The Subtle Energies of Healthy Sexuality vs. Sexual Abuse

An acupuncturist talks about the subtle energies of healthy sexuality vs the damage created by sexual abuse with the goal of creating mutually satisfying sexual exchange and for ending sexual abuse.

Brought to you by Project Acuhope

I never wanted to be that older woman…

…that listen’s to a young person’s story about rape and makes an insensitive remark.

This is not an uncommon experience for rape survivors when they sometimes open their hearts and pour out their emotions to someone from an older generation and expect sympathy and instead get a reprimand or a reaction that feels cruel.  It feels like betrayal.

As a survivor myself (23 years ago), and someone who experienced exactly that, sometimes wonder if I have BECOME exactly that.

Time does funny things to a person.  The healing process is complex and it does not happen in one step.  It is a peeling of an onion as they say, and as we heal, we uncover layer upon layer of related discoveries that show us that we are not healing just our wound, but a wound that has generational and historic roots.

As my father, traumatized by what he witnessed at the end of World War II, who fought tirelessly for peace in his words, deeds and actions sometimes sits quietly wondering why, after all the hard work of peace activism and building a world of love and non-violence, we now have more violence and less peace than he could ever have imagined.

So too, I, and many others like me, who care very deeply, who crawled from the abyss on our forearms and decided that this was the cause that mattered most and learned, and studied and volunteered and helped others to heal, and prayed and hoped that people of the future could live in a world without rape now weep at the fact that there is more rape than we could ever have imagined.

The peace activists and the anti-rape activists have a singular lesson that has unfolded before us.  We don’t like violence.  We don’t like it one bit, but the harsh reality is that if humans don’t war, they make babies and babies grow up and make more babies and on a planet teeming with people and limited resources, eliminating violence requires that population growth come into balance with the resources available on this planet.  There is no way around it.

Ours is a complex web of life.  Focusing on one issue, without realizing that it is a part of a complex web of interconnectedness never works. We cannot heal the sacred wound of the feminine without healing the sacred wound of the masculine. That wound is primarily around sacrifices made in war. Age and experience has revealed this to me.

Your task, dear survivor, is to survive and then thrive.  Please know that there were times when silence and no support was the only choice for rape survivors.  Every resource out there is a precious torch, carried by people of a previous generation.  I know it still sucks. The aftermath of violence always does. My prayers are with you and with all those who suffer until we as a human family can figure out how to make our way in this world we call our home, with it’s joys and sorrows, it’s celebrations and it’s wars.  I wish those who suffer can grasp onto that spark of light in the tunnel of darkness.

Much love.

Krisztina Samu, Licensed Acupuncturist

Rape Trauma and Spirit Attachment

An acupuncturist talks about spirit attachment from rape trauma. How to diagnose it and how to clear it.  Perpetrators generally have failed in the daily task of spiritual housekeeping (otherwise they wouldn’t be perpetrators), and because of this, they can take on spirit attachments, or cultivate a corrupt spirit. This dark spiritual aspect of the perpetrator can be passed onto the victim through the traumatic violation.  How do we identify spirit attachment and how do we clear it.
Brought to you by Project Acuhope
http://www.projectacuthope.com

Somatic (body centered) therapies for sexual abuse survivors

Incorporating body-centered therapies in the healing process is important for trauma that affects the body, emotions and spirit in the way that sexual abuse does.  An acupuncturist talks about a variety of techniques that have helped survivors.

 

What are Body Memories? And How to Heal Them… #PTSD #sexualassault

What are body memories?

Your body, believe it or not, remembers everything. Sounds, smells, touches, tastes. But the memory is not held in your mind, locked somewhere in the recesses of your brain. Instead, it’s held in your body, all the way down at the cellular level. Ever notice how, on a stage full of professional dancers, everyone still moves in their own way? That’s because our cells store memories – information – about our experiences, habits, sensations, everything. We are all unique and it’s in our bodies – our skin, muscles, tendons, nerves – which we actively participate through our day to day experiences; good ones and bad.

Sometimes, the memories that our body stores are not always memories that we consciously, as the survivor, remember. You may have been too young to remember. You may have blacked out. For whatever reason, you don’t know what your body knows. As Renee Fredrickson, Ph.D. says in A Journey to Recovery from Sexual Abuse, “The traumatic and the trivial are the two kinds of information your mind represses.”

Yet, your body remembers.

Your body may tense up, protecting you. “I don’t like that,” it says. “I remember that touch, sound, smell…and I don’t want it.” However, for a survivor of sexual abuse that has overcome and healed from the abuse, you may think you’ve done all the work to be done. You’ve healed. You’ve moved on.

Yet, your body remembers.

Respect that. Respect that memory, no matter what form it comes in. The trauma wasn’t just emotional. It was experienced on a cellular level. Respect that. There’s stored memories there. Don’t turn your back on it thinking it’s crazy. Nuts. Healing comes from accepting and being, open, honest. Transparent. There’s a hurt and you need to acknowledge it. Only then, can the healing begin.

Body memories are involuntary.

Body memories can take a long time to heal, most likely because they are the last memories to be addressed. To be respected. To be listened to. I mean, really. My body remembers, at a cellular level? What is this, the Science Fiction channel? “When the body remembers the traumatic incident at a different time from when the mind remembers the incident, it can feel very crazy making,” says Discussing Dissociation’s Kathy Broady, LCSW.

Remember, memories, flashbacks, in all their forms, are our body’s way of getting our attention. If we don’t accept, honor, and deal with them, no matter how crazy they may seem or feel, they will return again and again. Why? Because you need to heal. Your body lived through the same experience. If you are dealing with body memories, your body is telling you, “It’s time we heal this. Together.”

Healing Body Memories.

Think about it this way. Your body and you, although one in the same, are two separate beings with two separate set of memories. Some intertwine, some are exactly the same. After all, you’re you! Yet, there are some areas of grey. Some aspects of your life’s experiences that your body remembers and your mind was too young to understand it, strong emotions deny it or your mind didn’t consciously experience it at all.

Therefore, you’ll have to approach this from an ‘outsider’ perspective – speak to yourself as someone somewhat separate from yourself. Like you, as a counselor or a friend, speaking to you, your body. “Okay, body,” you might say. “We need to talk.”

And you can do this anywhere, of course. You don’t have to be all zenned out, seated on a mountain top with upturned palms. Although, if that works for you, go for it. Wherever you find peace, peace that you can feel within you, that’s where you can open this conversation. You might be out hiking, inside reading a book on the couch, laying out on a beach under the sun. Wherever you find your cool, peaceful, quietness, this is where you can speak to yourself – your body.

Start by reminding yourself – your body – about the most important fact: “We survived. It’s over. It won’t happen again.” You can do this all in your head or you can say it out loud. Either way, the message will be sent. Just visualize who/what you are speaking to. Your body.

After you feel the message of, “we’ve already survived,” being accepted, tell your body, “We want to thrive now. We are in control. We want to live now, free of this trauma.” Keep sending this message to your body, all the while reaffirm that you – all of you – is okay. Only in safety, can we feel free to move on.

Now, what about when you’re actually having a body memory moment? Well, ask yourself this, are you ready to accept it? Honor it? Deal with it? If so, do this visualization-conversation with your body while you are having a body memory.

Note: You’ll have to be more forceful, yet still compassionate, to get your message through. Your body is having a flashback, living through a memory, whatever that may be. It doesn’t consciously know it’s over. That’s where you come in.

You need to talk it through the flashback – the body memory. Tell your body it’s okay. “You’re okay.” Say it out loud. “You’ve already survived this. It’s over. We are in control now. We survived.” Be stern, yet understanding. “We are going to make it. We are going to thrive!”

Be confident. Be positive. Be understanding. This is you you’re talking to, remember 🙂

So, go for it. Heal yourself. All of you. Open the conversation, the willingness to accept that, yes, your body knows something. And it needs to heal.

This article was originally published for The Survivor Manual in November 5, 2011, and has been reprinted with permission in Advances in Bereavement Magazine

Lia-Mack-400-400Lia Mack is the author of Waiting for Paint to Dry (Pen L, May 2015), one woman’s quest to reclaim inner peace, take back her life, and stumble into love… Mack has also seen her creative non-fiction writing in various publications such as The Washington Post, Nickelodeon Jr. Magazine, Advances in Bereavement Magazine and Nesting Magazine.

You can visit her online at www.LiaMack.com.

Taking a Vision Quest…an Old Way to Recover from Challenge

Soul Surrender, collage by Licia Berry 2006

Soul Surrender, collage by Licia Berry 2006

I feel this is an important message for survivors ..one of the ways I recovered and empowered myself was to revisit the old tradition of Vision Quest.

Excerpt from my blog:

“I traveled the southwest, camping in the desert under the stars and in my car, purposely avoiding contact with people, my only companion my journal.  What did I do with myself for 10 days?  A lot of sitting in the dust and on the rocks, a lot of looking at the simple horizon of sky and land, a lot of listening to the wind.  I was searching for guidance, but of course what I was really searching for was myself.

“The result of that journey was a tremendous breaking open of the dam in my heart and the resulting flood of tears, the bliss of knowing in every cell that I am part of something larger than me and my little mind, and the quiet reinstatement of my center as the thread of my life.”

 

Do you feel the calling of your soul? Perhaps a Vision Quest is in order!

Read about the wild cast of characters I encountered on mine…and what I discovered.  Read more here!  

http://www.liciaberry.com/2013/05/14/vision-quest-mapping-the-story-of-our-life/

 

Sexuality and the Sacred Feminine – Reclaiming our Sexual Nature after Sexual Assault

Sexuality and the Sacred Feminine

Original post on my blog, copyright  November 22, 2011 by Licia Berry

Readers of my website and blog know that I’ve been on a long  journey of recovery from sexual abuse and assault at the hands of men as well as from physical, emotional and mental abuses by my mother.  For 25 years I have worked hard and diligently to re-member myself, sewing the pieces together that had been ripped asunder, and realizing that I am a good person.  My process started with mental work to understand my history, proceeded into spiritual awareness to provide a bigger perspective, then came back down into my body as physical reclamation of the joy of being a woman.  I wouldn’t change anything about this miraculous journey back to myself!

The most amazing realization to date is that the experience of my mother, the more damaging parent in terms of attack on my well-being, is actually the greatest gift of my life.  This is because her mothering drove me into the embrace and awareness of the Sacred Feminine.  An un-mothered daughter herself, her inner masculine became a dominant force -aggressive, critical, and predatory.  The absence of the Sacred Feminine in my upbringing created a powerful thirst in me to find Her.

I have been working closely with the Sacred Feminine for several years now.  The energy of the Sacred Feminine is the most wonderful balm to my spirit, and lives in a very real, embodied way in my daily life.  In fact, the embodiment of Her is what opened the invitation to mature my inner masculine.  This year I was aware of these two dynamics collapsing into one another in union within me; it was a lived experience of bliss and homecoming that made my heart sing and my body pulsate with alive-ness.  I’ve been experiencing full-body orgasms this year, and I understand now that this has been a direct upshot of the joining of my inner feminine with my inner masculine, becoming Divine as they circled one another and merged.

Oh the delights of the body as expressed through the Sacred Feminine!  Having been more masculine-oriented in my life, the soaking of my arid inner landscape with the nourishing waters of the feminine invites the desert in my belly to flourish into a prolific garden.  The belly holds the keys to the flow of abundance,creativityplayfulnessmoney ease, and sexuality…as I’ve come into union, my belly has come online as a potent ally in my success and joy in this life!  What’s not to love?!

My observation and experience tell me that lots of us have been operating in our lives from an immature masculine place, unpartnered with the feminine, and the women in my circle of awareness are hungry for something deeper inside of their well of wisdom.  The belly is a location of mysterious power, power that gives us total joy and effectiveness in the world as well as the power to create.  The masculine is one part of the equation and deserves respect, but the feminine demands it, and calls us from a deep place in our psyche as well as in our body.  I LOVE my life because I AM life!

The balance of the feminine and masculine within us creates such an alchemy as to transform our lives into utter magic; I wish this for everyone, not just women.  The men have been damaged by the absence of the Sacred Feminine, too, and deserve the wholeness and bliss that comes from inner union.  Our world seems ripe for love, balance, and people who are spilling over with the joy of fulfilled lives!

To your Joy and Juiciness!

For more informative articles (and direct experience of the Sacred Feminine), subscribe to my blog!

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The 5 Stages of Healing from Trauma

“The 5 Stages of Healing from Trauma” Original post first published on my blog

copyright Licia Berry 2013, All Rights Reserved

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While organizing my local One Billion Rising event in Tallahassee in 2013, I was reminded of the different stages of the process of healing after trauma because I saw women in every stage attracted or repelled by the event, based on where they appeared to be in their recovery.

I’ve healed myself from a lot of things, including physical, sexual, verbal and emotional assault, as my readers know. My recovery process began when I was 23 years old in a therapist’s office in Atlanta, where I first learned the name for what had happened to me. It’s been a long journey of 25 years since that day; I’m going to be 48 years old in April, and I’m happy to say that I am at the other end of a spectrum that I have developed in my practice of observing and recording my healing. I wrote about this spectrum of healing after trauma in my 2012 book SOUL COMPOST (available for purchase here).

After a diagnosis of PTSD in 1990, I began my long process of climbing the rungs of the ladder to wholeness and a happy, actualized life. I’m happy to say that I am now an expert in PTG, or Post Traumatic Growth, defined as positive psychological change as a result of one’s struggle with a highly challenging, stressful, and traumatic event. We all know the old saying, “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger”; as it turns out, there is a scientific term for this phenomenon that is measurable. “This growth is measured by the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI; Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1996), a 21-item instrument for assessing positive outcomes in people who have experienced traumatic events. Five domains or factors are contained within the larger construct of PTG and are measured on subscales within the PTGI. The five factors include Relating to Others (greater intimacy and compassion for others), New Possibilities (new roles and new people), Personal Strength (feeling personally stronger), Spiritual Change (being more connected spiritually), and a deeper Appreciation of Life (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004).” (quoted from SOUL COMPOST, 2012 by Licia Berry)

I developed this spectrum of healing after trauma only after living through each of the 5 stages:

Victim  >  Survivor  >  Thriver  >  Server  >  Empowered Server
A short (and incomplete) description of each stage follows:

Victim
I call this the “Puddle on the Floor” stage. After a traumatic experience, the person who lived through the trauma may feel paralyzed, lifeless, as if there is no energy or will in them. From a shamanic perspective, it is the stealing of the life force from the victim that creates the sensation of lifelessness. From a psychological perspective, the shattering of the person’s well-being creates a schism in their psyche that renders them temporarily powerless. This is a dangerous stage because the Victim is very vulnerable, and it is essential that they seek assistance immediately from a qualified helper or someone who genuinely loves them. If they do not seek help, a pattern of learned helplessness can settle in and the person can feel powerless as they remain stuck in this stage.

Survivor
I call this the “Fight to Live” stage. In this second stage of healing from trauma, the fight begins to start to live again. There is a spark, however small, to integrate the scattered parts of self that were blown apart by the trauma. The puddle on the floor grows teeth and fingernails, and there is a mobilization of energy that can feel like gritting those teeth and crawling across the ground. An active determination to heal, as well as anger and rage identify the fight present in this stage. This is an important and difficult stage; it is easy to revert back to Victim if the Survivor does not have adequate help and resources to keep them moving forward in their healing. It can also be easy to get stuck in identifying with the Survivor stage because it feels so good to have energy after being a Victim.

Thriver
The fight to heal gains momentum and starts to propel itself forward of its own accord. The good will generated within the person who is healing starts to carry them, and the joy that is inherent in life returns. The Thriver thinks less and less about the trauma, focusing on other blessings in their life. The sun shines again. This happens in short bursts at first, when the Thriver can be triggered back into Victim or Survivor stage, but bounces back fairly quickly to thriving again.

Server
A determination to make good of the experience, to offer the lessons learned and the well-being gained to others who have experienced challenge or trauma in their life. This stage can include the Survivor and Thriver stages. Frequently a Survivor will feel the energy of the anger about their trauma and use this to become a healer or practitioner of some kind, resulting in a wounded healer who has not completed their recovery process; however, because of their stage, they may positively impact victims by mobilizing them into Survivors. A Thriver who has become a Server has a better chance of positively impacting

Empowered Server
The Empowered Server has completed enough recovery work that she feels the ground solidly underneath her, even if she is triggered by an external stimulus. She can see the trigger point and knows what is happening without falling from her confident stature into Victim or Survivor. This confidence enables her to present as a person who didn’t encounter trauma (even though she did), and to be fully present to her desire and commitment to be of service to others.

Of course, I will never be “done” healing…I find there are times I can revisit any of the 5 stages depending on the situation. However, the vast majority of the time now I spend in Empowered Server….and I find this is what changes over time….the percentage of the pie in the more joyous sections increases the more healing that I experience. May you, too.

This article is one of the most visited and popular on my blog. You are welcome to direct readers here, but please do not copy/paste. Copyright Licia Berry 2013, All Rights Reserved

There is much more to say about the 5 Stages of Healing! Read about resilience and the role of spirit in recovery from trauma in Soul Compost, first in the Woman, Awake series.

baby in arms

Also see Embracing the Dark Self (or, there is no such thing as an evil baby) and other posts documenting deep healing

Disclaimer: Licia is not a psychotherapist, but a 25 year veteran educator and facilitator with the same numbers of years of active recovery from violence and trauma. These observations are her own, culminating from her lived experience, extensive research and study, collaboration with psychologists, and observation of her clients.

Licia (pronounced LEE-SHA) Berry believes passionately in women’s innate resilience and empowerment. As an artist, author, educator, leader, mentor, women’s advocate, and compassionate guide, Licia teaches by example that women can claim their life song regardless of their experience. Licia’s visionary leadership was the force behind bringing One Billion Rising to Tallahassee in February, in which 400 women gathered and danced on Kleman Plaza to raise awareness about violence against women. Licia has a global audience of readers and clients who share her commitment to spiritual wholeness. Her personal journey of recovery from violence and post-traumatic growth is chronicled in her 2012 inspirational memoir, SOUL COMPOST.

For more information about her work, please visit www.liciaberry.com.

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“an empowering memoir of unapologetic healing”  5 STARS ON AMAZON

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SOUL COMPOST by Licia Berry

What to do when no one believes you… Healing from sexual assault and sexual violence

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Few people would believe you if you told them there is something worse than rape, but there is: it’s finally finding the courage to speak up – to tell someone that you’ve been raped – only to be called a liar.

“All girls cry rape.”

“Guys can’t get raped.”

How many times have you heard someone say something like this? Dismissive comments hurt, especially when the victim just needs someone to talk to. Because, as they say, talking is the best therapy, so long as you can trust you’ll be listened to. Heard. Believed.

Being disbelieved is a survivor’s greatest fear.

According to Rape Response Services (RRSonline.org), there are “many different ways perpetrators use sexual violence to hurt their victims and there are many different ways in which people respond to sexual violence.” It does not matter if your trauma happened according to the rules that other people would agree upon. It does not matter if they would consider what happened to you as rape.

You know what happened because it happened to you and you were there. Not them. And it’s still bothering you because rape is an enormous challenge to heal from. If you’ve been hurt by someone not believing you, tell them this: according to The National Coalition Against Sexual Assault “false rape reports only happen 2% of the time.” That means 98% of the time someone is telling the truth. You’re telling the truth. You just need someone to talk to who will believe you. It’s the best way to heal.

Call a Sexual Assault Center: it’s a good place to start.

If you’re afraid that no one will believe you – or you’ve already found that the one person you entrusted with your story does not – go to a validated and trusted source of support for sexual abuse survivors. People at national and local sexual assault organizations are trained to not only help you handle the trauma, but also be there for you in support. If you have no one else to talk to, or are too afraid of being shut down by not being believed, start here. Call someone who you know will listen and start the conversation of your healing.

Don’t let the fear that others won’t believe you get in the way of finding the help and support you need.

You need help. You need support. And everyone is different.

Don’t let the fear of someone not believing you stop you from finding that one family member of friend who will. Or don’t let them stop you from seeking out professional help from a trained sexual assault volunteer or counselor. There are people out there, just for you. And they will believe you. Rape doesn’t happen in just one way to just one type of person and they understand that. Once you find someone to talk to who believes you, you can ask them to be involved in helping you talk to others who won’t, if you feel you need to tell all to help you heal. Everyone is different. Heal in your own way.

Don’t let other people’s perception or reaction deter you from speaking up and seeking help.

Out of a handful of people you might tell in your lifetime, some will believe you and others will not. It’s just the way it is. People often times have a set belief system in place, long before you speak up, that inhibits them from understanding, listening or even hearing you when it comes to rape. They will only believe what they believe to be true. But you don’t let their perception of what rape is or their reaction to hearing you speak about your experience stop you from healing. What one person or even a handful of people say of your story is not your story.

Be in control.

You own your story. This happened to you. Someone took away your control and you will get it back, right? So be the one in control of who you tell, how you tell, when you tell someone about your trauma. You pick the time, the place, the person. And you set up boundaries with yourself beforehand of how much information you want to give out and to whom. Some people will be able to hear it all and be there for you. Others will only be able to handle an ounce of what you’ve been through. And that’s okay. That is their reaction. Not yours. Do not allow their reaction – good or bad – be part of how you feel about what happened to you. Keep your story safe with you and only give out what you are comfortable telling. And to whom you are comfortable telling it to.

If there are some people in your inner circle that you don’t trust to believe you, don’t tell them. You do not owe anyone. You don’t have to tell anyone you don’t want to. This happened to you, so take charge in a way that helps you feel more in control over what happened. And even if you can only find one person who believes you and will listen, don’t let that get in the way of your healing. Sometimes all it takes is one person to be there for you to open the door within you that will lead you to a path of better healing. Whatever you chose to do, do what you need to do to stay in control and heal.

It’s okay to wait until you feel safe.

If you’ve just been assaulted or raped, report it ASAP. The authorities will help you find the support you need. But what do you do when it’s been years and it’s still eating at you? You still have the details and emotions rumbling in you?

Or what if you’re like me and you’ve talked until those who were there just don’t want to hear or talk about it anymore. What then? Many of us know what it’s like to still need to talk beyond the limits of what others think is normal or necessary.

Write. Create. Run.

There is more than one way to help release the pain. Talking is one, but doing is another.

I found that by writing my story out in journal form was just the right dose of catharsis I needed. It’s helped me find peace. Then it grew into something altogether new. A novel.

Although I wrote the story from a totally fictional standpoint, bringing my character to life and through the same sort of trauma – and healing – was healing for me, in that I had to be honest with myself as to what healing really was. Looked like, from the inside. In writing this fictionalized version of a truth that so many of us live through, it also gave me just the right outlet to vent and talk as much as I need/want to. It doesn’t matter that my personal truth never make its way into the novel. It was the simple act of writing that helped.

And what’s more, I get to use my novel as a tool to help others heal! Talk about empowerment.

Just keep in mind, through the nature of our own creativity, you can find ways to help vent frustrations and emotion.

Writing. Cooking. Painting. Running.

There are more than a few ways that can help empower us that heal us too.

Healing. It’s not easy. It’s not clean. But if you find it helpful to be in control of who you tell, how you tell and when you tell your story, do it any way you feel fit.

It will totally release you.

If you’re about to talk about your trauma with someone who you’re not sure will believe you – or you’ve just talked to someone who didn’t believe you – check this out. It’s a list of what NOT to say to a survivor, along with an extended list of what TO say what will help us all heal.

And good luck. I believe you.

This post was originally published for The Survivor Manual on April 4, 2014.

Lia-Mack-400-400Lia Mack is the author of Waiting for Paint to Dry (Pen L, May 2015), one woman’s quest to reclaim inner peace, take back her life, and stumble into love… Mack has also seen her creative non-fiction writing in various publications such as The Washington Post, Nickelodeon Jr. Magazine, Advances in Bereavement Magazine and Nesting Magazine.

You can visit her online at www.LiaMack.com.

Removing Toxic People From Your Life…

removing toxic people from your life

CC Creative Commons

There’s a lot of information out there about toxins and their lasting negative effects on our physical health. We all know about the detrimental effects of artificial preservatives, additives, pesticides, and the like. But what about the negative effect toxic people have on our heath?

Can encounters with toxic people effect our physical, mental, and emotional health? If so, how do we protect ourselves from further harm? Then again, we survivors always struggle with putting our own needs first…Is it selfish to remove toxic people from our life?

Before you answer that hard question, ask yourself one more: Could removing such people turn out to be life saving?

Emotionally toxic people can ravage us from the inside out. Yet, what exactly defines a toxic person depends on who you talk to. In my life, I’ve found toxic people are those who:

  • take and never give in return
  • constantly complain
  • gossips
  • puts others down
  • makes others feel guilty
  • can only criticize

What all toxic people have in common is that they always leave us powerless, vulnerable, and depleted. And for us, feeling this way for long periods of time is devastating to our physical and emotional health. All in all, toxic people don’t help us, they harm us.

Just as with toxins in our food and environment, to keep ourselves safe, toxic people need to be avoided whenever possible.

On my blog, I’ve shared what works for me to keep myself, my sanity, safe whenever I’m in the presence of a toxic person. Since then, I’ve shared it countless times and helped others remove toxins from their lives too. So, below, I’ve shared them again, with you.

Be forewarned, though. Some of these tips are going to be hard to swallow at first. But try them out for yourself anyway. See what works for you. So far, following these guidelines has helped me not only be toxic people free, but also stress free. What a life saver…

Walk Away

Say, for instance, you are in a room full of people, and someone starts gossiping, ranting about this or that, complaining about anything and everything, and you know – you know – that no matter what you say, however eloquent, you will never change this person’s mind…just walk away.You do not have to be there to hear all of their negativity. Your presence is not necessary. They will rant and complain to anyone! Who says it has to be you anymore?Leave with your sanity intact! Save yourself!

Here’s what you do: Stand up, totally calm, grab your children so they can escape too, and nonchalantly leave the room. Come back only when you know enough time has passed that everyone else in the room has argued ’till they’re blue in the face with the toxic person, to no avail, and the topic has been changed.

Phew! You saved yourself from a toxic encounter!

Take Yourself Out of the Equation

How about this…There was a huge misunderstanding between you and someone and, had it happened between you and a person capable of having a normal conversation, it would’ve been resolved in a calm, adult conversation.Except this is a toxic person. They do not know how to have a conversation. They only know how to yell, scream, belittle. Nothing is normal about them. Instead of coming to you with the problem, they’ve been gossiping to everyone how you did this and you did that, bad mouthing you to everyone and anyone who will listen. It doesn’t matter if what they say is false or true, take yourself out of the equation.Don’t play their game. Don’t stoop to their level. Don’t counter act all their assaults. Remove yourself. If need be, say your bit to the toxic person – just the facts – totally calm and firm, and then let it go. You did your part. You’ve cleaned yourself of the misunderstanding. Now, let it go.

Chances are everyone else is just as fed up with this person as you are. Eventually, everyone will see that it’s just another one of this toxic person’s tirades and will start see your wise ways of getting out of the way. They too will remove themselves from this person’s path, seeing how calm and relaxed you are by no longer being involved with this toxic person.

If they don’t, it’s not your problem. Take care of yourself.

Take Responsibility

For your health! It’s your health. If you don’t take care of yourself, who will? No one.Are you going to continue to let this person shape your life for the worse? Allow yourself to feel the effects of their negativity so much that it is effecting your health? They take and never give.Who is to blame that this person is still in your life? Them? Nope, sorry folks. It’s no one’s fault but your own.  They are always going to do what they do. But what they do to you is up to you. No one else.

If you don’t want to be treated poorly, don’t allow it. Do what you have to do to take control of your life. If that means no longer engaging someone in a conversation because you know it’s going to turn sour, then don’t!

If you know that just by being around a certain toxic person brings you down and causes you to feel horrible for days, weeks later, then limit or restrict your contact with that person.

You are in charge of your life, of you. Don’t let others bring you down. You have to take care of your health so that you can take care of all the other things and people in your life you are responsible for.

I know this is the hardest one to swallow, but it’s true. Just think about it. You are in charge of you. You need to take care of you. You. You. You!

So, there you have it. My own ways of dealing with the toxins in my life. What works for you may be different, as there are many ways in which you can save your sanity and your health.

If you have any of your own ideas and tips, please share! We can all use additional tools in our arsenal against our toxic common enemies…

That said, here’s to taking great care of ourselves and removing toxins from our life!



Lia-Mack-400-400Lia Mack is the author of Waiting for Paint to Dry (Pen L, May 2015), one woman’s quest to reclaim inner peace, take back her life, and stumble into love… Mack has also seen her creative non-fiction writing in various publications such as The Washington Post, Nickelodeon Jr. Magazine, Advances in Bereavement Magazine and Nesting Magazine.

You can visit her online at www.LiaMack.com.