“Your brother only hangs out with those folks who get drunk every night because he is such a good friend, he doesn’t even drink! Well, maybe one beer, but he’s not a drinker!”
“Your father would never mean to hurt you, I’m sure that time when he threatened you with a gun that he was just kidding!”
“She doesn’t mean to be so rude to you, she’s just had such a hard life, you just need to cut her some slack and try to make her happy and go along with it!”
“Why do you eat that way? It is so annoying that you try to be so healthy. Live it up a little! What is “gluten” anyways…that’s sugar, right?”
“You BITCH! It must be nice to be so skinny! HA HA HA HA HA just kidding! Can’t you take a joke?”
Does any of this sound familiar to you? SO often, when in a situation where someone is sugar-coating reality, denying reality, altering reality, or passively aggressively commenting on how they perceive YOUR reality, it is hard to know what to say. This is partly because you may be taken aback by their rudeness, the inaccuracy of their perception, and their inability to face the truth. But, also, and more importantly, for those of us who are awake to the truth, are doing/have done the hard work to grow and leave the painful patterns instilled in us from our families and friends behind, it is unconscionable to believe that there are still people walking around in such a distorted, sick, self-loathing haze. But, my friends, the unfortunate truth is that MOST people are still stuck in this web of paralyzing-yet-socially-accepted dysfunction. It’s how their family has always been, and they have never attempted to overcome. Apathy set in long ago. They would rather pass these patterns onto their children, ensuring that nothing ever changes because OH MY GOSH CHANGE IS TOO SCARY!!!!! So, the biggest question here is, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to continue to play their games? Are you going to continue to let them dump on you, criticize you, gaslight you, and not listen to you? If so, have you thought about WHY? One vital way that we win at creating our best lives for ourselves is to bow out of their games. We simply refuse to play.
YOU deserve to live your best life. You cannot do this if you are spending time with those who are not seeking to do the same. You cannot do this if you are over-valuing the opinions of others who are NOT LIVING YOUR LIFE. It’s like seeking advice from someone who is not actively seeking the same things in life as you are- why on earth would you do that? But, I see it every single day. People are so uncomfotable just sitting with their own lack of ease. So unglued at the thought of doing the hard work to be truly happy. When you refuse to play their games any longer, you bow out of the whole destructive cycle of people pleasing and self-denial. Because of the destructive patterns of self-denial, sugar-coating and shaming that many of us were raised with, we were taught to be blind to our parent’s habits, abuse, hate and hurts- to be blind to how we perceived it. So in turn, we become blind to the destructive patterns of everyone in our lives, including our own, until push comes to shove and we are faced with the opportunity to wake up. It becomes so difficult to trust our instinct any longer if it was repressed when we were younger. This opportunity to awaken may come in the form of an accident, an illness, a surgery, a death, a near-death experience, and many other ways. The question is- will we be in a place mentally that is open enough to jump on this invitation to evolve to who we were created to be when we see it? Will we choose to go back to sleep? How many times will be have to be invited? How bad will things have to get?
As I stated in the examples at the opening of this post, when people in positions of authority state their skewed versions of events and statements, especially when we are young and more vulnerable, we learn to distrust our own perception of reality. This allows those with ill-intentions, abusers, narcissists and other evil-doers to continue to control our lives, and we continue to think that it is our job to make sure that they are happy. As children, doing this was a matter of survival, as we had to go along with the environment within our home because these were the people who were supposed to be our caregivers. Many of us were not protected, rather we were told to be smaller than we actually were, controlled with shame, and forced to look the other way as abuse and neglect took place.
A friend that I grew up with was super cute and kind. My friend’s sibling was grumpy, difficult, had emotional problems, and didn’t have the same “sparkle” as my friend. My friend’s parents routinely diminished my friend, demading that my friend be quiet, not stand out, and not try so hard at the things that natually came to her, even going so far as to dress my friend in the most plain clothing possible, so she wouldn’t outshine this other sibling so much. She learned a very confusing message early on- that she was to diminish herself in order to please others and keep them happy. Her parents could have chosen to leave her out of the entire situation with the sibling if they had simply chosen to help that sibling to learn to shine, and to find their own path by working with the sibling and, oh, by actually PARENTING. My friend grew up having one painful and abusive relationship after another, because of the way that her parents snuffed out her own light, and taught her that she was less important then other people. They taught her that what others think of us is more important that what we think of ourselves. Talk about being set up for a lifetime of narcissitic abuse! Then, for many of us, we are told that we are crazy and that those things never happened- (this is another tool of narcissistic abuse- it’s called gaslighting). Told that we were being “too sensitive”. As adults, we need to understand that now it is our turn to become the adult that our parents perhaps never were. It’s SUPER hard to do that when you didn’t have it modeled for you. But it is possible. Oh, and by the way- if anyone in your life tells you that you are “too sensitive”- they are a toxic narcissist. RUN!!!!!!!! You don’t need that garbage. They love your sensitivity when it benefits them…..
The magic happens when you can get to place where you realize that you do not require the approval of anyone else in order to be happy, healthy and whole. This does not happen over night. It takes therapy. It takes a healthy diet. It requires shedding many layers. It takes prayer, meditation, or both- whatever fills you up more. It takes time in nature. It takes time alone, a great amount of time alone. It requires, grit, persistence, tears, laughter, lots of rest and lots of learning how to say no. It requires study and rebuilding. It requires tearing down of foundations that are faulty. You have to learn how to create healthy boundaries for yourself. As one who was raised with ZERO boundaries, and the lies of religion to cover over abuse (yes, sometimes religion is used in an incredibly dark and sinister manner, coupled with shame- if you were not previously aware, now you know….), understanding boundaries has been what has taken me the longest, and I have been doing this work for over 23 years. It is not only okay to say no, it is vital. Good things, people, places and relationships are not only for others. They are for you.
If you want to remain small, sad, broken, and beholden to the opinions of others, that is your choice. But you CANNOT expect to be happy more than fleetingly, because you are living to please others. The world does not need another martyr. How can YOUR HAPPINESS be based on whether or not you are making others happy? Why do you want to live to temporarily fulfill a narcissist, or entire groups of them- these people who will NEVER be happy, no matter what? Why do you want to choose a life of catering to those who have not done the hard work on themselves- which will only further hold you back from EVER getting to a place of openness and space which will allow you to grow into your own radical, full potential? You are much more powerful than you believe.
Oh, and remember- you will never acheive your highest and best potential in life if you keep on hanging out with the nay-sayers and the people who want to keep you small. This is okay, it is not your job to dim your light in order to help other people remain in their darkness. Hop off of their island of negativity and depression, and go get after your one, best life. Your vibe will indeed attract your new tribe, but first, you have to change your vibe by doing the hard work. You got this. We are capable, and worthy of so much more.
The Mint Pixie