Whitewashing is harmful

By The Center KSQ
January 1, 1970

There’s a buzzword out there that I try to steer clear from - #toxicpositivity but every once in awhile to talk about the thing you have to name the thing. I try to the best of my ability not overuse the word toxic which is also on a list with sociopath, narcissist, disorder (and a few more). Interesting, when I selected the hashtag for toxic, the following populated:

—> #toxicmother #toxicmothers were at the top of the list


—> #toxicrelationship #toxicfamily #toxicpeople coming in at a close second

—> #toxicfriends #toxicparents

And when I added positivity these sprang up:

—> #toxicpositivityhelpsnoone #toxicpositivityisdangerous #toxicpositivitycultureabandonspeopleinneedofsupport

A short note on the toxic social roles listed first… I would suggest that coaches, counselors, teachers, and thought leaders identifying as trauma informed reevaluate the role of “toxic” in their #traumainformed word bank.

Although behaviors can dysregulate a relational dynamic, calling a person themselves toxic is shame-based and lacks the compassion that the trauma framework attempts to lead the world with.

Yes, accountability, establishing boundaries, 100%. But to shame with diagnoses and labels like toxic… #nottraumainformed

The purpose of this tile is to share that what I call whitewashing is just as not informed as those who throw toxic labels around and diagnoses without consideration of their impact. Glossing over someone’s feelings when they are in pain is not in anyway helpful whatsoever. I’d make a hashtag but I’m not sure it would take.

We ALL have a limbic system. That system’s purpose is to work within the brain and body to help you feel safe. And it’s other critical role is to help you feel those pesky things called feelings. To not allow someone the space to feel their feelings, to offer unrealistic simple slogan solutions, and to not just sit with someone who is hurt/scared/lonely… that’s the equivalent of running into the bathroom when they’re about to use the loo and scream at them to stop! The physical backup will kill a person.

The same potential exists when we do that with someone else’s pain. Learn to hold space- you may in fact save a life.