Toxic Patterns and Change

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People cope with and deal with problems differently and these are deeply conditioned patterns. Some remain consistent and allow healing to happen no matter how painful the process. Many however oscillate and these are the ones that end up being toxic for others because they neither help themselves or allow others to help them. They subconsciously enjoy being stuck and addicted to the pain because it fulfils certain beliefs and needs within themselves. Change for them is more overwhelming than being stuck. The typical patterns I am documenting are:
1. The Addict: The addict chooses emotional or chemical crutches to hold onto and remain broken. They end up being toxic because they prevent their loved ones and professional helpers from breaking open their patterns and looking for a better life. In time the loved ones end up feeling overwhelmed, incapable of helping and feeling victimized by the chain of seeking help, then attacking the helper for being insensitive or ineffective. If you are being led by an “addict” its time to set some boundaries and do only what you really need to do. You need to cut out the drama and move on for your own good.
2. The Garbage Dumper: This one is a classic. This is the friend or client that collects psychic garbage from work and relationships and then chooses you to be at the receiving end of this every time. They never stick to change plans and love to stay in old patterns, blaming the world, the stars and everything as long as they have their life as “intact” as they want it and then dump it all on empathetic people who will receive their garbage from time to time. If you are in the receiving end again it time to say “no”. Being supportive is different from being sucked into negativity repeatedly.
3. The juggler: The juggler knows there is need for change and for that prioritizing the self is essential. However there is always something that needs to be done or attended to. The helping friend or professional always receives excuses for not prioritizing the self. There are always deadlines to meet, people to please or attend to and more importantly inconsistency in their own life. What they want and what they do seem like two different directions and yet the person manages to juggle things around and gain some recognition of being the “poor thing” incapable of making the right choices or limited by the circumstances. If you are helping friend or professional….be firm and let them get back to you when they have properly defined priorities and the self is way up on that list. You are not responsible for the one that is too busy for the self.
4. The theorist: The theorist is the one that has read every self help book, anything from a tiny blog to an article and can argue with the professional or friend and still not do anything about it. When a friend or professional manage to get close to helping them realise that knowing is not the same as doing they will change therapists and friends till the pattern repeats itself.
5. The Victim: The victim is the one that loves looking for every possible explanation to justify their own “weaker” position. This position is the comfort zone that helps them often believe that their condition cannot be helped and therefore will even be happy with medication that will help them blame their circumstances for their own inability to change.
6. The Dreamer: The dreamer always perceives the self to be someone more special than the others or in a relationship believes that he/she is in some way in a more special “space” with the helper – friend or professional. They therefore find it very difficult to accept it when the friend or helper is not available for them as they would like them to be. For example, the dreamer may believe that the helper is a close friend or bestie or that she/he is a special client for an empathetic therapist who is probably the same with everyone. Their expectations keep increasing over time and when the response is not as expected go about maligning the reputation of the friend or professional helping them. Sometimes they even feel victimized when their needs are not met.
At the core of each pattern there are some beliefs the person upholds about the self, relationships and the world. These beliefs have always served as a safety net for the person in the past. With time the safety net begins to resemble a noose capable of strangling them of joy, love, happiness and growth. When a loved one or professional steps into the noose they are also sucked into the drama if they are not careful.
These patterns are maintained by fears like fear of failure, of not having enough, of not being good enough and of having to conform to norms which come from the core beliefs. The fears often lead to feelings of discomfort that often reduce when they reach out and maintain a pattern without changing.
These patterns are toxic and can leave a helpful friend or a professional feeling very drained and unable support the patterns. These lead to complex dynamics in the relationship where one becomes more and more clingy, aggressive, withdrawn or abusive in the absence of the regular dose of “help” and the other begins to avoid, ward off, block, or feel drained.
Solutions can be:
1. Acknowledging that we are all flawed and that we all need to keep working on ourselves every day.
2. Starting with being aware of our own patterns and the patterns of the people in our circle. Becoming aware of the people who support us and drain us and the expectation levels of the people in our life and our expectations of others is an essential step forward.
3. If someone is toxic, care enough to let them know as empathetically as you can that you feel overwhelmed. If you are toxic become aware and start the process of change. You can fill in all the gaps that you expect the other person to fill for you with awareness, persistence, courage and self compassion.
4. If you are the overwhelmed friend seek the help of a professional who can help you. If you are a professional look for patterns of counter transference and if it is too overwhelming refer your client to a person who maybe better equipped.
5. Read, attend courses, look for resources. We live in a world where all resources are already available. We just need to prioritize ourselves enough to start working on change and healing.
6. Set healthy boundaries for yourself and for others in your life. Learn to “SAY NO” more than you say yes to certain people and situations. Without your own personal health, assertiveness and awareness you will never be able to contribute towards a healthy relationship or a work equation.
7. Sometimes you may not get the required closure, you may just need to move on as not everyone accepts and deals with change as expected or anticpated.

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