by Elva Patterson Rutters RSSW
Today, buzz words are used frequently, but lack the true meaning.
I specifically refer to the term “toxic’. In reference, toxic relationships refer to “toxic” meaning, “very harmful or unpleasant in a pervasive or insidious way”. Abuse does create a toxic environment. There is ample information on child abuse and spousal abuse, or dating abuse.
The reverse of child abuse, parental abuse, is a toxic reaction. When there is direct specific attempt to negate or demoralize an individual, it is deemed a toxic connection.
Having an opposing view or belief is not the formula for “toxic”.
Maturity entails accepting that someone else has a varying viewpoint and you still respect the individual. You agree to disagree. You still interact and develop a growing relationship.
Throwing out the word “toxic” doesn’t grant you the freedom to ignore, disrespect, or be
cruel to someone.
Seeking counselling around issues helps. Unfortunately, too many counsellors who have
not resolved their own issues pass on prejudice to their clients.
For those who deem their parents to be toxic, I encourage you to ask yourself- “did my parent try their best to do what they felt was best for me?” That includes during pregnancy.
Yes, using drugs/alcohol during pregnancy is creating a toxic environment, resulting in FASD.
Years ago, society did not know the repercussions of indulging, but, today, such
info is freely available.
Hindsight is 20/20 vision, so unless you feel/believe your parent purposefully sabotaged your well-being, you can’t throw out the term toxic.
Failing to show affection/respect to your parent is parental abuse.
How do you know if you create a toxic relationship? Do you acknowledge their birth date, anniversary, Mother’s/Father’s Day, special occasions like Christmas etc?
God instructs us to Honor our parent. He doesn’t say “to love” them but, if we follow his commandment in the New Testament to “love one another as he love us,” that gives a very clear rendering of our thoughts and actions.
All too many seniors are neglected by their off spring.
Then, one day, it is too late. You, too, will grow old – Lord willing. Today is all you have. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Make the most of your relationships, ensuring you are not creating harm to someone. Be mindful of your terminology and use it diplomatically, knowing someday you will be held
accountable for all you say and do.