Viewing entries tagged
toxic relationships

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Are You Stuck on the "Toxic People" Merry-Go-Round?

1 minute 52 second read

There are those people in life who are struggling, lost, or challenged in a way that adversely impacts not only their own lives, but the lives of those around them. It might have been due to a messy childhood or other unhappy circumstances. Or perhaps too many things caved in on top of them all at once and they've gone off the rails for a while. Some people just seem to live there and we never really know how they got there.

We love these people even if we don’t like their behaviour. They might say and do some terrible things to us, to themselves, and to others. They might shock us with how much hurt they can inflict, or just how plain mean and spiteful they can be.

Sometimes they're simply misguided...lost and seeking answers, seeking help, rescue, love. They might not even know what it is they are seeking. Rather than taking action regarding the circumstances they don't like, they live in constant "reaction". They make choices that usually involve a lot of emotional response with little (if any) rational thought or helpful decision-making ability.

We see the hurt. We see their pain. We may or may not understand it but we recognise it. We see their self-destructive choices, their Egos that are desperately trying to protect themselves from further damage but really they're just causing more by hurting everyone around them.

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They say they want help and that they just want to be happy. We offer our support and our love. We suggest and coax and encourage. But they keep throwing themselves off one figurative bridge after another, disregarding all efforts to help them and refusing to help themselves. And worse, they take a lot of prisoners with them, hurling insults or accusations about how no one cares about them, no one loves them, or no one ever wants to help them.

Perhaps they fear change. Maybe it just feels too hard and overwhelming. Or maybe it's because they're just so used to living in a state of crisis and drama that they really don't know how to be any other way.

Whatever the reason, their refusal to help themselves wreaks havoc on the lives of everyone around them. We get yanked along on the horrifying roller coaster of too many crises and too much chaos to the point where it adversely impacts our health and our happiness until we say, "ENOUGH."

It is absolutely true that you cannot help those who do not want (or try) to help themselves. It's one thing to support and assist loved ones who are obviously doing their part to try to turn their lives around. Does that mean they won't slip now and then? Of course not. But as long as they keep doing their best, it makes sense to continue to support them.

As for the ones who just keep living in the midst of a nightmare and they want you to live there with them...as long as you choose to stay there, you're destroying your own life as much as they're destroying theirs.

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You're Not Responsible for Anyone Else's Feelings

1 minute 45 second read

Yesterday, I wrote about the most powerful tool you’ve got, which is the power of choice. It raised another issue, but first I need to back up just a bit.

I was saying that sometimes we feel trapped, even when we aren't. We might feel like we don't have a choice in certain matters, but the truth is, we do. It just might not be a choice that we like because of the potential consequences and in particular, when those consequences involve others being unhappy or upset with us.

"I can't say no, it'll hurt her feelings!" "You make me so angry!" "He pushes my buttons!"

The truth is, you cannot "hurt her feelings." She gets to decide whether or not she'll be upset if you say no.

And no one can "make you angry." Whatever other people do, no matter how boneheaded their choices, no matter how nasty or mean-spirited, thoughtless or selfish, you get to decide whether or not you're going to feel angry, or annoyed, or nothing at all. You get to decide to just dump responsibility for their thoughtless actions back in their laps and not waste any time or energy feeling miserable.

And there is no such thing as having anyone "push your buttons." Now, before you throw rocks at my house, let me explain.

Let's say your jealous younger sister knows you're self-conscious about something. So she teases you and you blow your top. You've given her the response she wanted.

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Next time she wants to get you riled up, she teases you again. You might even be a little angrier this time. She feels quite satisfied because once again, you've reacted as she'd hoped.

The more this goes on, the more you feel like she's "pushing your buttons and making you angry."

But the truth is that you've simply taught her that if she says anything about that issue, you will become angry. If you want the cycle to stop, you have to stop giving her the reaction she wants. She can't "make you" angry. You get to decide whether or not you let her words or actions get to you.

You could just as easily act like it doesn't bother you in the least (even if it does, just don't let anyone see it!). When your bratty little sister sees that she's no longer getting the desired response, eventually she'll stop trying.

So you see, there is no such thing as "button pushing." You are simply teaching people that if they do "this," you will respond like "that." If you want them to stop, then YOU have to stop reacting the way you do.

Be prepared for them to try harder to make you react the way you used to do, but stay strong and don't let them see it. It won't be long, they'll get bored and quit.

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