I tweeted earlier this week about how it was funny we tend to keep toxic people around because we’re familiar with them. I think that there’s so much to be said about the familiar and how much it influences our daily lives. I think that there are people we keep around solely because we know what to expect from them. We know that they will be unreliable, late, and unapologetic and we plan accordingly. Personally, I’m the kind of person who will put up with a lot. However, when I’m done dealing with it–after a few days or even a few years, it’s over. I do enough ensure that I’ve done what I could do and after that I walk away without looking back. There are people who stay around because they’re harmless once you realize that you can’t believe anything they say or count on them. Knowing this takes away the annoyance and frustration and you adjust accordingly. Needless to say, I prefer dealing with someone I know as opposed to someone I’m trying to figure out. Toxic people are less harmful (in my opinion) when you know how they function and you don’t expect anything from them. It’s when you start expecting qualities like loyalty, honesty, and trust that the problem starts.
I have come to have a new appreciation for the quality of loyalty. I’ve noticed that many people don’t possess that quality. There’s definitely a variety of reasons for this and I think that human selfishness is usually to blame. Nonetheless, I believe in loyalty. I think that all healthy relationships have loyalty present because it builds trust. I think about all the business relationships that continue to stay intact because of loyalty between the two parties. A lot of people claim loyalty but it quickly disintegrates when something better comes along. Not too long ago I had someone tell me that they were loyal. Experience has taught me that many people who claim to be a certain way are in fact the opposite. It’s a phenomenon that’s been around for centuries. Needless to say, I was surprised when this person’s allegiance was called into question not once but twice and they actually kept their word and were loyal. Ok, shocked was more like it. It was definitely refreshing and also a reminder that loyal people still exist. Just maybe in very small amounts. Sometimes it’s just nice to have someone on your side.
I think I may suffer from Cardiomegaly. Not in the physical sense, but definitely emotionally. For those of you who may not have wikipedia nearby, Cardiomegaly is when the heart is enlarged and it can be caused by a variety of different things including tumors, anemia, and cocaine use. I think my heart may actually be too big and that realization is coming to me slowly but pretty surely. I’m the kind of person who will go above and beyond the call of duty for someone that is close to me. While I’ve gotten better with sticking to boundaries, I still will bend over backwards to help someone I consider part of my family (immediate, close, or adopted). Now this is actually a good thing. I can be counted on and I’m loyal to a fault. HOWEVER, the bad part about this is that if I legitimately care about someone. I’ll still be inconvenienced and sacrifice enormously despite the fact that they 1. Don’t care about me back 2. Don’t know that I’m actually being inconvenienced and 3. Have not given me ANY indication that they’re about to care about me. As a therapist, one of the things that I talk about all the time with my clients is the importance of sticking to your boundaries and being with people that appreciate you. I first noticed this enlarged heart condition when I was a little kid and I could empathize with people and cry when someone started crying just because I was sad that they were sad. To this day, I still occasionally do that. It’s a good thing to care about people and to be genuinely interested in their welfare. But it’s another thing to care to the point that it’s at your own personal expense and the other person remains oblivious to your caring. This has happened to me more times than I would care to count. But, it’s something that I am actually aware of and despite the fact that caring too much continually screws me over, I’ve gotten used to it. It’s painful and involves a lot of emotions but it’s who I am. It’s uncomfortable and almost always inconvenient but it’s familiar. So many people talk about how they want their hearts to soften but I could probably benefit from a little hardening. As someone told me this week, “caring a lot about other people can be both a blessing and a curse.” And who knows, maybe caring too much will one day work in my favor instead of working against me.