Do You Have a Toxic Support System?
We all need a strong support system to get us through the rough tides of life. But what happens when you have a toxic support system? How can you know if your friends and family are doing you more harm than good? Let’s look at some signs that your support system is toxic.
What is a Toxic Support System?
Your support system refers to the network of people who can offer you spiritual, emotional, practical, and even financial support in times of need. Our support system often helps us move forward, cope with stress and anxiety, improve our overall well-being, and achieve our goals. Our support system typically includes –
- work colleagues
- Religious or Spiritual Institutions
These people are a source of motivation and support – people we can count on in our darkest days. A healthy support system helps us grow by taking on responsibility, gaining knowledge and experience, and learning from people who have faced similar challenges. A toxic support system can leave us feeling lost and confused because it deceives, misleads, and steers us in the wrong direction.
Therefore, you must ensure that your support system is supportive and not harmful. Learning to recognize toxic support systems can help you disconnect from people who are detrimental to your well-being and build a new, healthy support system.
Signs that your support system is toxic
We often trust our family and friends blindly, believing that they always want what is best for us, just as we want what is best for them.
Even when we’re aware of our dysfunctional families or narcissistic parents, we find it hard to believe that they can be toxic or give us advice that is harmful to us. Unfortunately, the fact that we have a toxic support system is a reality we must face.
If you’re wondering whether your relationships and friendships are healthy or toxic, here are a few signs you should be aware of.
1. They dominate and manipulate you
When your support system is toxic, you may feel like you are being controlled rather than being supported to make your own decisions. Toxic family members and friends will try to control and influence various aspects of your life, such as your health, your career, your relationships, and even your personal life.
You will feel that their support is conditional, as it depends on how well you find their demands, needs, or expectations. However, they will act like they care about your best interests.
2. You have a negative aura
When you have a toxic support system, you become flooded with negative energy instead of feeling inspired and motivated. They are always fixing you from mistakes, nagging and complaining about the way you do things, criticizing or minimizing your accomplishments, and manipulating you into developing a pessimistic attitude like them.
So if you find that a friend or family member is focusing on the negative aspect of everything you are talking about, then you need to avoid their toxic attitude.
3. They love making drama
One of the most common signs that a toxic support system is in place is incessant drama. Narcissists and toxic people, whether they’re your mom, dad, best friend, or even your partner, can’t survive without their daily dose of drama. Whenever you’re having a bad day or encountering an obstacle, instead of being sympathetic, they’re happy about it.
Your pain and suffering are a source of drama for them that they enjoy. If you feel like your support system is feeding on your misery, then it’s time to cut them off and starve them out.
4. They love chaos
Just as you are drawn to drama, your toxic support system loves to cause chaos, conflict, and confrontation. No matter what problem you’re going through, they start fighting out of nowhere, regaining attention, and blaming you for their misery.
They blame you for their made-up problems and feel guilty while completely ignoring the real problems you are struggling with. Although they can pretend to be your biggest supporters, they only spread toxic feelings into your life.
5. They are never sincere
Do you sometimes find your father lecturing you about something and then a few days later doing the same thing? Does your partner get mad when you go out with friends, but he hangs out with his friends all the time?
Hypocrisy is often seen in a toxic support system because these people are never sincere. They don’t believe in the advice they give you and in their personal lives they do the complete opposite.
They just want to look good and make the best impression by telling the biggest lies. Stay away from these fanatics and hypocrites.
6. They never offer “real” solutions
When you seek help and support from a toxic support system, you are only offered fantastic solutions that can never realistically be implemented. Because your support system doesn’t care about your problems, it will offer you impractical and illogical solutions that won’t get you anywhere.
If you tell your partner that you are struggling at work, he may suggest that you quit your job without considering the career and financial consequences of such a hasty decision. Such people do not support you, they are simply toxic to your life.
7. They don’t respect you
Do your friends and family always blame you when you share your problems with them? Then you certainly have a toxic support system. Toxic people who don’t support you will always criticize, demean, and point fingers instead of validating your thoughts and feelings.
They use their words, behavior, and actions to destroy your confidence and self-esteem instead of picking you up and overcoming the obstacles.
Instead of helping you figure out a way out of a difficult situation, they will insult you and make you feel incompetent.
8. They frustrate you
Coping with an abusive family member is always difficult, but it can be even more difficult when you need love, care, and support from your abusive parents, partner, or friends.
You know your support system is toxic when it frustrates you physically, emotionally, and verbally. However, because there are subtle forms of frustration, you may not even be aware that you have an abusive and toxic support system.
Frustration isn’t always easy to spot, but if your loved ones are constantly making you feel inadequate or inferior, then you should take note and unlock a new, healthier support system.
Do you have a toxic support system?
Aside from the above signs of a toxic support system, there are many other things you need to consider to determine if you have a toxic support system or not, such as B.
- Their behavior is such that you should be able to read their mind and know exactly what they are expecting.
- They never take responsibility for their mistakes and always shift the blame onto others.
- They believe that your opinions and ideas are not as good as theirs and that they always know best.
- They gossip and always talk about others behind their backs. Likely, they are also talking behind your back.
- They make you feel left out, devalued, frustrated, and unwanted.
- They never ask you what you think the solution should be and force their decisions on you.
- They get offended when you don’t follow their advice or directions and want to free your way out instead.
- They always take things personally and refuse to consider your perspective.
- They believe that you are immature, crazy, childish, or even stupid and therefore cannot make the right decisions.
- They never show you kindness when you need it most, but praise you when they need something from you.
Build more positive relationships
If you’re stuck in a toxic support system and you’re asking yourself, “How can I strengthen my support system?” the first thing to do is to disconnect from toxic people, or at least stop relying on their support. Instead, you should build new, positive, and healthier relationships and create a new network of people you can trust.
Granted, this takes some effort and patience, but nothing worthwhile comes easy. Or? So focus on new, healthier relationships instead of old, toxic ones that suck the good out of you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What does it mean to have a support system?
It means having a network of trusted people who will have your back and give you the support you need in times of need. They help you to master the challenges of life and accompany you through difficulties.
What is a good support system?
A good support system includes people helping each other. People who support each other through difficulties without judging or criticizing. They validate your feelings and boost your confidence when you need it most.
How can I strengthen my support system?
Some ways you can build a stronger support system for yourself are by joining a club or gym, expanding your professional network, connecting with co-workers, neighbors, and relatives, exploring your interests, volunteering, etc.