Don't Be That Guy at the Party - Mitigating Toxic Relationships

I am seeing a potential negative to all this new-found awareness of self that's permeated the inter-verse. I say it like that because 1) I have several decades-long friendships that are maintained through electronic communications, and 2) I and many other people are putting our opinions on self-care and toxicity out on the internet, so they all look valid.

Let me first disclaim that I don't like to talk on the phone. Besides doing it all day for my job, I rely on visual cues in conversation. I tend to go off on monologues until I can see the person I'm talking to is either confused or doesn't care. I also have the opposite problem and I hesitate while speaking - my adopted son Mike calls me St. Deb of Understatement.
 Your mannor of speaking on the phone alludes to the possibility of you having perfect comedic timing.
I have lousy comedic timing. I'm looking for the right word so my audience will get me the first time; I don't like to repeat myself or be ignored. Sometimes I am trying to choose from possible endings, trying to figure out which one we're in now.  It's a gigantic pain in the ass, but it has its moments.

Even better, someone once told me:
You sound like a blasé, yet sophisticated, movie actress.
This is closer to the truth, since I've also been accused of being over-dramatic. I grew up with two deaf siblings, and I learned to tailor my delivery because I want to be heard. Blogging is great - I have all the time I need to make my point, or not make it, and I don't need to watch your faces to see if you're still engaged. You leave and come back later if you like.

I like emails because I don't have to mail them - I'm a recovering non-mailer. I can also send them to myself if I'm not ready to share the sentiments therein. And I can communicate well with other people who have challenges. We don't have to wait for the other to make a sentence, and we can't tell if we're being interrupted or boring.

The awakening to acknowledgement of self is beautiful, and I am glad to see it taking hold in our society because I'm a life-long proponent. Like with any new thing, there's the temptation to jump into the deep end of the pool and fully immerse. And the next temptation is to become the guy at the party who quit drinking and smoking but still wants to hang out. He has advice for everyone on the evils of alcohol. He's trying to be helpful.

This is why we have certified mental health professionals, and why the insurance industry in America needs to be revised so we can all take advantage of the service. We've been told all our lives that "it's just in your head." It is, but what's in  your head is part of you deserving of attention.  YOU need to take care of what's in your head and stop waiting for other people to do it for you. There are thousands of articles on the internet about it, and now we have this blog post.

You are not yet qualified to help other people with their demons. This includes me. I am not a certified mental health professional. I am observant, caring, possibly communistic in my belief that everyone deserves an equal chance to fall on her tuchas. (Aside: Keister does not mean ass, but suitcase; the phrase "sitting on your keister" is anti-immigration slang referencing people waiting in a long line, sitting on their suitcases, to get through Ellis Island.)

Toxic is not a new term to describe people, but it's becoming a catchphrase. Toxic should sometimes be applied to interactions. It can be plastered on a person who uses the same connection process on all friends and relatives, usually seeking to incite drama because it feels normal to them. Drama Addiction is a real thing.

Sometimes it's the process of connecting with a person that's toxic, and you can stop doing the thing that leads you to feeling stressed. Stop the connect, and see if another route forms itself. If it doesn't, it's okay. Due to my own Bread Crust Theory, I can't say it's possible for a new, nontoxic route to form where the stressful one once existed.

My observation is that it may be useful to identify How We Came to This, and label each of its separate parts for further consideration. If a person or situation is truly toxic, cut it off - now, if not yesterday.

Killing off can become a habit. Mitigation is required here - don't let your pain cut you off from the world you've collected. Have some faith in yourself. You made good decisions, too. The question remains whether uncomfortable relationships can be pruned and guided.

I'm closing today with the words of Peter Kidd:  poet, horticulturist, mystic, owner of Igneus Press. I'm sharing my guru with you while he discusses passing knowledge to his son-in-law.
I only teach natural pruning, which is labor filled early on, but becomes easier once the architecture of the plant has been shaped gradually...the proper term is really "guide" not "prune." I want him to think in terms of nurturing and working with the plants. Humans need to consecrate our position in nature. When I fertilize a plant I am not feeding that plant, I am fertilizing it, the Sun is feeding it, running its photosynthetic engine. Knowing ones place in the scheme of things has a way of amplifying the significance of the act.
Further Reading:

Igneus Press
Here you will find carefully-chosen poets spanning the decades of human connection from Kent State to now. Sophie Kidd is taking on the next generation, and I am so excited about this.

Learn to Prune with Confidence
My dad was a tragic figure in my life, but he taught me how to look for answers in books, and he gave me my interest in landscaping.

American Sign Language
I'd really like to see America become multilingual like the rest of the "civlised" world. Start with fingerspelling in American.

Quotes from Immigrants Ellis Island
Your ancestors came from somewhere else, and possibly through Ellis Island. I love these quotes; they are so real.

We Came as Romans
I googled "How We Came To This", assuming it would be a song and it doesn't seem to be. I still need a banjo  player to write some songs to my lyrics. In the meantime, I learned about this band and I am cranking it right now.

Nahko and Medicine For the People
...and I just came to the part of We Came of Romans where I was no longer interested, and I pressed the Forward arrow.  YouTube gave me this, and it's perfect. 


  1. When searching the Universe it's always wonderful to find someone who has traits, shortcomings and glorious strengths that are so like your own, but also strengths that are so much like the person you love best in the world. If AL and I had had a kid, you could be that child, with the best attributes of each of us and more than your share of my shortcomings. Your ability to research and absorb is so like his, but processed with my attitudes. And like you always hope happens with your children, you are better at what you do than either of us, and ALL you. The best of both without the birth. Thank you, Universe, and thank you Internet, for bringing us together. :-)

  2. Oh, dear lord, Mom. I have never been better described. Hug Dad for me.

    1. :-P {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{Deb}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

  3. I was led here by rhe donut debarcle and exchange with the bloke at 3am and a gnat. I enjoyed readimg this. Good writing. You doing flash short or long fiction? Book? No? Ya should.


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