Psychology, 1964

The comparison of a human being to poison gas or fungi.

The traditional medical meaning of toxin (substance), toxic (action) and toxicity (level of danger) were misappropriated into the social sciences at the beginning of the 1970s. The root of the psychology “relationship” genre (e.g. the idea of “mind games”) was almost certainly Eric Berne’s 1964 “Games People Play”, and by 1972, the term “toxic relationship” had appeared in “Voices”, the journal of the American Academy of Psychotherapists.