Do you have any Bad Apples in Your Family Tree?

apple treeFamily can be amazing. And it is natural that we may not always see eye to eye with those we are related to. We may even fight or have disagreements with our immediate family or our relatives, but having family feud or a sibling rivalry with one another is not the same as being around someone who is toxic, causes chaos, or leaves you with a negative feeling after every interaction.

Toxic people don’t show remorse for how they make you feel, for their actions, or lack thereof. The keep moving along like they haven’t skipped a beat.  And though as adults, we may be a bit more resilient to this type of behavior, as children grow older they can become quite observant and make their own opinions about a toxic relative.

The actions of toxic people usually stems from a deep-seated insecurity that compels them to drag people down into their one-dimensional hole of insecurity and instability.Because of this, you may find yourself walking on eggshells and overthinking every interaction with a toxic parent, sibling or relative.

bad appleDo you have a Toxic Parent, Sibling or Relative? Here are some signs to look for:

They “play” against you. A toxic person will actively undermine your relationships with other family members or relatives by going out of their way to damage your relationship(s). This can happen by betraying your confidence. Perhaps they tend to over share personal stuff about you that you would rather not have shared, stretch the truth or throw you under the bus. When this happens, they clearly don’t have your back and they are playing against you.

They are judgmental or overly critical, and they display jealousy.  Jealously is a good indicator that you are doing something right. (People don’t tend to get jealous of losers, do they?) Jealous people are incredibly toxic because they have so much internal self-hate that they can’t be happy for anyone around them. Typically, jealousy comes out as judgment, criticism or gossip.  Maybe they are judging your hair, what you are wearing, your job, your recent life choices or the date you brought to the last family function.  Ask yourself if you feel that they are honestly looking out for your best interest, or in six months from now when you break up with the date that you brought will you realize they were right?? If they are judgmental and just seem to be close minded or have a lack of manners, then yes, you are dealing with a toxic (and jealous) person.

They are negative more often than not. The conversations, thoughts and comments of a toxic person always seem to lean to the negative, sad or pessimistic side. The world is against them. Their job is against them. And as you try to stay positive with these “Negative Nellies” and bring up positive conversation, they take it the other direction. Perhaps you comment on what a nice day it is outside, and they point out that it is cloudy. You give them a compliment on what they are wearing, and they respond with how they’ve gained weight or start to dwell on their recent health problems. You may comment on how you feel comfortable with the temperature in the room, and they will comment that they are cold. You say right, they say left. You say up, they say down. People like this tend to also dwell on negative things that have happened in the past. They can’t ever seem to let things go and to move on.

They play the blame game. Toxic people tend to blame others for everything. They are never wrong, at least in their mind. And when they actually are wrong, they won’t ever admit it. Do you have that one relative who is either late or a no-show for family gatherings? Do they blame the airline? Do they blame their job, the weather or their pet? Do they blame the distance that they had to travel? Do they blame the dinner host for deciding what time dinner will be served or what is on the menu? Maybe you have a sibling or relative that showed less than desirable behavior towards you and instead of owning up to what they did, they go around to other family members or relatives and put the blame on you.

They feed off of drama and they can be manipulative. If they aren’t creating it, they are fueling it. Drama is created by a toxic person by creating conflict. They also try to get others involved in the drama and they make you feel as if anything you say can and might be used against you. Better yet, if they are good at what they do, they have had other “targeted victims” before. Past victims know what it is like to be out the “outs” with the person creating the drama so some may play along with them, even if they know the drama creator is in the wrong.

They have explosive anger issues. (Cue the yelling, and maybe even some tears.) Though anger is a natural emotion, and most of us can regulate it, toxic people tend to lose their temper at the drop of a hat and as they do so, they tend to ruin the day, or occasion for the rest of us.

They actively ignore you exclude you. Toxic people can ignore or exclude you in a number of ways. Sure there is the leaving you off of the invite list, but, have you ever walked into a family function where someone tries to either intentionally ignore you or avoid you all together? (This usually has to do with the guilt of their actions, not yours.) Maybe it is around a table of conversation. You aren’t included and no eye contact is made in your direction?  Have you ever had a situation where you have tried to make your way through a room, through a house or even a funeral parlor or banquet hall to have a friendly conversation with a (toxic) person and every time you get close to this (toxic) person, they walk farther away from you?

They only contact you when they need something or are trying to cover their tail. Be suspicious of those who only crawl out of the woodwork when they need something from you like money, a ride, a random invite to something for the first time in years, or want you to pitch in for a group gift. Be cautious when you feel that the contact is inauthentic.  It’s not that these things don’t happen in everyday life, but when a person has been silent towards you for an extended period of time and the request comes out of nowhere, be suspicious as this is a trait of a toxic person.

They talk more than they listen. And they don’t just talk, but really run from the mouth constantly and even if you try to chime in, they brush over you and the talk goes back to them because they want your empathy, your sympathy, or your support. But note that they don’t actually want your advice.  They have to always be right. (If that person has children, their children are never in the wrong, either.) Even when they (or their children) are wrong or sort of wrong. They feel that this makes them an authority on things but they really aren’t. Remember that confidence is silent and insecurities are loud!

They will lie to you. You will ask questions to show interest in their life and get flat out lies in return. Can you relate to any of these types of conversations?

 “I heard that you found a place and that you’ll be moving.” “Nope, haven’t found anything yet” (Hmm, the rest of the family seems to know that you put earnest money down.)

 “Your son (or daughter) is engaged, have the couple decided when or where for their wedding?” “No, I don’t know what they are doing.” (Hmm, the Bride is full of information.)

“I heard that so-and-so finally had luck in selling his/her mother’s house.” “Umm, I don’t know.” “Well I saw it online as “contingent” (just trying to make conversation and take interest), are you sure? Umm, well, they didn’t really make much off of it, but they are glad to have it gone. (Liar, liar pants on fire! So you do know.)

They dismiss or minimize your feelings (and possibly even your spouse’s or children’s feelings) when it comes to their actions and behavior, or lack thereof? Do you have a relative who is sorry, not sorry? Maybe you have a relative who used to send gifts to your children for birthdays and holidays and they abruptly stopped. Or maybe when they do send them, they are weeks or months late and at that point, should have just been skipped. Perhaps your children don’t see a (toxic) relative often and the few times they have the opportunity to, the relative either cancels or is a no-show. Maybe at gift-giving time you have a (toxic) relative who gets your spouse something that shows how lazy the giver was about the gift, or the lack of thought that was put into the gift. When you drop a hint for what is a better fit for your spouse for future gift-giving, or are proactive the next time and try to provide a few ideas, it falls on deaf ears. Maybe you are related to (a toxic) somebody who hold gatherings at their house, holidays, barbecues or go out to eat to celebrate milestones and birthdays and don’t consider inviting you, your husband or kids for whatever reason. Perhaps you still follow up by sending a card, gift or acknowledgement of some sort, but you get no response back.

Toxic people are exhausting! Besides the fact that you won’t feel like yourself when you are around them, you will become exhausted from being around a toxic person, even if it is just for a short time. They will leave you feeling drained. When this repeatedly happens, you start to dread being around them way before you actually have to interact with them.

So what do you do if you have identified a toxic person who you are related to?

When dealing with a toxic person, remember that it is not you, it is them and that their toxicity usually stems from their own internal traumas or insecurities. And unfortunately, unless they want to do some deep, inner work, they probably won’t change. Their choice. That is when you can make changes.

The first thing that I recommend that you do is to take a step back and take some time to decide what you want out of the relationship with the toxic person and what roll you want them to play in your life and what roll you want them to be in yours. Maybe you decide to have limited contact. Maybe you try to have more. Decide if you will maybe just love that person from a distance (see my post about sending *love* to people who are bothering you). You don’t have to be on good terms or bad terms. You can just wish them well. Only you know what you can handle emotionally, mentally and physically. Once you decide, set clear boundaries for what you will and won’t tolerate and follow those boundaries. Decide what you will (and won’t) tolerate. But beware that when a toxic person can no longer control you, they will try to control how others see you, so you may feel some backlash. Rise above it. The truth always comes to the surface.

Sometimes the only way to win, is to not to play. You can ignore the toxic person as well as their toxic behavior. Toxic people crave attention. By ignoring them and not giving energy or a reaction to their behavior, you are suffocating them. The less you respond to a negative or toxic relative, the more peaceful your life will become.

Surround yourself with positive people. In your family unit or family tree, can you find someone who is positive to be around? Someone whose company you enjoy? If not, maybe it is time to ditch the family functions and start your own traditions and celebrations with those who feel like family. Family isn’t always defined by blood.

Practice Self-Care. Before a possible interaction with a toxic relative (a party, a wedding, a funeral, a celebration, a holiday gathering) do something that brings peace to you or makes you feel good. Go for a jog or a walk. Sit at your favorite place of worship. Listen to your favorite music or practice some self-care. When you are in a good head space, it is easier to handle those who are around you.

Actual physical space between you and a toxic person is helpful. I wrote about it here: “A Little Space (Away from Negative or Toxic People) Never Hurt Anybody.”

Carry protective crystals in your pocket, purse or even in your bra. I know, this may seem too far out there for some, but there are times that you can’t avoid a negative relative at places like funerals or weddings and you may want to bring some reinforcement. For example, Black Onyx absorbs negative energy. Black Tourmaline is great for repelling negativity. Amethyst help to calm you around the actions of others. Crystals do need to be cleansed and charged, so make sure you educate yourself on how to maintain them.

Try sending a letter or email. In your message explain how your feel. Are you confused or hurt? Do you need to apologize for anything? Offer to set up a time for a phone call, to meet for coffee or to have dinner together to discuss whatever issues may need to be discussed. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t get a response. Remember that a toxic person’s actions (or lack thereof) has to do with them.

Let them eat cake – at your house! Even if someone has treated you poorly or shown toxic behavior toward you, it is okay to take steps to let that person know that you are still open to having a relationship in some capacity. For example, extend an invite to gatherings and celebrations that take place at your home. You might be surprised to see who doesn’t respond to such invites, but that is on them and that just exposes their toxic behavior even more. You won’t second guess yourself when you know that you have left the doorway open or the olive branch extended.

Sever contact if necessary. It is okay to remove toxic people from your life who threaten your joy. You don’t have to hold space for those who have damaging effects on your mental, emotional and physical health or who take away from your happiness. You can love a relative, and you can even forgive them. But it is okay to move forward in your life without them. And just because you are at peace, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t still toxic.

Take people out of boxes. In our heads we have the idea of how things should be. How people should act or what role they should play. (The role of a traditional mother, father, grandparent, sister, brother, etc.) When we put people in the boxes of how we thing they should be, we feel let down or disappointed when they don’t live up to our expectations. When you take people out of “boxes” they can no longer disappoint you.

Let go of guilt. Most of us feel the guilt of disappointing a parent or loved one if we don’t do what we think they expect us to do. (For example, “If I don’t show at Aunt Betty’s for Christmas Eve, I may disappoint Mom. “) Maybe you don’t want to attend because of the toxicity that will also be there. Make a date with Mom to spend New Year’s with her and let go of the guilt that you didn’t show up to Aunt Betty’s. Holidays and family traditions tend to be dictated by those who have passed and who are no longer with us. Rest assured that if all of your aunts and uncles don’t show up to Thanksgiving, your grandmother won’t roll over in her grave.

Let go of Worry. Don’t waste energy worrying about family that doesn’t worry about you. It is their fault if they miss out on you, your children or your family. Rather focus your energies on those who show that they care. You don’t have to tolerate people who treat you poorly.

Family can be amazing, but don’t discredit your feelings around a person just because they are blood or married into your family. Figure out what you want out of the relationship and take the necessary steps to protect your own happiness.

Are you Aware When someone tries to take Your Personal Power Away?

confidenceHave you ever had someone try to take your personal power away in a social or a-one-on-one setting?? It isn’t always a grandiose act, but can be a small comment here or there that only you hear. Standing in your personal power is different than standing up for yourself, though both are very important. Personal power isn’t something that is given to you, like a job promotion, and it can’t be found externally, you need to dig deep inside to find your power and to stay in it.  When you stand in your own power, you have a strong knowledge of yourself and you hold self-confidence.

Over the years I have come to notice when someone has tried to take my power in certain situations and in some cases they did. Here are a few examples:

During my teenage years, I was at an outdoor family gathering. I had left the party with a few relatives to go for a swim and then returned back to the party. Around that time in my life was when I started to worry and care about how I looked. Being that this was a party and a milestone was being celebrated, I remember trying to put my best foot forward, even after going swimming. Upon my return to the party, my hair was wet, but I still remember that the rest of me was put back together. The hostess of the party came up to me after I had returned and said:  “Wow! You really look like sh*t!” (I recall thinking to myself, “Gee, thanks, I was actually feeling pretty good about myself until you said that.)

I recall another time when I was a young mom. I had just had my second child and we took a family photo and used the photo on our holiday card that year. I had just had my second child a few months previous and I thought that the photo looked decent enough for just having a baby and a toddler in tow. In the photo, I wore a necklace that was attached to a ribbon. The cards were sent out and Christmas Eve rolled around. We gathered with relatives on the Eve and I had one tell me out of nowhere, (with no mention of the card), that she “really can’t stand those ribbon necklace things that people wear.” And that she “finds them so annoying.” (I remember feeling surprised by the comment and then feeling crappy about the photo. To this day, it’s not one of my favorite family photos and I hardly look at it because I still remember the comment that was made.)

Then there was the time that I was in my child’s classroom where there was a substitute teacher. I knew who the substitute was though I didn’t hang out with her, or the crowd she ran with. Upon my arrival there weren’t any children in the room yet. She started out friendly, but then told me that I had something on my mouth or face. I checked myself out in a mirror in the classroom and didn’t see anything. She tried insisting that it was still there, that it looked like toothpaste or something. I looked again. Nothing… I remember realizing what she was doing to me right then and there, but let it go as children were starting to walk in. I am not sure if I would have said anything if we were still alone at the time, as I remember feeling a bit shocked that “this game” was being played by an adult, in a classroom, where she teaches young children.

Another time when sitting out on my patio with a beverage waiting for my husband to join me, a lady from the neighborhood walked into my yard with a drink in her hand and pulled a seat up for herself. (I didn’t offer her one.) Other people I know see nothing wrong with this gal, but from what I have observed, I keep her at an arm’s length. That night, I remember thinking maybe I’m wrong about her, let’s see where this goes. Well, she proceeded to do most of the talking (and my husband didn’t come out and join me so I was on my own). Right when I thought, well, this isn’t so bad, she proceeded to tell me that “If she worked from home all day, she’d gain wait too.” (By saying the word “too” she was insinuating that I was gaining weight since I was at home, though at that time I hadn’t put on any extra weight.) Then throughout the remainder of her stay, she kept weaving in and out the words “Her financial adviser…” into the conversation. Her financial adviser this, her financial adviser that… she was eluding that her and her husband’s monetary situation was better than mine and my husbands. I kept my mouth shut as my husband works in the financial industry therefore we DON’T need a financial adviser, but I recall that I couldn’t wait for her to leave and once she did, my head was spinning due to the fact I was (and still am) right about the type of person she shows me that she is, and other’s don’t seem to see it.

In each of these situations, someone tried to make me feel less confident about myself, or tried to make me feel less than them. Each time I noticed that something was being said, but in my younger years I didn’t associate the actions as someone trying to take my power away.

Here are some ways to regain or to maintain your personal power:

  • Be aware that you are the co-creator of your reality.
  • Be honest with yourself and how you feel around certain people and situations.
  • Don’t play the victim to anyone or any situation, and don’t play the victim in your head.
  • Don’t seek outside approval, or validation from others.
  • Don’t spend time thinking, feeding, or going over negative interactions in your mind.
  • Don’t let other people’s behavior dictate your emotions.
  • Focus on what YOU are doing (or not doing), and don’t waste time focusing on what OTHERS are doing or not doing.
  • Forgive wrongdoers. Forgiving someone is the best way to take back your power. Not for them, but for you. By holding a grudge against another person they are stealing your joy.
  • Know your worth, acknowledge your values, and live true to what’s important to you.
  • Learn to shake off disrespect.
  • Learn to stand out in a crowd and dare to be different.
  • Practice self-care on a regular basis. Self-care such as meditation, yoga, or a spa day, can help you to replenish your energy. Regular self-care will help you to stay in your power long-term.
  • Practice using some positive self-talk, or mantras, on a regular basis or in necessary situation.
  • Realize that people who are not yet awakened to their own power may find yours threatening.
  • Recognize that NOT all people are YOUR people.
  • Remember that not everybody needs to like you.
  • Take responsibility for everything that you experience – your job, the parties you attend, the people you date or hang around, etc.
  • Understand that the outside world is a reflection of you inner world.
  • Use experiences where you’re power has been challenged as an opportunity for growth.
  • Use physical and emotional boundaries. People who have strong boundaries radiate more confidence and self-respect. Boundaries can also help you to bring the right people into your life.
  • Walk away from people, conversations or exit the room.
  • Watch your internal dialogue. Our thoughts become our reality.
  • Your self-worth does NOT depend on other holding you in high regard.

confidence2As I have gotten older, and a bit wiser, I have learned to hold on to my power, or at the very least, recognize when someone is trying to take it away. The more we stop giving away our power, the more quickly we can evolve on our spiritual path.


Protect your Energy in the Workplace by Building a Solid Social Circle

Go toward people, groups and activities that make you feel good. Just as someone draining you negatively affects your energy, so being around happy people that make you feel comfortable will have a positive effect.

In a work or professional situation, this can mean, seeking out coworkers whose energy you really like and finding ways to spend more time together. Coordinate lunch or coffee breaks, schedule a video chat, or getting together for after-work drinks. Your social circle, especially in the workplace, does not need to be a large one, as quality over quantity tends to prevail.

Seeking out and tuning in to people who leave you feeling energized makes it that much easier to protect yourself from the influences of those who don’t.


Strengthen your Emotional Power with this quick, little Exercise!

We all have people in our lives who get under our skin or irritate our spirit from time to time. Maybe for you it is a co-worker, a relative, an Ex, or a busy-body neighbor who is always in your business.
Would you like to elevate your vibration and remove confusion or disorder between you and another? I have a quick, little exercise that you can do anywhere: I want you to send *love* to three people who are bothering you. At first, this may not be easy, but you will feel freer every time you do it. When you practice sending love to your enemies, you are practicing compassion.
Send Love - REVISED2When you do this exercise,  you are strengthening your emotional power.
It doesn’t mean that you suddenly become friends with your enemy, but when you harbor anger or hate, you may notice things like repeated problems in your life, illness, debt, insomnia and even injury, just to name a few. Why hang on to that? Let that go!
Also, when you practice compassion, you raise your vibration. When you raise your vibration, you also raise the vibration that is in your home, your family, your neighborhood, your town, your state, your country and even the vibration of the planet. Yup! That’s right!
Give this little exercise a try and feel free to drop me a line and tell me how it worked for you.

Detoxing in the New Year just Doesn’t Have to do with Food

Resolutions. Lifestyle Changes. Detoxes – All of the Buzz Words that we hear every year about this time.

When it comes to our bodies and food, the word “detox” means to rid the body of toxic or unhealthy substances. But why limit your detox to just the substances in your body? Besides detoxing physically, should you be detoxing emotionally and spiritually as well? Where else are “toxic” or “unhealthy” things (or even energies) getting into your life?? The answer could be right under your nose…

Is there anything or anyone that is showing up in your social media news feed that needs to be detoxed? Negative energy can come to you in the form of social media though other people’s posts, rants and comments. Maybe it is time for a digital detox? Maybe it is time to scrub your news feed? And you, as a human in the physical world, also made up of energy, you are absorbing that negativity or toxicity that your eyes are skimming on a daily basis. Did you know that negative energy can also stay stagnant in your energy field? If the posts, comments or people who you follow on social media feel heavy or negative to you, drain you, or if they no longer are serving your highest good, be rid of them. Delete the negativity.

What are you watching on TV, at the Movie Theater or on your Streaming Services? What are you listening to in the car during your commute? Is the energy, tone or content negative or positive? What is the energy of the people speaking or of the topics being discussed? What is the content of the show, mini series or documentary that you have been binge watching lately? Are you letting negative energy, thoughts and information into your living room or your vehicle? Is what you are watching or listening to serving your highest good? You have the power to make changes – turn the channel!

pay attentionThis is also a great time to evaluate who you interact with, associate with and represent on a regular basis. Who are you hanging out with these days? Who is in your inner circle? Do these people raise you up or do they drain you? Are they your best support system or are they full of drama? Do they have your best interest at heart? Maybe it is time for a relationship detox? What organizations do you belong to or are you associating yourself with?  Again, are they serving your highest good? How do they leave you feeling?  If it isn’t positive,  let it go. It is okay to walk away.

Do you have contacts in your phone or in your email address book who you no longer stay in contact with and most likely have not need to contact again? Let them go. Delete. It doesn’t have to mean that these contacts wronged you, but by hanging on to old, stagnant relationships, we can’t make room for new ones.

2a27732e993dab612d2f3fd83f3e5354.jpgYour diet is not only what you eat, but it is also what you read, watch and listen to. It is also the people you hang out with as well as the social media groups and pages we associate with.  In retrospect, we need to detox more than food from our bodies.

Don’t be afraid of letting people and relationships go.  If people are meant to be in your life, they will find their way back. In the meantime, Detox. Let Go! Make Room for new!

A Little Space (Away From Negative or Toxic People) Never Hurt Anybody

Do you ever find yourself drained, crabby or stressed after being around negative or toxic people? I have found that simply moving away from the source of negativity does wonders for me.

What is a negative or toxic person you ask? Well, they tend to be people who have issues with maintaining relationships. They judge others, dwell on the past, they can never be wrong and tend to be brown-nosers.

These types of people like to be the center of attention, even if it is negative attention. They will do anything to get you to pay attention to them and to see their point of view, even if they tell you lies or fib to you.  They also tend to leverage themselves into a position (sometimes as an “expert”) where people have but no choice but to pay attention to them.

Negative or toxic people tend to either stir up drama or feed off of others, and at times will even help it to manifest. They like to withhold information that can be a benefit to others. They also like to blame others for their circumstances.

Do you know anyone who fits this bill?? A relative? A co-worker? A hair-dresser? A class-mate? A stage mother? A sports parent? A drinking buddy?

It is nearly impossible to avoid negative or toxic people all together, especially at social gatherings, in the workplace, at school or church functions, or at your child’s extracurricular activities. Did you know that physical the physical proximity of a negative or toxic person can affect you? With that said, I have found it extremely effective to distance myself physically from such people. And by distancing I mean at least twenty feet or more. In cramped quarters, that isn’t always possible but in the least, it is helpful to avoid as much contact as possible with negative or toxic people. Give yourself permission to change where you are sitting, stand on a different side of the room, or take frequent breaks from the crowd if need be. Sure, it can come off looking anti-social or snobby, but I have let go of being worried about what other people think as my own energy, or how I feel physically, outweighs other people’s opinions. And really, if it is a negative person that one is trying to avoid, that person isn’t giving you a second (positive) thought anyway. Right?

Give distancing a try and let me know how it works for you. Do you notice a difference? What was the situation that you were in and how did you make space between you and a toxic person or crowd? You can reply in the comments section below or join the discussion on Facebook at: