This article gets to the core of a very difficult issue for me to deal with lately.
So, one of the true benefits of transition has been the connection with and subsequent work with my therapist, and while I have not seen her recently, she gave me fabulous tools to help me set things in order in understanding my past, orienting myself in my present, and setting a good course into the future.
I highly recommend therapy for any person interested in growing into health and leaving toxicity behind.
One large and looming factor for me was the issue of setting boundaries, and finding ways to deal with when those boundaries are either ignored, intentionally violated, or gaslighted. Gaslighting is a technique used by the psychologically unhealthy person, and it is best if you simply google it should you be ignorant of its meaning.
As I set boundaries, I discovered that healthy people not only respect those but are actually grateful for them! It brings definition and order, clarity and purpose…and I also discovered that unhealthy people do not respect the boundaries…and then do crazy things after they violate them and get called out.
An unhealthy and manipulative person does the equivalent of this:
Me: I have a boundary regarding the consumption of liver, and I do not eat liver. Please do not offer me liver, as I will refuse it.
Unhealthy Person: Hey, do you wanna come over for dinner?
The appointed time arrives, and I find that there is nothing but liver to eat.
Me: Oh, wow…I see nothing but liver here, and I said that I do not eat liver and have a boundary about that. I will simply not eat this time, and in the future, please remember that boundary.
Unhealthy Person: (angrily, or cultivating an offended or martyr attitude) SO BE IT! I will never have dinner with you again!!
Do you see it, the tactic? When a boundary is enforced according to previously defined and stated protocols and consequences, the response is like a nuclear strike… “If I cannot serve you liver for dinner, I will never have dinner with you ever.”
Then, when the healthy person continues to live out their defined boundaries, the unhealthy person can go around to anyone who will listen and give their version of the event, which conveniently leaves out their being informed of a boundary, their violation of that boundary, and their own choice to escalate things completely beyond a simple definition of what will or will not be served and/or consumed and into a “rejection” of them…based solely on the choice of the unhealthy person to go from being informed about what will and will not be consumed all the way to their choice to not even have dinner with the boundary setter ever again.
It has been a sad thing to be aware of the various ways that this so-called information goes out and becomes reality for other people whom you have never had an exchange within the last several years…for now, any exchange that could be had will have the words of gossip, lies, and manipulation as the actual boundaries, but hidden and lurking, like ice that appears safe to walk on but is treacherously thin.
Sadly, these sorts of histrionics are nearly always accompanied by verbally abusive language, toxic acidic emotional abuse, and extremism in relational choices going forward. It is like the behavior of a preschooler combined with the manipulative ability and animal canniness of an adult…but not a healthy and whole adult.
So I ran across the article that I have linked to…and there is a lot of great stuff there…sadly, so many of these things also fit our current occupier of the Office of the President of the United States…he can be found there, from 1 to 20!
Learn these things…they will help you be safe when around people who are unhealthy…and they will help you become a more healthy person in and of yourself.
Hey, it is no shame to admit that you are not a healthy person! It is the first step in healing, actually…and it is never too late! To use the excuse that you are old and set in your ways is to also insist that everyone has to conform to you and how you define reality…and I simply opt out of that. Healthy relationships are not like that.