In our lives we often know people who we think are well meaning, their words or actions may be hurtful to us but we often brush off our own feelings in order to keep some semblance of peace with them. We can find ourselves making excuses for their behaviour, and we often look instead to ourselves, finding faults and defects within that do not exist in reality, but we nurture them in order to feel better about these people who hurt us.
These people who have such a strong hold on us are called Toxic People. They can be friends or co- workers but more often than not they are family. Usually it is a close family member like a parent or sibling, and often times, several of these toxic persons will join together to convince a family member that they are the person in the wrong, that the person who is not going with the “flow” of the family dynamic is in fact the toxic individual. That person gets a lovely title like, the family “scapegoat” the “screw up” the “troublemaker” to name a few. The irony is that the family member who refuses to tow the line and follow the secret family rules is the only one who is really in touch with themselves and what is actually happening in the family. Their knowledge, their belief that a toxic person or persons exists within that family structure, gives them a strength that they often don’t know they possess.
So how are you to cope if you are the family scapegoat? Do you try to convince your family to change? Maybe one day they will see how wonderful you are and love you for who you are? Wouldn’t that be nice? Unfortunately, life seldom works that way. The hardest part of having a toxic family or family member is that you have to come to terms with the fact that they will not change. I know some people will say that one should hold out hope, and indeed that glimmer of hope is what causes further fuel for despair. Years of trying to “make it work” with toxic persons and can also fuel self-hatred and low self-esteem.
Imagine for example, that your sister was the toxic person in your life. Every year you say “maybe” this year my sister will change. Maybe this year she will apologize and tell me that she loves me and that she was wrong to treat me so badly. Imagine that you even start the year feeling pretty good about yourself, but as the year goes on and December 31st rolls around and yet again you are left feeling let down by your sister, as that elusive “maybe” never happened. What does happen is that your despair deepens and your self-esteem lowers because once again, she did not accept you for who you are. You might say to yourself “well if my own sister doesn’t accept me, then maybe I am a really difficult person like she said. Maybe I am all those horrible negative things that she says about me! How could anyone love me if my own sister can’t stand me and finds so many faults with me? “
Toxic people are very good at twisting the truth, and toxic family is of course, the best at it. Your family knows so much about you, including all of your early history, so it is easy for them to pull out bits and pieces from your history and twist them to use as fuel for the fire of toxicity. Anything from your past could become fodder such as those piano lessons you stopped (you give up easily) your poor grades in school (you were always so lazy) that winter your brother broke his arm tobogganing with you (you are clumsy and careless). Often a toxic parent or sibling will bring up the same incident multiple times in order to remind you of your faults over and over again, as they attempt to reinforce their beliefs onto you.
So how do you deal with this type of relentless abuse? One of the best ways is of course to avoid contact with the toxic person or persons. If you are truly not able to do that or are not ready for that step, then the next method is to treat that toxic person as if they were a small child.
For example, your brother Billy once again brings up the story of how terrible you were at hockey as a child. He then goes on to imply that you are terrible at all sports and are uncoordinated as well. Your usual response to Billy would be to start to defend yourself, rapidly giving reasons and explanations for your skill set. Having to immediately defend yourself can leave you flustered and upset, the perfect place for you to be in to suffer another attack from Billy. So how do you deal with this? In a group setting such as at a family dinner, the best strategy in dealing with a person like Billy is to not respond to his taunting. Simply smile at him as if he were a small child and start a conversation with someone else at the table. If he continues to attempt to bring the story up, you can then turn to Billy wearing your best bored expression and remind him that he has told that tale X number of times already, and ask him if he has anything new to share. Continue to patronize Billy whenever he rears his toxic head, staying cool and collected.
It is often helpful to throw in a visualization technique as well. Imagine yourself patting Billy on the head as if he were a small child rambling on. Toxic people often love it when you get angry. It fuels their own self worth to feel superior that they have made you crumble. They will often use your anger as “proof” of your missing traits. Try not responding to their taunts and include visualization. For example, imagine Billy as a child having a tantrum, fists thumping on the floor, facing contorted screaming away. How silly he looks! Aren’t you glad that you are an adult?
There is a quote by Mary Anne Radmacher that I have always loved:
“Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow.”
Sometimes it is really hard to find your courage. Sometimes the toxic voices are so loud you believe the words they say and think that they are true, but they aren’t. Inside of you is a voice that yearns to be heard. If you have a toxic person or people in your life, then you have a choice to make. Either you cut them out of your life or keep them in it, but don’t allow them to have any control over you. You start doing that by not waiting for that “maybe” day. Even if they never see it, even if they never tell you that you are, inside, some part of you knows just how wonderful and loveable you are. You are not the one that has the problem, they are.
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How do you keep the spark of your spiritual journey alive when you have run out of energy? Learn 3 tips that can help you keep your spiritual spark alive.
Lately I have been in a spiritual slump. I’ve been sick since the beginning of winter with an ongoing sinus issue that has now gone straight to my lungs. My child and husband have both been sick recently too. It’s pretty hard to find the energy to do anything spiritual, when I am so exhausted and stressed about my and my family’s health. Also, it’s supposed to snow again today. It’s the middle of March, and as I dream of spring flowers and warmer weather mother nature is not done sending bitter winds and drifts of snow. How do you find that spark to keep going in times like this?
Do Something That Makes You Happy
At times like this, I enjoy listening to relaxation music. It helps to take me to another place that doesn’t have winter weather and stress. Sometimes that is all that you can do. Find something small that keeps you going. Listen to music that you love, read a favorite book, find an image of your goal and put it where you will see it, or find something cheerful to decorate your home. Find something inspirational that keeps you going.
Be Kind To Yourself
Being a spiritual person doesn’t mean that you have all the answers. It doesn’t mean that you do not fail. It doesn’t mean that you are perfect or without faults. Spirituality is a journey. We are all a work in progress, including myself. Some days the journey is difficult, and the struggle is all too real. If you do not have the energy to learn, grow and move forward, what should you do? Take a break. For however long you need to rest. It is okay to just stop for a while. It is okay to give yourself permission to heal and recuperate. That “to do” list needs to be tucked away for another day.
Let Go Of The Guilt
We live in a world where we often make ourselves feel guilty for not doing something all the time. If we are not moving all the time, working, cleaning, organizing, emailing, texting or on the phone, then we are somehow not productive, and lazy. Give yourself permission to let go of the guilt because sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself, is to take a break. Be lazy, it's ok. Take time for yourself, forgive yourself, and just breathe.
Do you have a pattern that you would like to break? Are you sure that you are "just not good" at something or is that a belief you have taught yourself? Learn how to change your thinking in this hypnotic post.
They say that an uncluttered living space helps you have an uncluttered mind. It’s a great theory, one I could definitely manage to a great degree as a single gal, living in a small apartment by myself. Fast forward a few years to marriage, a toddler, multiple moves including from one Province to another, and a super busy life and let’s just say that uncluttered doesn’t exactly describe my living space!
To help you understand my mindset, let me paint a picture for you of what I grew up with that was considered "normal" to my family. My mother was your typical obsessive parent who had a super regimented life, no doubt nurtured by 1950s ideas of progress and efficiency in the home. Every day of the week had a specific chore. For example: groceries were bought on Tuesdays. Laundry day was Friday, but floors had to be vacuumed every single day, starting at a certain point in the house, no deviation allowed. Growing up with that strict schedule drove me absolutely batty to the point that I swore that I would never be that way, ever!
Despite all of that, as my life went on I found myself exhibiting a similar type of inflexible thinking. I am sure that I adopted many of these behaviours as a way to control some aspect of my life, which, from the start had been very much out of my control. In my mind I created a “right way” of doing things. Dishes for example, had to be washed or loaded into a dishwasher a certain way. It literally made me anxious, nervous and irritated, to have someone else wash dish or load the dishwasher the “wrong way.”
How does this happen?
When we repeat something to ourselves with a negative basis we create that negative belief. For example: if you say “I am a terrible dancer” you are creating a negative belief. If we reinforce that negative belief by constantly saying it, whether it is to ourselves and/or to others, we reinforce that negative belief to the point that it becomes true to us, and because we believe it to be true, we pass that message onto others as a factual and true statement.
Behaviour patterns work in the same way. For example, without even realizing it, I was saying to myself “The dishes are only done right if they are done my way”. This is a belief with a negative basis. By unconsciously repeating the statement to myself I had reinforced my belief to the point that seeing anyone else doing dishes in any other way that “my way”, resulted in an experience of anxiety, nervousness and irritation, and my insistance that I had to do the dishes.
How do I break the patterns?
The first thing to know if that you have to be ready for change. I was at a point in my life that I was working on myself and what I wanted out of my life, when I decided that my behaviours were not acceptable or fair to me, or to anyone who was around me. I decided that my behaviours were too hard to live with. I spent a great deal of time reprogramming myself. I didn’t know it then, but I was practicing self-hypnosis techniques. Self hypnosis can be used to both to fuel negative behaviours and help reduce or remove them.
In order to break a pattern, you must create a new way of thinking.Then you must reinforcing that thinking in a positive way.
For myself and my strict thinking about dish washing, I forced myself to repeated a phrase: “My way is one of many ways to wash dishes. It’s okay if someone washes them a different way.” I made a point of saying it out loud as hearing the words said reinforces the statement. With time and consistency of repeating my message, I was able to break the pattern I had created for myself. At first I could not even watch anyone wash dishes! I had to walk away from the visual of it but that is okay, it is part of the process.
If you are trying to break a pattern, consistent, regular, positive reinforcement is what is needed. Tell it to yourself and make sure to repeat it to others. For example: "I am a great dancer!" Sometimes you will have to walk away and give yourself a break, but it will get better. Reprogramming a belief takes time and patience with yourself. You can do it.
Be kind to yourself. We are all a work in progress. To this day, I still shake my head at the way some people wash dishes, but I have learned to just let it go. I still prefer an ordered, clean space but I also know that sometimes, at some points in life, that is just not possible, and that is okay.
Tarot cards are fascinating and mysterious, but do they really hold the power that some people think they do? Continue reading to find out.
Let me start off by saying that I enjoy helping people. I enjoy the feeling that I have contributed in a positive way to someones life. Helping a person find his or her “a-ha” moment or moments is truly, a very rewarding thing. I am not ashamed to admit that I am good at what I do. I work in multiple modalities, including as a Tarot reader. It is something that comes naturally to me. Having said that, I have started to really cringe when someone wants a Tarot reading, especially for groups like a party.
Tarot cards are a tool. They are something that I use to assist in readings for people. I was born with a very strong intuitive ability. I also have the ability to sense energy and I see symbols and images for people when I am working with them. Tarot cards are a tool that is used to help clarify the information that I am receiving. The images and symbols I see are often not immediately understood by me or my clients. I would love to be able to give people clear-cut answers, but it just doesn’t work that way for me. It would be nice if it did, because I personally could seriously use some winning Lotto numbers for myself!!
When people learn that I am an Intuitive and offer Tarot Readings, I am often immediately met with wide-eyed glee, and abrupt questions like “Can you give me the winning Lotto numbers?” or they demand exact answers to questions like "What date will I marry?" or "When will I be the manager at my job? Single people will often ask me for the exact date and time they will meet someone, or the exact description of that person.
This is the trouble with Tarot.
Tarot cards are often seen as a quick fix system for life answers. Some people want to use it as an excuse to be lazy in their lives. What do I mean? Well let's imagine I could give them an exact answer to their marriage question of "When will I meet my life partner?" with “You will meet your soul mate in 2.5 years” Some people would take that to mean that they don’t have to try to meet anyone. If I told someone “ You will be rich” then they would just sit back and wait for the money to come to them. "What about Tarot readers who do give exact answers you may ask?" Well, like any profession, there is a wide range of skills. Some people may in fact be able to give you that exact information you desire but buyer beware! There are also unethical people in this profession too. If you keep in mind that Tarot is a tool, not a magical thing that grants wishes, you will have a better experience.
Life isn’t about waiting for answers, or expecting your life to change for the better because someone tells you it will. YOU have to change your life if YOU want things to be different. You have to work on changing yourself, your situation, your finances, your love life and so forth.
Instant answers and instant change is the stuff of fiction and movies.
Fiction is fun. Oh My Gosh! I love a good historical fiction novel, and boy do I love a good fantasy movie! I love the ones that solve mysteries or have magic in them. That is all they are though, just fantasy; a product of Hollywood, all computer generated sets, fancy costumes and scripted lines.
Real life doesn’t come with scripts, you have to write your own. You don’t get a magic wand or ancient coded text to help you. Your tools are in you, and with the help of a support network, teachers, and guides who you meet along the way. If you like Tarot, great. Find a Tarot reader you trust to help you stay on track and clarify your choices, or take a course and learn it yourself. Most of all, allow yourself to believe in your own power. Use your learned knowledge and inner strength to work towards the life that you want.