Don't Let Toxic People Thrive On You

Sunday, November 23, 2008 13 comments

I am very careful about who and what I allow into my life. Anyway that you look at it, it is a shield I attempt to build around myself.

I am a firm believer, as you well know if you have spent anytime on this site, that like attracts like. We are, and bring into our lives that which we think about. This thought creates the next moment and action, and so on. Every person, and situation creates a perception, and you begin to become, that which you surround yourself with.

Because of these beliefs, I do not watch much TV at all. If I want to know what goes on in the news, I look on line, so that I can filter in only what I choose to. I do watch a movie now and then, but even then, I am careful about what I watch. I want to surround myself with as many good vibes as possible, and attempt to filter out any of the negative ones.

One of the biggest contributors, in my opinion, that chips away, bit by bit, at our self-esteem and confidence is, our :”Bad Twin”, as I like to call it. You know who I’m talking about. We all have one, and at times, we all let it take control over us, and it almost always has disastrous results. This “Bad Twin” comes in many forms, but for the purpose of this article, I am only going to talk about one.

It’s that loud voice that sometimes shouts, and sometimes is whispering quietly, inside our heads telling us all kinds of crazy little untruths about ourselves, others and some situations. It snatches a hold of our magnificent imaginations, and then seems to take great joy in making us miserable, by saying things like; I’m too fat; too short; that was stupid; you dummy; why I can’t do that, and the list just keeps growing. Sometimes, it concocts elaborate story lines to go along with it, because once it has gotten our curious imaginations to give it a hand, there is no telling where things can go from there.

It also likes to listen to and storehouse all those nasty things that others have said to us over the years, and it stores them all deep inside our mind where we are usually too busy with our lives to bother to go look for them and clean house. Then bam, when you least expect it, or least need it bothering you, it starts pulling out some of those memories…just so you don’t forget…and starts talking inside your head. I am learning to filter out these thoughts, as well. They only bring in, and create negative vibrations and energy into my life. I am learning to change the “nasty voice” within my head, replacing it with encouragement.

When it comes to people, I am even more cautious, and because of this, I have been accused of not letting people in, which many times is true. I am one of those that have many acquaintances, but very few people I consider to be friends, and I shower all of my love on those few. This fact, often times, bothers me, because I want to be able to give freely of myself to all people without reservation, or expectation of anything in return. Everyone has something special to offer, even if you have to look a little harder with some than others, to find it, and bring it to the surface.

This creates a conflict within me, at times, because I believe that we become like those, and are transformed by those, that we associate ourselves with. I know who I am attempting and working very hard to be, and I want to surround myself with those people that are working at being that same sort of person. Those people that respect me, and make me feel good about myself. I want to be with those people that encourage, and lightly nudge you towards your aspirations, and to stay away from those that suck out my spirit and power, for no other purpose but to make their selves feel better. Because they have so little self-esteem and confidence in themselves, or aspirations of improving who they are, and where they are going, and hate to see others that do.

Guy Finley, who has written over 30 self-transformational books and audio programs, states that we should stay away from these four types of “toxic people”, and by recognizing and learning about these people, it will help us to identify some of these traits and gray areas within ourselves.

Muckrakers – These people relish in being a victim, and love to drag up a past emotional pain, and relive the anger, hurt, resentment that goes along with the memory. Always living in the past, and blaming it for the reason they are unable to accomplish something today.

Mud Slingers – We have all come across the person that thrives on putting others down, judging, criticizing, either to their face, but most normally, behind their back. Gossiping about anyone that has ever had the bad luck of entering into their lives, and they love to pull whomever they are not talking about at the moment, into their web, to listen, and hopefully join into their current crusade.

Swamp Dwellers – These people thrive on low vibrations and dark dissonance, and seek out another human to play out their endless need to dredge up dreadful mental images of past and future events, for the pure sake of the reactions they produce.

Life Haters – These people refuse to see anything good that life has to offer, and look for anyone they can to feel sorry for them, and to deal with their anger, cruelty, and irritation with life, and to feed their addiction to their own gloom.

Of course there are others:

The alcohol and drug abuser.

The sufferer – who always has some sort of peculiar ailment or another, when they are not being paid enough attention to.

We all have come across these people, and most of us, at one time or another have had part of these traits within ourselves, even if just for a short time. Sometimes you can’t avoid them, such as a co-worker, but we have to make every attempt at not allowing them to suck us into their web. We have to know and recognize these games, and see it for what it is, whether it is coming from someone else, or from within ourselves.
Just as harmful viruses require a human host to exist and thrive, so do negative states require the unconscious consent of human beings to carry out their dark mission. For what power does a negative thought have other than the power to convince a person to do its bidding? The answer is none!
When we begin to consciously withdraw our consent to associate with toxic people, and the toxic thoughts and feelings inside of us, we leave them with no place to thrive. Our real inner work is to sweep clean the places in ourselves where such creatures reside, which in turn brightens our life and the lives of everyone around us. ~Guy Finley~

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Learning Through The Eyes Of Another

Thursday, November 13, 2008 6 comments

One NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Method that has helped me tremendously in problem solving and personal relationships is the use of Perceptual Positions. I have learned more about myself, and come to understand others better through this method, than any other, in my opinion.

Perceptual Positions

First Position – The easiest one for all of us to understand is the first position, because this is how we see, feel and interpret the world and others around us, looking through our own eyes.

Second Position – Putting you in someone else’s shoes, and seeing, hearing, feeling, and looking back at yourself through their eyes.

Third Position – This is making you the proverbial “fly on the wall”. This is placing you as an objective observer.

When you are in the middle of a conflict with someone, you both are trying to get your needs met, and protect your ego from the attack of the other, and during the confrontation, it is hard to look through any perspective, other than your own. However, if you can learn to take the time to both look through the second and third position, even if you have to use it later, you will be amazed what you will see and learn.

Visualization is a powerful tool, and we all use it from time to time when we are daydreaming, reading a novel.

Putting It to Use

There are many ways to use these perceptions, but today I am only going to write about one.

Second Position - Sit back and relax, and take deep calming breaths, and when you have relaxed yourself, replay the prior events, first looking through the eyes of the other person. Imagine your self floating around that person and then drifting right down inside of them. Look through their eyes. Look at your hands, where you are standing or sitting. Look over there at yourself and what you are doing. What do you see? What do you feel? Imagine saying the words that they said, and the body language that they used. What are they trying to protect within themselves? What needs were they trying to have met? You can even use this tool to learn more about yourself by using to see through the eyes of another part of yourself. Some conflict you hold within.

Third Position – Watch both of you from “over there”. What are they saying and in what tone of voice? What are they each feeling? What body language are they using? If you were that detached person, or fly, what kind of advice would you want to be giving to yourself? Try it by making yourself observe the scene from within someone that you admire and respect. How would they see and say to you about the situation? What would their advice be?

What did you learn?
Try it again using what you know now, and run through the process again.

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Honoring The Sacrifice - Veteran's Day 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 1 comments

In honor of our Veterans and soldiers who have made the sacrifice for us.

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Conflict Addiction Meets Psychological Needs

Friday, November 07, 2008 3 comments

Addictions come in many forms, and rarely do we see, or acknowledge them within ourselves. We all know about the usual ones, like drugs, alcohol, eating, etc., but what about the non-visual ones like the addiction to drama, grief, victim hood? Usually we don’t stop to consider that our thoughts can be addictions as well.

Addiction is: “anything that compels you, in actions or thoughts, and you don’t feel you have control over it.

The mind creates a perceived element of survival to some aspect of our ego, in all addictions.

Look at the addiction to drama and conflict. Have you ever noticed how you dwell on conflicts, whether just continually thinking about it, or talking about it, like a broken record? We have the goal of being declared the “victor”! We also want to punish the perpetrator. Conflict has a way of creating winners, and losers. As the winner, we have the power of feeling superior and right, and punish the loser.

The addiction to drama stems from the need to feel right. Feeling right gives us a feeling of power. A prime example of this is the situation that happens that seemingly is out of your control, and you feel helpless, angry and frustrated. This situation gives you the perfect excuse to complain, because after all, the situation is wrong, and you feel right, which in turn, feels good. Sometimes we go so far as to create drama and conflict, to get our next fix. There is also the addiction to the adrenaline rush associated with drama.

We even relish in reading about, and watching other people’s drama; tabloid magazines, Jerry Springer, to name just a few. Television, movies and the like, make big bucks on society’s addiction to drama. Many people admire the success of celebrities, and to see that even though they have wealth and beauty, and the knowledge that they can’t get their lives in order, makes us feel better about ourselves. Sometimes we even use other people’s drama as a way to justify our own actions.

There is also a personality disorder called Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD), which is described as, the need for constant attention, and approval; excessive emotionality and attention seeking; and inappropriate seductiveness.

Symptoms according to Wikipedia:

• Constant seeking of reassurance or approval.
• Excessive dramatics with exaggerated displays of emotions.
• Excessive sensitivity to criticism or disapproval.
• Inappropriately seductive appearance or behavior.
• Excessive concern with physical appearance.
• A need to be the center of attention (self-centeredness).
• Low tolerance for frustration or delayed gratification.
• Rapidly shifting emotional states that may appear shallow to others.
• Opinions are easily influenced by other people, but difficult to back up with details.
• Tendency to believe that relationships are more intimate than they actually are.
• Making rash decisions.
• Threatening or attempting suicide to get attention.
• Refusal to speak when confronted.

Every conflict within our lives, whether the conflict is within ourselves, the situation, or other people, stems from the feeling that one, or more, of our needs not being met, or attempting to have one of our needs met, and a feeling of scarcity. The problem lays, however, in our desire to look to outside sources in our search for fulfillment of those needs. Another problem lays in the fact that many of us aren’t aware of our psychological needs and what they are.

Psychological Needs

  • Love
  • Self – esteem
  • Respect
  • Fulfillment
  • Courage
  • Affiliation
  • Learning
  • Equality
  • Affection
  • Belonging
  • Fun
  • Freedom
  • Power
  • Status
  • Self-actualization
  • Pleasure
  • Emotional safety
  • Recognition
  • Independence
  • Hope
  • Praise
  • Security
One way to help identify your needs is:

• Think about a time when you had a conflict with someone that made you angry or anxious.
• Write down what you were hoping to get out of the conflict and what your position was within the conflict.
• Write down what you understood or perceived to be the other person’s position.
• Then relax yourself, close your eyes, and ask yourself why you wanted what you wanted, and write down everything that comes to mind.
• When your done, look over what you have written. One or more of the things that you wrote will designate stronger than the others.
• Now ask yourself why that is important to you. Your answer may even revolve around a tangible need such as; food, clothing, shelter.
• Many times you need to ask yourself “Why is that important”, or “What will that give me that I don’t already have?”, several times before you will come to the core need or value.

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Simon Says

Wednesday, November 05, 2008 3 comments

If you are human, no matter how self-confident you are, we all have that voice within that gives us varying degrees of doubt. We all feel the need to fit in, and no-one wants to be wrong, because if we are wrong, then we have failed in some way. Even though a mistake is a vital step in learning and becoming better, a mistake is still perceived as a failure.

If we fail we may be rejected. There again, none of us want to be rejected. If someone rejects us, there must be something wrong with us. If there is something wrong with us, we have failed in someway. We are always looking around us to figure out our place in this world.

As children we learn by observing what all those around us are doing, and by mimicking what we see and hear. Many of us have even played the game “Simon Says”, as children, where we learn to prefect the art.

As we grow we gravitate towards the things that are familiar to us for comfort. When my son was growing up, and his father and I were going through a divorce, my son started changing the friends he chose. I realized that the reason he was choosing those friends was, because they all came from broken families, or had lost one of their parents by death. He felt comfortable with them, because he felt they were the same.

One of the principles they teach to all salesmen, politicians, religions, cults, etc., is the Principle of Social Proof, which is one of the avenues that we use to determine what is correct. When we are unfamiliar with a situation, we look to those around us to see what others are doing, for clues as to how we should behave. If we match up our behavior to what those around us are doing, we are less likely to make a social blunder, and stand out as unacceptable, and feel less vulnerable.

At Christmas time especially, the sales industry uses this powerful effect by making some toy perceived to be extremely popular, so that all the children will believe that they just have to have this toy to be like everyone else. Parents will literally fight for the last one on the shelf. But then, in this example, the sales industry also uses the principle of scarcity to compound the phenomenon, by only producing a limited number, therefore creating even more demand. Toys aren’t the only item that this is used with.

The person most noted for studying this principle is Dr. Robert Cialdini, a social psychologist, who wrote the books, “Influence: Science and Practice”, “Influence: The Psy”, and “Yes, 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive”, which he authored along with Dr. Noah Goldstein and Steve J. Martin, along with several other books and publications. There are five other principles that he talks about, but they will be addressed in other articles.

Sometimes using “Social Proof”, can lead to “pluralistic ignorance”. A common example of this, and one that Cialdini uses to illustrate this phenomenon, is where Catherine Genovese was stabbed to death in 1964, over a grueling 35 minute period, which was witnessed by at least 38 people. Not one of those people telephoned the police until after the woman had died. This very same thing has happened time and time again. Studies have shown that as the number of witness increases, the likelihood of someone in need receiving help decreases.

Social proof is also powerfully influenced by similarity. We trust those that are similar to ourselves, much more readily than we do those that are different from ourselves. Not only that, but say you are an alcoholic. You will gravitate towards those that are also alcoholics or at least drinkers, because your behavior is acceptable to them, and we feel that we belong, whereas, you may not be accepted by others.

“We will use the actions of others to decide on proper behavior for ourselves, especially when we view those others as similar to ourselves.” Dr. Robert Cialdini.

More than 200 years ago, a German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote the book, “The Sorrows of Young Werther”, where Werther ends up dressing himself in boots, a blue coat, yellow vest, sits at his desk with an open book, and shoots himself. The book was later banned in many countries, because following the book’s publication, several young men copied Werther, by dressing themselves in boots, a blue coat, yellow vest, at a desk with an open book, and also committed suicide. It is said that in the year 1962 following the death of Marilyn Monroe, there were over 200 suicides in the next month.

David Phillips studied the suicide statistics in America from 1947 through 1968, and found that following every front page suicide article in the New York Daily News or the New York Times, there would be an increase in others committing suicide by 58%, and this effect has been called, “The Werther Effect”.

Another factor that strongly plays into this effect is the fact that we have a tendency to follow our leaders, and people that we perceive to be in authority, or people that we admire. The Miligram Experiment, is a prime example. That is why advertisers like to use Sports figures, and doctors in their advertising.

Social Proof creates perceived value. How many times have you passed a restaurant that always has a lot of cars parked there, and made the assumption that “they must have great food”?

Don’t forget, “It’s all just an illusion.”

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Confessions, The Notebook, and Journaling to Save My Soul

Tuesday, November 04, 2008 4 comments

Last year I had several drastic things happen in my life. Each one in itself, is hard for anyone to deal with. Before I was able to recover from one, and get my feet planted back firmly underneath of me, another one would hit.

The man that I was building a life and home with, and thought I would be spending the rest of my life with, and trusted with my heart, the man who I believed had intelligence, honor and integrity, left me for the town tart who grew up in a bar, and had no other aspirations of being anything more than that, unless a man was willing to give it to her. What a blow that was to the ol’ ego, as I try to constantly improve myself, through knowledge, insight about myself, appearance, and profession…a never ending road of striving, and bettering.

It wasn’t a month after that, my ex-husband killed himself on Mother’s Day, and was found by my one and only son three days later. I was faced with guilt, anger, sadness, all the while trying to be there to help, and be strong for my son, who was going through all those same feelings.

A little over a month later, I was laid off from my job, which is a profession that I have been in all my life, and thought would sustain me as long as I needed it, but with the economy, mortgage crisis, and being in a profession that is geared around real estate, the bottom fell out, and only continues to get worse.
I was left confused as to where to go from there.

I was physically attached and blindsided by the same tart above on a night out, after being invited and convinced by a mutual friend to attend the gathering, and then ended up in a one vehicle accident on the way home, and spent the night in jail. A night I am still paying dearly for.

I somehow had become a drama magnet, and no matter how hard I tried to run from it, the more it seemed I got hit.
I found myself very confused, and consumed with more emotions than I ever dreamed were even in existence. There were days when I couldn’t finish a sentence without forgetting what I was saying in the middle, my mind was racing so fast.

To save my soul I began doing all of the things that I love, but had laid down over the years for one reason or the other. Anything that I could think of that pleased me I forced myself to do, no matter how much I didn’t feel like it, and no matter how exhausted my emotions were making me feel.

But I also ran out and bought myself a cheap spiral notebook, and started writing. I didn’t have any intended purpose. I was not writing a novel, or anything for anyone, but me. I wrote constantly about how I was feeling, and anything that was on my mind. I took the notebook everywhere I went, because I sometimes would all of a sudden get some great epiphany, or insight, and I had a need to capture it. Things I wanted to say to others, but knew I couldn’t, but yet had to get out. That notebook has my soul, and the deepest darkest moments of my life held within it. That notebook was my life raft. That notebook saved me.

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The House of 1000 Mirrors

Monday, November 03, 2008 3 comments

Long ago in a small, far away village, there was a place known as the House of 1000 Mirrors. A small, happy little dog learned of this place and decided to visit. When he arrived, he bounced happily up the stairs to the doorway of the house. He looked through the doorway with his ears lifted high and his tail wagging as fast as it could. To his great surprise, he found himself staring at 1000 other happy little dogs with their tails wagging just as fast as his. He smiled a great smile, and was answered with 1000 great smiles just as warm and friendly. As he left the house, he thought to himself, "This is a wonderful place. I will come back and visit it often." In this same village, another little dog, who was not quite as happy as the first one, decided to visit the house. He slowly climbed the stairs and hung his head low as he looked into the door. When he saw the 1000 unfriendly looking dogs staring back at him, he growled at them and was horrified to see 1000 little dogs growling back at him. As he left, he thought to himself, "That is a horrible place, and I will never go back there again." All the faces in the world are mirrors. What kind of reflections do you see in the faces of the people you meet? Japanese Folktale

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