By Ashfia Ahmed
In high school, we are exposed to many different types of people. We meet new friends, connect with our old ones, and unfortunately meet some people that don't deserve our attention. Those people are the toxic ones, and they come in different ages, genders, nationalities, e.t.c. Anyone can be toxic. Sometimes toxic people can show just how evil they can be without having to befriend them, but in many cases, there are small things that a person can do that harm others and yourself. In essence, these people can do things such as gaslight you, make you feel worthless, force you to distance from other people or activities that you love, force you to do things that you don’t want to, lack of support, possess uncontrollable emotions and jealousy, and so much more. It is important that you notice these things early on. Never try to ignore red flags in a person, whether it be your lifelong friend, your partner, or even your parents.
Being in quarantine for a while now made many people realize just how many people are in unhealthy relationships. How to attempt at fixing them or even ditching that relationship is the hard question. The first step in resolving an unhealthy relationship is to ask yourself if you may be doing anything to anger or make the other person act the way they do. I don’t mean to gaslight you now but try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Are they going through a tough time with their mental health and personal life? Are they struggling in school? Do they have past trauma in certain relationships? Are you gaslighting and/ or hurting them? Know that mental health and personal issues aren’t valid excuses for the way someone acts, and don’t attempt at answering all these questions yourself. This brings us to the next step: try to talk it out with that person. Ask them if they are doing okay and if there’s anything you can do to help. If they continue to gaslight you or do anything that undermines your opinion, know that maybe some things aren’t worth saving.
Remember that everyone is different. Some people need time to process red flags and do not blame yourself if you haven’t noticed them before. Red flags can be tricky to spot at first but easy to look back on and say, “Hey! I should’ve noticed it back then!” Never stay in a toxic relationship for popularity, social status, or anything of the sort. It isn’t worth it. You are young, and what you do now molds you into what you can accomplish in the future. However, I am aware that for some people, leaving a toxic relationship/ household can be dangerous for your physical and mental health. Do what you can to stay safe. Look for a friend or trusted family member that can take you in for the time being. If that is not available, call a hotline that can find a public service to help you. If you are bullied through social media and the internet, know that is a federal offense and the person involved in cyberbullying can face severe consequences. Stand against bullies and toxic people that don’t deserve your beautiful self.
To end on a lighter topic, everyone faces trials in their life. In high school, we are all figuring out where to go in the future. It’s the time of making mistakes, meeting new people, and learning new things. But most of all, high school can show us what people can be like, and how you want to be treated. Do your best to treat yourself with kindness through these trying times, and that includes staying out of unhealthy relationships. I have linked a great article down below that goes more in-depth on toxic relationships. You’re a wonderful person, you deserve the world, and do your best to stay healthy and happy.
Read and learn more about toxic relationships!