Toxic relationships: this viral tweet highlights the subtle behaviours that could be ‘dimming your light’

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Lauren Geall
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Toxic behaviour isn’t always obvious, as a new post from psychological therapist Shomi Williams proves.

As damaging a place as social media can be for our mental health, it can also be a great place to find helpful anecdotes and advice for taking care of our wellbeing and relationships, as a recent post from Lafiya Health founder and psychological therapist Shomi Williams proves.

The viral tweet, which has received over 30,000 likes and almost 9,000 retweets since it was first posted yesterday, outlines the subtle ways people can “dim your light” – and it’s a powerful reminder of how toxic behaviour can manifest in small, subtle ways. 

“People dim your light in such small ways,” the post reads. “Refusal to compliment, dismissing excitement, centring their failures when you share your success, rejecting attempts to let them into your inner world etc. Protect your light sha because this world is full of dementors.”

While none of the actions Williams outlines in her tweet would necessarily cause you to break off or end a relationship (whether with a romantic partner, friend or family member). Put together, those actions could take a big toll on your wellbeing and overall happiness, and “dim your light” without you even realising it. 

Indeed, as Williams later outlined in a follow-up Instagram post, while these kinds of “sly behaviours” are often so infrequent that it’s hard to notice that they’re actually happening, they can still be incredibly toxic.

“Unhealthy egos can feel threatened by those that seem light, happy and carefree,” she wrote. “Consciously or unconsciously, this can resort in sly behaviours that may slowly condition someone to make themselves smaller.” 

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She continued: “These things are very subtle so one-off infrequent displays won’t have much of an impact but constant repetition can make one start [to feel] self-conscious and uncomfortable with their joy, good news and attention they attract. Over time, this can dim one’s ‘light’.”

While, as Williams outlines, it can be hard to recognise when someone starts using these tactics against you, her post is a valuable reminder about how subtle toxic behaviour really can be, and why investing in relationships and friendships that lift you up is so, so important.

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.