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Toxic behavior is a choice. Sometimes, it feels like more a compulsion than a choice. We develop toxic behaviors as a defense mechanism and use it unconsciously to keep others at a distance. Imagine an animal that releases an odorous gas or a venomous spike. Most often animals aren’t doing it vindictively but defensively, as a warning. Our toxic behavior tells people not to come too close. Most often our toxic behavior becomes negative enough to the point where people don’t want to. Tragically, our toxic behavior becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We act in ways to keep others away when, commonly, we are desperate for others to be closer to us.

The holidays can be a triggering time, particularly for people who have experienced trauma in their lives. We develop defensive behavioral patterns as a way to attempt coping with the actions of others, or possibilities in the world. Even though we are working on our trauma by being in recovery, we may slip into old patterns. Being around triggering people, or in triggering situations can activate our fight or flight system, raising our defenses. As a result, our toxic behavior comes through. Though we may want to point the blame on others, we know we cannot. Our recovery teaches us that we have to take responsibility for our actions and behaviors, as well as our feelings. We can take a deep breath, realize we are on the defense, and make a shift.

Passive aggressive comments

Rather than say anything you think, feel, or mean, directly to someone, you make passive aggressive comments. You might say them out loud or you might say them under your breath. Passive aggression causes tension and discomfort in a group setting and can ultimately lead to an aggressive confrontation.

Aggressive confrontation

Sometimes our toxic behavior comes out in the form of starting arguments. You might find yourself being defensive, taking everything personally, and starting fights where you can. Emotional intimacy or vulnerability of any kind, like getting to know the people at the table or letting them get to know you, can be intimidating and frightening when you are recovering from trauma.

Blaming other people

If you find yourself making statements like they started it, I didn’t do anything, and this isn’t my fault, you are avoiding blame and placing it on other people. Accountability is a critical part of making a full recovery from trauma, addiction, or any other related mental health issues.

The Guest House Ocala welcomes you with open arms to our private, concierge style treatment programs for trauma and related issues. There is no time like the present to seek treatment and change your life. Everyone has a story. Change yours today.

Call us today for information: 1-855-483-7800