs and DH believes the same.  DH/I and his parents/sibs/extended family are not compatible when it comes to these beliefs and the behavior that stems from became "toxic" (at times) to our marriage and our family.   If you were to ask the IL side they would probably say the same about my/DH's behavior.  We are incompatible here. 

Yes, often times, but not always.

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8 minutes ago, Cupcake55 said:

Yes, often times, but not always.

I don't believe in absolutes. Always is an absolute.  So I agree.  

If you look back, The first thing I said was that I do think there are toxic people out there.  I just said that there are  people out there that like to toss the word around and use it to avoid accountability.  If the other person is toxic, they  aren't the problem.   I also think it's difficult for people to see their role in relationship issues. 

To be clear here- I think people need to be accountable for their OWN actions.  People are accountable to how they respond to others actions.

You want a real life example that doesn't have what ifs.  I've told this story before.

I have a coworker who says her mother in law is toxic because she tried to have her fired.  Co worker is a nurse, who used her role to get a Dr to prescribe a treatment that she knew the IL did not want.  The IL complained about it and she got in trouble.  Do you see how BOTH parties are to blame in this situation?

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Also, if anyone remembers my story about the coworker that threw something at her MIL and screamed at her in the car all the way to her daughters house (hours), thinks her MIL and SILs are toxic for turning her in and now she is fired.

I think it's interesting that I have 2 coworkers whose MILs are toxic and tried to get them fired.  Neither seem to see their role in the problem.

Edited by skipped

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When situations go south everyone in it went south with it before someone or more decided to head north- 

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1 hour ago, skipped said:

I don't believe in absolutes. Always is an absolute.  So I agree.  

If you look back, The first thing I said was that I do think there are toxic people out there.  I just said that there are  people out there that like to toss the word around and use it to avoid accountability.  If the other person is toxic, they  aren't the problem.   I also think it's difficult for people to see their role in relationship issues. 

To be clear here- I think people need to be accountable for their OWN actions.  People are accountable to how they respond to others actions.

You want a real life example that doesn't have what ifs.  I've told this story before.

I have a coworker who says her mother in law is toxic because she tried to have her fired.  Co worker is a nurse, who used her role to get a Dr to prescribe a treatment that she knew the IL did not want.  The IL complained about it and she got in trouble.  Do you see how BOTH parties are to blame in this situation?

Actually, I don't. I see your friend as being wholly responsible, b/c she overstepped her boundaries, both as a professional and as a DIL. 

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5 hours ago, skipped said:

I personally think that BOTH sides need to take responsibility.  That doesn't seem to happen.

I think when dealing w/a toxic person, that's not possible.

Unless you think an abuse victim needs to take responsibility for their abuse.

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1 minute ago, ImpishMom said:

Actually, I don't. I see your friend as being wholly responsible, b/c she overstepped her boundaries, both as a professional and as a DIL. 

I think the response- lets get them fired- bears some responsibility 

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Just now, skipped said:

I think the response- lets get them fired- bears some responsibility 

I don't. I think complaining when a medical personnel oversteps their boundaries and attempts (or succeeds, I don't remember the details) to force a treatment upon a patient without their consent, it's absolutely something that needs to be reported. If that person gets fired, it's completely a result of their actions, not the patient's fault for reporting their flagrant violation of their professional duty.  They absolutely ought to be fired, based on their actions, imo, b/c they're not safe. 

That's like saying, "It's the victim's fault for reporting the crime." 

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