How to Handle a Toxic Relationship With Your Parent

If your parents are toxic you might not know it. Why? Well, that is the very nature of their toxicity and the problem. You have grown so accustomed to that toxic behavior that you don’t even identify it as toxic. That, my friend, is not your fault. But when you do become aware of it, you have the power to change that dynamic.

You might struggle to because maybe you feel comfortable or like you don’t really have the power or ability to overcome the behavior. You might decide to keep your relationship the same and just sea with it. Sure, this aim might work at a distance, but even with that not confronting the situation truthfully, can effect your own energy flow and the power you feel in your life.

I wonder what would happen if you took these steps below, and how the picture of how you see and connect with these people would change:

1. Commit to Taking Space Away from the Toxic Person

Take literal space theory physical distance and a conversation freeze. You are just allowing yourself to see what happens. You are allowing new relationships and new boundaries and new connections into your life. You are giving your neurons the space to create new connections and new firings.

2. Express Your Emotions No Matter What They Are

During this space, work to become in touch with your emotions. If you’re feeling completely numb guess at it at first. Allow yourself to feel the smallest thing – and even if you feel nothing, acknowledge you feel nothing because that is something, that is an experience. Feel all that you hold and have the right to hold. It is your god given right. Express that emotion, do what you need to do to get it out and validate it.

3. Engage In New Dynamics

With this pause and some space, also try slowly engaging in some new environments, meeting different types of people and taking in new models of behavior. Watch these dynamics that are going on around you to see the different shades of behavior in people. Acknowledge the different flavors of character and integrity people have.

4. Invest In Yourself

All these things above are investing in yourself, but also more formal habitual patterns are helpful to creating space for yourself. Try talk therapy with a trauma informed lens, use apps like Simple Habit or Headspace that ease you into the mindfulness and meditation practice, or buy a new set of art supplies to go to when you want to just throw paint all over the place and let out your emotions.

5. Ground Yourself in Difficult Situations

With these new tools see if you can use difficult situations as ways to practice your communication with these moments. See if instead of over identifying with these difficult moments you can instead meet them with greater faith that you will be able to use the resources you have to fully experience them, process them, and come out on the other side stronger.

6. Respect Yourself First

Enacting some of this new behavior is challenging and even more so if you are in an environment that is challenging in itself. Try to respect yourself first by setting boundaries and checking in with your own heart first. If these boundaries include not talking to toxic parents, don’t allow others opinions to supersede your experience and well-being.

7. Take One Step at a Time

If you take these steps above, it can be tempting after taking space and grounding yourself to think everything is resolved. I don’t want to undermine that you might have done a lot of really good work, but don’t over rush the transition back to old toxic bonds. You can find yourself re-emerged and hurting again. Instead, take one step at a time to see what you can handle.

If you take a little step and it feels like too much, and you sit with that feeling and it still feels like too much, listen to your body and make the appropriate adjustment that puts the respect for your own well being first.

8. Remind Yourself What You’ve Done

You are reading this. You are making an effort. No, really, you are. I mean, come on, that’s awesome. That means you care. You care enough to do something. You care enough to make a difference. You care enough to search for something more resolved. That is all you. Give yourself credit. Be kind to yourself.

If you lead with love, if you give yourself space and grace, if you breathe and re-connect, I wonder how much power you would be reconnected with in your life.

All the empowerment you need truthfully lives within yourself. It is there. It is waiting for you. It wants you to connect with it and find the power that you have within yourself. You got this.

I hope this helped to fuel you and as always #letstalkaboutit

Speaking Your Feelings to Relative Strangers

You want to be your true authentic self. You fight to be true to you every second of every day, and to those that tell you not to – well, pardon my French, but f**k them. Right?

Okay, sure. I get you. I’ve been there over and over again myself. And yeah, it can feel good to tell someone off like you are some King Kong yourself standing your ground banging your chest. But, after the rise, what is the fall? What do you suffer? Did it really help you?

So when it comes to telling off people you don’t know intimately here are some questions I’d try asking yourself first. When you’ve asked these questions take a step back and re-evaluate them later before deciding to take it to that person.

Questions:

1. What do I achieve from saying this? What do I tangibly get by saying something to them versus going within myself and dealing with what the turmoil is?

2. How well do I know this person and how they might respond? How could the spectrum of possible responses effect me?

3. Who is this person to me? Beyond human nature, is there a reason their response or validation is important to me? Why am I putting so much of my energy on this interchange?

4. Why did this happen? What did it spark in me and why might it have sparked that in me? Might I be reading into the situation?

5. How might I feel about the situation if I focused my energy on something else for just a few hours?

6. Has this happened before? Many times? With other people? Other relative strangers? What happened in those situations? What was the outcome?

If you answer these questions and come to the decision to say something then the next set of questions would be: if I’m going to say it, how am I going to say it? How can I hedge my bets to achieve results versus damage?

If you’ve been in this situation before, let me know. I’d love to hear how you handled it and what your outcome was.

#letstalkaboutit

3 Motivational Tips for A Difficult Day

You thought the fear was gone, you thought you were in a good place, but then a situation rears it’s face and you begin to question the steps you thought you made.

Try to remember:

1. Progress is like the stock market

It goes up and down from day to day, but in the long run it has a continuous upward trend. Give things your best shot, and you can be certain that if you look back on your starting point, you will be in a more pleasant place than where you started.

2. We don’t have a map

We can’t be certain of our destination. Sometimes we may think we have reached our destination, only to realize it was just a detour. Be open to self discovery, don’t judge yourself. Be patient and loving with yourself on your map-less journeys.

3. Acknowledge your feelings

Sadness, anger, fear: a part of human experience and life. If we can’t accept these, how can we fully acknowledge and experience joy and love. To fully understand the meaning of something we have to compare it to its antithesis. What would day be without night, the weekend without the weekday.

Keep things in perspective. Glance back to these motivation tips when you’re having a difficult day and journey on.

How To Let Go of Your Emotional Past

The long paper trail of worries, doubts, and insecurities follows you.

Let’s try to let go of it. It’s not helping you. It’s lying beneath the surface, penetrating all of your decisions. Its oozing out whether you want it to or not. So let’s try some things that can help us let go of it once and for all.

Try these five steps:

  1. It comes up ➡️ Talk about it.
  2. Try feeling it. What is the sensation?
  3. Try letting it in more. What’s happening?
  4. Try embracing it, whatever it is.
  5. Reflect on the path of the sensation.

Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat.

Every time emotional turmoil threatens your well being, don’t flee or fight it. Follow this five step process. Trust that the more you follow it the more you will get in touch with yourself, every time relinquishing a little weight off of your shoulders and getting to know yourself a little more.

The more weight off your shoulders, the more you will be able to move freely within your own life, making healthy and mindful choices. The more weight off your shoulders, the more you will be open to what there is available right in front of you and what you can build upon.

And as always, if you have thoughts #letstalkaboutit

The Benefit of Being Alone, Like Actually Really Alone.

Being alone has always been difficult for me. Sitting with that solidarity, sinking into those feelings, confronting those thoughts.

But the truth is there is nothing stronger than fully being with oneself. In aloneness we tackle our deepest truest emotions and we come out stronger on the other side. We breathe in the sorrow and pain we feel. We embrace the difficult feelings and thoughts . We recognize them. We say “I see you and I accept that you are there. It is okay.” What doesn’t kill you does make you stronger.. at least in terms of being with oneself.

But let me clarify what I mean by being with oneself. Recently I have gained a new understanding of what being alone means. In our youth mindsets we have to recalibrate our understanding of alone to fully disavow the presence and power of technology. That means – you got it – your smartphone, computer, social media, streaming services, Bluetooth connected devices, etc. Just because you are watching Netflix without “Netflix and chilling”, does not mean you are by yourself. Anything that will give your brain that instant boost of endorphins is distracting you from fully being alone.

To that point I would also argue that engaging with anything other than solely yourself – exercise or calling up a friend, for example – is a defense. In the age we live in there are ten-thousand possible defenses looming within reach that we must not fall prey to. If we are constantly falling victim to their power we are not able to embrace ourselves and how we truly regulate. The earlier we embrace ourselves the more control, understanding, and determination we will have over our journeys in life.

When we are with ourselves we let go of everything else, so that we may be with our body and mind and ride the swell of our core emotions. According to Hillary Hendel’s change triangle – which I find very helpful and will post below – we must not only relinquish our defenses, but we must also release what she terms “inhibitory emotions”, so that we may embrace our “core emotions”.

Many of use may be familiar with those “inhibitory emotions” – anxiety, shame and guilt – that block us off from feeling our “core emotions” – fear, anger, grief, joy, excitement, disgust, and sexual excitement. According to this model and my experience with it, it is critical that we learn how to release our defenses and inhibitory emotions and embrace our core emotions. Once we do this we can ride the swell of our core emotions and reach a more open-hearted state.

Here’s a visual model of the change triangle:

Now let’s briefly talk about the added difficulty of being with oneself when you live in an urban metropolis. Personally I live in New York City, but if you live in any city or have a town center where you are constantly surrounded by other people, scrounging for your own parcel of land, you will know what I mean. Being surrounded by people of all backgrounds and in different kinds of configurations all day long gives you a whole added layer of stimulus to process. Often it is just too much stimulus, and we cant process it all.

What I would recommend is to piece by piece try and take in all of the stimulus that is around us. Don’t shut it out. Piece by piece recognize how the world around you effects you. Interact with it. Then when you have time to yourself – in your room or in a park or cafe – process individually how all the stimulus around you is effecting you. What are the core emotions that you are experiencing? If you let this stimulus in and approach a big city in this way, you will come to grow stronger and more connected to yourself and your emotions.

If it is difficult to let the stimulus of the outside world in, I think it is okay to have a buffer. You can have a buffer on certain topics and still allow yourself to experience your core emotions in other realms. I think this departmentalization is okay as long as it is a conscious choice you are making and not a default defense mechanism to everything around you. It makes sense that it might feel easiest to follow the codes engrained in city life, like maintaining your personal bubble in the subway cart or elevator train. Not connecting at all times might be the sanest way to get through your day. If not always connecting to the outside worlds keeps our sanity intact and allows us to stay more connected to ourselves, I think this is the better option.

Those are my thoughts on being with oneself. Thanks for reading. #letstalkaboutit