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Good Time Charlies

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  • Good Time Charlies

    For the longest time, life was not good financially, it was extremely difficult to land a good job, some personal strife was challenging but overcome and it felt like a cruel, lonely world out there. I'm lucky to have family but there were stressful, tense exchanges during bad times in their stressful lives. During the worst of my life, I tried my best to be gracious and civil but closeness with family (relatives and extended relatives) went south even though we've since made amends. It's awkward but at least we're all peaceful at family reunions and I'm fine with friends, too.

    Ever since I've been on the upswing and life grew better, suddenly there are so-called friends crawling out of the woodwork, some long lost family and extended family are hitting me up for free tickets due to my job's perks and I've suddenly become popular. I realize and remembered how I was treated with cruelty during my downtrodden days. I'll never forget it. Now that my life had improved, I feel that these people in my life only wish to use me to their benefit. I don't want to feel taken advantage of. How do you decline and say, "NO" nicely? I know who my true friends are and I know who the best relatives are. They are the ones who never said anything inappropriate when I was always walking under a dark cloud up until recently.

    Btw, there are some friends whom I reached out to when I was so down and asked if they could take a walk with me around our neighborhood. I contacted them via email, dropped a postal letter to them, texted and left a voicemail to no avail. They completely ignored me several times. They didn't even give me the courtesy by saying, "Sorry, I'm unavailable. Sorry, I can't help you. I wish you the best or good-luck." I only received radio silence. The problem is, they grocery shop and do their errands at the same local stores and now that my good fortune arose, they act as if it's all water under the bridge, want to strike up a buddy friendship and what the heck? Where were they when I needed them the most? They left me high and dry. They gave me the cold shoulder when I was so alone, broke and miserable. They turned their backs on me.

    I don't want to be a nasty person in return. I just don't know how to handle people coming around just because they want something from you. I don't know how to handle bitter memories and a sudden change in people just because my life is smoother than it was.

    I don't know how to say "NO" without causing animosity. Honestly, it's my internal retaliation for the meanness they bestowed upon me and now that my life is finally and miraculously on the upswing, I want to enjoy it without being approached by users. Also, they're contacting me more than ever whether on the phone or in person. I don't like this type of attention because I remember how I was disrespected in the past and now that I'm fine, they all want to be with me socially and due to freebies. Thank you for your advice. I appreciate it.


    "If you bungle raising your children, whatever else you do well in life doesn't matter very much."

  • #2
    No one can take advantage of you without your permission.

    When they ask you for free stuff, just smile and say, "Sorry, that's not possible right now." Don't explain.
    "What lips my lips have kissed and where and why I have forgotten." ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

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    • #3
      1) Don't take your upswing forgranted; keep working at your career (ie don't let this get to your head - everything can be taken from you in a second)
      2) No means no; sometimes it even means back off I have a flaming torch or a fork in my hand and I take taibo
      3) Stop being such a bleeding heart. This means grow up and stop weeping and feeling sorry for everyone. You'll never learn to grow a pair or look out for yourself. Get over all that sadness in your heart about others hurting you in the past and don't let it happen again with the same people. This means removing the litter in your life. Litter means unwanted and unnecessary baubles (wait, I meant people) that don't add to your joy or quality of life.

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      • #4
        Rose Moose, I never take my upswing for granted nor has it gotten to my head. Believe me, I know because my down swing lasted far too long. I feel so grateful. It's awkward saying no because it isn't my nature. I prefer to be kind. It's just that people can't take their words back after they've deliberately gone out of their way to spew it and hurt you. I'll be nice but not "too nice."
        "If you bungle raising your children, whatever else you do well in life doesn't matter very much."

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        • #5
          It's not in my nature to say no either. I grew up in a mindblowingly peaceful and joyful home with probably the kindest and most generous parents anyone could ever hope for. That was their legacy to us which I'm extremely thankful for. I guess I am generous too but unfortunately if it can be done, there will be people who find a way to manipulate any situation. I'm not suggesting to be rude or unkind or go out of your way to hurt people. Just keep your distance and have healthy boundaries. If you're feeling generous and like you have an inkling to do good or give back, try redirecting your energies -- what about joining a volunteer group working in a soup kitchen or helping the homeless in your city/town. There are also shelters and transition houses for women and children rehabilitating after/during domestic abuse. They are always looking for donations and money for toiletries and basic items for living. Get a box and fill it up with all the toiletries you can fill it with and give it to them. You don't need to not give. Just give where you know it will be most useful. Don't worry so much about the people who didn't respond to you before and are reaching out to you now. If you do want to be "kind" go sprinkle that fairy dust on those who need it most.

          ps: I am probably responding in such detail to you because I read your comments throughout the forum and you are kind. I think you would be happy giving back to the community...of course you may be already in which case this is all redundant. Hope things work out.
          Last edited by Rose Mosse; January 28th, 2018, 02:21 AM.

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          • #6
            Thank you Rose Moose. I appreciated your thoughtful words and your reading my comments in the forum. I hear you, it's alright to be kind to the less fortunate and have healthy boundaries with those who've wronged you. Yes, keeping polite distance is very good. Thank you. I needed to be reminded of that. I guess I feel guilty for not forgiving easily and holding grudges. After that, I "retaliate" by not being as generous as I would have been had the perpetrators been respectful in the first place. I need to work on that. Charity work is what I had done in recent times such as feeding the homeless, giving manicures in nursing homes, park clean-up, and 'meals on wheels' cooking prep and deliveries for the disadvantaged. I'm normally the type to reciprocate if the relationship was considerate but if there were verbal lobs, then I withdraw and lose trust because there's no telling when it'll happen again during a heated argument. Once trust had been betrayed and lost, you can't look at the person the same way anymore. I'm working on trying not to feel bitter. I don't like it when people are mean when you're downtrodden and then when life eventually improves, they suddenly act as if they're your new BFFs. No can do.
            "If you bungle raising your children, whatever else you do well in life doesn't matter very much."

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            • #7
              It might be a bit self-effacing to expect different results from a dysfunctional relationship when someone has already proven they're capable of "verbal lobs", isn't it? You might pride yourself in being forgiving but if you're constantly being dragged down because of the actions or words of someone else, withdrawing and losing your trust in that person may be a healthy response. I was only bitter regarding my extended family and people I used to call "friends" back then when they were still in my life. I roiled in it and was very angry about it. As soon as I left them behind and stepped out into a space where I felt was comfortable and where I got to call the shots about my life and who I wanted in it, all that disappeared. I also deepened my trust in myself and started to understand what makes me happy and how I could create that life I wanted. Of course I wouldn't ignore anyone in a medical emergency or crisis but keeping that healthy distance works for me. Maybe this is a transition you're going through culling unnecessary people in your life. If some of those people do mean a lot to you and you feel they may listen, why not speak with them? Most people treat others badly because they have no idea how to treat others well and because no one tells them it's unacceptable. It's thoughtless, in my opinion. And they keep on doing it until you say something. If it's worth a chat, it might clear the air and some of that feeling you have.

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              • #8
                Thank you Rose. I'm learning over time that polite distance is healthy not to mention PEACEFUL! I too, am calling all the shots in a boundary, healthy sort of way. I make exceptions for medical emergencies, of course. As for a pow-wow, i.e., talking it out, I've traveled down that road endless times. I've lost count. What happens whenever I try to have a calm, MATURE discussion to hash things out and try to deal with reason? Big time gaslighting occurs which is maddening. I absolutely refuse to talk in crazy circles with anyone in my midst which to me is unintelligent, lacks empathy and maturity. I absolutely refuse to constantly stomp out fires which are totally irrelevant to the subject or topic. Gaslighting is pure psychological warfare which I refuse to engage in. I didn't understand gaslighting at first but after educating myself from a ton of books, I've evolved into an 'amateur' expert in the field! Thus far, distant peace and remaining cordial works so I'm enjoying my time in the driver's seat. It's awfully refreshing. Sure, I'd love nothing more than to have the 'Norman Rockwell' fantasy but it's not in the cards for everyone. I do whatever works. My perspective had since changed drastically and how I choose to no longer react nor allow emotions get the best of me. Whatever works. Why mess with success? It's called wising up. You see things with utmost clarity which is a good thing. You don't deal with people's you know what anymore. I still love a lot of people in my life dearly, don't get me wrong. I just handle the relationship(s) by remaining cordial. No more no less.

                During times of trouble (or distress), I do have a heart and if feasible, I'm the first to race to someone's doorstep with casserole in hand. I am generous, too especially during crisis mode. However, during other times, I keep a safe distance especially if I know human weakness or weakness in character are directed at me or my loved ones. I draw the line there. I admire and respect many people in my life warts and all. I just can't interact with them as if they're my buddies or besties. That's how it is. Perhaps it's universal.
                Last edited by chanelle; January 28th, 2018, 09:32 PM.
                "If you bungle raising your children, whatever else you do well in life doesn't matter very much."

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                • #9
                  Hi Chanelle. To be very honest with you I had no idea what gaslighting meant. I have never had it used on me except this forum! I had to google it a few moments ago. I think perhaps it's a Canadian thing. We don't talk like that to each other and there's respect for mental health issues in general- at least with everyone I've known even in the worst situations and in the west coast. That's the most bizarre tactic I've ever googled and had no idea there was even a word for it. Talk about screwed up that it's actually a "thing". Sometimes not doing anything is reason enough for people to stomp all over you. You're not under any obligation to be friends with anyone you don't respect or can't trust and yes, it's universal. Hope you're doing great today.

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                  • #10
                    "What lips my lips have kissed and where and why I have forgotten." ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

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                    • #11
                      Hi Rose, Thank you for everything you've written. I appreciate it. I'm glad you googled gaslighting. A lot of people no matter where they live can and will gaslight. You just hadn't heard it before nor has anyone gaslighted you but it does exist internationally! I was naive until recently. I would bang my head against a wall from total confusion and wondered why in the heck my conversations with certain people whether verbal or electronically always ended up with an attack on me with accusations that I was the one who was delusional. At first, you start to second guess yourself and you're always defending your good name which is infuriating. Then I read a lot of books about gaslighting, googled it and learned a lot about the subject. What is the purpose? It's to win arguments. It's called manipulating the conversation into your favor. It's a very nasty tactic and strategy. Nowadays, whenever I sniff gaslighting from a mile away, I end the communication diplomatically and peacefully albeit with frostiness in my heart. I stay away from those who habitually and chronically practice gaslighting. I surround myself with normal people who are good.

                      Also, years ago, unfortunately, one of my extended family members was a sociopath which affected me and my loved ones! That individual and family got the axe off my list stat. It didn't go down well but my and my family's survival always comes first and foremost. I stay away from psychos. Talk about boundaries. My boundaries are extremely good nowadays. Live and learn.

                      Thank you, yes, my life is finally better. I hope it wasn't all in vain. I've learned some harsh lessons along the way so that is the silver lining. I guess I could say all bad, very negative experiences were blessings in disguise. I'm glad and RELIEVED that I can finally say that.
                      "If you bungle raising your children, whatever else you do well in life doesn't matter very much."

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                      • #12
                        The worst ones come from within your(our) own family/families... I'm sorry you had to go through that. I can't imagine friends doing that, let alone family members. I'm just struck with disgust/awe that it's actually a named manipulative tactic and sad that it's embodied in a word or a concept at all. I'll take your advice too.

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                        • #13
                          Thank you Rose, thank you for taking my advice and thank you for yours as well. Yes, it was a heartache from an extended family member and this person's spouse. Their kids were innocent though. Fortunately, this extended family member resides hundreds of miles away so we don't ever cross paths, thank goodness. It was for the best that we went our separate ways. I was actually quite naive. A more immediate family member is the one who gave me the heads up and forewarned me to cut ties with the sociopath (also a gaslighter) because there was no telling how far this psycho would've gone with me and my loved ones. I'm forever grateful to the immediate family member who had my back. I am better for it nowadays and at least I can live my life in safety and peace. I must say human psychology is definitely an education to be sure. The bad part of painful experiences is the daily living nightmare. The silver lining is wisdom gained and preventing future fiascos. That's how I look at it.

                          The bad thing is that the extended family member and I were once close, shared happy childhoods together and to part ways after family ties and heartwarming memories was very difficult. I guess it feels like divorce. It was turbulent during quarrels and arguments but we did share good times together back in the day. Such as life. I've come to realize people change, we're not the same as when life was more carefree as children without a worry in the world. This extended family member is married to a horrible husband to put it mildly so obviously she had been corrupted and tainted courtesy of him. Monkey see monkey do, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Bad influences are really bad. I didn't know who she was anymore because I couldn't connect her with the same sweet girl she once was. It was sad to realize. I have to accept it even though I don't like it. It helps that this person is a 10 hour drive away. In that regard, out of sight out of mind. As time marches on, she fades away and I continue to focus on my own happiness and peace of mind. Her current life of financial entrapment is extremely miserable. What goes around comes around. It must be karma. It's time to pay the piper. My close family member says, "You've made your bed, now you lie in it." It's so true.
                          Last edited by chanelle; January 29th, 2018, 08:34 PM.
                          "If you bungle raising your children, whatever else you do well in life doesn't matter very much."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thank you for your advice, too Rose. There were harsh lessons learned in the past but as long as wisdom had been gained it was not all in vain, right? And, best of all there is peace of mind. Fortunately, the extended family member who wronged me resides hundreds of miles away or a 10-hr drive. We never cross paths anymore so in that regard it is out of sight out of mind. We went our separate ways and it was a huge blessing in disguise. Sometimes, a different way to look at it is that the perpetrator did you a huge favor by "educating you," you let them go, you become smarter for the future and the cancer in your life had been excised. In my case, it almost feels like a divorce but I'm ok because something good came out of it. I benefited in the end. Unfortunately, the perpetrator currently has a miserable life but she made her bed and now must lie in it. What goes around comes around, karma, time to pay the piper and all that. All I can do is focus on peace in my own life. That's what I do and I feel so grateful.
                            "If you bungle raising your children, whatever else you do well in life doesn't matter very much."

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                            • #15
                              I'm the last person to advise on the subtleties and politics of family life but it's good to hear that the family member you're speaking about is out of yours and your children's lives. Unlike you I don't think about it too much and tend to exorcise quickly without input from anyone else mostly because I get tired a lot quicker now and my energy is limited - not through any actual personal issues for specific people most of the time(very rare). A lot of the time personal differences can be avoided especially with family members by limiting the amount of time spent together or asking that boundaries be respected if there are strong relationships with other people in your life with whom you cannot avoid. For example, I've asked my partner to respect our home and not to bring in any issues regarding his extended family into our home life. I have also asked friends and colleagues to step back and please respect certain days or my wish to stay away from types of events or ongoings. I'm just not party to any popularity contests in family, work or personal and I really feel the life drain out of me being a part of those things. Life is indeed too short to be resentful or stay uncomfortable and you just find what makes you happiest and enjoy that.

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