Don’t blame me, I’m the victim

When you think of the word toxic, what is the first meaning that pops up in your mind? Whatever it may be, the official definition of toxicity is “the quality of being very harmful or unpleasant in a pervasive or insidious way”. In fact, any definition could be considered correct, as they all have one aspect in common: a negative trait. However, a very common issue present in today’s society is the fact that toxic behavior is being more and more normalized. This aspect is rather becoming a regularity amongst the younger generations. What’s even more alarming is the fact that one doesn’t easily realize they are a victim of such abusive acts. In turn, this could lead to permanent psychological traumas (PTSD), which deepen with time.

However, let’s look at the core of the problem. Any toxic behavior commences with the different judgements of the people in cause. For example, if one of the partners (in the case of a romantic relationship) does something which crosses the perception of the other one as being wrong, their way of solving the issue could lead to toxic acts. Taking one of the most common examples one would find in any type of relationship: guilt tripping. There is a very fine line between wanting to make someone feel remorse for something bad they have done and putting the whole blame on them for your own sake. I’m very sure each and every one has experienced this at a point in their lives, regardless of whether they were the victims or the abusers. At this point we can all agree that such behavior is terribly wrong and selfish, taking into consideration that any person is conscious of acting in such a way in the very moment of doing so. Back to the main idea, what even is guilt tripping one may wonder. Simply put, it is the act of inducing the feeling of guilt in your partner for the soul purpose of manipulation. What is even more disturbing is that in the case of such an act, the victim is innocent most of the times. As various studies have shown, any relationships is susceptible to guilt tripping. And as with any toxic act the question remains: why do they do it? If someone says they love and care about you, why would they purposely hurt you?- is one of the things many victims say to themselves in attempts to console themselves for being hurt. The answer isn’t always simple and can differ from case to case. However, most of the times, the guilt inducer either had no intention of caring for someone else or simply doesn’t know how to. The latter could be the result of childhood trauma, such as abandonment or abuse of any other kind.

Taking both situations into consideration, they have one aspect in common. At younger ages, for teenagers mostly, a romantic relationship is quite an important milestone. As a result, the first one or two relationships are crucial, since they greatly influence your future perceptions of what love means. Being the victim of a toxic relationship and not being able to get out is one of the most scarring experiences one could have, especially as youngsters developing into adults. Given the fact that around that very age we are quite vulnerable, manipulation could occur way easier than one might think. For this next part of the article, I find prompt examples to facilitate the process of understanding. Let’s take Person A as the victim and Person B as the abuser. Due to unfortunate events in the past of Person B, they are now manipulating their partner, whom they say they love, into doing what Person B judges as being correct. What they fail to realize is that without a positive example of how to treat people you love, Person B has been copying the very acts of their own abuser, from their childhood. Why is that? As children we have the tendency to copy what we see around us, without filtering the information first, since we consider the source reliable. In this case, Person A still forgives Person B because they trust them and have been in the relationship for an extended period of time, which makes it ok for them to act in such a manner, right? Wrong. Forgiving someone because they are your comfort zone is not right. Forgiving someone because they were abused in their past and it makes them the victim is also not appropriate. No matter how deep one’s issues could be, they should never take their unresolved anger and denial out on a person, especially when they are your partner. An ever so common example, which derives from trust issues would be one of the partners demanding the other not to meet their friends or colleagues. They claim they are being protective and considerate, but such acts are most of the times out pure jealousy. A common misconception is the fact that most of the times the blame is placed on the victim. What others fail to understand from an outside perspective is the fact that not only are most of the victims unaware of the fact that they are being abused, but they are also subconsciously forced to remain with their abuser, for various reasons. A major red flag is not having the same freedom prior to the relationship or being even more miserable. Constant arguments are also another sign of a major issue within the relationship. What the victim can do is ask for help from their close friends or family, while also trying to stand up for themselves in front of their abuser. Each person should put themselves on the first place, since it is our own life that we are living. Having to give up certain aspects of our lives, such as happiness for someone else is not the result of a happy relationship.

As a conclusion, toxicity is any behavior someone has which restricts the freedom of others for the gain of the one acting that way. The victims of such abuse are mostly blamed for not walking away. More awareness should be raised about how difficult being in a faulty relationship is. What anyone can do in order to protect themselves is to look for red flags and confront their partner when they have the chance. In order to stop the manipulation, one should remember that they are the most important person in their own life and should protect themselves even from people who say they will never do them any harm. Being aware of such risks could always prevent possible victims of toxic behavior.

articol scris de Taisia Pleși

graphic designer: Dragoș Puiu