Archive for the 'personal boundaries' Category

Through the Portal from Avoidance to Attraction

DSC00860Those of us who have experienced power plays, bullying, narcissistic abuse and just plain awful relationships find we are much better off when we learn to identify and avoid toxic people.  Being consciously aware and cautious of the red flags which signal unhealthy interactions is critical for anyone who has been entangled with a wolf in a sheep suit.  Developing discernment is the first step to freedom.

Getting too focused on problem behaviors and red flags, however, has a downside.  It is not enough to avoid difficult people.  At some point, we want to actively attract healthy, supportive people and have easy, loving relationships.  Avoidance is not attractive.

The metaphysical minded tell us that what we focus on expands; that we attract what we think of the most according to habitual feelings.  This makes avoidance a bad strategy for finding new and better relationships.  And, indeed, avoidance is only a part of the process.

When avoiding problem people, it’s a good idea to ask, “What do I want instead?”  In this way, we move away from the competitive and move toward the collaborative.  Rather than moving randomly away from the problem, and perhaps toward another problem, we can set a course away from the problem and directly toward the solution.  The solution is the relationship we wanted in the first place, or maybe even better than that.  This is to be found in a different territory altogether.

Simple steps through this portal;

  • Believe that there exist wonderful relationships with delightful people.  Find an example of a wonderful relationship, to prove to yourself it exists.
  • Know you are worthy of great relationships.  If you have been targeted by a low-empathy type, chances are very good that you value relationships, have a great deal of empathy, and are a socially savvy person.  Your matches, personally and professionally, are others who empathize and collaborate.
  • List the behaviors and traits you avoid as red flags.
  • For each red flag, define what you want instead.  For example:  My last manager made me feel criticized.  I want a manager with whom I feel accepted and supported.
  • Seek out people with whom you feel consistently good.

Set aside any cynicism.  (It doesn’t really protect you.)  See what happens after a couple of weeks of redirecting your attention in this way.

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Emotional Alchemy Transforms Fear into Freedom

photo credit: h.koppdelaney via photo pin cc

Fear seems to be one of the least helpful feelings when you are doing something new.  If that something new involves alligator wrestling, fixing a gas leak, or dating a notorious gangster, then your fear will help you stay alive.Most of us experience a different sort of fear that seems attached to unlikely events or events that do not really threaten us.  We worry enough about saying the wrong thing at a meeting that we don’t notice the mugger in the alley.  I laugh when I think of the driven students at my university during exam time, who were so afraid of failing, they would read their note cards while crossing State Street in front of Mack trucks.

When we examine this sort of fear, we tend to dismiss it as groundless.  The trouble is, it doesn’t stay dismissed.  It often has a message that is just as valid as more obvious seeming fears.  Finding the message can be the solution.  For months I woke up with a feeling of fear I didn’t understand.  After my teacher advised me to meditate on it and ask it what it wanted, I discovered that I was afraid I would never find the courage to pursue a cherished goal.  After I got the message, the messenger finally went away.

Getting the message can take a while.  Meantime, you can energetically transmute fear and feel better right now.  Fear is an energy in your body.  You can change the energy in your body by simply thinking about it in a different way.  Imagine your body is surrounded by a bubble of light.  Now imagine that because you are fearful, you make the outer wall of that bubble extra strong and thick, so nothing can get to you.  Also imagine that the bubble is big enough to enclose your body comfortably.

You have now effectively channeled fear energy out of your body into protective but not restrictive boundaries.

What is an Enlightened Interaction?

A friend recently questioned my term Enlightened Interaction.  “I don’t know what it means,” she said, “what does enlightened really mean?  Doesn’t every new ager consider herself enlightened?” she asked.I suppose there is a connotation of spirituality associated with the word “enlightened,” which could be construed as superior.  But when I use the term “enlightened,” I refer to awareness – spiritual or otherwise.

Dictionary definitions of enlightened suggest it is a state of being knowledgeable. Definitions include, “…freed from ignorance and misinformation,” and, “…based on full comprehension of the problems involved.”   Spiritual enlightenment, then, is the ability to understand from a spiritual perspective.

Coming at our interactions in an enlightened state, means we are aware.  This awareness of others requires listening and seeing the other person without projecting our beliefs and motives onto them.

Spiritual enlightenment creates an awareness of spiritual truth.  In most traditions, this means seeing another as an equal and a unique and valuable individual.  The interaction based on this enlightenment is respectful and kind.

Intellectual enlightenment, “…based on full comprehension of the problems involved,” creates an interaction grounded in awareness of reality.  This implies acceptance of others as they truly are and not getting confused by our fantasies and desires for the interaction.

An enlightened interaction, then, precludes any abuse, control or manipulation.  It is an honest interaction between people who are presumed to be equals, who strive to perceive and accept each other as they truly are.

This interaction is not the norm for most of us, but I’d like to think the next stage in our evolution would make it the norm.  Compared to dishonest or controlling interactions, enlightened interaction is satisfying and pain free.  If you cannot achieve enlightened interaction in a voluntary relationship, it is probably a relationship you should walk away from.

I hope this is…well…enlightening.

Deal with Difficult People Without Being One – Interview on Body Mind Spirit Radio, August 21 at 7 p.m.

Learn about enlightened interaction.  How to deal with office bullies, controlling spouses, manipulative family in ways that are respectful and invite respect.  Even when you feel you must interact with difficult people, you can do so while staying in your power and without being difficult yourself . When you change the way you think, people around you behave differently.  Interview with Ruth Wilson on Body Mind Spirit Radio   (Blogtalk Radio) Tuesday, 8/21/12, 7 p.m.

Vampire Protection that Doesn’t Stink

Psychic Vampire Repellant that Doesn't Stink

You might not use the word “vampire,” but you have surely met one or two people whose company drains you of your life force. Far from joining the ranks of the immortal, you will come out of these encounters depleted and depressed. If you don’t have really great boundaries (and many of us don’t,) then you have probably met quite a few people who drain your energy.
People who drain your energy appear to do so in a variety of ways. They may complain a lot, or perhaps they subtly put you down, or report the unflattering things other people said about you (but don’t believe them.) They may goad you; reminding you of something unpleasant, or perhaps they flaunt what they have but you lack. The long and short of it is, they upset you and this upset is how they drain your energy. Why do they do this? Because they can – and it works! It energizes them.
Those who perceive energy know how this drain is accomplished. Those who measure energy are learning that intuitive people are perceiving this accurately. When you get a shock or a trauma, or a sudden let down, the energy circulating in or around your body will pause or stop or even reverse its flow.
A pause in the energy flow is useful for playing dead to fool a looming predator but it can make you vulnerable to the psychic predator. All of our interactions with others involve exchanges of energy, and when the vampire has upset your energy flow, he or she is able to tip the balance of the exchange and tap your energy. This can leave you feeling drained and an energy vampire feeling uplifted.
Often you don’t notice this until after it happens. The upsets can be subtle and unconscious and leave you wondering why you suddenly feel low or thinking you are coming down with some virus.
The bright side of this kind of robbery is that it is relatively safe for you to simply refuse to give up the goods. By being present and aware, you can deny the vampire access to your energy. You may even be the one to benefit from their upset energy which will discourage them from future predations.
Simply being present around difficult people is simple. It isn’t always easy because most of us are in the habit of being dissociated so our consciousness is off somewhere in the next county. The trick is to be mindful of difficult people and when your mood suddenly changes, become aware of your body.
It takes only seconds to become aware of your body. Feel your hands and feet. Be aware of looking out of your eyes. Put a hand over your center and be here, now. Imagine the life force that flows through your core around your spine. Feel rooted on the earth and sense a light or warmth that flows in the top of your spine and fills you up.
Practice this feeling so you can summon it at will. If you live with an energy vampire, I recommend some martial arts training to learn to operate in a present and centered way.
If you are present, the vampire’s put downs will be recognized for what they are. You will not internalize them. You will not be so upset by them. You maintain your state. When this happens, the energy vampire may become upset. In this case, the energy exchange will work in your favor and you will leave the encounter feeling better.
You will have also encouraged an emotionally draining person to interact with you in more open and honest ways.

Vampire Romance? Eeuuww!

Most people who hear the term “Energy Vampire,” have an  immediate sense of what it means because most everyone has encountered an energy vampire or two.  When so many people suffer from the effects of energy vampires, I find the thought of vampire romance to be repugnant – Yeah!  Just the opposite of sexy.  Eeuuww!

Would you go out with a person whose M.O. is to drain you of  your life force and make you feel awful so he (or she) can feel great?  Unfortunately, the answer for many of us is:  “Of course I would! …and I have…but not knowingly!”

Before he (or she)  has gotten his fangs into you, a vampire’s mystery and overt interest in you and what you have to offer can seem sexy and attractive.  Strong, sinister, silent types, such as vampires, make a wonderful blank slate for romance stories, because we can project our desires onto.

The fact is that a lot of the unappreciated qualities we attribute to an energy vampire are actually our own projections.   Most of us have unappreciated qualities and would really like them to be recognized.  It is just that psychological signature which attracts energy vampires in the first place.

If you have pretty good boundaries, you are unlikely to attract these unfortunate but dangerous creatures.  Most of us have been taught to have poor boundaries by parents who did their best (and some who didn’t) so we are used to unhealthy energy exchanges.  I could tell you how this looks to an intuitive or feels like to an energy practitioner, but really, who cares?  (If you want this detail, check out Joe Slate’s Psychic Vampires here:  <a title=”Psychic Vampires” href=”http://http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wwwproactivco-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=0738701912&ref=tf_til&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr“>Joe

What you really need to know is how to avoid these people before they get their fangs into you.

I recently spent the day with a group of women and came home feeling like I was coming down with flu. When the flu didn’t materialize, I looked more closely at the company I kept.  One of the women, subtly but continually, put down, questioned or dismissed the others. She asked me a couple times if I was sick, saying that I looked ill.  One of my companions was having a lot of fun and was told, “Oh, you’re so childish… I mean, childlike!”  She repeatedly forgot the first name of one member of our group – despite having met her many times before.

None of these things is bad in itself.  It was the intent to upset that made the excursion unpleasant.  The power of your upset emotions energizes the vampire, and sure enough this woman became more and more chirpy and smiley as everyone else’s faces fell.  I now avoid her like the plague, but I have that luxury because she is a passing acquaintance.

If the energy vampire is a close relative, or Heaven forbid, your partner, that’s a whole ‘nother blog post, but you can learn to hang onto your energy with this person if you have good boundaries.  Once you recognize this person you can even benefit energetically from their shenanigans.
(But that’s another blog post too – watch for it.)

The trouble is most of these people get their teeth into us before we know what they’re like or they are careful to appear quite positive as they get their digs in.  They often plant seeds of doubt or fear in our minds that keep us upset and mentally connected to the vampire long after we have left their company.

Psychic attacks are like viruses and germs.  A healthy immune system is more effective than anti-bacterial wipes.  Any practice or therapy that clears your mind and builds healthy boundaries will benefit you.  But you can recognize and avoid these people pretty easily if you pay attention to your feelings.

The first thing to notice is when you feel tired, depleted and depressed in reaction to your interactions with others.  If a particular person’s conversation, Facebook postings or emails repeatedly make you feel sad, angry, tired or disturbed, start watching these interactions more closely.

Watch also for the Yuck factor.  If in-person interactions make you feel slimed, disturbed, exhausted or queasy, on a consistent basis, look for the vampire in the mix.

Especially notice if the person who makes you feel disturbed shows signs of being energized by your discomfort.

If you notice any of these things, head for the hills or at least a different room.

Psychic vampires are not romantic at all, so do not expect the culprit to look sinister.  He or she probably seems quite unassuming, maybe quite cheerful and self effacing.

As sinister as the term “vampire” is, the energy vampire is quite pathetic, really.  Anyone who does not know how to access their own resources and feels they must drain yours is pretty sad.  The practice leaves them in a very unhealthy state after a while.  You are doing them a favor by not making your energy available to them.

The emotions you are feeling may not even be your own!

We reflect those around us

Those of us with porous boundaries tend to feel that we may be super emotional, temperamental or even crazy, when we feel profound shifts and changes in our thoughts and emotions.

In fact, we all “catch” emotions and moods from each other, though some of us are better at it than others. We tend to mirror each other’s body language and this can make you feel the emotional tone of a person with whom you are speaking. But on a more subtle level, we have mirror neurons in our brains that keep us in emotional sync with the people around us, even when we are not actively engaged with them.

Those who are capable of empathy with others, learn early on to “feel” their way around their environments. It seems those of us who grew up in chaotic times or in chaotic households or with explosive or moody caretakers, learned to do an especially good job of picking up others’ emotions.

It took me years to discover that I was an empath and not emotionally disturbed, though I was certainly disturbed emotionally! But once I saw that not all of the emotional winds blowing through my space belonged to me alone, I was able to learn what feelings were really mine. What a relief! I discovered I am way more stable…and positive… than I had always assumed.

How can you cope if you are emotionally absorbent?

The obvious, but not always practical, solution is to be careful of the company you keep. Notice if bad moods are triggered in particular environments or by certain people and avoid those if possible.
You can create more solid mental and emotional boundaries with your imagination. If you picture yourself surrounded by a clear, protective bubble, your thoughts and feelings actually affect the energy field around your body. This mental distinction is remarkably effective for keeping other people’s “stuff” at arm’s length.

We are not as separate from each other as we think. Though being empathic can be troublesome, being able to identify with the feelings of others is what makes you a fully functioning human being!