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Posts Tagged With: toxic people

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

How a believer lost 250lbs in 1day

* This is a true story and not a weight-loss testimonial.

Once upon a time there was a hard-working donkey who worked steadily at meeting deadlines, helping others and getting things done.  Over time, her skills got attention and she found herself recruited for special projects on a pretty regular basis. And her workload grew.

donkey with heavy load

But that was OK because she was a sturdy donkey who could carry a lot – and, when no one was looking, she dreamed of a day when things might be better for her and the others in her group.  When he, her supervisor (otherwise known as the rat), would pick up his share of the work, listen to her ideas, and appreciate her efforts.  But that was not to be.

donkey with load man beside

He liked leaving her places.. and laughing about it.

But her star shone steadily anyways.  And he didn’t like it. Didn’t like it one bit.  And then one day a miracle happened – an opportunity appeared.  He told that he was moving up.  What about his spot, she asked? Could it be for her?  No, not for you, he snorted.  She couldn’t stop thinking of all the work she’d done – covering his 300+ absences over 5 years – and she knew she had to try.  She would get the work, that’s for sure, ought to at least try for the money. Sadly he didn’t support her, in fact, he lobbied for another donkey.   Still .. 4 interviews later, and with an armful of recommendations, she triumphed, the job was hers. He moved out, she moved in and brought her team up with her.   For one glorious year he was … off in the distance somewhere. But, as sometimes happens, a reorganization brought him back  to her again.

Say what?

Say what?

It was perfect! For him.

He was used to taking her ideas and packaging them up as his own.  How he loved to bring her along to meetings, not prepare and then throw her in at the last-minute.  Once again. Once again. And every time a deadline approached he’d have yet another illness.  Some real. Some imagined. Yet again. Yet again.  And for a while, the donkey, well,  she felt defeated.  Betrayed.  Hopeless. She plodded along the circle, even when it made her sick.   She didn’t sleep, she barely ate, dark circles took up residence under her eyes.   She cried, she railed, she prayed. Oh, did she pray.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“all I want for Christmas … is a break”

Meanwhile the rat prospered.  He worked to convince others what a great rat he was. How he had all these great ideas (hers), he got projects completed (hers), and, from the surface, it appeared he was one good rat. And he was.  He was very good at being a rat.

warren t rat american tail

And soon, the load grew again.   But this time, it was different. Something had changed.  She had grown, too.   The yoke no longer fit!! No longer dangling in the air she righted herself and when a much more Sr. Donkey asked her “how are you doing?” she looked him in the eye and she answered.  She squared her shoulders, stood in her truth and saw his gasp of horror.  He listened and she spoke and she heard his words of understanding.  Time passed and she figured maybe he was just one more Sr. Donkey who’d allow a rat in his midst. But she was wrong.

donkey up in air

In time, she saw the rat’s unease.  She listened to him whine at being questioned why he always had to come to Donkey for answers.  And why was Donkey’s name on all the work? Who exactly was doing the work? The questions coming at him were rapid and direct and not easily dodged.  That wily rat found himself nailed like a fat kid in dodge ball.

warren t rat surprised

And then, one day, happy news came her way – delightful, happy, wonderful news!  Can you guess what it was?  The gig was up! The rat was out – leaving the company.  Secretly Loudly she danced. She danced, she cried, she smiled so much and so often her face hurt.  She slept. She finally slept.  And dreams returned, in just days. Dreams returned.

happy donkey

Is that the Karma bus I see in the distance?

One morning, as she finally put into words what she’d experienced in her years with the rat, she felt the weight of a 250lb yoke slipping off her shoulders.  No more shackles to his messes, his problems, him. No more cleaning up, fixing up, and covering for.  No more. No more. No more.

And as she said it, she saw it, and the tears ran down her face.  Tears of liberation.

“You own everything that happened to you. 

Tell your stories. 

If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.” 

– Ann Lamott

I’m that donkey.  And between now and 5:00 today I’ll lose 250lbs. By His grace, I’m a believer.

Dance with me, will ya? 🙂

 

 

Can you relate to this?  Whose yoke have you become used to? What needs to happen before you can put it down?

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, fear, Growth, Humor, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

Hop-skippin’ the Rabbit Hole

Any of you have a family member who makes you feel less than? 

You know they love you – they have to – they’re family after all.

But … they don’t do anything that makes you feel loved, much less liked.

Maybe they loved who you used to be. Who you used to be as a child … before you grew up and had your own experiences and insight to offer.

I have someone whose actions leave me feeling as such and being around her has been trying at best.

I don't want to go near that rabbit hole; image from Disney.com

I walked on egg shells.  I stifled my naturally boisterous laugh. I ceased having an opinion or an experience worth sharing.   To put it simply: I shrank.

I could not be myself because she does not accept me.

Wow! You’ve really put on weight. God your boobs are huge now.

Have you ever considered having your teeth fixed?

You’re so … loud.

 # # #

If this were a girlfriend, we would not be friends.

If this were a co-worker, I would have transferred.

If this were a neighbor, I would duck in as the garage door closed and stay out of sight.

But … sadly … this is family.  And when someone in your family behaves like this, they make family feel like the ultimate “F” word.

The advice I’ve been given is, “Oh … just let it go in one ear and out the other.”

But I can’t.   Because when I allow her barbs leave a mark, it’s like saying it’s OK to do so.

Last fall, after many conversations with the hubbs, I heeded his advice and took a relationship sabbatical. 

I stopped calling.

I stopped engaging.  I just stopped.

I waited to see what would happen .. and not a thing did.

I created a void that was never filled. And that, THAT my friends, that was THE life lesson.   The relationship I thought we had?  I was the glue holding our broken china together.  Without my loyalty and effort towards to our shared past.. the pieces fell away.

Was it easy? No it was not.

Pain. Tears.  Frustration. Anger. Disappointment. and then …over time, something else crept in.  Something unrecognizable and twofold … self-acceptance and …. later, peace.

In the absence of that one-way relationship, I found someone else.

I found myself.

We will see each other again when I visit Mom soon. And this time?  This time my shoulders will be back and I will arrive with an opinion, fabulous cleavage, shiny lipstick, sequins and all of the other quirks and oddities about me that annoy the you-know-what out of her.

What’s changed?

    I have.

She doesn’t like me, and I can’t change it.

But it’s no longer as important to me as it once was.

Why?

Because I like who I am .. and I’ve stopped asking for permission to do so.

 * * *

How about you?  Ever had to deal with a family member who “loves” you but isn’t … loving?  Can you see yourself in my story?

 

Categories: Beauty, Confidence at any age, Family, Grief, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Traditions, Women | Tags: , , , , | 33 Comments

When you say nothing at all

A skill I’ve learned from hubbs has been put in play of late.

It’s powerful and one that takes practice, because it goes against my learned methods of communciating.

 But every time I have to pull it out of my bag of tricks, I am reminded again of its power.

What is it?

It’s the art of not engaging.

Example:

When someone is spinning out of control and tries to drag you into their negative vortex … step quietly to the side, and let their momentum take them elsewhere.

When a harsh words beg for commentary … refrain.

Let the ugliness hang in the air; let the person who dealt them watch their poison fall to the ground.  They’re counting on sucking you in.  Don’t. Go. There.

Not engaging.  Powerful stuff.

Sometimes … the most influential words are those left unspoken.

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Life, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Need to take a Relationship Sabbatical?

Do you have someone in your life who is lovely to everyone …but you?

I do. And being related further complicates matters. 

This is someone who is sweet and accommodating to everyone. But not to me. 

Conversations and interactions are a struggle because I have to censor everything I say.  I can’t offer suggestions, be my silly self, or offer up my meandering thoughts.    I have to be less than who I am.

After much deliberation and hand-wringing I took my hubbs’ advice:  

 I. Stopped. Engaging. 

I stopped calling.

 I just stopped.  

It’s not foolproof; old habits die hard and there will, of course, be instances where being together is unavoidable.  But … interesting things happened when I took a relationship sabbatical…I learned this: we teach others how to treat us, including family.  If I would not accept dismissive and acidic comments from others (a co-worker, an in-law, a neighbor), why did I tolerate it from her? Was it “keeping the peace,” or  “doing what I know?” 

When I said nothing, did nothing, and swallowed my words,  I gave up my power.  My inaction enabled the behavior to continue.  

Stepping back was taking action while avoiding a scene (and there would have been, trust me).     It was covert. It was calculated and yes, it was effective, because here’s my surprising realization:   I don’t miss the relationship.     I miss the idea of what our relationship was.

I feel lighter.

I am happier.

I am now completely – 100% – myself. 

Getting older. Accepting ourselves.  Raising the bar for how others treat us.  Drawing a line in the sand and having the courage to stand behind it.  Powerful.

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Family, Gratitude, Life, Life Lessons, Opinion, Quotes, Random observations, Relationships, Useful Information, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Relationship Filing System

There are two files in life that I have found to be extremely helpful when dealing with the ins and outs of interpersonal relationships. I’d like to take a moment and share them with you.

File 1:   The “Now you know” (NYK) file. If someone disappoints you, hurts you, slights you, double-crosses you, cheats on you, lies to you, or steals from you: file them in the NYK file.  It’s up to you to decide if and when to let them out.

NOTE: The NYK can be filled with positives, too.   My NYK is peppered with friends who have shown up with food when we’ve suffered a loss in the family, have guarded a secret,  lent a shoulder to cry on, or offered encouraging words when we were struggling.

File 2:  The “Jimmy Cracked Corn” (JCC) file. (from the childhood song, “Jimmy Cracked Corn and I don’t care…”) This is the “I don’t care, I’m done worrying about it/thinking about it/being responsible for it/can’t fix it anyways/don’t give a fig about it”   file.  The JCC file is typically used for those situations that involve a lot of drama, are detrimental for you to be involved in (lose: lose situation) and are usually operated by “energy vampires.”

What’s powerful about using this system is that it ABSOLVES you of another person’s bad behavior.  

Example 1:   Someone you work with steals your cost-savings idea, becomes the company hero and gets all the credit. File: NYK.  Resolve to never give them the same opportunity to steal your stuff again; unless it’s not that big of a deal to you and, if that’s the case, they can be moved to the JCC file.

Example 2:  The gossipy neighbor calls and leaves a breathy urgent-sounding “call me back” message. You know darn well that her sister-in-law (that she doesn’t like)  just had surgery and what she really wants to do is talk your ear off about it, her job, kids, health issues etc.  so she can interject her own commentary. Meanwhile supper is boiling over, the kids need help with homework and you’d rather stick a pin in your eye than spend an hour with her. File: JCC.

 So simple! So effective! Try it today!!

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Life Lessons, Random observations, Relationships, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Power of Forgiveness

Read this recently on Facebook and had to share … “Holding a grudge, carrying your anger, pain and hurt will only destroy the joy you deserve. So often we make things worse in our heads as days turn into weeks, weeks into months, months into years. Forgiveness will set you free. You may never forget, but you deserve the freedom that comes with letting go.”

Carrying a grudge around is like letting someone you don’t like  live rent free in your head.   But sometimes we can’t let it go because holding onto to that feeling is the last thread tying us to that person.   Let it go.

When you let go of the people who aren’t good for you, you make room for the ones who are.

Categories: Forgiveness, Life Lessons, Random observations, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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- Loving where I am right now!

Makeup Connection

The best cosmetics on the web

A Little Wild Farm

Planting roots on our little wild farm.

3bones

Laugh. Dream. Dare. Inspire.

Connie Rosser Riddle

Connecting with People in My Path

Atypical 60

A Typical Blog. A Typical Woman. A Typical Take On Life. With An Atypical Twist!

A New Day Dawns

Arise, shine, for your light has come...Isaiah 60

Virginia Views

Country Living for Beginners

Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

Kate's views on life edited by four opinionated cats

Renee Johnson Writes

Novelist, Traveler, and More

Life Is A Journey... Not A Guided Tour

My Journey From Merchant Mariner to Mother, And Spiritual Being.

notquiteold

Nancy Roman

She's A Maineiac

just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl

The View Out Here

A view in pictures, from me to you

I also live on a farm

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Wordsmith's Desk

some thoughts along the way

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

music, poetry, musings, photography and philosophy from a woman who found her way back home and wants you to come over for a hike and a cocktail.

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