A painting of a girl reaching out with a large orange fish behind her.


adjective: toxic
  1. 1.
    “the dumping of toxic waste”
    synonyms: poisonousvirulentnoxiousdeadlydangerousharmfulinjuriouspernicious

    “toxic houseplants”
    antonyms: harmless
    • relating to or caused by poison.
      “toxic hazards”
    • very bad, unpleasant, or harmful.
      “a toxic relationship”


As stated by Google, the word toxic has a multitude of meanings, however all of them have one thing in common, and that is they all have fairly negative connotation. Today, I am going to talk about toxic when used to describe relationships.

We’ve all either experienced one for ourselves, or been around people who have been in them. Toxic relationships, and toxic people in general, can be incredibly frustrating to deal with, and can even very negatively affect our own mental health. Toxicity comes in many forms, but at its most basic level it involves selfishness, disrespect, and a complete disregard for others’ emotions.

I’ve had many experiences throughout my time dealing with toxic people, and have slowly come to realize that no one should ever have to deal with them. They are only as bad as you let them be, and trust me, if you let them be, they can be quite terrible. For the purposes of anonymity, I am not going to explain any of my own personal situations in detail, because I would never want to reveal such information about others publicly, however I will talk about some of my experiences in a more general sense. I hope that by reading about some of these experiences, perhaps you or someone you know who’s currently trapped in, or dealing with toxicity can find a way out. I know it’s hard, and I know it’s frustrating, but I like to believe that no matter what, there is always some way out, even if it is a stretch.

The Lead On

This is perhaps the most subtle form of toxicity, and that is the lead on. This is when one individual leads another individual on for an extended period of time. This can either be in a romantic sense, or perhaps even a friendship. I have personally had experience with this in my life, and it freaking sucks. It’s not fun, and afterwards it makes you feel like crap. It can make an individual feel like they aren’t worth much of anything.

If you have ever been led on before, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. But in truth, it’s not you that has done anything wrong, it’s the person that led you on. Shame on them for doing such a terrible thing. Leading someone on is akin to lying to someone’s face, and it’s just disgustingly terrible behavior to display to anyone. I completely understand that many people who do lead others on are unsure of themselves and where they stand in the world, but if that is the case they should be working on figuring that out instead of lying to others and tricking them into believing things that are not true. So, if you have been led on, just know that it isn’t you. It’s not your fault, and you were not just an idiot. Sometimes these people can be incredibly tricky, and when you’re so closely involved in a relationship it can be very hard to tell the difference between truth and lie.

Many times the lead on is because of one’s own insecurity. The one who is doing the leading on is most likely either unsure or insecure about themselves and their place in the world. The base line of this is that if you are unsure, don’t trick someone for multiple months, or even years. Just end it and move on, because tricking someone for so long is just terrible in my opinion.


Some may not be familiar with this term, but essentially what it is, is when someone whom you previously talked to mysteriously cuts all communication off from you. This can be because of a bunch of different reasons, and albeit, some of those reasons may not be because the individual is a mean person, but sometimes it is exactly that. Ghosting really sucks, it really does, but the best thing to do is just move on. If a person ghosts you, it just means that they weren’t a true friend after all, and honestly that person shouldn’t really matter to you anyways. I know it’s really frustrating and confusing, and can feel like the world is falling apart, but in the end you’re probably better off not talking to that person anyways, because they obviously do not have any value in the relationships that they form with others.

Note, that I am talking about ghosting out of the blue. If there was some sort of argument or catalyst beforehand to cause such a thing to happen, then it might not be a toxic situation in the sense that I am talking about.

A painting of a girl reaching out with a large orange fish behind her.
A painting of a surreal fish, by Sam Perin


Rumors are just really stupid. They’re created to defame and harm another person through the spread of outlandish stories that are aimed to embarrass or humiliate said person. Honestly, these don’t really matter too much as I see it. The people who really are the ones that care about you won’t believe the rumors anyways. They can actually be a great way to figure out who the real people are and who is fake if that makes sense. Rumors really just spread pointless drama, and it is best to just avoid them entirely.


Manipulation can come in so many forms, from financial, to physical, to emotional, and it is one of the worst ways that a person can be toxic towards another individual. I and many people in my life have had to deal with various forms of manipulation in the past, and it can be incredibly daunting and scary to deal with. It is something that creeps up and gets you when you are least prepared. It can contribute to a slew of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, and can turn a once happy person into someone who feels like the world is out to get them.  Any manipulative situation is absolutely terrible, no matter the type of manipulation, and the best advice I have, is get out now! I know that can be really hard and scary, but the faster you can get out, the faster you can go on your way to recovery and putting your life back together. Any human that feels they have the right and power to manipulate another human doesn’t deserve to be in relationships or friendships with said people. Those who manipulate usually suffer from various illnesses themselves, and should seek help for their troubles rather than fuming their frustrations onto others.


Everyone can be selfish from time to time, but for some it seems to be a way of life. When I talk about selfishness I’m not just talking about people who think of themselves only in a physical sense, but an emotional sense too. People can be selfish in so many different ways that I can’t even count it on my hand, but every time, it is always frustrating and disheartening to deal with. Those who are selfish may have a complete lack of empathy, they may hoard all money for themselves, they may neglect others who are important in their life or under their care, or they may think of only what they want and desire. These people are people that I personally try to avoid, because the backlash and nasty attitude that these people bring to a room just really is not something that anyone should have to deal with.


This article was a bit more pessimistic than most articles, and quite frankly I’m not sure exactly why I wrote it, but I just thought I’d share some thoughts about toxic people and relationships. We’ve all had to deal with it, and we will all continue to have to deal with it. What’s important I think, is that you find like minded people who aren’t toxic and just awesome in general and stick with those people, because in the end the toxic people don’t matter anyways. The people who really matter are those who you share mutual feelings of care and affection towards.

Thank you so much for reading this article, have an amazing day!

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