People Share What “Normal” Things Are Actually Toxic

There are so many little things in life that get dismissed as “being normal.” But, it’s not really normal to dismiss mental health, force children into college, or go through your partner’s belongings. Some things in life are actually quite harmful, even if the world doesn’t seem to agree.

#1 A Demand

I hate it when someone asks you a yes or no question and you tell the person no. But then they try to persuade you and then decide to get hostile because you turned them down. Then, they expect you to do whatever they asked of you anyway. That’s not a question, but a demand. Those people are seriously the worst.


#2 Family Ties

That you’re supposed to be close to and loyal to your family members simply because they’re your family. My family, my mother especially, is hurtful and manipulative. People say, “but it’s your mom , you only have one mom .” My response is always, “They don’t act like my family, so I don’t consider them family.”


#3 Staying Home

I’d have to say that it’s really not okay, despite being acceptable, to force somebody who’s clearly sick to go to work or school. Whenever that happens, I always think something like, “Oh, gee. Thanks for forcing your kid upon us. Now we get to watch the plague rip through the school.” Just let them stay home.


#4 Bad Friend

Telling people who are extremely happy over a new purchase why it’s stupid or why they shouldn’t have done it. I had a buddy who went from an old beat-up pickup to a brand new Mazda 3. It looks amazing, is a manual, etc. One of our old friends harassed him non-stop, telling him that it was a girl’s car and that he should’ve just fixed up his old beater because it was more “manly.” Meanwhile, this other guy literally drives a car that’s falling apart.

My buddy looked so discouraged and sad. I did the best I could to tell him how awesome his car is and how much better the technology is in it compared to my older Saab. This guy worked a ton of overtime, saving as much as possible to get a decent down payment so he would have a nice monthly payment. All that work just to have his greatest accomplishment taken down. It’s sickening.


#5 Couple Goals

This weird partying culture we have, especially for young people. I went to a friend’s birthday party, where I learned that she and her boyfriend had been partying for around 12 hours. They were sloppy by the time the small party started. About an hour and a half in, they were both vomiting in the same toilet. Neither remembered almost anything from the party. When I explained what happened, it was treated as cute and “couple goals.”


#6 Authority Figures

A problem with the older generation is that a lot of people have been taught that “respect” means both “treat as an authority” as well as “show basic human decency.” They think that if they’re old, saying, “If you don’t respect me, I won’t respect you” means, “If you don’t treat them as an authority, then they don’t have to show you basic human decency.”


#7 Keeping a Job

My mom had to pay to keep her job one time. They reduced her hours because of reasons, but the expense of traveling to and from work overtook her earnings. Why she didn’t quit was due to numerous issues. Her job was project-based, so it depended on what was available. We were hoping to ride out the storm. There was also some corruption among supervisors, although nothing illegal… just frowned upon. She doesn’t work with them anymore.


#8 Health Products

Anything vaguely labeled as “detoxes” or “cleanses.” Take, for example, the Teamie cleanse teas. They’re usually full of unhealthy diuretics and laxatives to encourage weight loss. They’ve been linked to liver damage and aren’t regulated by the FDA. The worst part is they’re receiving huge endorsements from celebrities. It’s pretty easy to tell by the advertisement that the claims are pseudoscience, but they’re marketed as health products. Call me crazy, but something that can lead to high heart rate and high blood pressure all so you can poop your brains out and lose some water weight isn’t really a “health” product.


#9 Enforcing the Law

I think that advertising is pretty harmful to people nowadays. At least, it is in today’s world. In my opinion, advertising has reached a point of being both toxic and unethical. Though, I’m mainly talking about telemarketing being one of the worst kinds. The government really needs to start enforcing the laws.


#10 Leaving Already?

Shaming fellow co-workers when they actually go home on time. It’s always something passive-aggressive like, “Wow, you’re going home on the dot?” “Yes, Karen because I do my work fast so I can do my hobbies and go to the gym. Meanwhile, you rot away trying to impress the company that will never care about you.”


#11 Good Teachers

The mistreatment of teachers always rubbed me the wrong way. Some teachers are forced into spending their own hard-earned money on classroom supplies. As if that wasn’t unethical enough, it’s coupled with the mentality that if they aren’t sacrificing their entire lives “for the kids,” they aren’t a good teacher.


#12 Serious Influencers

People who take their Instagram profiles or any other social media account too seriously. I’ve never been able to wrap my mind around their mentality. I’ve heard friends saying things like, “Don’t post the photo now! Wait for another hour to get more likes and so that the girls can see it!” I find it so stupid.


#13 Staying in Control

Parents who want to be in control of their adult child’s life. Notice, I said “adult child.” Some parents want to continue to tell their 18+ child what to do. If they don’t do what their parents say, the parents throw a temper tantrum and make viscous threats towards the child. People need to stop acting like parents can’t be extremely toxic people. Living with narcissistic parents is terrible and gives the child various health and mental issues throughout their life.


#14 Diving Into Debt

A friend of mine has probably four credit cards maxed because he believes that debt is a requirement as an adult in America and that it should just be taken. What? Why would someone willingly let something like that hang over their head? He straight-up said that debt is inevitable in the modern day. Uh, no. There are plenty of ways around having any debt at all. I have been debt free for a year since I paid off my college debt that I only got a year before that too. He just doesn’t get it.


#15 New Glasses

Kids picking on other kids is pretty upsetting. My niece liked her new glasses so much and now she doesn’t even wear them. It breaks my heart because they were so cute on her and she was just beaming in the photo my sister sent. A handful of kids just ruined it. Plus, the terribleness of living with uncorrected vision is unpleasant. But, she’s 13 and not willing to wear them (and too afraid to use contacts).


#16 Healthy Relationships

People who just straight-up don’t really like their significant other. I know so many people, especially middle-aged people, who legitimately don’t like their partners. They just stay together because it’s easier than breaking up. Stuff like that can seriously mess up a child’s perspective on happy, healthy relationships.


#17 Having a Snooze

Not sleeping adequately. I hate not keeping my sleeping routine on the weekends or not getting a full night of sleep (which means going to bed by 10:30 p.m.). But, it seems like a lot of people around me brag about getting four hours of sleep a night or sleeping at three or four in the morning on weekends. Not healthy!


#18 Post-Secondary Education

Employers who go out of their way to actively discourage employees from discussing wages. Also, people having to take on tens, or hundreds, of thousands of dollars of debt after high school. I’m all for post-secondary education being a normal part of adulthood, but not at the cost of potentially crippling debt.


#19 Insane Phase

It’s upsetting when people make a big deal of holding onto a V card. A girl I know went through an insane phase of sleeping around for about a year after a friend of hers picked on her for still doing the do. She did a lot of messed up, out of character things and hurt a lot of people’s feelings, including mine, in the process. I’m still bitter about the whole thing, to be frank.


#20 Honor Student

How schools handle bullying is pretty bad. When I was in high school, there was a girl who started bullying me. I went to the VPs office and told him that something needed to be done because sooner or later, I would have to defend myself. They talked to her. She didn’t care. Maybe a week later, she started a fight with me. I fought back. We both got suspended. I was a straight-A honors student when this happened. Makes sense.


#21 Eating Habits

Honestly, I feel so sorry for any children that grow up to be obese. It’s the parents who are ultimately responsible for teaching them about healthy eating habits at a young age. They’re the ones who are supposed to keep them healthy. 20 years ago, it was so rare to see a really overweight kid. It’s commonplace now.


#22 Belittling Others

People who belittle others to build their self-esteem. I know this guy who spends the first minute of every conversation bashing the other person, their clothes, body or personality. I’m just sitting there thinking, “Man, how is life good when you’re this bitter all the time?” I low-key feel a little bit sad for him.


#23 Toxic Jealousy

The feeling of jealousy can be perfectly healthy. The expectation for someone to alter their life due to jealousy is absolutely toxic. Seeing positive interaction involving someone we hold dear and wishing that attention was spent on us, or being wary of others’ intentions is natural. It can also help prevent us from taking that person for granted.

It’s when we begin to expect the person we “care about” to refrain from those positive encounters that shows a selfish nature has taken hold. It shows that the jealous one no longer cares about the other, just how they make the jealous party feel. After all, if you truly care, you want the person you care about to have as many positive interactions as possible, regardless of your involvement.


#24 Doing So Great

I stopped at a store and the girl behind the counter said, “Hiya! Are you having an awesome day?” Not, “How are you doing today?” No. “Are you having an awesome day?” This is pretty crummy because it puts the onus on me to disagree with her, like if I’m not having an “awesome day,” suddenly I’m the negative one.

Usually, when people ask how I’m doing, the real answer is I’m doing poorly, but I can’t say I’m doing poorly because I don’t even have a good reason to be doing poorly. So if I say, “I’m doing poorly,” then they say, “Why? What’s wrong?” And I have to be like, “I don’t know, all of it?” So instead, when people ask how I’m doing, I usually say, “I am doing so great.”


#25 Being Better Off

I had a good friend who really betrayed me, ruined our business, ruined our friendship, and refuses to apologize. It’s not me just blaming him, even his own wife knows it was his fault as well as all of our friends. He had quite a rough childhood so people say to me, “Why don’t you give him another chance, he clearly has some mental issues.” Why am I supposed to be responsible for allowing him back into my life to ruin something else? If your family or friend group isn’t full of great people, then you’re better off without them.


#26 Turning 21

As a young person of 21, I can tell you that this partying culture among young people is present and dangerous. My coworkers think it’s so weird that I don’t party with them and they love to tell stories of when they were out of it. I work at a restaurant where we taste the limited-time-offer drinks. Many of the older servers will pass, saying that they don’t indulge anymore. But, I get peer pressured into trying them (even though I don’t like it). When I tell people that I don’t do it on my own, I often am accused of lying or told that I don’t need to be ashamed in front of them. So many of my friends’ worlds revolve around turning 21.


#27 Ad Blocked

It makes me laugh when people complain that ad blockers are destroying the internet. No, cramming your god-awful website to the brim with so many advertisements that they’re overlaying one another is destroying the net. Not to mention, the laissez-faire attitude toward ads with viruses. That’s what makes the net bad.


#28 Evolving Platform

I honestly hate what Instagram has become. Like, I get that the platform has to evolve in order to make money. I also know that they’re a business and yada yada. But, I genuinely miss when it was just an app for photography and sharing your pictures, not the place for fame-hungry 20-somethings from Los Angeles.


#29 Silent Treatment

The silent treatment. It’s hurtful and damaging. I don’t mean five minutes of silence to collect your thoughts. I also don’t mean saying, “leave me alone.” I mean pretending that your partner, child, or friend just doesn’t exist and letting them crumple in on themselves for a crime that you won’t talk to them about .


#30 Fight, Fight, Fight

The idea you can’t have a healthy romantic relationship unless you have fights. I don’t mean disagreements — I mean like full-on, screaming at each other, throwing stuff fights. I’ve had people literally tell me if you don’t have fights like this with your partner, then you’re hiding stuff from each other. Horrible, toxic fights don’t equate to having an emotionally healthy relationship.


#31 Boys Will Be Boys

The “boys will be boys” culture. My sons get crushes all the time. He’s mean to the girls because he’s only four and hates these new scary feelings she’s got him feeling. But, he also wants her attention, so he pulls her hair and gets in trouble. At four, it’s normal, but you have to nip it in the bud. At 14, if he’s still pulling that stuff, I’ve failed as a father.


#32 Move Along

I hate people who ask a “question” that’s really just a demand. A co-worker came up with a new time-consuming task to be done daily. It’s not essential and is really just a micromanaging system. After explaining it, she goes, “Does this seem like something you have time for?” When I said absolutely not, she went on a spiel about how she feels it’s important and won’t take as much time as I think (it will). She then asked if I agreed again, I said no again and moved along.


#33 Marketing to Teens

I’ll be honest. I’m not sure if this is actually considered normal, but I have seen push-up bras marketed to pre-teens and teens (known as the junior’s section) in the lingerie area of stores. Forgive me, but since when does any teen girl need to or should be encouraged to wear a push-up bra for extra cleavage?


#34 Not Great

The pressure to go to college. There’s nothing wrong about parents wanting their kids to get an education. There’s nothing wrong with kids wanting to learn a lot about a subject. There’s a ton wrong with creating societal pressure for kids to foot the bill for tens of thousands of dollars worth of school when they have no clue what they want to do in life.

Folks, if you want your kids to go to college, you pay for it. That goal is your baggage, not theirs. My parents told me constantly that they’d be so disappointed if I didn’t go to school, but I didn’t get a penny to pay for it. I paid $50,000 and spent four years in school so my parents would be happy. Not great.


#35 Man Up

I hate it when people tell men to “man up” and “not cry” because it’s perceived as girly by whoever told them. It’s the most unhealthy thing to tell a person that they shouldn’t feel their emotions. Bottling that kind of stuff up can only cause harm, anger, and resentment. Just let people feel their feelings.


#36 Making Society Happy

Working 40+ hours a week is seen as a good thing. No way, dude. I only work part-time and I’m all the better for it, both physically and mentally. Don’t sacrifice your well-being just to make society happy. I know everyone had different circumstances, so I don’t mean to cut 60 hours down to 10. But, your mental health should always come first.


#37 In Love With Love

We’re in love with the idea of being in love and it’s absolutely unhealthy. The normalization of romantic coupling to the point where a man and a woman need to title a friendship as “platonic” is somehow a downgrade from a relationship. People feel some stupid need to ship everyone, completely unaware that some people are just fine by themselves. This focus and desire for romance is messed up to the point that we’re willing to put up with awful people just so we don’t have to live with the stigma of being alone. That’s a bit crazy.


#38 Quick Snoop

Snooping through your significant other’s stuff like their phone, Facebook page, email, or wallet. If you legitimately don’t trust someone, maybe you shouldn’t be dating them? Either that or you should definitely practice healthier habits, like talking to your partner about concerns you have. It’s that simple.


#39 Food Choices

You can buy a bag of 50 pizza rolls for less than four dollars, but at the same time, organic blueberries can cost as much as six dollars. Even the non-organic blueberries are something like $4.50 for a tiny container. So, what is a low-income family to do? Go for the better “value” and eat poorly, or eat healthily and have it be expensive?


#40 Get More Involved

The first school I taught was very pushy. It was my first year teaching and I got pulled aside by the administration multiple times because I “wasn’t involved enough” outside normal school hours. I made it to events when I could and helped out with the occasional one-night event I did care about my students, but as a first-year teacher, I was just trying not to drown.

When I’m putting in 60 to 70 hours a week because it’s my first year and I’m learning the curriculum a few days ahead of my students, sorry. I can’t be involved with every little group. What annoyed me most was the implication that I didn’t care when I very much did care. It was evidenced by the constant long nights I put in to grade and lesson plan.


#41 Unexcused Absences

The absence policy at some schools is insane. In my senior year of high school, I had pretty major surgery. Missing one class would count as an absence, so any doctor’s appointment I went to would be considered an absence. Between appointments and the actual surgery, I missed about a month of school. I had notes for every single one of them.

I got a letter in the mail saying I had been expelled for having 11 unexcused absences. My mom drove me to the school and went full on mama bear mode on the administration. She told them how ridiculous it was that they would do something like this to a senior. She also mentioned that I had every single absence documented. I had never seen her so mad. They revoked the expulsion immediately and apologized to her.


#42 Valiant Effort

Praising grades or scores rather than the effort put into achieving it. It trains people to give up at the things that don’t come as easily to them as it does to others. Getting good grades is a small accomplishment compared to developing the ability to keep putting in effort even when there is no immediate reward.


#43 How You Feel

Telling people how to feel or forcibly trying to change how they feel. If someone’s sad, comfort them and let them be sad. If someone’s angry, then let them be angry and work out their frustrations (in a healthy manner of course). All my life, I’ve been told that I shouldn’t be angry or that I “have no reason to be depressed.”

This caused me to fake happiness, and you know what it got me? It got me panic attacks, screamed at for having panic attacks because they thought I was “faking” or needed “to toughen up,” and a burning anger that never seems to go away. To this day, I have trouble feeling emotions other than anger or sadness because I was never allowed to work them out when I was younger.


#44 You’re Fed Aren’t You?

Parents using the “you have food to eat, clothes to wear, and a roof over your heads, don’t you?!” argument against kids. Congratulations, you provided for your offspring who couldn’t provide for themselves due to being young and inexperienced. I hate it when people say that as if that excuses any other behavior.


#45 Constant Facade

Not talking about mental health. Also, not treating mental health with the same importance as physical health. The programmed questions and programmed answers. “How are you?” “Good, thanks and you?” When really, you’re not good. Keeping up with the constant facade because that’s the “normal” answer isn’t healthy.


#46 Withholding Food

Punishing a child by not giving them dinner. Not only can that mess up their daily diet, it’s just straight up damaging because you’re starving them. For what? Breaking something? Pushing someone? I can get behind not letting them eat dessert or getting rid of TV privileges for a certain amount of time. But a whole meal? No. I’m sorry, there isn’t much of an argument for this. It just angers me that this is an actual punishment for parents to use on their kids.


#47 You’ll Feel Better

Being addicted to other peoples’ lives on social media. Studies have shown that doing this makes your life feel considerably worse by comparison. The sad thing is most realize that what people put on social media is a tiny part of the full picture. They keep most of their lives a secret and they’re considerably as bad as yours (no offence, everyone has problems). Doing this can make you feel depressed. If you feel like your life sucks and also spend ages addicted to looking up what others do on social media, stop and delete the app. You’ll feel much better.


#48 “This Person”

The unspoken rule of maintaining a friendship with a so-called black sheep. You can’t be friends with “this person” because someone had a falling out with them, they have a significant other, or someone you know just doesn’t like them. I should be able to be friends with whoever I please, but people can’t be adults.


#49 Out In Public

Berating your kids, especially in public. I see it all the time at work. People say the nastiest things to their kids or grandkids to try to get them to behave better, but all it does is make them miserable while making the employees uncomfortable. Every time I see it, it’s over something stupid. I get that there’s more going on in people’s lives than I witness, but if that’s how you treat your kids in public, I’d hate to think how you treat them in private.


#50 They Have Voices

For me, it’s forcing kids to hug adults when they don’t feel comfortable or don’t want to just because they’re an adult or relative. Forcing them to kiss or anything that may seem like good manners that goes against body autonomy. Kids are allowed to say no. They’re especially allowed to say no to that weird uncle.