Have you ever wondered, when you see someone in an uncomfortable position, why he or she continues existing in that environment even when it’s obviously a bad situation? Let me share a story that is great information to share with your kids or yourself.
It’s been quite a while now, but I had this mysterious bump appear on my palm between my ring finger and pinky. After I first noticed it, I also noticed the bump was getting bigger every few days. I had no idea what it was, but it felt like a rock. I think it may have been a wart. When I tried using wart solution on it, there was virtually no change over the course of a week. So I grabbed this totally bizarre idea out of the air, as I often do, thinking that nail polish is paint; and paint prevents air transmission. Without air, whatever this is may suffocate. Who knows?
Anyway, after only a few days, the bump began drying up. After a couple of weeks, I noticed a peculiar crack around it. It resembled a stone deeply bedded in the sand. When I moved it, it rocked for a few days until I was able to wiggle it free. It was like a round stone falling out of my palm. Behind, it left a bizarrely smooth crater. Needless to say, I was relatively pleased I was thinking outside the box once again. But as time went on, I wasn’t the same. I noticed when I picked things up or held them in my hand, what I was accustomed to had changed. I found myself continuously rubbing the area of the absent wart with my thumb. Honestly, in a sick way, I missed the ugly, hideous wart simply because I was accustomed to it being there for so long.
There are dysfunctional relationships like that, aren’t there? Just because we’re accustomed to something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good thing. If that were the case, there would be no frog stew. As soon as the water got warm, the frogs would leap from the pot. But they’re used to it, and they stay — forever, or at least until the chef removes them.
Signs of Abusive Relationships
- When they compliment you, you feel as if you’ve been slapped
- They cut you down and then say, “I was just kidding. Can’t you take a joke?”
- They’re only happy if they win
- They’re unhappy if something good happens to someone else
- They focus on criticism of other’s thoughts and actions, trying to make others feel inadequate
- They’re coldly calculating, blaming everyone else for their own failed choices
- They make HUGE deals over insignificant errors, repeating them aloud so everyone knows
- They actually enjoy seeing others uncomfortable or in pain—it’s powerful to them
- There’s an undeniable discomfort of what they’ll say anytime they come near
- They always seem to know what’s best and insist everyone agrees or be ousted
Now, whether it’s the career choice we’re in, with a supervisor who abuses us psychologically by talking down to us or even making fun of us; at first it’s annoying, but then we put it aside because we fear speaking up will cost us our job—and it very may well. We often make excuses for the person. They just moved. Their spouse is dying. They have a heavy workload. Whatever it is, there’s no good reason for them to take it out on the people who are there to assist them.
The same thing goes for making excuses for relationships, whether a “friend” or an abusive spouse. Perhaps they playfully slug you and joke about it, but then it becomes pinching or slapping. Then they confess it’s because of a bad day and having no ability to take their anger out directly on the person at fault, so they take it out on their support system. Afterward, they’re very sorry. They may even make a purchase to make everything all better for a while. But then, it starts again.
As the cycle progresses, the results occur more often and the intensity grows until we’re numb. It’s easier to turn off emotional queues sometimes than face the cause. The same principles apply to a group of people anywhere, whether a roommate situation, a party, the office or anywhere people convene. And there’s always that one “Debbie Downer” in the group that’s unhappy and complains, gossiping about other people in the room or office because her own life is so damned miserable, she wants others to join in on her discomfort so she isn’t so alone. These people tend to exploit the same message, “Hey, I’m important, and I know everything that’s going on, so you should talk to me.” We’ve all heard “misery loves company,” haven’t we? Well, it truly does!
Don’t worry; all is not lost when you’ve been duped.
Here are some keys for coping:
- Do not entrust them to do your tasks, even if they offer
- If they manage to upset you, kill them with kindness, not sarcasm
- Save any documentation such as text messages, chats, emails, etc.
- Confront them in a professional and non-emotional manner
- If speaking to them directly doesn’t work (in the office), involve a supervisor
All you need to do to keep “the warts” at bay, is as soon as you recognize them talking about someone else, whether true or not—that’s your head’s up. Because you know damned well, anything you say can and will be used against you in the next few days. Asphyxiate that wart with nail polish and stay away from negative influences that have nothing positive to add. You deserve better because you are better — you deserve positive influences, not wart-causing gossip. Share that with the people you care about.