25 People Confess The Most Toxic Communities They’ve Been A Part Of

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Finally getting out of a toxic community that you've been a part of for months, years, or even your entire life can be one of the most liberating and insightful things to ever happen. Sometimes, it takes getting out of a church or online parenting community or widow's mourning group to realize just how f*cked up it really was.

Maybe you turned to the internet to help you through your first time as a mom. You found a community of women that you thought would lift you up, give you advice, and tell you what brand of diapers were the best. In a perfect world, yes, spit up stories would be swapped jovially and you'd have meet and greets with all the moms in your area to swoon over cute babies and drink rosé. But alas — this isn't a perfect world and your precious baby forum turned into a seething competition of who cared the most, conniving and bullying, and talking sh*t. Run, Brenda, run!

Toxic takes on another level when you're coming from a pro-anorexia community. For those who are already in a fragile state, these communities literally suck the life from those participating. And once getting to rehab, if you get to rehab, it can still be a who's who of thinness.

So if you've ever been a part of a manipulative religion, overbearing athletic department, or a group of spoiled, rich kid druggies — just be glad that you made it out alive, with dignity, and the foresight to realize just how toxic they really were.

These 25 people recount their time spent in toxic communities and you won't believe how insane it was:


Widow groups. Specifically, military widows. I am a veteran and the widow of a fallen soldier. He died active duty, but not in combat. These groups often inquire quickly about the circumstance of the death, how much money did you get, will you quit the army now and take care of your kids. It was legit, a pissing contest. Whose experience has been tougher. They go to every event possible to be paraded around and I'm a horrible person for saying I think it creates a type of, “professional widow.” I went to several lunch events where I was embarrassed to be there. Many were rude to wait staff and often I was criticized for having goals outside of the home. I cut ties and have handled my recovery through private counseling, healthy habits and genuinely accepting that bad shit happens to everyone. That doesn't make me a fairy who is owed anything.


The athletics department at my high school was rife with egotistical parents who all thought their little Johnny should be getting a DI scholarship. Problem was, nobody at our school was really worth a DII scholarship. So naturally the blame always fell on the coaches. We once had a parent at a football game (also the wife of a SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER!!!) drunkenly threaten to murder the A.D. and the football coach by dragging them by a chain tied to the back of a pickup truck. Turnover was crazy, and usually the best coaches were the ones to go quickest. My favorite coach was a graduate of the school and spent close to fifteen years coaching the baseball team. He put his heart and soul into that team, yet he got the axe after I graduated because a bunch of asshole parents with influence hated him because they all thought their kids were simply God's gift to baseball.


Theater in any mid market city. About 20 years ago college art programs discovered they could get free labour by offering courses in theatre production. So now you end up with 100s of grads from every crappy town around moving into the closest city with a handful of professional companies and knifing everyone in the back to get and keep contracts for a handful of jobs. If one of them gets control of hiring for a company they'll get rid of anyone good and hire incompetent non threatening friends. I've watched dozens of great companies die that way.


The Yu-gi-oh community. At least, where I'm from it's filled with a bunch of would-be hustlers who think they're “pro” at the game. I've seen grown men swarm young kids that either have or pulled a rare/expensive card and try to take advantage of the kid by offering him some throwaway trade that they almost always take, because they don't know what they just got. Everyone was always looking to profit, or as the guys I played with called it, “go plus” (term applied to literally any situation where one party either gains monetary value or just has one thing beneficial happen for them). Stealing was a common thing. Dudes would take whatever they could from you if they thought they could get away with it.


Doctor Who. I used to love it, me and my dad would watch it together before he died. I just can't get past the fanbase to watch it anymore.

Written by Laura McNairy

Laura is a freelance writer for TFLN. She likes to write about what she knows best — dating, sex, and being awkward, but usually in the opposite order. She is the Assistant Editor and videographer for Peach Fuzz, a sex-positive nudie magazine in ATX.