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#2 - Backgrounds for toxic behaviour

You may be surprised that I have now swapped the announced episode 5 with episode 2, but it makes more sense to me to first look at the side of the toxic behaviour and then switch to the side of those affected by it, and then go into the relationship between the two.

Toxic behaviour does not just happen out of the blue. Here, too, there are many different backgrounds that do not legitimise it, but should explain it. In some cases, it is helpful to understand, because from an attitude of understanding, it is sometimes easier to bear or deal with the behaviour. For example, people with toxic behaviour have also suffered a lot of injuries, which they in turn do not know how to bear in any other way than to turn against their environment.

So why do some people behave toxically?

Let's take a look at what could be behind this to understand why people behave toxically, causing enormous harm not only to themselves but also to those around them.

Toxic behaviour can have various causes. In most cases, however, it is the result of a combination of personal, social, psychological and environmental factors. It can also be due to deep emotional wounds, which are often linked to personal experiences, traumatic events or psychological problems. Possible backgrounds may include:

People struggling with unresolved inner conflicts or traumatic experiences may tend to project their feelings of pain or anger onto others. Unresolved trauma, such as abuse, neglect or severe loss, can lead to toxic behaviour to deal with the emotional consequences of the trauma.

Difficulties in regulating emotions can lead to people acting impulsively and expressing their feelings in unhealthy ways.

Some people engage in toxic behaviour to cope with stress, anxiety or other emotional challenges. Strong fears, frustration or insecurity can lead to toxic behaviour in order to gain control or to cope with their own fears. They may also overreact when their expectations are not met or when things do not turn out the way they want them to.

People who have difficulty communicating appropriately with others or resolving conflicts may tend to resort to toxic behaviours. They often feel rejected, do not see their wishes or needs fulfilled or feel that their honour has been violated and that they are not seen.

However, environmental factors such as family dynamics, workplace culture or social norms can also encourage or even tolerate toxic behaviour.

Personal problems such as jealousy, low self-esteem or a need for control can lead to toxic behaviour if the reasons for this remain unaddressed and no healthy coping strategies are developed. People then try to compensate for their insecurities and perceived loss of control by belittling, dominating or controlling others. Toxic behaviour can be a way of making themselves feel better and more valued. They always suffer from a lack of recognition or attention and often feel that they do not receive enough attention.

Unfortunately, our society, media or peer groups can also contribute to normalising or reinforcing toxic behaviour by rewarding or idealising certain behaviours that are ultimately harmful.

Of course, there are also some mental health problems, sometimes severe, such as borderline, narcissistic personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder, where those affected have difficulty maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships.

A lack of empathy or an inability to understand or respect the feelings, perspectives and needs of others, rather ignoring them, can lead to toxic behaviour as the person may not be able to respond appropriately to others. Instead, they are focused on their own needs.

Possible consequence of these experiences and feelings

These causes and backgrounds can then manifest themselves in the form of uncontrolled outbursts of anger, aggression, manipulation, excessive jealousy, obsession, control-seeking, impulsive behaviour or passive aggression, among other things.

It is important to note that toxic behaviour often has deep-rooted causes or emotional and psychological issues and cannot simply be addressed through superficial interventions. It often requires professional help and support to address the underlying issues and develop healthier behaviours and coping strategies. Unfortunately, it sometimes goes so far that the person behaving toxically does not or cannot recognise this. Narcissists, for example, are often neither aware of their own disorder nor do they deal with it, as their attitude is - everyone else is "wrong"! Only they are "right"!

An attempt to change perspective

My intention with this episode is in no way to condone toxic behaviour, but rather to point out that in most cases there are serious injuries and great suffering and therefore there are not only perpetrators here, but often the original victims. I think it is necessary, especially in the new era, that we illuminate all perspectives of a situation in order to be able to form a conclusive picture for ourselves - if possible in a noncommittal, clear and mindful attitude.

If we manage to change our perspective in this way from time to time, it is easier for us to distance ourselves, not to take every behaviour personally, but rather, as I will describe in episode #5 - What makes it so difficult for us to deal with toxic behaviour? to recognise our wounds, to heal them in the present and to find the opportunities for our growth rather than the suffering in the encounter.

Of course, this is precisely why I will go into more detail in the next few episodes about possible ways of dealing with toxic behaviour and our reactions to it, in order to look at the topic from all perspectives.

Get support to give you confidence in dealing with such personalities!

There is always a solution! Trust yourself!



Coaching offers ideal support here to either take the first steps in conflict management and analysing one's own reaction structures or to directly implement new skills that enable and empower all those involved to learn to deal well and confidently with corresponding situations in relationships. Another option is to act as a mediator or observer and outline a neutral picture of the prevailing relationship patterns in the department or company and use this to provide insights and recommendations for action to the decision-makers.

Trusting that the best possible solution will be allowed to develop and be implemented.


Coaching can provide you with targeted support in overcoming upcoming challenges at every stage - internally in the team or as a leader in the company. Let's work out together how I can provide you in your individual situation with optimal support and customised assistance.

Contact me to take your next steps

Nicole Dildei Coaching

+49 157 58 267 427

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