I wrote a question to myself and posted in a couple of places to see it all the time. As I look at it, it's deeper than I supposed. The question is this:
If you knew that being positive about your life experiences every day, and eliminating toxic people from your life would get you where you wanted to be, would you do it?
Here are the additional thoughts I've had:
• Being positive, for me, means that I have resolved inner anger and other issues, in order to look at things positively on a conscious level.
• Toxic people cannot in every case simply be made to "go away" from your life. Sometimes we live with these people, and we must continue to do so.
I find that I do have issues that do prevent me from being positive and happy each day. I also find that in regard to "toxic" people that we erroneously believe that its them and their issues, but in fact it may be whatever it is that affects us deeply is a reflection of how we see ourselves. Therefore, often our anger with our self is triggered by something that another person did. We believe its about them when in fact, its an unresolved issue within us.
I'm looking for insight about the question and what has helped you to get to where you want to be in life.
You are right. It's our REACTION to negativity that lets it in the door to our souls.
You can hear it without letting it cross over your soul's doorstep. "In one ear and out the other."
Observe and "overlook" their negativity and their inability to see what they are doing. Out of your calmness you can see straight enough and choose to respond calmly or ignore. Maybe someday they will see the light.
I think this can be a dangerous attitude. Of course you want to a "glass half full" attitude to life, but I see a lot of people taking it too far. Positive thinking should be about emphasizing the positives in life over the negatives, but many people interpret it as pretending the negative doesn't exist.
I've met so many people who's embraced "the power of positive thinking" to the point where they simply deny their problems and refuse to deal with them. In the meantime, their problems may be affecting those around them, but they simply refuse to acknowledge it. If others are unhappy and ask for help to resolve the issues, they're called "toxic".
I read some good articles recently about the myth of happiness. We've been brought up to believe we should be happy all the time, but who said so? Unhappiness is a response to bad things that happen. Life is not sunshine and roses 100% of the time. It's OK to feel sadness and regret, it's natural.
If you're feeling down for no good reason, see a therapist. If you're feeling down for a reason - that's life.
misery loves company, i give it the door, and downers are able to drown you, i tell them to shut up, don't want to hear it
I believe that the mirror idea is a good one. We often get upset about the reflection of our own weaknesses.
We also use the toxicity of others as an excuse for not moving forward.
To know something of the self is always a good idea and I find that if I go to self examination first it helps me to see my own complicity on many occasions!
I believe that we hold the power to choose to accept the negativity/positivity or to repel either. The task is to realize the truth about ourself, and to accept the truth in order to move forward by changing ourselves. It is true that we become angered by others' actions because we see ourselves in the other person. I believe, and know, that people can change if they believe in themselves and are doing it for themselves.
Daniel, this is a really good topic to address. I've recently dealt with this very thing. My answer to your question:
If you knew that being positive about your life experiences every day, and eliminating toxic people from your life would get you where you wanted to be, would you do it?
is YES. But it took me a long time to reach a place where I could stand on the edge of the shadow, look back on the 'toxic thing' and see it for what it really was.
I learned that I (and others) continue with the same "life script" our entire lives, whether it be positive or negative. Only difference is, we use different characters each time. We create a pattern of the same behavior, wants, and issues. It's easy to do because it becomes familiar to us. And because it's familiar, we tend to gravitate toward that issue or person or whatever the 'toxic thing' may be.
I used to have a habit of being drawn to toxic men until I changed ME and learned to recognize the healthy qualities in a man, not what was familiar. But I continued to have a problem identifying positive things & allowing them to guide.
I just recently had another session with a 'toxic thing' that I couldn't let go of because of the 'feel good things' about it. But it was freaking toxic for me!! And it was my own fault because of my own insecurities and emotional issues. So......I opened my eyes, with the help of a good support group, was able to see it for what it was....negative & bad for me. I imagined myself standing with a long, long rope. I was holding one end of the rope at the edge of a shadow. Connected to the other end of the rope was this 'toxic thing' in my life. I looked at it & saw reality, truth. And it hurt. So I told it, "I'm releasing my attachment now. You no longer have power. I'm cutting this rope." Then I cut the rope and looked back...it was there, just another dark thing, but alone and unattached to me! Envisioning that image helped me so much.
Now, all the other things that I was struggling so much with, have become natural. Everything has improved in my life in the last 2 months. It's been a grand experience and I'm fortunate to have experienced both the positive & negative to lead me to this healthy place. Sorry this was so long......and yes, I sometimes slip back a bit, but who doesn't?
Donotfear, I really like what you've said here - I think that's one of the best ways of expressing the entanglement that some attachments cause. I often find myself in in the same situation - loving someone (or something) for all the wrong reasons, and then having to remind myself to pull back and see the world around me.
The hardest part, I think, is when the negative attachments pull us away from the most positive people in our lives. I sometimes (or often, I'm afraid) find myself taking for granted the wonderful people I know, letting my love for them slip away to the distractions of less noble pursuits. It can be hard to maintain perspective, but it's well worth the effort.
Good for YOU! I love the visualization... "I was holding one end of the rope at the edge of a shadow. Connected to the other end of the rope was this 'toxic thing' in my life. I looked at it & saw reality, truth. And it hurt. So I told it, "I'm releasing my attachment now. You no longer have power. I'm cutting this rope." Then I cut the rope and looked back...it was there, just another dark thing, but alone and unattached to me! Envisioning that image helped me so much." Thanks for sharing this!
That's your overall question. Well, to be as honest as I can, I think you're truly thinking too much, your self-evaluation, might now have you on pace to have OCD? So, be careful.
To answer your question- No, I would not, because I would be able to see where the path ends. The path ends in loneliness and without love. And, I mean love for others. You will be too busy pushing people out of your life and end up with no one.
People are not toxic, they are simply misunderstood and have many misunderstandings themselves. The average person isn't sure about themselves, let alone anyone else. It's those who understand that find love within themselves and in others.
People have their problems, most only want someone to listen to what they have to say. They are struggling with the same issues, but in a different aspect(different views). How we, you and I and others, communicate with each other is the ultimate key.
Hope I helped.
I live my life that way. I realized long ago that thinking negatively not only affected me but those around me. So I keep tabs on my thoughts and make the effort to shift them to the positive. It makes my interactions happier and stronger.
People gravitate to me. And in that way I create the life I want everyday.
positive can be misleading at times. I do live looking on the bright side and endeavor to be positive rather than whiny and negative. but life is full of situations that sometimes are not positive. so I've learned/am learning to be solution oriented in those situations. or I don't label it at all and just move through it. once we label something, we confine it and give it subconscious expectations. I don't know how to explain how I live, but it's more like a continuous now, often our 'problems' come from dwelling on the past or the future.
yes, people can be toxic and give out a lot of negative vibes which are very real and powerful and they do it every day. you either remove yourself from it, or go into a deeper state of awareness while in the presence of toxic people. it's more the thoughts that are toxic, not so much the person.
"The Dance of Anger" was a most helpful book for me. It helped me to see how unresolved issues in one relationship have a tendency to resurface in another relationship. It also explained a great deal as to why others are so threatened when we change up to healthier choices/boundaries and how to continue on a healthy path I wanted for myself. Just a small part of what you seem to be dealing with.
Wishing you well, Holly
It depends on the definition of "toxic" I think.
There is only one person I have eliminated from my life (and it's not even my ex lol)
Dealing with toxic people takes a kind of inner strength IMO. I would rather be the stronger person instead of the one who shuts people out. That's my general philosophy though... to include, not exclude.
I don't believe that any person is 100% negative. Even in my most difficult relationships, I can still find some positive.
In the worst case, I have a "enjoy it when it's good and ignore it when it's bad" attitude. This is a person who I feel should remain in my life despite the troubles. I guess I don't want to burn a bridge that I may need to use in upcoming years. Families sure can be complex, but you never can tell what the future will hold. That's a lesson I learned already
If by toxic you mean abusive, then my answer would be different.
These insights are very helpful, my friends.
I rarely become vulnerable, but I'm feeling that way big time, right now. There's a part of me that wants to shut off and hide and when I do appear, pretend I'm invincible (which is what I usually do). But I'm not.
I over react to what I term as "toxic" people because of living in a torture chamber for the first 20 years of my life. And I've cleared a lot of awfulness away, and had to deal with gigantic failures in nearly all aspects of my life. Five years ago, at the end of my 2nd marriage and the death of my dad (which occurred simultaneously, along with losing my second home to my second ex, along with all my belongings) I sat at my dad's bedside (my abuser) and held his hand when he took his last breath. I genuinely forgave him 3 years previously. It was miraculous. I never thought I could. After he died, I threw away everything I was ever taught to believe in and decided I had to find my own core beliefs. Religion was the first thing to go. A lot of other superstitions and lies went with it.
I found peace at age 50, and my kids got back in touch with me. My life has been pretty good overall since then, but I keep running into the wall. I'm stuck again, and I can't any longer deny the inner anger and depression I'm feeling again.
I snapped at a friend who has a need to be right about everything, and is also victim. I told him he was a narcissist and toxic and I couldn't take him being in life.
Today I regret that. I just wanted to feel positive again, but I over reacted (I think. He is also a terrible user.)
But I think after a few days that I realize he triggered some fears and unresolved issues, and my wanting to be positive and move forward is drowning in my greatest fear, which I have refused to address. So I wrote the question out to try to get around it, to kick sand over it and cover it up.
I've lost all ambition and drive of the things I love. I made a phone call to a trusted friend who is going to do some work on fear with me. I've been to a metric butt-load of counselors through the years for abuse. I've been misdiagnosed with a mental illness. It wasn't me who was ill, but I was driven nuts until I could see it all for what it is.
So, yes, Cags, I do overanalyze, but I've know how to work with it. And I've read a lot about brain function, how to stabilize, etc. I've been through quite a journey about healing the brain and soul.
I'm checking into some of Byron Katie's work, along with some cognitive behavioral therapy (David Burns "Feeling Good" is an example).
The fear is about more catastrophic loss, which is a reality. So I go around doing damage control to keep everything in place. That's nuts, isn't it? But more loss has to happen, I'd best get it over with so I can move on, I guess. I just don't want to have to do it again. It's frightening.
This is a ramble I didn't intend to write. But I want you to know that as smarmy and gushy as it may sound that I appreciate the community here, and your friendship and insights. I'll be fine. I've certainly been through worse. But there is so much I want to do in my heart, and I've got to get clear with me before I can really get to it all.
It sounds like you've really put a lot of thought into not only your life, but in how to continue thinking about it.
Something I can say about pain and recovery is that the pain lingers long after we think we're well, and recovery is often still occurring when we feel as if nothing is going right. It sounds as if you feel a lot of regret over snapping at your friend, but it also sounds like the kind of stress you're under makes the anger understandable. Honestly, there's only so much we can hold in - anger and sadness will come out. Like magma in a volcano, it's just a question of how and when: will we have the slow creep that builds islands and continents, or the sudden Krakatoa detonations that wipe out lives?
If your friend genuinely is a narcissist, it may be that he heard some anger he deserved to hear - maybe even some that he needed to hear. But that might not be important. What is important is your recovery. It sounds like you've been through some trauma - long-term trauma exacerbated by recent events - and that you're still recovering. The fact that you're reaching out on the forums and to the friend who will help you with anger shows that you've taken a very solid, proactive approach. You should be proud of yourself - many people, I believe, don't have the courage for that level of honesty. Slipping with anger from time-to-time is certainly understandable - it might not be what you want, but it is understandable.
Something to consider about anger and abuse. It's often said that abusers have no control over their anger, but I would disagree with this. It's not a lack of control - it's a lack of nuanced control. A very successful and patient businessman might go home and beat his son for not tying his shoelaces. The anger is controlled - it's so walled-off from work that he only allows it to appear at home, when it simply gushes out.
For victims of abuse, the cycle of violence can become still more cruel. As they grow older, some recovering victims decide that they will never (and I mean NEVER) become abusers. And so they never, EVER, let the anger out. Instead it festers inside. For some, this leads to the same abusive explosions they wanted to avoid - for others, it comes out as self-loathing and self-harm. Depression and suicide sometimes result from thoughts of "I have no right to be angry, but I am, and therefore I'm a failure..."
Please don't be ashamed of your anger - you have a right to it. Anger isn't a personality trait - it's an emotion. As you work to address the anger within, remember that the presence of anger is natural. It's what we do with it that differentiates us from abusers.
Remember fertile soil, so much of what we do is not fertile. I like the way you think and feel your on the right track. I can tell you the very easy path I follow and that is the path of PEACE! This is why I sign off with Peace all the time.
If you don't have peace about something turn from it, peace is your guide the HS forces helping you to know what is right for you. Everyone is different and we each have a different level of conviction so what is peace to you is not to another.
Follow peace my friend and be happy! Peace
(sorry to chop your post)
Daniel, it's not smarmy or gushy. And you will be fine
You've got to let the turmoil out sometimes. Actually I find myself doing that right here at HP more than anyplace else. The community is supportive.
On the rare case when the support is not there, I'm very capable of blowing it off anyway - which brings me to my point:
Just some advice from a fairly stable BP sufferer:
I treat these of these types of things like swimming in the ocean. I don't mean metaphorically
The waves will knock you right on your butt, and they don't stop coming at you. Sometimes you don't even see what knocked you over. All you can do it ride them out.
The waves can be brutal but I still love being in the ocean. So, when I get slammed by one, I don't head for the shore, I just say, whatever dude.
You are totally allowed to say that is corny. hee hee
Maybe it is a result of my condition. My die hard habit is to not get too excited or too upset by anything because I can't control the swing. In big issues and in small ones. I even have to be careful about enjoying a sunny day sometimes.
But the result of this, I'm finding, that my "it is what it is" attitude closes the big doors and opens up a lots of little doors.
Don't sweat the BIG stuff has been working very well for me since my own personal life-explosion. I just don't care anymore about BS that I can't control anyway.
I say this understanding that we have different situations so my advice might not be good for your case. I was left with no family whatsoever - just me by myself. (My mom, sis & bro live on the other side of the state. That's it for me lol)
@donotfear: Visualization does work for me. Your points are very good, and appreciated. I find I have to do it over and over again, however.
@ryanedell; My friend really is a narcissist. He is in perpetual denial about his insecurities which are huge, and he covers with great arrogance and narcissism. (He's very smart and talented.) I can only take him in small doses, but finally he tried to trap me when I was going through this anger and I just cut him off. But despite my initial guilt, I still think it was inevitable. I've spent a lot of time facing my own crap and working through my own denial (which I still must do continually) and I guess my patience has worn too thin with him. Part of my struggle is that coming out of abuse, I can never do enough for people who "need" me, despite how unhealthy that may be. So I over react some. He'll find his way and find others to prey on.
@Wyanjen: There are two images that always work for me. One is letting the waves wash over me. Everything is in transition constantly. We erroneously believe things will never change when in fact they are always changing. The other image is wind through the trees. The young saplings bend in the wind with minimal damage while the great trees often lose limbs and are sometimes toppled over.
I'm angry that I have to face this latest round of internal struggle when there is so much music I still want to write. I want to be doing what I love, not working through this junk. When I look at that it seems childish and selfish. But until I feel more resolve, there isn't any music in me, it seems.
your anger is a form of resistance. until you let go of the resistance, you may have trouble moving forward. surrender or accept this current life situation, move through it as others have mentioned, and you will find yourself ready to write. (and I know you know the music will be much more genuine when you write from that selfless place within you.) whatever you have the power to change, change. it always starts with thoughts. you say you want to be doing what you love, well, this may sound real smarmy, but love what you're doing now, taking care of you. true vulnerability takes strength as you let go of resistance and facades.
I don't know if you've read it or heard of it, but the book, The Power of Now could be very helpful for you.
I am no psychologists but I think that I might see your answer within your own statement.
When life gives you lemons... Make lemonade..
You might spend a couple of days writing songs about what you are truly feeling?
Start with Unchecked abandonment concerning your choice in Lyrics and or quality of your song. And slowly head toward the brighter side of life.
Look for your answers another day. Don't look for them while writing.
You can fix the songs another day
You may find your answers to your dilemma?
And who knows ?? A number one song on the Country and Western music charts?
Just a stupid thinking out loud kind of idea.
".... eliminating toxic people from your life would get you where you wanted to be, would you do it?..."
Nah, I would miss you all!
>Toxic people cannot in every case simply be made to "go away" from >your life. Sometimes we live with these people, and we must continue >to do so.
I'm probably the only one to have a divergent opinion, but it seems to me that unless they are minors or dependents, all the people in your life are optional.
We can't walk out on a child or an animal who needs us, because of the commitment we made, and because we have a responsibility. But along with responsibility, there comes a certain amount of control over the situation.
With adults, we are free to set reasonable rules, and to walk away from the relationship if the rules are broken. We don't have to live with another adult, unless doing so makes us happy.
Living by these rules will guarantee that all the people in your life will have a positive contribution to make.
Interesting little experiment done in Japan.
Microscope cameras focused on sealed bottles of distilled water.
Images of water molecules were uniform.
Zen Master focused a range of thoughts one on each bottel.
Molecules assumed different shapes according to thoughts focused on each.
Loving thoughts produced snowflake like delicate shapes.
Each type of thought produced a pleasing shape.
Hatred produced a grotesque shape.
Humans are made of 90% water.
If thoughts can do that to water
Imagine what our thoughts do to Us...
My take on all this is that when you are trying to remain positive its a control issue. You want control of your world and that's not always possible. A Buddhist phrase says "The happy man wants what he has." or put another way "To be without desire is to be without unhappiness"
so - to some extent what we perceive as negativity is our lack of control of the situation, over other people, and then we lose control of our own thoughts.
Personally I think you will get where you want to be by having a peaceful mind, and that just means wanting what you have, accepting your world the way it is. Other people's negativity won't have any impact on you when you have a peaceful mind. In fact, your joy will infect all around you with happiness!
see! its already working
What you have initially pointed out I believe gives you huge step in the right direction of getting to where you want to be however I believe knowledge alone will not get you there. You also need wisdom and wisdom is hard to come by but almost any can get it if they know how as a homeless person on the street can gain widsom even if they don't have the knowledge. Intelligences alone will not allow you to understand why other people have to starve while still others have not financial cares. Knowledge alone can't justify how people treating each other so cruelly makes logical sense.
Daniel, I have always respected your honest introspection. I too am a victum of childhood abuse. I have learned to set clear boundaries around myself .. not allowing toxic people to dirty my emotional health. The difference between you and I is I was driven to GOD and it seems you were driven away from GOD.. am I reading your right? I'm thinking you were hit by religious ABUSE .. am I right? It is a real form of abuse today .. I have seen it and it makes me sick.
Continue you on your journey dear man, I am glad your children have come back .. Children are a part of us and bring such JOY!
I think there's a lot of "it depends" with an answer to such a question. First, you (we) have to make sure the person really IS "toxic" and that it isn't just us not wanting to hear negative stuff or else stuff we don't like hearing. Second, we need to ask ourselves if there's the chance we're actually "making up" stuff about the other person's motives and "issues" that may not really be how it is. For example, there are people who never want to ever hear anything negative coming from someone else. If someone else is more one to feel comfortable talking about negative stuff, there's the chance that person isn't really toxic at all; and is only someone who feels he should be able to discuss everything (positive and negative) with someone close.
Whether to "dump" someone may depend on what the relationship is. Some relationships are worth trying to preserve, even if it means adjusting how much time you spend with the person; or how much you let them into your life.
The toxic guy "two cubicles down" doesn't matter much. We can ignore him as much as possible. On the other hand, if someone's mother is truly toxic that person either has to stay away from her or else figure out a way to limit how much time/power she has to impact him. I guess I think that 70% OK-enough relationship with someone like a mother is better than none most of the time. In a case like that, the "victim" needs to make peace with the idea that the relationship will never be what's ideal, but some version of a relationship (with limitations on time and impact) can be sort of OK a lot of the times.
I can't really see remaining friends with someone you feel is toxic, but then again it's possible to phase away from a friendship without having a blow-up. I had a friend who started to "get to me", and I just kind of phase out a little at a time. We're just "friends who happened to grow apart" - no blow ups. That leaves open the option, too, of getting together to touch base once in awhile (if you want) and yet not having someone who otherwise may have also meant something to you completely "wiped out" of your life.
Maybe it also depends on the "balance of power" in the relationship. If one person seems to always be the one with the upper hand, the other one (the victim of the "toxic") can feel helpless at not being able to stop the toxic one's behavior/comments toward him. That, in turn, can make the "victim" feel helpless - and start hating himself for allowing himself to remain helpless. So, I think it may depend on whether the "victim" is feeling helpless or just aggravated at the other one.
I've known a lot of people who were victims of abuse as children. One thing I seem to have noticed is that sometimes (SOMETIMES, only) they can come to equate being a victim with "good" (as in "good versus evil") and the abuser (and sometimes everyone else) as "bad". Some people seem to hang onto their past abuse (not saying, Daniel, this is you - only bringing this up as a general point) because it can seem (to observers, at least) as if giving up seeing themselves as an abuse victim means giving up seeing themselves as "good". What this could mean (I think) is if they keep their "identity" as a victim and their role of being "the good one" in a previous "good-versus-bad" situation; which would mean that all future "insults" to them, as people, get added to a bunch of stuff that's already there.
What I'd think is that someone like me (not abused in childhood) would see the narcissistic pal as an "aggravating pain in the neck I don't want to hang out with too often" (only because I don't already have another bunch of "insults" built up and stored away, to which the friend's "insults" get added). A pain-in-neck person wouldn't have much impact on me to the point of making feel he was toxic to me.
I can see how someone who already has other things to be dealing with (and legitimate ones, no doubt about it), I can see how that person might feel less "grounded in his sense of self (even though he probably can/does have a strong sense of self when nobody is eroding it" than the non-childhood-abuse victim would; and could be more bothered by the pain-in-the-neck person.
In other words (and after all those words used above), might the person who was a childhood abuse victim have a "lower bar" for the measure of a toxic person? Just a question. I'm not attempting to answer it, just ask it.
Having pondered all of the above, I can say that as a non-childhood-abuse victim, I've run into people who aren't great for my self-esteem. In some cases I'll keep them at arm's length. In other cases I've changed the nature of the relationship - eliminating the power they once had in my life. In still other cases, I keep in mind the positive aspects of the relationships and overlook the "irksome" stuff (even though I know I have to limit the time I spend with the person in order to keep myself from getting "irked" too often).
I guess there's that other "it-depends" - It depends on whether there's otherwise redeeming value in the relationship. If there is, a person has to decide whether he can overlook what upsets/irks him and find a way to say, "That's his problem, not mine." (Daniel, I don't know if any of all this applies at all, but it seemed worth pondering.)
@Mekenzie: I suppose I have been a little bombarded by religion. It's a very hot topic for me. Howeever, discussing aspects of one's connection in the universe, and what other's experiences are in spirituality seem to be okay with me. It's the pushing and black-and-white/all-or-nothing thinking that I have such a big problem with. I do appreciate your thoughts and insights.
@Lisa HW: I've thought along similar lines as you regarding toxic people. It's really a mixed bag no matter what. I do think that there is generally a lot of good in most everyone, but but for some reason there are those who seem to be perpetual vampires, and those are the people I cannot connect with. I RUN the other way. Some suck on your generosity, others on your love, others on your time, and so on. Some are severe in their demands, while others are just in a bad spot and it seems to be a temporary thing, and they are willing to gather themselves up and move forward. But it's the vampire types I avoid. My friend is a vampire to most everyone. He whined on facebook that he's losing all his friends when he needs them so desperately. Go figure.
I do feel more grounded at this point, but I'm checking into a few things that will allow me a "tune up." This is a good time for me to get back into some internalized house cleaning. I have no interest in anything right now. I usually have jobs and projects by the baker's dozen lined up and I've pretty much put everything on hold so I can get grounded and centered again.
And while this friend may have contributed to it, I do realize that he is only a symptom that I've needed to face for a while. Those realizations are coming daily now.
So I'm checking out some good texts and workbooks, along with talking with a couple of trusted professional friends who talk straight to me and call me on my crap, but are gentle. Hopefully this place I've landed of no interest won't be too long, but I have to accept it and not fight it. Of that, I'm sure.
Thanks all. So much appreciated.
remind me to tell you about my experiences one day....... with toxic fathers. I have read a lot of the posts but not all, i want to let you know i am thinking of you....... grandad, do you like being called grandad??????? hope you are back to your chirpy happy self soon, and the past does not keep popping up. Thinking of you. Sounds like you are burned out, and you need a little,,,,,,,,,, you time.....
Thanks sunshine. What a nice post.
I saw baby Elijah this past Saturday. It was sweet. Mom handed him to me, and he was just fed and started fussing. I asked her if she burped him and she said, “Uhhhhh.....oh yeah....” she was going to take him and asked her to let me do it and so I slung the little guy over my shoulder and pounded on him (well that's a little bit of an exageration) and he burped really big and pooped his pants and then we were all happy again.
If I had the experience and calmness with my own two that I feel now, I woulda been a perfect dad!! LOL Well, maybe not. It's easier to be a grandpa.
Daniel, I've had a "vampire type" or two in my life - and they're the ones, I think, you just have to cut loose. There's pretty much no dealing with, or winning with, that type.
Daniel, I wonder if you've read the novel, Lust for Life on Van gogh's life...it's how out of all the misery and unhappiness he's known in his life, he creates such exquisite art. 'Out Of Pain...Beauty!"
I don't know why, but I have never believed in 'toxic' anything, let alone people. Some have hurt me yes, and god knows how I've been unhappy over it, but never for long. More, I never let any anger or resentment ever make way into my heart. I have a silly belief that if you forgive and keep your heart open to love and giving, good things somehow keep happening to you - maybe not in places you'd hope for, but other unexpected sources.
Translate that unhappiness into something beautiful...you might come up with some very soulful music. Some of the strongest hubs came to me after I witnessed war first hand, or saw children in extreme poverty. Sometimes, instead of fighting pain, it's best to let it flow out into our work - you'll be surprised how powerful the end result might be..
it can start very innocently. You find a little cuddly kitten. You take him home, you take good care of him, you help him to survive. You pet him and help him grow. You enjoy him, you get attached to him, you love him very much. He grows. He is not little any more, he is nor even a kitten. He is a terrible monster, who uses you and sucks all blood from you and eats you alive. You just don't see it. He is still purring softly and you do not see that parts of you that are already gone and he continues to feed on you and eliminate you and use you to his advantage. And suddenly something happens and you actually SEE him as he is - THE MONSTER WHO EATS YOU ALIVE, but you cannot get rid of him, because he is sick now and helpless and needs you more than ever... and you continue to feed him with your soul, emotions,time you spend on him, your energy, your strength and continue to kill yourself for his sake and can do nothing about it,because he ate your will power long ago, and he is still feeding on you...
I come from a toxic family. My father was the sanest, and he was an alcoholic. Growing up it's confusing, because everything gets blamed on the alcoholic. Everything my mother did was his fault, everything us kids did wrong was his fault. My mother never took responsibility for her own actions, and never taught us to either. We had a ready-made excuse for everything.
Okay this was a long post, but I just did you a favor and deleted most of it.
Short story -toxic people are people too, and they need us. You can't be happy being the kind of person who writes off people because they aren't good for you. It's a derned complicated world. Try to understand them, why they are the way they are, and when you can't understand them, just be grateful it isn't you and love them anyway.
At the same time, there are times when you need to protect yourself and your family. Like a drug addict, sometimes you have to cut yourself off from people you love in order to heal thyself.
Also, you know, sometimes it helps to speak honestly and openly with people. I did that with both my crazy sister and my mother, and i found that it helped. If it didn't actually help them themselves, then at least they don't pull their shit on me anymore, too much.
My sister called me for help last week, and the first thing she said to me was that she knew I'd be honest with her. And I gotta tell you, in that situation which is particularly difficult to determine the 'right' thing from the 'wrong', I didn't appreciate being turned to.
Nonetheless, the point is, sometimes it can help a toxic person to hear it from someone who they know and trust.
My crazy sister has been crazy forever. A couple of years ago she told me her shrink had told her that she was no longer insane. (Personally, I question that judgment.)
She was so happy and so thrilled. For the first time in her adult life she was functioning without medication. Then something happened, she screwed up and ended up back in the mental hospital, but that was just a brain fart and now she is back on track, trying to accept that everyone has problems and bad times that we all have to deal with.
Right now, she's facing a biggie, and so she's on my mind and I'm hoping she'll get through it okay.
Anyway. My point is that this friend of your's maybe needed to hear what you had to say. Maybe it will help him. At any rate, you should probably apologize in one form or another. Sorry you said it the way you did. Sorry you 'over-reacted', but you're going through some things right now and just need to stay away from negativity for awhile, etc etc. No sorry for what I said, but sorry for the way you said it, and still maintaining your need for space.
All I know, really, is that if I don't shut up this ramble will end up as long as the one I deleted, and also that you're a good person. Don't beat yourself up with guilt. Your 'problem' is just that you care. About others and yourself. That's not a problem, that's a sign of a healthy, hearty person.
Whole situation reminds me of a poem I wrote way back when I still indulged in writing bad poetry.
It was called Self-Reflection Sucks. It's hard trying to know yourself and improve yourself. Most people wuss out. You're a wonderful person. I'm sure you wouldn't be if you hadn't taken the path you chose of self-reflection.
Many times when we find ourselves upset or angry with another they have triggered us and we go at the EFFECT of their behaviors, words or actions. When this happens to me I ask myself, "Have I ever done that?" Often the result of asking myself that question is that a mental screen of images will start to run of all the times I have been "guilty" of the same thing. An example would be that someone promised to be somewhere at a specific place and time and they were late, I get upset, I step back and ask myself "Have I ever done that?" - You betcha I have. That puts me back at Cause and I am then able to deal with what is in front of me, right here, right now and to take ownership and responsibility for my own errors. In doing so it also allows the other to be able to take responsibility for their own misstep.
If another is jumping up and down, angry and upset and has all kinds of stuff spewing out of their mouths my mantra is, "Do not take it personally". Someone or something has triggered the other and they have gone the effect of that someone or something. Someone who is triggered is not being themselves. Too many times in my life I have taken on an upset that was not mine or made myself a target of the others' negativity. Take ownership only of that which is yours.
I use my mood level as a kind of sonar, for instance the more self-righteous and indignant I get over the doing or lack of doing by another the greater the indication that I have something the same or very similar in my universe that I have done something I should not have done or not done something I should have done.
Another example would be, someone makes you a promise and they do not fulfill that promise. You get upset. Have you ever done that? Have you ever broken a promise? It takes being brutally honest with yourself but it sure frees you up from the "mess".
What a great question to post. My answer is definitely yes! In fact I've done exactly that to get to where I am in my life right now. The power of positive thinking is so underestimated, and I think the key for it to work is consistency. It's easy to be positive when times are good, but how hard to we try when things are down. It takes work and effort to see things positively, it doesn't just become a mentality you have over night. It has to be practiced every single day in every situation. Over time, it becomes a way of life. Being rid of negative people isn't as hard. Yes there are people that you can't just "get rid" of. BUT, you can change how those people affect you. I've learned to not get deeply invloved with negative people who "have" to be in my life. My motto, kill em with kindness. Misery loves company, and for every negative comment made there's always a positive one to top it. Especially with extremely negative people, I find it amusing, kind of like a game to always have a positive come back. Bottom line is we always have a choice. The choice to decide what attitude we will have and if or how things will affect us. Once we decide to become the driver of the bus we're on, we're never going to get where we want.
I agree that there is power in positive thinking but it also is necessary to bear in mind that when one is going towards the positive, the negative that one has been denying or not wanting to look at or own or deal with comes up to be handled. This is a simple matter of physics - two things cannot occupy the same space at the same point in time. It is like having something on your hard drive you cannot write over it, you have to remove what was there that you no longer need or want and install what you do need or want. So when you are doing your positive affirmations do so in an effective matter, allow yourself to deal with any negatives that come up. Positive affirmations are meant to get you where you want to go in life, they are not just for throwing "wallpaper" up over an ugly patch in the wall - the ugly patch is still there, it is just "hidden". If you state a positive thought and there is not a corresponding positive mood level then something is out of whack! If you state a positive thought and you feel like it is not ring true, something is out of alignment. There will be an opposite, often hidden negative thought (affirmation) with a corresponding negative mood playing out in the background. Get that one, run out the consequences of having originated that thought or having gone into agreement with that thought until you get ALL the consequences and then you can bring yourself into alignment with your new positive!
look how you opened up a topic that turns out to be a big kettle of worms! Its marvelous, really. Many of us seem to have similar experiences as you have had. I realize now what I said earlier just sounded smarmy and simplistic. Of course we can't go around spreading joy when we feel we've had all our energy and soul sucked out. So I have two things I've learned and want to tell you about
1) setting boundaries. Sounds easy, is hard to do for awhile, and gets easier the more practice we get. The most important and sometimes hardest thing those of us who have been abused can do is to set some very strong and vital boundaries. Determining every single day just how far we will go and how far we will let others go. Sometimes telling the energy-sucker point blank that they cannot "come in" is the best thing we can do for them, as well as ourselves.
2) emotional blackmail. This is what my therapist labeled what was happening to me with several family and friends who were using my vulnerability (their knowledge of my emotional problems) and manipulating me with emotional demands and whining and bullying - all in a very passive-aggressive way so that if I tried to call them on it they would just pretend that I was "imagining" it and they were the normal ones. In my case, one friend found out I was seeing a therapist for PTSD - her whole attitude toward me changed, everything became an outgrowth of my "problems" and her personality suddenly revealed itself as selfish, unreasonable, demanding and bullying. But since I was the one with the "problems" she was totally in the right. So I just distanced myself from her, stopped responding to her demands or giving in to her whining, and now that friendship is over. It went similarly with several people until I thought I was the one causing it all, but discovered that it was just best not to let people know too much, not share as I had been doing, because many people cannot help their prejudice about mental illness and don't even realize what they are doing.
You have not closed down. You are doing the self-examination that it takes. Give yourself a break and learn how to say "no" when you need to - at the time you need to do it. I can say from experience that people who have suffered loss and abuse sometimes lose themselves to their continual grieving for the parts of themselves they think are gone. When you treat yourself as well as you can, you regain those pieces. you really do.
I think it's a good thing to try and find the positive things about your life; because it's too much negativity in this world. If you do not attempt to accentuate the positive things you are more likely to become a toxic person. Toxic people weigh you down with their negative take on life and it's not healthy to become a toxic person or to include one in your life. We all have times when things gets us down; but we can't let it take us over and become burdened by the weight. We all fall down but we must get up. If you are burdened by living with a toxic person you must let them work out their own situations and not be affected by their negativity; but you should seek other living arrangements as soon as you can if this person refuses to do so because the negativity will eventually affect you. Remember misery loves company and a negative person refuses to see another person being happy and positive.
All good stuff.
One of the reasons I started this thread is because asking the question I did, in the way it's stated, it does actually smack of denial. We put ourselves in denial of real problems and how they affect us, bring us down, etc., and *pretend* we are happy. Sooner or later, we snap and we're in a pit. So I think Marissa's comment is very valid for that reason.
But there is a common theme among all these insights. Someone earlier, (sorry, I should have looked before I started writing) actually said you really need to find your place of peace, regardless of all the stuff going on around you, THEN, and only then do you really know what happiness is. Knowing that, feeling that allows you, I think, to really look at "toxic" people a whole different way. You remain at peace. It's only them huffing and puffing which still doesn't affect you because you don't have to give in to their unhealthy demands. You can simply walk away, if you need to. (Well, in most cases, I think. Maybe not all.)
I was wondering if I should have started this thread, but I really think it's revealing how much so many of us have in common in regard to all the things that can bring us unrest and disturb our peace. I think this is a good conversation and there are some great insights.
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