Tag Archives: toxic relationships

8 Tools to Free Yourself from Bullies and Attract People Who Respect You

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 1.19.20 PMHave you ever been bullied? Were you able to respond to the bully in a way that valued YOU?

I grew up with a mother who was a bully. My response was to shut down into a kind of frozen numbness. When I was 12 I started smoking cigarettes and at 16 I started drinking – all to continue the numbing process so as not to feel the pain.

Now, many years of therapy and meditation later, I’ve un-numbed myself, let go of cigarettes and alcohol, and found my true self. Life is filled with love, joy, and inner peace. Along the way, I had to learn how to stand up for myself and speak my truth. It took courage and perseverance, but  I arrived at a place where I can respond to people in-the-moment if they are disrespectful.

I continued to attract bullies until I learned to step into my power, be vulnerable, and state my truth.

Here are my 8 Keys to addressing a bully and giving them an opportunity to apologize. They might apologize, or they might not – I’ve experienced both. Either way, the success is yours, because you have spoken your truth. Your self-confidence builds and eventually, if a bully starts up, you can dismiss them quickly, and easily, without getting upset.

1. Be Emotionally Honest With Yourself.
Are you emotionally honest? Ask yourself: How do I feel when a person is abusive to me? Angry? Hurt? Paralyzed with fear? Numb? The important thing here is to be HONEST WITH YOURSELF about how you feel. This is the primary key to freeing yourself from the prison of victimization.

2. Accept – Don’t Judge Yourself
Keep the focus on yourself, not on the bully. Accept your present moment, whatever it contains. Beware the ego coming in and dismissing your feelings, saying things like: ”It’s no big deal”, “I’m fine” etc. The Ego doesn’t like us being put down so it might try and distract you by focusing on the bully or rationalize you out of your feelings. Stay with your present-moment reality, no matter how uncomfortable (uncomfortable is good because it means you are moving away from  an old habit that doesn’t serve you) – simply allowing things to be as they are, without judging yourself. And have compassion for yourself – you’re doing the best you can with the best conscious awareness you have in the moment.

3. Listen To Your Body
If you don’t know how you feel, your body will tell you. Are you contracted in fear or rage? Is your heart heavy with pain? Or do you just feel numb all over? Whatever is happening, allow it to be so. Your body is your friend. It acts like a shock absorber in stressful situations to help you deal with things. Pay attention because the body gives us warning signals when we are not in harmony and at ease with a person/situation. The more in tune you are with your body, the easier it is to address things early on, before they escalate into something worse.

4. Get Support
Find a friend or a family member you are close to, someone who loves you very much. Tell them what happened. This will bring you some instant relief and the powerful loving support you need to speak up to the bully. Allow yourself to RECEIVE the love of your friend to fill yourself up and build your confidence.

5. Be Willing To Let Go of the Person/Situation
Before you address the bully, spend some time in self-reflection and realize that you might have to walk away from this person, or from this situation. Friends can be helpful here to help you see things clearly. You might not have to let go, but you might. A lot depends on the response of the bully. Do they apologize? Do they “get it”? If not, they are highly likely to bully you again.

6. Speak Your Truth
Speaking your truth means respecting yourself enough to let people know that you deserve respect. Bullies will transform, or leave. Either way, you win!

Best case scenario is to speak to the bully in person, in a calm, courteous, respectful manner, simply stating how you feel about what happened. Bring a friend as a witness and for support. If that is not possible, talk on the phone, your friend standing by. Third best option – send an email or letter. Know this truth: bullies, underneath their aggressiveness, are cowards. In many instances, they are embarrassed you’ve called them out and apologize, which allows the possibility of taking the relationship to a whole new level. If they don’t apologize, see #5!

7. Be Courageous and Allow Yourself To Be Vulnerable
Courage means going into the unknown in spite of all the fears. Courage does not mean fearlessness. Fearlessness happens over time when you go on being more and more courageous. In the beginning, the only difference between a coward and a courageous person is that the coward listens to their fears and follows them; the courageous person puts them aside and goes ahead. The courageous person can say, for example: “What you said hurt me”, in spite of  inner trembling and a constricted throat.

Be willing to be vulnerable, befriend your fears, and remember that this situation is happening for you, not to you. It’s helping you step out of victim into mastery of yourself. It’s helping you expand even more into who you are.

8. Practice Expressive Meditation
Expressive Meditation techniques can help you become more aware of your feelings and be honest with yourself. The Gibberish expressive meditation is great for releasing the charge of  anger, rage, frustration and resentment, and helps you come back to a calm, neutral place of clarity.

You can learn to express your emotions without being emotional.

Expressive techniques for healing grief, sadness, and emotional pain, help with the emotional wounding that can keep you in a victim state. You will experience pain transforming into peace and love.

From personal experience these 8 keys work! By speaking your truth you attract people who treat you with courtesy and respect…. because you are treating YOURSELF with courtesy and respect!

I look forward to your comments.

How to Get Over a Breakup…with a Friend

2848824545_0f15cd9f83_bHow many of you have ever lost a friendship?

The way I think of it, there are really only two ways this happens:

  1. The friendship fades naturally.
  2. You actually come up with a concrete reason why the relationship needs to end in order to preserve your sanity, and do everything you can within your resources to get out cleanly.

Two really sucks.

In a recent case of option 2, I found myself completely dumbfounded that there’s no handbook for this cluster of a situation. Just as I began feeling like I’d lost a family member, I questioned why we give so little thought to the gut-wrenching reality of a lost friendship.

As I stood in my feeling-really-empty apartment, I asked myself, is there really no legal contract here? Do I not get to write something off or give you back some of your stuff that’s at my place? Are there really no airline fees I need to reimburse you for? Do we really just go on living?

How is it that in the world of business, where there are so few emotional exchanges, we have mile-long legal contracts that outline exactly how things will be distributed and dealt with if the relationship doesn’t go as planned, yet in friendship, there is no such thing? How is it that after romantic relationships, we go on yoga retreats and take trips to India, yet in friendship there really is no Eat-Pray-Love breakup protocol to go by? How is it that in the case of a lost partner-in-crime, we merely take ourselves out of the picture without so much getting into down-dog?

I felt like I owed a debt, like for all of the phone conversations and pillow talk and crying and laughing and crying all over again that there had to be some kind of compensation I was either owed or required to distribute. How could this not be the case, I asked myself. How, when someone has seen my insides inside-out, can there be no lawyer involved, no damages collected, no ashram to speak of when the relationship falls apart?

We can find pre-written breakup speeches on Google but almost nothing to lead us through the loss of a friend. We hold these people’s hands through every boyfriend or girlfriend who walks in and out of our lives; we let them stand by while we Google how to let those people go for good. Then, when our Googling, champagne drinking, chocolate-eating partners in crime are no-more, we don’t so much as get the post break-up haircut.

I was mystified.

Friendships gone awry can be very much like relationships gone awry: everything is going great, you’re madly in love, until one day you realize you’re still telling people you’re in love but you haven’t actually felt that way in a while. In fact, as much as you were thriving with this person’s companionship at the beginning of your relationship, you’d probably be just as well off now, if not even better, if you were to abandon the relationship entirely. When you finally decide to pull the plug, memories of the good old days come rushing back, memories that can leave one thinking “hey, wait a second, it wasn’t really that bad…was it?”

This is where the mind plays tricks, and where the mind has tricked me many times during the end-of-relationship grief process. Since there’s not nearly enough written on the case of the lost friendship, here are my two cents:

  1. Trust your gut. This can be absolutely terrifying when you’re worried your gut is going to tell you what you don’t want to hear, so be gentle with yourself.
  2. Surround yourself with people who nurture you, inspire you and uplift you.
  3. Make the space around you safe enough so that you can acknowledge any feeling that might come up and let it be okay.
  4. Tell yourself that no matter what happens, you’re not going anywhere. Remember that the universe has your back.
  5. If something is telling you that friend might be pushing you down instead of up, find someone you feel safe enough to talk to and explore that feeling.
  6. And, if in the worst case, you do find yourself needing to make a clean break from the friendship, set up a support network of people around you that can remind you why you decided to call it quits when you’re stuck in a rut and can’t remember.

Then, once all is said and done, remember this:

Of all the people that may come and go in your life, you are the one who will always be there. Trust yourself enough to know what’s right for you, and don’t let anyone else tell you any differently.

Because of all the best friends you’ve ever had, you were the first.

How Should I Deal With My Toxic In-Laws?


I have toxic in-laws and mother. They say things that are hurtful to my children. They are just careless and do not take notice of what they are saying. They are also very negative about every thing. Its like having a black hole in the home when they come. They are all very Christian! My ideas are very different to theirs and they will simply not accept my different view. I have tried to be understanding but now my only solution seems to be to keep my children and myself away from them as much as possible. Do you have any suggestions?


It’s not necessary for your in-laws and your mother to accept your views. Everyone is entitled to their own ideas. What you need to impress upon them is that their hurtful comments to your children are emotionally damaging to them.  It’s part of your job to protect them from this kind of unnecessary trauma, and it should be part of the grandparent’s job as well.

Explain to your in-laws and your mother very clear and straightforward way, exactly what comments they say that are hurtful to your children and how the children react to those words. Tell them what kind of behavior and conversation you would like from them when they are around your kids. Then ask them if they are capable of visiting your home and making an effort toward positive, support comments  without making the hurtful remarks.  If they are responsive and willing to try, then you should give them a chance. Otherwise, you need to be firm that they are not welcome in your home if they are not willing to recognize the hurt they are causing your children and are not willing to change that behavior.

  I understand that as parents they should be accorded respect in the family, but that respect does not give them the right to hurt your children and it does not excuse you of your obligation to protect them.  Don’t feel guilty or timid about your decision, you are giving them an easy  option to visit the children . If the well being  of their grandchildren is truly important to them, they will make the necessary adjustment.



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TOXIC CLIENTS: Clean Out Your Client Closet and Feel Better in the Morning!

Last night I fired a client.

I liked it.

Oh, and I did it last month too.

That’s right.  You heard me. 

This is not one one those sissy-esqe “how to drive crazy sales”  blogs –
This is to sell you on a serious “how to get rid of those clients that drive you crazy!” column!

Successful business people agree that keeping a client is less costly that finding a new one.  But sometimes, that is not the case.

The Pareto principle states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.  In business this can tranlate into 20% of your clients taking up 80% of your time and vice-versa. And 20% of your clients make up 80% of your billable hours. And 20% of your clients will give you and 80% percent of your headaches!

And what do we want to do with headaches?
Get rid of them!

Look. If there’s one thing I learned spending almost two decades busting my hump in the world of global branding, marketing and media, in order to be exclusive, don’t be afraid to EXCLUDE!

Top companies and brands set standards, targeting demographics to maximize profitability and exclude those that do not fit that model. 

Here’s what happened: A new client wanted me to set his project at top priority as he’s on a tight schedule and budget and needed to get something produced right away.  I agreed, but with the following condition:  That by a specified date, he would provide all of the information and materials required in order to get it done quickly. Then, the client dropped off the face of the earth, ignored my correspondence and phone messages while our previously agreed upon due date had passed. When he did resurface, he said he was “very busy running his muti-billion dollar enterprise.”  Hmmm…Multi-billion dollar enterprise?  Then where’s his assistant, sense of deadlines and accountibility?  And why did need need such a deep discount?  When I told him we would not be able to meet our originally planned delivery date due to his negligence, he said he had lower bids from other service providers that would.

I suggested he work with them.

Good day, sir.
I said :
Good day!

How do you know if you’ve a case of client toxicity?

The toxic client typically enters a company portfolio during slow economic times.
When cash flow is tight, any customer may look good. 
However the toxic client is more problem than profit. 
Beware : The first sign is the chiselling of price or fee schedule.
While negotiation is often necessary to land a customer, the toxic client demands price reductions so low and precludes profitability.

How much time are they vampirically sucking from you?
Constant phone calls, e-mails, and hand-holding is a sure sign.
Beware : Toxic client zap energy from you and the project itself.
Toxic clients take time away from you and time you can be serving your profitable clients.

Remember the 80-20 rule?
The reality is toxic clients are problematic and require an exorbitant amount of energy. Cut the cord! You will grow your business by focussing on the 80% of the clients you enjoy.  Cutting unprofitable and/or exceptionally toxic clients from your roster WILL strengthen your business. It isn’t costing them. It’s costing YOU!

Sometimes burning the bridge is the best idea.
Anyone got a match?

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