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When someone tells you who they are, believe them.

What is often not thought about in the arena of human life is that for all of the ability we have to think, feel, and perceive that may set us apart from other animals, we are after all still animals. We, like other animals do, have instincts. We all-too-often think our way out of what we know so well and so quickly and refer to as gut instincts that we can, if we are not careful, leave ourselves wide open to falling prey to the predatory toxic and personality-disordered.

Instincts and knowing are the sacred salve that can and will protect us from toxic people. We need to cultivate a mindful awareness that gets us and keeps us in touch with our instincts and our spiritual knowing. We are not really ever duped. We choose to allow others to manipulate and use us. We need to take personal responsibility for not taking precious care of ourselves when we fall victim to a toxic person. What’s more, we need to detach and disengage, not try to rescue them. Trying to rescue them is how we can lose ourselves. It is the very compassion that we do have that the narcissist or borderline, or sociopath, uses as currency to control.

Instincts are trustworthy. Instincts are the way that we really do have genuine knowing. Yet we continue to distrust our own instincts often in favour of believing others when they are lying to us or telling us what we want to hear or buttering us up because they want something. Why?

Why is that we throw aside all or most of our knowing, our gut instincts, to cast our precious selves to the winds of chance? If you have been ensnared by a toxic person, ask yourself why you chose to let what you wanted or needed over-ride what you actually knew somewhere inside from the get-go. Often we surrender all that we know because we are lonely or we are afraid to say no or we simply see a soul in pain and we mistakenly believe we can change them and/or help them heal.

The truth is that what we reach out to heal in the toxic narcissist, borderline, or even sociopath, is really the way that we avoid reaching in to heal what we, ourselves, need to tend to and nurture within ourselves. We let low self-esteem and fear motivate our jump off the end of the peer into the shallow waters of relating to a toxic person.

Life lessons have a way of reminding us that we have these instincts that we need to stop ignoring. Do you wonder how and why you either remain entangled with a toxic person or a series of toxic people?Are you listening? Are you paying attention? Are you open to the lessons that can set you free?

What leads too many people into toxic and unhealthy relationships isn’t a lack of ability to make wise choices, it is rather a decision (often made subconsciously) to ignore all that is truly known. We tend to want to ignore what we know when it might feel like the thing we least want to know. We often ignore and push away this instinctual knowing because it seems easier at the time to get what we think we want and need.

The truth is though, that often what we actually need and will benefit from is worth the wait. What we actually need cannot always be fulfilled quickly just because we really want it to be. This is one place where so many painfully wrong turns are taken that fly in the face of our instincts and all that we truly do know.

It is not the fault or responsibility of the toxic person if we choose to hand over our personal power to them. It is not their responsibility if we continue to engage what we know doesn’t work and isn’t good for us. If we choose to allow ourselves to be abused and treated poorly – victimized – we can feel as if we’ve been rendered helpless. We can undo those feelings of helplessness the second we are ready to make an active choice to empower ourselves by acting on the awareness, instinct, and knowing that awaits our attention to it. Attentive action through choice is empowering. Letting go and accepting loss is crucial. It is only through the pain, anger, and grief that we can learn what it is that we need to be much more mindful about.

Toxic people have a way of hiding their truth. Toxic people can be manipulative and seem way too good to be true which of course means we need to hear that siren in our soul go off that reminds that anything and anyone that seems too good to be true – really is too good to be true – period. Toxic people lay in wait for us. They know exactly which buttons to lean on in skilled efforts to confuse us and tempt us to go beyond our limits, common sense, instincts and knowing.

In the world of the toxic, what they count on is our kindness and our goodness. They twist it and use it against us and then they call that love. It is not love. Toxic people usually have one glaring warning that we must heed – the dance of mixed-messages. Mixed-messages are a huge warning sign – toxic person sitting in front of me telling me that they love me. The toxic person really just wants to control and use his or her victims to get what he or she wants. Toxic people do not love – they use, abuse, and control.

It is not what people say that matters most. It is what people do and how they act that matters most. It is the actions of toxic people that will give them away. Their actions cannot consistently and congruently match their words. This is how they tell us who they really are.

Toxic people tell us who they are by the way they act and react. When a toxic person’s actions show who they are, believe them.

I once had a person I thought might turn out to be friend, sit in my apartment, in my office, in front of one of my computers, and when I remarked about all that he knew and the responsibility and authority he had through his work, (work he wanted to involve me in) as I complemented him, he leaned back in the chair, put his hands on his head, and so dispassionately and calmly said, as he temporarily vacated his grandiose and narcissistic false persona, in response to my observations based upon who I thought he was, “Nah, not really, I am just full of shit.” He then laughed. That was supposed to be the cover. That was where he (like any narcissist) thought he’d trap me in my own self-doubt about what had just really taken place. It is where he would assume he would pull the wool over my eyes. No way. I had already learned a lot in the school of mistakes and hard-knocks. I got it. I was determined to honour my knowing even though in the moment its awareness rose from the centre of my soul, I could feel such a disappointing let down at the loss of what had, at first, appeared to be a newly-forming friendship.

I admit that I had some self-doubt. I did feel conflicted. However, I was determined to trust what I felt. We have to be brave enough to not be able to have what we may well want. We have to brave enough to leave it alone.

Would you risk the object of your desire, a ring, a wallet full of money, if you knew it was strapped to a ticking time-bomb?

In that moment my instinct and my knowing rose up like high tide pounding the ocean’s shore. I felt a tingle up my spine. My mind was shouting in the thoughts in my head, ‘he just told you who he really is’. I had not doubt about that. I trusted that. That was the last time I ever invited him into my apartment or shared time with him. He was a neighbour. Later he showed me his outright toxic abusive side because I wouldn’t give him what he wanted and because I didn’t fall for his duplicitous act. Things escalated over time with him and his efforts to capture my attention to the point that one day he threatened me with physical violence. It turned out he was among many other things an alcoholic and quite an impostor even to the extent that he was even who’d he’d said was in terms of what he told me his vocation was.

Any self-doubt I had had was washed away by his proving my knowing to have been right on.

Spotting the toxic person when feelings of physical and sexual attraction and intimate relationship are involved I would come to find out one more time are much more complicated and difficult and demand a lot more self-discipline. The experience with the man I thought could be a friend did not save me from going on and ending up in a relationship some years later with a borderline-narcissist. I still had some important and life-changing lesson to learn.

If you are in a toxic relationship now and you have not heeded your instincts or knowing so far, the good news is you can turn your focus and attention to this awareness that awaits your attention to it the minute that you are ready to trust yourself enough to take action on what it is that you actually do know. You likely know right now what “your” toxic person is really telling you that is his or her truth. And in case you are having some conflict as to what that is – it can usually be found in anything and everything that the toxic person is accusing you of being, doing, and saying.

When someone tells you who they are, believe them. When you get that inkling that something is wrong, trust yourself. Trust your instincts. You are in touch with a powerful knowing that is in your best interests to heed.

When someone tells you who they are, believe them.

© A.J. Mahari – All rights reserved.

Toxic People – Instincts and Knowing – The Salve That Can Protect Us From Them