We all encounter people in our lives that challenge us in good and bad ways. Being a target begins within yourself, with your thoughts against yourself, your criticisms against yourself, then turned outward, your posture, your language against yourself, all of which is projected into the outside world for the wrong people to abuse your victimisation and tendency to self-victimisation further. Bullies seek out those who have already suffered at the hands of violent and abusive people. It is crucial to be able to comprehend what happened to you, but not accept victimhood as a mindset because it is a dead alley, a dead energy that keeps you as a passive and self-destructive prisoner.
I don’t think that there cannot be something good about bad people or something bad about good people, we are all flawed, but you can decide which flaws are a dealbreaker for you and you really should be aware of your red flags.
When you first meet someone you will, most of the times, sense immediately whether this person is good for you or not. Always listen to your gut before your mind gets started. If you feel like you have to play a show, perform as someone else, be artificial, careful, submissive, overly congratulatory, pretentious and the list goes on, in short, if you cannot be yourself for whatever reason, then engaging with this person is not worth it for you. It is vital to know yourself and be rooted within yourself. Don’t let someone’s outer strong or convincing rhetoric question yourself, you have lived in your own skin since you have been born, trust me, you know better. Don’t let them determine who you are. They should not have that control. The reason why they’d want it is not a good one.
People want to see the good in others, which in itself is a good thing but in certain circles it is exactly that good characteristic that is abused, and this leads to justifying bad actions, excusing behaviour, legitimising it, even though you feel that you’re not aligned with your truth and how you truly feel about certain matters, you desperately want this person that is harming you to be good. Trust me, this is certainly not the easier way. This decision will cost you. If you find yourself within a relationship, which can take on many forms, that is a beggar, drains you, always asks for more without ever giving something to you, reduces you, builds itself up at your cost and energy, lives off of your sole commitment, mocks you, sucks the life out of you, discriminates against your successes and devalues them, isolates you from the people in your life who mean well, gangs up on you, expects everything from you offering nothing in return, exploits your empathy and vulnerability and forgiveness, your boundaries have been annihilated, and you are stuck in a toxic spiderweb.
People cannot take your autonomy, agency and power away from you unless you give it to them and they know how to manipulate you into doing it. Always acknowledge people’s intentions, how they behave, how they relate to the most important people in your life, and how they react to your successes and dreams and ambitions. If you are deeply stuck in their malicious and vicious circle, you feel powerless, worthless, hopeless, dependent, threatened, paranoid, helpless, you drown in self-pity, you cannot prove their bad behaviour because it seems like nothing on the surface and to other people or as you are retelling the facts but feels like a dagger in your stomach because you know the source, the intent, the cataclysmic bond that needs to be disrupted. For them to operate their subtle and degrading actions of malice you need to be alone and feel isolated as if nobody is listening to you and taking your side.
They will use things that you told them in confidence against you in the most tactless and heartless moments, mercilessly and calculatingly, to deliberately inflict pain on you. They want to hurt you, they want to be in charge, they want to make you feel small so that they can feel tall and omnipotent. Don’t play their game. You know how transparent they are, that they are, in the worst way, little children who will never grow up, violent and entitled, bored and insecure, empty and cruel.
No matter how powerful they might feel to you, no matter how small and microscopic and full of pain the world might seem to you, you need to find perspective, the big picture, see them for what they are, contextualise yourself and them, cut them off, if you find the courage express everything that needs to be said, don’t reveal your emotions, and if you do, expect them to mock you or laugh, but tell yourself that it doesn’t matter what they do or say, they don’t own you and the reason why they want to see you small is because they see how great you are and the reason why they suck you dry is because you have everything that they desire and lack or cannot access within themselves but would never admit. You don’t need their approval. You are not their puppet. They could never grow into the worst version you have of them. They know how to play with your fears. Don’t give it to them. They will push all of your buttons, but don’t care, let it go, let them go, look at them and realise how pitiful and miserable they truly are. They are not your responsibility. They have to take care of themselves. And you need to reestablish your ransacked boundaries.
Don’t give them insights into your life. They have no right to know anything about you. And just because they crossed your path for a while and know certain things, does not mean that they know who you are, have been or will be, what you can achieve, and that you cannot grow out of the victim and emptied shell that they tried to make out of you. Move on and don’t give them any importance. They have no right of existence in your life. If a person does not feel good to you, trust that instinct and act on it. You determine who you are, nobody else. We all need to learn our lessons and sometimes the hard way, but every lesson learned is valuable and reliable. Don’t put your life in other people’s hands, especially if they don’t do anything to deserve it or, even worse, do everything to not deserve it. Your feelings are your reality and sometimes they are more rational and trustworthy than our at times manipulative mind.
A photograph depicting the opera singer and actress Geraldine Farrar out of the George Grantham Bain Collection between 1915 and 1920.