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Margins, people and porcupines

I stunned a co-worker when I explained how I’d rid myself of the rat.  See, after he was pushed out of left the company, he tried to get back in.  He tried, more than once, to exert whatever authority he’d once had to weasel his way back. He tried but he failed.

Listening intently my friend asked, “Well how did you do it? What did you say?”

I simply shared that I had been honest and direct with no wiggle room for misinterpretation: I told the rat I didn’t want a relationship. With him. Then. Silence.

“You what?” my friend asked. “You heard that right. That’s what I said.”

Of course, being the narcissist that he is, the rat turned the table on me and became the victim. That’s what Narcissists do.  Whatever. ~Yawn~.

You see, with certain people you cannot beat around the bush. As hard as may be to do you can’t be subtle. You will fail.  You have to spell things out c-l-e-a-r-l-y so there’s no room for Wiley Coyotes to belly crawl back in.

Using the margins analogy, I referenced the wired ruler books we all used to carry in grade school. The center part, where the lines are, is where our work, family and obligations live. The margins represent our free time, our weekends, where dreams live.  When my margins shrink I get very discerning about who takes up space there.

I used this example recently when someone recounted all of the past hurts another had caused her, over and over again. I heard the anguish in her voice, the frustration, the pain.  Now I don’t know about you but when I rehash past traumas I rarely feel better; often, I feel worse.   So I countered with how stepping away from toxic people has helped me heal. It didn’t change them, no, they’re as ornery as ever.  But being absent from their negativity has changed me.  It was in sharing my growth that I thought to give her this advice:

don't pet the porcupine

Now this little guy, Teddy Bear, is so cute eating (and commenting on) his treat. But I know better than to pet him.

You?

 

 

Whose personality comes to mind as you read this?  How are your margins looking these days?   What would you like to make room for?

*Thanks to DM for the margins reference. Love it!

 

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Categories: Animals, Attitude, Determination, Faith, fear, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Self Discovery, Useful Information | Tags: , , , , , | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “Margins, people and porcupines

  1. Diane Helminiak

    Love it… I had a friend who I would only see every couple of months but when we did see each other, she would ALWAYS rehash her illness and how hard her life was. She wanted to play martyr because of her illness and taking care of a sick husband, too. I tried to tell her to talk about being well, but it didn’t sink in. I hope she’s fine now because we don’t see each other anymore. I am relieved.

    • That behavior is really exhausting to be around. I hope she’s fine, too, but like you … whew, I’d be relieved, too!! MJ

  2. I’m glad he wasn’t able to wiggle around you somehow. Rats do that too.

  3. Oh my gosh, Teddy is WAY too cute! (But probably still not pettable!)

    I think it takes time and experience to reach the level of certainty you have about certain people. And confidence. Those things aren’t always so easy to accomplish, but it’s worth it in the long run. I still find myself getting burned by some people when I should know better, but each experience makes me stronger in my resolve not to let it keep happening.

    • Love Teddy! Not pet-table but still cute – and those noises! That’s how I sound eating watermelon 🙂

      I agree, it takes time to really know people and to see their heart. Sometimes I am delightfully surprised, others, not so much. The more I’ve snapped strings the less obligated and guilt-ridden I feel ~ Whee!! MJ

  4. Shirley Matthews Dunn

    I agree completely with you, MJ. Unfortunately you also can have family member (that you love very much) that you have to let go of too to be able to go on and live your life for the better. They do not always chose to do that and you can risk them dragging you down. with them.

    • Oh yes, I have a few I have dis-engaged from for that reason. I still love them but from a distance. It’s healthier that way 🙂 MJ

  5. I had no idea porcupines made noise! LOL

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