stop being a trash can

Are you a trash can? Do you accept negativity from friends?

Carmen, a client of mine, told me at the end of one of her sessions, “I’m no longer willing to be a trash can for others’ negativity.”

“Wow!” I said. “I’m delighted to hear that! And I love that metaphor!”

Carmen is a lovely, warm, intelligent and compassionate young woman in her late 20’s. Coming from a very narcissistic mother, Carmen learned early in life to be safe from her mother’s anger by listening to her mother’s complaints. She learned to put aside her own feelings and be a mother to her mother. Of course, no matter how much she gave to her mother, it was never enough. It wasn’t until Carmen started her inner work that she discovered was narcissism was.

Early in our work together, Carmen discovered that most of her friends were just like her mother. “ I sit and listen to them complain or listen to them brag. They are never interested in me at all. If I say anything about myself, they always bring it right back to themselves. Why are so many of my friends like this?”

“Because you are willing to listen without speaking up for yourself. There are many self-absorbed people, narcissistic people with entitlement issues, who just love it when someone is willing to listen to them. As long as you are willing to listen to their complaints and support their self-centeredness, they will continue to do it.”

“But if I speak up, I won’t have any friends.”

Photo by Andrew Robles on Unsplash

“Well, you might not have many friends for awhile, but eventually you will find new friends – people who really care about you. When you are willing to care for yourself instead of putting yourself aside, you will attract people who care about you. But this will take time. You need to be willing to lose others rather than continue to lose yourself. Do you think you are ready to do this?”

“Yes! I don’t want to be a trash can anymore. I don’t want people dumping their negativity onto me anymore.”

How do you feel inside when you allow others to dump their negativity – their complaints, their anger, their self-centeredness and sense of entitlement onto you? If you really look inside instead of pushing your own feelings into a closet, you will discover that you feel really lonely with these people. There is no mutual support, no sharing of love, no mutual giving and receiving. You give and they take, and you end up feeling drained and lonely. Yet you hang in there for fear of being alone with no friends or no partner.

If you are really honest with yourself, you will find that it’s not worth it – that you deserve better than to be a trash can for others’ negativity.

It takes faith and courage to speak up for yourself. It takes courage to say to your friend who is dumping her negativity onto you,

“This doesn’t feel good. Whenever we are together all you do is complain or talk on and on about yourself. You are never interested in me at all, and this is no longer okay with me. Either this needs to change or I don’t want to spend time with you. It’s not fun for me and I just end up feeling used and drained.”

When you become willing to speak up for yourself, you will discover who really are your friends and who was just using you. Some people may say, “I’m so grateful you told me this. I didn’t realize I was doing this. Please, I want to stop, and I would appreciate your pointing it out to me next time I do it.” Others will go into denial and say, “That’s not true. I listen to you all the time.” Others will just get angry and go away.

It’s a great way to discover who your friends really are!

child delivery without pains

Child Delivery: I just do not want to feel pain;

Once a couple is pronounced husband and wife, especially in Africa, the blessings or prayers for children start rushing in. Twins. Triplets. Quadruplets. And people keep shouting Amen to the prayers. Although, the number and loudness of the “Amen” start reducing once it reaches quadruplets and quintets. The economic implications of feeding four or five mouths at the same time outweighs the desire for such multiple blessings. Even though breast milk is free, there is a lot more needed in taking care of a baby.

There is more

Something else that the wife is considering as the prayers resound in her ears. These children will not be printed out of a computer neither would twins be gotten by photocopying one baby to get another. She would have to carry the pregnancies and deliver the babies. That is no joke! The best any husband can do is be in the delivery room and fake-push along with her. But everybody knows who is doing the actual work.

The mode of delivery, in generations past, was not an issue. It was the pride of every woman to push, grunt and sweat through labor. The cry of the baby is her final comfort. It did not matter the age or height of the mother and no baby was considered too big to pass through the birth canal. Besides, there was even no way to decide how big the baby was seeing as most pregnancies stayed at home and were delivered there. No antenatal care, no ultrasounds, and no investigations. So, both the tall mother with a 3kg fetus and a short mother with a 4.5kg fetus were expected to rise up to the challenge and make their husbands proud. Many pulled through. And many died too.

This went on till the time of better awareness and acceptance of antenatal care and surgical delivery of babies, also known as caesarean section (C/S). It soon became obvious that certain conditions and circumstances call for C/S. These include certain medical conditions in the mother; heart disease, heart failure, sickle cell anemia with crisis, eclampsia, and pre-eclampsia, then, low-lying placenta (placenta praevia) or conditions in the baby; macrosomia (big baby), breech presentation, etc. These are conditions that require C/S.

Things are Changing

Now, there seems to be a rise in pregnant women opting for caesarean sections just because they prefer it to vaginal delivery. Caesarean sections are painless as there are anesthesia and adequate analgesia, they are fast and free of cramps, pain, stress and pushing and with no risk of vaginal/cervical tears or getting an episiotomy. It is clean and simple.
But, it actually carries more risks than the usual route. The woman can react to the anesthetic drugs, she might bleed a lot, get infections or adhesions post operation and if she has C/S twice, her subsequent deliveries would just have to be the same way.
So, which would it be?

a cheat boyfriend

What Should Women do when Men Cheat?

I once heard a friend of mine say, “all men cheat”. She went on to narrate the usual mournful tale of how her once upon a time knight in shining armor started cheating on her with her sister who had come to stay with her for a few months. Of course, there was enough water from her eyes to mop the floor when she was done telling her story. Their marriage would be five years in few days and she was not even sure she still had a marriage.

Most of us have heard or read similar stories, some ladies have experienced it and we all are left with that question, “why do men cheat?” it is known that women also cheat even if in more coded ways than men. But, we cannot deny the accelerated and alarming rate amongst men. I am not sure there is an antidote or cure that works for all men.

In response to the question, here are some answers. From the men;

It’s nature: somehow, many men hold this opinion. They see cheating as an inevitable expression of their nature as men.

Women get boring: this is usually the reason given by married men who cheat. They claim their wives stop making efforts to stay as beautiful as they met them; they do little or nothing to spice things up ion the marriage.

Provocative dressing: with the background of a shabbily dressed wife or girlfriend, men are often confronted by other ladies who emphasize all their curves and expose their bodies a lot. This is temptation unbearably by most men.

Lost respect: some men claim they cheat only on women they have no respect for or have lost respect for. The lack of respect or lost respect could be due to varying reasons. The end result is the same, they cheat on them.

A search for something: from satisfying sex to a particular sex of children, men cheat when they seem not to be getting it from their ‘original’ woman.

There would be myriad of other reasons which every woman would count as dung, but not the man. To him, these reasons are as valid as anything can be. So, ladies, it seems without divine intervention, some men would still find reasons to cheat on you. So, pray! Then, do not be the one to give them a reason(s) to cheat. Keep up your A-game; don’t give in to the ‘it-does-not-matter-anymore’ syndrome. Dress good and amazing. Cook great meals. Don’t drop your education or career but don’t let them draw you away too much from your man. Make him your own! If he then still cheats, you have a clear conscience that you did not induce, incite or encourage him. You did your best.What to do and how to react if he does cheat is a topic for another day.

What to do and how to react if he does cheat is a topic for another day.