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

21st Century Love Needs Help, Please.

Love is something we all want but that so many of us don’t know how to give or receive.

I’m one of those people.

And I don’t know, maybe it’s just my perception of the world around me, but why are so many of us twenty-somethings so messed up?

We care about everything external. Our media emphasizes it, our social feeds demand it. We care about what others can give us. What their status is. What their financial standings are.

None of that has anything to do with love and yet we still obsess over it.

Why?

It might be fun when your ahead, but none of us will stay ahead. You see, in this game there will always be something better, there will always be the next best thing.

We need to start over, reprogram ourselves. Away from capitalism. Away from the toxicity of the media, of comparison.

Because Gen-Xers become Gen-Zers and then who knows what nexters. We become something we can’t recognize, and we don’t recognize that we can’t recognize that which we’ve become. We become cyborgs, and that which is not human around us exploits our worst human tendencies.

I picture life a hundred years ago differently, yet our worst human tendencies still existed. Yet they existed without the potential around every corner to be exploited. Everywhere we go now we are driven further and further into comparison of exterior forms with an unequal comparison towards our interior values.

Our emphasis on our inner life and inner selves needs to be revitalized in a way that is not in the natural fabric of our media savvy 21st century brains. Please.

#letstalkaboutit

6 Quick Tips for Better First Dates

When I leave something in the rearview mirror I like to leave it there. But sometimes it just doesn’t stay there, you know? No matter how much you are like “NO”, It’s like “hahaha YESS”.

So, in order to ensure your rearview mirror is in prime condition here are my thoughts for better first dates and avoiding disastrous outcomes:

  1. Realize the circumstances. There is no obligation embedded in first dates. So, if you are not sure you want to do something, don’t do it. That includes anything from another drink to a nightcap.
  2. Favor the “no” response. If there is a question of whether or not you want to do something on a first date, the best option is probably just to say no. If sparks fly there is always the second date.
  3. Don’t compromise yourself. You be you. You be true. You be bold. At no time should anyone compromise themselves, but be especially weary of doing so on a first date when you might be most accustomed to shapeshifting to “make yourself look good”.
  4. Ask questions. On a first date it is easy to make assumptions about the other person. Ask questions instead of mind reading. If you are really listening to the other person’s responses, you will likely be surprised by what you hear.
  5. Be open to differences. Coming into a date with a preconceived notion of what someone should think or how someone should feel on specific issues will abruptly prevent the opportunity to connect. Instead of being adverse to differences, just try to be curious about them.
  6. You come first. You do not need to tolerate inappropriate behavior. If you are not being treated with respect, you have not only the power to leave, but also the responsibility to yourself to do so.

If I had followed these tips I think I would have saved myself a lot of time and unnecessarily spent energy. I hope you find so too!

Forge on and prosper. Thanks for reading. #letstalkaboutit