Unfortunately, I seem to have extensive experience in the area of People Who Are Bad For You. These take all kinds of different forms: friends, lovers, acquaintances, coworkers, family members, etc etc. I will not reveal specific names or situations, out of a desire to protect privacy for myself and others, but I can give a summary of the subject.
This gets back to the the idea of energy and that everyone has a kind of personal energy to them. Sometimes you don’t get along with a person from the moment you meet them, and you aren’t sure why. Sometimes a new person just feels icky to you. And sometimes you feel nothing at all. Yet other times, you meet someone new and you get along as if you’d been best friends your entire lives. These sorts of feelings are generally described as a “connection” or a “vibe”, both of which are fair descriptions. But those feelings are you naturally understanding how that other person’s energy interacts with your own, and whether that energy is compatible, not compatible, or just neutral (as in, there is neither a good response or a bad response, just a feeling of “eh, they’re OK”).
Everyone likes it when they get along with another person. Most people don’t care about the neutral response. But what do you do when the energy of a person you meet or a friend you’ve had for a while just feels bad or depressing to you? It’s a tougher call when the person is someone you’ve known for a while and is a friend. If it’s an acquaintance, it’s much easier to shrug them off and not interact with them again.
Now for the summary of the situation which I’m drawing this post from: I’ve had a friend for about two years now–we’ll call this person Katana–who I was friendly with and was a part of my circle of friends. I wasn’t very close to Katana, and we stayed on the level of “just friendly with each other” for a long while. It wasn’t until this past winter that things changed. Due to mixed amounts of boredom and lack of other social interaction, Katana and I ended up spending a lot of time together. This continued throughout the spring and into this summer. However, it wasn’t until Katana and I had gotten into multiple arguments and at one point stopped speaking for two weeks that I realized something very important: in that two-week span in which I didn’t speak to Katana, I realized I was much happier. I hadn’t had to constantly defend my decisions or argue my opinions; I didn’t have any drama to deal with or listen to; and I stopped feeling so angry and upset, all of which were products of not having this person in my daily life. I realized that Katana was no longer healthy for me to be around because of those unhappy feelings, which just dragged me down and sapped my energy.
Am I accusing Katana of behaving this way deliberately, or of intentionally trying to get me down? No. I do believe that people can engage in behavior and energy manipulation in ways they are not fully aware of at the time. I also believe that, once this behavior is identified as being harmful, it is up to the person who realizes such to bring it to the other person’s attention. This is what I attempted to do. However, I can fairly say it did not go well, and resulted in many hurtful things being said, and ultimately resulted in the breaking of a friendship. I’m not sure Katana realizes it’s over–but it is. When someone tells me to give them a reason for why they should be bothered with me, that’s when I walk away and never look back. That’s my personal breaking point.
This is only one instance of my experience of People Who Are Bad For You, but the other experiences are along the same lines, more or less. For some reason, I seem to attract such people to me, whether they are in my family, my work, or my friends. Apparently the universe/gods/fate/whatever you want to call it is trying to teach me a lesson, and I hope that by now I’ve learned it. That is part of what I believe–that sometimes the universe hands you situations that are difficult, and trying, and even painful, but the point is to learn from the experience and grow. What have I learned? That I have a spine; that I do not need people in my life who behave in such a manner; and that I can walk away if need be. I’ve learned that when something feels wrong, then it usually is, and that I should listen to that instinct.
That was more personal than I tend to get on the blog, and I’m sorry if that upsets anyone, but I wanted to discuss this issue to bring up a point. People you care about can have some very negative effects on your happiness. The energy that we all naturally embody can have an effect on other people without us even being aware that it affects them. Sometimes, if these people are friends or coworkers, they won’t affect you so strongly and you can cut them out of your life if necessary. Sometimes, these people are family, and it is much harder to cut them out. Thus is the case for me with Stepmother and Grandmother–they drain me dry, but I can’t cut them out of my life without serious repercussions and much regret. All I can do is interact with them as little as possible.
The key point to all of this is to be aware of yourself. Be aware of how you feel around others. Be aware of how other people seems to feel around you. I am NOT saying that all of the negative emotions in the human emotion spectrum (such as anger, depression, sadness, etc) are the product or fault of other people. That is absolutely not true, and I do not want anyone to think I am saying that if you feel depressed it’s because your friend’s negative energy is causing it. That’s not what I’m saying at all, and BEFORE anyone considers that a negative emotion is because of other peoples’ energy, I strongly suggest considering all medical and mundane possibilities for the emotion first.
I am advocating that you be aware of yourself and of other people. If a person is making you seriously unhappy and/or abusing you (however covert or overt that abuse may be–mental abuse, verbal abuse, outright manipulation, and degradation apply), and that person refuses to listen to your concerns, it may be that you have to cut them out in order to solve the problem. I do think, however, that this is a last resort, and is one I use sparingly. Twice now I have used it–and only twice, and only after I had explored all other alternatives or reached my absolute breaking point. For the others, I let them fade out of my life and avoid interaction as much as possible, which is usually only once or twice a year if I can help it. That’s something I can live with.