You can heal from toxic traits by first identifying what traits you have. If you’re not sure what traits you possess you can take the following quizzes:
- QUIZ: Am I toxic and do I have toxic tendencies?
- QUIZ: Am I codependent?
- QUIZ: Am I prideful?
- QUIZ: What is your coping style?
- QUIZ: Do you blame shift and gaslight?
5 Tips To Heal from Toxic Traits:
My name is Winnie, I was born and raised by my grandmother in the rural part of Kenya. I can only describe my life as challenging (this is the best and most decent word to use). I recently read an article, A Letter To Victims of Emotional Abuse. When I read about anything negative, about abuse or similar topics, I would think of abusers and how they are horrible to their victims. I never really thought about my role in dysfunctional relationships, how abuse affected me, AND that it would be talking about my bad patterns.
While reading this particular article on emotional abuse, specifically when dating, it got me thinking how I have emotionally abused people — a person I was dating, my friends, my siblings, my family, etc. I was so broken at some points in my life that it was so easy for me to break others. I abused others verbally, emotionally, even physically.
When I realized a person had noticed my abusive ways…
I would leave them for the next victim. Sigh!
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1. I just didn’t know how to love or even what peace was. I had to learn.
Sadly, I was “killing” many others by my abuse, but I just didn’t know how to be healthy. This continued for such a long time that I believed that some of us are just born bad people and I was from that lot. (Sad and far from the truth)
I got to a point I was so tired of hurting others, I knew something was wrong with me, but I had no idea what exactly it was and how to stop it. Then it hit me, I was an abuser because I inherited it. What I thought was normal to do to others was done to me so often that I was conditioned to it! I remembered those who abused me and I broke down.
Related Quiz: Am I toxic and do I have toxic tendencies?
My mother had left me at grandma’s at only two months old and I didn’t know my dad (I knew him at around age 15, I had met him briefly at age 10). Sadly, life at my grandma’s house was not the best. There were so many of us. We struggled just to eat. So, at one point all the abuse in me was pouring out to others. I didn’t realize how bad the abuse was until I moved from the abused to the abuser.
2. It took Jesus for me to see this.
When I first met my dad at age 10, I was hopeful that he would take me with him, but sadly my family refused for my dad to take me. I guess that made him stay away, I don’t know. He also promised me that if I was number one then he would buy me a bike, I was number one, but he never came back.
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I knew love was just a word, people lie, parents cannot be trusted and I thought if parents can’t be trusted who else can be trusted? I went through life with a lot of rejection, bitterness, anger, insecurities, un-forgiveness and generally a broken way of seeing life. I was surrounded by mostly bitter people.
3. I thought toxic behaviors were normal.
I thought all the destructive ways they handled us were normal and okay. I’m learning what healthy behaviors are.
You see when a parent or guardian or someone you trust does questionable things, your brain has already placed them in a certain space of respect. Since you can’t confront them you normalize their dysfunction and then that gives way for years of destructive dysfunctions. For example, they told us (all the kids that lived at grandma’s house) that our fathers did not want us and we shouldn’t look for them even when we grow up. So we just grew up hating men we didn’t even know. The funny thing is most of us as cousins had the same “problem”, we didn’t know our dads.
You will notice that most abusers have a strong personality, they’re very defensive, good talkers and/or speak authoritatively.
They are powerful and there is nothing much the victims or receivers of abuse can do to withstand them. I am strong willed. And I was passing the abuse I received from my family for a long time to others. I was hurt, abused, unloved and uncared for. I harbored bitterness, un-forgiveness, and unseen deep wounds.
My family abused me physically, sexually and emotionally. I went through life not feeling good enough and that’s how I treated the rest of the people around me. There are stories I still can’t talk about, but God has graciously healed me from so much already. I have also learnt the beauty of taking it one day at a time.
We would be beaten badly, some family members were addicted to drugs and alcohol and were completely out of control and no one would dare speak about it. Even if they someone spoke, these people in the family were rude and wouldn’t listen. As much as my grandfather tried to protect us, it wasn’t a lasting solution since the abuse was in the home. May God help us to heal from these deep wounds that sit deep in us.
The women in our family were battling a fair share of their own issues and were speaking to us badly, wounding us with their negative words. They would verbally abuse us, shout at us, scream at us, and also physically beat us all the time. I know they didn’t know better, I know they thought what they were doing was okay, so I am not saying this to try and blame anyone, I am sharing this to help you identify things that are damaging so you can learn to forgive and heal. (Whatever happened, happened – we can’t change it, but we can learn from it).
With all the above, I hated life at one point, I felt I hated my family at one point. Life was so chaotic, dysfunctional and toxic. I thought my families’ brokenness was incurable, but God gave us beauty for ashes and He is slowly fixing a lot in us. A number of my cousins gave their lives to Christ and God is beautifully fixing them. There was so much we had to endure. There was so much I came to learn. What we went through was completely damaging.
4. We had normalized pain.
We had in a way that was so unhealthy that each one of us was just dysfunctional in our own way. I had to learn a new normal.
This was seen from the decisions we made. I have already forgiven so much and even now I am slowly undoing the damage with the help of God. He is cleaning me now. I was chaotic, dysfunctional and toxic too, yet I didn’t know what my problem was. My dad was not in Kenya at the time and even later struggled to love him.
I sometimes struggle to talk to some of my family members even now, I struggle to love others, I struggle to fully forgive them too. Sometimes, I think I have gotten over things until I realize haven’t. I have learnt in these days to take time off. I am trusting God for a lot more and since I have seen Him do so much, I am hopeful that he will heal every pain and hurt in me. I do appreciate some things about my family that they never gave up on us ,even when our parents did temporarily. In that set up, I also went to church a lot and I have a feeling that set a good foundation for me to know Jesus for myself.
My dad and I are healing and so far so good. But there are other family members I am trusting God to help me forgive and for complete healing, not just for me, but for them too.’
5. Learning wisdom and self-control.
If you have been abused, there is help, there is healing, there is a way out, don’t be discouraged. You will need a lot of wisdom not to hit back, clap back, and to rest on some days. Sometimes you may need to separate from others, not as a permanent measure, but as a temporary measure as God fixes you and others. You can learn the right things at whatever age, you can learn to love, you can forgive, you can love yourself, you can do so much with the help of God.
You don’t have to accept the bad things done to you, but you can make peace with them and you can forgive. Pain is pain; there is no worse pain than the other. If you need healing, God will give you just that. Just ask Jesus to do it.
God bless you.