The question has been around toxicity. To be honest, I’m not a fan of that term. I get the idea. It starts as the sudden awakening that you are being used. When you wake up and realize the dynamics of a relationship aren’t balanced, it’s empowering! But what starts as empowerment quickly becomes an escape mechanism for making others wrong.
Now, I don’t mean to downplay the havoc toxic relationships can wreck in someone’s life. I get how hard it can be to see when you are in one. Absolutely, if you are in a violent or dangerous situation, get out. It is not okay to be treated poorly.
For light workers, healers, evolutionaries, and pacifists, we want to not have conflict. We want to all get along, which is how the whole “toxic” thing starts. We allow more than we should because we want things to be smooth. We say yes when we want to say no. We want to help, so we help everyone but ourselves. We convince ourselves of one of two things. Either we tell ourselves the story that our own suffering is saving someone else, or we blame others for why we can’t escape the situation.
For example, you might convince yourself you wouldn’t have enough money on your own, so you stay in a dangerous situation, maybe even with someone who doesn’t let you have money. But then, if you suddenly got money, you wouldn’t have an excuse for why you haven’t left, so you stay broke.
Or maybe it’s a boss who always takes advantage of you, but it would be hard on your coworkers if you weren’t there, so you stay.
In Shamanism, remember that there isn’t good and bad, just teachings. When we get out of a toxic relationship (or create them), there was something in it that we needed to learn. Much like a bad breakup, once we reach the other side and are finally free, the fact that we would allow such a thing to happen to us (aka shame) kicks in. That’s when the crusade begins. The shame takes over and in order to escape the shame, we resort to blaming. Now we are just deflecting the shame onto someone else. We begin to make them the bad guy, we make them wrong so that we can claim our stake as the innocent one, the caring one who was taken advantage of.
Now, this can be hard to hear, so I want to be clear, there is nothing wrong with doing what I just described. I’m writing this from experience. The trouble is, now you are back in a power dynamic. It went from a down vs. up struggle IN the relationship to an up vs. down struggle OUT of the relationship. On an energetic level, nothing has changed and in order to find peace, you would have to acknowledge on some level you were in agreement, so it is actually better for you (in your mind anyway) to keep the other person wrong.
This is what I call creating false boundaries. We aren’t ready to take responsibility for ourselves, so we create a “boundary” by making the other person wrong, instead of tending to our own space.
Earlier this week, I had one of these very run-ins. Except I was on the other side this time (although, in truth, sides don’t exist). In someone else’s story, I represented the toxicity of society. They meant to claim empowerment, but what they did was put me down in order to bring them up. The top/bottom dynamic is still there. It is the belief that if you are down, I am up and vice versa. This is the paradigm we are moving through right now. The belief hurts us both because it keeps us in a struggle. Actually, it turns out the person who I triggered and I am very much alike. I know this because, in order to deal with my discomfort, I actually looked up to the person. I thought maybe if I knew more about them, I could resolve the conflict. Well, that’s what I told myself, what I really wanted was to find some dirt on them, so I could tell myself the story that they are bad too. OH MY GOD, it’s the same thing, except flipped!
I sat with this conflict for a while today. What I learned is the most humbling experience you can have is hurting someone else. It usually doesn’t look like that though, because we try so hard to cover it up when this happens. I realized as long as there was someone to blame, then it was possible that I was the one to blame. In this way, we can never find peace. We get locked in endless finger-pointing.
I no longer blame myself and I no longer blame the other person either. It took me a while to reach that point though. Sometimes we cross the line. Sometimes we do the “wrong” thing. Ultimately, we don’t know where the line is if we don’t cross it from time to time.
As we move forward, let this be the permission to get it wrong once in a while. There is actually freedom there. When we aren’t stuck in defending our “rightness,” the chance to reach understanding appears.