When dealing with others who are toxic

Do not expect to receive something from someone who doesn’t have what you want.

This quote has been running through my mind all day today. The things you have to tell yourself after dealing with a particularly toxic member of my family. I’m hoping that by writing about this, I can get to feeling better about things. But even I recognize that journaling can only do so much.

I’m faced with kicking my baby brother out of my house. I’m not looking forward to it, and honestly – it makes me feel like one big giant asshole. But I cannot do it anymore. At first, I thought that maybe staying here would be good for him, but the longer this goes on, the less respect I have for him. It’s time for him to go. He’s barely contributed towards anything, and comes home drunk or highly drugged at all hours of the night, often waking the household. He leaves food out, and has set off fire alarms, and last night – well – this morning actually… he came home with a completely totalled car. He’s already had a DUI and I’ve witnessed him coming home from driving completely plastered now a couple of times. What kind of example are my children getting from all of this? I told him he couldn’t stay. That I’ve had enough and that I was calling Dad. Dad needed to know that his youngest son was doing this, that the car he was still paying for was totalled. Yea – i know – I totally ratted out of my brother which in most cases, would not be cool. This feels a bit more life and death tho.

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I was scared to call my Dad. I knew the messenger would be shot at. I didn’t expect it to go the way it did. I didn’t expect to feel whooshed back to the days when I faced that same kind of verbal treatment daily. I didn’t expect to feel a moment of fight or flight… on the PHONE. I hung up. I walked for a few minutes. And then suddenly I had things I wanted to SAY! That’s not like me. My flight instinct is strong with my family – I clam up, go quiet and get the heck out of there. Today – I stood up for myself. Don’t talk to me like that. Don’t treat me like this. I have done nothing to earn this behavior being slung at me in it’s vileness. It felt good. It also backfired on me. Managed to get me in bigger trouble – but whatever. I don’t really care. You want to tell me now that i’m not your daughter? Cuz you’ve said it to me plenty of times in the past. I don’t care.

This is when the quote runs through my head the most. My father is simply not capable of giving me the kind of father/daughter relationship that I need.. why? Because he does not possess the skills to do so. Never has. Most likely – never will. So why do I continue to hope beyond hope that someday something will blossom and we’ll have a closer bond or kin-ship? That’s insanity on my part!

Dad asked me to take in my baby brother, and I did. And I can honestly say, I’ve given him just over a month here, I’ve really TRIED. But I can’t work with someone who doesn’t see that what they’re doing is self-destructive. I can’t help someone who has no desire to help themselves. And now – all it’s doing is dragging down my family’s ability to live successfully.

I’ve always done the right thing. I’ve always been the good daughter. I’ve always strived to do what was asked of me, what was expected of me. But now – I want to show my children that they don’t have to have toxic people in their lives. I want the people I surround myself with to be people who actually care about me. People who will put their all into building something healthy and amazing with me – because I’ll happily put in the effort to do the same with them.

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After all the drama – I took a moment to plant some flowers outside. It made me feel instantly better. I then spent the day with my kids. We played some Wii sports, and walked to the park. Enjoyed each other and did what we could to make each other laugh. I’m grateful for them. My children. I’m so lucky to have them in my life. I swear on the very last breath I take – that I will NEVER give to them, the kind of heartache and pain that my father has given me. I refuse. They deserve so much better than that.

Well, I better get some sleep. Goodnight Neverland. Happy Sunday to you!

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I’m on vacation!

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There are palm trees around me.  They always make me feel instantly happy!  I think it is because they are such a foreign sight to me.  Like giant lollipops!  We drove down from Seattle to California, staying here a few days before we drive up to Vegas to stay another few days and then we’ll head back home.  It’s lovely and warm, and has provided me with such a needed getaway.  I was definitely ready to disconnect with my world for a bit.

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I was also a little nervous to see how M and I would do on our first long trip together.  Especially stuck in a car together.  But so far, it’s been a lot of fun.  Today I’m getting a little “Me” time.  And I don’t think I’d realized how much I needed it too.  I’d planned to go for a swim, but instead cranked up some music, made a little lunch, and took an extra long shower and just took my time putting myself back together afterwards.

Yesterday, we spent some time at the beach.  Oh how those ocean waves just went on forever.  I don’t care how old I get, I turn into a giant kid when I get to the beach.  Doesn’t matter what I’m wearing or what I’m doing afterwards, I WILL splash in the water, I will look for seashells in the sand (and always return them or leave them where they are so others can have the same pleasure) and just generally lose myself in the sound of the crashing waves and the smell of the salty sea air.  It is truly my favorite thing.  Someday – I’ll live in a spot where I can hear the ocean.  Or who knows – maybe i’ll be able to find a commercial spot near a beach somehow and work next to it.  There’s something incredibly therapeutic about it.  So impactful to me.

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Yesterday, I walked into someone else’s soap shoppe and found tears coming to my eyes.  Never before have I walked into someone else’s business and felt so struck with enviousness and adoration.  It was as if someone had plucked my vision from my imagination of the store I hope to someday build and turned it into reality.  Well – almost.  It wasn’t perfectly my vision of course – it was someone else’s but damn if it didn’t give me a giant boost of hope and inspiration.  I can do this.  If they can do it – I certainly can!  I also bought some soap and things to try – I like to support the small shops.  I was so excited to try them out, but was saddened to discover that I only ended up liking one of the 2 bars I bought.  Ah well – can’t win them all.

Well – I’m going to go enjoy the sun for a bit.  It’s so nice to relax and just enjoy.  I wish you all the very best!  Much love to you Neverland.

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When someone shows you who they are, believe them.

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My brother is staying with me for a month.  It’s fun to see him every day.  We didn’t grow up together, and only met when he was 10.  So we’re still getting to know one another.  He’s a punk, but I love him.  My kid brother.  But one of the challenging things I’m learning about having him here, is that it exposes me to some of my family that I’d rather not be exposed to.  Thru him, I get to see and experience what he goes through with my father.  Usually – it doesn’t get to me, but last night, he shared an experience he had this weekend and I just about lost my shit.  I’m still upset.  But I think what upsets me the most, is that, at least for the next month, it will be a “norm” in the house.  It bothers me.

My father is … well… abusive.  Physically sometimes, emotionally others.  And not all the time…. but still.  A spade is a spade.  It takes a lot to write that.  It took me a while to get my brother to even admit it out loud.  Now look – there’s something to be said for getting physical – sometimes a well timed shove can wake someone up – That is not the type of physical altercation that I am talking about here.  There is no excuse that I can logically come up with to make it ok.  I know that man loves his kids… in his own truly messed up way, but he is toxic.  It’s why I’ve put up walls and boundaries – to keep me and the kids safe and worry-free.

So here I sit.  Knowing that over the next month or so, I’ll likely be (at the very least) hearing more stories, learning more things, and overall, likely cementing why I made the choices I’ve made to step away from toxic people in my life.  I try and remember that there are two sides to every story… and somewhere in between lies the truth.  But so far, the stories I hear align with everything I know from my past… and I’m not convinced that leopards change their spots.  When someone shows you who you are, believe them.

It’s sadly, nice to know that I’m not the only one of us kids who struggled with Dad.  But at the same time, I wish with all my heart that I could take that away from him – let him be spared.  I’m protective.  I don’t want to see my family hurt.  I’d do just about anything to keep them all safe and loved.  Ugh.  It’s rough being a sister sometimes.  But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Much love neverland.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

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An anxious moment

Man oh man, I don’t know what set me off today – but my anxiety got sky high this afternoon.  It’s taken me a good hour just to get it to a level of better control.  No fun.  I’m trying to think about what’s churning around in the ol’ head that would make me feel this way.  And what’s frustrating, there isn’t a single thing that tipped me in this direction.  I think maybe it was just a combination of a few things that did me in.  But … that’s not like me.

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I hate to think of anxiety like a weakness – but sometimes, it is.  I’m simply saying what is… at least for me.  I won’t judge others – but I will judge the heck out of me.  And I’m being a little judgemental on myself right now in saying that this “new” weakness of mine is just plain ol’ annoying!  And I suppose what is even more annoying, is that I don’t know if my anxiety is new, or if I’ve simply learned to recognize it for what it is.  It’s been 3-4 years now, as recognizing it was something I learned through therapy.  And I’ve learned various methods to work through it and manage.  I’d like to say to control it – but I don’t think anyone ever REALLY has control over it.  Who knows, maybe I’m wrong.  What I hate is that for the most part – and I mean 85-90% of the time – I have a great sense of awareness about my emotional wellbeing, and can use the tools that therapy and schooling and experience has taught me to ensure that I maintain that inner calm… but it’s that 10-15% of the time that I struggle.  Today, being one of them. So – perhaps by writing, I’ll get out whatever is pushing me to that point.

Communication in relationships.  All relationships – not just romantic ones.  For the most part, I think I’m a good communicator.  I am very good at empathizing and understanding someone else’s perspective without judgement or getting offended.  I am also very good at reading people… so often, when someone shows they are a certain emotion, I pick up on it, even when they don’t think they’ve shown anything. I respect people to know that what they speak is their perspective.  But as good as a communicator that I am, I also recognize that others are not.  I think somehow, in my quest to become better at communication – I may have lost sight of the very real fact that not everyone is striving for the same thing as I am.  Not everyone will be comfortable sharing their perspectives and truths with me. At least not right away – and sometimes not ever.  Not everyone is striving to be an emotionally healthy communicator.  And because of that – not everyone is ready for it when I present it to them. I think where I get stuck on that tho – is then what? When someone I’m communicating with isn’t on the same page or emotional level as I am, it creates the opportunity for a few outcomes.  1.  The person hears me, I hear them, and one or both of us grow because of it.  2. The person doesn’t hear me, or I don’t hear them, and then they shut down and healthy communication cannot continue until things get back on track.  This is often when unkind words can get spoken or someone can get unintentionally hurt.  And personally – I’m not a fan of any of that, for anyone.  So what’s interesting to me, is now, knowing this – helps me see full circle, why I became a horrible communicator to begin with.  It was because I wanted to avoid that second option.  Interesting double edged sword there!

Upcoming Vacations! So my vacation time is getting closer and closer!  16 work days to be exact.  WOW!  Putting it that way – holy cow!  I’m excited.  Some real time off.  I’m also a little bit nervous.  For a few reasons.

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It’ll be my new car’s first big trip.  Kind of exciting, I’m excited to see how it does! This will be my first longer stay with M. And I am actually not worried about that bit of it – but meeting his friends and family will be interesting and has me nervous – although I don’t know why.  I’m good at meeting others, and I have yet to meet someone’s parents and have them not like me.  BUT… i’m still nervous all the same. I think it’s because I’ve never quite measured up to my own family’s expectations – so it always makes me hesitate to put myself out there to try and meet the expectations of someone else’s family! Ha. Sad I know.

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Grilled Cheese. I can’t believe I’m adding this in here – but it just came up.  M knows how to make a proper grilled cheese.  Can I just say how happy that makes me?!  He butters both sides and gets a golden brown – just the way it SHOULD be, and has the perfect bread to cheese ratio.  I’ve never understood those people who only butter one side.  They say it’s less greasy – um.. hello?!  It’s GRILLED CHEESE!!!  What on earth do you expect?!  If you want less grease – go eat a salad for goodness sake!  Mmm.  I will say, eating a grilled cheese sammich in bed is the perfect antidote to a stressful moment.  🙂  Even if it isn’t diet-friendly.  It’s ok tho – I did quite a bit of exercise today – so I highly doubt this indulgent is going to set me back.

Trust.  Sigh.  Let’s just say that there are plenty in my life who’ve pushed me to my limits when it comes to trust.  Some are still active participants in my life – others, not so much. Even I have to draw the line somewhere. I’m terrible – I often give way more chances and opportunities than are deserved.  Sometimes, my friends give me shit for this – and sometimes, it’s why they love me.  I spoke to a friend today who has recently broken my trust.  I don’t know if I want to remain friends in the future or not.  I really don’t.  But at the same time, I care about this person and want happiness for them in their future.  So I suppose from an outsider’s perspective, this is me giving them another chance – but it’s not.  In my head – as the trust erodes away – even in small baby chunks, it opens up room for doubt.  And doubt, my friends, is the silent ninja killer.  It really is.  The moment you introduce doubt into a relationship – it’s doomed.  I suppose I could say that perhaps it’s possible to earn back the trust – because it is.  But I’d also wager that it would take twice as long to remove the doubt.

Well – I think that’s it for now… writing in here, plus the grilled cheese… I’m a lot better than when I started.  Going to go hop in the shower and get back to being me again!

Much love Neverland!  Talk to you again soon!

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The Jealousy Monster

I was just on the phone with my brother.  🙂  The topic of jealousy came up.  Funny, it’s the second time in a couple of days that I’ve had the chance to witness someone struggling with it.

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My daughter was struggling to contain her jealousy monster in regards to her boyfriend.  Some girl at her school was hugging on her boyfriend and it bothered her.  I sat and talked about it with her for a while.  Told her to really think about things.  Had her boyfriend ever given her a reason to not trust him?  No.  Then perhaps she will be better served by trusting him, and giving him the benefit of the doubt.  It was interesting to watch her go through the various stages as she processed what I’d said.

Jealousy is a strange emotion.  One that can be dangerous to the health of a relationship if not handled appropriately.  If you break it down – it’s a signal from your brain.  A warning signal.  Saying that a valued relationship is possibly in danger and steps need to be taken to make sure things stay on track.  What it DOESN’T need to do is make people crazy monsters.  That’s just counterproductive and ruins any forward progress you may make.  It requires trust tho.  This is why I feel the way I do about liars in general.  I struggle with them because if you can lie to me, then I cannot fully trust you.

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I don’t know, I’ve never been someone who has struggled much with jealousy.  In fact, I can say that I’ve only felt it a few times in my life – and it wasn’t over people or relationships – but over the success someone had achieved.  I wanted that for me.  🙂  So not quite the same thing I suppose.

The way I see it – if you’re feeling jealous…then there’s something off about YOU.. not the other person.  It means you’re likely struggling with an insecurity, fear of abandonment or something else that is pushing you too feel and act out in that way.  And if you’re upset that someone is looking at another person, or even lightly flirting with another person… then that’s an issue with you.   You’re in a relationship – you’re not dead.  It would seem unnatural and confining to expect a partner to walk through the world uncaring or unaware of others in that way.  Why shouldn’t they be allowed to admire a beautiful figure?  I certainly do! To expect a partner to do otherwise would mean missing one of the joys of life.

If you have trust… then you should likely know that your significant other would never disrespect the relationship, you or themself in that way.  So why get your panties twisted in a knot about it?

Look – I deal with anxiety on a regular basis – but the way I see it – why on earth would I purposefully allow an emotion to control me and make me MORE anxious if I don’t have to?  Jealousy just doesn’t have a place in my world.  Never has.

Just some thoughts for the day…

Much Love!

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