Viewing entries tagged
toxic relationships

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Bothered by the Behaviour of Others? It Contains Precious Gifts...

1 minute 39 second read

It can be too easy for us to get ourselves bent out of shape about what the behaviours of others. They were rude, they were inconsiderate, they were thoughtless or selfish. We label them with our judgement.

No doubt there have been a lot of times you've heard yourself say (with great indignation), "How dare he do something like that?!"

And we allow ourselves to become upset by their words and actions, often while stewing over the offending behaviour.

It has been said that the things that irritate us about other people are behaviours or aspects of ourselves that we don't like. When I first heard this, I was very young and absolutely disagreed without thinking about it. But as I aged, I began to discover that although it wasn't always the case, there were definitely more occasions on which that was the truth than I wanted to admit.

The beauty in that, however, is that once I was willing to look at it, I could see the gift in it because it allowed me another layer of self-awareness. I could see that there were times I'd been upset with others for doing a version of something I had done, too.

The more I paid attention to my reactions to events that I found to be upsetting when I was on the receiving end, the more I was able to find room for improvement within myself.

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It is also true that not every occasion was about one of my own behaviours. In some cases, whatever it was that I found to be upsetting was a trigger, reminding me of a past incident, something that still stung. Often, there wasn't anything particularly rude or disrespectful in the behaviour; it was merely my interpretation because of my own issues.

The gift in this was in discovering wounds that had remained unhealed. This was especially helpful when I'd thought an issue had been resolved but apparently, there was another layer lurking and interfering with my life in some way.

Now, if I find myself feeling irritated by the behaviour of someone else, I ask myself why I feel that way. I take a good look to see if there are ways in which I am exhibiting the same behaviour. If I'm not, then I dig into why I feel triggered by the event.

At the end of the day, unless the behaviour of others impacts me directly (e.g. someone hits me or trashes my home), it's none of my business. I can choose not to react. I don't have to feel anything one way or another. Their behaviour is no reflection on me, unless I choose to make it about me. I can just observe and move on.



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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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