So I was in the store and saw this nicely dressed lady in the checkout line. She was purchasing some good high quality food. When she paid for it, I saw that she used an EBT card. I was like, huh, never would have guessed. Then I saw that she had an iPhone on her hip, a silver necklace, and coach purse. I started to think, ‘oh, there’s one of those food stamp scammers. I bet she drives a nice car too. Fuckin ‘poor’ people spending my tax money.’ So out of curiosity I watch her walk into the parking lot and get into a super nice 2013 luxury sedan. I shake my head in disgust. Man, I just can’t believe that some people would be so inconsiderate and lazy and steal my money. Goddam bitches. Welfare queens, I swear. Everyone that needs to use food stamps or get cash from the government should be drug tested or forced to do community service. I know for sure that they’re just scamming the system. I mean, really, iphone, bling, nice car, but your ass can’t afford to buy food? WTF? – Now if you have got this far into my writing here you’ll know that this is absolutely not how I think. This is, however, what a lot of people think. What these people don’t realize is that the car the girl is driving, belongs to the man who is nice enough to let her use it. The phone she has that still works was purchased as a gift for her and is being paid for by someone else that loves her and wants to make sure she has all the resources she needs. The necklace around her neck was an heirloom from her grandmother and the purse is 3 years old. She’s using food stamps because she just lost her job of 5 years due to downsizing. The narcotics in her system are for pain management because she has a disease that causes her pain every single day. Stop judging people because you THINK you know their stories. You know that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you help someone that needs it? Yeah, that’s a good feeling, that’s being compassionate. You know that feeling you get when you think, ‘I want to help you but…’ yeah, that’s you being a fucking jerk.
My girlfriend is keen on telling me that my experiences as an individual are nothing compared to hers. This usually comes at a moment when I’m trying to relate to a feeling that she is having. No single person has lived the same life as another person but the feelings associated with those varied experiences are very real. I think it is terribly unfair to dismiss me like that.
So when she shares with me her feelings of helplessness that she has and has had in the past, I feel quite justified in relating to her. When she talks of trying to commit suicide I feel strongly that this is something I can also relate to her about. When it comes to actually making an attempt on our lives, she differs from me in that she has actually swallowed a bottle of pills and has actually slashed her wrists. While I have done nothing more than holding the blade in my hand and press it against my wrist. While these moments don’t seem to have much in relation to one another, I feel that they are. In her case, she KNEW someone would be there or that she could control the situation. In my case, I was alone, completely. In her case she had someone there to help her. In my case, I had none. I knew that if I took that bottle of pills or slashed my wrists, I’d die.
While standing at the precipice between life and certain death I asked myself if I really wanted to die. I asked myself if my problems were really so bad that killing myself would resolve all the problems. After facing this dilemma many times in the course of about 8 years, I finally got angry enough at myself and disgusted with that self-pitying weakness that I threw my mind out of that ditch and began to build for myself the one thing I lacked, confidence. I began to focus on the things that I had control over. I focused on my career. I stopped going out to the bars, I stopped trying to find a mate, I stopped having friends and getting involved with other people’s lives. My life and how I was living it and how I controlled it was all that mattered. I made drastic changes and found contentment and comfort in myself. It was only then that I dared to start to consider other people. It was then that I started to socialize with people again.
When I get the occasional feeling of self-pity, I shove it out of my head and remind myself of how far I have come and that I am a good person on a good path. I know where my heart stands, I know I’m compassionate, generous, kind, and moral.
I hope to help her get to the same place.
1. Take, Take, Take
You can’t have a toxic relationship with someone if you’re constantly catering to his or her needs and receiving little to no reciprocation. If your roommate always leaves you to clean up the house but gets mad when you occasionally ask him or her to take care of the dishes, that’s a problem.
If your friend is constantly asking to borrow money from you or asks for your help but then never offers to help you out of a bind, that’s a problem, too. Good relationships have a balance of give and take. Toxicrelationships leave you feeling drained, because you’re constantly giving while the other person only wants to take, take, take.
2. Verbal Abuse
Verbal abuse is a key component of toxic relationships. If your mother, friend, or sibling often says mean,hurtful, derogatory things to you when the conversation isn’t going their way, it’s because they’re trying tobelittle you. Making you feel small makes them feel powerful, and they can use it to manipulate you. You might hear things like:
- “You’re never reliable, anyway.”
- “You’re too sensitive. That’s your problem.”
- “No one would care about you if I didn’t put up with you.”
- “You’re too fat to wear that.”
- “All you care about is yourself, and I’m just so selfless that I let you get away with it.”
Belittling statements are often untrue, and while you may know this deep down, hearing those negative comments might convince you otherwise over time.
3. Feeling Undervalued
If your spouse/partner, friend, or family member doesn’t respect who you are–what you believe in, the things you value, the way you feel–you are in a seriously toxic relationship. Good relationships are ones where each party values the other person for who they are.
In a toxic relationship, one or both parties not only dislikes those things about the other person, they make a point to ridicule and mock those core values in an effort to change them. If you have to be someone else to be “acceptable” to a friend, family member, or partner, that’s a toxic relationship you should want nothing to do with.
4. Messing With Your Mind
Do you associate with someone who:
- makes snide comments about your weight
- makes you feel like you’re tough for other people to like
- makes mean comments about your appearance
- takes cheap shots about your grades and test scores
- makes you feel bad for common, silly mistakes
Toxic people try to make themselves feel better by making you feel bad about yourself. If he or she can convince you that you’re stupid, unattractive, fat, or hard to handle, when you start to believe these cruel comments, it makes you feel grateful to them for “putting up with you.” It also makes you easier for them to control. There’s nothing to be grateful about when someone treats you this way.
5. Strings Attached
You ask to borrow $20 from your sister, and you pay her back two days later. Three months later, she’s still reminding you of how she loaned you that $20 out of the goodness of her heart; a more grateful sibling would let her have her way with whatever she’s asking you for.
Your dad was kind enough to insist that he pay for dinner the last time you went out to eat together, and while he may not expect monetary compensation, you already know that he’s going to add it to his list of generous acts that YOU OWE HIM for later down the road.
Toxic people don’t do things for you because they care about you, want to see you happy, and generally enjoydoing nice things for no reason. They do things for you with the belief that it makes you eternally beholden to them for the “generosity” they’ve shown you. Favors in toxic relationships come with strings attached.
6. Your Not-So-Better Half
If your relationship with a family member, friend, or spouse tends to bring out the worst in you, it’s a good sign (or rather a bad one) that your relationship is toxic.
Signs that being with this person negatively changes you:
- You become negative when you’re normally upbeat.
- You become sarcastic and snide.
- You insult people that you would otherwise never speak ill of.
- You become easily angered when you’re normally very calm.
- You do things that are out of character, sometimes violently so.
- You say or do things that are disrespectful.
- You regret your behavior when you’re with this person, and you feel more like yourself the further away from them you are.
7. No Respect
If you’re dealing with a toxic relationship, you’ll notice that the other person has no respect for your other relationships. They’ll take cheap shots at your friends, family members, and spouse/partner whom they don’t like in order to undermine your relationship with them.
They may try to make you think that you’ll be viewed just as negatively by others for associating with them. This is toxic person behavior 101, and the more you let it slide without demanding their behavior stop, themore they’re going to do it.
8. High Expectations
A toxic relationship is one in which one or both parties are only interested in each other when they’re “living up to the expectations.” For example, a father who is only interested in his son when he’s working “the right job,” or a mother who’s only happy with her daughter when she’s “thin.”
Toxic relationships have unreasonably high expectations, and when those expectations aren’t met, one or both parties lose interest in the other person and turn to mocking or put downs to emphasize what adisappointment the other person is.
Other expectations in toxic relationships include:
- exceptional grades
- a specific salary range
- a certain lifestyle
- affiliation with a particular political party
- choosing a specific career path
- an expectation of how one is to be treated (ex: lavish gifts, expensive dinners, trips, etc.)
Ok, so my previous post about the use of this phrase is a bit hard-headed.
Since I have established my relationship with Samantha, I use the phrase constantly. It is like a rope that holds us together regardless of our individuality.
I have concluded that this phrase is horrid. While my experience with love and companionship is limited to a handful of people, I have found that the phrase itself is empty and devoid of meaning. It’s a phrase used by those without creativity, without passion, without heart, and frankly, without love.
I have used the phrase in the past and it has led me down some very strange roads. One of my girlfriends actually got mad at me when I said it and told me straight up that I didn’t. Confused the hell out of me because I had been friends with the girl for over a year before we even entered into an exclusive relationship. Needless to say, that relationship was pretty much busted after that point. I knew how I felt and that phrase was, at the time, the best I could come up with to express it. Another girlfriend craved for me to say the phrase to her. If I didn’t, she would throw a guilt trip on me and even get mad. She would assume that I didn’t really care about her. Insecure much? So eventually to me, the phrase didn’t mean shit except a stop-gap to prevent an argument. However, this same ex-girlfriend recognized something that I was doing that spoke louder than words. My actions. The way that I would talk to her about something. I was doing those things naturally. She picked up on it and called me out on it before I even recognized what I was doing.
The girl that I’m in a relationship with right now, I have considered saying the words but to me they mean less than what I really feel. To me, the feelings that I have expressed to her are larger than just a single phrase. The meme world on Facebook is full of wonderful sentiments that perfectly express my feelings for her and her feelings for me. We’ve told each other we love one another a hundred times already. We feel it when we hug and kiss each other, when we’re sitting on the couch watching TV and I’m playing with her hair, when we feed each other at the dinner table, when we stare at each other, and so many more actions that speak far louder than words ever could.
So, at the end of the day I won’t cheapen how I feel with a phrase that has become trite and meaningless to me. I’d rather shower her with phrases that express my passion for her, or tell her how inspiring she is to me, or how pretty I think she is. In reciprocation she does the same without expectation. The relationship is meaningful to us both. We mean a lot to each other.
I would like to tell you about a girl I met online named Samantha.
I’ve been down the road of meeting people online. I know all about ‘catfishing.’ I’ve been doing shit on the internet since well before the shit was popular. I’ve been meeting awesome people through the computer since the late 80′s. I have a clue.
Up until this point in my life I have gone through cycle after cycle of being happy being alone to being straight up lonely and in need of intimate human interaction. I was feeling myself slip back down into a depression again, feeling alone. Then…
My buddy Darren made a post on facebook about him seeing some dude jogging in shorts during a blizzard. Darren saw him while he himself was walking to the bar. I thought the statement was pretty damn funny so I decided to start clowning him about it. Meanwhile, 2 other people were doing the same thing, Foy and Sam. What started out as a drive-by joke, turned into an interesting conversation among all four of us. It lasted for a couple of hours. Lots of laughter and a little flirting with Sam between the three guys. She took it like a pro. She was pretty impressive. Meanwhile, I got to looking at her public profile pictures and was quite impressed with how she looked. The few pictures I could see were pretty amazing. It wasn’t the first time I’ve gone through her pictures, either. I’d seen her make comments to Darren before so she wasn’t an unfamiliar face, just unfamiliar in conversation. Later that night Darren posted a message on my wall joking around about how I stalked him all night. I told him that I thought Samantha was pretty interesting. He agreed and that was pretty much it. I didn’t ‘friend request’ her immediately because I think that tends to lean more towards being creepy. I thought about it though. I wanted to give it another night.
So the next evening I started looking for her to make a post on something that Darren said and sure enough, she did. I jumped in there and made a joke about it, got a little bit of conversation going and then it stopped. We hopped from one post to the next. In the meantime I sent a message to Darren asking for a little info from him about her. I told him at that time that I had a gut feeling about her. He clowned me about it because I live down here in Kentucky and she lives up there in Michigan. That thought didn’t really matter to me because my gut was telling me to cautiously step forward. I finally just friend requested her and she immediately accepted it. I started checking out her posts about stuff and started watching some of the video links she was posting. Bloopers and practical jokes and whatnot. I’d click on like, then another one would pop up. So I got to looking for similar links to post. This went on until I got out of work, which was earlier than usual. I took off to the bar to contemplate over a beer and a shot. I get there, drink my drink and my shot, then pull out my phone and see that I had received a private message from her asking me, ‘Are you watching the videos I’m posting??’ I hadn’t seen any of the new links but this sparked an interesting conversation with her. I was hunched over my phone every once in a while talking to her and at the same time talking to my friends. We ended up chatting on facebook until a little after 9 in the morning.
I don’t know what happened to me in that conversation but I felt every single brick that I had put up around me to protect my feelings, fall away like nothing. I had gone out to the bar on Saturday (3/16/13) night and wasn’t really having a good time because all I could think about was Samantha. We picked up our talking from the night before and just kept on going. Later that night, after I had gone home, she offered me her phone number.
From that moment something caught on fire. We ended up talking on the phone for 9 hours. This last Sunday I talked to her on the phone all day long, at least 13 hours of talking. So much has happened in the last 11 days that anyone else would think we had lost our minds.
I still can’t find the words to describe how I feel about her. We’ve swept each other off our feet and have found ourselves floating in our clouds. I’m heading up to finally meet her on Friday morning. It is going to be the most magical experience I’ve ever had. I’m certain of it.
I can’t wait to see her!
When I quit smoking, I felt like I said goodbye to an old friend. It was bittersweet but I knew the value in doing so was greater than the feeling of loss. There is another old friend, older than good ole smokie, one that I have been attached to, addicted to, obsessed with, for a very long time. I know this thing isn’t a real friend because it, at the core, is full of pain and hurt. It hurts me every time I let it in. I need to kick it out once and for all. It always convinced me that it was for my own good, that it was better to just accept it but, I cannot. I cannot let it beat me down any longer. I must let it go. It’s going to be a terribly difficult fight to endure but I think I have the tools and the support to finally kick the bastard habit. Soon.
The above post is something I put on Facebook. The topic is about loneliness. It’s about self-pity. It’s about being unforgiven. It’s about all the things that I’ve done in the past. It’s about all the things that have happened to me in the past. It’s about my love life. It is about my lack of a love life. It is about the tragic failures I have had in my love life and how I eventually developed this coping mechanism that told me that being alone was the best way to be. That I didn’t need anyone else in my life to complicate things. It led me to believe that I would be happy so long as I could control as much of my life as possible. It lured me in with the prospect of happiness out of loneliness. I fell for it. It became my philosophy. I hate it.
I hate it more than anything else I’ve ever hated in my life. It has led me to feel sorry for myself. Aided me in believing that I wasn’t worth a shit to anyone. It led me to destroy otherwise good relationships due to my own utter selfishness. I want out. I want out of this trap and hole I built for myself… and now, I see light at the end of this tunnel. I’ve seen this light before. I want to believe it is there, I want to see this future outside of this tunnel. I’m ready for the challenge. I’m ready to take on loneliness and make it my bitch. I’m ready to share my life with someone else.
Now is the time.