Thursday, October 21, 2010

Kicking toxic relationships to the curb!

My housing development just sent me a reminder via email that on Friday there is a bulk trash pick-up. I just laid my toddler down for his nap...and I've been distractedly cleaning and organizing the house all day long trying to figure out what the heck we need to keep, what we can do without, and when I can start doing marriage education in our new city! This multi-tasking momma is wondering where super woman is when she needs her! I received the first reminder yesterday of the bulk trash pick-up. As I logged on to my blog a new reminder pinged in my inbox reminding me to clean out our house, again. Isn't that what I've been trying to do all day? We are still moving in to our house so items that worked in our other house don't necessarily belong here. So you may be able to see what I can't from my perspective simply because you are not attached to what looks like junk piles, but for me are trinkets attached to memories. What should stay, and what should go? There are piles of discard items, there are boxes of old clothes and trinkets, and there are cabinets I've just filled with stuph that is really better off purged out of our lives. Can I scoop these items up in less than an hour and a half and dump them for good? I have the sweet memories, so can't I just rid myself of the unneccessary clutter once and for all? So what am I able to get done in this precious hour and a half before the little one is up and begging to go play baseball outside in the lovely fall weather?

I absolutely love moving and new beginnings. There are so many opportunities to get it right this time--with setting up the house, enjoying new friendships with our neighbors, and figuring out where our new balance is for our family in terms of creating a stable family environment.

How come we continue to hang on to things that are no longer necessary? What I'm talking about here is no longer getting items ready for a bulk trash pick-up. What I'm talking about are the absurd relationships we sometimes have with others where we take on their garbage instead of giving them the space and encouragement to clean it up themselves. The negative self-talk that insinuates itself into our best conversations with our girlfriends or loved ones. Why do we expect someone else to clean up our mess? Why don't we just get a trash bag and put the yuck messes in there and move on? Where did that put-down come from? After living as long as we have, and knowing better than to dwell on the negative, why are we morbidly fascinated by it? In others lives, and our own? Why can't we just kick these thoughts and feelings to the curb once and for all?

Well, even if we are not moving in to a new home, or doing a fall cleaning before we hunker down for winter, we can still kick bad habits out for good.

How? By choosing to set a boundary around yourself where you only allow the good to penetrate how you decide to feel, think, and act in any given situation. It is that easy. We all find ourselves in toxic relationships where somehow we allow another person's "meanies" to get the best of us. The way they talk to us trying to manipulate our feelings and thoughts. Or, it could be a stranger just brushing by you and interacting in a rude way. We do have the choice to choose to react negatively or positively.

Did you know that when you notice your feelings first you can then choose how to react? If you notice that someone rubs you the wrong way, and it causes a plethora of negative emotions--you can notice these reactionary emotions, and then choose what you are going to do about it. You could either give in to the negative emotion(s) and act nasty back, or you can decide to be compassionate instead and act how you'd like to be calmed down in that situation. When you can identify a negative emotion in yourself, and then choose to think and act positively despite the yuck feeling you feel, then you can kick that toxic interaction to the curb. In other words, you are choosing to allow only what is good and helpful to you inside your nut shell.

We all find ourselves in toxic relationships, whether it is long term with people we know or short term with an acquaintance or stranger. We get to choose right in the moment to determine our outcome. After all the only thing we can control is ourselves in any given situation. Each time you choose to act from a positive stance, instead of giving in to a negative counter-reaction you create a barrier between yourself and the outside world where you choose to let the toxicity just roll away from you. There is no reason to feel stuck in toxic relationships once you know how to build up a barrier around yourself where you do not allow others negative feelings, thoughts, or actions penetrate the boundary between yourself and others. In fact, if you just let the other person be with their emotions, then you are practicing what I wrote about earlier--unconditional love. You grant them peace to feel and think what they want to feel without judgment. You love them whatever way they are presenting themselves to you. In this way, even if you're in a long term toxic relationship, you cannot be victimized or sucked in to this person's own misery. They may be saying mean and hurtful things to or about you. However, you've chosen to not let this affect your inner light. How amazing is this? When you can look and see a negative interaction for what it is, a hurting person intent on inflicting their negative self-talk onto someone else, then you become aware that the crap directed at you is NOT about YOU. It is ALL about THEM! And, you can either react negatively back, and get sucked into their hell hole, or you can choose to stay out and away from their garbage. Hmm.

I wish it were that easy with cleaning out your house for a bulk trash pick-up one day from now. All this thinking and feeling and writing about how to help others kick toxic relationships to the curb in the hopes this blog helps just one person deal with why someone is acting in such a mean way to them...happy dumping! I better get back to work!


  1. I really liked this post... I am in the midst of clearing out things, literally and figuratively. Thanks for the good inspiration! Wish me luck ;)

  2. Good luck! I ran over to my neighbors house this morning to give her a carnelian bracelet I had made--wish I could do the same for you!


The Basic Ways We Change

There are three ways in which we can actively monitor ourselves so that we may change how we interact with our surroundings:

(1) Thoughts (cognitions)
(2) Feelings (emotions)
(3) Actions (behaviors)

When you are in traditional counseling sessions--the counselor uses a variety of theories that typically focus on one of these areas to help you make changes in your life. In the best case scenario the theory that the counselor is using is based on their training background/when they received their masters degree, as well as what the current trend is based upon research on the effectiveness of the theories in actual practice. However, we won't delve too deeply into theories and understanding methodology, because this site is educational and for you to understand more of how you work.

The activities that are posted and linked on this blog are to help give you immediate tools to begin actively reorganizing how you interact with your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

People that are aware that they can use their feelings and thoughts to influence their actions are able to control what happens to them. Novel idea? This is because they recognize that they can influence their outcomes based on identifying the emotions they are feeling, then choosing what thoughts they would like to focus on, and then putting it in to action.

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