toxic person (n.) – someone who brings you down more than up; prevents you from moving forward; does not belong in your life


In this day and age, the need to be accepted by every single person is a driving force in young people’s lives. There is a misconception that you have to fit a cookie-cutter mold that others have crafted for you. Trying to mold yourself to that shape cuts off parts of you that are essential to who you are. Rather than scrapping parts of yourself to please others, it’s time to cut those people off so you can finally grow in who you truly are.


Removing the negativity that clouds your life can be difficult, especially with students. Peer pressure is an age-old curse that adapts with each generation. Brett Laurson, a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) discussed when peer pressure really begins in an interview with the APA. “It begins as soon as children start to pay attention to what other children think about them,” says Laurson. This can evolve in being drawn to toxic friends and people that expect too much.


Christen Pitts, an Arkansas teacher, writes in a Facebook post, “I have seen it all and it breaks my heart how some kids treat others (and adults, too). I tell my students and children all the time to stay focused and “ignore the noise.”’


Toxic relationships often involve pressuring, bullying and manipulation, and it affects adults just as much as it does children. “There’s no question that we’re susceptible to peer-influence and this proceeds across the course of our life,” says Laurson.


In order to avoid people who will harm your mentality and trap you in a haze of negativity, watch out for these traits:


  1. They consistently put you down and make you feel less than what you are.

  2. They rarely celebrate your accomplishments because they see you as a competition.

  3. They exclude friends from certain groups.

  4. They are unable to empathize with yourself or others.

  5. They use others for their own personal gain.

  6. They will make snide comments that have underlying damaging effects.

  7. They always direct attention to themselves and away from others.

  8. If they feel threatened by you or other friends, they will play the victim and paint the other as the toxic person.

  9. They will make it difficult for you to make new friends because they don’t want you to branch out.

  10. They can make you feel special, but they will continue to bully you.


These are only a handful of traits and warning signs to be aware of. People like this can come at any stage of your life, and it’s important to remember who you are. Your relationship with your mental health and happiness is the most important relationship in your life and one you cannot neglect for a person only wanting to drag you down.


“Our world would be a better place if everyone would just be kind and remember: “Your light doesn’t dim because you ignite someone else’s flame. It just makes the world shine that much brighter,”’ says Pitts. “Find what makes each of you unique and celebrate that. Support and encourage one another.”

Anyone who has been in these situations knows how difficult it can be to break away from the tearing clutches of toxic relationships. However, it must be done. “[They] will rob you of your future and stop you dead in your tracks if you let them,” says AY Media Group Publisher Heather Baker. “Be successful, be strong.”


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