Welcome to my list of columns I write for Sally Cronin’s Blog Magazine – Realms of Relationships. You can find all these posts under same heading on Sally’s header menu: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/d-g-kaye-explores-the-realms-of-relationships-2020/
I’ve listed them below to scroll through along with original links. You can click on the links and visit original posts, comments and conversations.
Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – May 2021 – The #Grief Process
Hello to my wonderful Smorgasbord family.
I’d like to first say thank you to the so many of you who’ve been sending light, love and condolences with messages, emails, cards, and even some unexpected gifts. And a huge thank you to Sally for keeping my spirit alive here and beyond. Undoubtedly, I have a lifetime of stories to write about, and I’m not here today to write specifically about the 180 my life took not even two whole months ago, when my husband seemed to be getting sicker by the day and a palliative doctor came into the hospital room to talk to me about his ongoing care, before we’d even had confirmed results back from an oncologist. This was the beginning of the end.
But today’s article isn’t about all that what went down with my husband’s end of his life, but more geared toward the topic about what this series represents – Realms of Relationships, not just about relationships, but also about situations and emotions that we endure and or encounter in life in relationships, and how they affect us and how we deal with them.
So, for today, I’d like to share a bit about what I’m learning about how this grief process works, and since I’m currently living the nightmare, who better than me to share with you my experiences, straight from this proverbial horse’s mouth. And always remember, everybody’s own grief is unique, but one thing is for certain, there are definitely the same steps and stages involved in the grief process, and possibly a bit overly cliché sounding, but it is the old standard – the five stages of grief – Denial · Anger · Bargaining · Depression · Acceptance, which are, and will be components of the journey, no matter how one grieves. Yup, they’re real. There are variations for sure, which I’ll get into later. But suffice it to say, there are no shortcuts with grief.
Books on grief are typically not our first ‘go to’ genre. Let’s face it, how many people want to read about end of life? But ahh, how many who’ve lived through a heart wrenching loss wish they had someone to help them understand the inner torment grief brings to the table, wishing they knew more about what to expect?
As I grew myself up by reading self-help books about growing self-esteem, reading true stories and situations about people and how they handled their hardships, it paid off helping me to learn what I needed to better myself. In the same circumstance, wanting to reach out and look for some way of relief from the grieving process, books and gatherings with people who’ve walked in the shoes, really can help too.
Now I’m not saying reading books about grieving will help us get out of our grief, but they can do several other things such as, allow us to feel with another who has walked in the same devastating shoes of unbearable grief; it’s almost like a feeling of camaraderie, like when we shake our heads as we read something that resonates, as if to affirm every single emotion and stage we’re going through as we read. It’s a natural instinct for us to want to connect with others who are familiar with all the new emotions we will go through.
Truly, I believe that only someone who has lived the journey can write these kinds of books, and you can be sure, somewhere down the road, I’ll be writing one of my own – one day, when the stinging rawness of my unacceptance at willing to face all the music I keep locked up in a compartment in my head so that at present, I can function and get on with the grueling things that demand attending to during my hours of grief, like, arranging funerals, Covid restrictions, two religions dilemma, and fulfilling my husband’s wishes, all in the same moments while my very own hell in my heart resides within. I will write a book.
I’ve read books all my life to try to better myself and learn, so naturally, and despite the fact that I haven’t been able to read for pleasure at present, a single page of any book since my husband began deteriorating, Only after he passed I had a hunger to devour books that could make me feel I wasn’t alone. I felt compelled to read a few books about grieving. I needed to know how people got through it all. I needed to learn about all the other goodies (sarcasm) I had to look forward to.
I was immediately drawn to Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s work as a psychologist and her own experience with grief, and her work with people who’ve had near death experiences and came back to tell, which I’ve recently read – On Life After Death. Read
Debby’s Review for the book
Another I’ll be reading soon, her best-selling book next in line – On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss, will be next on my reading after I finish one of the two Nora McInerny’s books first. (I’ll mention Nora later.)
As it turned out, a lovely writer friend had sent me a wonderful selection of chocolate comfort foods, along with a paperback copy of Comfort for the Grieving Spouse’s Heart by Gary Roe.
This was the first book I could look at in months. Why? Because it felt like the writer knew exactly how I felt. Every single word was everything I was and am feeling. It was a book of validation. As I shed many tears as I read along, I began to understand that someone else, who could feel that same kind of gutting stab in the solar plexus, gets what I’m experiencing. I am not alone. But really, I am. And that’s part of the denial thing.
Denial: I still talk to my husband. I hug his pillow many times a day as my heartbreak moments are quite frequent, and temporarily kept in check by Valium – it keeps me from hugging pillows and crying every moment. And when you are the only one left to take care of yourself and all the paperwork and calls that come with a person’s passing, and the income taxes, one must be able to function to do when one doesn’t really want to. Even though she is the grieving wife, she is holding back the crash and burn to come til after the ‘acceptance’ comes, and she may have mixed up a few steps, as she’s never been one to follow order, but I’m pretty damned sure rage came early with this girl and it isn’t on the list, so I’ll replace that with bargaining.
Bargaining is much too late. My husband is gone, so there’s nothing left for me to bargain for. But the rage, the rage comes out in me like some primal being with whale-like outbursts. Add in a little mixture of blame to that list as I blame Covid for my husband’s not being seen a year ago for a complete checkup and rundown of symptoms I’d explain to the doctor because I watched my husband like a hawk. I can’t help but wonder, despite that fact there is no use looking back at hindsight, as I ask myself what else I could have done to save him. Yes, I’m blaming Covid for his demise.
Denial · Anger · Bargaining · Depression · Acceptance, are the five said stages of grief. Besides my replacing bargaining with rage, I’ve switched up depression with guilt. And I’m already feeling the guilt bubble within, lashing out at myself because I feel I didn’t do enough to save him, even though I know better that I did. I beat myself up internally because I was always so on top of everything with his health. I knew he was declining. I did tele-health calls with Dr. B, when my husband began filling with fluid and I began taking him for paracentesis every two weeks to hospital, then turned into weekly stints by January. Thanks to Covid and nobody getting to see their doctors in the live, unless they happen to be in hospital, I would like to state that so many more people are dying from other things than Covid itself. Because of Covid.
The guilt consumes me daily as I bang my head into my fists crying out ‘why couldn’t I save him?’ No, depression doesn’t reside within, just the guilt. I don’t equate depression with the sadness of grief. I am not depressed. I am broken-hearted and excruciatingly sad to the core of my being, leaving me feeling as though my heart physically hurts.
This is why I need to read books. And as I already said, each of our grief is our own, and how we deal with it may be different, but no less, we will all no doubt, feel all the bumps through the journey whether we admit to them or not.
Grief is a process – a very long process. Its palpitations, rawness in the heart, and the unrelenting reels of scenarios that continue to play out in my mind as I’m left remembering his suffering for the past few months. No, I’m far from ready to sit down and talk about the good times. Those are much too painful to even allow myself to think about right now.
Those times will hopefully come well after acceptance comes, once I’ve accepted my husband is gone and never coming back. Once I’ve accepted and lived through the grief that my husband, my love, my best friend is no more, that will be acceptance. And that is feeling such a long ways away right now. I dare not sit and reminisce over our wonderful times together, because it hurts too much to think about things that will never again be.
Once I graduate from playing the repetitive movie reels of the last weeks of our life together, where I watched over him, cared for him, felt his pain and his own sadness that he thought he’d kept hidden from me, and once I can allow myself to physically fall apart for more than just the many sporadic meltdowns I’m living through, and I can finally admit my husband is no more in this life, I will reach acceptance. And only after the time comes, will I be able to pick myself back up and put my beloved husband tucked safely in a corner of my heart, and then maybe I will be ready to accept what I am far from ready from doing presently.
Oh yes, grief is a process. It’s a long process, and for some it can be lifelong. Death of a spouse is its own special variety of grief. As someone who has grieved far too many times in my life, and differently for each passing loved one, I have to say, the death of a spouse is pretty earth shattering. And I will also say, that every grief is different, just like everyone grieves differently. A lot of the grief comes from tons of angles that feel like darts being thrown at me. The missing of every single thing we did together, because we were best friends too. Many relationships are different with couples, but despite the levels and variations of love, a couple suddenly becoming one alone is a huge transition to be had.
Everything changes in a blink of an eye and we’re just supposed to keep moving, while we’re in shock.
It really is a journey of baby steps, this is certain. You can only go one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time. But you still must live and take care of things, take care of business, take care of ourselves. The world doesn’t stop just because ours has, there are many legalities that need to be dealt with, banking, credit cards, investments, insurance, etc. And when you’re living solo, it’s me, myself, and I taking care of everything while trying to keep it all together.
So, the bottom line I will say from my experience so far, as my husband hasn’t even been gone a month, and it feels more like two years’ worth of grief and time have passed for me. I have a long way to go yet, but I’m making plans. Because we have to make plans. Ideally, I would have already been on a plane to England at this point, but sadly, I await vax #2 here in the Covid capital of Canada. I feel the need to go far away and be in another headspace for a while for a bit of distance from the oh so familiar. My friend there is awaiting her 2nd vax June 2nd and promises to fly over here for a few weeks to help me pack up and move to a smaller unit in my same building. We are hoping she can fly here and then hoping we can fly out of Corona Toronto back to UK together. That’s the plan. We need to have plans. Yes, we suffer, scream, cry, hurt, but eventually we have to move on. But that doesn’t mean we won’t always love or miss or hurt for our lost loved one. I’m told by many, even at the end of the hard grieving journey, there’s always going to be a hole within, but there’s apparently, a time when we will be able manage the hole a little easier. I long for that day when my suffering might ease.
I asked for Twenty years. He gave me twenty-one and a lifetime of love.
I was recently introduced to Nora McInerny’s books and her Ted Talk. I can’t wait to dig into her books. I felt a kindred spirit with Nora, not only because we both carry heavy hearts, but because she decided to share her grief to help others and lays it all out in it’s raw essence, coupled with injections of humor – sort of like the way I write. No doubts I’ll write a book on this topic and it will stand along side Nora’s.
Enjoy this 15 minute, entertaining, and beautiful video where Nora shares her triple grief and how she dealt.
If anyone here has lost someone and carries a deep hole within and wishes to share some of themselves, please feel free to join the conversation.
Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – February 2021 – Online Dating – Staying Safe
Welcome back to my Realms of Relationships Column at the Smorgasbord. In last month’s edition I talked about Online Communications regarding scam emails and how to beware of them. In this issue, I’m going to talk more about Online Romantic Relationships and what to look for when vetting potential mates.
Back in the day, meeting potential love interests entailed going out and meeting people and mingling. Now this could happen anywhere, but in my heydays, going dancing at clubs two-three times a week afforded me the chance to meet many potential dates, despite my policy ‘never to go out with anyone I met in a bar or club’, and I stuck to that. But I sure had my share of romantic relationships – often with the wrong types as I lived and learned, and many of those relationships began with people I met at the workplace.
In those ancient times, like modern times, we dated and rated our suitors through the time we spent in those relationships. Sure, socially active people out in public still do meet their significant others, but with the advent of technology, many more are going to dating sites in search of someone to fill their emptiness, looking for love. And meeting a potential suitor on the internet comes with its own set of rules – because we are getting to know someone online – sight unseen, going on the information we receive from them. But what if they’re lying about who they are? How do we vet these unknown strangers we may become attracted to, to help verify if they are who they say they are?
Let’s dig in!
We’ve come a long way from the days of getting all dressed and looking our best to go out on the town, hoping to make a connection when looking for love. Sure, it still happens, but not as much as internet dating sites and social media apps are common ground now for those searching for a mate.
As a person who studies people for a hobby, I’ve learned to adjust my sails when trying to figure out the validity of online people. I can say with authority, that there are a lot of lurkers on social media who try to hit on women. I have no doubts, that there are just as many women who prey on men too. I’m speaking as a woman who gets stalked occasionally – especially on Facebook, as do quite a few of my colleagues.
I’m going to attribute my vetting experience to being an avid watcher of police procedurals for many years – part of my fascination with studying people, curious to learn what spurs their criminal tendencies.
First up: What to beware of:
Fast Eddies – This is my name for suitors that haven’t spent enough chat time getting to know each other and who go gung-ho for setting up a live meet. Just no! There’s a lot more vetting to do before you should get to that part.
No photo – Anyone who won’t post a photo, in my books, doesn’t have good intentions, or has something to hide. And if they do post a photo, make sure you use an app like Tineye. This app allows you to plug in any photo, whether downloaded or using copy and paste, and checks the origins of the image.
Keep a list – Write down facts of discovery through conversations with a potential suitor. When you write things down as you learn them, you have something to go back on when putting together the profile for that person. Make a list of their hobbies, their perspective on issues that are important to you as you discuss. Ask pertinent questions and be subtle when doing so. – For example, asking someone what their religion is might be too forward, but rewording your questions before blurting them out will get you a lot further. Instead, you might ask if the person enjoys celebrating religious holidays with family. This type of question will get you a much better answer than just a yes or no, and leave an open door to elaborate on. Let’s say the suitor responds with, “We only go to church at Christmas or Easter.” That statement allows for you to respond and ask many more questions such as: Who is we? So you’re Catholic? So you aren’t very religious? Be crafty with your questions. And write down responses.
If a potential suitor is gabbing online with you midday and told you he works five days a week, subtly slide in the question – ‘Aren’t you working today?’ It’s totally possible he was thinking about you and wanted to say hello during a break, but asking the question will give you a clearer indication, based on time chatting and what comes out of the conversation helping to determine better, the sincerity of his words.
Beware of being sucked in! It’s astounding to me the amount of people who get swooped into financial scams by fake suitors. If you learn nothing from my post here, learn this – NEVER send money to anyone courting you online. NEVER. There are plenty of scammers and desperate people among those with good intentions, and it’s our job to filter them out to remain safe.
NEVER go it alone when meeting a potential suitor for the first time in person.
Set up a first-time meet in a public place. Make sure to tell a friend or relative where you are going so somebody in your circle knows where you are.
Take your own means of transportation. Do not accept an offer from the suitor to pick you up. There are two potential dangers – getting trapped in their vehicle, and allowing them to know where you live.
If you feel enough time and information has passed between you both and perhaps you’re both ready to meet, again, make sure you set up a meet in a public place, you take your own transportation, and you’ve informed a friend of your whereabouts.
If by chance you’re ready to visit the suitor who lives in another city or country, book yourself a hotel/motel room before you go. It’s important to have a place of shelter if things go wrong. You could book it for a week or two and once you feel comfortable in person, can always cancel the rest of the booking.
What can you do to protect yourself as an online member of a dating site:
Create a new and separate email address and user-name to use for any dating site profiles, that way if things go sour with someone, and you wish to eliminate your original profile and any breadcrumbs of data that attached to your user name profile, you can rejoin with a new email address and user name with no ties to your real everyday email address or any other previously used. This way, if you had a bad experience with another member, they won’t be able to hound you.
Photos – always download a photo from your own direct source – meaning, not a photo taken from your social media that can be tracked back to original source (again, you aren’t the only one aware of apps like ‘tineye’ and others can use it to add your photo and learn more about you on social media before you’re ready for that). And be real. Use a real and ‘somewhat’ current image of yourself – not one of someone else, no other images in place of, or a photo that is decades old. If you are serious about wanting to meet someone, then you’ll eventually want to meet that person live, and ultimately, the gig will be up if you fib.
Checklist of Reminders
• Keep a list of facts, making sure they add up! –
• Financial requests? – Run fast!
• Use your instincts, don’t be gullible.
Make your rules clear. Be upfront about your rules, never agree to meet anyone in person until enough time has passed in the online chat or phone chats, before graduating to any next steps, until a trust can be felt. No throwing caution to the wind.
Learn How to Vet Online suitors
On social media, there’s a plethora of available information on each and every one of us who use the internet. You can do your own people searching by checking their various social media accounts for bios, and reading chat on those forums to get a feel for how they interact, and who they interact with, Googling them, and by checking out any available websites they are on. Remember to use the available tools on each social app to block or report anyone hassling you on any social sites. Also remember to use the settings on these apps to make your own posts available to friends only if you don’t want any lurkers.
This online dating coach, Amie knows the internet dating protocol well:
Last of all, I do want to add that after we’ve done our due diligence in vetting the potentials we chat with online, remember that just because we aren’t talking in person, our personality and character will shine through between the lines and through our words. Have you ever read a comment on social media and can just feel the smile come through? It can! So pay attention to your words and how you evoke them when trying to make a good impression. Below, find a few paragraphs from the chapter, Online Dating, from my book, Words We Carry:
“By talking, we express who we are and what we care about, what interests us. This is all part of personality and character. Maybe our passion is for our children, our hobbies, or a cause we believe in. All these things show heart and compassion. By keeping true to our authentic selves and sharing our enthusiasm with others, although our passions may not appeal to everyone, we will eventually connect with someone who appreciates our attributes.
By sharing our thoughts, we emit character. Not all of this will happen overnight, but if we take this advice in stride and adapt it to our lives, we will attract like-minded people. This applies to dating profiles, blogs, and casual conversations.
Did you know you can actually feel someone smiling through his or her words? It’s true. Smiles aren’t only visual. You can sense them when you’re reading a book or article, the same way you can sense them in a chat box or a personal bio. When somebody reads your bio, he or she receives an evaluation of who you are.
Words are powerful, so use them wisely and to their best potential. Everything you say and write on the internet follows you.”
Now, let’s discuss. Have any of you met your significant other online? Do you use dating apps? Would you like to share a story of an experience you had?
My thanks to Debby for this detailed guide to online dating… in pays to be vigilant
Welcome to my first post for 2021 at the Smorgasbord – Scammers and Trolls Beware!
Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – January 2021 – Online Connections–Vetting on the Internet, Email and Social Media for Scammers and Trolls
Originally posted at: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2021/01/18/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-d-g-kaye-explores-the-realms-of-relationships-january-2021-online-connections-vetting-on-the-internet-email-and-social-media-for-scammers-and-trolls/
Happy New Year and welcome back to a new year of Realms of Relationships. This is my corner at Smorgasbord Blog Magazine where Sally generously, gives me a featured spot here to share some nuggets of experience on various aspects of communication and relationships we encounter and form through life, where I talk about how I analyze and deal with same issues.
In this first post of the year, I thought I’d talk about how to deal with online scammers and emails, and discuss the importance of vetting people who want to connect with us on social media. Relationship and romantic and business connections, and how to search out the predators who lurk, will be part two on this topic for next month’s post.
Much of the world has at least somewhat of a digital existence since the advent of the internet became an appendage part of our lives these past few decades. Internet has become a whole new entity of itself and some who aren’t so internet savvy have to be extra diligent about who they allow into their circles – even more so – into their lives, digitally.
Now, we all know the many pros about living digitally, but do we know how to recognize the cons?
Social media, email and online dating apps can become threatening when allowing or inviting the wrong type of people into our circles. It’s essential we verify who we are speaking with on the other side of the internet before we allow them into our business.
On the pro side, social media and group apps are a good thing to keep us engaged, and a good means to interact with our peers and family. We can Zoom with friends, family, and for meetings, which of course has been a lifeline for many during this Coronavirus time.
We can instant message our friends and family through apps and texts. And we can make connections with like-minded people globally. And of course, there are numerous apps online for dating. But I caution to be diligent on those apps, and I’ll get to that next issue.
On the con side, in order to make healthy and honest connections in this era of trolls and scammers, we should all be doing our due diligence verifying the people we allow in our circles, making sure they are authentic. Before we make new bonds or meet up with people we’ve met on apps, it’s essential that we do a little background checking. Just as it’s equally important to verify the true source of an email before allowing ourselves to be scammed. And these topics are what I’m going to cover here today.
Let’s begin with scam emails and how to detect them – what we need to look for when siphoning out a suspicious email. For example, I’ll share about some usual scammy emails I have personally received over time – scam emails from my bank, my government, Amazon, and Paypal and how I deal with them.
In the past few weeks alone, I’ve been inundated with emails from Amazon, informing me that my account is under investigation and has been closed due to suspicious activity, or requires my attention. The messages all ‘conveniently’ offer me a link so I can log in to my account and check what the ensuing problem is. DON’T! Do not click on that link! In fact, when you receive any kind of such emails NEVER EVER click on the supplied link in the email to sign into your account to investigate. NEVER! This is how the hackers get into your account, you are opening the door for them. Their intent with these emails are , they are hoping you do exactly that, open it!
I’m beyond recognizing these scams because they are so frequent. I just auto delete and don’t even bother going over to Amazon to check anything because I know the ruse. But for those of you who get startled and alarmed by such scary information and feel the need to verify, just GO directly to Amazon URL and log in to your account DIRECTLY FROM AMAZON. You are going to the source direct. If there is any problem with your account, Amazon will be only too happy to leave a notification on your account.
How to recognize scam mail –a huge tell of a scammy email is to look directly within the URL address from the sender. Any reputable company sending email will have no extra gobbledygook attached to the sender name. When you receive email from Amazon it will say something like -“Amazon dot com@support or something of its ilk, but it WILL NOT HAVE any other tails attached to the URL, such as random letters and numbers or names – like this: (taken from one of the numerous scam mails in my junk bin)
Mail sent by Assistant Amazon: We found a suspicious transaction on your payments profile Sun, December 20, 2020 [6894-593980-LBXUJ72G]
Customer Service <norpl-SLQOV8GOcWH2xf1HunY8cuEUX5@AlanLinares.onmicrosoft.com>
Sun 2020-12-20 1:25 PM
Here is the message in the body:
“Amazon Customer Protection.”
In this spot is the box they want me to click on
The payment for your latest order is failed. It appears that some of the billing details associated with your account might have expired or were otherwise changed. Please update your account information by Sun, December 20, 2020 to avoid limitation to access.
Also, look at the bottom of the email signature for telltale weird stuff and unprofessional signature. But your two main flashing warnings are a wonky URL from the sender, and a ‘click this link’ offering embedded in the email. No reputable company or institution will EVER leave an embedded log in link within the email. Check out the signature at the end of the above email:
Thank you for making this a priority.
Headquarters : Seattle, Washington, United States
Order Date : Sun, December 20, 2020
That’s it! Anyone can write that signature!
As most of you reading this are familiar with email correspondence from Amazon, their sender address is from plain old Amazon.ca, or in many of your cases – Amazon.com, no names, letters or nonsense attached to sender name.
This same information applies to any email from any company or institution you do business with. Anywhere! Some companies offer a ‘spoofing’ or ‘phishing’ email address you can forward the scam email to so they can find and get rid of yet another scammer. I try to always forward a scam email to these company’s spoof or phishing address so they can be alerted.
Here’s what Amazon suggests:
To report a phishing or spoofed email or webpage:
1. Open a new email and attach the email you suspect is fake. For suspicious webpages, copy and paste the link into the email body.
Note: If you can’t send the email as an attachment, you can forward it.
2. Send the email to email@example.com.
Note: Sending the suspicious email as an attachment is the best way for us to track it.
Paypal also requests we send scam emails to them so they can eliminate yet another scammer. This is their advice:
If you believe you’ve received a phishing email, follow these steps right away: Forward the entire email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not alter the subject line or forward the message as an attachment.
Similarly, most institutions have a number or email you can forward scam emails too. I always do. If we all did, we could eliminate many of these thieves.
All the same information applies to scam banking or government emails. If the URL is wonky and there is a link offered in the email to log in to your account to rectify DO NOT! Always go directly to the website of your account and log in safely. Then do your fellow man a favor and report the scam to the appropriate authorities. In my case, when I received an email from our Canada Revenue Taxation branch urging me to login because they had found money for me, I Googled up the appropriate source to inform of the scam and wound up calling the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) Fraud Squad to report it and they thanked me for doing so.
If the government has money for me, I’m already linked with auto deposit from them, and they know my address. Trust me, the government doesn’t take the time to send you a ‘hello’ email, ‘we’re sending you money.’ It’s auto deposited. And if they don’t deposit what’s expected, they’ll forward a letter by mail explaining so.
I use the exact same protocol for scam bank emails alerting me to ‘a problem with my account and because of it, my account has been frozen until rectified.’ These brazen types of scams even come by text on my mobile phone. I find them hilarious considering my bank doesn’t even have my cell phone number. Delete! Delete!
Now, let’s talk about social media apps. Facebook is notorious for its trolls and lonely hearts wanderers. Besides the disinformation and lies Facebook allows on its platform, it also has many trolls instigating and desecrating truth, but many others are stalking some and trying to form romantic relationships. How do I know this? Because I run a few groups on Facebook, including a political one. And I get numerous requests in my notifications from weirdos trying to hit on me! Firstly, I don’t EVER engage with trolls. When I receive rude or ignorant political comments, I click on the commenter’s name, which takes me to their page and I block them. If I deem them threatening, while on their page, I both, block, and report them. If they try any crap in any of my groups I run, I just report and then boot them.
Now, about making friendships and alliances online, that entails a deeper kind of investigating.
Let’s go back to Facebook as an example – I frequently get notifications that ‘so and so’ would like to be my friend. And this is where it’s important to do some checking. Here are some things to ask yourself before adding that ‘new’ friend:
- Do I know this person?
- How do I know this person?
- Do I want them privy to the posts I make on my personal page?
As an author on Facebook I have two pages, a personal page and an author page. I use my author page to share blog posts, writing posts, books, and memes relating to all the things I advocate for and relate to the books and stories I write. On my personal page I post memes about things I believe in, injustices, current events, humor, personal updates, and memes that speak a message, or even things about my sentiments on issues. That’s why it’s called my ‘personal’ page. If you aren’t in line with my posts, then you shouldn’t friend me. And that isn’t just for trolls who will never be invited, but for all friend requests. This is why 99% of my personal posts are set to be viewed by ‘friends’ only. I’m not looking to make waves with others who don’t approve or make judgments, and if I don’t feel you may be able to handle the things I post, I decline invitations.
So how do I vet these requests? I never just accept them, unless I know them. I visit the page of the person who requested the friendship and take a look at what types of things they like to post. I also read their ‘about’ blurb to see what I can learn about them or their opinions. If they are within the realms of my criteria, I’ll accept. If I feel otherwise, I decline. If I feel real curious about that person, I’ll continue on my investigation looking through various other social media accounts of that person.
There’s an old saying, an actual quote by Maya Angelou – “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” We have much to learn from the posts and articles people share. It’s up to us to do our digital search to vet the people we allow into our circles for various reasons:
- We don’t need a public clashing of personality or beliefs and rude comments left on our posts
- We should know something about someone before we want to attach our names to their circles. Online reputation is of utmost importance to keep clean, especially if we conduct our business online.
- Allowing anyone to be our friend on Facebook, allows them to post and comment on our timeline. We don’t want to have to worry about unsavory comments left on our pages.
I hope this article has helped to enlighten you about just a few of the scams going on around cyberworld, and hope I’ve made it clear to NEVER log in to any account directly through an email. Do your diligence on social media apps so you don’t get caught in the web of trolls.
Next month, I’m going to get into Online Dating Apps and what to beware of, how to make a presentable profile and how to vet potential romantic interests.
If you’d like to share any of your own experience with a scam or a troll, let’s discuss!
Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships -December 2020 – Say it with Greeting Cards – Treading Carefully with Words
Say it with Greeting Cards – Treading Carefully with Words
Welcome back to my Realms of Relationships Column. In last month’s article, I hinted that my next post would be on the topic of ‘No Contact’, but I’ve rescheduled that one for later as I was inspired while visiting a forum about a topic that’s a bit more seasonally related – buying greeting cards for difficult people..
The inspiration for this post stemmed from an interesting conversation I struck up in comments after reading the article. Someone was sharing about anxiety issues she had when having to buy a greeting card for her narcissistic mother. Her comment struck a note of familiarity. I got involved in the conversation with comment and was then posed an interesting question – asking me if I’d ever encountered issues when having to buy a birthday card for my mother. The writer was taking a survey of those that encountered same difficulties as she did. And did I ever!
The incident sparked some memories about my issues, the difficulties I encountered when purchasing greeting cards for my mother, and many of you here already know my issues about growing up with a narcissistic mother, you can imagine the difficulties I had choosing the appropriate card for her for any occasion. It was a sensitive task. But hopefully, many of you here didn’t have to deal with such an experience, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have people on your card list that you too may find it an uncomfortable task when having to choose the right card for. We want to evoke our good wishes for them, but also don’t wish to convey anything overly mushy.
Such a poignant question took me back to those years of standing in front of the card section, reading card after card, looking for just the right words—words that could evoke a cheery greeting without the mushy sentiment, yet, not sounding as though there was no sentiment. Tricky one this is.
I spent much of my life trying to dodge my mother, and at the same time tried desperately not to hurt her feelings, so choosing greetings cards for her for any occasion became an uncomfortable time for me. This was a task that churned away at my insides as my empathic side always seemed to feel sorry for her despite my desire to stay away from her. And so, for the purpose of this post, I’ll use my mother as an example of what to look for in a card. Feel free to insert the name of anyone in your life you struggle with buying a card for, with my examples.
Looking for a positive message to honor the occasion without flouting the tender words is a sensitive operation. I won’t lie, even in a greeting card. The worst anxiety of card shopping for my mother came when choosing Mother’s Day cards. You may wonder why I bothered at all, considering the anxiety it gave me choosing a card while trying to envision how it would be received by my mother. But I’d given her cards since I was a small child, and she came to expect them. I felt if I didn’t continue, I’d be worse off by both, making my mother feel bad and excluded, and I’d also be harshly reprimanded for being so inconsiderate. Mother desperately wanted to be adored, and I never wanted to hurt her, but I also would not indulge her with the flowery prose and ‘love’ words she’d expected, so I had to choose my words carefully.
The anxiety began building weeks before an occasion. What card could I buy her that would make her happy and keep me out of the doghouse?
Picking out the ‘perfect’ greeting card, because she expected it, was essential, but finding one that conveyed a warm message with no mushy sentiments became a delicate mission. If there isn’t acknowledgement of love for mother in a card, sarcasm would ensue. It became a life-long struggle to appease to avoid conflict.
Choosing a greeting card as the child of narcissist can create great anxiety, especially for those like me who found it uncomfortable talking about feelings until I was well into my twenties.
There had to be a delicate balance between pleasing the narc parent to maintain sanity and not getting caught in the guilty web. An unnurtured relationship between mothers and daughters leaves a void of unfulfilment for the child. And so naturally, if I never felt the confidence to share my thoughts, dreams, fears, or aspirations with my mother, surely, I wasn’t about to express them in a greeting card.
Now imagine you aren’t comfortable discussing feelings with certain family members, and how uncomfortable it can be to have to buy a greeting card for them. So, here are some tips I use to help ease the process:
- Work around the words. How many Mother’s Day cards are filled with ‘Thanks for being a great Mom’, ‘I love you Mom’, ‘A mother’s love is …’, you get the picture. A trip to the card store had me feeling anxious and had me spending too much time reading all the cards in search for appropriate words – Happy Mother’s Day, Happy Birthday Mother, Wishing you a beautiful day Mother – those were the type of cards I searched for, a warm greeting, acknowledgment of title (Mom) – short and sweet.
- Thankfully, there are oodles of choices for greeting cards. If you don’t wish to reveal too much about what or how you’re feeling about someone you feel obligated to send a card to, first figure out how you wish to approach the hunt. Stay away from the heavy-duty sentimental cards. Think about giving a humorous card that will take the sentiment in a different direction to diffuse the ‘feeling’ cards and take the edge off the discomfort.
- Find a card that acknowledges the person but doesn’t embellish on the sentimentality, eg: ‘Happy Birthday wishes to brighten your day Mother’ is a safer generic choice than ‘Happy Birthday to a loving mother’, you get the drift. This way you can convey good cheer without the mush.
- If you’re crafty and/or artistic, you may opt to make your own cards. The sentiment is that you created it especially for that person, and you can choose your own words.
I’m sure everyone has someone in their lives they’ve felt a bit awkward about giving a greeting card to. There is no need to hurt someone’s feelings just because we may not be feeling the love. And there is no need to give a card that implies sentiments we don’t feel, because that just makes us feel awkward around that person. We must figure out what we want to convey in the message and choose the vessel and appropriate theme we wish to deliver the message in, and keep the sentiment light, but real. If humor makes us feel more comfortable, then go for the funny.
Also, if it’s a close family member you’re trying to dodge using endearing words for, do remember to still include a proper salutation in the card. For example: if it’s a Birthday card and you don’t wish to appear as stone cold with a generic card – ‘Birthday wishes’, make sure it’s still a card addressed to ‘Happy Birthday Mother’, ‘For your birthday Mother’, ‘Just for you Mother’, then read the inside words carefully to make sure the message is in line with your sincere wishes without including words that don’t apply to your sentiments or ones that magnify your feelings. Now you can feel good about presenting a card to a relative without the worry of slighting them and still acknowledging them without the fluffy prose.
Have any of you encountered the uncomfortable task of having to buy a card for a loved one that gave you trouble searching for the appropriate words?
My thanks to Debby for sharing what can be a tricky situation to be in when it should be a joyous occasion buying a card for someone close. I know that she would love your feedback…
Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships -November 2020 – People Pleasers. Do you know one? Are you one?
Realms of Relationships: People Pleasers. Do you know one? Are you one?
People Pleasers are those who live perpetually by appeasing others—despite whether they’re happy doing so. And sadly, for some, the practice often becomes a programmable setting after so much time passes. People pleasing goes beyond the act of being kind, it means one who always puts the wants and needs of someone ahead of their own even when there’s no joy in it.
Let’s clarify. I’m not talking about something we may do with joy in our hearts for a loved one.
I’m referring to those who’ve somehow made themselves feel obligated to the point they’re taken for granted. So where do we draw the line with our urge to please others, to stop it from becoming a damaging regular occurrence to the point we become a doormat? And what is it that makes us so afraid to disappoint to the point we can’t say no? Mostly, these urges to be so accommodating have a lot to do with acceptance issues, low self-esteem, loneliness, and the possibilities are endless, because we worry we’ll be judged or unloved, unliked, ignored—you get the picture.
Let’s stop pretending, where does it get us? It gets us in a place we aren’t happy being, and it’s being inauthentic to ourselves. If we constantly agree to people’s whims and demands, putting others before our own needs, we need to learn how to draw a line for self-preservation.
Why do some of us feel compelled to bite our tongues while trying to avoid saying how we really feel about someone who takes advantage of our good nature? Why do some of us repeatedly get sucked into people’s drama, leaving us with a constant need to appease?
Think about it, if we aren’t comfortable around someone or have to walk on eggshells when in their presence, WHY ARE WE THERE?
How much courage do we need before we’re propelled to remove ourselves from situations that aren’t healthy or enriching, or maybe not even interesting to us? Okay, sure, there are just some things in life we must endure even if we don’t enjoy doing them, like having to go to the dentist or any other matter we must attend to, but that is a different conversation. I’m talking about repeatedly subjecting ourselves to things or people we don’t wish to serve, or going to places we don’t want to be, because it’s not productive for us or the other party when we do things without putting our hearts into them. Feigning interest isn’t fun and will eventually take its toll whether that be in the form of depression, anxiety, unease, boredom, and that’s not even counting our loss of happiness time.
But one thing is certain in life, we have free will. So why do we stay somewhere we’re uncomfortable staying, or go somewhere we don’t want to go, or do things for people who impose on us? We allow ego to take over our heart’s desire.
It’s one thing to feign we’re having fun when we’re not, but going somewhere we don’t want to be just to show good faith, respect, or whatever the endgame may be for going, is essentially accommodating someone else’s needs and inconveniencing ourselves. We need time to take a pause and assess.
There are many forms of people pleasing, from accommodating favors, taking directives, doing someone else’s job for them, doing someone else’s homework out of threat or obligation—to name a few. Even the event of eating can be something people do to please, especially when it entails having company for dinner or having dinner at someone else’s house as a social obligation. . .
Example true story – Eating to please:
In the first 10 years of our marriage, hub and I led a very social life. We hosted many parties. We were ‘the backyard’ other neighbors dropped over to. We had many friends who were ‘our’ friends, and of course there were old friendships we both brought into our marriage.
We held many dinner parties and went to many in return. That’s the key phrase—in return. Most were fun, and some became obligatory. Having two-couple intimate dinner parties with people we may not have typically chosen to be friends with can be sticky. I’ve had the people pleaser syndrome for much of my life, and I’m still working on eliminating it, as it is an ongoing process, but at least I’m aware, and working on it.
Sadly, I used to allow my stubbornness to keep pushing or trying to make things work when I knew better. But after some time, doing what I did and keeping up appearances, after two years of every two or three months of exchanging dinners at our homes with this one couple in reciprocation, was growing stale with me. The conversation was unstimulating (so was the food), and I had nothing in common with that couple, other than the husband was an old friend of my hub’s from a different era in my hub’s life, but they were not necessarily the people I’d have chosen myself for intimate dinner friends. And so I finally told hub it’s a no-can-do anymore.
Why did I endure a dozen dinners before finally saying no more? Did I think the next time would be better? Was it because it was the right thing to do or because I wanted to respect my husband’s friendships? Yes, to all.
Of course, I respect all my husband’s friendships, but guess what? That doesn’t mean I have to like all his friends enough to spend personal hours of my time with them. Yes, it’s nice to appease sometimes, but it shouldn’t become a habit, nor an obligation if it doesn’t fulfill us or pleasure us. A favor once or twice is one thing; but making it a habit is another.
I am finely tuned into my intuition, but I wasn’t always, and I still kick myself when I know, yet doubt myself anyway. I was a pleaser all my life. I always tried to ‘do the right thing’. I did it as a child and I did it way past the time when I knew it was time to stop, it was an ongoing habit. I couldn’t abandon my mother’s requests because she was my mother, I felt indebted. For years I never thought otherwise than it was my duty, those are the cards—and mother I was dealt, so I felt obligated as a daughter to do what was expected of me. That was the phrase I’d drilled into myself as a child unhappy having to do things I didn’t feel I should have had to be doing. Until I couldn’t anymore, many decades later. Eventually our tolerances will wear thin if we are perpetually doing things and going to places we have no enthusiasm for. So, for those (like myself) who sometimes fall into this pit, do a check, and see if you have fallen into this trap.
Checklist to see if you’re a people pleaser:
• You struggle with using the word no
• You find it difficult to speak up for yourself
• You have an ongoing concern with how people will receive you if you reject their demands
• You are too accommodating
• You’ll suffer giving something up in order to make someone else happy
• You have a low self-esteem
• You easily come dependent on other people’s acceptance of you
• You are constantly seeking approval
• You have a dire need for acceptance
• You do things others would expect of you despite not wanting to do them
• You worry that others are always judging you
• You are deeply affected by criticism
• You’re always willing to do a favor for someone, despite the need to accomplish something for yourself in that time
• You are blind to the motives behind others when they are abusing you
Break the Pattern and Recognize the Signs:
If you already have self- esteem issues, you may be one who gets trapped into aiding wrong people because you crave the attention from them. Some pleasers need to boost their self-worth by seeking approval from others. It’s a false sense of feeling when we think people care about us because we’re useful to them. Is this fulfilling? No, this is not a substitute for genuine concern. People pleasers often spend a lot of time worrying about rejection. This makes them feel that by keeping others happy, they’ll be appreciated. Some people thrive on the act of being needed.
For people who have a hard time saying no, beware you aren’t being taken advantage of.
Are you an apologizer and always ready to take the blame to avoid confrontation? Are you quick to agree just to keep the peace?
When is the last time you did something for yourself? If you are spending all your time doing things for others without remembering self- care, you’re a people pleaser. It’s time to make some time for yourselves. When you ignore your own needs because you’re always putting yourself ahead of others, you’ve become a people pleaser.
Beware the predators – The people who take advantage of you. You want to keep people happy, but you must beware of those who seek naïve, weak, underdog, good-natured people who use others for favors. Some victims also get sucked into giving money. Children also know how far they can push their parents with demands. Anyone who demands your services, leaving you feeling like you’re a convenience, they’re potential opportunists who can ensnare us into pleasers.
Your relationships don’t satisfy you – When we are busy being obedient to others and not deriving pleasure from it, that doesn’t make a relationship satisfying. Feeling compelled to please others all the time can become stressful to maintain, thus creating potential health problems too—worry, working longer hours, maybe less sleep to manage getting all obligations done, to name a few.
So why do we continue to people please, sometimes beyond the point we’re even aware what we’re doing? There isn’t one simple answer or reason. Like habits and patterns, this condition can manifest for various reasons: past trauma, habitually pleasing as a method of maintaining an unhealthy relationship, neediness, fear of rejection, self-esteem issues, fear of loneliness, even damage lingering from past events where there were consequences for not fulfilling wishes, can all be triggers.
How to break the cycle
• Be aware of your behavior
• Pay attention to same people demanding of your time for favors
• Don’t over-compensate with kindness. Kindness should come naturally, and leave us with a good feeling we’ve done something good for someone, not with feelings of servitude.
• Favors should be given freely with an open heart from the giver, and not out of obligation
• Start putting yourself first before others
• Set boundaries
• Practice waiting until you’re asked as opposed to always volunteering.
• Seek help in therapy if you feel out of control with your compulsions. Learn how to cope with overwhelming guilty patterns by learning both coping and overcoming strategies
People pleasing is exactly how it sounds—spending our personal time pleasing other people. Like I said earlier, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to help someone out by doing them a favor. And there’s a difference between an unwanted obligation and one of that to a spouse, parent or child, but even when performing family obligations, take precautions to be cognizant of repeat offenders. We need to make time for the things that please ourselves too. When it all becomes too much, we shouldn’t hesitate to seek professional help.
Happiness should begin from within at self first. It’s difficult to reach goals for self if we’re over-extended helping others.
Learn how to say no. Take a stand for something you believe in, like perhaps making personal time for yourself, and don’t always be so accommodating when you’ve already made plans for yourself and someone tries to get you to do something for them again. Each proactive step you learn to take is a step closer to growth to overcome low self- esteem and insecurities, which will strengthen self-confidence.
Below are two videos which go a little deeper into the damages of people pleasing and how stop being a pleaser.
TedX talk, the damages that come from people pleasing. –Salma Hindy, Canadian comedian
How to stop being a people pleaser.
Do you find yourself caught being a people pleaser?
In the next issue of Realms of Relationships, I’ll be talking about – The breaking point, ‘No contact,’ when it’s time to make a break, and the path to getting there.
Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships -October 2020 -Envy, Jealousy, Bullying – A Path to Narcissism?
Originally posted: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2020/10/05/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-d-g-kaye-explores-the-realms-of-relationships-october-2020-envy-jealousy-bullying-a-path-to-narcissism/?fbclid=IwAR1gUCy87MCqPOOCN9KQZGWrn_BIuziQ04cgrsgphzEmV7HzqIo0pV7VhAM
Envy, Jealousy, Bullying – A Path to Narcissism?
There’s nothing good about the green-eyed monster, envy. Envy is a side-effect for some who harbor resentments and suffer a feeling of lacking. And for many, this syndrome can lead to narcissism—created from the root of the bad seed of envy that nurtures itself, manifesting into desire and creating a must need to, out-do, outlast, outshine and all the other ‘outs,’ better than anyone else in their circles and beyond, to compensate for the envy and attention others receive, with a desperate want to be showered with adulation and praise to feel superior.
The distinction between envy and jealousy is: Envy is a reaction to lack of something others have which you desire. Jealousy is a reaction to the threat of losing something, or usually someone, to another cause or person.
But where does this envious or jealous behavior evolve from? What are the seeds that spawn such behavior?
I’m familiar with the envy and the jealousy syndrome, so I can speak confidently from experience. My mother was a champion at both. I knew my mother better than I ever let her know me. I also know her beginnings in life were defining reasons for the contributing factors aiding in the creating of both bugs in her character, and the eventuality of her narcissism.
People don’t just behave a certain way out of thin air. Behaviors are learned from studying or being a part of other’s behavior and then adopting those same behaviors. Bad behavior and anger grow from resentments, neglect, hurt, and lacking, which can result into rage-filled anger episodes that can ultimately become a long-term side effect in behavioral patterns as resentments pile and fester. These frenzied fits become an assault on the narcissist’s victim’s self-esteem over long-term.
An emotionally neglected child who is berated, ridiculed, or ignored by a narcissistic parent, may feel vulnerable and sometimes insignificant, as their own declining self-esteem gets chipped away at. Without proper nurturing and attention, these children grow up with a lack of confidence, and can possibly begin to harbor their own grievances for other’s accomplishments. This is a perpetual unhealthy existence for a child.
Those harbored feelings of inadequacy can lead them to follow suit and become bullies themselves. Bullies aren’t born, just as racists aren’t born, they’re bred. We are born pure. It’s the outside influences that help feed us as we develop that help shape our values and preferences. These acquired negative traits can derive from both the home and outside influences. There are a multitude of things that can contribute to the reasons for someone becoming a bully. And the usual reason for a bully’s actions will come down to one of these: they’ve been hurt, jealousy, or anger. And often, if these traits aren’t dealt with, they have a propensity to become a precursor to narcissism.
Bullies have been hurt. They’ve been ridiculed and made to feel inadequate at some point, so in retaliation, they project by placing their frustrations on others. Often, the name-calling by a bully is a transference onto someone else because of what someone has laid on them, or, what they imagined was laid on them. Bullies feel outdone and unencouraged, they project back on to someone weaker because they’re reminded of what they themselves are lacking in and want someone else to feel their pain. Whether in school where they’re made to feel stupid by peers, or even a bad teacher, or home where they may be teased and ridiculed and neglected, they don’t want to be reminded about what they are missing out on, be it good grades, a shiny bike, and as they age, a job, a family, a vacation, lavish gifts – they are frustrated they don’t have something others do, either emotionally and/or materialistically.
The narcissism develops and begins with visions of seeking to attain something to compensate for what they lack in. Narcissists require praise like we need oxygen. They have a need to be admired for their actions and possessions. Compliments and kudos are their fuel to validate they are no longer lacking. These are components to how narcissism grows.
A narc is an oxymoron – like two people in one. Two selfs – fraudulent, and dreamer. The dreamer self is what keeps them focused on their fraudulent motives and goals to attain superiority, often presenting a social side of their nature in public, evoking their fraudulent self of grandiosity, authority and dominance, while deep inside, they know who they really are, which perpetuates the persona of their fraudulent self.
Narcs must maintain their personas and egos daily. It is in fact, a lot of work for narcs to keep up the show, but a necessary defense mechanism for their ego to survive and thrive. What must go on in their minds? Pathological narcs are delusional about imagining things that never happened and twisting events that have actually happened, into a converted version that fits their narrative better. Pathological narcs are the most dangerous of all relationships. They imagine things – slights and accomplishments that don’t exist, and they believe them. The dangers presented can be anything from threats, guilt trips, blackmail, lies, excuses, and they are notorious for gaslighting anyone who threatens their bubble of superiority.
Narcissistic parents are my familiar territory, as I grew up with a narcissistic mother.
Most of the damage from a narc parent begins in early development of their children, which, in itself, can contribute to becoming the catalyst for narcissism to be inherited if not checked. But not always, because it will depend on the emotional state of each individual child. Damage can lead to symptoms of withdrawal into oneself, creating a low self-esteem, becoming a people pleaser, and later, as mentioned earlier, can potentially manifest into bullying and/or narcissism transferred to their victims. The condition(s) will grow as the narc’s defenses escalate, leaving the child to form either a shield around themselves from others, or in contrast, a reactive personality, such as bullying in defense of the hurt that has accumulated from being ridiculed, belittled, and/or ignored.
It becomes a constant battle for a narcissist to defend their wounds with a growing determination to never be left out or hurt again. When a narc feels hurt or someone is outshining them, they unleash an inner rage which always resides within them, this is their defense used when being challenged or bested by someone else.
As a child of a narc, I will state that there are only two ways for us to develop. We either become like them or try to steer clear of them. Most children of narcissists require long-term therapy to unlearn the many familiar repercussions of low self-esteem, insecurity, and feelings of inadequacy, which are common results of growing up in a narcissistic environment. For the lucky ones of us, we turn to another family figure in our lives for nurturing. For me, I was fortunate to have my Aunty Sherry, my mother’s sister, who was well-versed in her sister’s antics. Some of us will develop a curiosity to learn the whys of their parent’s erratic and grandiose behavior. I turned to self-help books in efforts to find an understanding of my mother’s behavior to help me to understand what spurs this kind of behavior, which notably stems from their own childhood abuse. They mimicked instead of ran away from.
Narcissists have no empathy and create and live in their own reality. A narc’s scars evolve from them being humiliated, hurt, or ignored at a crucial point in their own young psychological development. When they are later faced with situations where they feel challenged, they become triggered by other’s accomplishments. Our successes remind them they have failed or have been deprived of the same accomplishment, as though someone else’s success takes away from them personally, leaving them feeling small and insignificant as they constantly compare themselves to others.
In order to get along with a narc, they must feel that they are in total control and they must be in the forefront ahead of anyone else, and if they feel threatened in a moment, they will make us pay emotionally by slashing our self-esteems and try to make us feel inferior, using a common tool called projection.
Example: Trying to help my own mother with her health issues by recommending better diet and supplementation, got me this—one of her standard retaliatory lines: “You think you’re so goddamned smart.” This is a perfect example because once you learn how a narc operates, you can begin to take their lashings with a grain of salt.
Dissection of that statement: My mother lived in grandiosity, so recommendations to her were like being told. And being told by her daughter who had a lot more knowledge than her when it came to health, annoyed her. It made her feel she wasn’t smart enough to know this on her own – triggering her own feelings of inadequacy, plus, she interpreted my giving advice as though she were being told by someone more educated than her, worse, from her own spawn. Those things always hit a nerve with her.
Envy vs. jealousy:
Envy is a reaction to someone who has something the envier wants, and they can’t or don’t have. The envious one wants that life, job, dress, car, education, etc.
Jealousy is ignited by a loss of someone they can no longer have in a relationship – attention paid to them gone, a partner cheating on them, a friend who spends other time with other friends, creating a raging drive fueling them to go to any lengths to retaliate, and the ultimate reaction is revenge. Jealousy can apply to any relationship – one of the heart or a friendship, where the jealous person fears losing that relationship, driving them to react impulsively.
A narc is a jealous person and can take their jealousy to dangerous levels. Jealousy is formed from insecurity. And their jealousy isn’t reserved only for strangers and friends, but children of narcs are often emotionally neglected by a narcissistic parent. These children get no encouragement, no applause for accomplishments, and sometimes rarely a compliment, as that would mean it would take away from the narc. Narcs feel that by giving anything compassionate of themselves, it takes away from them, almost like their ‘score card’.
Pathological narcissism sets in when delusion and extreme behavior evolve and can potentially lead to dangerous abuse. These feelings are born from feelings of insecurity, and from being made to feel inadequate, evoking a void in them, leading them to feel resentful with entitlement by feeling deserving of what everyone else has.
A narcissistic parent’s actions don’t change for their children. Typically, a narc mother would like their child to represent everything the parent wanted to be – a great achiever, well-dressed, popular, etc. Alternatively, as in my case growing up, I sensed my mother’s jealousies for any of my accomplishments. Instead of her acting proud of my accomplishments, looking at them as a reflection on accomplishment for herself as a mother, she felt the opposite way, making me feel as though my accomplishments were a threat and competition to her grandiosity. At other times, when she had an audience and her children were around, she would only then take the opportunity to brag about an accomplishment to let that person know how wonderful her child is. But one-on-one it was a different feeling.
Narcissistic parents who neglect their children emotionally will exude these usual behaviors: are uninterested in milestone accomplishments of their children, harbor covert jealousy, don’t encourage, shows no compassion, main goal is stealing the limelight, domination, and using threats and guilt trips as discipline. All these attributes help shape their child’s personality making the child feel nervous, inadequate, and insecure as they grow and venture into their own grownup lives. It’s a behavioral pattern that the child learns to adapt to – or avoid. These types of parents will either project onto their child everything they themselves wish to be, do, or have, and often will become jealous of all that child accomplishes throughout their life. The child grows up fearful of that parent – fear of reprimanding, threats, and punishments if they don’t obey the rules.
The tactic is known as emotional blackmail, a common method used for narcs to discipline children. This behavior will ultimately affect the relationships we, the children, gravitate to in future, similar unhealthy relationships, both, romantically and in friendships. These fractures narc’s children endure can lead to social retreat, lack of confidence, fear and insecurities, and no self-gratification for their own accomplishments. We become the product of who we grew up under, often depressed, nervous, anxious, and fearful. These repercussions can stick with that child all their lives unless they seek therapy – or in my case, self-help and a mentor.
The narc parent is a blamer on everyone else, nothing is their fault, with no regard for the fallout or the feelings of others. Two typical habits of narcs are, belittling of others to keep the spotlight on them, and denying the reality of a situation by twisting the narrative to match their perceived delusions. The narc parent’s lacking becomes the child’s problem.
Dr. Ramani – understanding a narcissist’s jealousy
My Mother’s jealousy of myself confirmed her disorder to me throughout my life. It began with her jealousy of my close relationship with my father. Then it grew into her jealousy for attention I was paid as I matured into young womanhood whenever we were out together and a male paid attention to me before her, and even when I began dating my now husband (who is incidentally, two years older than my mother was), and her flirtation with him upon first meeting. All her contrived jealousies were because in those instances, she did not hold the spotlight.
Dr. Ramani, Narcissistic Mothers
Children of Narcissistic Mothers need to educate themselves and/or get therapy to repair the mental damage inflicted upon them. The narc’s delusions should not become our realities. If we can recognize the signs of a narc that’s half the battle of learning that what they bestow upon us are derived from their inefficiencies, not ours. We need to recognize their symptoms so we can protect our self-esteems and find another path of nurturing and self-love so we don’t fall prey to falling into wrong relationships with same type of people and repeating what is familiar to us.
Recognize the signs of authoritative behavior, dominance, superiority complexes, emotionally unavailability, un-nurturing, blackmail, guilt trips, and mind manipulation. All these factors become an assault on our self-esteem. We need to realize we don’t owe our mothers a debt because they gave birth to us. We owe it to ourselves to learn the signs of a narcissist and how to adjust our sails when under their control. Narcissists won’t be told or controlled, it’s like pouring gasoline onto their open emotional wounds. We must learn how to protect ourselves from them. Sometimes, we must resort to drastic measures, such as, no contact as the years progress and we grow, as their toxicity never falters.
All situations are unique, but the symptoms never change. Because we can’t change them, we must find what’s most comfortable for ourselves to retain our own sanity. It’s called self-preservation and self-love—something I’ve spent most of my life working on, not just to survive emotionally, but to thrive.
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I’m including two more good video links here, for those wanting to learn more about narcissists and how they affect our personal lives:
Narcissism in a parent by Dr. Ramani
Pathological Jealousy and Narcissism – Why you can never earn their trust by Melanie Tonia Evans
©D.G. Kaye 2020
Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – August 2020 – #Intuition – Do you trust your gut instincts?
Welcome to my August edition of Realms of Relationships. Today I’m going to talk about our intuition, how to trust it, and how to sharpen our own intuitive skills.
What is intuition? There are a plethora of descriptions and explanations for intuition. But the basic mechanics of how it works is with our natural instinctual reaction – memories usually trigger something from a past lesson, which the mind often overlooks. In the same way we know when there’s danger around, intuition or our 6th sense, is automatically activated within us.
The term ‘gut instinct’ is often associated with intuition. But did you know there is a physical connection between the brain and the gut? This is no myth. Deep within the tissue of our guts is what’s called the enteric system. There is a scientific explanation for the correlation of things we feel internally, which are connected from the brain to the gut. When my intuition is trying to get my attention, it feels like an intestinal tug in the stomach is how I explain it. Thus, the said correlation between the brain and the intestines is a sign for me.
We’ve all had that ‘familiar’ feeling, often labeled as a déjà vu moment when our instincts pick up on a remembered moment from the past – which doesn’t necessarily mean the triggered sense of familiarity occurred in our present life, but perhaps from a past life? Déjà vu translates to ‘already seen’ from French. It’s a common term we all use when we come upon a moment that feels so familiar, having us feeling as though we’ve already been in or experienced that precise moment, quite possibly from another place and time, as it’s an inexplicable feeling without an exact recollection of where the experience was first felt.
Intuition is often referred to as ‘non-conscious emotional information’. Einstein had referred to it as a gift. It’s a sense of knowing without a rational and sometimes inexplicable fact. Many say that only psychics and mediums are guided by intuition, but intuition is a culmination of all things we’ve learned in our experiences that are stored in the archives of our minds, which quite possibly become the catalyst for our heightened alert system, ignited by a situation that feels remembered. Material retained is deeply buried within us, although we’re unaware of the influence the sum of our memories have on us.
“Intuition is the voice of spirit within you.” – Morgan Llewllyn
It’s a delicate art to be able to home into and trust our intuition, sometimes with all the outside noise and confusion leaving us feeling conflicted with deciding between what our inner voice is telling us, and our self-doubting egos that can tend to get in the way.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.” — Albert Einstein
Is our intuition learned or acquired, or are we born with it? The difference between rationalization and intuition becomes a quandary, leaving us having to decide if what we’re feeling is a sign to move forward, or leaving us to doubt our inner instincts.
This video below, helps to explain:
Everyday things we make decisions about are initiated by intuition, whether or not we follow through with the pushes from the universe depends on our own self-trust.
Signs that our intuition is trying to tell us something may not be a tug in our gut, but quite possibly whispers to self, and by synchronicities in our daily lives (when signs keep appearing in attempts to guide us). Premonitions and dreams may also portend messages about decisions that are weighing on us.
Example: It’s sunny outside, but we take an umbrella because we have a feeling it’s going to rain, despite what the weatherman says, because we have a hunch it may rain, as opposed to the cautious person who will take that umbrella just in case, without intuition being the motivator, just caution.
Our world is complicated and noisy, and if we were to listen to our inner guidance, solely, without the influences of our own ego getting in the way, we’d be on our way to getting in touch with our intuition. Remember, when we are faced with making a decision and our gut sends us a message and we in turn begin to question what we are feeling, bringing in doubt and fear and questioning our own inner guidance, we are bringing ego into the equation, which will sabotage the whole point of following our initial instincts.
Dr. Judith Orloff says in her book, “A highly developed intuition is a “secret weapon”, Guide to Intuitive Healing, on intuition says: “It gives you all kinds of information you wouldn’t normally have. This isn’t the brain analyzing; this is nonlinear knowledge. It’s a second kind of intelligence. You want to use both.” Dr. Orloff adds that anyone can learn to fine-tune their intuition, adding that many of our intuitive messages are stored in the right side of our brains.
If you’d like to hone in on learning to understand and trusting your intuition, these steps will help:
• Listen to your gut without the outside noise and ego and pay attention to your gut reaction because of the neurotransmitters linked between the gut and brain. For example: If someone is telling you a story, or trying to entice you into doing something and you get a twisted knotty feeling in the gut, pay heed and take a timeout to feel out the situation, as opposed to jumping in because it sounds tempting.
• Keep track of your energy levels – feelings and synchronicities. This goes back to an earlier post I wrote on Energy Sucking Vampires, if you are constantly feeling drained or uncomfortable around someone, that is intuition informing you with a physical message to exit the situation.
• Pay attention to those insightful flashes that come to you – An idea out of the blue, a person that pops into your head that can help you with a nagging problem or even a positive project. Write down the ideas, and get in touch with that person.
• Meditation can help to calm the noise in our mind and eliminate the thoughts from ego. We only need to take a few minutes by ourselves to mediate and un-cloud our brain. Meditating is like doing the dishes, clearing them out of the sink, only we’re clearing our heads so we can easier receive and become more in-tune with what self, not ego is telling us.
Do you trust your own intuition? Do you have something to share here where you know your intuition has guided you to making a good decision?
Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – July 2020 – Calling All Fixers!
Welcome to the July edition of Realms of Relationships
Calling All Fixers
Are you that person who has a dire need to fix the people you care about? Are you that person who thinks nobody can fix things like you can? Let me tell you, I was one of those people, and I learned that there are definite limitations when it comes to thinking we can repair others—despite how much our hearts truly wish we could.
Our compassion and love fuel our desire to want to help our loved ones when we sense something is off. But it’s a fact that some issues are better left for the professionals—psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, etc. Yet, sometimes our overwhelming desire wins out, and we just can’t help but feel emboldened enough to think we’re capable of taking on the task, because, after all, we know that person intimately. We love them and take care of them, so obviously we should have no problem setting things right. But no. We cannot. And we shouldn’t feel as though it’s our job to do so either. Seems I was born with the ‘nurturing gene’ so, I’ve spent much of my life learning the hard way.
We cannot fix those who don’t wish to be fixed, nor those who even deny there’s a problem.
As I’ve mentioned in the beginning of this series, I have no PHD, but the one from life, so everything I write about is from the lessons I took in myself and any research I’ve done to confirm to myself what I learned. I’d read plenty on personality disorders, spirituality, and self- improvement since my teens. My curiosity has always been people and what makes them behave the way they do. There’s always a reason – a spark, an aha moment that can set someone off – a trigger. But diagnosing doesn’t mean we’re equipped or qualified to control or heal someone. So, I don’t write as a medical expert, but just an educated and experienced gal from the school of life.
For some of you here who may have read one of my books, you will know that I grew up observing my narcissistic mother, even though I knew nothing about the word or condition of a narcissist when I was a beginner in my quest to analyze her. I just figured it out as I got older and read books to satisfy my curiosity, then followed through learning more about them and discovered she was that.
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When someone we love isn’t well, our natural instincts as carers is to try and fix what’s wrong. There’s nothing wrong with trying, but issues dealing with mental imbalances, such as bi-polar, manic depression, and other deep-rooted issues requiring clinical assessment are typically beyond our league. Just because we love and care for that person, doesn’t mean we have the proper experience or training to deal with such issues. Another factor could be that the affected person doesn’t realize how deep their issues go or may not even be aware they even have a problem – which should be a huge flag our loved one needs professional help.
Now, certainly we can do our best to help fix a bad attitude by offering consoling and by making best efforts to uplift our loved ones when a bad moment arises. We may offer discussion, remind them they are in a safe place to vent, reminding them we love them and care and we’re there for them, but for serious mental afflictions, it’s best they get the proper medical attention. Unless we have the medical training for some tough issues, all the talking and uplifting in the world just may not be enough.
As I wrote about here in my last article on Empaths, for those of us who are uber compassionate people, we can sometimes become a little too eager with our desire to help those in need. Sometimes we may feel our compassionate abilities, our gift to help others, is a magic one-size fits all. But sadly, it isn’t. Because I’m not a certified therapist, I know I don’t have all the tools to fix everyone I wish to, despite my best efforts and intentions.
I’ve collected many broken people flocking to me since I was a young girl – starting with my father, who, incidentally, did do his best to follow my advice, although, love and broken hearts have a will of their own, and with that, I’ll just say that at least I could still be there for his heavy landings when my mother would once again make him feel small. His hurt held a space inside my heart that ate away at me for my entire childhood and beyond. Those were my early days of becoming the parent to my father. And even at the tender age of seven, my great need to stop the hurt and stand up to my mother for the love of my father were the beginnings of my desire to become the fixer of everyone’s unhappiness.
I inherited my empathy from my father whose giant heart was smitten, and consequently, ensnared by a beautiful girl with opportunistic intentions. It was that one day when my dad dropped me off back at home after our Sunday visit that my desire to be a fixer was born.
My dad pulled up around our circular driveway, put the car in park and hugged my younger siblings goodbye as I stayed an extra few moments in the front seat so we could have our alone time for a little longer. When he hugged me goodbye, he had tears in his eyes and asked me, his seven years-old little girl, if I would please ask Mommy to take him back. Just like that—just like I wasn’t seven. He was broken, and it broke me. Not surprising I grew up with a strong desire to fix people. I was also empathetic toward my mother. Despite my resentments toward her, I continued to do things to please and appease her—even when my own heart wasn’t in it.
I tried so many times through the years to offer her ideas to better her health. I offered to buy her supplements I knew would benefit her, approved by my own naturopath, but she’d mock me with her usual derogatory names, the same old lines—“You think you’re so goddamned smart,” a common and familiar phrase. ‘Hocus pocus bullshit’ was how she referred to anything she wasn’t versed in because if she wasn’t informed, or advised by her trusted drug- pushing doctor, her Narcissistic self would not tolerate being outshined. I didn’t know it then, but it took a few more decades of mental anguish to learn she suffered a superiority complex of grandeur, she couldn’t tolerate it if someone was smarter, better, prettier, than her.
I found this so weird because my mother never even graduated high school, but nobody would have known the better because she’d deny it to your face even though she knew the truth. Yup, that was my mother, and as my patriarchal ancestors would say, she ate my kishkes’ out‘. (This is a Yiddish cliché expression. In direct context, ‘kishke’ is comparable to Scottish haggis.)
There was no fixing my mother, but eventually, I learned why. There was no fixing her like there was no fixing a man I wasted seven years of my life with before I met my own husband. Yes, seven crazy years – I stayed wayyy too long at that prom—to the point I was risking my life.
It didn’t take me seven years to figure it out. All the signs were apparent in the first year, but I was sure I could fix him. Oh yes, dependable me, once I was committed, I was adamant to make things work. After stringing together bits and pieces of our conversations and witnessing some uncalled for, explosive incidents, I began to feel an eerie discomfort around him. I concluded he was manic-depressive, only he wasn’t aware of it. I studied his patterns of anger escalation, especially volatile when fueled by alcohol. And my stubbornness only led me to becoming trapped without an expensive exit. This story is a book in itself – one I have a dire need to write about to be of help to those women who are trapped with their abusers, but unfortunately, I’m still living in the fear he is out there somewhere, which was the original inspiration for taking a pen name.
I lived through countless ‘I love yous’, ‘I’m so sorrys’, ‘I promise I’ll changes’, until I heard ‘If I can’t have you, nobody will.’ I knew by the first year I had to leave, but sadly, it took me six more to put it in action. I learned a lot about psychological intimidation – as both, a receiver then a player, and how to use it to my advantage. But it turned out I was far from equipped to handle the mess I’d grown myself into with that relationship. And quite frankly, from that chunk of my life, I learned the scary repercussions there could be from trying to fix a volatile volcano.
In the end, what I learned after narrowly escaping with my life, there is no magic potion to fix all the people we wish to fix. In fact, depending on the issues our loved one is dealing with, we can actually, sometimes, be putting our own lives in danger.
We can be loving and supporting by trying to help people get the proper help they need. When it comes to immersing ourselves into trying to help someone whose issues are beyond our medical education, the best thing we can do for those who suffer is find them the appropriate help and be there to support, not fix.
Do you find yourself being a ‘fixer’? I’m all ears if you’d like to share. 😊
June Edition of Realms of Relationships at the Smorgasbord- Communicating Through Energy – Empaths
Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – June 2020 -June 2020 – Empaths and Spiritual Communication through Energy
Realms of Relationships – Empaths and Spiritual Communication through Energy
Welcome to the June edition of the Realms of Relationships. Today, I’m writing off course about a different kind of communication – through energy. Perhaps it’s these crazy times we’re all living in, but for people who are Highly Sensitive Persons, also known as HSPs, and for those of us who are empaths with similar traits, I’ve found these last few months, and in particular these last few weeks of world-wide protests for justice, weighing me down with a heavier than usual load to carry, emotionally.
For us sensitives, we are uber sensitive to the energies emitted when the hurt in the world becomes insurmountable. For empaths and HSPs, we don’t necessarily have to be directly in front of one person to pick up energies. We can also take in the collective. And I can tell you, absorbing too much of the negativity going on in the world can be very affecting.
Empaths are ultra-compassionate people, and it’s no surprise that we are feeling way too much in this time of the world.
You may be thinking I’ve gone off the beaten path here, talking about empaths today, but I tagged this column Realms of Relationships because in order for any relationship to flourish and thrive, there must be good communication. And when it comes to communication, an empath – receiver of messages through alternate methods of communication, has good experience understanding communication.
The question has often been asked – what is an empath, and what makes empathy different from sympathy? So today I’m going to break it down.
Empaths can literally feel the emotions of another. An inner-knowing through a feeling of invisibly transmitted energy, is how I’d explain it. I suspect every empath has their own unique abilities how they receive messages, just as many sensitive people, including psychics and mediums, feel spirit with one particular sense.
For example, I can sense when spirits are around me by a sudden drop in my body temperature to downright shivering, no matter the degrees it is in the room. I also sense spirit by scent. I don’t see or hear ghosts, but I sense their presence when the room I’m in suddenly begins to feel very chilly to the point that my teeth chatter as the rest of me shivers. I can smell a distinct odor of Export A cigarette smoke just as I always did when my father entered a room and when he now visits me from ‘the other side’. I get the same feeling when a mysterious waft of a certain sweet scent of perfume fills the air when my Aunty Sherry pays me a visit. Not surprisingly, I’m the only one who can smell these visitors if I’m not alone.
But I digress, I was talking about receiving empathic messages before I got lost on the ghostly messages, lol. My superpower? I like to say, I read souls. I can read and feel emotions – yes, goodness, anger, sadness, evil and every emotion in between. It’s not always a good thing, that’s for sure, but it does come in handy for sizing up situations. How to explain?
How does an empath absorb the emotions of others? I can only speak from my own experience, and the best way I can explain it is – In person, it only takes a few minutes for me to sense emotions from looking through the eyes – beyond the eyes, into the soul, so to speak. Body language and words also transmit energy. Certainly, we’ve all heard some of the old clichés like – ‘the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife’. That example of thickened air is a good indicator of what an empath picks up on whenever encountering negative energy. Empaths can feel the emotions given off by others. Like I previously mentioned, I would describe it as an energy transmission – communication through absorbed energy.
I am like a sponge or a Bounty paper towel, and have therefore, learned through the years, where to keep myself away from to avoid absorbing certain energies from attracting to me. Again, hard to explain, but I’m sure almost everyone has had a superstitious moment in life where we’re convinced there is a black cloud hanging over us, or have once felt that someone has cast an evil spell on us or maybe we just plain feel like bad luck is surrounding us. These examples are what an empath feels when we pick up negative energies about a person. And that person doesn’t have to be physically in our presence for energies to bounce off us. And not to mislead anyone, empaths pick up both good and bad energies – no discrimination. It’s just that attracting the negative energies are harder to repel. And it’s no surprise when an empath is accused of being ‘moody’ that an energy can certainly have us changing our minds like the wind – just ask my husband!
A good example of picking up collective energies is when we’re watching the news. There really is no good news on the news and by watching too much sadness, our energies become ‘empathetic’ to the pain and sadness of others. My heart gets heavy and my concentration is shot as my heart prefers to lead my mood. Just as when we’re around a celebration and our hearts are full, we’re going to feel joyful because that is what surrounds us. And those good energies are like refueling from being drained from other bad energies. It’s a cycle for an empath, but there are ways to help deter attracting those energies by learning how to shield.
Empathy is different from sympathy in that having sympathy is more of an offering of condolence as we may feel sorry for someone because of their loss, but we do not feel that person’s actual grief as an empath can by taking in the griever’s actual feelings and emotions. Our own bodies can feel the pain of others – walking precisely in their shoes.
Some may think it must be so cool to have this ability, but honestly, I’d rather not have it. Being an empath isn’t something we typically train to become, but rather, it’s an inherent or unconscious developed trait. Psychics, spiritualists, witches, and earth angels are more notoriously known for having empathic abilities, but one doesn’t have to be any one of these in order to be an empath.
Being an empath is sometimes referred to as ‘a gift’, but it’s not always a gift. Many people are empathic. And many more may be but are not aware of their ‘gift’, and some are often hindered by it.
It’s been asked many times, does one just become an empath? Is it inherited? Is it learned? Well, I’ve heard various takes on the subject, but one thought of interest stuck out to me: Some empaths don’t realize that their desire to help others sometimes stems from a lack of nurturing as a child, resulting in an unconscious need to help others. I think that’s just one possible method of how a person can be transformed into an empath subconsciously, and despite there being a ‘how to’ for almost anything available, my personal feeling is that teaching someone to be empathic would be like trying to teach someone to become a psychic. We can read all we want about the subject and watch Youtube videos, and gain lots of insight from doing so, but one cannot simply just ‘become’ an empath or a psychic. Dr. Judith Orloff, Psychiatrist at Psychology.com explains how genetics and trauma can aid in playng a part in becoming an empath, in her article where she explains this a little further
What’s it like being an empath? Well, let’s say you’re watching a depressing movie or reading a sad part of a book and your feelings are touched by what you’re reading and/or watching. You may be feeling anger, disgust, elation or any other emotion from that movie or book. The writer of the story has done a great job of painting a story and bringing the characters to life when they can evoke these emotions and the reader is drawn in and can almost feel what the character is experiencing. For an empath, we don’t require someone to narrate their feelings to us, we sense and feel the emotion. Sure, if someone shares something affecting that happened to them, I can immediately take in how they’re feeling as a result of that incident, often no words are required. It’s a vibe and energy someone gives off and that energy is transmitted into their personal space. An empath only has to look into someone’s eyes to pick up on emotion – unspoken emotions. There is definitely more than meets the eye, to quote an old cliché – ‘the eyes are the windows of the soul’, because they definitely are.
An empath is a receptor for the energy. Someone not as sensitive to these energies wouldn’t be an empath, and subsequently, wouldn’t even be able to take notice of someone around them with a hidden emotional issue unless they were informed. And sadly, it’s sometimes difficult for an empath to shield or shutdown so as not to absorb these energies. Shielding is a protective measure that is learned, it’s the virtual putting up of an invisible wall to repel the energies to keep them from penetrating into us. With that I’ll add that one doesn’t have to be an empath to learn how to shield themselves.
Empaths are usually open targets for energy vampires (suckers) because we take in other people’s energies. Our compassion can sometimes exhaust us when we encounter too much needy energy at one time. Needy doesn’t necessarily always mean the vampire is intentionally reaching out to us, but, because we are susceptible to other people’s energies and feelings – means we can sense the needy energies. We receive the feelings through energy. This is the reason I refer to these types of people as vampires – because they suck out and overwhelm our own energies as we begin feeling their pain or sadness.
Don’t forget, an empath can experience happy emotions too, not just the bad and the sad, but experiencing happy and good emotions do not drain us. In fact, they can be quite uplifting. That’s why happy people are so good for the soul. And negative people drain our souls.
There are good parts of being an empath – despite an empath’s ability to attract others’ negative energy, sometimes having that uncanny ability of reading a person’s soul through looking into their eyes, can also come in handy for staying safe and sensing oncoming trouble ahead.
Just as a fine- tuned intuition will save us from making many wrong moves, an ability to be able to learn people’s intentions through looking in their eyes can help us avoid – or at least, prepare us to avoid danger. My internal alert system flashes before me if I’m in close proximity to something scary. If I’m out in public and find myself in a situation among undesirable people, or feeling a little too close for comfort, I have an early chance of escape.
I’ll observe people when they aren’t watching and look into their eyes at an opportune moment. If there’s an exchange of words, I’ll check if a smile is genuine (an empath knows). Eyes speak, so does an ominous silence – like a smile without matching smiling eyes. But I would have to say my finest tuned skill as an empath is attracting people’s sadness. My empathy is my Achille’s Heel. It may not be that someone is intentionally in my energy space, but my radar picks up on those energies. As I mentioned earlier, we don’t have to actually be in a room with someone to pick up the energy, just as we could be watching something on TV that transmits those same energies. For a seasoned empath, we can also read energies from the written word – some things like a commonly used phrase – reading between the lines, reading ‘behind’ the words that emit the true emotion behind the words.
I’d like to share an example of an experience I had that never leaves me, to demonstrate how the energy thing works with me.
The Medium and the broken-hearted woman and my book.
About 10 years ago now, I was invited to a private gathering at my naturopath’s office by my friend Charlene, the then office manager at the clinic. Charlene invited a well-known Medium to come to the clinic to perform readings by picking up energies in the room and afterwards, the group could ask the Medium questions.
The room was dimly lit as a candle burned at the center of a big round table. The Medium would announce a spirit who came to her and ask out loud who the spirit was calling on and what was their message from the beyond. I was curious to watch more than anything, and typically prefer not to call up spirits, yet, nonetheless, I was fascinated to be invited.
Charlene told me the room would be set up in a circle, but that she too didn’t want any readings and would sit at a desk across the room from the group of about a dozen. I told her I was happily going to sit with her during the ‘session’ as I preferred not be part of the circle.
When I got to the clinic, Charlene and I went downstairs together in the room where the event took place. The Medium still hadn’t arrived yet, and people were mingling as most of them were patients who knew each other from having IV treatments together in the lounge.
Charlene and I stood by the entrance and were chatting as a sudden drift of profound sadness shot through me from nowhere and my body temperature went cold as ice. My eyes quickly cast upon one of the women at the table. I didn’t know her, she wasn’t familiar. She was merely sitting in a chair around the circle waiting for the event to begin. She displayed no outstanding emotion through body language or otherwise, but when I looked across the room, into her eyes, I felt her heart breaking. After that enormous wave of emotion transpired, I turned to Charlene with tears rolling down my cheeks and asked her who that woman was because she didn’t look familiar as I continued to tell her what I was experiencing. I told Charlene when I looked at that woman, I felt a profound sadness within. Charlene informed me the woman’s husband died a week prior and came hoping for a final goodbye message from her deceased husband, transmitted through the Medium.
I will always remember that story, just as I will always remember what happened after the session when the Medium came up to us to thank Charlene for hosting the event. But before she walked away, the tall, dark, and Bohemian- dressed Medium gazed into my eyes, leaned in and told me – “You need to write that book.” True story! It was her commandment that inspired me to write my first book – which I planned to be my only book. LOL.
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I hope you enjoyed this edition of Realms of Relationships. I would have to guess there are quite a few of us empaths in our writing community here. If any of you would like to own up and share something of your own experience as an empath, please do. Conversation is music to my ears. 😊
I’ll leave you with this fun fact post which lists some of the most well-known personalities you may not have known were empaths. I’m also including some links you may want to checkout to see if you are an HSP or empath and what to look for.
Fun Facts: Five Highest Ranking Famous Empaths a wonderful post on what made these famed 5 (One is George Orwell) at the top of the compassionate list.
The difference between HSP, empaths and introverts : Empaths, Highly Sensitive People, Introverts
Checklist. Are you an empath or HSP? – Highly Sensitive Person Signs
You can find the other posts in the series: D.G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships 2020
May Edition Realms of Relationships at Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Forming Health Relationships
Forming Healthy Relationships – What’s Inside the Box?
Welcome back to this month’s edition of Realms of Relationships. In this segment, I’m delving into how we judge and are judged by others – First impressions and Body language and discovering what’s underneath the wrapping.
As humans, we are often judged by our outward appearances first. But if we never gave someone a chance to approach us to potentially form a friendship or relationship just because we couldn’t see beyond appearance, our circles would be pretty limited.
People come wrapped in all assortments. Who and what we attract or gravitate to stems from the vibe we give off – this vibe consists of a combination of traits we emit with our words, body language, and our physical appearance. All these elements comprised will help to determine who chooses to approach us.
Our demeanors and physical appearance send signals to others leading them to form a perception of what we’re all about. But without learning what’s on the inside, and perhaps what’s perceived as a first impression, we may not always adequately represent who we really are. Depending on how we choose to present ourselves on a given day, we’ll undoubtedly be judged by our actions as first impressions, so it’s a good idea not to misrepresent ourselves. Sadly, society does label people based on appearance, and as much as appearances do play a part in determining who we approach and how we’re accepted, appearance alone is not a great indicator of what’s inside our box.
Now we all know the old saying – don’t judge a book by its cover, but sadly, it’s human nature that people are judged by their covers. Yes, it’s unfair, but there are shallow thinking people among us. And pity for those who judge because they may just be missing out on opportunity for a satisfying relationship or friendship because they couldn’t see beyond difference.
What do we want most from a relationship? Acceptance, love compassion, trust, understanding, communication and reciprocation. These are the most important qualities a relationship should offer, and the qualities that will sustain a solid relationship. These aren’t qualities you can necessarily decipher based on looking at an individual. Yes, it’s easy to make judgement, but until we learn about what’s behind the cover, we aren’t able to make a complete assessment.
We are hard-wired for judgement. We all have our own version of what’s acceptable to us and peeves we hold in our mental lists of what we seek out of a relationship. But maybe we need to look beyond those physical peeves and explore personality and values.
Example Interview – Making Judgment:
Example: Mr. Brown goes for a job interview. He shows up looking rather disheveled. His stained shirt with no tie and in dire need of a haircut, and unprepared answers for interview offer no redeeming qualities to jump out at the interviewer to even put him in consideration for the job.
Next in is Mr. Green. His plaid shirt is in huge clash with his flowery tie, and his pants hiked up from the last flood make him look as though he’s from another era. He’s clean shaven with a respectable haircut, poses questions about a potential job he’s excited to have, has a cheery disposition and on point with all his answers.
Who will get the job?
It’s not difficult to guess who gets the job. But physically, none of these gents sound like they’re anywhere near Adonis-looking. In fact, if either of these men were walking down a street, some may take a double look and keep moving because judgment has been made, so no further inquiries required.
But here’s what we got from the short interview with these two guys. Mr. Brown gives us the impression of bad hygiene, and that’s a turn-off. His lack of concern for grooming – a haircut or clean clothes, and no ambition, holds little interest for anyone, especially when the idea of interview is to make a good impression. On the other hand, Mr. Green may be sorely lacking in fashion sense, but his clean-cut demeanor, enthusiasm, sunny disposition and quick comebacks in reply to questions make him a prime choice for the job.
In that short example, we learned a bit about what these men looked like, how they presented themselves, a bit of their personality, and a glimpse into their ambition. The interviewer took in all these qualities demonstrated to him and made his choice based on best redeeming qualities for the job. And this little study is an example of the way we should qualify people as relationship potential – only some get caught up in the ‘physical looks’ of someone, sadly overlooking some wonderful qualities for relationship material with some of those who didn’t make the looks list.
Now, when it comes to poking fun at men who wear white shoes or sandals with white socks, I admit, that vision does not set off any wild desire for me, lol. But to pass up a potentially good date or friendship with someone who could be fun and interesting, just because they wore ‘the white loafers’, could turn out to be a missed opportunity – especially if that guy has many outstanding other qualities.
If we didn’t bother taking the time to talk for awhile and get to know the guy, we would have missed out at being pleasantly surprised at finding he is very charming with stimulating conversation, and we lost out for judgment. Sure, it’s possible if we had a conversation with the guy, he could well turn out to be boring and insensitive, which would give me confirmation I’m not interested. But without getting to know something about a person we shouldn’t make judgement because fashion faux pas can be cured, but rudeness or ignorance usually can’t. And to be honest, on first meeting with someone who offers no redeeming qualities and exhibits a lot of personal issues, leading to having to try and fix that person, those days are long done for me. But that was a different time and story.
I never really had a ‘type’ when it came to men. In fact, no two men I ever dated had any resemblance to any other one I dated. But I do have standards and if they aren’t met then all the charm and champagne wouldn’t tempt me.
When I met my husband, he didn’t wear white shoes, but he wore ‘wide ties’ circa 80s. By our 3rd date, we were already in ‘I feel like I know you all my life’ mode, and in our shared sense of humor I felt comfortable and jokingly ( even though I meant it), I told him from now on I’m going to buy his ties. I’ve been his fashion consultant ever since.
My husband ticked off many great qualities on my standards list, but as much as I know he did try his best, matching ties with patterned shirts can be a tricky thing. Hubby was always well-dressed and groomed but he had met the fashion guru and then one day that BOX of ties he had from a decade or two past that his sister had given him from a time she worked in garment manufacturing, went to the donation box. All those ‘Saturday Night Fever’ ties weren’t missed, and the guru began a whole new collection over the years they’d spend together.
When I met my husband, he had a smile to light up a room, quick wit comebacks, a generous heart, and most of all, he made me laugh. I got all that from a 10 minute conversation. If I’d met him under different circumstances, I may have overlooked him. But I was introduced to him by a mutual friend, which gave us a few moments to chat among us. And despite his outdated flowery tie, I felt an instant attraction to him. Because I took time to look inside the box.
Short Excerpt from my book – Words We Carry
You can get the book here: http://smarturl.it/bookWordsWeCarry .
When forming friendships and relationships of the heart, we tend to gravitate toward like-minded individuals, or we attract people based on how we represent ourselves. People with healthy attitudes about themselves tend to fall into relationships with those who share similar attitudes and values. The level of self-confidence we project sets the tone for who we attract.
Women will often ask, “How did that girl latch on to him? What did he see in her?” Do you ever look at a couple and notice that perhaps one of them isn’t particularly attractive while the other is? You’re left scratching your head, trying to figure out what the attraction was, without realizing there’s so much more to our composition than physical appeal. More than likely, kindness, wittiness, and compassion sparked those relationships. The traits we expose of our personalities are what calls attention to us.
People like to be around happy, positive people. Those qualities are natural attracters. Physical beauty and sexiness aren’t enough to solidify a relationship if someone has nothing more to offer. Yes, it’s true that there are some shallow people out there who’ll only go out with “beautiful” people, but if those people continue relationships based only on looks, they may find their partners displaying other negative qualities—and at that point they have sacrificed happiness for vanity. It does happen. Physical beauty alone is no foundation for a happy, healthy relationship.
You can find the other posts in the series: D.G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships 2020
April 2020 Edition -Realms of Relationships – Know when it’s time to go
Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – Know when it’s time to go – When giving becomes one-sided by D.G. Kaye
Relationships – Know when it’s time to go – When giving becomes one-sided
Welcome back to The Realms of Relationships. In this edition, I’m going to talk more about friendships. I talked about keeping friendships healthy in my last column. In this post, I’ll share some of the flags that indicate when friends may be taking advantage of us.
Friendships are special to us because they are the people we choose to let into the most personal and intimate part of our lives, the people we trust most. But sometimes in our lifetime of relationships and friendships we may realize that a certain friendship becomes all give and no get back. Today we’re going to take a look at some of the signs that tell us that a friendship we may have with someone is not as fulfilling as it once may have been, how to attempt to repair, and how to decide if it’s time to sever ties.
Friends are those we permit into our personal spaces and hold dear to us. Friends are the ones we share common bonds with, share our world, our homes and often our hearts with. Friends are ones we can rely on for uplifting, favors, companionship, and the ones who have our backs. Do something to betray any of these bonds, it puts a dent into a friendship, and if we let misgivings escalate without confronting our friend about issues bothering us, or better yet, if we have confronted a friend over an issue and they tend to blow it off or ignore our concerns, consider petty, it may be time to re-evaluate that friendship.
As with everything that works smooth in life, there is balance. We take the good with the bad in stride and go about life. Sometimes there are obstacles we learn to work around, sometimes the obstacles must be confronted in order to resolve issues to restore an even balance. If the balance of a friendship begins to teeter, yet one party of the friendship doesn’t see it, someone must alert that person that more effort must be put into that relationship or it’s going to fizzle out. When one party is doing all the giving and supporting and there’s nothing in return – giving back, this is not a friendship. Make sure you’re not doing all the giving and being sucked into an energy vampire sucking relationship.
As a lover and not a fighter, I require peace in all my relationships. I’m a passionate person who cares about all people. I’m also a great communicator, which I learned to become as I’ve spent most of my life observing people and their behavior. If I detect an imbalance or a missing ingredient within a close friendship, I’m going to bring it up for discussion so we can get to the root of a problem to find resolution to continue on with the friendship, hopefully, strengthening the bond once the imbalance is corrected. But what if the other party doesn’t see our side or perhaps thinks we’re making too much out of something insignificant? Or, what if that person is completely blind to a troublesome situation and what if we become tired of rehashing the same issues that never seem to change? Are we just supposed to sit back and live with the lumpy situation, continuing to make excuses to pardon that friend from their faults, or can we keep making excuses to not be available for them? That becomes our decision. But for me, I learned a few relationships ago, when you become a doormat, it may be time to leave.
It wasn’t the first time I had to lay a friendship to rest. It happened maybe 3 times in my life when I decided it was time to part ways with someone who I’d considered a good friend but realized I was doing all the ‘friendy’ work. But leaving became easier to do with each friend because as the years progressed, I’d learned better to stand up for myself and to not be so easily roped in by people’s antics. Being an empath makes the process doubly hard because my whole life I allowed myself to get sucked into people’s drama because I felt sorry for them. Sure, they may not have been adding anything of value to our friendship at the time, but they were lonely, had a lot of bad breaks from life, and sometimes it was just convenient to have someone to hang out with, which some of us think may be better than being alone – but no, it’s not. I finally learned that being alone without a sidekick was better than being used, taken for granted and not appreciated.
One relationship I ended with a friend almost three decades ago was a smart choice. Amy was a friend I’d met within my circle of my closest oldest friends. I kind of inherited her as when we met through mutual friends, we were both single at the time and lived close to one another, which made it too convenient for her to pop over – a lot.
Amy ‘dropped’ by my place lots – especially when she was in between dating her ex- boyfriend and her ex -ex- boyfriend. I got to listen to the whining and complaining and felt compelled to come up with solutions to her problems. I got to cook her dinners, and rarely did I get to share anything about how I felt about things going on in my own life. And never would she ask.
Initially we were good company for one another – someone to have a meal with, go for a drink or watch a movie with. But after 2 years of it, my ear was getting too full of the ‘woe is me’ stories and zero growth in our relationship. Oh sure, after some time had passed, I did broach the subject with Amy, but I also grew to realize that whatever I’d discussed seemed to pass directly through both her ears, and she didn’t understand what being a real friend was. I call them fair-weather friends.
Fair- weather friends are those who come around or call when they have a need to be fulfilled – when it’s convenient for them. They aren’t necessarily bad people, more like self-centered, selfish, and often clueless when it comes to maintaining healthy relationships – romance or otherwise. These types of people will not go out of their way for someone else, usually have trouble in their romantic relationships for same reasons, and deny what they don’t like to hear.
Amy treated me like her personal Shrink or a sounding board for all her dilemmas – and there always seemed to be one with her. Me, always feeling as though it’s my duty to fix people, was kept in the vortex way too long.
Eventually, as that time in my life became a huge growth spurt in growing my self-esteem in both friendships and a crappy relationship I was in at the time, I realized then that it was time to unload the pressure of that relationship too. Without a fight or a phone call, I just slithered away. I first took her calls, but made myself consistently unavailable to her ‘drop over’ requests. Then eventually, I just stopped answering her calls and faded out. A good indicator I was right in doing so was that she made no attempts to further contact me or even questioning why I just cut her out. This was a confirmation it was time. There was no need to second-guess.
Friends who suck the life out of us are what I call energy sucking vampires. They are needy people who will swoop right in on us if we offer them a cushy nest. They are the ones who will ask for favors, visit and forget to leave, borrow things and never return them, and most known for draining our soul. And if you are an empath who constantly finds yourselves attracting these types of people, it’s time to become more aware of these behaviors and how much you will allow. Weigh out the pros and cons of a relationship. If you’re finding the con column getting a little too top heavy, it’s a good idea to consider cutting the ties.
If you find that you’ve discussed your feelings with your friend and they deny any actions you’ve pointed out, become defensive and/or accusatory as a lame defense, deny or blame you without admitting, apologizing, or ultimately, getting angry because you brought up the discussion, it’s pretty clear that your suspicions were right in the first place and it’s time to go. Empaths in particular, tend to let things drag on a little too long because we will do our utmost to keep from hurting anyone’s feelings, often taking the zings ourselves to keep the peace. But if it’s not peaceful, we need to leave.
There are no age limits, time limits, friend limits. You shouldn’t put a timeline on a friendship – meaning: Just because you’ve invested ‘x’ amount of years in a friendship and it doesn’t feel right anymore, doesn’t mean you must remain because you’ve put in the time. No. If you’ve put in the time and the friendship and it’s not growing or feeding you back in any way, it’s time to move on.
Do you have a sticky friendship experience you’d like to share here?
You can find the other posts in the series: D.G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships 2020
March 2020 Edition- Realms of Relationships – Friendships
Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – Friendships Keeping them Healthy
Friendships are the most sacred things we can have. Nobody knows us better than our closest friends – sometimes even better than family. And why is that? Because often, most people aren’t comfortable sharing their problems with families for various reasons.
Children may not wish to tell their parents some things because they may fear they’ll get in trouble for something they did or perhaps they’re embarrassed, or maybe even their secret is about a friend they don’t wish to get in trouble. In adulthood reasons may differ, such as: not wanting family to know they’ve failed at something, got in trouble somewhere, etc. But friends, friends are the ones we choose to share with what’s deep in our souls. Friends are the ones we chose to be friends with us because they accept us – broken fences and all, scars and all. They love us unconditionally. Friends support us through our ups and downs in life. We feel much freer to unburden our souls with friends sometimes more than with family.
Friends don’t judge us. Friends hug us when we need it, and friends understand us – sometimes even without words.
Friends are the family we choose. Friends are the ones we share our deepest, darkest thoughts with, our dreams and ambitions, problems and victories. If a friendship is true, there’s an unspoken respect – a code so to speak.
Even though I have gone through a ‘break-up’ of sorts with one of my two long-time best friends of 35 years, I still think about her. How could one not? Severing a long-time friendship is like a divorce. You miss the kinship and the support and the good times, and the loss of a good friend can break your heart. But, as I wrote in my first edition of this series, if we’ve exhausted all avenues of trying to mend a fence, maybe it’s time to part ways. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t honor the past, honor what we once had and shared, honor deep dark secrets not to be turned into ammunition to smear that person.
Of course, I’m not going to openly discuss what happened between us, but what didn’t happen between us was because of an unspoken respect for the past – for what we once had and shared. A code. In the 3 years we haven’t spoken, never a bad word has passed between us or from our lips. And I know this because like I wrote in my first edition, life is a circle, it’s a small world, once dirt starts flying on social media it can spread like a disease There have been no gossipy stories reported back from mutual friends, no secrets revealed from our pasts together. Because we both honor the friendship code – the respect for the friendship that was.
This honoring of friendships is a simple respect and correlates with – don’t burn your bridges, the old adage – some things are meant to be left sacred. What we don’t blab off about will never come back to haunt us. And another added benefit of practicing that advice is we also never know when a time could come that we mend fences with that old friend. No hateful words of anger to worry about coming back to bite us.
Sometimes when enough time has passed and old wounds heal, anything is possible. Hey, it happened to us once before – the same thing – a total misunderstanding of feelings at a very bad time, misconstrued. Yes, both times it involved my feelings and my sense of a lack of empathy on my friend’s part when I needed her most. That’s not something that can easily be repaired. I tried to convey my hurt, but she continued to deny she did anything wrong. I was overwhelmed with hurt, especially that I was her constant dumping ground for all the crap going on in her life. Eventually, we both silently walked out of each other’s lives. I do believe in time we’ll be destined to meet again and, if and when that happens and time has taught her why I walked away, once again, I will open my arms.
A recipe to keep friendship alive and well:
Stay honest and be there for emotional support when the tides are rough for each other. Reciprocate – friendship is give-and-take, celebrating the good times and supporting for the bad. Respect each other and the past you once shared. Communicate your feelings – especially if something is bothering you, keep the air clear. And laugh – shared laughter is a definite bond strengthener. These are some of the important components to a lasting friendship.
Of course, even friends have spats just as husbands and wives sometimes do on occasion even in the best of relationships. We’re all entitled to our feelings and opinions, and sometimes these opinions differ between friends. When difference of opinion or misunderstandings occur, we should be able to feel free with our friends to express our feelings on these issues, and we should also learn to discuss differences and maybe even sometimes just agree to disagree and let go and move on.
But if the issue has to do with an immediate concern in the friendship and something hurtful has been done without any apology or recognition, and you’ve voiced your concern with no resolution, you may have to re-evaluate that relationship as I had to. And it’s up to each individual who faces this dilemma to decide how much they will tolerate.
Good friends should be able to feel the freedom of being able to discuss and receive feedback from friends when it comes to being permitted to discuss concerns among each other. If there is a barrier in communicating with friends then it may also be time to revisit how you feel about that friendship, and quite possibly you may find you have ‘outgrown’ that relationship. Don’t allow the years you’ve committed to that friendship to be the deciding factor to remain. That would be like saying if you’re unhappy and abused in your marriage, but you’ve been married for so many years you just accept what it is. Don’t just accept. Clear the air, voice your feelings and concerns, and if nothing is computing on the other side, it may just be time to sever ties.
In my next issue here at the Smorgasbord, I’m going to be talking about signals, and diving deeper into severing ties, what to look out for and when it’s time to leave. I hope you enjoyed this edition of Realms of Relationships and will tune back in here next month!
Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships
Happy New Year Readers! And welcome to my newest Blog Magazine Column at the Smorgasbord. This year I’m going to be writing here about relationships – The Realms of Relationships. When Sally suggested I might like to write on this topic I was elated as all my books are about things I experienced in life, and I’m delighted to share my insights here with you all. Now don’t worry, you won’t be finding any psycho-babble here, just plain English from a lifetime of experience.
I’ve been a storyteller since I was a young child – never a fibber – not that kind of storytelling. Whenever I’d heard or ‘overheard’ something when I was young, knowing I wasn’t supposed to be privy to, of course I had to tell someone what I’d heard. I hadn’t yet learned that by not telling all, it was easier to earn trust. By the time I was 10 years old, I was solid. Anyone could tell me anything and my lips were and still are sealed. I pride myself on not being a tattler or a rat and learned to keep my observations to myself.
I was an observer of people, and I didn’t have to look much further than my own family’s behavior to learn what makes people tick. What makes some people angry and some always singing? What kinds of things have I experienced to learn the warning signs of trouble? These are just some of the topics I’ll get into, sharing from my own experience, some of the emotions, and how we react to the different relationships we have with people.
Then I’ll add an experience of my own on the topic to validate my findings. And of course, I look forward to discussion in comments.
So, let’s begin. Today’s topic we’ll start with communication. In order to make and maintain healthy relationships and keep them flourishing, not fizzling, respectful communication is essential. It isn’t just our words, but our body language we emote through our gestures, just as our silences do, the vibe we give off. A shrug denotes indifference, just as hands do waving in the air. And let’s not forget ‘a look’. Hey, I grew up with a stern mother. One scary certain look from her and I knew I’d better run for cover. A slammed door tells another story of frustration just as shouting and belittling of others does.
The old saying, ‘all is fair in love and war’ is cynical. Love isn’t always fair and there’s never anything good about war. We must learn diplomacy when faced with unpleasant situations because we don’t want to leave something hurtful behind from our voice or actions that becomes a future wedge between us and the people we’re upset with. Ranting and raving and throwing around hurtful words never helps any situation. Sure, they can be very cathartic in the short-term, but what about long-term repercussions long after the dispute? We must avoid fanning the flames in already heated moments to preserve our relationships. Even if this dispute becomes large enough that we wish to banish that person from our life or circles – don’t burn your bridges, translation: no bad-mouthing.
Nobody wants to be made to feel that they are small or insignificant by words of anger and it doesn’t serve to resolve anything except escalate an already inflammatory situation. There’s always a graceful way out. Creating bad blood has a tendency to follow us into the future. Life is a circle and we’re apt to meet up with those we’ve banished or bashed somewhere in life again, often unexpectedly – and that’s exactly it – you never know where or when. It could be through meeting other people, a job interview, an introduction to a friend who may be friends with the one you’ve banished or angered. Keep it simple and clean with a break, so those ugly repercussions don’t show up when you least expect them. And be very careful about sharing your hurt feelings on social media because that’s like pouring kerosene and lighting a match to the problem once hurtful words are spread around the cyberverse.
We must learn to convey our grievances with friends and loved ones with honesty and sincerity, explaining what is bothering us and discussing. And believe me, I know very well that some people will never learn to contain their tongues or emotions. If we’ve made the effort to discuss and are faced with the same indignation and screaming match that’s probably a sign it’s time to walk away. Sometimes silence is the healthiest answer. If we’re living under the same roof with the person we’re in conflict with, we need to take a step back, take time to sort our thoughts before we speak.
Once hurtful words are spoken, we can never take them back. If we have good relationships at home and conflict arises, a timeout gives both parties a time to reflect. Once some time has passed and the anger of the heated moment passes, it’s much easier to discuss the issue at hand. A good tip to remember is – speak without shouting or accusing. Don’t point a finger at that person and tell them what we feel they did or said wrong. Speak about your feelings, speak about what you feel has hurt you about the situation to inform the other party about what you are feeling. Nothing will ever get resolved in anger. Remember, don’t try and be logical and problem solving in the heated moment. Take that step back and let the silence cool the embers before attempting to resolve.
Similarly, if we’re conflict with a friend or co-worker, the same distance is suggested. Our relationships with loved ones and relationships with friendships outside the home can be dealt with in the same manner. But if those outside friendships have suffered familiar ongoing issues, and you are faced with a less than agreeable opponent willing to make amends or uninterested in rectifying a situation, that should be a huge flag for us to think about moving on.
Only honest discussions and having respect for other’s feelings can offer healthy solutions with minimal fallout. Using best efforts to eliminate hard feelings or scars when communicating our feelings and gripes can seem trying in the moment of conflict. Also, by not discussing our grievances and by just tolerating the issues that bother us isn’t healthy either. These issues left unattended to will only grow within us, eventually, festering and building a growing resentment for the offending person, which can become a forever wedge in the relationship if left to stew internally and not discussed. Carrying slights and unresolved grievances within us is a recipe for unhappiness. We must try to salvage issues with honest discussion. If we can’t find it in ourselves to confront the one we have issue with, we then have to find a peace within ourselves, acknowledging that we’ve tried our best to rectify to no avail, and make a decision to move on.
We must remember that every good relationship is good because we nurture it by being kind and compassionate, listening, communicating, giving and taking, and most of all respect. When we begin to feel someone stops having time for us, isn’t interested in what we have to say, is not giving back of themselves or displays no interest trying to resolve ongoing issues, it may just be time to leave.
All the above elements in a relationship are the parts we must nurture to keep them solid. This is the work I refer to. I use the word work, but we can easily replace it with effort. If we don’t put in the effort to maintain good relationships, we can’t expect them to last. Simple as that.
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Later on in this series I’ll delve into some specific relationships we have with people – parents, spouses, friends, children, etc., and talk about what makes them good, warning signs, and steps and actions to take to avoid unpleasant occurrences in our relationships and how to deal with them..
My PHD is life, and my life has been a quite colorful one to say the least when it comes to my life experiences. I grew up as a very insecure, emotionally scarred little girl. My childhood and teenage years were spent observing. I began reading self-help books in efforts to make some sense of my slights in life and trying to better myself and my self-esteem. I did some crazy things along the way, to say the least, but I didn’t really have any teachers, only the will to learn, the desire to feel better about myself, my compassion for others, and the things I witnessed from a young age that children should not have to witness. I wrote a book about some of those things I witnessed, learned and experimented with to help better myself and grow a self-esteem – Words We Carry.
I hope you will all enjoy my new series delving into relationships, and I look forward to you sharing your stories, comments and/or questions here monthly at Sally’s Smorgasbord Blog Magazine.
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