toxic relationships

Gay Man’s Gut Feeling Saves Woman From Potentially Sketchy Date

By | dating, Food for thought, helping others, stories, strangers doing good, toxic relationships, uplifting news

Strangers looking out for strangers.

A guardian angel

Earlier this month, Twitter user @Hadia__S was out on a coffee date when a gay man sitting behind her passed her a note.

In a now-viral post, the woman shared a photo of the note, which was given to her while her date was in the bathroom.

“I had coffee with a guy yesterday. When he went to the bathroom, the gay guy sitting behind me passed me this note,” she wrote.

“Too many red flags. Run. Be safe girl.”

She saw red flags, too

The woman went on that the date was indeed filled with red flags. One bad sign was “not seeing eye to eye” on the situation when rapper Da Baby expressed homophobic views to a live audience. Another was the date’s admiration for Kevin Samuels, who has been called a “pseudo-love guru” who “exploits the vulnerability of Black women.”

“Ok, I’ll share more..while trying to remain as vague as possible. But we did not see eye to eye on the Da Baby situation and he’s a Kevin Samuels fan. I had to look him up and was immediately taken aback lmao,” she wrote.

“I recognized the red flags, but I wasn’t in danger, so I stayed, because of course I had to debate him. I’m sure my guardian angel was exhausted and was like “BITCH, LEAVE!””

Thankful that someone was watching her back

The Twitter user added that despite seeing the red flags herself, she appreciated the note from the stranger and it gave her a good laugh.

She also addressed questions in the comments asking whether there’d be a second date — the answer was no.

“There were a few other GLARING red flags that I won’t mention, but don’t worry, I would have recognized them with or without the note. But the note was greatly appreciated and added some laughs to my night. There won’t be a second date,” she wrote.

Listen to gay men

In the comments, user @endlessblissx pointed out how gay men are always looking out for women.

“Did you listen? cause if anyone knows men better, it’s GAY MEN.”

Others shared that men who date men are excellent authorities on the subject and should be listened to.

“I’m just saying if a man who dates men, tells me to run tuh I’m hitting the JETS,” wrote @misseverywhereg

“Men who date men know men.. you might wanna listen girl, ijs,” wrote @thatdamnbrook

Look out for each other

When we’re meeting someone for the first time, especially on a date, it can be tough to glean who they truly are. Sometimes, we miss telltale signs that show the person might not be as great as they seem.

Figuring these red flags out early on can save us a lot of anguish down the line, but it’s not always easy to recognize them. That’s why if we see red flags anywhere, whether it’s a stranger or a friend, it’s a kind thing to gently let them know. We all have to look out for each other in this complex world.

More uplifting news:

How To Tell If Someone Has A Truly Toxic Personality, According To Science

By | dating, family, Food for thought, friends, Motivation, narcissism, personality, relationships, self, self-development, Self-Improvement, stories, toxic people, toxic relationships, uplifting news

Your friend or someone you know has gotten fired from every job they’ve ever had. Their dates always flake on them and their friends always betray them. The common theme: it’s never their fault and if you press them on it you’re the one to blame.

According to a team of psychologists in Israel, these types of people may have a toxic personality disorder called “tendency for interpersonal victimhood” (TIV), which they describe as “an ongoing feeling that the self is a victim, which is generalized across many kinds of relationships.”

People with TIV wholly and truly believe they are never wrong and that their victimhood is a core part of their identity.

How to tell if someone ‘plays the victim?’

Not everyone who feels victimized is toxic. Bad things do happen and it’s okay to be upset about it.

Rather, TIV occurs when someone constantly feels like a victim and they bring others down with them.

Rahav Gabay and her colleagues determined that people with TIV tend to have four dimensions:

Constantly seeking recognition

Of all the allegedly horrible things that happen to someone with TIV, people never apologize to them. Worse, they don’t even acknowledge their wrongdoing.

While apologies can be hard to come by, this only becomes an issue when the person who plays the victim is in desperate search of recognition for the supposed bad things that are done to them.

A sense of moral elitism

People with TIV are never wrong. In fact, their moral compass is better than everyone else’s and they use this assumption to manipulate others into their own perspective.

This behavior may be a defense mechanism as a way to maintain a positive self-image.

Lack of empathy for others

Everything that happens to TIV people is the absolute worst and no one else’s pain or suffering matters, or so they think. This can especially be toxic in a relationship as TIV people only care about their own problems, never others’.

The route of this behavior can be that since the person believes they have suffered so much, they don’t think anyone else deserves empathy for their suffering.

This lack of empathy can also show up in a group or national level in the form of “competitive victimhood” or an “egoism of victimhood” where members of a group cannot see things from another group’s perspective.

Rumination about past victimization

Since romantic relationships never worked out in the past for TIV people, there’s no chance they’ll work in the future. This is a fallacy as the past doesn’t dictate the future, but it’s a core belief of people who always play the victim.

Always ruminating about past grievances and thinking it reflects the future is something perpetual victims tend to do.

Why TIV is toxic

People who always play the victim are extremely difficult to deal with because they’re selfish and never wrong.

They’re also obsessed with seeking revenge for those who’ve wronged them and may punish others who had nothing to do with it just because they’ve been wronged before.

Forgiving is part of growth

We all play the victim from time to time. Sometimes bad things really do happen to us and it makes us sour.

The problem is when the victimhood because constant and when the person never learns from their mistakes. It’s also problematic when they never forgive others – you don’t know what everyone is going through and nobody’s perfect.

Ultimately, the problem with playing the victim is it doesn’t allow you to learn or grow from the past. If you don’t acknowledge your faults, how can you make adjustments for the future?

If you know someone who’s always playing a victim, it might be time to reduce your relationship with them or have a frank discussion about it. Life is too short to be surrounded by toxic people.

More uplifting stories:

7 Strategies for Surviving Toxic Relationships – and Thriving After

By | Food for thought, Relationship, relationships, Self-Improvement, toxic relationships

According to Merriam-Webster, “survived” means “to remain alive after the death of.” Today, I remain alive physically, mentally, and emotionally, after the death of many toxic relationships.

When I was in my twenties, I wouldn’t have thought it was possible to survive a toxic relationship. My belief was always that I had to “endure,” or “continue in the same state.”

What is a toxic relationship? Toxic relationships are not just romantic, they can also be platonic and familial. They can be abusive in many different ways, from physically violent to emotionally manipulative, or defined by codependency.

1. Set boundaries

One thing I’ve learned how to do is set boundaries in relationships. In the beginning, learning to advocate for myself was difficult and awkward. Often times, I didn’t know where my boundaries were until someone crossed them. Now that those boundaries are clearly defined, the trick is to assert them in all of my relationships while respecting the boundaries of others.

2. Honor your limitations

Some level of compromise is necessary in every relationship, but the relationship itself should not be a compromise. There are certain things I am willing to occasionally make concessions for: my time and my wants, but never my needs and never my values. I accept that I may need to compromise some of my preferences, but not my prerequisites. I have to honor my own limitations.

3. Avoid codependency

I have been in many codependent relationships where I thought I could “fix” my partner. Sometimes our best intentions are not congruent with the actions we take. We may want our partners to grow and be successful but our partners are not projects and it is not our responsibility to fix them. Our only responsibility is to work on ourselves, even within the confines of a relationship. However, it’s not always possible to do that when we are overly invested in our partners’ well-being, to the detriment of our own.

4. Don’t take on their pain

A lot of my relationships were characterized by or built around common struggles, including untreated substance abuse and a lack of self-worth.

These common struggles would unite me and my partner, but they also divided my codependent, inauthentic self from my best, higher self. That divide made it impossible to bridge the gap between who I was and who I had the potential to be.

We often think that if we share the struggles our partner is experiencing, they will feel less alone or depressed. We can be sympathetic and supportive, but we don’t have to take on someone else’s pain. Everyone has their own process, and we shouldn’t interfere with it, especially because it makes us less capable of being in a position to support them.

5. Stay authentic

There were many times when I was not able to be my true, authentic self in relationships. I felt stifled by trying to meet the other person’s expectations. I tried to conform to what the other person wanted. Part of the reason for this is because I didn’t know who I was or who I wanted to be.

However, being in these toxic relationships provided great examples of what I don’t want. From there, I was able to develop a conception of my ideal relationship, partner, and self.

6. Maintain autonomy

When codependency is a factor in a toxic relationship, it means that an individual is solely relying on the other person to meet their emotional and psychological needs. One person assumes the role of a caregiver, compulsively seeking to rescue their partner from destructive behavior.

If leaving the relationship is not an option, professional help and support groups can assist the caregiver in achieving or regaining their sense of identity even within the relationship.

A healthy relationship is interdependent. Two individuals experience closeness and share responsibilities, whether they are financial or emotional. They maintain autonomy both in and outside of the partnership, engaging in self-care and having a life that exists beyond the life of the relationship.

7. Detach with love

I no longer maintain contact with any of my previous romantic partners from those toxic relationships. However, in some relationships, such as with family and friends, it’s not always possible to do this. In those cases, detaching with love has helped me. I have had to put some distance between myself and others in order to continue growing.

Detaching with love means making yourself available to someone who is struggling, in case they ask for help, but loving yourself enough to walk away from a relationship that no longer serves you.

If you’ve made it this far and you’re craving a transformation of your own, we can help you get there.
Jumpstart your personal transformation and get on track to build your best life with Goalcast’s new inspirational ebook, Explore Your Potential: Start the Journey to Your Dream Life.
Transformation doesn’t just happen. It takes a plan and a support system. This how-to guide is full of the top wisdom, tips, exercises, and success stories to inspire an old dream or create a new one.
Check out a teaser of what’s inside.


5 Signs Your Relationship With Your Siblings Is Toxic – and How to Repair It

By | Food for thought, Relationship, Self-Improvement, toxic people, toxic relationships

It can be one of the most heartbreaking things to go through outside of losing a loved one — to become separated from a brother or sister whom you’ve spent such a large portion of your life with.

Someone that may have, at one time, been much more than just a sibling — but an inseparable best friend.

Unfortunately, we don’t get to choose who our siblings are. And with so many factors influencing who we grow up to be, many outside even our own parent’s control, sometimes your sibling grows up to become a toxic influence on you and your life.

There’s something about having a sibling that you know will always stick with you.

Bishop Briggs

If you think that’s happened to you, or if you’ve just begun to question whether your relationship with your sibling could be toxic, here are some signs to know for sure (plus some tips for repairing a broken relationship).

1. They hurt you and never apologize for it

Does your sibling say or do hurtful things to you on a regular basis and seems unaware or unconcerned with how they’ve hurt you?

If your sibling never seems to show remorse no matter how they hurt you, that’s a compelling sign your sibling is not only toxic but narcissistic or sociopathic.

2. They always try to use you and give nothing in return

Does it seem like your sibling only ever calls or messages you when they need something?

Do they always miss your important dates but they never fail to call when they need money, help moving, a babysitter, or a reference on an application?

If your toxic sibling has this pattern of behavior, they might be a master at manipulating you to feel bad about turning them down.

If you say yes, you know you’re being taken advantage of. But if you say no, you convince yourself they probably don’t have anyone else to turn to if they’re calling you. So, you feel pressured– and manipulated.

3. They blame you for everything

Does your sibling always act like you do everything wrong?

Toxicity never faces itself, it lives off others as if it were some inhuman substance that needs a host to survive. To a toxic person, the entire world is doing it wrong and it is simply the victim.

If your sibling never admits to doing anything wrong, and especially if they always try to pin it on you, that’s a sign that they’re as toxic as they come.

4. They’re constantly criticizing you or your decisions

If your sibling always tries to kill your ideas and make you feel stupid, like nothing you ever do is right, their criticism isn’t coming from a place of love but from a heart filled with pain and suffering.

Constructive criticism, or tough love, is a part of any real loving relationship. But tough love is fare and, first and foremost, loving. If your sibling never shows any concern for your well-being and seems to intentionally make you feel bad, that’s toxic criticism.

5. You almost always feel exhausted after spending time with them

Sometimes, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what is so toxic about the relationship. You just know– you can feel it.

Every time you leave their company you feel utterly drained. Not physically but mentally, as if all your brain power had been sapped right from your skull. It might be because they complain incessantly, have a victim mentality, or harbor anger in their heart towards another. Whatever the reason, they’re without a doubt toxic.

How to repair a toxic sibling relationship

A toxic relationship with a sibling is tough, but ending a relationship with a loved one whom you’ve grown up and likely have decades of good memories with can be heartbreaking, so it should be reserved for as a last resort.

If you’ve already become estranged from your brother or sister, there’s always a chance to repair the relationship.

Here are some tips for repairing the relationship:

Put yourself in their shoes and have compassion

Maybe your sibling is suffering on the inside and takes their frustration, anger, or sadness out on those around them. Maybe they need help funneling these painful emotions.

Think back to what your sibling has had to go through. Do you know of anything they might have experienced that would have caused them great pain? If you’re not sure, try to extend the olive branch and have a conversation with them from this perspective.

That doesn’t mean necessarily pressuring them from an assumptive point of view but rather opening up and being honest about how you don’t know why you’re always their punching bag or why they’re simply always so draining or negative.

Sometimes just starting a conversation can get the other person to spill in a therapeutic way.

Create terms you can clearly define to keep the relationship within healthy boundaries

Another option is to create terms for you and your sibling which are clearly defined to mend and reestablish the relationship.

If they’ve done something wrong, they need to be willing to open up and apologize. If they’re not willing, it’s not worth it.

But if they are, lay some ground rules about what you’re not okay with.

Did they tend to lay all their dirty laundry on you every time you saw them? Tell them they need to get a different avenue for releasing their tension, that you love them, and that you want to spend quality time with them enjoying their company and not being someone else’s sounding board.

However, be careful about pushing them away with this strategy. You don’t want them to think you’re trying to control the situation as that might rub them the wrong way.

Rekindle the relationship with new space

Rekindling a relationship is easy. It’s keeping it going that’s tough. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to begin communicating again but start very, very slow.

Get together with them, talk things out, and catch up. But only plan to see them occasionally, at a few holidays during the year for instance.

Over time, the more you see one another the more your bond can and likely will strengthen as long as it’s something that both of you are willing to put the work in for.

If you’ve made it this far and you’re craving a transformation of your own, we can help you get there.
Jumpstart your personal transformation and get on track to build your best life with Goalcast’s new inspirational ebook, Explore Your Potential: Start the Journey to Your Dream Life.
Transformation doesn’t just happen. It takes a plan and a support system. This how-to guide is full of the top wisdom, tips, exercises, and success stories to inspire an old dream or create a new one.
Check out a teaser of what’s inside.


3 Signs It May Be Time for a Friend Break-Up (and Why That’s OK)

By | Featured, Food for thought, friends, friendship, Relationship, toxic relationships

There is no shortage of songs, movies and television shows depicting the difficulties of romantic breakups. But when it comes to navigating the end of a friendship, it can feel like you’re on our own.

The truth is, heart-wrenching, gut-twisting breakups are not limited to romance. Although many friendships outlast romantic relationships, but there’s no rule that says they’re forever. While at times the cause may be blatantly clear, mutually agreed upon, and beneficial, more often than not, the rift can seem sudden and painful.

Consider the following three reasons it may be time for a friend break-up (and why that’s totally ok):

1. Mismatched expectations

Here’s but one common example: not long ago, you and your friend were both single. But now they’re married with a kid. And suddenly you’re the only one trying to make plans. It feels one-sided, and you get why, but that doesn’t make it feel any better. And your friend doesn’t seem to understand why this new arrangement would cause you to bat an eye.

While some friendships do indeed weather inevitable life changes, if you don’t feel comfortable expressing how you feel in a friendship, an eventual kaput is likely. Sometimes what it comes down to is that if you can’t adjust your expectations of your bud’s time/energy, it may be time to move on — without shame or regret.

2. Give and take

We’ve all had that friend who seems to take way more than they give — sort of like an energy vampire that drains you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Every conversation seems to be focused on them and their problems. You may constantly have to give advice, yet they never seem to listen. Plus, they’re not the most reliable.

If you can’t count on them when it counts, that’s an issue. The same friends are often poor listeners, failing to reciprocate when you happen to share your problems. And on the flip side, you know you’ve got trouble when something good happens to you and they fail to be happy for you. Not okay.

3. It’s a fight

Constantly fighting is exhausting — no matter what kind of relationship we’re talking about. Who wants to be around someone they’re always in disagreement with? Resentment accumulates fast and stays strong, even if we don’t like to admit it. If your friend seems more of a frenemy, and you’ve got a strange feeling they actually hate you (or you hate them), listen to that.

And if they go so far as to insult you, or pull rank on you, do your best to spot the imbalanced/abusive dynamic and walk away before it gets worse. Never feed a troll. Yes, unfortunately, our friends sometimes turn to trolls.

Bottom line: if any of the above sounds familiar, remember that friendships, like most (if not all) other things in life, do come to an end. It’s more than okay to let that happen, and move onto new people better-suited to you, who will bring fresh, new, inspiring energy to your life!

4 Distinct Ways Your Childhood Could Affect the Way You Date

By | childhood, dating, Food for thought, romantic relationships, Self-Improvement, toxic relationships

It seems unlikely, but experiences from as far back as your early childhood can have a big effect on the way you date and behave in relationships.


It’s called your attachment style and it’s based on the pioneering work of Psychologist Dr. John Bowlby in the late sixties and early seventies on what became referred to as attachment theory.

According to Bowlby, “attachment behavior characterizes human beings from the cradle to the grave.”

The basic idea is this: depending on how much love and affection you received — the dynamic of your relationship between you and your parents, guardians, and/or other constant loved ones — as a young child, you developed a behavior to match that. And that behavior stays with you for the rest of your life. Unless, of course, you do work to change it.

That attachment style can be healthy, with you attracting partners because you truly like and are interested in them, but it can also be unhealthy in several different ways, leading your relationships to become toxic.

So, how can this help you? It can help in a lot of ways if you know your own attachment style. Most notably, knowing your attachment style can help you reduce that toxicity and develop healthier dating and relationship patterns, which will then lead you to attract better partners and make your relationships more successful.

There are four attachment styles: secure, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant, and fearful-avoidant. Here’s a bit about each and how they can affect the way you date in their own unique ways:

How Secure Attachment style affects the way you date

Secure attachment style is the only one of the four attachment styles that is entirely healthy. Fortunately, it’s the most common (roughly sixty percent of people have a secure attachment style).

Growing up with a loving guardian whom you could always count on is the recipe for developing a secure attachment style. If that was you, then you don’t look for a partner to fill a hole that your childhood created within your heart (need), you rather look for a partner to enhance your life (want). You generally don’t attract toxic partners. You’re more easy to trust and respect your partner and attract partners who do the same.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean your relationships will all be perfect, just that you won’t have that added layer of attachment issues to deal with as well, making it easier to find a good partner and develop a strong relationship with another person.

How Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment style affects the way you date

Anxious-preoccupied, along with dismissive-avoidant and fearful-avoidant, are the final three attachment styles. I bunch them together because they’re on the other side of the spectrum in terms of healthy attachment styles. Each is different but they all can lead to harmful relationship patterns.

Anxious-preoccupied attachment types have a lot of insecurity and are most notably defined by their desire to find someone that will make them whole. When an anxious-preoccupied person is dating, it’s partly through this lens that they judge who they pursue or move forward with.

Because of this desperate desire to find their missing piece, anxious-preoccupied people are often very paranoid and untrustworthy, sometimes developing controlling relationship habits to preemptively protect themselves from being hurt over their partner cheating or falling out of love. To begin working through this attachment style, trust must be developed early and kept strong.

How Dismissive-Avoidant Attachment style affects the way you date

Somewhat of a contrast to anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant is the first of two avoidant attachment styles.

Dismissive-avoidant types have a habit of pushing their partners away and becoming distant. They can be very cold and hard to get through to at times and they often don’t even notice they’re doing it.

If you’re dismissive-avoidant, you’ll seek out relationships which lack a deeper level of intimacy because otherwise you just feel uncomfortable and that will trigger your self-protection mechanism. Dates and consequent interactions will often be more shallow and you’ll avoid deep conversation for fear of any sort of significant emotional connection.

It’s difficult to step outside your comfort zone. However, if you’re a dismissive-avoidant, doing just that and seeking to have more of an emotional connection with your dates can help you find someone you have a real connection with as opposed to just a surface-level attraction.

How Fearful-Avoidant Attachment style affects the way you date

Finally, fearful-avoidant attachment style avoids connection for a different reason: they’re afraid. Afraid of what will happen if they become too close with a person or if they grow too distant. This can make them appear very unstable.

It can also make dealing with a fearful-avoidant type extremely frustrating as they often can’t decide what they want. They’re afraid of getting close and being hurt, so they sometimes keep you distant like a dismissive-avoidant type. Other times, they also fear losing someone by becoming too distant, so sometimes they appear more like an anxious-preoccupied type in their desire to attach and control.

If you’re a fearful-avoidant type, you may often get close to someone you’re dating quickly and then suddenly distance yourself from the person for reasons you’re not even aware of. You’re typically operating from a place of fear when getting things going with someone, taking action only when that fear becomes great enough one way or the other.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s important to know that no matter what your attachment style, you can change. Your attachment style is deeply embedded, however, it isn’t written in stone. Start first by working to identify your attachment style. Once you’ve done that, you can start facing it and working to develop a more secure attachment behavior.

If you’ve made it this far and you’re craving a transformation of your own, we can help you get there.
Jumpstart your personal transformation and get on track to build your best life with Goalcast’s new inspirational ebook, Explore Your Potential: Start the Journey to Your Dream Life.
Transformation doesn’t just happen. It takes a plan and a support system. This how-to guide is full of the top wisdom, tips, exercises, and success stories to inspire an old dream or create a new one.
Check out a teaser of what’s inside.


How to Deal with a Toxic Family Around the Holidays

By | christmas, Food for thought, happiness, holidays, Self-Improvement, toxic people, toxic relationships

For some of us, the holidays can feel like a war zone.


I grew up with very fond memories of Christmas and the holidays in general. I’m a Christmas baby, born at the end of December, so that also helped.

But my wife is another story entirely. Going to my family’s home over the holidays, typically on Christmas Eve, was warm and welcoming. But going to my wife’s felt dead and awkward, like the ghosts of old, painful memories walked the halls.

The holidays are difficult for a lot of people for different reasons. One of the most common is toxic family members. All year-round you’re free of the tyranny of your family, or a specific person, that seems to have made it their mission to break you.

And as soon as you get out of the car or off the plane to come home for the holidays it feels you’re dodging bombs and ducking over figurative bullets continuously.

If that’s what the holidays feels like for you, you need to deal with it or risk losing your sanity this holiday season (all over again).

My father once said, ‘If you’re in the desert and you’re dying of thirst, are you going to drink a glass of blood or are you going to drink a glass of water?’ I think what he was trying to say, interesting coming from my blood father, is sometimes there are people in your family that can be toxic.

– Nicolas Cage

War made Rambo lose his head. That doesn’t have to be you. Here are some strategies for dealing with toxic family members around the holidays.

1. Make a plan


I know, you’re busy enough. But the last thing you want is for the holidays to hit you over the head like a wave because you’ve been too busy with work and other responsibilities.

If you know what’s to come, that you’re going to have to deal with what you go through every single year, then do yourself a favor and instead of ignoring it until it’s physically impossible, take some extra precautions beforehand to help you deal with it.

This will not only give you more of a sense of control, which can be a big comfort, but it will allow you to have some pieces in place for dealing with things if they get really bad.

This all depends on the kind of toxicity you experience with your family. However, a plan for injecting some positivity into your holidays — whether it’s an audiobook, podcasts, videos, outside social gatherings with friends — and counterbalancing the negativity is one useful strategy pretty much anyone can use.

Look back on previous years at the kinds of things you experienced to get a better idea of what you’re likely to go through. Maybe it’s a specific person you need to avoid or a specific event that conjures memories of disappointment in your parents towards you like a parade that you can avoid, or something else.

Or maybe it’s about time. Maybe you can take a day or two or three of the mind-numbing nagging or piercing insults but anything more than that and you feel like curling up into a ball. Maybe you just need to cut your trip down by a few days to save your sanity.

Looking back like this will help you craft a strategy that makes the holidays more manageable for you, so don’t overlook it and allow yourself to come barreling into things without planning ahead.

2. Call in the troops (Get some social support)

The best way to deal with toxicity is positivity, love, and support from others. Always and no matter what form it takes. Nothing else comes close.

So, once you’ve made some plans to deal with the holiday threat and you feel like Rambo with Christmas ribbons tied across your bicep and forehead, it’s time to marshall in some backup.

Talk to some friends about possibly staying with them, spending some time together, or simply talking in case things get really bad. Whatever form it takes, just get a commitment from a few friends or (non-hostile) family members that will offer support when you need it the most.

It may backfire to ask if they’d come and spend some time with you and your family, though, so be careful about going that far. Certain types of toxic people find pleasure in tearing you down in front of other people, especially if they’re your acquaintance.

3. If all else fails– retreat!

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If you’ve gotten this far and nothing is working, it’s important to remember that true love isn’t toxic.

Sometimes, sure, someone that loves us can be so far stuck up their own bum that they can’t bring themselves to say I love you and instead are constantly trying to tell you how disappointed they are in you or why they don’t like you, approve of your life choices, or all of the above.

But, in general, love isn’t toxic. You don’t need that toxicity in your life and you’re not bound by a tradition that seems designed to break your spirit.

Don’t be afraid of crafting an exit strategy in case things go really wrong. Don’t feel guilty about executing that exit strategy when you’ve had enough. And don’t look back on the holidays like you’re the aggressor. Because if all of this is true of you so far, you weren’t.

So, take some time to craft an exit strategy that will allow you to retreat from battle in case things go too far or you feel yourself starting to break down including travel, excuse, and maybe replacement plans.

I’m not here to tell you whether you should employ a white lie to get out of there or not (“Work called me in, we have an emergency with our most important client”) because your sanity is that important.

Your the only one that can decide how you go about doing it. But make sure you have something in place that allows you to throw up the white flag and get out of there when you’ve just had enough.


If you’ve made it this far and you’re craving a transformation of your own, we can help you get there.
Jumpstart your personal transformation and get on track to build your best life with Goalcast’s new inspirational ebook, Explore Your Potential: Start the Journey to Your Dream Life.
Transformation doesn’t just happen. It takes a plan and a support system. This how-to guide is full of the top wisdom, tips, exercises, and success stories to inspire an old dream or create a new one.
Check out a teaser of what’s inside.


How Emotionally Intelligent People Handle Toxic People

By | emotional intelligence, Food for thought, Self-Improvement, toxic people, toxic relationships

If you’ve ever had a toxic coworker, or have lived with a toxic person, you know how much the wrong people in your life can negatively affect your performance.


And you also know that their real power lies in their ability to manipulate your emotions.

This is why emotional intelligence is such a powerful counter to toxic people: it gives you the ability to see through their tricks, manage the damage, and create defenses.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to navigate and effectively manage one’s emotions. However, it also includes social intelligence: the ability to effectively navigate social interactions with a keen awareness of the emotional element that is at play.

So then, how do emotionally intelligent people handle toxic people?

Truly toxic people will never be worth your time and energy – and they take a lot of each. Toxic people create unnecessary complexity, strife, and, worst of all, stress.

– Travis Bradberry

Here are some strategies that emotionally intelligent people employ to handle a toxic person:

1. They employ a strong support system

It’s very difficult for a toxic person to control a highly emotionally intelligent person. That’s because they know how to employ the most powerful counter to toxicity of all: support.

A toxic person depends on their ability to isolate and control you. But a strong, consistent support system is the most hardline counter to that which exists.

A strong support system sees you regularly, so they know when something is off.

A strong support system will meet and engage with the person at some point, so you can be sure they’ll defend you regularly and offer their (strong) opinion of the person sooner than later.

And a strong support system will, perhaps most importantly, assure you that you’re not crazy (or wrong, screwed up, etc.) when they start to pull the heavy manipulation tactics.

2. They utilize defined, unbreakable boundaries

Emotionally intelligent people know how to establish systems in advance to protect themselves against people who might harm them.

A strong support system is one way they do this but there are other strategies that don’t involve having other people around.

One of those ways is by establishing clear, defined boundaries right from the get-go.

By establishing boundaries, the emotionally intelligent person is able to set up a kind of “tripwire” which is triggered once the toxic person has gone too far. They can see that the line has been crossed and this serves as a warning sign that this person isn’t acting in their best interests.

3. They choose when to engage wisely

Emotionally intelligent people stay closely attuned to their energy level. They know when they’re exhausted and they notice the types of interactions and experiences that make them feel exhausted.

Toxic people often seek to absorb every bit of energy from you, whether through neediness, anger, or fear, and so emotionally intelligent people learn to pick and choose their interactions with those people wisely.

They can tell when the person wants to pick a fight, when they need attention, and know when and when not to engage based on the situation and their own internal state.

4. They forgive but don’t forget

There’s a careful difference between forgiving and forgetting and emotionally intelligent people know where that line is drawn.

Forgiveness is about you: to hold onto a grudge is to bring yourself down because the hate exists only within your own mind. But to forget means to allow the other person free reign to do what they did to you once again.

For this reason, emotionally intelligent people forgive those who wrong them but they don’t allow themselves to be taken advantage of again, so they do not forget and often consciously choose to distance themselves from the other person.

If you’ve made it this far and you’re craving a transformation of your own, we can help you get there.
Jumpstart your personal transformation and get on track to build your best life with Goalcast’s new inspirational ebook, Explore Your Potential: Start the Journey to Your Dream Life.
Transformation doesn’t just happen. It takes a plan and a support system. This how-to guide is full of the top wisdom, tips, exercises, and success stories to inspire an old dream or create a new one.
Check out a teaser of what’s inside.


4 Ways Narcissists Make You Think You’re Important

By | Food for thought, narcissism, romantic relationships, Self-Improvement, toxic relationships


Narcissists are master manipulators, so much so that you may have clicked on this not even realizing that you’re currently being used by one.


They’re notorious for being skilled charmers who know just what to say and when to say it, making you feel as though you’re extraordinarily special to them and that they truly care about you.

But unfortunately, that’s probably not the case.

Narcissists can’t feel empathy the way that you and I can, so not only do they not feel emotionally for you they can’t understand how you feel about them.

But that’s never stopped the narcissist from making you think they value you so that they can use you to their advantage, whether that’s to gain attention or another even less wholesome purpose.

Nobody can be kinder than the narcissist while you react to life in his own terms.

– Elizabeth Bowen

Here are four ways narcissists make you think you’re important.

1. They shower you with compliments

A narcissist uses certain tools to make you believe that you’re important to them. One of those is showering you with compliments and making you feel appreciated.

In fact, the compliments are often so heavy that when they abruptly stop– which they will– it leaves the mental equivalent of a bad taste in your mouth, as if something very wrong just happened but you can’t quite put your finger on it.

2. They’re completely attentive to your needs

Similarly, a narcissist will give you constant attention in the beginning. You’ll spend lots of time with one another and they’ll be fully attentive to your needs and wants.

In reality, though, they’re filling you up.

The rug will be pulled from underneath you at some point at that attention will stop– like the compliments, often leaving you thinking you were the one who did something wrong (and they won’t give a second thought to blaming you, by the way).

3. They only spend time with you

In the beginning, you interpret this as love and adoration– they want to spend every waking moment with you (and you do too). It feels great but…it doesn’t last.

It can’t because it was never real.

When the warmth begins to fade, you start to notice things. They never mention family, friends, or exes. And when you bring it up they get surprisingly defensive– even verbally abusive.

Narcissists do keep people around for their own purposes, but they’re known for burning bridges with anyone they don’t believe they can benefit from.

They don’t like you poking around in their business and they’re very easy to anger (0-100 in an instant), so when you bring up questions about the people in their life they often snap.

4. They’ve very seductive

The final way that narcissists make you think that you’re important is with sex and general physical seduction.

Narcissists are masters of coming at you from all angles and it’s through sex that they can make you feel empowered and attractive. The right amount of physical affection can make you feel wanted and this is very addicting

They know this and, as they do with their other tools of manipulation, they put it to full use.


If you’ve made it this far and you’re craving a transformation of your own, we can help you get there.
Jumpstart your personal transformation and get on track to build your best life with Goalcast’s new inspirational ebook, Explore Your Potential: Start the Journey to Your Dream Life.
Transformation doesn’t just happen. It takes a plan and a support system. This how-to guide is full of the top wisdom, tips, exercises, and success stories to inspire an old dream or create a new one.
Check out a teaser of what’s inside.


5 Subtle Signs Your Partner Is Controlling and What to Do About It

By | Food for thought, narcissism, romantic relationships, Self-Improvement, toxic relationships

Most of us would like to think that we’d be able to spot a controlling person if we met them.


We think that there’s no way we’d ever get together with someone that would seek to use and abuse us.

And you’d be right. If you knew it was happening to you.

More often than not, controlling people have been that way for some time, and sometimes they learned from someone else who was very good at it, so they’re very good themselves at covering up their behavior.

Some take control in a very subtle way, gaining a few inches here and there over time through the power of persuasive suggestion. Others are so good they make you think that you’re the messed up one and that they’re fixing or supporting you.

Sure, a controlling person can be more overt about things. However, there’s a very good chance that their plays for power are completely unassuming and difficult to detect.

If you think your partner might be controlling, it’s important to look for the signs now. Whether a narcissist, sociopath, or simply a power-hungry leech looking to make up for their own feelings of inadequacy by taking control of another human being, dealing with a controlling partner can be downright dangerous, so you need to look for the signs and take action if you believe you’re being manipulated.

Fortunately, while they may be slick about things there are some clear signs you can look for to identify controlling behavior.

Love does not claim possession, but gives freedom.

– Rabindranath Tagore

Here are five signs your partner is controlling (along with what to do about it).

1. The Toxic Scorecard

The “Toxic Scorecard” is a phrase meant to help you remember one of the most common forms of controlling behavior. It refers to the practice of keeping tabs on every single tiny interaction in a relationship and it’s one of the most head-spinning forms of control.

Every relationship has an ongoing trading of favors. After all, you should presumably love and care for each other and be doing little “favors” for each other all the time like taking out the trash, cleaning up after dinner, picking something up for the other person, etc.

However, the Toxic Scorecard is a way for a controlling person to keep tabs on what you “owe” them. By keeping track of every little behavior– and you can be sure they aren’t keeping score fairly– they attempt to manipulate you by making it appear as though they’re doing more for you than you are for them.

It’s a positively exhausting behavior to be subjected to and complete BS. Fortunately, once you know about the trick it becomes much easier to notice.

2. They’ll pepper you with criticism

A controlling person often doesn’t just want to control your where and when, they also want to control your who, what, and why.

By that I mean they don’t only want to control where you go and what you do with your time, they want to change and mold you into a person of their own image who does what they want and believes what they believe.

One of the ways they do this is by peppering you with criticism constantly: the way you dress, stand, sit, talk, what you watch, do on your free time, do with your friends, your job, the way your hair looks, etc., etc. These criticisms might start out small and sparse but they can quickly become a barrage if you succumb to them.

And the worst part is a controlling person usually offers a pretty compelling argument, so the criticism seems masked in logic and reason and therefore can be very convincing. After all, they’ve had practice.

Ultimately, you need to be more certain than the other person. Certainty and self-confidence are critical in dealing with– and protecting yourself from– controlling people. They won’t be able to crack your shell if you don’t succumb to the criticism they’re offering.

3. They make you appear guilty when you’ve done nothing wrong

A controlling person is often extremely skilled at making you feel as though you’ve done something wrong when, in fact, you’ve done nothing.

They’ll make you think you always leave messes everywhere and are a slob, that you always sabotage your professional success when it’s really them, and that the time you spoke with that one client was flirting and not business even if it was always anything but.

Even if you know these accusations are completely false, having accusations thrown at you relentlessly can be very tiring and eventually make you question yourself in a twisted way. Just as when a chronic liar becomes confused with what is the truth and what is a lie, you begin to confuse what is the truth and what is their lie.

To control you they need leverage and this is one of the most common ways a controlling person will seek to gain exactly that.

4. Veiled threats

The first time it happens can be very unsettling, even terrifying.

I’ve experienced some very manipulative people in my life and one of the scarier aspects of their personality is that they can and will become very threatening if you don’t immediately play along with what they’re saying.

This is often a sign of narcissism as the narcissist can go from calm one moment to a furious and violent outburst the next.

However, it starts with veiled threats. The controlling person can let slip comments nonchalantly that appear conversational but which the person is entirely serious about, whether it’s a threat of physical mutilation by the controlling person, cutting the person off financially, leaving you for another, leaving in general, taking your kids away, or something else entirely.

5. They’re attempting to isolate you from your loved ones

The only way a controlling person can truly gain full, unquestioned control over another person is by isolating them from their allies (i.e. their loved ones).

Doing so is one of the clearest signs of a controlling person and it’s also one of the most dangerous as it shows a high degree of manipulation.

Whatever you do, don’t ever let someone isolate you from those you love. The people in our life give us strength and offer unrelenting support and losing those people can mean real trouble, especially if you’re dealing with such a controlling, manipulative person.

The right person will fully accept your family and friends. If they don’t, there’s nothing to do but get the hell out of there.

What to do about it

We’ve touched on several signs to help you identify a controlling, manipulative partner as well as a few things you can do about some of those behaviors.

In addition to what was mentioned earlier, here are a few points to follow to help you deal with any controlling person:

  1. Keep your friends and loved ones close: More than anything, when dealing with potentially dangerous and manipulative people you need to keep those who love and care for you as close as possible.
  2. Self-care is a must: You need to have a plan for daily self-care in place, whether that’s simply daily exercise and reading a good book under the light of your porch or an entire regimen including meditation, exercise, and even therapy if you deem it fit.
  3. Create a plan: What is your plan for getting out if that’s what you’ve decided? Make sure you think a few steps ahead as they’ll be likely to have their own tricks in play to keep you around.
  4. Take the potential danger of the situation seriously: A controlling person, especially one with narcissistic or sociopathic tendencies, can become dangerous if pushed far enough, even if they’ve never been violent before. Don’t roll your eyes at this and think that it won’t happen to you. Take the potential danger of the situation seriously and do what it takes to keep yourself safe.

Ultimately, don’t be afraid to ask those closest to you for help. A controlling person is only as powerful as you are isolated.

Keep yourself surrounded by love, remember to take care of yourself daily, and it will be very difficult for them to gain, or maintain, a foothold in your life.

If you’ve made it this far and you’re craving a transformation of your own, we can help you get there.
Jumpstart your personal transformation and get on track to build your best life with Goalcast’s new inspirational ebook, Explore Your Potential: Start the Journey to Your Dream Life.
Transformation doesn’t just happen. It takes a plan and a support system. This how-to guide is full of the top wisdom, tips, exercises, and success stories to inspire an old dream or create a new one.
Check out a teaser of what’s inside.