Sometimes, when we go through something really traumatic (such as having to unplug your newborn from life support after only 30 hours of her being alive…or other, equally tragic stuff), we become toxic. When we are hit by life’s curve balls-ones in which we have zero control over and can’t change the outcome of-it makes us feel helpless. Helplessness make us feel angry
and, when we realize our anger won’t change the outcome of the situation, we become bitter and toxic.
This is exactly how I felt during my grieving process after we lost Cora. I was stuck in an angry, bitter state for the better part of a year and, well, it caused all sorts of shit in my life. I lost friends. I got into arguments with my husband and derby mates over issues that weren’t important. I resented people for reasons I both understood and didn’t understand at all. Basically, regardless of how hard I was trying to put on a brave face and remember to enjoy the little things in life, I was one giant toxic waste dump of helpless anger and frustration. And, despite the fact that almost everyone who knew me knew of what I was going through, it didn’t make it any less easy to be around me and people started to disappear.
At the time, I couldn’t see what was happening with me and when friends stopped coming around, I felt that they had ditched me because they didn’t understand what I was going through. I felt that all my friends with kids spent their time gushing about how awesome their kids were when they were around me and, even though they were just being proud parents and had every right to be so, I resented that they would dare to be happy about their kids in front of me. I felt they were being insensitive to my loss, so I became really cranky around them. And, surprise, surprise, they started dropping like flies. It wasn’t until about a year ago, when I spoke in depth with one of my long time friends who had decided to vamoose about a year after Cora died, that I realized how my toxic energy drove her away.
And, when I looked back, I realized that I had been stuck in that toxicity for a long while. I asked her why she hadn’t just pointed out to me that I was letting my negativity and sadness and anger infect everyone around me and, to my surprise, she said that she did tell me. In fact, she tried to tell me on several occasions and I wasn’t receptive to her words at all. I was the opposite. I denied that I was toxic and insisted that I was staying positive, working through my grief and carrying on with life. And, while my friend (who has reunited with me again, thank goodness) loved me and wanted to help me get through my grief, she just got to the point where it was too hard for her to be around me and my negative energy infected her too much. So, very wisely, she chose to stop participating in our friendship while I was all crazy beans and, after enough time had passed, she reconnected with me. Our friendship is stronger because of it and I don’t begrudge her having to step away from me until I worked through that stage of grief. We should always take steps to protect our energy and, if that means walking away from someone you love because their negative energy is infecting yours, so be it.
Interestingly enough, I am on the other end of this right now while one of my loved ones is working through a traumatic event and his energy is all dark and toxic and super tough to be around. It is especially hard for me because of my new abilities to feel energy so strongly that I can almost reach out and grab it. And, wouldn’t you know it, he doesn’t see the effect his energy is having on the people around him either, even though it’s really obvious. I tried to talk to him about it and he basically told me that I don’t know what I’m talking about. He’s toxic and angry and clearly doesn’t want or need my help or insight so, even though I love him dearly, I have to protect my own energy with distance.
This sort of thing hurts a lot, especially when you love someone and hate to see them hurting, but sometimes it’s the only choice.
So, I am feeling grateful tonight, to my friend who chose to walk away and give me time to work through my toxicity and for my own newly developed insight that allows me to recognize when it’s time to protect my own energy.
My fondest hope is that my loved one will develop the ability to recognize and feel his own energy and how it affects others and that, somewhere along his journey, he finds peace and the ability to forgive both himself and the others who have hurt him.
I wish you all enough.