The Typical Badnesses of People
Maybe this is a negative article, but the way I see it, focusing on the negative isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because when we remove the darkness the light takes care of itself--like washing a window. I believe that everybody, in their soul, is inherently light and good underneath all of the bullshit and the pain and the lies.
I know “badnesses” isn’t a word, but it's a word I use frequently to describe certain character traits that people, including myself, carry. I really don’t consider myself a very good intuitive guide. But I AM very good at spotting certain detrimental behaviors, behaviors that anyone can easily change if they are looking to improve their life. These behaviors center around how discerning people are when it comes to four main areas:
2) work and money
3) friends and family
4) romantic relationships
I wrote about emotional armoring and withdrawl in my last article. That is just one brand of badness. Here are some more common ones:
1. Using drugs and alcohol to cope. Many will say, “oh that’s not me,” and claim that their daily glass of wine, morning matcha, afternoon toke, evening cigarette, monthly binge drinking, or whatever it is, isn’t a coping mechanism, just an enjoyable harmless habit. I beg to differ.
I know exactly what drove me to reach for those things, even when it was infrequently, and it was stuff like fatigue, depression, muscular tension, boredom, and social anxiety. Or being in an especially good mood, but with a desire to take that high even further, to just let loose and be bad, irresponsible, which implies a general unhappiness, uptightness, and stilted creativity/spontaneity associated with my normal life. I might be better off examining why I feel all of those things in the first place.
So if mind altering chemicals are something an individual indulges in regularly, places a great amount of importance on (“life wouldn’t be worth living without coffee”), or they staunchly defend continuing the habit, associating it with personal freedom and their core identity, I find the motivation questionable. Besides, these substances are toxic and hard on the body. I just don’t think they raise one’s vibration no matter what studies may say about longevity this and antioxidants that.
Eating healthy, avoiding environmental toxins, and minimizing the use of prescription drugs obviously matters too.
2. And while we’re talking about coffee, let’s talk about sleep hygiene. Not ever sleeping enough, not insomnia I mean, but just making bad decisions, whether you use stimulants to cope with that or not, is not admirable. It doesn’t make you a hard worker. It just makes you a lesser person while awake. No one wants to hang out with someone or employ someone half or three-quarters functional because they didn’t get enough sleep (well that’s not true about employers, just look at residency doctors, but it should be)!
I’m not talking about that rare time when the crop has to be harvested before the hailstorm hits. I’m talking about a habitual lack of discipline and not taking care of one’s body, willingly staying up half the night playing video games, socializing, watching movies, or even working or doing more honorable things, but things a person is choosing.
If I have mate who decides to stay up late, but still plans to get up early the next day to do something with me, I almost consider it a personal affront, because they just aren’t going to have as much fun or be as emotionally available as they would be fully rested, and are probably going to resent me for waking them. It’s a choice. In our culture it's normal to be habitually under-rested, but it isn’t healthy, and will result in burnout eventually, if it hasn’t already.
Sleeping when it is actually dark out is a good idea as well because of the human circadian rhythm.
3. And while we’re talking about hard work, let’s talk about a Save the World Complex. Some “good” people defend long work hours, staying up all night, and using stimulants to enhance productivity because they feel their goal is worthy, because their business is helping others. But it is never a good idea to sacrifice one’s well-being on a regular and sustained basis to help others. That is not how the world works. The entire universe reflects back the vibration of little old you. Yes YOU are that important. You, with your daily actions and choices, are manifesting the multiverse in which Michael Jackson saves the starving children or Michael Jackson dies. There is nothing “out there” to save. The war between light and dark inside of you is the only war you really need to worry about.
Many CEO types and uber-productive successful people are not just high achievers, they are over achievers. They often come from a troubled background that has given them an inferiority complex that presents itself in a super drive. The motivational speaker Tony Robbins is a well-known example. He admits to being “obsessed” with preventing others from suffering, and has teams of healers waiting backstage to work on him to restore his energy after his epic speaking gigs. I’m sure this strategy is healthier than drinking twelve cups of coffee, but I still question the need.
Social justice is another flavor of the Save The World Complex, except social justice types tend to be low achievers, given that they eschew conventional markers of success. There is nothing wrong with a compassionate desire to help others. I just see it too often coming from an angry, powerless, broken place inside. All of these badnesses come from a misguided place of trying to be good or feel good.
I used to worry about the state of the planet and environmental matters a lot and it was very depressing and probably contributed to the development of my chronic fatigue. Some of the things I used to worry about like the effects of man-made electromagnetic energy, toxic mold in buildings, and volatile organic chemicals are still things I am concerned with, but back then I took them in with a sense of fear, grief, and overwhelm, partly because I wanted to fix it for everybody and partly because I was very young and felt powerless to change my own situation. Today I am unconcerned with the ability of those things to impede my long-term health and happiness, because I know there is always a way, and if there is a way for me, there is a way for anyone.
Even being too generous can be a bad thing. It can be a bad idea to give too much money to someone, or give away too many services for free. Why? It can set up an energetic imbalance--depleting one's own energy. It can cause the receiver not to value the service they are receiving. It can be a sort of unclean exchange, expecting certain rewards in return without being explicit as to what they are. It can come from a lack of self-worth. Or it can come from a place of ego and desiring to be admired, or superior in some way.
4. Another work-related issue is martyrdom. Martyrdom is a huge problem. So many people are literally killing their bodies and their souls to put food on the table. That’s not a very good strategy given that, like world peace, money and abundance also follow a high vibration, which typically requires doing what one enjoys or at least what isn’t overtly hurting them. And, unfortunately, sometimes when something is really bad for you, you actually have to leave it to draw in something good. You just have to be willing to have no plan and no safety net and trust that something better will show up.
Then there is the nest egg excuse: “I’m just doing this until I’ve saved up xyz amount of money.” I dated several men involved in the lucrative “medical” marijuana industry in California, where it was semi-legal. None of them were particularly passionate about their product. They just wanted to fund projects such as ecovillages, permaculture farms, primitive skills schools, or buying land in other countries. Seems like a way take a soulless endeavor and turn it into something good and wholesome, right? But I found that these guys often didn’t make the money they thought they would, or encountered other problems in their lives that meant they lost what they made or never got to actualize their dreams: wrecked trucks, stolen crops, fits of depression, that sort of thing.
I’m sure there are many reasons for this (like maybe their dreams were not really their soul’s true dreams either, only idealistic fantasies), but I imagine that their lack of success had something to do with the fact that the work itself was bringing them down. The industry is a shady one, fraught with untrustworthy characters, black market dealings, and risk of jail time. Almost no one follows the legal guidelines, which creates an air of paranoia and secrecy, and only a tiny percentage of the product actually gets used medicinally. I know I got out of it for all of these reasons.
But people martyr themselves in endless ways beyond lust for money. Keeping promises just to be reliable, to be “a man (or woman) of one’s word” is one way. There’s no honor in keeping a promise or plans that just aren’t in truth to keep. And if something isn’t in truth for one person it just isn’t going to be in truth for the other party either.
Divorce is a common example. Breaking a marriage vow is a serious thing, but trying to make a relationship work, when it isn't, is just not fair to either party. There are so many iterations of this. Staying together “for the children” is probably not a good idea. Children are little sponges that pick up on tensions and unhealthy energies and act out, and you’ll only be teaching them to sacrifice their happiness to stay in relationships that just aren’t working when they grow up. Not something I think most parents desire for their children.
I once dated someone who refused to move in with me because it would hurt the feelings of his ex-wife. Now do you think this ex was worried about hurting his feelings? No. She’d been running around town with other men since before their separation, and was presently spreading ridiculous rumors that he was a gay, abusive, drug-addict. It’s not that he didn’t want to, but he viewed moving in with me just six months after their separation as sinking to her level. He was willing to sacrifice his own happiness and sacrifice a new, healthier relationship in order to remain loyal to her and take what he saw as the more righteous path.
And speaking of children, you’ll find grown up ones frequently admit that they only call their parents regularly because of a sense of duty and obligation, because it makes their parents happy, even though the conversations may personally leave them drained from their parent’s incompatible energies. Think the woo-woo son calling his ultra-conservative religious father, or the independent daughter calling her worrywart mom. Some people can be legitimately close with their parents, I’m sure, but I’m speaking of individuals who would not choose their parents as actual friends.
Again, “good” people, “nice” people often stay in relationships way too long because they love someone and don’t want to hurt their feelings. If you want to know why this is bad, just ask yourself, how would this person feel if they knew the whole truth, that you wanted to leave, but were mostly with them because you were afraid to hurt them by leaving, or afraid of what they might do to themselves, or your things or...this is a common one...afraid of not being able to pay the rent on a new place/not wanting to pay the fine for breaking a lease. Do you think the significant other would feel good if they knew these were the reasons you were staying? No, they would be terribly hurt.
My friend once said he wanted out of a relationship with his dependent girlfriend but, “She’s like a retarded baby. I can’t just throw her off a cliff.” Was it fair for him to continue dating this poor girl? Doesn’t she deserve to be with someone who truly loves and respects her? This person’s ego was all tied up in being the nice guy, but his behavior, complaining constantly behind her back, wasn’t really nice at all!
So don’t try to get away with living these lies. Unless you are literally going to get beaten if you try to escape. Then wait til the proper time! Otherwise get the hell out.
5. Bad boundaries. And when you get out of something, don’t be afraid to get out completely. Everybody wants to be friends because they don’t like the idea of parting ways entirely, but no contact for a period of time is often necessary for proper healing and disconnection of cords when a relationship has ended. And a lot of times, once those cords are cut, you'll realize friendship just isn’t where it’s at. Don’t feel bad about blocking someone out of love. Tell them what is up if you want to. Tell them, “I’m blocking you because it makes me sad to see your face and I don’t want to be tempted to stalk you.”
OF COURSE my guy who didn’t want to hurt his ex-wife, was also still friends with her on Facebook, wedding photos and all, because he didn’t want to cause any animosity. OF COURSE they hadn’t filed any divorce papers because he, not they, but he didn’t have the money.
So technically I’ve slept with two married men in my life. I can’t advise it, even though it's just a stupid piece of paper. Not because there was anything sexual going on, but because people who don’t get officially divorced, for tax reasons, or whatever reasons, tend to have a poor understanding of energy dynamics and boundaries.
The same friend who compared his girlfriend to a retarded baby did eventually leave her. But he spent the next eight months trying to fully shake her because of his horrendous boundaries. Occasionally this was because he would get caught up in the nostalgia and convinced that maybe she had changed, or was seduced by her sexual attention and flattery. Mostly this was because he was applying a strategy of feeding the dragon little scraps to keep it tame. He had a fear that if he was too "mean" she would get in a car accident, commit suicide, call the police and tell them everything illegal he'd ever done, show up at his doorstep and cause a COPS-like domestic scene, or come break all the windows when no one was there and trash his things.
He refused to block her emails because he felt he had to keep tabs on what she was thinking in case she was about to do one of these things. He refused to block her texts and calls because he said she'd just call from another number. He refused to change his phone number because it was HIS phone number and he didn't want to change it. He doled out every excuse in the book and refused to set boundaries. By ignoring her most of the time, but not all of the time, he taught her all she needed to do to get attention was to up the ante. He even went so far as to go on vacation with her just to keep her from ruining his life (and to get laid, because of course he wasn't attracting a new mate with all of this distraction).
But when things came to a critical head, and I insisted he just tell the truth about everything (or I wasn't going to speak to him anymore, because I have boundaries, and this was stressing me out!), guess what happened? Nothing. None of those scenarios he feared came to pass. It took about an hour total of texting and after 8 months she finally left him alone. Turns out she wasn't a dragon after all, just a girl.
Boundaries. They are magic!
6. Unhealthy friendships. This is a bit different than knowing full well you don’t get much enjoyment out of interacting with a person anymore, but fear ending things. This is when you still do get enjoyment, but your friends have become, how shall I say this politely...stupider than you. Er, I mean, not on the same level. Not to be rude, but we all know those people who just haven’t evolved or matured much beyond high school. Maybe they still party hard when you’ve outgrown it. Maybe they still like watching cable TV! A lot of people have an understandable sense of loyalty or nostalgia toward someone who has been there for them for a long time that somewhat makes up for the lack of commonality, but that doesn’t necessarily make the relationship healthy.
Or maybe you ARE still the partying, TV watching type, but don’t want to be. You want to improve yourself, and you know you are going to have to give up those things, and you know keeping the same friends will make it very difficult.
Or maybe you’re just different now. I still like many of my old primitive skills buddies, but I just don’t find those politics and lifestyles to be super interesting to me anymore. In any case it is important to surround yourself with people who have lives you admire because if their vibration is lower than yours, if they are constantly negative, off-center, and not interested in changing, it will bring you down.
7. Low standards. Willingness to compromise. Self-victimization. It's sort of a blurry line, but I’d say while a martyr sacrifices themselves for another, or their own future, or for some higher purpose, a person with low standards is someone who simply doesn’t think they can do any better, indefinitely. This type of person might not like everything about a situation they are in, but they brush aside the negatives, or don’t believe they can have what they really want. They might think, “well, my girlfriend is crazy, but I’ll never find anyone else this good-looking who wants to have sex with me.”
Or, “I’m not happy living in this city, but if I move I’d have to sell my house and change jobs...It’d just be a big hassle.” This is the person who settles for less.
When things are really bad it is easy to change. When things are so-so there is a lot less drive. The low standards person is “happy” living an average life. I kinda like to interact with people who have been brought to their knees by suffering at some point in their lives begging for relief from the pain, because they are more likely to have that humility and impetus to seek real growth and change.
Whereas a martyr has defined principles or a plan guiding their actions, this person has an Eeyorish air of dejection and defeat. They can be self-victimizing because they refuse to believe they can do anything to better their situation. When you bring up other options or solutions to their problems they’ll find reasons to shoot them down and remain stuck. Perhaps they are lazy, or in denial of reality, and want good things to come to them without being willing to put in any effort to be the “magnet” for those things.
Lack of self confidence is often the underlying culprit here. I’ve stuck with tons of bad or mediocre relationships too long due to low standards, and not understanding what was possible, or that I deserved better. Low self-esteem basically means, “The biggest thing wrong with you is your belief that there is something wrong with you.” A person with low self-esteem often displays untoward loyalty toward those who those who show them the tiniest scraps of attention and kindness. The first thing they need to do to improve any situation is be willing to walk away.
Every time you truly close the door on something not right it's like sending a message to the universe that you're ready for the next big thing. Sometimes even the same thing returns but better. Maybe you drop out as a student in a class, and next thing you know, you're being hired as co-instructor. Maybe you go to put in your resignation at work, but your boss offers you a new, much better, position. Maybe after nine months of self-reflection that person you dumped who just couldn't get it together, has actually gotten it together.
8. Attachment to form. One way people keep themselves stuck is attachment to form. They believe if they’ve had something good and lost it, they will never find that thing again. Usually this means the love they felt for a person, or specific qualities that person possessed. This simply isn’t true. Finding something once should be taken as evidence that it can be found again, and even found in a more suitable package, because if things ended with the first thing there was probably a reason.
Think about it this way: it's a lot easier to find something similar to an old thing than a totally new and different thing because the neural pathways already exist. You must have, at one time, subconsciously deemed yourself worthy of manifesting that thing. You must have been at the vibration of being able to manifest that thing. And if you've learned anything from that experience, or grown yourself in the meantime, you ought to be able to manifest a slightly (or way) better thing.
For example, I’ve experienced a deep soul connection with specific ex-boyfriends, but know that I should not pine for them since there are many other men out there waiting to have such a connection with me. This doesn’t mean that I’m perfect and don’t pine, but I’ve manifested new guys with so many of the same traits as the old, both positive and, unfortunately, negative, that it’s not even funny.
For example, the last guy I felt a major connection to was eerily similar to the last serious love before him. They did not look alike, but they were both handy, scrappy, working class (fisherman and carpenter). They both had a Southern accent and were from the South (Alabama and Tennessee, a few hours from each other. They even had an overlap in friends). They were both raised by divorced mothers. They both had withdrawn attachment patterns and a tendency toward independence and emotional detachment as a sort of core "live and let live" philosophy.
They were both the type to hang out in bars, though one drank heavily but infrequently while the other drank lightly but frequently. Both appeared in my life three years before I finally took notice of them. I dismissed them both at first until I was in a specific open, giddy mood, and decided to lower my guard and let them in. When I finally contacted each of them, online, a peculiar thing happened where I immediately, without knowing very much about them at all, felt a strong psychic connection with highly sexual overtones. We watched the same movie, Moonrise Kingdom, during the relationships (incidentally a love story between a troubled boy and troubled girl, and I don't even watch movies twice). I busted a tire while planning on cohabitating with each of them (I think that's what happened anyway, could be wrong about why).
None of this was planned. I didn't consciously choose the second guy because he reminded me of the first guy. He chose me, actually, and I didn't realize all of the literal similarities until later, although energetically I recognized him right away as "my type".
So trust me, people are out there and if you can’t find them, it's probably because you’ve got some things to work on, the first of which is simply believing. You might be wondering why I'm dating detached drunks, whom I had to lower my guard to let in, in the first place, but I actually don't regret dating them. They had important things to offer. What I regret is staying involved for too long, long enough to get bruised by those habits.
9. Lack of integrity. This could mean a lot of things, but I often see it in the form of interpersonal shadiness. Lies. Trying to get away with something. Of course there are big lies. Like cheating on someone. But there are little lies too. When I was younger, poor Andy, my long-distance, non-exclusive, but basically exclusive boyfriend, came from New York City to Vermont to visit me, and I told him I had a date that night, but not until right before I had to leave for it. I really don’t remember what I was thinking!
Lack of integrity might mean sharing a hotel room with a person of the opposite sex whom you have some chemistry with when you are otherwise taken, even though you have no intent to do anything. It might mean still flirting with someone, or dating them, or letting them harbor feelings for you without telling them what’s up after things have started to become serious with someone else. It might mean taking money or other gifts from someone who has sexual feelings toward you with no intent of returning those feelings. It might mean lateness, forgetfulness, and breaking plans—just plain being inconsiderate.
Integrity is often defined as the courage to do the right thing even when it is difficult. Not replying to someone’s texts or calls when there is clearly something to be dealt with signals a lack of integrity. Not having “time” to deal with it is rarely a good excuse, for we know people make time for important things.
I have an acquaintance who was involved in a secret affair with a woman who had a plan to stay engaged to her dangerously unstable and jealous fiancé for the next six months until their lease ran out in their New York City apartment. Wow! Talk about mixing all of these bad habits into one story. She was displaying a horrendous lack of integrity by lying to her fiancé, but also martyrdom because she genuinely didn’t want to hurt him, and was afraid of the financial consequences for both of them of breaking the lease.
My friend was a) also lacking in integrity by being willing to involve himself in this crazy scheme. And by being willing to put up with anything because of being “deeply in love” he was b) attaching himself to one specific form c) settling for less than he deserved and d)displaying poor boundaries by not demanding that she get her shit together and choose him NOW if she really loved him so much, or being willing to end it indefinitely if she did not.
Note that this woman was already in talk therapy. That’s why I can’t be a counselor. It’s much too hands off for me when it comes to telling people the brutal truth about their behavior! Two thumbs down on this story. You know me, I told this friend what I thought. He said my perspective was "exhilarating" and "refreshing" though I haven't heard anything since!
So, these are some of the types of badnesses people display. There are others, but I'll have to do a Part Two someday. You could say that anxiety, depression, narcissism, and just about any disorder you’d find in the DSM are badnesses as well, but those are badnesses of a different type. Those are the ways in which people break. These are the ways in which people behave. Ways that they can unchoose in a second. Ways that may not be so obvious as get you thrown in jail but will fuck up your life just the same.
Now don’t go thinking I think I’m better than everyone else, or that I have moved beyond all of these specific badnesses. Two of my major badness are an inferiority complex and a guilt complex so if you want a list of the way that I am still bad, or might be bad, I can certainly give it to you, but that’s for another blog.