Wrong! – Why You Keep Attracting the Wrong Partner

“How do I keep attracting emotionally unavailable men?” asked one of my co-workers. We can keep going on this list and replace “emotionally unavailable” with words like “addicted,” “cheaters,” “liars,” or whatever else is unacceptable to us and works against the life we wish to have.

So how does it work that, even though we vow to never end up in that situation again, we go out and attract nothing but the things we don’t want? How do we seem to know with absolute certainty what isn’t good for us and yet, like a moth to the light, we keep choosing it?

First of all, there is no such thing as “bad luck” or “born under the wrong star.” Life and the way it pans out for us, is a sum of our choices, actions, words, thoughts and emotions. And what most people are not aware of is that choices are largely made from the subconscious, not the conscious part of our brain. And just like the hard-drive of a computer, we are hard-wired to respond to certain stimuli in a certain fashion; over and over and over.

When we learn to cope with unsatisfactory, abusive or wrong situations we encounter in our lives, we tend to end up choosing them after a while. The reason is simple, no matter how miserable we are, we know now how to do “bad;” we have learned to deal with misery and unhappiness, because we’ve never learned how to do happy. We cannot live or attract what we cannot envision! This is because we cannot know what we don’t know (yeah, it’s a mouthful!).

We are conditioned to recognize that which is familiar; good or bad. And by design we gravitate towards it. The more we do repeat a certain cycle, the more we become addicted to it. Repeating patterns forms neurological pathways and literally hard-wires us to rinse and repeat. The less we do a behavior, the less we will have the neurological pathways to know or remember how to do it; i.e. we literally unlearn how to be happy and we keep enforcing our subconscious dialogue, which may consist of phrases like “I am not good enough,” or “I don’t ever get what I want.”

The worst part about it all is that most people are completely unaware that they are the creator of their misery. A lot of it is due to denial, but the other part is due to the fact that they are making their choices literally unconsciously; and again, how can you be aware of something you don’t know is there? And why do some people break the cycle, or how can you break the cycle?

What helped me was logic, at first; at least until I got the ball rolling. I did simple math. If I am now on my 10th relationship, let’s say, with the 10th guy who is emotionally unavailable, dishonest and actually quite dysfunctional, there has to be something wrong with me! The mathematical possibility that out of 100 people I meet, 95 of them are douche bags is pretty low; unless I am the one who keeps drawing them somehow.

Changing a faulty hard-drive is not the hardest thing, even though that it isn’t easy at all. The hardest thing is finding the courage and honesty with oneself to stop pointing the finger at others, no matter how much you have been wronged, and pointing it at yourself instead. Initially, it is a very scary thing to realize that you are responsible for your well-being and that you are the master of your own universe. After all, we all have been taught to blame, be it a god, our parents, another person, or race and so on. It therefore goes against every part of our being to stop the cycle and take full responsibility for our choices. It’s also a pretty somber awakening.

Most people will never find the courage to drop their stories of victimhood and take full charge of their life. If this is how they have been functioning for years, they will be surrounded by those who support their dysfunction and enable them to remain on the same path; because they chose those who allow them to keep the status quo.  However, for those who are interested I can report that there is not only light at the end of the tunnel, but absolute bliss. If I would have known what awaits me on the other side, trust me, I would have started earlier.

The path to become a creator versus a simple bystander is steep, thorny and requires a lot of will-power and support. But just like most things in life that are hard work the rewards far outweigh the trials. There is a certain freedom when we are able to wake up, look in the mirror, smile and think “I have created an awesome life and can manifest whatever I choose to manifest.”

You Are Worthy! – Shifting the Paradigm from Victim to Victory

“Why me?” I have heard this question asked many times before. Geez, I used to ask this question a lot. Somehow, when things are bad in our lives, we tend to believe that some unknown, exterior source is responsible for it all. We feel out of control, “unlucky,” and worse, after a while we completely give up and no longer take any responsibility at all, because we are that convinced that someone or something else is causing all of it.

I used to think that I was born under some unlucky star. I used to think that it didn’t matter what I did (or didn’t do for that matter) I would not and could not succeed. I figured that happiness belonged to a lucky few, who had some kind of secret, or were chosen by some invisible, supernatural lottery; the same lottery who had provided me with the ass card (sorry, a German phrase that will always make me laugh).

As long as I believed this I kept creating it. Nothing worked for me, because I would approach anything and everything already feeling defeated and knowing that I would end up losing. I felt that I had every right to be a victim. I had plenty of reason to support the notion that I deserved to feel low, not good enough and undeserving. There is a certain self-righteousness, stubbornness and almost peace in telling yourself that you are not to blame. And as long as this was my mental reality, no one could convince me, or teach me otherwise.

So how did I change my mind? I guess I started out by observing “happy” people. I really wanted to know what they had that I didn’t. After a while I realized that they were courageous, honest with themselves, actively taking charge of their life and never accepting defeat or seeing themselves as a victim. Some had gone through horrible experiences, involving death and true tragedy (by “true” I mean out of their control circumstances), most of us would have not recovered from. And here they were, finding the strength to go on, fairly untainted, never turning mean, spiteful, vicious or whiny. Whatever they had, I wanted that!

Within all the tragedy I watched those dearest to me go through, I learned a valuable lesson; life may deal you the worst hand ever, but that doesn’t mean you have to turn into a victim, or take it out on others. I also learned that life is what it is and doesn’t require my actions to make it worse or harder on me. Some of us have to work harder on creating lasting happiness than others. This is neither good, nor bad, it just is. I didn’t want to self-sabotage and self-defeat anymore. I didn’t want to be a person who doesn’t contribute, wallows in self-pity and burdens an already sick planet with more negative energy.

I sat down and thought about how often I had undersold and undermined myself. How often I had lowered my standards, my expectations and dreams, downplayed my own abilities, and true being in order to fit in, be liked or “loved.” I had overstepped my own boundaries consistently, and hence, allowed everyone else to overstep them, too. I realized that my life and where I was at on all levels was done by my own creation. I had been given the ass card growing up, but then had been holding on to it throughout adulthood.

I took that card and tore it up. I went to hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, yoga, weight training and running, I started reading again and packed all my time outside of work into things that were healthy and good for me. I had to outsmart myself and leave no room for going back to any old patterns. I distanced myself from people I had long suspected as being detrimental to my well-being; and after I did all that I started sending on a different channel, or a new vibrational frequency.

Persistence, hard work, will-power and determination carried me through the hard work; which turned soon into less work and more fun. I had pushed away all the dark energy and replaced it with light; the rewards are nothing short of a miracle.

I am now my own best friend. I know my self-worth and I am the master of my own destiny. I create every single day and I am no longer a passive bystander. I am also no longer a victim, no matter what life throws at me. And oddly enough, the more I keep doing this, the lesser my trials have become. I run on high energy most of the time. When I get disgruntled or annoyed with someone or a situation, I find a way to put it into the right perspective and deal with it accordingly.

I have more heart, and am more emotional than ever; while at the same time no longer feeling emotionally out of control! I can share joy, laughter and happiness, and rarely feel anger, annoyance or sadness. People tell me I have a bounce in my step and that I brighten any room I step into.

When I changed the paradigm from victim to victory, I essentially shifted from darkness to light.

From Couch Potato to Athlete

There was a time in my 20s where one could have called me in excellent shape. This time didn’t last too long and by the time I hit my 30s I was happily boycotting doing things I “had” to do. Like most people in this boat, my reasoning made absolutely no sense, but worked like a charm to perpetuate the cycle of blame, denial and laziness. Alas, with each passing year I gained more weight. But because it was gradual, I didn’t really notice it at first.

There is an interesting dynamic that happens in the brain as you start “expanding.” Your clothes start getting tighter, at first, which you eagerly blame on hormones. Finally the clothes won’t fit and you think “whatever” and go by the next bigger size. It is also pretty astonishing for how long one can attempt to squeeze oneself into clothes that have become too tight. The thought is simple, “as long as I can fit in this, I AM this size!” The next thing you know you are on your third or fourth round of changing your wardrobe. I think the jig was up when I returned back to Germany after 8 years and was promptly greeted with the words “wow! You’ve gotten fat.” Of course, this didn’t stop me. I was in my early 30s and could lose the weight as fast as I put it on.  

By the time I reached my mid to late 30s I had reached “maximum density.” At 5’4″ I weighed 165 lbs and was wearing a size 14. According to society it was easy to lose weight; just start working out and change your eating habits. What all these books, blogs, experts and websites won’t tell you is that there is nothing easy or quick about it; at all!

The hardest thing to change for any human being is the mind. The brain dictates our reality and signing up for a gym when you are overweight, feeling shitty and have zero stamina or strength amounts to jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. There are all these voices in your head, telling you that you are fat, ugly and that all the “beautiful” and thin people will just sneer at you. You feel ashamed and so you keep making excuses like “I don’t have money,” “I don’t have time,” “my metabolism is different than anyone else’s, which means I won’t lose the weight anyway,” and so on. I had all the same voices in my head, and then some. I knew that it was my head that needed changing, so I went to hypnotherapy. The power of suggestion worked like a charm. I DID walk into that gym, I DID sign up with a personal trainer and I DID feel like crap, ashamed and intimidated.

Fast forward 18 months. I have achieved the impossible. The ultimate couch potato has transformed into a fairly strong, fit and healthy person. But before I share the results, I want to share some of this journey by reporting the obstacles and the thought processes throughout it all.

I learned that it takes a long time to go from completely out-of-shape to being an athlete. It also requires a lot of time, will-power and commitment. I chose trainers for many reasons. First of all, I wanted to make sure that I don’t injure myself. Secondly, I needed and still need someone to motivate me and hold me accountable. And lastly, I really need someone who knows what they are doing to guarantee my continued success without plateauing or giving up. Leaving it up to me how often I should go to the gym, what to do there and for how long to stay had never worked for me in the past. I’d be energized for a month and then would simply stop going. Trainers have also helped me putting meal plans together. They told me what to avoid, how often to eat and what to strive for. One of the tools I can recommend is 24-Hour-Fitness’ BodyBug. Not only does it count the calories you consume (of course, you’ll have to log everything you eat), but it also counts how many steps you have taken and how many calories you have burned. The equation for weight loss is simple; you have to burn more than what you consume. Trainers and the BodyBug showed me how to do that.

Why did I not give up? Well, there are a few changes that occur rather fast. For one, there was an increase in energy, i.e. I wasn’t constantly tired and exhausted, as well as the subsiding of all my aches and pains, especially neck, shoulder, back pains and headaches. This motivated me to keep going. Meanwhile, my trainers made sure I wouldn’t start slacking or sabotaging.

I currently have 2 trainers, with which I train 4 times a week for an hour. In addition, I do between 2.5 to 3.5 miles on the treadmill 5 times a week. My trainers keep changing my work out each and every session, which ensures that my body doesn’t get used to any particular routine.
I still write down what I eat and drink every day. I make sure that I drink a lot of water (about a gallon) and because I hate the taste of plain water, I mix a sport nutrition powder in that has only 10 calories per pack. I make my own food (yes, I actually prepare food these days) and I substituted my breakfast and dinner with protein shakes, to which I add fresh blueberries, raspberries, oats and half a banana.
I eat about every 2 to 3 hours, but small portions, like a cup of pasta, a non-fat yogurt, an orange or a nutrition bar. I do not drink any alcohol at all; no sodas and I don’t smoke anymore.

Yes, I am aware that this may seem obsessive to some. But at the end of the day I had to make a decision of what I wanted for myself. Being physically healthy, fit and strong was on the top of that list. I was willing to do whatever it took to reach this goal. I guess, one could say that I was sick and tired of feeling fat, unattractive and weak; I was also tired of my own BS and my excuses. Of course, being who I am, I did it backwards. Instead of starting all this when my body easily changed and my metabolism wasn’t at turtle’s speed, I waited until I turned 40. Instead of getting in shape to find a husband, I found the husband first, made sure he truly loved me for who I am and found me hot, and then decided to go the extra mile to make him proud of me. The stubborn part of me had to make sure that he wasn’t another superficial douche and when I learned that he was not, I mustered up the will-power to really wow him.

My results have been slow and gradual, and yet nothing short of a small miracle. I look in the mirror and barely recognize myself. The fat rolls are mostly gone. My arms, legs, shoulders and even my stomach start showing clear muscle definition.
I am inching towards a size 6 these days. My workout pants used to be a size XL and are now a size M. I had to literally buy an almost completely new wardrobe. My waist has shrunk more than 6 inches. I used to have 38% body fat and now have 25%. I am aiming towards 20%.
My balance, strength and stamina have more than quadrupled. When I started I could run for 30 seconds only and lasted a mere 5 minutes on the treadmill. Now I can run for 15 minutes and spend 45 minutes on the treadmill. I couldn’t lift anything heavier than 5 lbs. Now I can lift 15 lbs, while balancing on a Bosu ball. I can also do pushups on that thing and I do sit-ups with almost ease.

The thing is that I never thought that any of this would be possible for me. Once I stopped looking at it as a chore I hated and as an insurmountable task I would never be able to accomplish, I was able to succeed. I literally do this one day at a time. I have my goal set and I won’t stop until I reach this goal. It no longer matters who is with me or not (turns out, no one was with me on that one) and I don’t notice anyone else in the gym anymore. I don’t care what people may think about me. I am there to work out and get in shape. I have a purpose and I fulfill that purpose. I have nothing to prove to anyone anymore, but myself.

I have only one regret and that is that I didn’t start any of this earlier. Alas, rather late than never.

TUT – A Note from the Universe

Carmen, it’s the way you think. That’s your purpose. It’s never been about what work you choose, what gifts you develop, or what niche you fill – let these be for your pleasure.

Think as only you can think, which will lead to feelings that only you can feel, from which connections will be made, lives will be changed, and worlds will come tumbling into existence.

The Universe

Animal Planet

In a recent conversation with my friend Jason I told him how frustrated I am with most people. He understood and then tried to explain how he feels about this planet and those on it. He sees our world as an animal planet. Pretty void of enlightened beings and instead, filled with a whole bunch of not-so-evolved souls, who act like animals; i.e. procreate, follow their whims and being total gluttons on all levels.

Every time I express my annoyance about the human race, I hear from those who claim to be enlightened, that all people are here to learn. Uhm, no! I don’t think so. I know hundreds of people and can think of a mere hand full who actively strives to learn. The rest not only engages in the same insane behavioral patterns year after year, but generally refuses to learn anything at all that requires work. Ooh, and to be a complete tool, the more ignorant, uneducated and the less they have to offer, the more kids they’ll have!

Ah yes, what a hater it makes me to say that. But unless you are complete moron, you must have noticed that all those who really have nothing  to offer to the world, reproduce like rabbits. A trip to Target confirms this. Geez, I can use my own mother. She had 5 kids, one died at birth, which leaves 4 he shouldn’t have had!  My brother and I turned out the way we did because we moved out of the environment and we are both exceptionally self-aware because of it.

Had we become like our mother (or father, for that matter) we would have been whining, finger-pointing, blaming hypochondriacs, drinking or eating ourselves into an early grave. All our issues and problems would have stemmed from how unfair the world and life is, and how people mistreat us. We would have had no choice (’cause it is never a loser’s fault for being one), we would be on marriage number 5 now and have had about 3 to 5 kids from different people. Good times!

What annoys me is not that weak and crazy people are lazy and lack discipline, what annoys me is that they make other people’s life miserable. As soon as their shit starts affecting others, I get offended! I don’t care if you weigh 300 lbs! I do, however, care when you make snide remarks over my “obsessive” work-out habits and the fact that I don’t eat junk anymore. I also care when you feel a need to keep telling me that being fat isn’t your fault and then list excuse after excuse why you can’t muster up the strength to get off your butt and do something about it.

I don’t care if you have 20 kids. I do, however, care when you are a dysfunctional Muppet, who not only teaches their kids how to be a jerk, but doesn’t hold them accountable. Yes, I reserve the right to see a movie in silence. I don’t want to have my movie experience tainted by screaming kids. And while we are at it, I feel the same way about restaurants, stores and other public places. If I would have gotten up to play screaming catch games with my brother in the grocery store, my mom would have spanked our butts. We never behaved like out of control monsters, because we were taught that way! We were also taught to offer a chair to an elderly person or pregnant woman, instead of making faces, while the parents look the other way.

I don’t care if you don’t know how to spell and can’t even form a correct sentence. I do care when you tell me that I need to lighten up and ease up on the “serious” language. Whatever the hell that even means! I also care if you tell me that there is no way I can know this language better than you, because I wasn’t even born and raised here.

I don’t care if you do drugs. I don’t care if you are a polygamist, cheater, alcoholic or a slut. I do care, however, when you make fun of me and call me up-tight, super conservative or boring, just because I choose to live by my own code of ethics and morals, which I don’t attempt to force on others. Because if you feel that my morals and my sense of integrity is too much for you, you are definitely not a friend of mine anyway.

I don’t care if you believe in god, green men, many gods/goddesses, reptilian people or nothing at all. I respect you for the person that you are. I cannot stand those who shove their beliefs down other people’s throats, especially not if you are a douche canoe about it. There is no need to discriminate, belittle or hate those who are different. Back the hell off and shut up! In case you never knew, douche-baggery does not win people over to your cause, ever!

I am annoyed at those who have judged me the harshest for being judgmental or arrogant, when they were merely projecting how judgmental, intolerant and crazy they are. I can’t stand hypocrites. I can’t stand victims, martyrs and nutjobs. I avoid them; I don’t want them in my life. No, I have nothing to teach them, because that type never learns and doesn’t want to be taught. This is their choice and I can respect that, as long as they don’t come near me and start unloading their crap on me or others. In other words, as long as they don’t become a bad virus that affects others (which is especially noticeable in a work environment, where one bad apple literally infects many).

I do believe that this is an animal planet. I do believe that we are not going up hill, but still spiraling downwards. As long as we are being outbred by nuts, as long as we don’t learn, as long as we remain ignorant, unable or unwilling to learn from those who raised us, as long as we blindly follow; as long as our drivers are indifference, apathy and cowardice, we will keep running this planet into the ground. As long as we arrogantly sit on our butts, with a sense of entitlement, waving the flag of “freedom,” “I deserve” and “we are all winners,” even though we are unwilling to move a finger for it, we will turn this already crazy world in an even crazier monkey show.

You want a different reality, life or world? Great! Get off your butt and actually do something, ’cause it definitely won’t fall into your lap!

Breaking Up with Integrity

There is nothing worse in life (at least temporarily) than getting your heart broken. But it gets even worse when insult and humiliation is added to injury; usually because the one breaking up does not have the integrity, balls or decency to be honest, maybe because a) they might not know how and b) they probably hate confrontation.

It is never easy to break up with someone. One of the worst lines in the world is the good old “it’s not you, it’s me…” BS line. Uhm, no, it IS actually you, because if you’d be the one, I wouldn’t dump your butt right now.

The issue is that sometimes people get into relationships they should have never gotten into from the start; reasons include “I was lonely,” and “it made sense at the time.” Sometimes we change who we are/were when we met the person, and other times we may fall out of love; to name a couple reasons. The truth is that it usually takes two to break a relationship; unless you are a jerk (and no, I am not going into detail here regarding what constitutes a relationship jerk).

At the end of the day, the worst thing one can do is to keep dragging it out, because you are too afraid to say how you feel. Most people rather not deal with any confrontation anyway; and then, there is the fine line between being honest and being cruel. However, if you got into the relationship, you should have the decency to get out of it, instead of being inconsiderate and selfish enough to waste another person’s time and breaking their heart.

So how does a person break up with integrity? Well, the first step is absolute honesty. This can include explaining that maybe you are at a weird cross-road in life where you need to figure out what your path is. When we communicate with honesty and an open heart, even the worst messages are at least heard. Telling someone where you truly are at in life and explaining to your partner that this really doesn’t have enough to do with them (this is where it truly is you, not them) will generally deliver the message gently enough to do the least amount of damage.

What people are not open to is BS. Telling someone that it isn’t them but you, when you can’t even explain yourself correctly will only deliver one message, namely that you are rejecting them for something they did or for something they are lacking. This will also often backfire and launch the dumpee into “fix it,” or “chase” mode. They are thinking that they did something, which means to them that they can do something to fix it. The heart-break is going to be worse, once they realize that you’ve cowardly abandoned them and lied to them on top of it all.

I broke up with two of my long-term boyfriends. I did so by sitting them down and truly opening my heart, sharing what space I was in and why I couldn’t continue my path with them. I delivered my message with raw honesty and clearly showing how much I cared for them and respected them. I did not take their dignity, nor did I insult them or blame them for anything that was going on with me. As a result, I am great friends with them to this day. There was and still is no animosity, anger or resentment between us.

It is not ever OK to drag out a break-up. Doing so only makes you look like a selfish and heartless tool. It also isn’t OK to simply run, lie or worse, move on to someone else. It doesn’t matter if you believe in karma or not, but how you treat others does and will come back to you. I, for one, always remember that in how I treat those around me.

In my opinion, there are plenty of people who have neither the emotional, nor mental maturity to be in a relationship. The sad thing is that it is usually that type who not only does get into one, but also does the most amount of damage to others. The only thing you can do to not get your heart broken by them is to make sure that you don’t engage in anything with “the type,” but pay attention to who they are, how they behave and whom they hang out with from the very beginning.

Hearts are too precious to waste. So make sure you take care of yours; and those who entrust you with theirs!

Bad Managers

People management can be one of the most rewarding positions in the world. The ability to shape and aid another in reaching their goals and ambitions is definitely one of the best things one can take part of; much like being a teacher. Most of us take pride in our careers and consistently strive to create an environment that inspires; and fosters honesty, integrity, the feeling of being part of a greater whole and nurtures a person’s strengths. It is therefore disheartening when we either witness or hear about horrific managers; people who are abusive, dishonest, take credit for their employees’ work and foster an environment that motivates alright; motivates people to operate in fear and usually ends up driving them either out of the door, or operating at their lowest levels.

There used to be a time when such behaviors remained hidden and these types of people flew under the radar. However, in a world where more and more companies recognize the importance of strong leadership, where managers are held accountable for stats like turn-over and where 360 reviews are required, it is not quite as easy for the bad apples to continue climbing the ladder.
The sad part is only that these standards are not used for certain industries (entertainment comes to mind) and for smaller companies. So here are a few samples of the most common types of bad managers; and what one might be able to do when facing such an individual.

  1. The Abuser/Tyrant
    As the title already suggests, this person is abusive and clearly cannot be reasoned with. They stand out by throwing tantrums, screaming and yelling at people. Some of them don’t ever raise their voice, they prefer to make snide or passive aggressive comments and belittle or threaten their employees; preferably in front of others. They motivate with fear and bully people into submission. It is always their way or the highway; they have zero self-awareness and arrogantly think themselves not only irreplaceable, but also excellent and above the rules. The only people they tend to respect (at least on the surface), are those who can get them further up the ladder.
  2. The Crazy Maker
    This is the type who expects you to mind read. They change their mind about every hour or less. Working for them is a constant roller-coaster and you can never win. It is impossible to anticipate their next move. They don’t give a clear direction and then become unglued when you did what they told you to do, which now, of course, is no longer accurate. This results in deadlines being missed and money being lost; which they blame on you. They don’t know what they want and can’t make decisions.
  3. The People Hater
    This is the type who got promoted, because maybe they managed a project really well, or maybe because they’ve been there long enough and this was the only way up for them. They often inherit a team and either have never managed, or don’t like managing others. They see management as a chore and therefore tend to ignore you. They don’t give a lot of direction, they don’t like to interact and make you feel guilty for asking them a question, i.e. interrupting them, or needing guidance. They operate in a bubble, and you are the intruder.
  4. The Best Friend
    Believe it or not, this is not what you want in a manager. The buddy tends to be way too relaxed and is much more concerned about how they are perceived. This is excellent if you like to party with your boss and want him/her to understand why you are too hung over to come in to work the next day. This is not such a great scenario if you want to learn anything, want to be challenged or even get promoted. Your boss should be your mentor, leader and should definitely care for you. However, he/she also has to hold you accountable and treat you equally to others, which requires certain boundaries to be upheld.
  5. The Slime Ball
    This is the guy who is always friendly to your face. The guy who pats you on the back and tells you what a great person you are; while taking credit for your accomplishments and using you as means to the end, which is getting them promoted or look good to upper management. This is the manager who will give presentations that make no sense, because the content was provided entirely by their teams. They are wishy washy and hardly ever have concrete feedback for you, good or bad. They’ll tell you what a great contribution you are, but would never fight for you if you needed it.

So what can you do to avoid these types, or what can you do once you end up with them? First of all, try to avoid them! This means when you interview for a new position, interview your new boss! Ask them questions like “how long have you managed this team? What do you consider your greatest strengths? What are some of your weaknesses?” If at all possible talk to people who are currently working for this person. Demeanor and body language will tell you a lot about how comfortable and valued someone really feels.

If you end up working for a bad manager you must consider your options. It is important that you don’t keep quiet!! Talk to your HR department and provide them with specific dates and incidences. Be as detailed as possible and try to remain calm. Remember that nothing can be done about a bad apple, if no one speaks up or takes action! Don’t be afraid. Most companies have great HR departments that handle issues professionally and fairly.

Sometimes though, you won’t be able to turn to HR.  There are these (hopefully rare) times where the abuser is the head of the company, a high up VP, etc. and instead of getting help, you’ll be driven out. Yes, by law this is not what is supposed to happen, but let’s be real, it still does. Many, many years ago I worked for the CFO of a company, who literally was the worst manager I have ever encountered to this day. He told me in my 1-year review that I wasn’t worth much of a raise and the only reason he had hired me was because I was the cheapest. Guess how confident I felt to talk to HR? When confronted with a situation like this I would always advice you to walk! The stress, heart-ache and misery are not worth it, ever! No paycheck makes up for you ruining your mental and physical health!

Remember that a work environment operates just like a family environment in many ways. This means that abusive and bad behaviors will trickle down from the top to bottom. In no time the entire flock will become polluted, or infected, which results in others also becoming bullies, or simply not caring and turning disgruntled and bitter. It is impossible to thrive in a toxic environment. So don’t take it and worse, don’t think you can’t do better! Because this would mean that the abuser mentality has already won. Instead know that there are always alternatives. They sometimes may take time, but they are there. You are worth it!

Do you Need a Relationship?

Human beings are, by design, social creatures. With the exception of a few, we like to be around others, we like to know that we belong and that someone cares about us. This is one of the traits that define us. It is therefore completely natural and within our nature to start finding a mate. However, what once seemed to be a somewhat natural process has turned into a maze of confusing signals, strange rules, etiquette and behavioral patterns that can hardly be called “natural.” For some, the chase overrides everything else, including common sense and sometimes one’s own self-worth.

Lots of people seem to struggle with finding the right partner these days. Hence, dating sites and services are a multi-billion dollar industry across the globe. We no longer have the time, or maybe skills to meet people by chance, so we go “relationship shopping” online. Most of us do it or have done it. Personally, I think it is an excellent way of meeting the right person, especially if you are a recluse like I am. The only time any kind of dating becomes a bad idea is if you “need” a relationship.  Here are some of the reasons:

  • Desperation
    All people, regardless of gender, can “smell” desperation; and trust me, they’ll run from it.
  • Low or no self-confidence
    Again, most people pick up on it and don’t want that in their life. Healthy people want a partner, not a project and having to constantly give approval or reassurance to someone who has no self-respect or confidence becomes draining
  • Commitment Phobes
    Oddly enough, it tends to be that type that can’t hold a relationship and seems to have no idea why. When we don’t trust others and we are afraid of committing, we will not only attract the same in return, but we will sabotage any good thing; usually by nitpicking or setting unattainable and completely unreasonable standards (this person is boring, I don’t like the way they dress, etc.)

Being able to love and be loved requires first that you can love yourself! Otherwise, you’ll become a black hole; no matter how much attention or care someone pours into you, it’s either never enough, or never from the “right person.” If you tear yourself into shreds, I can only imagine how harshly you criticize others. When you learn to love and accept yourself you also start seeing the world and the people in it through different eyes.

Anyone who “needs” to be with someone tends to be in only one of two modes, namely mourning the loss of a relationship or chasing after one. Neither is very liberating. Plus, you give away all your power, either to those who don’t deserve it, or by creating walls so high that no one can overcome them. The truth is if you expect the worst, you’ll get it. Also, be careful to sneer at those who obviously seem to “need” relationships. Those who are always in between relationships and/or move on/cheat as soon as things become difficult are also co-dependent. They just appear to be more dependent by constantly being with someone new. Either way, the vibe they give off to the “real” world will be the same and a functional, healthy relationship will not come from behaving in any of these ways.

My suggestion would always be to surround yourself with honest and caring people; preferably drama and mostly baggage free! Ask them how you come across. Ask how you are perceived and what you can do to overcome the obstacles. Be open to their advice, even though it might not be too pretty or sting. I would assume that you don’t choose friends who want to deliberately hurt you or don’t care, so always consider the source for any type of feedback before you discard a friend, simply because they may have told you something you didn’t want to hear. If you ask for honesty, I’d hope for you that you get it.

We all have choices in life (yes, I keep saying that). It is up to us to decide if we want to be participants and positive contributors to our lives, or if we want to be miserable and passive bystanders. No one is handing us a predetermined path. It is up to us to choose our path. Life is short, choose wisely.