This post is another that comes from one of my friends and semi-regular readers. We’ve all dealt with people whose spiritual vibration is lower than ours. I hesitate to use the word toxic because I don’t think that’s always the case. Personally, I know I can sometimes get into a funk and be no fun to be around which I don’t technically think fits the word “toxic.” With that in mind, I’ll stick to lower vibrations. Think of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. He wasn’t toxic, just vibrated a little lower on the spiritual spectrum than his counterparts in the Hundred Acre Woods.
I think my friend asked me to write about that since I’ve recently had some experience in the area. Let me introduce you to our mutual friend, who I will just call Eeyore for the sake of anonymity. She had a setback in her professional life, followed in quick succession by a setback in her love life. Not a good combo. Our Eeyore grew up pretty sheltered but was raised by parents who are tradition and a little toxic. Unlike earlier in this post, toxic fits here. She is also naturally pessimistic and a little judgmental, but this was nothing too serious at first. After her setbacks, though, this character traits became a little problematic. She shifted from well-meaning, but a little needy to a raging narcissist who could not exercise the empathy and understanding that she desperately needed from other people.
Try as they might, several of Eeyore’s friends couldn’t handle what seemed to be a dramatic shift in her behavior. So, they stopped inviting her out as much as they had. When they did invite her out, she often made the hang-out session awkward by making off-color jokes, wallowing in their negative situation, and feeling personally attacked if anyone disagreed with her actions or offered suggestions on how to make things better. After a while, I was the only friend the Eeyore had left. In an attempt to salvage the relationship, while protecting myself from the effects of their lower vibrations, I did the following things.
1. Raising my shields
Like most magical practitioners, I am sensitive to the energy of others. This is 1000 times more true with it comes to my friends. Usually, I allow myself to remain open to them because I trust them to keep an eye out on the energy they send my way. In this situation, I had to protect myself.
Before hanging out with them, usually in my car outside on the bar/restaurant we usually met up at, I would close my eyes and do some deep breathing. Side note – I’m sure I looked crazy, but I’ve finally reached that point in my spiritual practice that I’m not pressed about what other people think about my practice. Back on topic – I would then run energy through each chakra point, starting from the root and moving up to energize myself. I would then run the energy back down from crown to root to clear any stagnant energy out. Then, I would run it back up. Once I reached the crown again, I would breath deeply until I felt fully charged up. Then, I would exhale with a little force and move the energy to my aura and feel it solidify, forming a nice little bubble of energy to stave off any negative energy that may be thrown at me.
After I got home, I would reverse the process and take a long shower to make sure nothing was lingering after the meeting.
2. Transform judgment into compassion
This is another preparation rite that involves basically talking to myself. I would list everything about Eeyore that bothered me. Every cringe-worthy thing! Then, I would take a few deep breaths and connect with the divine nature within me. Using this connection, I would reframe their behavior and my reaction to it. Instead of judgment, I offered compassion.
3. Set boundaries with yourself
Before going into a meeting with this person, I created the rules by which I would play. For example, I will have no more than two drinks. If I am unable to handle this person without being drunk, then the situation was unhealthy and would not serve either of us.
I also vowed to be 100% honest with her, even when it wouldn’t be easy. If she said something that I didn’t agree with, I would voice my opinion. Sometimes the best thing you can do for a person is to call them on their bullshit. To balance this, I promised to assume that their intentions were positive.
Finally, I promised myself that I would be willing to walk away from the friendship if it meant saving my own sanity and self-respect. This was important because Eeyore has a knack for making me out to be the bad guy when I didn’t support them in the way they thought I ought to.
4. Set boundaries with them
The first step in this is to share the boundaries you set with yourself with them directly. Answer any questions, but don’t allow them to alter your own rules of play. Then, move on and set boundaries that you would like them to adhere to as well as those they expect from you.
For example, I set the rule that we would not speak negatively of other friends. Eeyore asked me to allow them to vent without interruption before I offered any opinions or insight.
5. Create distance
It may be necessary to create distance, both in time spent and emotional investment. The more time you spend with a negative person, the more the opportunity exists for their influence to impact you.
For me, I stopped hanging out with Eeyore without other people present. I also limited our interactions to once per week. Finally, I limited sharing any information with them that I thought was special or gave them an opportunity to use it against me. I stopped sharing stories of past hangouts with our mutual friends or plans for future hangouts. Eeyore didn’t hear about a new romantic interest in my life or any of my excursions into Feri training.
6. Cut the tie
If time, boundaries, and distance don’t improve the situation, it may be appropriate to end the relationship. If you feel comfortable, explain why you are choosing this path. If you don’t feel comfortable, don’t explain.
Furthermore, don’t be guilted into giving another chance. If you feel it warranted, sure, but don’t let someone make you feel that you are required to continue with a relationship that doesn’t serve you.
Overall, situations like the one I’ve described are pretty shitty. It’s important to be there for someone you care about, but it’s not your responsibility to heal everyone! Do what’s best for you and if the best thing for you is to get the hell out of a bad situation, lace up your shoes and run buddy! It’s completely possible to care about someone and want the best for them but never to want to see them again. In the end, do what’s best for you and your physical, spiritual, and mental health.