Tag Archives: toxic relationships

Cold winter day thoughts and activities

It’s a bitterly cold day here in my city as we reached down to -36C with the windchill. Doesn’t matter where you are in the world, that’s really cold and we have been spoiled until now with unusually warm weather.

I’m trying to get into the habit of writing a little bit every day, and realized I haven’t posted in a while here. I’m using my other journal on Fetlife more for those low days. And luckily, there haven’t been too many lows periods as of late.

That’s partially due to the fact that I have a new online family I’ve joined. It just sort of happened. None of us was really looking for it. But the more we flirted back and forth and started chatting about life events, the more things kind of clicked and it felt right.

I won’t go into a lot of details here. But it’s nice to have that daily connection again and the power exchange. Someone checking in daily to see how I’m doing and making sure I stay on top of all my tasks. Not that I need it ,but sometimes I procrastinate – and it’s nice to have the “right kind of motivation”.

Honestly, I’m not used to being treated like a priority in life and it scares me. I’m using to being third or fourth down the line. Last night, I had a bit of a trauma response when he mentioned a family issue came up. And my instant response was, “Not again. I’m going to get the shaft and be ousted.” But then, I reminded myself after a little cry, that this was my response to a previous relationship. This man has made no promises, has not hurt me in anyway, has not lied and has treated me like gold. And I need to learn to keep my responses in check. Now, if you’ve been following me for any length of time – you’d understand at what a breakthrough that is for me in terms of relationships.

Old me would have just found an excuse to run or sabotage in some way. Fight or flight mode that comes with anxiety. Abandonment anxiety that stems back over two decades from bad partners.

And so, I put on my big girl pants last night, as he says, and admitted my initial reaction. He confirmed what I suspected – that this had nothing to do with me and he would always let me know where I stand.

I can’t tell you – the level of relief that brings me. While the anxiety is still there in the background, it always is, it’s less. And this relationship is like night and day.

I know, I know. Charmeine, you said you wouldn’t get into another long distance relationship. I know, I’m flogging myself for it too.

But… it’s good. On all parts. We all get along. And we both agree nothing serious, no real serious dynamic. No collaring. None of that. Just – it is what it is.

And honestly. It’s like night and day. I feel like I can breathe.

Today was a pretty good day after no sleep for 32 hours. I slept in. Had a nice breakfast. Got some much needed cleaning done and the bedding is in the wash. I got a workout. And now, I’m going to heat up some leftovers for dinner, and spend the evening writing. The fireplace is on and I’m drinking a freshly brewed pot of coffee.

I’m back to reading a little daily and am on my second book of the year. It’s part of Kate Anslinger’s murder mystery series – McKenna Mystery.

It’s quite good and an easy way to get back into reading.

My book is coming along and I’m determined to get this draft done by the end of the month. Time is slipping and I need to work fast.

I’m finally feeling more like my usual self. A bit mouthy, a bit bratty, opinionated, but also, working on letting go of past hurts and learning from past mistakes. After all, isn’t that what life is all about?

So, for today, for this week – life is pretty good at the moment. How’s your week going?

Today’s quote:

Stay tuned – I’ll have more spiritual posts coming your way. The next big celebration will be Spring Equinox in March and the full moon on March 7th!

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Be your authentic self and your people will find you

The sun is shining and it’s going to be a beautiful day where I live – which is nice as the past couple of days have been dreary outside and we had a lot of snow the other night.

I’ve been trying to rack my brain for content this week and nothing is coming to me. So, I’m going to get a bit personal.

Recently, I had a fallout with some people that really hurt. And while I recognize my part in it, I definitely do not feel the actions received from others were warranted. It led me to a path of self-reflection and shadow work which I’m now finally coming out of and seeing the world in a new light. I’m also trying to recognize negative aspects of myself and working on shedding those too, to make for a brighter future and healthier relationships.

I promise I’m not obsessed with it – I take it as a learning opportunity in what not to do for next time.

I’ve already touched briefly on what mirroring behaviors look like in a recent post, so for this post, I’ll stick to what was discussed yesterday with my therapist.

Social Media Friends

When it comes to Fetlife, I make friends pretty fast. I’m a flirt, and post a lot of different types of content from art, memes, and journal writings. That content is how I met the majority of Fetlife friends – and some friends in real life too.

But when you’re a “sparkling” personality, people see your shine and want to dim it for whatever reason. Maybe they are jealous. Or maybe they want to be like you and get the same kind of attention. So, they start copying or mirroring your image.

The thing about posting on social media, is that people only see snippets of your life. They might not like what they see. And sometimes, people only share the positives and good times to boost themselves up. Not a bad way to do it either.

Part of my kinky personality is being a brat (to those friends who are consenting) and to those in general that wish to participate. It’s all in good fun. Brats get a bit of a bad rep as there are those who take it too far and cross boundaries.

With me, I tend to get people hyped up and they get in on the fun. It’s provided a lot of great laughs. And helped to form relationships quickly.

Unfortunately, there’s a caveat.

When life stops being all fun and games

When it comes to fickle friends, they thrive on attention from others. The kind of attention that gives them dopamine rushes and makes them feel good. So, when you stop providing them that attention and focus on you – you’re called all kinds of names.

Or worse – you’re dropped and replaced by the next shiny thing that comes along, who will provide them the attention they need. They latch onto other people like leeches.

I had one friend that did this and it got to the point where she would message me all night on Discord and I had to mute her notifications, to get some sleep.

When life stops being fun and you request to take time to yourself, or you are working through health issues – you find out quickly, who your real friends are. They are the ones that stand by you unconditionally. And they are the type that will reach out to you to check in on how you’re doing, or offer an ear when needed.

For me, sure, I love the attention. Always have. At least the good kind of attention and not the creeps that come surfing by. But I never act out of malice or with ill intentions.

Stay true to who you are, your people will find you

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve found that spark again. The spark I thought I’d lost forever. I realized how much I changed myself for the play partners in my life and how much I muted my personality too.

And now, I’ve said… fuck that.

I’m going to be my authentic self. Unapologetically, so. If people have an issue with the content that I post, that’s not my problem. They’re happy to unfollow, unfriend, or scroll on by like I do. And let me tell you – there is a lot of crap that you have to scroll on by on Fetlife.

And I think that sometimes scares people who a) refuse to take accountability for their actions. And b) people who aren’t ready to do the inner work themselves. Or maybe they aren’t willing to admit they need it.

Does that make them bad people?

Not necessarily.

But it does become toxic when people demand certain energy from you like “good vibes only” or “no negativity.” That gets old, really fast. I find with those people, you never really know who you are dealing with.

For me, I’m a realist and that often gets seen as negative. I’ve had to be in my life when dealing with chronic illnesses. Sometimes, life is what it is and other times, you make the most of what you’ve got.

My unsolicited advice for the day:

Just be you. Those who get it, will love you for it. And those that don’t, let them leave. You will be better for it. And life will become better.

Have you ever had someone in your life mirror your actions or copy your behaviours to gain your attention? If so, how did the relationship turn out for you?

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What is toxic positivity?

In follow up to my rant on Sunday about those people who demand positivity from others – I had someone mention Toxic Positivity to me in a discussion on Twitter – so I thought I would write a separate post for that.

Who knew. They have terms for everything these days whether it’s toxic or not.

In spiritual practices such as Wicca, we all know that what you send out to the universe comes back at you. Some call this karma. Others believe in the Law of Attraction and how sending out positive vibes to the universe will bring positive things your way.

While that can be true, it’s not always the case. Sometimes in life, things just happen whether you manifested them or not. And while having a positive outlook on life, can result in you being a happier and energetic person, there are downsides to it too.

What is toxic positivity?

Reciting positive quotes about hard situations – obsessively, as if you are trying to convince yourself and others everything is okay.

Experiencing guilt for being sad and angry or experiencing confusing feelings or situations.

Hiding or masking painful emotions, putting up a false front or a shield that makes it seem like you are happier than you are.

Ignoring your problems, dismissing others’ problems, instead of working on them or yourself to help make things better.

The image above was saved from Dr. Bryan Pearlman’s website. Reading it makes me cringe. I have heard so many of these phrases from people in my life. “Just smile and plug through the day!” Or “Just get out there and meet new people!” Or “Just stay positive! I need to be around positive people only!”

We all experience painful emotions from time to time. Some people are better at hiding or masking their emotions from friends or loved ones. For me, I’m a writer. It’s my main form of communication to my networks online. It’s how I share my learnings and experiences. It’s therapeutic for me. And I’m working on myself, doing shadow work, healing, and working hard so that I can be a better person for those people in my life who need me.

I’m also an emotional being. Someone recently said to me, “You’re a walking emotion, how did he not know that about you?” Which is true.

Anyone who has followed my writings for any amount of time, knows that I’m not afraid to share my emotions and put them out there. So, if you get in a relationship with me, you shouldn’t be surprised that yes, I’ll be writing about it from time to time. Especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed or confused. Though I’ll keep private details – private.

It’s like the guys that date Taylor Swift and then are surprised she mentions them in her songs. Duh. That’s what writers and artists do. I’ve even modelled fictional book characters around my ex boyfriends. It’s therapeutic.

“Good vibes only!”

When you tell people that you want “good vibes only”, it’s saying that you only want to hang around when it’s beneficial for you. It’s not being a good friend or partner.

What this tells me – is that you’re the type of person who will bail at the first sign of trouble.

We all face hardships in life. We may lose a job. Or get heartbroken when a relationship that meant a lot to us ends. Or we lose someone very dear to us to illness or an accident. Or just sometimes life gets to be to “too much” and emotions can become overwhelming.

We all handle our emotions differently too. Some people lack the ability to control their emotions. While others, are avoidant and will do whatever they can to shut others out. I’ve dated a few guys like this in my time. Relationships can be tough with those who avoid “serious feelings”.

How toxic positivity makes others feel

For me, I know I felt deep shame for sharing my emotions publicly which is ironic, since my journal writings were how I connected with many of them in the first place. People want to be seen and heard and have their emotions validated. Saying things like “happiness is a choice” – is a bit of a slap in the face to those who experience depression or other mental health issues.

The guilt we feel for not being the person they expect us to be is real. I know for me, during dark times, I tend to isolate and withdraw from friends. This is a trauma response or triggers. I need the time alone to sort through my feelings before I can my game back on. Sometimes it takes longer. The guilt is there for wanting the time alone.

This also prevents growth. If you are the type of person to avoid facing your emotions or learning from them, then you’ll never really grow. Life is about karmic lessons and learning from past experiences and mistakes. It shapes us into who we are meant to be. Toxic positivity is avoiding dealing with those feelings and emotions and situations that may seem difficult to face.

Facing those challenges head on, can be a daunting thing, but worth the work you put into it, in the end.

“Positive vibes only” can also be a sign of gaslighting. And as someone who broke free from a narcissistic abuser, I’m so done with this in my life.

It’s okay, to not be okay

Your feelings and emotions are yours to feel. Don’t let others judge you for that. If you’re feeling sad, angry, or whatever you happen to feel in that moment, your feelings are valid. You don’t need others to validate them, though it can help when you are seen and heard.

Something I’ve learned to do on really low days, is write in my private journal. Or here on this blog where few friends follow and I’m writing my thoughts out to mostly strangers.

You can manage your negative emotions, and keep some to yourself. But don’t feel guilty or shame for thinking them.

Focus instead, on others who have offered support. Read as much as you can and learn about developing healthier habits to incorporate into your daily routine – things like bullet journaling, meditation, making sure you get sleep, exercise and sunshine. These are all things you can do that helps to elevate your moods.

Learn to recognize toxic people and remove from your life. Even if it means cutting out people that you thought were your best friend at one point.

Do reach out for support when needed

I’m learning that friends shouldn’t be used as therapists. I’m learning that I’m not the type of friend who you want to chat with on a daily basis. I’m also the type of friend that won’t sugar coat things and will give honest and real advice.

While I have a few close friends I can turn to for advice, if you’re struggling with a current situation or problem – get support from a licensed therapist or coach. Find someone you can trust who isn’t connected to you personally.

Write daily. I often write here or my private journal. I’m getting back into fiction writing to help with trauma dumping and letting go of things.

Find creative outlets to pour your emotions or anger into.

Get out there. Meet new friends. Find people who are similar to you and understand what you’re going through.

And seriously, just forget those people who say things like “happiness is a choice!” or “failure isn’t an option!” or whatever. These are outdated terms and are now considered gaslighting or toxic.

Do you have people like this in your life? How have you responded to them? Let me know in the comments.

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How to disarm the narcissist in your life

Do you have a narcissist in your life that is causing you emotional pain? First of all, know that you aren’t alone. Narcs are often wolves in disguise and their tactics are so subtle, that you don’t realize how harmful they are until it’s too late to do anything about.

I’ve recently gone no contact with the narc in my life and honestly, it’s the most liberating feeling in the world. I feel lighter. I’m sleeping again. And with time, I’ll be able to move forward and onto healthier relationships again. That’s the goal with the healing, at least for me at this time.

First of all – let’s cover what a narcissist is. You may already know this if you’re on the internet doing research. And yes! That’s part of healing too. Arm yourself with information.

Narcissistic signs and red flags

Love-bombing in early stages of communication. This may be declaring that you are like no one else they have met. A rare unicorn. You make them feel things they have never felt before. This is to hook and reel you in – and trust me, it works. It helps to form the trauma bond.

Often are manipulative and controlling to the point you feel as though you are an emotional slave to them. They may try to isolate you from your support groups. They may want to know everything you are up to. And they may stalk your social media accounts – this is what my ex did. At first, I thought it was because he was invested or being protective. Until it wasn’t.

They believe they are superior to others and that rules or boundaries to not apply to them. They will make everything about themselves.

They will never apologize for their mistakes. Or if they do, they will keep making the same mistakes and hurting you again, then finding some way to blame it on you.

I could go on — but I’ll use a separate post for that.

Here are things you must do, when you’ve severed ties or ended a relationship with a narcissist. It won’t be easy. The longer the relationships are, the harder it will be to let go of. But these are necessary steps to help you move on.

This list isn’t complete by any means, but they are things I’ve done personally to help with my healing.

Go no contact

Going no contact is difficult especially when there is a trauma bond or feelings there for the other person. Trust me, I know. I lived with the abuse for nine months, even after the breakup, I thought we could be friends.

To go fully no contact, you’ll need to do a few things:

Block them on social media – that means, don’t look them up to see their new activity. Seeing them move on with their life, will just make you miserable.

Unless you share a child or other responsibilities with the person, block them all together on mobile devices, or phones. Some abusers will use fake numbers to get in touch with you – just keep blocking their new numbers.

If you can’t block the person, then mute notifications so that you won’t see them. That said, it’s better to fully block them out of your life if you can.

One thing a narcissist hates, is being ignored. They will do what they can to get your attention. Don’t give them that satisfication.

Stop beating yourself up

This was in no way your fault. If anything, you are likely a good person with a big heart that attracts negative people. It happens all the time, especially to empaths who have a large social presence online.

Darkness to light. Dark energies are attracted to light energies and their main goals are to feed off your energy, until they almost break you. Break you down to a point that you will be easy to control and manipulate.

Know this wasn’t your fault. Once you recognize that you are in an abusive situation, that’s the start to a new life for you. If needed, ask for help to get out of the relationship. You don’t have to do it alone.

Get yourself in a good mental and emotional place

This is crucial, and I say this as someone who is coming out of a six week depression that nearly ended my life. Luckily, I managed to keep going. I was determined to stay strong and not let him win.

This may mean practicing mindfulness, or daily acts of gratitude. Or it may mean spending time with your friends and going out and enjoying life. Reconnect with nature. Go for walks. Take a camera and go capture the natural beauty. Go on a trip. Go visit some long distance friends.

It’s important to socialize and maintain those relationships. I’ve found that during your low points, you really find out fast who your friends are. Those who leave you while at your lowest, aren’t friends at all.

Take a hard look at the narcissist’s behavior

You’ll find yourself months after the relationship sitting up in bed one night and going, “Oh! That isn’t right. That makes sense now.” when you realize what was going on in the relationship.

Once you see the pattern of abuse, you can’t unsee it. Once you learn their wicked ways, it will be easier to spot in new relationships or partnerships. And that person will never look the same to you as did once you realize how toxic they were.

A narcissist loves to gaslight their partners. They do this by invalidating your feelings or making you think that you’re going crazy. They’ll deny accusations or straight out lie to you. They will deflect and change the subject or pick fights when you try and talk to them about your feelings. They will do whatever they can to control the situation.

The more you learn to recognize the toxic behavior, the easier it will be to set boundaries and match up with healthier partners who value your worth.

Breaking through the fear and anxiety

Narcissist’s feed off of fear and anxiety. They want to keep you feeling low and confused. They may resort to sleep deprivation tactics. This is something I faced and a lightbulb moment went off in my head after the relationship ended. I understood why he’d message me at 2 or 3 in the morning and ask me to stay up and wait for him to get home. Then texts would never come in.

This was his way of keeping me exhausted so that I wouldn’t have the energy to fight him. And for months – and I mean months – it worked. I’m still catching up on sleep now and feeling the physical effects this had on me.

Learn to stand your ground. Set your boundaries. Be firm. If they do not respect those boundaries – then they do not respect you.

Let go of the fear they have caused for so long, it will help. You need to be strong to move on from this.

Get support – you’ll need it

Join a support group or hire a therapist who is trained with trauma bonds and emotional recovery. You’ll need help from friends and family. Think of narcissists like psychological warfare or cancer.

You will go through the motions. At first, you’ll miss the person so much you’ll want to reach out daily to them. Trust me, when I say, this only makes it worse for you.

You may feel periods of extreme sadness, or you may find you want to sleep all the time. This is especially true if your partner has caused sleep deprivation. This can happen by picking fights when you are trying to sleep, or creating noise during your sleeping hours.

You may feel anger at times. Find a healthy outlet. For me, I turn to artwork, music and other creative outlets. Working with my hands keeps me busy. Reading. Writing – especially in journals or here on the blog definitely helps to keep me motivated.

Rely on your friends. Support groups can help but do be mindful of the people you accept into your circle. And do be wary of false friends who only stick around during the happier times in your life. And do be careful — choose to write in a private journal rather than a shared journal that your mutual friends can read. This will only make things worse. Share only what you need to. Keep the rest private or to conversations with a professional counselor.

Thank you for reading – what resonated with you most?

I think I’ll stop there. This post is already long and I feel I could break it up into a series of posts about toxic behaviors.

Yes, it’s possible to be a victim of emotional abuse even in long distance relationships. It’s possible to be abused without even realized that you are being abused. Sometimes the abuse is so subtle, you don’t realize it until later. This is why I’m sharing these posts about my experiences. So, that I can help others recognize what isn’t okay and to let them know they aren’t alone.

Thank you for sticking with this blog through it’s many changes, and through my many stages of grief and letting go. It’s been a year full of ups and downs. And I’m working hard on coming back up from a hard fall.

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If you want to know more – please consider following my blog for regular updates.

Note: I am NOT a professional therapist or councilor. I’m just someone who has been through some abuse from a survivor’s perspective.

How to know if you’re being “gaslighted”

Gaslighting. We’ve all heard this term mentioned in social media – but what is it exactly? There are so many new terms to learn that it can be hard to keep them all straight. I admit, being the age I am, I had to look this one up before writing about it. But after seeing multiple political posts online today about politicians “gaslighting” the public – I figured that I should do some more research on the subject.

According to one of my favorite resources, Urban Dictionary, gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse. It’s also referred to as ambient abuse – where information is purposely falsified to the victim. The purpose of this is to make the victim doubt their own memory.

There is however a more clinical definition of gaslighting.

🅱️ 25+ Best Memes About Abuse Gaslighting | Abuse Gaslighting Memes

What are some examples of gaslighting?

There are many examples of gaslighting that can occur in your daily life. Some key signs to watch out for are: the feeling of being emotionally manipulated, being made to feel like you’re going crazy, being signalled out of a group of people to pick on you over your worst fears, or receiving constant negative feedback or criticism. These are also signs of an emotionally abusive relationship that can leave you feeling depressed.

Dating an abuser

My ex Trigger, I’ve written about him before, was a professional gaslighter. I knew what he was doing was wrong but I had no idea what it meant at the time. I just accepted as part of who he was.

Him: “I lost my phone. I couldn’t call you for days.”

Me: “You lost your phone again? What’s this, the third time?”

Him: “I can’t help it. I went pig hunting. And it fell out of my pocket.

Me: “The first or second time I can believe, but a third time, really? How do you expect me to believe this?”

Him: “It’s not my fault I lost my phone. You are the one who wants regular contact.”

The man lost his phone on a regular basis. It became his go to excuse for not calling me for weeks at a time. He either lost his phone or forgot it at home. He was a business owner, I found this hard to believe. He was addicted to that thing.

Dating a narcissist

James, the Mr. Big in my life, was also notorious for gaslighting. Going back to the argument we had about what we were to each other back in 2011:

Him: “What do you want from me? I’m at best a part-time lover. We’re friends.”

Me: “I don’t sleep with friends. I don’t have lovers. There’s exactly one person I sleep with. You.”

Him: “I don’t believe in friendship with rules. You expect too much of me.”

Me: “Asking you to stick with plans and actually call me is expecting too much?”

Him: “We’re friends. What more do you want from me? This is all your fault anyway.”

Conversations like this just messed with my head and my heart. From one day to the next, I never knew what I was to James. When we were together in person – he was a totally different person. He made promises and talked about planning trips together. He told me he loved me. But then when we talked in between seeing each other – he was cold and distant. Like a totally different person. Everything was my fault.

The one thing about James I couldn’t put my finger on – I knew he had some feelings for me but he was using me at the same time. I couldn’t figure out why. Or what his end game was. Was it the manipulation he enjoyed? Was he in it just for the sex? But that couldn’t be it – because we didn’t always have sex when we were together. It’s a question that still bothers me today.

Gaslighting in the workplace

I’ve experienced gaslighting in the workplace too. Whether it’s constant complaints about your performance or negative gossip – these can all have a serious impact on your overall health. And as I learned recently, the constant badgering and harassment can leave you feeling burned out, or can even cripple your confidence.

I worked for an engineering firm many years ago for a few months. The economy was in the “shitter” and there weren’t many jobs available. I had applied for a job of an office manager which I was qualified for but was offered the job as a reception instead. I took it because the pay was good. It turns out that I was replacing the newly hired office manager who had worked as the receptionist for a few years.

From very early on, “Jenny” had a problem with me. I think she saw that I was a good worker- perhaps even better than she was. She complained that I didn’t do anything at all during the day. Which was partly true – it was because she never gave me work to do. I sat there waiting for the phone to ring most days.

I had to take some time off for funerals – two family members died in one week. When I came back to work, I was pretty emotional. She gave me a hug and acted all sweet but things fell apart quickly then.

“You look like you’ve been crying all night” she said. I told her well yeah, I just lost two family members in like five days. “I knew it,” she said and walked away.

Like, wtf? Who does that?

I remember walking in one morning and sat down at the desk.

“You forgot to unload the dishwasher last night,” she said and started to walk away. She came back, “Oh, and good morning.”

Or… “Don’t you see how dirty the wall is here?” she wipes it with a rag. “Why didn’t you clean it?”

Me: “Because they have cleaners for that — if it’s something I should be doing, then it should be in my job description.”

She walked away in a huff. It was after that exchange that she started making up reasons why I sucked at my job.

There was one order that I was to place for $1500 for printing. I tried the best I could do for the order, but the manager changed his mind SO MANY times. His order was scribbled all over and I did my best to make sense of it.

And who got blamed for the wrong order? It was me. I was then put on probation because “I didn’t do my job correctly.”

This is the very definition of gaslighting. I can’t go into details of what happened after that as I signed a “non disclosure” document prohibiting me from naming the company. But… let’s just say, it worked out in my favour. I got a little extra money out of the deal, quit – and went back to government contracting.

Sometimes you just have to get out of a bad “relationship” – otherwise the constant negative nitpicking will cripple you.

How to stop gaslighting?

Stopping someone from gaslighting you is a tricky thing to do. You can’t change how a person is, but you can change how you react to them.

What I’ve found is that these people are looking for a reaction. Their main purpose is to inflict pain on you. Or to blame you for their misgivings.


When it comes to relationships, you can set boundaries. I learned this after splitting up from James for the last time. I learned to be vocal about my needs without being clingy. I learned that we weren’t compatible and that’s okay too.

Work Place Relationships

When it comes to work relationships – the best thing to do is get everything in writing. Document everything. Keep track of emails. If you have a verbal conversation with someone, write up a summary email of the details, and send it to that person with a cc to your supervisor if necessary. If you’re asked to do something that isn’t in your scope of work – get it in writing.

Family Relationships

Yes, family can gaslight too. I have one relative who often makes me feel guilty for not wanting to attend social gatherings. Parties just aren’t my thing. I’ve chosen to ignore these little remarks. How? I just stop responding to the conversation. Eventually, the person will learn to correct their behaviour – or at the very least, you get a break from toxic relationship.

Have you been gaslighted before at work? If so, let me know in the comments.

To learn more on gaslighting, here’s a good youtube video from Psych2Go.

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Social media detoxing – all you need is love

Tonight while binge watching season two of Sex and the City, I hopped onto Facebook to see what was happening. Someone from my old office made the announcement that she was leaving the site to focus on her family. And while the thought of not seeing her adorable baby photos, I have to admit – I totally understand the decision. I sent her a private message and wished her well – encouraging her to continue posting baby photos on Instagram.

Some of my favorite people in the world don’t use social media at all. Like Keanu Reeves. It may be why I like him so much. There’s a bit of a mystery to him.

People ask me all the time how I can stand to be on Facebook with all the politics and the drama as of late. To be completely honest, the answer is simple. I just ignore it. It’s that easy.

The only reason I still use Facebook is to keep in touch with friends and family that I don’t see often in person. Like my cousins in Denmark and older friends who are afraid to go out while the beer bug is still happening around the globe.

I have a love-loathe-hate relationship with Facebook. I love it for the marketplace as I often check to see what kind of home rentals are on the market. I also picked up my last piano from there. But every third post is an advertisement of something I was thinking of buying and it feels so intrusive.

When it comes to Facebook games and apps – I just don’t use them. And as for anyone posting extreme political views (as in overly aggressive, threatening or hate remarks) – I just unfriend them or unfollow them and limit my interaction with them.

There are those friends that you can have a serious and intellectual discussion with while respecting each other’s viewpoints. And then there are those who are toxic influences who want nothing more than to tell you that you are a horrible and bigoted person for your beliefs.

Like recently someone asked me if I had canceled my Netflix account yet and I said… to their dismay: Hell no. Why would I? This time next week the cancel culture will forget why they even canceled their accounts and will move onto something else.

Social Media Detox

When I left my job to go on health leave, I removed all of my colleagues from my friend’s list and took a long break from posting or interacting with people. It felt good. It helped me heal from the anxiety from being ill, and it kind of served as a proverbial “detoxing” of my life.

I removed all those people who no longer served a purpose in my life. Anyone who caused unnecessary stress or drama – instantly removed. And it was a HUGE relief.

Over time, I slowly started adding those people I could trust and my friend Jo was one of them. The list of trusted colleagues is very small. But I can openly discuss this now — but that’s a story for another day. I’m “in between jobs” at the moment.

When it comes to social media, I think we all spend a little too much time online. If it weren’t for this blog and my music, I probably wouldn’t use social media as much as I do. Twitter is a disgusting and vile place to be sometimes with today’s cancel culture. But at the same time, I’ve met some pretty awesome local artists that I have a lot in common with. It’s fun to share stories of our city and experiences. I also get a lot of my news from Twitter.

Instagram is a place where I share pictures of food and the occasional selfie. Those are rare these days as there’s nothing exciting going on at home. I use Instagram mainly to stalk my favorite musicians and celebrities. I unfollow anyone who is overly political or that I don’t see eye to eye with. Why? It’s just less drama.

Plus…. I love these videos and collaborations with Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds. Who wouldn’t? Both are absolute dreamboats.

Talk about things you love

Even when it comes to using sites like Reddit – I’ve learned to avoid politically charged discussions, sticking to my favorite television show subs like Sex and the City or Xfiles. I love giving advice to new cooks and discussing food, music and all the fun things in life.

And when it comes to WordPress, I’m a terrible reader. I mostly just stalk the website to see what my stats are for the day and compare to other days to see if I need to change up my posting schedule. Which I do often. Did you know Mondays are my most popular days? Well, you do know that now!

Youtube. What can I say about youtube. I love this site for learning new cooking skills, recipes and even technical stuff. I have a few channels I watch daily about celebrity or Hollywood gossip like the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard lawsuits.

Youtube is one of those places where you can easily get lost down the rabbit hole. You start off watching a vegetable casserole cooking video and five hours later find yourself watching an old interview with Joe Rogan and Elon Musk. Or you stumble across Ryan’s youtube channel and see him insulting Josh Brolin.

Don’t argue with the trolls – they want you to react.

Do I have a point with this post? I don’t know. Maybe I’m just rambling and sending thoughts out to the universe again.

I think people get too personal and too involved when it comes to politically charged discussions on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Even I’m at fault for letting trolls get the better of me from time to time.

It’s good every now and then to just remove yourself from the toxic environment. Take a break. Unfollow those who no longer serve a purpose in your life. Are you getting into daily arguments with someone you haven’t seen in twenty years and have no interest in meeting for coffee? Then let it go! Move on. Trust me. There are better things you can do be doing with your time.

Every now and then I go through my friend’s list and “purge” them. My Facebook friend’s list is at a whopping 120 friends. Instagram is even less at 102 friends. Youtube is at 60 on my music channel.

For me, it’s not a popularity contest. I don’t need thousands of friends online. I don’t need to spend my time arguing with people I’m never going to meet. And I don’t need to get into heated debates about something I have absolutely no control over like politics or taxes.

Moving On – Letting Go

What I will continue to do – is gush over adorable baby photos. Share some of my best creations in the kitchen and on the piano. And maybe leave the odd comment like “way to go” or “that’s awesome” to spread some positive vibes out into the universe.

Because at the end of the day – isn’t that what we all could use a little more of? A little love? A little positive reinforcement? A little encouragement? A little note saying, “hey, I know we haven’t seen each other in a while, but I’m thinking of you,” just to let that person know they mean something to you.

So, next time you find yourself arguing with a random person on the internet – take a step back. Take a break. Don’t let the internet or social media control your life. You’re better than that.

And if you need even more positive encouragement in this messed up world. Here’s a message from The Beatles.

If you enjoyed this little rant, then sign up for more! I rant about all kinds of things from love, relationships, sex, food and more!

Never make someone a priority, when you are just an option.

After I wrote my piece this morning on emotional abuse, I got thinking about my relationship with James. It was an on and off relationship that went on for many years. Too many years. 19 years to be exact.

Now first off – we didn’t date all that time. We met when I was 20 and dated casually for a couple of months. But he worked in the oil patch and was out of town a lot. He would disappear sometimes without communication – yes I know. I sure know how to pick these guys, right? Like a moth to a flame, someone said to me recently. I’m working on this.

While dating James, I met Cory who I connected with quickly. Cory was a nice guy, lived at home – but he was dependable and we communicated daily. It was a nice change.

I knew I had to make a decision on what guy I wanted to stick with – and wound up seeing both guys on the same day!

James and I went for a quick lunch date before he dropped me off at work. And Cory stopped by MOMENTS later to say hi. I mean, the guys just barely missed each other.

My supervisor at the time who turned into a good friend, because we worked the late shifts together – he laughed his ass off, literally – when Cory walked in the door. He shook his head and went into the cooler and told me later on….

“You need to make a decision”

And so. I picked Cory. And we dated for three years. It was at a time in my life that I wanted to settle down – but he wasn’t ready.

In the third year of our relationship, James contacted me again and wanted to hang out. He always seemed to know when I was emotionally unstable. It’s like he had radar.

We hooked up after Cory and I broke up. Dated for a couple of more months. Then he disappeared. And this was a repitive pattern for many years.

I dated other people when he disappeared. But I always felt like I loved him and he was the one I was meant to be with. I was just “waiting for him to grow up” which he never did.

We became really close in 2012 for about six months. Probably the closest we had ever come to an actual relationship. He was over on the weekends. We had dinners together. We even talked about a hiking trip.

But that’s all it ever was – talk. He would bail last minute every damn time we had plans. I finally caught him later in 2012 when he was texting me from Hawaii.

I did a search for his name – this is around the time Instagram became popular. I found out that yes he was in Hawaii – and he wasn’t alone – he didn’t need hugs – he was traveling with his GIRLFRIEND.

Who would become his wife a few years later. And mother of his child. Something he swore to me for 19 years of our friendship – something he didn’t want. He swore he would never marry and he never wanted kids.

But what he was really saying – was that he didn’t want to me marry ME. It was me. He was never serious about me like I was about him. And that destroyed me for a while.

At least until I reconnected with Trigger – whom I dated off an on for four years.

I’m still thinking of writing a book about this romance. If you can call it that. I think he loved me in his way. But James was a pathological liar and serial cheater. And it took me a long time to accept that I would be nothing more than his “side chick.”

And so, today – I’m going to share some warning signs that I ignored so I can spare you some grief I put myself through. I knew deep down what was going on – but I refused to see it.

See, the one thing about James that confused was he would often spend the night when he came to see me. When most guys are looking for a “side piece” (I hate that term, for the record) — they will text or call you and ask to hook up late at night.

Signs that you are just a “side piece”

In my experience, like with Trigger, he would often stop by after his shop closed. He would stay for a couple of hours and then leave. I always suspected he had someone waiting for him – but I never wanted to admit it. I’m stupid when it comes to men. It’s partly why I’m single now.

With James, he would stay overnight – make plans with me for the following day. We’d have breakfast and coffee together in the morning. He’d check his phone – and then he’d find some excuse to bail on me.

I wouldn’t hear from him for a couple of weeks. This was a vicious cycle.

So, if a guy comes to visit you late at night and bails the next day – or leaves right after sex – there’s a good chance he’s rushing home to someone else.

He’s protective of his phone

James almost never took his cell phone out when we were together. This is why it was so hard for me to believe that I was just his side piece. When we were together – we were together. We talked. Watched movies. Cuddled. And then spent the night together.

He was caring. Kind. And attentive. And let’s face it – the sex was good too. I mean, there’s a reason I kept going back to him.

Trigger on the other hand – was very protective of his phone. He would leave the room to respond to texts. He almost never took calls in the same room. And he never let me see his phone.

That should have been a huge red flag and it was. I just – ignored it like all the other red flags.

Because again. Love makes me do stupid things.

Dropped Conversations

James was terrible for this. We’d have a nice conversation via texting and I’d ask him a serious question. And then boom. Radio silence. It seemed like every time I asked him a question or if the conversation got intense, he’d drop the conversation.

I once outright asked him if he had someone with him which he denied. We got into a huge argument one day while I was at work when he finally responded to me.

He said he didn’t think that he should have to maintain regular contact with me to “be my friend”. I told him I didn’t sleep with friends – I slept with partners. And if he wasn’t my partner – then what the hell was he?

He told me he “at best a part-time lover”.

And that’s when it hit me – I would never be more to him than just someone he could call when he wanted “companionship”.

You never meet his family or friends

This one bothered me with James. When we dated early on – when I was 18-19, I met his parents. He was renting the basement from them and I met his mom first, then his dad.

I invited James to parties, birthday parties – family events – but he never showed an interest. He never showed an interest in my birthdays at all. Or Christmas. He always seemed to disappear around the holidays too.

I never met a single friend of his. Not one. I did however, meet someone who knew him. Several people actually – it’s a small world in Edmonton.

And they all confirmed what I was suspected – James had three or four women on the go most of the time.

I don’t regret my relationships with James or Trigger. They were the two major loves of my life. At least, I had convinced myself I was in love with them. They both said they loved me.

Our relationships were not conventional. I’ve never been the marrying kind. I can’t even live with people – I need my space. But these two guys – I was head over heels in love with them.

Love blinded me. I felt so stupid in the end for having let the relationships go on as long as they did. And this is a big part of why I’m single now. I don’t trust my judgment when it comes to dating and trusting people.

But I still say — I’m a much healthier and happier person now. I’m getting my life back into place. I have plans and goals. I know where I want to be in the future. And I know what I want out of relationships and friendships. Or even just companionship.

I know now – what warning signs to look for. And I am able to now finally – speak my mind without picking a fight. I can communicate without sending angry texts or emails. I can set boundaries and expectations and follow up with what’s expected of me.

I know when the timing is right – love will find me again.

But never again. Will I allow myself to be the “side piece.” Because I deserve better than that. Everyone does.

So ladies, and guys too – don’t let yourself be a side piece. I’ll leave you with this quote that stuck with me:

And on that note, I’m going to have a rum and coke and order in some pizza.

Never make someone a priority when you are just an option for them.

Thanks for reading.

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How to recognize emotional abuse

Emotional abuse comes in many forms and isn’t always easy to recognize. Sometimes abuse is subtle while in other cases, emotional abuse can leave lasting scars that never fully heal. I speak here, from personal experience and I am going to share some warning signs to look out for.

Unfortunately, I’ve been in my fair share of abusive relationships. Not just emotional abuse, but physically and verbally abusive as well. I’ve learned over the years what are some major red flags early in a relationship.

But emotional abuse is a harder beast to recognize. Sometimes the abuse is so subtle, you don’t even realize it’s happened – until it’s too late. By this point, you’re invested in the relationship.

The worst part of it? The abuser will use tactics to keep you isolated from your support group. And worse – they will at some point, try to blame everything on you – so you’re constantly apologizing for something that isn’t your fault at all.

It’s messed up, isn’t it? And maybe I can’t word this so eloquently as I’d like to, but here are a few warning signals to look out for early on in relationships.


A classic tactic by emotional abusers is to try and isolate their partners. In early stages of the relationship, they will spend as much time with you, getting to know you and wanting to talk to you all the time. It may seem like they are enthralled by you – and they very well may be.

But this is often a tactic abusers use to isolate their victims. In some cases, the victim won’t even realize it until they’re totally cut off from their friends and family.

Some things I’ve heard from former partners:

  • “I don’t want you to see that person, I don’t like how they treat you.”
  • “I want to spend all free time with you, is that so wrong?”

Keeping you isolated from your loved ones is a sign of emotional abuse. This may lead to physical abuse and makes it easier to hide. The abuser also knows that without your support group around, they can get away with more devious behaviour.

Emotional Neglect

My ex, Trigger, used to ignore me for weeks on end. I realized later, that this was extremely unhealthy and it was a form of emotional abuse. He would ignore me – I’d get upset over it. He’d come over and apologize and blame his PTSD. Things would get better for a month, and then he’d go right back to ignoring me. This went on for nearly FOUR years. I won’t even count the last year as a relationship. It really wasn’t – in hindsight.

Some abusers will outright punish their victims by purposefully ignoring them. This is especially terrible when living together. Ignoring someone as punishment after a fight is not only emotionally abusive but it’s also highly manipulative.

In many cases, the victim will apologize for something they didn’t even do or weren’t at fault for – until the abuser speaks to them again.

Shutting someone out for weeks at a time while supposedly in a loving relationship – it’s just so wrong. While I didn’t expect daily contact from my ex – it wasn’t in our arrangement – being ignored for weeks on end without an explanation caused me a lot of pain and I acted out because of it.

Humiliation and bullying

Humiliation is a common tactic used by bullies to intimidate their partners. Name-calling, shaming, derogatory pet-names or character assignations are all examples of how a person can humiliate you.

There was someone in my family who loved doing this to me at every family dinner. When I finally called her out for it, I remember hearing other family members say, “Oh, that’s just the way she is.”

Every time I opened my mouth up at the dinner table, any ideas or suggestions I brought forward were met with “you’re ridiculous” or “that’s not right” or “you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

She loved to publicly embarrass me and tell humiliating stories that happened twenty years ago – she still brings them up every now and then.

I remember one time she tried to tell me I didn’t know what a migraine was – after having been diagnosed with chronic migraines. That’s “just how she was”.

If I left the dinner table or stormed out of the room, I was labelled as childish and in the end – she won. I gave her exactly what she wanted.

Humiliation Tactics

Humiliation can be subtle – things like eye-rolling, smirking, laughing or even exchanging a glance with someone else can also be signs that someone is making fun of you.

Dismissiveness – so many times while speaking up at family dinner parties, I was met with dismissive remarks.

“I remember that – it happened when I was living in the basement. I loved living in the basement. It was like having my own apartment as a kid.” – I said at one family dinner.

“You never lived in the basement,” she said to me.

“Uh, yes I did. In elementary school. For like a year,” I reminded her.

Everyone else at the table nodded and she just rolled her eyes at me.

“I hate the organ music. Why can’t you just play the piano more often? The hymns are so awful,” she would say.

“You don’t have to come to church, you could just, you know, stay home,” I would reply back – and that often shut her up.

If I was in a good mood, she’d often shut it down by saying something like “you look fat in that” or “you shouldn’t wear that colour, it makes you look ugly”.

I know there’s a lot of more that I’m missing – but I think I’ve blocked out a lot of the things she has said to me over the years. I hardly see her now outside of Christmas dinners.

And the family wonders why I don’t want to spend much time with them.

Recognizing emotional abuse and standing up for yourself

As time went on, I learned to accept these people for who they are and that they will never change. I also learned to stick up for myself. And I learned that I didn’t have to call these kinds of people family. Even though we were related – I didn’t need to see them outside of family gatherings. And even then – I could keep attendance to a minimum. Which I have – happily – for quite some time now. I turn down invitations to parties, and even weddings – mostly – because I don’t want to be around these people who think so little of me.

Life is too short. I’d rather be with people who respect me for who I am – and not make a mockery of me behind my back.

I remember my brother in law telling me on the way home, “You should hear what they say behind your back.” And I should have asked for clarification on who was saying these things. I’m guessing it was my immediate family – some of them anyway.

We’ve never seen eye to eye. They look down on me because I’m not married and don’t have a lot of money. They also make fun of me because of my weight. It’s why I very rarely see them on a social level. Why would I constantly subject myself to that?

Just because you’re related to someone – doesn’t mean you have to like them. Or even spend time with them. Surround yourself with people who love you for who you are. Not those who are taking advantage of you.

I think I’m going to stop there because I’m getting worked up thinking about past experiences. I’m in a healthier place in my life now. I know what’s right and what’s wrong. I know that I can’t change who people are but I can change how I react to them.

I also know what signs to look out for in relationships. And I also know that even family members can be toxic. It’s why I write this blog under “Wendy” only – because I don’t even want them to read these thoughts here. I know there will be backlash.

If you have someone in your life who is constantly putting you down, they dismiss everything you have to say, they yell at you for no reason or they thrive off making you feel bad —

Then cut your losses. Say your goodbyes. Remove yourself from that person. Even if they’re family.

Because life is just too short to even worth trying to be a people pleaser. The issue isn’t you at all. It’s them.

Learn to stand up for yourself and be your own advocate.

But most of all, know that you are worth so much more than these abusers (and assholes) can give you.

Anxieties and letting go

It’s a double posting kind of day. Honestly, the days are so long with being off work that I get lost in my own head a bit too much. The one way to get out of my head, is to write everything down. Which is esentially – why I started this blog last spring.

The blog kind of grew from there as I started writing about different topics and subjects. I went through a phase where I couldn’t get enough of researching various topics and writing about them. Then I kind of got bored with that and went back to music.

This is how my brain works. I can’t focus on one task for too long. I get bored easily. I was never diagnosed with ADHD – when we were kids, it wasn’t a thing. Some people in my family didn’t believe in mental illnesses. And yet here I am, working on my anxiety issues and actually taking part in therapy and speaking openly about it.

I’ve always been a highly anxious person. School would stress me out. Tests. Social functions. Being around people. Later in life – my stress became about work. And then of course, men and relationships.

My ex Trigger, I haven’t talked about him in a while. He’s the main reason I’m still single to this day. He used to tell me that I “over-think everything and it exhausted him.” Yeah, he actually said things like that.

Looking back now, I know a lot of what he said was emotionally abusive – I just wanted to be with him so badly because I thought we were “in love” that I ignored the warning signs and red flags.

My brother in law recently said to me that I should “find a Bill Gates guy, a rich guy with a lot of money and marry him.” I laughed at him and said those type of guys don’t exist. Or they want a young and beautiful blonde by their side. I am neither of those things. My gray hairs are definitely coming through thanks to COVID and lack of salons.

I’ve been single now for FIVE years by my choice. My relationship with Trigger was so toxic that it has taken that long for me to “get over it”. But I think when you love someone, you never really “get over” them. You just learn to let go, and move on. I’ve forgiven him. I’ve forgiven myself. And I think, I’m ready to move on.

But I still have work to do. I still have healing to do for myself. While I’m feeling a lot better these days – I still want to get in better shape so I can go back to doing all the things I loved to do. Things like hiking. Travel Photography. I’m working on building strength in my knees so I can do long walks again.

Travel gets lonely after a while as a single person. It’d be nice to have someone just to go on weekend vacations or a road trip with – just to get out of the city. As a non driver, it’s one thing I really miss.

I’ve been single for so long now – that I think I have forgotten how to be with someone – or even let someone in.

How much of yourself do you give to a person early on? That whole “getting to know” someone phase can be fun – but really – how much of your past are you willing to share? How much of “you” do you let them see?

I guess these are things I still struggle with. I know I’m an awesome person. I can be a good friend. I have a lot of interests. I’m pretty intelligent and can carry on conversations. I have plenty of great experiences I can talk about.

But because of past emotional abuse – some words still haunt me to this day. “You overthink everything, you’re exhausting” – is one of them. “You stress too much about life in general” or my personal favorite when my ex Kevin broke up with me after one of the worst years of my life.

“You stopped being fun.”

Yeah. Some guy actually said that to me.

Those things – those words – they stay with you. And they even haunt you, no matter how much you try and suppress them or forget them.

But there’s something lacking in my life. Something I’m missing. I don’t necessarily need a relationship to complete my life. I’m not even sure that I want a relationship. But I think what I miss most is that companionship. That closeness you share with someone. Talking on a regular basis. Getting together for drinks. Or to watch a movie.

Or just take a day and drive out to the badlands and explore with cameras – because that is something I’ve wanted to do for years.

Even going to Denmark is a dream. To see my family. To see my dad’s home country. To experience my culture. But it’s all better when you have someone to share those experiences with.

I guess… even despite having a good group of friends and family that I can rely on. And even having an amazing therapist who is supportive of whatever I need to return to work —

I feel like something is missing. Something is lacking.Maybe it’s connection.

But why is it — -the things we want the most – also scare us the most?