Brief Thoughts on These Terms: Toxic, Narcissist, Narcissism, and Narcissistic

I believe everyone has a wonderful Self at their core. I also believe that emotional burdens, originating from painful past experiences, lead many people to express toxic behaviors and engage in toxic relationships (a dynamic whereby physically and/or emotionally harmful behaviors are participated in between two or more people). That is not the same as labeling a person themself as “toxic,” which I do my best to avoid ever doing.

When I use the terms narcissist, narcissism, or narcissistic, I am referring to a certain clustering or set of behaviors being exhibited, not implying that the person or persons of concern are somehow inherently bad or “toxic.” Let’s face it, narcissism outwardly expressed is toxic to others witnessing it and is best dealt with by doing all one can to avoid enabling or reinforcing such behavior. This is ultimately best for anyone acting narcissistically.

Labels are powerful and useful, but, yes, if used thoughtlessly/with lack of discernment, they can be abusive, indeed toxic.

4 thoughts on “Brief Thoughts on These Terms: Toxic, Narcissist, Narcissism, and Narcissistic

  1. Hooray for this very important clarification, PFP! There really aren’t any toxic people, only toxic behaviors/language. That is so important for me/us all to remember so we can keep our compassionate hearts open. One of the most helpful things Internal Family Systems therapy has taught me in terms of social relating is a language of parts that has allowed me to better converse with others when they label people globally as “x” and I can say something about how what the person is saying or doing is actually a part of them… (of course the person I’m talking to who’s done the labeling usually rolls their eyes at me, as if I’m deluded. sigh).

    Liked by 1 person

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