Toxic Relationships

Balancing family life and the Dhamma, in pursuit of a happy lay life.
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Kareem
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Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:44 am

Toxic Relationships

Post by Kareem » Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:55 am

I recently moved in with two of my friends who I once cared for deeply. I have begun to realize that my trust in them has been very misplaced. They are very toxic friends and have little regard for how their behaviour affects others. I have many sincere and trustworthy friends in my life. My two housemates do not have these qualities and their lack of respect toward me is causing a lot of hurt.

My practice of Vipassana meditation is slowly allowing me to heal. I am also doing my best to practice forgiveness. In any other circumstance I would remove myself from harms way. I do not have that choice for at least another 11 months when the lease expires.

Does anybody have any advice on how I can approach this situation?

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Aloka
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Re: Toxic Relationships

Post by Aloka » Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:52 am

Kareem wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:55 am
I recently moved in with two of my friends who I once cared for deeply. I have begun to realize that my trust in them has been very misplaced. They are very toxic friends and have little regard for how their behaviour affects others. I have many sincere and trustworthy friends in my life. My two housemates do not have these qualities and their lack of respect toward me is causing a lot of hurt.
Hi Kareem, :hello:

Could you be more specific about what it is that your friends do that you consider to be toxic?

Have you tried practising loving-kindness (metta) meditation at all?

Here's a five minute metta meditation instruction from Ajahn Jayasaro which might be helful:



With kind wishes,

Aloka :anjali:


befriend
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Re: Toxic Relationships

Post by befriend » Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:42 pm

I agree when I'm around people in a negative mood I do metta sutta recitation it was taught to make the monks fearless of tree spirits and eventually the malicious tree spirits protected the monks because they enjoyed the mendicants pleasant loving energy.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

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bodom
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Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Toxic Relationships

Post by bodom » Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:40 pm

I just read this short reflection and feel it can offer you some guidance With your situation:
Turning Inward With Patience

Ajahn Jotipālo • July 2013


I have been listening to a few of Bhikkhu Bodhi’s talks on mettā, loving-kindness. He explained that in many practice situations, mettā can often be used with an external, outgoing energy and making a genuine wish for other people to be happy. However, there is also an internal response that can occur for us when we express mettā in this way.

I was surprised when Bhikkhu Bodhi mentioned that the word khanti, patience, is very closely related to the word mettā. I hadn’t recognized that before. I have given a few talks on mettā and when I do, I often receive questions from people con- cerned with external circumstances, such as, “It’s so painful to be with this person . . .” or “When I’m in this situation it’s really difficult. How do you deal with that?” Most of the questions are directed toward the practice of loving-kindness as a method for sending mettā outward. But we can also turn in- ward rather than outward. This is where Bhikkhu Bodhi says patience comes in. We can learn to turn toward the pain we feel toward the dukkha we are experiencing in these difficult circumstances and to hold that dukkha with a quality of patience.

Ajahn Sucitto once said that we often think of patience as waiting for change. I will endure this situation, gritting my teeth, until it changes. Certainly we might want a painful situation to change, but with true patience, according to Ajahn Sucitto, it’s
more like thinking, I will be with this situation, period. In other words, there’s no expectation that the situation will change or get better.

By learning to turn toward our suffering and simply be with it, we are staying at the level of feeling. We are not getting into the story, the proliferation, or creating a self around it. If someone says something to us and we become angry or feel un- comfortable, instead of going outward, as we typically do with mettā, we can go inward. So when we feel pain in a situation, we can first recognize it. Then we move toward the painful feeling and explore it. If we can refrain from getting into the story behind the feeling, it will be that much easier to experience the feeling without wanting to change it. It’s merely a physical sensation or a mental perception, and we do not need to add anything to it or try to make it go away. When we stay with a painful feeling in this way, we are experiencing khanti, true patience.
https://www.abhayagiri.org/media/books/ ... lume_1.pdf

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

JohnK
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Location: Tetons, Wyoming, USA

Re: Toxic Relationships

Post by JohnK » Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:57 pm

Kareem wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:55 am
In any other circumstance I would remove myself from harms way. I do not have that choice for at least another 11 months when the lease expires.
Absolutely no way out?
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

Kareem
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Re: Toxic Relationships

Post by Kareem » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:52 am

I am very thankful for all of your responses and the time that you put aside to offer me some perspective. To answer some of your questions:

They are both individuals with seperate relationships to me. They do share some similar qualities within the relationships though. They lack basic respect toward me and have no regard for how their behaviour affects me. They often ridicule me, dismissing my ideas or behaviour as invalid. They both lack empathy and concern for my wellbeing. When I do turn to them for support either I get a halfhearted response or no response at all. I go out of my way to support and encourage them and it is completely taken for granted.

I am currently practicing lovingkindness meditation and though I cannot trust them, I am sure I can develop the capacity to wish them well.

My concern at the moment is more about how I should approach the situation in a tangible way ie. how I should act and speak. I am currently avoiding being around them. I am in my room during the night and at my brothers during the weekend. I have tried to be honest with them about my concerns but it has only created more tension within the household. When I am around them I now pretend that I have no issues with them. It feels awkward, inauthentic and disempowering.

paul
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Location: Vietnam

Re: Toxic Relationships

Post by paul » Mon Jul 23, 2018 6:14 am

I lived in monasteries and got used to the silence there, where you never speak unless there’s something functional to be said. This is a great benefit to mindfulness, and I got so accustomed to doing it that I practise it in lay life, I just never speak to people unless I have something to say. So I think you’re in the ideal situation where you’re living an independent and silent life, if you can just stop worrying about it and expecting more than what’s possible, i.e. stop trying to impose a personal-type relationship on the situation. It’s not toxic, it’s just a normal functional relationship in shared accomodation (the basis of the relationship is financial). If you're a Buddhist you will naturally be moving away from the uninstructed run-of-the-mill type of person, so have as little to do with them as possible. There are some changes of attitude that must be worked on.

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salayatananirodha
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Re: Toxic Relationships

Post by salayatananirodha » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:48 am

JohnK wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:57 pm
Kareem wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:55 am
In any other circumstance I would remove myself from harms way. I do not have that choice for at least another 11 months when the lease expires.
Absolutely no way out?
I also wondered this. :)
Sure, you may have to pay some kind of a severance fee or get a bad report on your credit, but is your peace of mind worth that? When you're in a volatile situation you want out of, you may not always control your faculties. You might say or do evil things, no matter how much you talk yourself up, because you're impacted by feeling.
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

Laurens
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Location: Norfolk, England

Re: Toxic Relationships

Post by Laurens » Tue Jul 24, 2018 5:44 am

The main thing I would recommend is making metta a focus of your meditation when you are finding things particularly tough. I won't necessarily prevent things from triggering you into feeling negative, but it will become easier to empathise and to let go of any ill will before it builds up into resentment.

Also perhaps reflect on the nature of our relationships with others. So often we want things to conform to our expectations, we want people not to act a certain way, but the reality is that we can't change how people are. It's not our duty to. You say, for instance, that they lack respect for you. That's tough to be on the receiving end of, but its not your job to turn them into respectful people. You can only change how you react, so work on that. Maybe if you respect them regardless they will change based upon your example, but don't count on it.

This will pass, maybe even sooner than you think.
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

rolling_boulder
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Re: Toxic Relationships

Post by rolling_boulder » Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:52 pm

get out of there if you can

Distance from fools is rather underappreciated in western buddhist circles IMO

just leave
The world is swept away. It does not endure...
The world is without shelter, without protector...
The world is without ownership. One has to pass on, leaving everything behind...
The world is insufficient, insatiable, a slave to craving.

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LG2V
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Re: Toxic Relationships

Post by LG2V » Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:18 am

rolling_boulder wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:52 pm
get out of there if you can

Distance from fools is rather underappreciated in western buddhist circles IMO

just leave
This. See if you can get someone to take over your lease or sublet. This being said, do be friendly and generous with them while you're there; these qualities go a long way and generosity usually leads to one receiving more respect.

And make an extra effort to make new friends. Housemates becoming enemies is rather common, so your life might be easier if you have a strong social group without them.

Best of luck to you man.
Here are some excellent sites for giving free Dana (Click-Based Donation):
http://freerice.comhttp://greatergood.com/www.ripple.orgwww.thenonprofits.com

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