Taryn is free

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I had plans to post the final part to my “Creepy ass White dude” saga today, but I had an interesting change in relationship with a toxic family member and I wanted to rejoice in my newfound freedom. Out of respect to my parents, I won’t name the person, but I will talk about the relationship and how I allowed it to muddy the waters of my state of being for so long.

Undetected Virus

When you are asleep at the metaphorical wheel of your life, it’s easy for toxic people to infiltrate your mind, setting up a host of nasty Trojan horses to gain control over you. For years I allowed this person to prey on me because I was so oblivious to my own needs and rights as an individual. As such, I allowed this person to drain me of my resources— time, money, help, support, etc.— under the guise that they were family and that trumps everything. Well, if you’re family is consistently hurting you or making you feel like you’re the problem or that everything is your fault, RUN!

Subtle Infiltration

The problem with emotionally manipulative people is that they are subtle in how they get their hooks into you. Problematic behaviors don’t just manifest overnight, they take time. The person can make seemingly harmless comments to you or about you under the guise of “trying to help”. They’re good at twisting your words and putting you on the defensive to destabilize your emotional wellbeing. If this happens over a decent period of time and you’re not doing anything to establish boundaries, they will control you.

A Tricky Blind Spot

It’s funny, looking back, I really was out to lunch. I think one of the biggest reasons why I didn’t see it was that she’s family. You don’t expect your loved ones to use and abuse you. That and she leveraged children. This gets trickier when little ones are involved, so I was able to reconcile the shitty behavior for their well-being. Ironically, it was this relationship that helped me see how messed up Brett was. Once you’ve experienced “Bat Shit Crazy” it’s way easier and faster to spot. Interestingly enough, both of them suffered some form of abuse one way or another. I really believe that at one point they were victims. The funny thing is, there’s a very fine line between victim and aggressor, and if you don’t seek help or deal with your trauma, you’re likely to become the monster you once feared.

Aiding and Abetting

I’m not going to go into every detail about my relationship or interactions with this person because a) I’m lazy and it would take forever to recall details, and b) I’m at a point where I’m happy to move past stewing over the garbage encounters with that person. While I’ve set my own boundaries, my family is still entrenched and sweeps this person’s behavior under the rug. I’ll admit, the last encounter— the 4th of July— nearly got the best of me because of how fake everything was. There was a time where I felt like Candace from Phineas and Ferb (yes, I’m referencing a children’s cartoon). But, instead of trying to expose fun science projects, I was hellbent on proving that this person was indeed the root cause of a lot of problems. Needless to say, this tactic provided me with more anguish than solutions.

Since my parents are out of the country and I’m a nomad, we have to do family occasions at this person’s house. This means we all get together, pretending that they aren’t a manipulative narcissist. For the most part, I can hold my tongue as I generally focus my time and energy on all 7 of my niece and nephews. That said, I’ve come to the point where pretending like nothing is wrong and sitting on the grenades this person lobs in my direction, is over. If my parents want to continue in that cesspool of dysfunction, I can’t stop them, but I’ve served my time into that mental ward and I’m checking myself out. Now that I’ve had a week to think about things far away from the situation, I initially wanted to call this person out and distance myself. However due to their snooping ways, they did the heavy lifting for me.

 

Cat out of the bag

Yesterday, I was having a chat with my father— a thing we do several times a week— and we were catching up on things. He stays with that person in question, and how he does it is beyond me. Just to give you context, we talked for an hour and that person had come up, because of a gaslighting conversation they had with my Dad. I know this because of how my Dad was speaking about the situation. The words he was using to describe his actions had a negative and malicious vibe to them. I asked him why he was talking in that way because the one thing my father is not is negative or malicious. It turns out, these were the words the other person assigned to his behavior. This tactic is not unfamiliar and I was quick to shed light on what she was trying to do.

Toxic people will do anything to shift any type of blame onto their opponent. They assigned intent on your actions even if what you’re trying to do is benign or benevolent. They do this to make you feel insecure, thus depending more on them. This made me furious. It’s one thing to treat me like shit. But if you do that to either of my parents, we have an issue. So anyway, we talked about it and I gave anecdotal evidence to highlight her manipulative behavior. It wasn’t more than 8-10 minutes of our conversation, but it turns out to be the best thing to ever happen.

Breakup Email

Last night, as I was drifting off to sleep I got an email titled “This Morning…”. I opened it and it started by the person admitting they were eavesdropping on the conversation with my dad and heard all of the names I called her. She then talks about how I trashed her family, and how I’m no longer welcome in her home. After reading it, I laughed out loud. First of all, I did not call her any names. Second, what I said was the truth, if she has a problem with that, she should definitely self-reflect.

To be honest, I’ve never felt more happier about being “broken up” with. The funny thing is I know she was trying to hurt me, but truthfully, she set me free! Thanks to her, I no longer have to play into her crazy mind games and manipulative tactics. I feel like the last year has prepped me to handle these types of situations with ease. I have to give God some blame because my relationship with Him has really impacted how I see myself, the world, and how I move around in it. I’ve come to learn how to control my mind, thoughts, and feelings. Balancing those things are so important and disciplining myself to do the work has been well worth the discomfort!

Free to do what I want

So in a nutshell, I’m free of the dysfunction and nonsense that once plagued me. Prior to this, I tended to take a long-suffering, obligation approach to certain family members. Not anymore. This experience —along with many others— has shown me how to remain calm in even the most turbulent of storms. I didn’t share this story to crap all over my family member. No, I still love her and hope she gets some help. I shared it to shed a light on dealing with toxic family members. So here are a few takeaways:

-Be present in your life, take care and value yourself

-Don’t take the blame for what manipulators do, this isn’t your fault

– You are not responsible for anyone but yourself

– How others perceive you is their problem not yours

– Don’t allow others to assign intent to your actions

– As long as you’re not hurting others, be yourself!

 

With my newfound freedom, I am writing more than ever before. My creative thoughts are buzzing and I could not be happier. The last thing I will share is an article— which you can find here —about manipulative people, how they work, how to spot their tactics, and what you can do to set boundaries. I was going to share it with the final “creeper” piece (I probably still will), but it’s just such an excellent read and does a wonderful job explaining the shit-show that is a manipulative person. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the reading! I’ll finish off the rest of the “creeper saga” next week. But before I got, I want to leave you with this little number to enjoy. Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got outted

 

No, not that kind of “out”. I still have a healthy appreciation for the male species. 😉

I am referring to a relationship, however, and that is with Christ

Closeted Christian

Up until recently, I’ve always kept a lowkey position about my faith. Not because of shame or embarrassment, but rather out of humility. Today there are so many fake Christians, touting superiority and judgment, failing to see how their behavior is not only abhorrent but a true disservice to what it actually means to follow Christ. For me personally, I always tried to let my actions speak for my faith. Helping those in need, being a light, while trying to live according to how Jesus lived.

Seeing the light

Last year, I went on an epic journey that not only confirmed my belief in God, led me on some epic adventures. I swear my life was like some adventure movie, it was pretty crazy. I was so hooked, I was giving away my stuff to the homeless people in my neighborhood, feeding people whenever I could, it was amazing.

Enduring hardship

One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that the more you begin to follow God, the more you’ll face different types of opposition. At first, I didn’t think anything of it as last year things were practically falling out of the sky. This year, however, has easily been the toughest year since 2008. I literally experienced loss at every level. Work and relationships were obliterated in the process out of the blue. This wasn’t like I dropped the ball in being accountable, quite the opposite. In fact, this year, I poured more love and hard work into every aspect of my life and like rain in a blistering dry desert, all of my resources evaporated.

I’ll admit, I got a little frustrated. At one point, I was asking God, “What gives?”. I was spending so much time helping others and turning the other cheek, and I was still getting drop-kicked in the face. Eventually, I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and decided to really closely follow the Bible, which funnily enough has detailed accounts of every single experience I’ve gone through. Even now as I’m still going through the wilderness– though I feel as that is coming to an end– I can’t help but feel overjoyed with gratitude. In the midst of my struggles, I’ve received mercy and kindness from the unlikeliest of people, and through it all, I’ve wanted for nothing.

Being accountable

So back to the outted part. I’ve been editing my dad’s blog over a year now. It’s a Christian blog that gives anecdotes of biblical wisdom with a chapter of scripture at the bottom. We publish each day. This past week as he’s been in Switzerland, the responsibility of creating content has fallen on my shoulders. At first, I was just going to ghostwrite as I didn’t want to put my name out there. Again, not out of shame, but honestly because I feel like I’m just a snot-nosed young person. What kind of wisdom do I have? Still, I felt compelled to put up something and as I began to write, I realized that I did have something to say. Plus since I was publishing under his platform, it wasn’t like anyone I knew would see it. Man, was I wrong.

Funnily enough, I configured my dad’s blog to share on his Facebook page. Unbeknownst to me, since I was writing under my account, the posts were being shared on my page too! Upon learning this, I was horrified. I was so scared of what my peers would think. I didn’t want anyone to mistake the work for arrogance or that I felt my life was superior in any way. I also didn’t want the responsibility of having to step my lifestyle game up. More to the point, I didn’t want people to judge me when I fall short, which will happen because I’m human.

In fact, my life is a bit of a whirlwind right now, but I say that without shame. But then I realized, that as a person who follows Christ I can express my faith without pretending to claim perfection. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. My experiences have exposed my flaws and I’m working on being the best that I can be. I’ll always be a work in progress, but I don’t need to hide that.

Stepping out in faith

I won’t always be writing on my dad’s blog, but I’ve decided that I want to start reblogging his posts here for anyone who may care to read them. May they encourage you in your journeys! Happy Thursday, everyone! 🙂