Tempo April 2021

The Danger of Toxic Positivity, Difficulty Thinking Critically Until It Leads to Domestic Violence


Some words of encouragement can actually have a negative impact on others. This is also known as toxic positivity. "Toxic Posivity is an obsession with positive thinking," said Counselor and Life Coach, Rany Moran in a special interview with Tempo on April 13, 2021.


Toxic positivity can occur in your environment or community. You can also unconsciously experience it. If you are experiencing a disaster or bad condition, on toxic positivity, you are usually asked to give a positive point of view.


Subconsciously, you are invited to suppress your emotions and not accept the bad situation that is happening. "They are taught not to express their feelings. There are even some parents who even punish their children when the child is sad or crying," continued Rany Moran.


This will be dangerous for people who grew up in this toxic positivity environment. "The danger in terms of parenting, when a person raised with toxic positivity will cause a personality syndrome like Dunning Kruger," he said.



The Dunning-Kruger Effect is a phenomenon in psychology that can be defined as a cognitive bias in which a person misjudges one's own abilities. Individuals who experience the Dunning-Kruger Effect will feel their abilities are much higher than they really are, they cannot recognize their own abilities.


Rany reminded that positive thinking is important for mental health. But it would be poison if they were asked to ignore human feelings. People who are affected by toxic positivity will usually deny their feelings and minimize their feelings.


Rany explained the case of toxic positivity that occurred in the office environment. For example, it is clear that the politics in the office is very negative. There might also be a bullying problem in the office. However, because the employee needs input to support his family, he will pretend to be happy to face the bad office environment. "Instead of communicating the problem, he will pretend to be happy," said Rany.


Toxic positivity can also be a way to brainwash someone. For example, he will intentionally give positive feedback but there is a hidden agenda. In psychology, Rany calls it gaslighting. As reported by Yayasan Pulih, gaslighting is a term to describe conditions or situations that someone does to manipulate us in a complicated and tactical way by reversing speech so that we question our actions again so that we are entangled with guilt as if we are the perpetrators of a series of arguments or problems. although the reality is clearly the opposite. Gaslighting is very dangerous. "Gaslighting can lead to domestic violence. Violence can occur between the child's parents or between spouses as well as between employers and household assistants," said Rany.


Rany gave an example of one case. For example, the husband is having an affair, then the wife has found evidence of their infidelity. It could be from an impolite conversation, or an intimate photo of the husband with his mistress. Instead of providing clarification, the husband may finally calm down by saying "'There's no relationship. You're just jealous'. Such expressions usually distort the facts by giving positive statements. So that he doesn't focus on the real problem," said Rany.


The impact will be even more severe if the husband is physically violent. For example, when the husband often beats or hurts his wife, with toxic positivity, the husband simply expresses 'I am like this because I love you. This is a form of my love for you'. "At first the wife was aware, but with the expression of toxic positivity, the wife might think 'oh, this is her love language to me, I have to accept it'," continued Rany.


Rany explained that toxic positivity can also make people not think critically. For example when someone is on a diet. He already knew that as a result of the diet he was on, the person was actually experiencing stomach cramps, diarrhea, or other digestive problems. But the person's mind instead thought 'It's okay, the important thing is that I will be thin'. "People are increasingly unable to think critically. They should reflect on their diet. Instead of focusing on being thin, they should think 'maybe my diet is not suitable'. People who are affected by toxic positivity will ignore critical thoughts and think that it is important to be thin," said Rany.


To break the toxic positivity in domestic violence, Rany Moran said it is necessary to admit that the violence that occurred was wrong. Behavior that hurts you is wrong. Then the couple needs to talk openly to a trusted person about the violence that occurred. The person consulted can be close non-judgmental friends, a particular community, or experts such as psychologists. It is also important to identify feelings and train yourself. "Don't try to suppress those feelings, be aware of them. Negative emotions are normal, we urge you to be open about their feelings," said Rany.


In the midst of an uncontrolled and uncertain pandemic, we must learn to accept that it is okay to feel unwell. "What we have to know, what I always teach my clients, is that we need to understand that it's okay to not be okay, it's an instinctive part of being human, admit it and manage. control) adversity and negative and positive feelings. Don't deny those feelings," says Rany Moran.


So you've experienced from toxic positivity?