What To Do When Someone Calls You TOXIC

When someone calls you toxic you first need to figure-out if they are correct. This is very simple if you are self aware and are able to observe your actions. You’ll see very quickly that you are trying to influence their emotional state to gain advantage or favor. If they are accurate, you need to make the decision if what you are trying to gain is worth losing the person. If the answer is no, stop doing it and lower your threshold for identifying your manipulation attempts so you are able to stop your behaviour before it becomes toxic. If the answer is yes, consider getting a good self help book, set up an appointment with the therapist or start going to a life coach to create a plan for you to achieve the desired goal independently. If that is impossible, and it really shouldn’t be, ask the person directly for what you want vs. trying to game them into it. They may say no but at least they won’t tell you to get out of their life.

If you are not self aware, it’s a little trickier because you won’t have any idea the you have control over your behaviour and therefore your world. You first need to accept that the person cares about you – or else they won’t have responded emotionally to what you said; this is a good thing because it means that even if they do not give you what you want, they are likely going to be able to offer some support to help you through not getting what you want. It’s great to have friends and it’s even better to have friends who are able to see the truth.

Once you have accepted that you are loved and that you may not get what you want using the method you have, you need to make the decision if what you want is actually that important. If the answer is no, don’t think about it anymore. If the thing is that important, you need to find a direct way to get it. Ask the person for it, ask them for help in getting it, ask them for advice on how to get it. Figure-out how you are going to get it without involving anyone else or without using manipulation and guilt to get other people do to it for you.

Once you’ve achieved it, moved on from it or accepted that you won’t be getting it, you need address your toxic nature.

Step one, accept that you love yourself and believe that you have the right to have nice things and to get your way.

Step two, accept that other people love themselves and believe that they have the right to nice things and to get their way.

Step three, accept that other people have an experience of reality that is unique and separate from yours. This is absolutely critical and it should be taught to people in school because so many go through life using other people as objects in their life vs. automatons (to say the very least about ones experience of reality).

Step four, accept that you learned how to manipulate and use guilt to get what you want and that this approach will keep you from ever being complete and independent. Think about it this way, if that is your tool to get things, you will always need other people in your life because you will not possess the necessary skills to get what you want on your own.

Step five, make the decision that you don’t want to be toxic and invest in going without some of the things you like unless you are willing to get them yourself. If you cannot accept this, stop reading now and prepare for a life filled with lots of people, lots of shallow interactions with these people and an existence of co-dependence on people who are too weak to kick you to the curb. Frankly, if you can constantly control another person you likely don’t want them in your life anyway because they aren’t going to help you grow. They will enable you every step of your unsatisfying and distraction dependent live.

Step six, take the time to create new strategies to get what you want and need. Hard work is a good way to achieve this. Changing your priorities is another effective way at eliminating the need for stuff. Admitting that you need help and asking for it is another way to free yourself from the manipulation of others.

Step seven, be aware and always cautious that you have a skill that is useful but very damaging to the quality of interactions with others, particularly the people who care about you the most. Always remember that you are one manipulative effort away from having one less friend. Before you set out to get someone to do stuff for you ask yourself the question “is what I’m trying to achieve worth losing this person forever?” The truth is that if it is worth losing someone forever they will help you if you ask. If it isn’t, they could drop you like garbage and, frankly, if you are trying to manipulate the people who love you, you are either a child or garbage.

We create the world we live in using our thoughts and actions. If yours is a toxic waste land of short term friendships, x partners who don’t want anything to do with you and a feeling worthlessness, it’s time to create a new world based on honesty with yourself, with others and the awareness that your primary coping tool may be the very source of your unhappiness.

When Interpreting Tone From Raw Text

I had a great conversation with one of my clients yesterday about a couple of email messages she received over the last few days. When she read the messages to me, they seemed fine – they were in my opinion clear, accurate, and unambiguous. When she stopped reading them and looked at me, I was left with a blank look on my face and wondering when she was going to bring-up something that should have bothered her. The silence was broken by her asking “so, do you think I should be upset by that?”

I replied with “no” citing that the email was clear and without any tone whatsoever. Then it dawned on me, in the absence of information, we create the information we are missing if we feel we need to. In this case, tone was manufactured based on something internal.

“So, how do you feel about this person? How have the two of you been interacting recently?” Then the flood gates opened that the source of the tone became evident. Their interactions have been strained recently due to some work / life factors that can’t be controlled by either one of them and when the messages appeared in her inbox, the natural tendency was to transfer the strained feelings onto the author of the message and then interpret the message accordingly. It is another common example of the fundamental attribution error and it shows how automatic some of our behaviours are. It reveals how diligent we must be when engaging our thoughts.

Unless it is stated or evident, DO NOT interpret tone with raw text. If you do, take a moment to consider why YOU are interpreting the text in such a way. Very often, our interruptions of things reveal more about how we feel about them; which is fairly important information.

Revisiting Threads

I watched Threads on YouTube this weekend. Threads was a 1984 British TV drama about the build-up and aftermath of an all out nuclear war.

When I first watched it I was in grade 7 or 8 and I found it particularly disturbing – almost life changingly so. When I watched it this weekend I found it less disturbing and it brought back a lot of memories from the early to mid 80’s when there seemed to be a feeling that a nuclear war was eminent; I recall talking to some class mates about the possibility of a nuclear war and we all basically felt that it was just a matter of time. Fortunately it hasn’t happened yet and as the world progresses the prospects of an all out war have faded almost completely; I think someone letting off an nuclear weapon will happen, it will just be a regional thing vs. the total destruction of the planet.

Looking back I don’t recall the moment it stopped being something that I thought would happen and just stopped being something that I thought about, which is kind of odd given that it had been on our collective minds for years. I do wonder what long term impact the ongoing fear had on my view of the world?