the toxicity of other people

When I say other people are toxic, or talk about the toxicity of other people – it’s brought on by a conversation I had with a friend lately. How someone we mutually know was less mad about me being a shitty student and more mad that I didn’t free myself from the hordes of shitty, toxic people I had surrounded myself with. The toxicity of people is something we touch on every so often but it’s not something often talked about. It isn’t nice to point fingers but there comes a point where you have to realise that you’re not the problem.

Sometimes, people don’t mean to be toxic. They’re just not compatible with you to a point where the relationship becomes toxic. Where the toxicity levels rise and suddenly, both of you are different people and you don’t like that.

Other times, people are toxic in general. I can safely say that prior to diagnosis and that mindfulness that comes with awareness of my behaviour, I was very toxic to my friends. I have lost people due to my behaviour, I have gained enemies, etc. They dislike me, I don’t want to be around them – cycle goes on.

I once joked because I have bomoh blood somewhere in my ancestry – the things I say tend to stick. I reconnected with an ex who told me that in the 5 years we hadn’t spoken, he could never get away from me. His girlfriend at the time had the same name, people kept talking to him about me or he kept hearing about me. I guess never wish that the people around you will never escape you.

It reminds me of a speech I had to give during a Public Speaking class years ago. We were supposed to pick an item and tell the class why we’re like that item – I picked a pack of cigarettes. Mind you, this was when cigarettes were still RM10 a pack and they had just implemented the graphic images of dead babies and tongue cancer on packs as part of the Tak Nak campaign. I said to the class: “I’m like a box of cigarettes. I should have a warning label across my chest – except mine would be contents under pressure or DEFINITELY BAD FOR YOU. That being said, like every smoker out there – they know it’s bad for you, they know the 40 types of chemicals in there are harmful but they keep coming back. That’s me and the people who were obsessed with me.”

I used to be proud of that.

There’s a song that reminds me of this.

I might not be that arrogant 18 year old anymore, but there are days where I look back and wonder. I’m 25 this year – a quarter of a century. I have a son who turns 1 in May, I have a boyfriend who loves me and doesn’t set out to emotionally or physically abuse me and yet – I constantly wait for the other shoe to drop.

I wonder if that’s my natural cynicism or my PTSD talking. I wonder. I hope it’s the latter. I don’t want to be afraid… but I am so, so afraid.

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