How to Identify Toxic Friends and Family

Caitlin Grisham, Reporter

    Whether they are in your family or not, everyone has had to deal with a sarcastic peer or colleague without a filter, having an idea shot down, or being blamed for something you didn’t do. 

    But, living with someone who constantly does these things takes a toll on someone. Here is how to identify true toxic family and friends, what to do, who to talk to, or where to go if you are in a situation like this.

   Toxic, or rather abusive family, does not necessarily mean they have to physically harm you. It could be the constant repetition of negative thoughts or mindsets towards someone. This is mental abuse. 

     Ms. Brooke Davis, a guidance counselor at D.C Everest Highschool, said that Toxic Family doesn’t have an exact definition. “Toxic can be many things. People can be physically, emotionally, and mentally toxic. I don’t use just one definition. It looks different in different situations,” she said.

    Some signs of a toxic relationship include, “Verbal abuse, verbal put downs and disrespect, and name calling constantly over a long period of time,” Davis adds.

     In any relationship there needs to be give and take. One side cannot always be taking, and the other side cannot always be giving, or when the other side does give something in the relationship, it makes you feel upset in some way, shape, or form.

   “If you, at any point, feel like’ I am over stepping bounds’, you should be able to talk to me about that. To have that mutual respect,”  Davis said. 

   Mutual respect is an important part in any kind of relationship, and this is the same with trust. There needs to be some sort of trust and acceptance. A parent, friend, or lover should not be constantly going through one’s phone, and questioning every little thing they do without some sort of reason to be doing so.   

   Using “I am your parent”, or “Because we’re dating” as a constant excuse to their behavior is a huge sign of toxicity.

   “Have a conversation with the parent,” Davis said.  

    Davis recommends that when you have this conversation, it is done at a later point in time when both parties have calmed down, otherwise it will turn into another argument. 

    If you feel as if you are still in a situation like this, it is recommended that you contact your counselor first, but here is another place you could go for help: www.unitedway.org,

    “United Way, 211, they have a lot of good resources in Marathon County,” Davis said.

   In a situation like this, such as talking to your counselor, telling a trusted adult, or contacting United Way.

   “A lot depends on the situation. If it’s violent call the police, but have a trusted adult,” Davis said, such as teachers, counselors, and coaches.

   If you feel you are in a toxic situation, please contact one of your counselors or tell a trusted adult.