Red Leigh Cooper

Red Leigh Cooper

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Toxic Avenger

     One of my friends posted this on Facebook the other day...

     Good, huh?  Certainly going to use this phrase the next time anyone tries to bring their "drama" my way  I'm not only trying to take a slower approach to life, but an over-the-top-personal-incident free one as well....

      ....That reminds me...I talked a little about it my last post about how to make social media a nicer place, but what I didn't fully address was what to do about "toxic" people in your life. I'm not talking about people who seem to always have a bad day and always end up in unfortunate circumstances who want to tell you all about it looking for sympathy.  I'm talking about the person who always tries to belittle you to the point where they become your unfortunate circumstance. They disrespect you, your feelings, and are undeniably trying to cause you pain.

     Now, I've been blessed to not have a whole lot of crazy in my life since, first, I got married, and second, I quite the entertainment scene for awhile, but there have been a few "hangers on" from my past that, well, never got the message that I'm just not in that place anymore.  One was family, one was a long time friend, both in my estimation are extremely troubled individuals.  However, I realized I had to look deep down at myself to ask why I have allowed anyone in my life to have any kind of derogatory hold over it.  Perhaps, I was somewhat troubled. too.

     I realized that it wasn't all the toxic person's fault.  I set bad boundaries, or really, none at all.  Or maybe if I tried set them, I didn't stick to it.  I teach a seminar on forgiveness.  It's a tough topic anyway, but the one thing that people have the hardest time with is the premise that if you forgive someone, that doesn't mean you have to have them in your life.  Sometimes, it's just not possible.  The other person hasn't reconciled that part of them that makes them want to hurt you for whatever reason.  Forgiveness is more about you than that other person.  It's so you don't carry around hate for yourself or them....

   ..."Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." - Buddha

     See what I mean?  It eats at you.  They don't care.  Sure, forgiveness can ideally lead to reconciliation, but only when the other person can accept and give forgiveness themselves... until then, they gotta go.

     I actually had the privilege of some of my toxic family "defriending" me on Facebook.  I was hanging on, not "defriending" them thinking, "well, what if they truly need me," etc., and so on.  Let me tell you, I have never felt better!  I figure I would have done the "defriending" sooner or later, but they saved me the trouble.  I don't have to look at the negativity every day and I don't have to have them berate me for being about not taking sides in a family dispute.  I was literally told by one of them once to go back to my "gentle starfish blog."  What?  Wait...was that supposed to be an insult?  In their eyes, yes, but if the worst thing someone can think of to call me is "gentle," I'm doing something right with my life.

   The blog was a problem for the other person I mentioned, too; the long time friend.  I'll admit, our relationship did not start out on equal ground. I didn't have the best self-esteem at 22 years old, but, I'll be honest, unfortunately many young women don't at that age.  I was easy to take advantage of.  My bad.  That's how I was troubled.  However, this person thought that's how the dynamic of our relationship still worked when I would receive a message from them.  Usually, the messages would make fun of my beliefs or my blog. I would ask for them to be more respectful, they would for awhile, but then I would get the same kind of derogatory defamation messages.  I had grown beyond our previous relationship, set healthy boundaries, but this person just couldn't keep crossing them.  This time, I did the "defriending."

     Look, some people in this world  just aren't going to want you to succeed.  That's okay; it's their issue, not yours.  It’s much easier to sit back and criticize others' efforts than to have the wherewithal to get out there and do something themselves. You have the ability to keep them around or not, and that's up to you.  I just want you to know you now have the permission necessary to not keep them around.  It doesn't make you a bad person, friend, family member, etc.  You shouldn't allow abuses in your live as there is no self-respect in that. They may need you in the future, and that's okay, too.  If you want to feel better about not having someone in your life now, don't harden your heart to the possibilities that they may need you in the future.  Forgive not seven times, but seventy times seven. Forgive as much as it takes for you to go on with your life and do what you need to do to "grab the starfish"...

     ...but don't take any one's unbridled crap either...

That says it all doesn't?  Oh, and so does, "Not my circus; not my monkeys."

Happy Fishing!