I have no problem speaking my mind.
I am honest till it is painful.
I will call a spade a spade without hesitation.
I feel no pressure to sugar coat how I feel.
These statements have always been true in my life. Yet somehow when it comes to relationships I have not always followed these truths. I am sure many on the receiving end of me may think I have always held these truths. I am here to say not so much. The autopilot of life married to cultural norms have prevented this from being true with so many connections in my life.
Burning Man was a big turning point for me regarding the evolution of relationships.
At that time I went to Burning Man I was still very sick facing hardships most cannot even begin to fathom. I realized while at the Burning Man Temple that all of my relationships were potentially toxic. This was a HUGE moment for me. Not knowing how to handle this I chose to hibernate for a year believing two things would happen:
I would realize who was toxic taking steps to end the relationship or my absence would end toxic relationships simply due to the reality of not being available to others. Both did happen which resulted in my ties to others drastically taking a downward spiral. It was clear to me at that time most of my relationships were toxic. I was okay with this & actually welcomed the change.
Literally my life went from going out every night with a crew to being a solo flyer.
Each of us gets to decide what is toxic in our lives based on who we are & what we hold true. No one gets to influence or decide this but us. For most of my life I had relationships based on ideal's that were not my beliefs yet were tied to society, family and/or my culture. Nothing proves this greater than toxic relationships regarding family.
The almost universal belief is that no matter what family is family. I strongly disagree.
Remember we all get to live our own life & decide what is toxic.
A few things I have learned along the way regarding toxic family:
- When judgement sits at the forefront of the relationship this is a breeding ground for toxicity. Family members who see your actions as different or not acceptable are judging you. Being judged based on someones idea of what should be is wrong. You are never going to change them because their thoughts are all they care about.
- When family is unable to celebrate & share in your triumphs it is a huge red flag of jealousy. Jealous people are forever toxic. Jealousy is wanting what someone else has plain & simple. This is a toxic waste dump & you should run as fast as you can.
- When they are passive aggressive this typically signals a toxic person. This non-verbal aggression can be seen in many ways, but most often is done by saying nothing while saying a lot. They are unable to say how they really feel so they exclude you, do not participate in your life & offer only false excuses & lies about their true intentions.
- Last but not least toxic people will often change the narrative around the familial community excluding others. When family traditions & values are changed to exclude others you better believe you have a toxic situation that is grave. Exclusion is the culmination of all of the above & a calculated situation.
Now many posts about toxic family members offer ways to 'work around' these people due to the ripple effect. I believe otherwise because the only ripple effect I am concerned with is my body & my person.
Once repeated behaviors are established I have no trouble saying bye bye.
Not going to lie it may take me years to get to the point where enough is enough which is what I am working on now, but if someone has a negative impact on either my body or my person I cut them off. No looking back & no regrets.
Life is too short to waste time with fake, false people who have one lens with which to view the world. Agreeing to disagree has no place when you are dealing with folks who are jealous, judgemental & liars aka passive aggressive.
Family are supposed to celebrate your highs, be there during your lows & make time to support your life journey. The end.
This is my story & what has worked for me.
I credit Burning Man with helping me to understand the power of toxic people because of the no judgement tempo at each burn. Once you experience the power of 'one love' it becomes easy to see the ugly of toxic people.
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