Am I A Toxic Person?

A few months ago, I had a long-time friend tell me that I was had been making negative comments about her and to her. And thus was the end of our friendship.

It did make me think.

We are all aware of toxic people and the fact that we should stay away from them because they aren’t good for us. We try to stay around people who have good positive energy and make us feel better about ourselves.

But what if we are the ones that are toxic?

I wouldn’t have ever imagined this about myself except there was literally someone who chose to stay away from me and end a friendship because I was toxic for her.

How do we even figure out if we are the ones who are toxic without going through that kind of heartbreak (and yes, it was heartbreaking)? When does it stop being honesty and more toxicity when it comes to friendship?

I’m not going to defend myself here because I can’t speak for that person’s feelings or how she perceived my words. If what I was saying was being received as negative, then all I can do is accept that my words must have been negative.

I can explain what I have been doing. I have been analyzing myself constantly over the last few months trying to figure out how to better myself as a person. I also have been wondering that if one person could view me as toxic, does that mean another person could as well? Self-doubt and insecurity have now become good friends of mine. I keep thinking about everything I say multiple times after it’s been said to figure out if I’ve hurt or offended anyone else.

I also have been trying to figure out at what point do I stop blaming myself and accept that maybe it was just our relationship that had come to its natural end. How much of my true self do I change just to make sure I am not toxic to anyone else? Is it actually a question of honesty versus toxicity?

How can I fairly judge how and who I am as a person? How much do I need to change to ensure this doesn’t happen again? Or will it happen because we are all different personalities and how we view each other can change over the course of a friendship?

What About Your Friends? (Throwback to TLC)

There are some days that it really hits that I don’t have that many friends. I definitely have a few good friends but I’m not getting 800 invites per weekend to do things. People aren’t throwing parties in my honor, I’m not getting a ton of texts a day, and my weekends aren’t crammed with random events.

To be fair, having kids also limits your social life a little bit but I don’t want to blame them since this has spilled over from my life pre-kids.

My friends have now evolved into people who will come running any time of the day if I need them, people who will be there to the best of their ability between their busy lives, people who I can be completely open to about what I feel and think.

And while I love that I do have some really good friends, sometimes, it does hit me that I’m never going to be the popular girl.

I guess I never was. From the second I was in school, I have never been the center of anyone’s crowd. I’ve never been the person that everyone needed at a party. I’m not the person that would up anyone’s social standing (if there is still such a thing). Even my “groups” from college or different dance teams have moved in a different direction. And while I was there though, I was always on the periphery. I was the one person who was good friends with one of the people in the group which is how I was a part of it.

Honestly, I suck at making small talk with people. And to be completely blunt, sometimes, I’d rather be home with a good book or watching tv than be in a social setting full of people I don’t know.

For example, a few years ago I went to a party without my kid for the first time since becoming a mom. I was so excited to be able to be in the party scene again. But when I was there, I spent all my time hanging out with a good friend who I still saw on a monthly basis and talked to all the time anyways. I did small talk with a bunch of other people who I knew but wasn’t really friends with and then just hung out with the person I was most comfortable with and liked being around. It made me wonder what the point was of being at this party.

Recently, I watched someone who has a lot of friends at their social events. I kept trying to figure out if she was just more extroverted than I or maybe nicer than I am. Maybe she is just easy-going enough to be able to accumulate a lot more friends. Maybe she just has more time since she isn’t raising 2 smalls kids. (Although again, I don’t think that is a fair assessment because these personality traits of mine were there before I had kids.)

I also started wondering if sometimes, people just hang out with each other so they have “friends”. Do some of them in the group really even like each other? Or do they just tolerate it because it’s their group?

I don’t really have a conclusion to this. All I know is that this is where I am in life. At this point, I don’t really expect it to change. Maybe between the time I was a teenager to my 20s. Or my 20s to my 30s. But now, on the downside to 40, I doubt that I can change this part of my personality. I don’t even know if I’d want to. I’ve made the effort this far in my life and maybe it’s time for me to just be.

This might just be who I am.

Those Wife Jokes

Have you ever noticed that there seem to be a lot of wife jokes? I saw a post in my one of my mommy groups on Facebook where the mom had mentioned that her friends (male and female) kept forwarding jokes where the wives were being put down.

Why are there so many wife jokes? What makes being a wife a job that is allowed to be made fun of? And why would women partake in this at all?

I do know people who do this. They are consistently making fun of their wives (whether in front of their face or behind their backs). Does it serve as a connection with other men? Is that all they can connect on?

And if you are the women, how do you react?

I remember an ex doing this to me once. I then spent a few hours trying to explain to him why it hurt my feelings and why I would appreciate it if he would back me up in public and not put me down. Needless to say, we did not last. I see other women tolerating it. I don’t know if it is for the sake of their marriage or if they feel like that is the only way they will keep their relationships (friendships, marriages, etc). Do we have to let others say negative things about us in order to have friends?

I wonder if the men who do this do not have a high enough self-esteem that they have to put their significant others down in order to feel accepted in their peer group. Or is it that they have to feel like they aren’t good enough for their significant other so they have to put them down in order to equalize the relationship?

For a while, I was around a lot of people who do this. Then, I realized that I hated listening to it. It wasn’t okay. You can’t necessarily change others but you can change yourself. I stopped hanging around people that do this. Now, the people I hang out with (along with my husband) have a lot of respect for women. They admire and respect women. And it doesn’t bring them down one bit.

There are no more wife jokes in my life.

It’s Okay To Let Go

Today, I saw this article about letting go of toxic people to make room for more positivity in your life. It reminded me of all of the people I have slowly been walking away from because they aren’t good for me.

Let’s be honest. For me, it basically came down to unfriending them on Facebook. The fact that they were toxic already meant we weren’t socializing or in touch at all. But seeing their lives on Facebook just kept me connected to them. When I did have to deal with them in person, it just drove home the point that we weren’t meant to be friends.

It’s a difficult thing to do. Some of the people I have walked away from share so much history with me. There are friends I have had growing up, people on dance teams, old relationships, former best friends. How do you just let go of 10 plus years of friendship? How do you let go people who were there for you in the most difficult times? How do you walk away from people who were there through sweat, blood, and tears? And what happens that these are the people who become toxic?

I honestly believe a lot of it happened because I changed. I learned who I was and because I embraced that part of myself, it changed the relationship I had with whichever person was now toxic. Some friendships have the capability of adapting. But some definitely don’t. And when you believe you are making a change for the better, you can either trust yourself and those who support you or you can view yourself from an outside point of view that makes you feel less than you should. In my opinion, no one should ever make you feel that way.

If you are also Indian, you know that walking away from someone doesn’t mean you won’t ever see them again. Sometimes, I wish it did but let’s face it. We are all 2 degrees of separation from each other. Inevitably, we will run into someone who we have decided isn’t good for us. And we have to learn how to deal with it.

It’s also difficult to see everyone else’s lives go on without you because you chose to walk away. I see groups I used to be a part of living their lives and celebrating events, only now I am on the outside. It would be so easy to find a way back into the groups but I also know it wouldn’t be good for me to be around those people. Sometimes, it does suck to be on the outside.

This is the hard part for me. I would love people to see what I see and “be on my side” about the toxic person. Then, I have to remind myself that just because someone isn’t good for me doesn’t mean that person isn’t good for someone else. And honestly, I can see where I might be toxic for other people. So I have to learn to let it be because everyone has the right to live the way he or she wants as well and I walk away, unfriend, or shield myself from them.

All I can do is what is best for my life and keep positive, supportive people around my family.

 

 

A Weekend of Memories

This past weekend was a weekend of memories. How many times have you gone to a wedding or an event and the people from your past were there?

Sometimes, it can be a good thing. Sometimes, it can be a difficult thing.

You find out how many people remember you and how many of those people remember the good about you.

I was lucky enough to run into my former roommate from a college I had left after my sophomore year. We had kept in touch for a while but as life happens, we just lost touch. It felt good catching up. There was definitely a reason we had been friends in the first place.

I ran into some people that I used to hang out with, some that I used to dance with. Some of the people I had just met through someone but for some reason, they actually did remember who I was. And it was funny because one of those people actually knew my husband from a completely different situation.

I also ran into a few people from my former life and from my former relationship. Luckily for me, they were kind and didn’t treat me like I was the bad guy for leaving that relationship. At one point, I had a good friendship with them so it was a relief to know that we could at least catch up in a positive way regardless of whether we would ever resume that friendship.

It was a weekend that gives me hope for resuming and continuing a few friendships that I had just lost touch with.

It was a good weekend.

The Guilt Trip

Do you know that woman that finds a way to passively aggressively guilt trip you when something doesn’t go her way? She can turn anything around so that even if the whole thing wasn’t about her, it becomes about her. Instead of just addressing an issue at face value, she keeps pushing and twisting so that she can become the victim.

I know her. I used to be her.

In my last few relationships before my marriage, if my significant other didn’t do something the way I wanted, I found a way to fight and make it about me. I used to be act like things were okay but then freeze him out. I used to guilt trip and guilt trip and guilt trip. I did it to my friends too. But I finally realized though that a good relationship is based on direct communication rather than trying to force someone to understand you without talking to them.

Recently, I’ve made some mistakes. Honest mistakes that I didn’t mean to make but since I’m human, they happened. I also owned up to them and apologized for them. Now the people on the receiving end decided that instead of just accepting my apology and understanding that it happens, that they needed to make subtle comments on the fact that I screwed up.

I know when I’m being guilt tripped because I start having these arguments with the people guilt tripping me in my head. I think about what I want to say to them, explain to them so they understand why my mistakes happened. I want to yell and scream at them until they understand why it’s not my fault and that obviously there is something wrong with them if they had to guilt trip me. And this conversation goes around in circles in my head.

I don’t want that to be the case. I don’t want to have these conversations in my head and I really don’t want to have them in real life. Is it really worth arguing with someone who guilt trips? They obviously think they are the victims of whatever happened.

I like what The Four Agreements says. “Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you.” It’s true. My mistakes weren’t meant to cause anyone harm. They were true mistakes on my part. So I will go ahead and believe that these people need to guilt trip me because of something that they are going through. Maybe it’s insecurity, maybe it’s something in their past, or maybe it’s just the way they think.

All I know for sure is that I don’t want to go through life feeling like I have to guilt trip people to make myself feel better. I don’t want to be passive aggressive in my communication methods. I would rather resolve a problem directly and move on. As my husband once told me, “You can be lame or you can have fun.” I choose to have fun every time.

I Was Invisible

I was invisible. I was invisible to the people I hung around. I was invisible at work. I was invisible to the dance groups I was in. Nothing I did was good enough. Nothing I did was special enough. Nothing I did was worth noticing.

I didn’t exist. I truly and honestly didn’t exist. I spent every single day, trying to find myself, to see myself. I couldn’t. I didn’t know how to become visible. I was doing everything right (at least I thought). I was in a relationship, I went out partying with people, I was in one of the more popular dance groups in the city, I was always on top of my stuff at work. I did whatever I could to make my life complete. I tried to feel fulfilled. But I couldn’t. It was never enough. Whatever I did wasn’t enough. I was still invisible.

Why couldn’t people see me? I look at my journals back then and see pages and pages filled up of misery and demands for attention. I see pages of self-loathing and pain. I sit and wonder if there ever was any happiness. Or was the happiness all just an act for the benefit of the world around me? How did I survive that way for almost an entire decade? How was did I allow myself to feel that bad?

And whose fault was it? Was it mine for expecting that people should see me? What is theirs for not opening their eyes enough to be able to see me? Was it my significant other’s job to see me or was it mine to make him see me? Was I not worth seeing? Should I have done something differently? Should I have looked at myself differently? Was it because I questioned if I deserved anything better? Was it because I blamed myself for being invisible, as if I didn’t matter?

I read and re-read these pages to make myself remember how far I have come. I do believe I am visible now but it took a lot for me to see myself at first. I had to see who I was instead of trying to see who I wanted to be. I was never going to be someone I wasn’t and maybe that’s why I never showed up on anyone’s radar. Once I accepted I was who I am, I started showing up slowly. Day by day, month by month, year by year, I saw myself more clearly.

And now, I can not only see myself but I know others see me. I know that I have some value. It took a long time to get here and sometimes, I do feel as if I disappear again. And then, the search begins again to find myself.

If you feel invisible, just remember that the first person who can find you is you. Once you are visible to yourself, you will become visible to other people. It will always be work to see yourself clearly. You will change. Your visibility will change. But once you do find yourself again, it will be easier not to feel so invisible.