Honestly, I really don't like that this has become a topic that I feel the need to harp on.
I've had my fair share of toxic experiences and been a toxic person a few times.
Several years ago I was a member of a group, I won't smear the name of the group as it is still active and I'd love to rejoin them. But the first altercation I had was with a young woman who was blatantly lying to and manipulating the group. I sensed there was something amiss but initially my heart went out to her. It was later when I did a tarot reading of her situation that I discovered the truth. At that point, I became suspicious as my readings are very seldom wrong. I left the matter alone because she seemed to be very needy for attention and I too had known that need. But then the drama spiraled out of control and became absurd. When called out the young woman tried to defend her lies and layered more atop them, it pained me but at that point, I could no longer allow drama like that, to so consume the group of people I'd come to love. I leveled my accusations and we all agreed that the story was beyond painful and her lies contradicted themselves. By the time she finally came around to the fact that we didn't appreciate being lied to she'd already been barred from the group. While I felt mild satisfaction over having helped remove a toxic influence a new problem arose.
Typically these days I shy away from the topic of religion. I don't need to disclose mine nor do I need a bible shoved down my throat. That being said I've found a cult that is rather frightening, related to Nordic teachings and practices. One of the group members was a member of this 'cult-esque' group and was extremely combative when the topic of religion happened to slip into the chat. I had somehow offended her, thought the exact offense now slips my mind. But this woman behaved viciously and though I attempted to explain myself and apologize there was very little that could be done, ultimately she left the group.
This 'cult' would come back to later haunt my life.
Still, within the group, I made a grave error. I support homosexuality, I am all for people loving who they want. What I don't like is straight shaming. For those of you who may not be aware of this, it is the practice of extremists who feel like everyone who is of heterosexual orientation is an affront to them and that their choices for their creations and the have been made to spite them (Much like the current argument over Samurai Jack and his young lover Ashi, as there are many people crying pedophilia in the case of the age difference between Jack and Ashi, simply because Jack is not with another man). I very foolishly proclaimed once I was proud to be straight. A mistake I will be sure to never make again. I was proud, proud to be a straight woman that my friends of homosexual orientation could rely on as a supporter of their cause. That was what I thought the post I shared on facebook meant. I tried to defend my position feeling suddenly quite attacked, but I do think I removed the offending post after some vicious verbal attacking.
Upset I attempted to bring this up with our group leader only to find him now rather overwhelmed. Ashamed, I stepped back from the group, I didn't leave, but I certainly didn't participate as actively. As if to add insult to injury I learned my best friend had upset one of the co-founders, badly, by calling her very real condition an act. In her defense, the signs can be hard to spot and sometimes can look like a cry for attention, especially if you can't regulate your emotional state without meds, something I'm learning to cope with still after all these years. I was removed from the group along with my friend because we had come to be perceived as 'toxic' people.
I cannot begin to express how sad and hurt I was by this, especially since my friend had brought me into the group in the first place. I was not only struggling with losing friends I loved but with the feeling of being empty and alone, as shortly there after my boyfriend of almost 2 years dumped me. He started dating a local high schooler who dumped him because he wouldn't sleep with her. Around that time I became involved in a facebook RP group, and when it started we were all happy. But as I became busy with work, I ended up not having any time to interact with the group. They moved on with only vague mentions of my character, even though my best friend tried to keep us in the group one very mary-sue woman took over and essentially had a harem of other characters going. And then she converted to that 'cult' and became extremely heartless and abrasive and abusive.
Slowly we slowly drifted away. That's not to say we didn't try to get back into it but... I hate to say it, I gave up. I was stressed I was depressed, I was going through a lot and I just... I didn't have the strength to fight her bullcrap anymore.
Now I have managed to maintain friendships with several people from the various groups only to learn one of the ones I had an altercation with got kick from the group because she became toxic and abusive and so did another person who I previously thought was sweet as sugar.
It just goes to show, toxic people can and will use any and every opportunity to tear you down, and what's important is catching yourself before you become toxic, or knowing when there are warning signs, be they habits you notice or a friend warning you. IT's hard to cut a toxic person from your life, and it's harder to get one to change unless that one is you.
I can't say I'm a perfect person. I'm utterly and completely flawed and in many ways broken beyond repair.
That's why I want to warn people about a very toxic person. Now, unfortunately, the stash has been deleted by DA Staff but you can talk to MagicalCrystalWings for the details.
This person TBRae has been harassing my friend and taking shots at her, figuratively speaking, with her words and her art. Now I can't deny, her art shows talent and promise, but the manner in which she treated my friend for the extent of their relationship was atrocious. It was abusive and she always, ALWAYS, made it seem like her life was utterly the worst. This is behavior I called out years ago with the girl from the group who kept spinning tales of drama and suffering to make people pity and love her. That was out of a need for attention. What this person does is very, very different. She creates a dependency relationship, makes you feel like she well and truly needs you. Like she cares, but she will beg for things, demand your time, cut into your social life or marital life if you have one, demand to know where you are all the time, claim you are stringing her along if you don't give into her demands, threaten to kill herself, and a number of other things, and this is not even everything she did to my friend Wings.
Honestly, I couldn't care less about this TBRae, simply because she's not even worth the time I'm taking to type this. She's not worth time, nor breath, nor thought.
But you know who is? Each and every one of you out there, with your big beautiful hearts, your kind smiles, and lovely hearts. I don't write this to be attacking or spiteful, or even to gripe (though I know this sounds like a massive gripe session.)
I write this because I cannot bear to watch anyone be pulled into another person's extremely toxic behavior. I don't want to see hope and joy robbed from not only the faces, but the art and writing of others.
I don't want people to go through the pain Wings did, the pain myself and my best friend endured, the pain that we've caused with our selfishness and the pain that every other manipulative person out there is gleefully planning to cause.
Don't let yourself become a victim of another person's darkness.
And to anyone I've ever hurt on DeviantArt or any other site you might know me on, whether you've told me I hurt you or not, whether you've reported me to staff or not, whether you have blocked me and refuse to speak with me ever again, or whether we've just lost touch, please know that I am sorry. I am truly and utterly sorry. To think that I was for a time a toxic person makes me deeply ashamed.
But I love my friends, my DA family, and my real family. And I don't intend to ever abandon anyone who truly wants a friendship with me.
I guess this is really all I have to say right now. If you have stuck with it to the end please let me know in the comments if you've had an experience with a toxic person, because we all need an open ear to vent to when they come up.