Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I'm in a quandry. What do you do when a relationship is somewhat toxic, fraught with personal attacks, but there is something very important that you are gaining from it? Do you stay or do you go?

No, this is not my marriage - that is very loving and supportive. It is with someone who is teaching me a skill I've always wanted to have (I am trying to preserve privacy here, so I'm deliberately not being specific). But when I voice feelings in response to a negative comment, I invariable get smacked emotionally. After the initial blast, we can usually work through our individual feelings and get to an okay place, but is it worth it? She says she doesn't have this issue with anyone else, and I don't have this issue with anyone else in my life.

Who's right? Is there a right or wrong? What is the truth?

Here's what I know. I am an overly sensitive person and do get my feelings hurt easily. So it's very possible I'm over-reacting to these negative comments. She lives with an emotionally abusive person and has to walk on egg shells in order to have any semblance of stability in the relationship. I'm a safe person for her to blast.

My question to myself is this: Are the skills I'm learning worth the hurt feelings and energy it's taking to make this relationship work? Can I learn these skills elsewhere?

I don't have the answer yet, so I am going to continue on. But I'll keep you posted (pun intended).



alexisgrant said...

Can you learn the skills from someone else?

I'm a big believer that you have to cut the negative people out of your life. I've only had to do this once, but when I did it made all the difference. Surround yourself with positive energy.

Let us know how it turns out!

Marvin D. Wilson said...

I'm going to disagree with Alexis on this one. This person is a test for you, and an opportunity to grow. This business (writing and publishing books) is very difficult for the thin-skinned. Learning to cope with an abrasive individual who "hurts your feelings," keeping the goal of learning what you need to learn from that person as a higher priority than needing to feel charmed and loved personally by her might be just what the Doctor ordered.

Try looking at it that way, anyway. My opinion.

The Old Silly from Free Spirit Blog

Galen Kindley said...

Hmmmm. Both Alexis and Marv have made solid points. However, after some thought, I'm in the Alexis camp. I echo everything she said so well.

Life is just too short and too difficult when it goes well, to accept hurts and pains that can be avoided. Yes, I want to grow, but at what cost? Seems like there's a point where the price is not worth the product. Get this skill elsewhere and save the aggravation.

Best Regards, Galen

Linda Austin said...

I dealt with a similar situation lately, where stress causes someone to lash out. I finally said I was leaving because it was too unpleasant to deal with, so she's been behaving since. Sounds like you've already learned the lessons from this relationship and may be ready to move on. Sad for your friend, but she'll have to find someone else's hide to scratch up.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

If this is a skill you can learn elsewhere,I'd move on. Learning anything is suppose to be a positive experience not something that brings on guilt or other bad feelings or leaves you dreading the next lesson.

Jane Kennedy Sutton

Helen Ginger said...

It is good emotionally to cut the negativity from your life. But, before you do that, perhaps the two of you could set some boundaries. Agree that neither of you will react without first stopping and thinking about how the other might be feeling if you said the first thing that comes to mind. If she lashes out, you could have a time-out word. All you'd have to do is say that word, and you both would stop and step back.

Clearly I'm no therapist, but it seems like it might be a relationship worth trying to manage before you cut all ties.

Straight From Hel

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I can see both sides to this problem, which makes it hard to think of a solution to it. Usually my instinct is to leave situations that make me uncomfortable, but that leads to mixed results. I think Helen is right...try to work something out with her but consider an exit route if the new boundaries don't work out.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Jina Bacarr said...

If you quit now, you'll never know if you could have worked it out with her. I think Elizabeth's comment is excellent and a doable solution to your problem.


The Berlin Sex Diary of Lady Eve Marlowe

Karen Walker said...

Thank you all so much for these wise responses. I actually came to the same conclusion today when I finally got quiet and meditated on it. I must learn to lovingly stand up for myself when boundaries are crossed.

Morgan Mandel said...

I find it very hard to say no to people, but when I get aggravated enough I do. I think everyone has a different threshhold for putting up with aggravation.

Morgan Mandel

N A Sharpe said...

All very valid points. It sounds like the crux of the problem may be stemming from your past and her present.

You both have had to deal with abusive situations. You are very sensitive to it as you have recognized the problem and worked very hard to get through it - it is only natural to protect yourself from going down a similar path, and that takes a lot of strength to do so (kudos to you) It appears she currently is in a situation you are a survivor of. You may have the foresight to be able to help her through her own pain (hence cutting out your own verbal lashings)...but she has to acknowledge the situation and want the benefit of your experience.

I believe people are in our lives for a reason. Could you learn the skill from another source and save yourself pangs of old pain...probably. Could this be an opportunity to learn something from each other...possibly, depending on the mindsets and the timing.

Good luck. Let us know how it works out.

Nancy, from Just a Thought…

Patricia Stoltey said...

I also believe people are drawn into our lives for a reason. Sometimes it's to teach us how to let go of what we want and think we're willing to pay any price to get. Okay, that's a terrible sentence. The lesson might be something different than we first think.


Enid Wilson said...

Life is too short to waste time on negative situations. I think I will move on.

In Quest of Theta Magic

Ritergal said...

Building on Patricia's comment, perhaps this woman has been drawn into your life to learn about the boundaries you need to learn to set. There are always two sides to the equation, as someone up the list pointed out.

A wise friend taught me ages ago that "You have to pick your battles. Life is too short to fight them all."

Life is too short to fret too much too.

The Practical Preserver said...

Some people are so insecure that they first have to humiliate you before they're comfortable working with/teaching/or otherwise being with you. Life is too short for this. Toxic people are harmful to your health. You're not overly sensitive, you're normal.