Category Archives: Family

When you have to walk away from a toxic friendship

I have had some amazing friends in my life.  I have also had some NOT so amazing friends in my life. And I have had friends who started out being amazing, but then the friendship fizzles. Many times with a new friendship you see a promising future, and somehow, something happens that pulls the rug out from under you and you have a sudden realization that it just wasn’t meant to be.

Or sometimes you need to break up with a friend.  I had to do that. I had to break up with a friend I had for many many years. It wasn’t pleasant and I avoided it for a long time because we had been friends for so long I just didn’t know how to part ways without it becoming ugly or bitter. In fact, in writing this it has occurred to me that I have been through a few friendship break ups. So I guess the question that came to me next is:   why do I need to break up with my friend? And what happens when you have to walk away from a toxic friendship?

A friendship breakup can be even more devastating than a breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend.  Sometimes we have been even more emotionally intimate with our friend than our lover/boyfriend/girlfriend, and so the loss of the friendship seems to cut a little deeper.

But as I think about it more, I realize that I have usually been the one to end the friendship.  Every time I have had to do that it has been because what was at first a wonderful, loving, friendship ended up being toxic to me. Let me explain.

Picture found on www.xojane.com

Picture found on www.xojane.com

I am an empath. Because of that people usually feel very comfortable talking to me about deeply personal things. Even when they don’t know me well. They tell me really intimate details of their lives without me even asking.  Something about me makes people feel comfortable and able to talk openly.

This has never been a burden and I have always been happy to be that person someone feels comfortable sharing with, however, occasionally it has resulted in a friendship that starts out great, but I soon realize that the friendship is toxic.  In one case I had a very close friend who I realized was toxic when I thought about all of the kind and loving things I had done for her and her family, but the love and kindness was never reciprocated.  The final straw was when she asked me about something someone else had told me in confidentiality and I refused to breach that trust. She just “had to know” and wouldn’t let it go. I finally realized that she would never give up asking for the information and I would never share it and break that trust, ….ever…..so I had to walk away. That one really hurt because we had mutual friends, and had been very very close for about quite a few years.

I think the most painful part of a breakup is the loss of what could have been.

picture found on pinterest

picture found on pinterest

But probably even worse than the previous breakup was one I went through about a year ago. It was a friendship that I thought would be amazing for my life and my family’s life.  I had invested a LOT of time and finances into the relationship and had gifted her and her family thousands of dollars. We were even talking about starting a business together and she had asked me to be on the board of her 501c.3 corp.  It started going downhill after she and her family came to stay at my home for a week and we sent them home with a truck full of goods as well as cash to get home. (approximately $500.00) This was after we had given them $1000.00 to go from their home across the country for a family funeral, and helped pay for vehicle repairs (900.00), groceries, hotel stays, etc. for a total cost of about $4000.00 over the span of about 12 months.  After they left I didn’t hear from her for almost two months (and prior to that I had spoken on the phone or via skype with her at least two to three times a week.) When I finally heard back after multiple attempts to reach her over that two months I were told “not to worry”, she had been “busy”, and could I give her $500.00 to help with some vehicle repairs. I said no, and the friendship began to unravel…..quickly…   I was accused of not caring, trying to trick her, lying to her, etc etc etc….. it just got uglier and uglier. I eventually had to block her from my FB, my phone, and my email.

That was an awful loss for myself and my family! I had a lot of dreams wrapped into that friendship both personally and professionally.  I actually cried for a week after I realized I had to walk away.

So I guess the bottom line is that friendships do break up, and they can be even more painful that a romantic relationship breakup.  I think we always know when it is time to move on, but we are sometimes reluctant to end a friendship.

Nontoxic people can become toxic.  Friendships can change  and become unhealthy. We can change. Friends can change. Sometimes we just have to walk away.  There are many different reasons we have to break up with a friend, but my advice is to always listen to your heart and gut and do what is best for you and your life.

 

Why do young folks sag their pants? My top 10 reasons!

I work with teenagers and young adults.

I live with teenagers and young adults.

I hang out with teenagers and young adults.

I actually pride myself on the fact that I can speak their language and tend to “get” them, (for the most part).  I like hanging out with them.  In fact, I find myself thinking about my own teenage-hood when I am hanging out with them.

My kids don’t read my blog and for that I am often grateful.  After all, since they don’t read the blog I can bad mouth them, talk shit about them, generally smear their names, or I can tell things about myself that I don’t necessarily want them to know.

So, back to my original point, which is that I feel that I “get” them for the most part.  I have learned not to share too much about me, but am able to get them to open up about themselves.  They seem to trust me. And even though my 19 year old always said I was the “best nag” about his homework when he was in high school, I NEVER embarrassed him in front of his friends, or gave him a hard time about his girlfriends.  I am one of those adults who believe that teens can experience true love, and have NEVER said to a teenager, “You don’t even know what love is”.  Of course they do.  They have the same feelings adults do, to the extreme in many cases.  They fall in love.  They care for each other.  The fastest way to stop your teen from listening to you is to tell them they don’t “really” love their girlfriend or boyfriend.

And even though I “get” young people, there are still many things about them I don’t understand.  Many things really haven’t changed from when I was a teen and young adult, (drinking, partying, hanging out with friends, staying up too late,  driving too fast, making reckless decisions, falling in and out of love) but there are also quite a few things that are different (technology, technology, technology). And this! This trend that I have seen for a few years, mainly among young males, although I have seen a few females engaging in this behavior as well. What is it?

Sagging their pants!

This is behavior I just don’t get.  I mean, really, I just don’t understand why they do that.  I can’t even tell you how many times I have wanted to walk up to the young guys I see on the campus where I attend college classes and say to them, “Listen, I know I am a middle aged white lady who just really doesn’t get it, but could you please tell me what it is that goes through your head when you get dressed in the morning, and choose to put on your pants, and then belt them around your thighs?”

What is attractive about this?:
sag pants                                                        Is this sexy????

Ridiculous

Ridiculous

I am a gal who wears my pants at the appropriate place on her body.  Which for a plump, middle aged woman is waist high or thereabouts.  No low riders for me……..no ma’am.  I have a hard enough time keeping the muffin top under control as it is.

But back to the matter at hand…which is why do young men wear their pants so low?  Do you remember the old Letterman top 10 bit?  Well I have developed my own list of:

Why do young folks sag their pants? My top 10 reasons!

10:  They just have too much junk in their pants (i.e. well endowed) and they need more room for things to “spread out”, shall we say….

9. They have just spent lots of money on VERY cool boxers and want to share their amazing undies with the world.

8. The are working on their arm muscles, and having to reach down and hitch up their pants every two steps while they are walking is a mini workout.

7. They have a new amazing belt, and think if they belt their pants around their thighs, you will have more opportunity to see it.

6. There was a super clearance sale at the Big and Tall shop, and they just couldn’t pass up a good bargain, even if the pants are three sizes too big…

5. They received hand me downs from a much larger person, and just couldn’t refuse accepting and wearing them.

4. They have recently lost LOTS of weight and therefore their pants don’t fit properly anymore, and constantly fall down.

3. They have decided they are taking a stand on running, they are just NOT going to do it, hence the low pants…(you can’t run in those things even if you needed to.) People who need to make a fast getaway do NOT wear saggy britches…….Just sayin’……

2. They have decided to boost the economy in their later years by ruining their hips now (have you seen the wide stance walk they have to use to move in their way too big pants), so they can spend money later on things like walkers, canes, etc. to get around.

and the number 1 reason men wear their pants low:

1. They are overheated and just need the butt and nut air conditioning…….

air flow

air flow

I have to say that I did do some research on this topic, (so I could point out to my sons where it really started), and found that the long held truth that this is about men showing their sexual availability is WRONG and is just a myth. The myth is that this started in prisons so men could show they were “available” for some “attention”. NOT TRUE!   However, the style is related to prison garb, which is usually too large for inmates and they are not allowed belts, so they have to constantly hitch up their pants.  Then some hip hop and rap artists took on the style as their own, and young men, (particularly young urban men) started copying the rappers they admired. Some cities have banned the style, and at my son’s high school “sagging” is not allowed, and you can be sent home if you can’t conform to the dress code.

And who can forget General Larry Platt:

So youth of America, listen to the General!!

What is God to me?

I love National Public Radio.

Our local station is WHRV, and I listen to it most of the time. I especially love Morning Edition and BBC Newshour. In fact I also love the Cathy Lewis show, and Fresh Air. Okay, I love it all. There have been many times I have sat in my car in the driveway, or in the parking lot at work, and been late just so I can listen to a program. All the while thinking, “just a few more minutes”. I like listening to public radio because I feel smarter when I do.

I feel like I learn something new, or hear a different perspective than I had in my own head. I don’t always agree with everything I hear on the radio, but I always listen.
This morning was one of those mornings where I stayed in my car to hear the last few minutes of a broadcast. It was very interesting, and I heard someone speaking about something I had thought many times but had not put voice to. I heard a story about Eric Weiner and a book he wrote called “Man Seeks God”.

So it made me start thinking, “what is God to me?”

He talked about how he went to the emergency room at a hospital with abdominal pains and a nurse whispered in his ear, “have you found your God yet?” Being a person who works in the medical field I do find it a bit odd that she would say such a thing to a patient, but it was a good thing because it caused Eric to embark upon a quest. A quest to find his God.

In his book he talks about his journey through Islam, and Buddhism, and Christianity, and Judaism. He talks about the things he found and what it meant to him. I will probably buy his book and read it, but the whole topic hit really close to home for me. I mean, I am 47 already.

Have I found my God? I spent some time thinking about it.  I  talked to my clients about it, and my co-workers and my partner Karol. I asked myself what my religion is and I thought about my own spiritual journey.

I was raised Jewish, but we were a family who did not attend Temple. I did not have a Bat Mitzvah and cannot speak or read Hebrew. I do know the prayers and my parents always did the “big” holidays. We had a Passover Seder every year, and ate apples dipped in honey on Rosh Hashanah. We fasted on Yom Kippur and had a dreidel box with presents in it at Hanukkah. It was next to the Christmas tree, but at least my parents taught me about my Jewish heritage.

When I grew up I had a roommate who was Mormon, and I married a man who was a Christian. I liked many of the things I learned in church, but could never quite wrap my head around the “only Christians get to Heaven” part. My parents were good people, but they did not believe in Jesus as their savior. Why did that make them unworthy? Why were only Christians the right ones? I never understood how they could be the only group that is “right”. To me it felt a bit elitist.

After I got divorced and fell in love with my partner I was looking for a church home for us and happened upon the Unitarian Universalist faith. That was a welcoming faith, and I love almost everything about it, but even there, I have some reservations about some aspects of it. I like some Buddhist beliefs, but can’t find my way to all of those either. I have studied some Wiccan beliefs and find those very interesting and comfortable also. When I came home today I asked my family what they believe their religion to be. My mother is an atheist, Karol said she was “raised Catholic”, but now says she “doesn’t know” what she “is”. The oldest son  also said he “doesn’t know”, the middle son said he is an atheist, and the youngest son said he is a “Jewnitarian”, (A Jewish Unitarian Universalist). So even my family is a hodge podge of religious beliefs.

So I guess there is no cookie cutter religion for me. I don’t think God is a man, yet I don’t think God is a woman either. I don’t think of gender when I think of God, I usually think of the universe, or an ethereal being of some kind without a body shape, just spirit. As Eric puts it I seem to have found an “IKEA God.” “Some assembly required,” he says. “[The] idea is that you can cobble together your sort of own personal religion, a sort of mixed tape of God.”

I liked that. It made sense to me, and somehow seemed to put the religious puzzle pieces in my brain into a cohesive unit. So I have decided that it is okay to be eclectic when dealing with religion. That you can take the pieces you like and that make sense to you and add it to the other things that make sense to you and stir it all together to make a wonderful spiritual soup that is palatable and I can live with on a daily basis!