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