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10 Steps to Erasing a Tarnished Reputation

10 Steps to Erasing a Tarnished Reputation
    Change is an uphill battle you should be ready to fight.

    I could blindfold myself and throw a veggie dog into a group of strangers, and I know that the person it would hit would be guilty of at least one of the repulsive yet often observed human flaws listed below.

    While we aren’t ever going to sprout wings and be puritanical saints all the time, it’s absolutely imperative that when we notice hideous character flaws in ourselves, we set a goal to change them. I have to set these goals on a daily basis, and though it pains me greatly to stop myself from being shallow, scared or loudmouthed, the effort is changing me as a human. That ability to trump my instincts is like tasting raw power. I feel like it might make me a good grandma, scratch that, aunt who tells it like it is, but with a bit of heart and a heap of learning.

    In 2017, I propose that every human on the planet attempt to kick the next 10 behaviours out of their lives so they can move on to greener, better pastures.

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    1 – Stop doing things to put yourself above others. No matter what car you drive, how much money is in your bank account, or how ridiculously overpriced your underwear is, you are going to be buried under the same dirt or tossed over the same cliff as the rest of us eventually. You can’t take these things with you, and besides, have you ever stopped to ask yourself where they all came from? “Things” can make us all feel good from time to time. However, rubbing those things in someone’s face or using those things to measure your greatness or someone else’s lack thereof is pretty lame. Fine, tote the LV handbag, but maybe tilt your nose a little further south if you can at all help it.

    2 – Stop giving hard times out like candy. Negative energy sucks for everyone it flows through. Running people through hell becomes a hobby for some people who are bored. They create a world of brimstone in which to live. Why get other people involved in your misery by criticizing, abusing, nagging, and making life difficult? If you’re the guy who steals ideas at work, the girl who keeps her kid from seeing his father, the neighbor who leaves trash on his lawn, or the man at the gym who sneezes into the water fountain and doesn’t re-rack weights, stop. Think about your actions and how they impact others. Be mindful, and spend more time spreading light than covering your world in a cloak of darkness and phlegm.

    3 – Remember that you only live once. Acting like you have nine lives doesn’t necessarily turn out in the wash. Take time each day to remember that you only live once, and you’ll find that small things will bother you less and happiness will be your priority. Regardless of your weight, bank account or address, there is beauty in being alive that we should be paying very close attention to. This is pretty hard to do when you’re stressed, drunk, hung-over, anxious or just a career jerk. In short, remove the obstacles that blind you and limit your realization of the short precious time we have on earth and you’ll find that your attitude shifts with very little effort.

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    4 – Stop being a human slug and take some pride in your appearance. Basic self-care includes showers, exercise, nutritionally balanced meals and adequate sleep. These measures will make you a person everyone can stand being around. Make sure your contribution to the world is not your stink, overtired yawns or dirty fingernails, but your fresh face, twinkling eyes and meaningful presence. These will be a perpetual wellspring of happiness for you and a serious attractant to those you meet.

    5 – Evolve. Coaches need coaches. Teachers need teachers. The learned need educating. Outright refusal to learn and grow is vomitesque. Humans are born curious and able to see the other side of each coin if they try. Ditch the selfish attitude and the jealousy, and learn to be happy for other people. Good people try their best to understand where others come from in terms of geography, religion, and personality which in turn helps them to undergo their own process of evolution and personal growth. Always remember that your ride is not the ride of others, and trying to force someone onto your bus of black and white living is annoying, petty and common.

    6 – Pinkies turned up, elbows off the table! Rules, regulations, prim and proper manners…do they all really matter that much in the end? You don’t need to be in a race to be the mature, level headed one at every turn. The Debbie Downer that constantly brings the “that’s dangerous” to every adventurous dreamer in the room sucks. There’s nothing worse than hearing why we should be scared of every activity on the planet. Sameness and consistency shouldn’t always win. Being the pusher of “grow up” steals childhood from kids and playfulness away from life. You might not believe in the magic of Santa, but you’re a real jerk if you’re telling small children that he doesn’t exist! Be playful, believe in magic, and enjoy rubbing spaghetti in someone’s face once in a while.

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    7 – Your pants have been on fire for your entire life. I’m not sure how you’re still alive. Sure, everybody has a few white lies they tell to get by, but when you’ve crafted a foundation of lies as the basis for who you are as a human, it gets old and gross. Lies become unmanageable, and your tall tales get in everyone’s way, including your own. Telling the ugly truth takes far less work than carrying a bag full of fully leaded BS.

    8 – Why pretend to be nice, giving or happy if that’s not who you are? If your mission in life is to channel Bela Lugosi, own it so that the rest of us can stay away from you. It’s really a great thing to see someone own who they are, warts and all. Maybe you’re always going to be the villain. Heck, we need ‘em, so go out and get an Oscar doing it. Just drop the sheep’s robe at the door.

    9 – Stop blaming everyone else for your shortcomings. I’m not the only person on earth who should be admitting on a weekly basis that I’ve screwed up. Owning bad behaviour is part of coming into ourselves, trusting the path we are on and being gracious humans. Having to watch someone squirm through excuses not only takes away their credibility as a full-fledged adult, it also causes serious eye damage to anyone in the room who is trapped rolling theirs backward. Here’s a crafty mantra to battle this problem in 2017: It’s not you, it’s me.

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    10 – This last one is for my doppelgangers and me. Stop reacting in anger and fear to things you don’t understand. You need to take the time to digest where a person is coming from or what their true intentions are before you vow to murder them in a violent fit of anger. Sometimes reading an email thrice works, sometimes asking for clarification works even better. The best you can hope for is to engage in intelligent conversation about the matter, understand, appreciate and let go. Harboring ill will is a bad form of self-poisoning that will stop your heart. Since you only have one of those, I’d suggest making the most of it every single day.

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    Sasha Williams

    Plant Powered Lifestyle Designer

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    Published on April 7, 2021

    6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

    6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

    Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

    While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

    1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

    Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

    If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

    In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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    2. They Make Everything Transactional

    Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

    For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

    Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

    A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

    Some statements to be wary of include:

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    • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
    • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
    • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
    • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

    3. They Criticize Everything

    One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

    However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

    Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

    • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
    • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
    • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
    • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

    4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

    We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

    For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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    This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

    5. They Socially Isolate You

    Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

    Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

    This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

    In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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    6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

    It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

    Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

    Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

    • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
    • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
    • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
    • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

    Final Thoughts

    It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

    More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

    Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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