Tag Archives: Interpersonal relationship

Doubters anonymous…

9 Jun

When our word isn’t dissipated by doubt, the power of our word is even stronger.
– don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the power of Doubt, maybe it’s because I am learning that I am the only one who can ever make myself happy, and the pain of a narcissistic long-term relationship is moving further away.

Today, I realize that I am a whole, complete and perfect (okay, two out of three isn’t bad!) person who can do anything I set my dreams on (with confidence!), who deserves love and gives much to the world.

It wasn’t always like that, I lived with Doubt (I constantly questioned whether I was good enough, smart enough, lovable…) – all due to my own misgivings and “healthy doses of doubt and gentle correction” heaped on by those around me.  I was addicted to doubt!

“Doubt” used to be a frequent companion,

a hanger-on’er who came into my life in early childhood and who crept around making sure I would stop myself before trying new or challenging things.  (Somehow I managed to keep doubt at bay in my business, all the while he wreaked havoc in my personal life!)

I know that Doubt has emerged in great force in this economy – he plays increasingly larger parts in the lives of others I know – and these are good, solid, inspiring people who deserve success and great things.  Yet, Doubt has moved in taking up the real estate that Confidence deserves to own. 

(Aside:  as a recovering Doubt-addict, I know that instilling confidence and supporting others is an important step in their own Doubt-recovery!  Inspire confidence in others through the power of your (positive!) words.)

Get Past a Doubt-filled Past!

I know that in my past, “Doubt” was seldom alone – he was usually cheered on by a crowd who agreed that I would screw up whatever I might think to try. Doubt (and his supporters) never liked me for who I am, and that’s why I need to steer clear of him!

“Doubt” loved being best friends with my (harsh) inner critic, my parents, and my spouse – they would take turns playing “you need to change this” and “who do you think you are?”   “Doubt” crept around like he didn’t belong (he never did) but when he partnered with others, it was downright insidious. He was like a storm cloud always threatening rain!

In nature, we have the power of water and wind to erode, in people we allow doubt to sculpt us into wisps of  people immobilized with holes that doubt inflicts.   I believe that doubt is an addiction – that if it is left unchecked can render one addicted and damaged.

“We are born to do wonderful, innovative, passionate things with our life, and to live a happy life! We are born to be confident and find our way!  We are born to be surrounded by sunshine – it is our (confidence-inspired) destiny!” – Carol Dekkers

Doubt pours down on those possibilities and leaves us unmotivated, tired, and uninspired.  Some days it might seem like the sun will never come out.

If I can be a Doubt-Survivor, so can you!

I’ve overcome my doubt addiction through conscious work, and by neutralizing the negative doubt-mongering (but well-intentioned) people in my life (some I have de-friended entirely!)

While yesterday had room for Doubt, my future does not!  The work involved realizing that I was living without integrity – that is, I was saying things to myself that I would never say to a best friend. While I didn’t do a formal 12 step doubt-removal program,  Today I can proudly announce that I am in doubt recovery!

While we cannot control the seeds of doubt that others try to plant in our fertile minds, we can banish them from our mind’s garden – and nurture positive, inspiring affirmations that in time, will remove the power of doubt.  Confidence renders “Doubt” speechless.

You are intended to be… great!  So go out today and get started – you don’t have a heartbeat to wait.

Have a great week!

Carol

p.s., Send me a note if you’d like to know more about how I overcame doubt… it’s a journey of self-discovery and self-love!

One of the millions…

31 Aug

It’s hard to stay upbeat and positive today when so many Americans – and especially Floridians – are losing their homes, are unemployed (including highly qualified professionals), foraging for work, and finding that the sense of belonging (along the lines of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) is no longer important.Maslow Hierarchy of Needs More and more people are on the bottom rung of the Maslow’s pyramid (at left) – barely able to support the basic essentials of life for themselves and their families.

At this point in my life (over 40), I never thought I’d be where I am today – nor have many of my friends.  In today’s economic downturned times, it seems that single females over 40 are “foraging” more and more to find bits of work, pay their bills, find “decent” supportive friends, and survive!  Hardly the future we had envisioned as youngsters…

I don’t know about you, but when millions of people are struggling to make ends meet with the basic physiological needs in life (food, shelter, clothing) – being nice seems to come second.  It is rare these days to meet friendly salespeople, courteous drivers, happy shoppers, upbeat friends – and I believe that when people are scrambling to pay the next month’s rent or mortgage – people are no longer nice.

I’ve written here in the past about friends, family, colleagues, etc. who say things that are downright ugly and insensitive… and the trend seems to be increasing!  And it doesn’t seem to matter how nice I am – it has little relationship with the behavior that emanates from others.

Have you noticed this too or is it just me?

I feel fortunate to have friends and colleagues around the world who I can turn to using the internet/instant messaging – and who are supportive and genuine.  In Tampa, this doesn’t seem to be the case as people say whatever enters their head first and foremost, and seldom apologize for their verbal diarhhea.  Let me give you a few examples – and then please (PLEASE!) let me know if you’ve found any of the same these days:

– a friend of mine is in a relationship with a male from another country who she met in Florida 6 months ago.  They frequently text each other or talk on the phone and both have a positive outlook on what the future might bring.  Unfortunately for my friend, her closest family member (a married sister) chides her daily and forewarns her (the sister’s words) that a long-distance relationship is unlikely to work out.  There is no science or proof behind the statement, but that never stops the sister from spouting.  Aside from not sharing anything with her sister, do you have any advice?

– my home is in a short sale position (not a positive experience – this will be the subject of a future blog and potentially an ABC news story to expose the shoddy treatment by Bank of America over the past 7 months!) — and someone I considered a friend belabored me on Sunday that I should expect a visit from a sheriff to evict me in a one-hour timeframe when my short sale goes through based on a national scare tactics news story.  My realtor and my lawyers tell me that such an assertion is untrue – which leaves me to wonder, why use “warmongering type tactics” to scare me during an already stressful situation?  What would you say?

– other friends are desperately seeking jobs (anything!) to make ends meet and are told that they are too old for waitressing or bartending jobs (in their 40’s) and cannot land decent work. As formerly self-employed people, they are not eligible for unemployment payments and are having a difficult time finding even menial labor positions.  Invariably, these friends are lectured by other friends and family members (who are employed) that they are simply not trying hard enough to find work.  It is amazing to me how others can cast judgment when their situation is secure.

I guess that “we” are simply one of the millions these days in America – land of opportunity – who are foraging to find a financially sound foundation on which to build our futures.  Some of us had our finances stolen or taken from us through divorce or other mishap, while others have had stretches of lean times (with more to come).  It is a travesty to meet wonderful, energy filled women who have been beaten down by the economy and by societal rejection (not finding a job@) or by so-called friends and partners – to the point that they are barely surviving.

Welcome to being one of the millions – whatever happened to being one in a million (not in this economy!)

Wishing you a good week!

Carol

p.s., Time to say thank you again to the wonderful people in my life who truly make a difference:  Dan (my brother), Gerald, Kim, Janet, Alicia, Narmila, Darja, Marion, Mary, Bill, Steve, Bruce (all colleagues and friends) and so many others (sorry if I missed singling you out!)  You all make life worthwhile – thank you for being you!  In this day of unkept promises, self-centeredness and pontification – you all are wonderful exceptions!  You are perfect examples of the friend I hope I am to you.

“To have a friend you have to be a friend” – hogwash!

11 Aug

Did you grow up with this “momily” like I did?  I didn’t realize how invasive this hogwash was until recently – in fact until others pointed out to me that people I allowed into my life were not “friends” at all.

I’ve spent time in past posts talking about how damaging toxic relationships can be to our psyche, but just last night a true friend reminded me that I was giving “friend” status to people who had chosen me – not that I had chosen for myself.  I didn’t screen them  before allowing them into my life, and that’s when the “momily” hit me!

Allow me to explain…

Growing up (long ago!) I was taught that friendship had to be earned and that “to have a friend, you have to be a friend (first)”.  At the time, I never questioned this – and not only have I allowed people into my life because THEY consider me a friend (without consideration of my own needs), they abused that privilege!  Friendship should be a two-way street… just because one party drives into the traffic (as if it is a one way!) does not change the two-way rule.  “Friends” who insist on one-way traffic… well, are they really friends?  (Think about what usually happens to drivers when this happens!)

Recognition and termination of relationships devoid of mutual respect is THE RIGHT THING TO DO!

Many of the acquaintances (today I realize they were not “friends”) I tolerated during my marriage could be classified, by clinical standards, as verbally abusive.  With my divorce came a new awareness about friendships and relationships: “friendship” should be mutually beneficially to both parties!  Today I know I deserve better and I hope you do too!

There is a reason that some people don’t make it into our future, it’s to make room for new people who WE mutually choose – not just those who choose us!

Have a great week, and thank you for reading!

Carol

Toxic People – It’s not really personal…

22 Jun

Toxic people are everywhere – and their effect on workplace, family, and personal morale can be devastating.

Who’s a toxic person?  Someone who sucks the energy and the motivation out of you in favor of advancing their own agenda and “best interests“.  Often they might be disguised as “friends” who abuse you, family members who need to dominate you, or co-workers who demean you.  At a distance, it is easy to recognize toxic people in other people’s lives, yet sometimes it’s not so easy in our own life.

Why do we put up with abusive behavior from others where our own sense of well-being is jeopardized by these people?

I believe that some of it stems from our upbringing where our tolerance for unhealthy people is encouraged (such as the momilies like: be nice to your elders because they are older; you have to be a friend to have a friend; if two or more people are against you – it must be you; etc.).

About ten years ago, I was so surrounded by “toxic people” in my personal life that I thought I was going crazy (in fact, one of the most toxic people in my life tried to convince me that I was!)  At the time, I thought that I needed to be more tolerant of this behavior  (including abuse) in hopes of eliminating sadness and feelings of being used.

What I really needed to do (and am now doing) was to be less tolerant of abusive behavior and to cut out toxic people from my life.

AND, I realize that toxic people do not handpick people to befriend and abuse – they simply are so self-absorbed (and often downright mean) with everyone in their life.  They make their way into the lives of others quite insidiously – they start by innocuous demands and offers of friendship (making you feel needed) and then proceed to take your energy, your self-esteem, and your optimism.

When you are surrounded by toxic people, you can end up feeling like you must be crazy – after all, how can the world be crazy around you? Realizing that toxic people use others without it being personal – they will use family, friends, acquaintances, spouses, anyone to advance their self-serving agenda – can make it easier to deal with them in the long-term.  (It’s not personal!)

How do you know if someone is toxic in your life?  Once you recognize the behavior and how you feel when you are around them, it becomes a matter of identification and elimination (if you value your health).

Here’s my short list for detect toxicity (do you have others?):

  • Verbal abuse Toxic people will berate you, insult you, call you names, and disparage you.  (Friends don’t let anyone abuse their friends.)  For example, I once knew a toxic person who would disparage my clothes at every chance in front of colleagues and co-workers. If I wore a pair of shoes with a heel higher than an inch, she’d alert people by announcing “Look everybody, Carol is wearing hooker heels.”  Not someone I ever needed in MY life.
  • Lack of respect for your time: Toxic people will call you and demand support at all hours of the day and night – one toxic person I used to know called me repeatedly in the middle of the night for support when her adult daughter got arrested for drunk driving, and again when she thought she violated her suspended license.  At first I thought she really needed support at those times, then later I found out that she started calling people for support earlier in the evening and didn’t care how late it got as she continued to call people on her list.
  • Lack of reciprocity: Toxic people are energy-suckers who will drain your energy and then turn their back on you if you need support.  I have an entire garage full of abandoned mattresses from a toxic person who begged me to share my garage space with her desperate and broke daughter, then turned her back and refused to remove the items she no longer wanted after I asked for the space back.  To date neither the person nor her daughter have said a word of thanks nor have they returned phone calls asking them to remove their garbage from my garage.
  • Self-centeredness: Toxic people know how to get their needs met first by relying on the generosity of others, but do not give back.  One toxic person I knew used my time and support to soothe her broken heart during a divorce (I spent weeks doing so including trips at my expense), but does not notice when others need or ask for her support.  Self-centered people simply do not see anyone beyond their own immediate circle of people and their own needs.
  • Lack of consideration: When toxic people are short of money or resources, they see no problem taking (or more likely asking for) your money, time, resources.  When their situation changes and they come into the money, toxic people usually forget your generosity and will insist on equal division of costs going forward.  Sometimes these people will even take advantage of any weakness on your part to gain financial advantage over you – with no regard to fair treatment.
  • Bully behavior:  Toxic people often bully others and then justify their behavior by touting that they are only asserting their will on others.  I once knew such a toxic person who believed that there would be no bullies in the world without ready and willing victims.  How deranged!

What’s the best way to deal with toxic people in YOUR life?  It is never an easy situation – even when you identify who they are. My advice is to stop tolerating the behavior and make plans to move them out of your life.  Sometimes they may change as a result, but usually toxic people are ignorant of their toxicity and simply go on to find others they can use and abuse.

What is life like without toxic friendships?  For me, I’m finding that the solitude and satisfaction I gain from new, non-toxic friendships far outweighs the companionship that toxic people used to provide. Feeling good when you are with people who are emotionally healthy is a beautiful thing!

Toxic people – it’s really not a personal thing when they treat you badly!  But it is personal if you choose to keep these people in your life!

Have a great week!

p.s., Thank you to my current friends and my son and my daughter who have never been a part of the toxic influences in my life!

Carol

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