I have endured many bad experiences in my life because I didn't trust my gut instincts. The story plays out the same way, some sort of "incident", event or interaction happens, and immediately my first thought is "Something is off. This person is off. I sense some dishonesty" But because I couldn't prove anything (these were all just mere thoughts anyway) and because I had no evidence that so and so is a liar or whatnot, I dismiss my gut instincts, and take it at face value. I refrain from "reading between the lines" and go ahead with whatever it is I am doing.
I thought my mind was playing tricks on me, that I was overly suspicious, that I was skeptical for no reason, that I was judgemental, even racist, fascist. I had read that we humans have "confirmation bias" We believe what we want to believe about people, and sometimes, what we believe to be true, can be false. When I meet people (usually for work, new friends, or even dates) I give them a chance, and believe what they tell me until they prove me wrong, even if my alarms are ringing like a storm is coming.
I've had 2 instances in my life where I ignored my alarm bells and proceeded with whatever it is I was doing, and the whole thing just blew up in my face, apocalyptic level. One instance, was a partnership for work. And the other one, was a person I dated. I keep getting myself into dumb partnerships thats for sure. I really do blame myself in this case.
What happened to me during these 2 phases in my life was a big life lesson. When I met both of these parties (work partnership, and the guy I dated) I didn't entirely believe what the other party was saying/ promising, but I had no proof that they were dishonest or omitted anything. They were also master manipulators, extremely skillful at making people believe in them, just so they could get something in return. What's worse, both parties seem to think what they were doing was "right" and that it didn't matter what happened to people around them - the only thing that mattered was that they got what they want in the end - no matter who they had to slaughter to get there.
What happened to me during these 2 phases of my life was.....enlightening. I discovered something about myself that I have suppressed all these years, and it lay dormant in my psyche.
My body, and I mean this quite literally, completely rejected these people in my life. They weren't really doing anything to me just yet (still no evidence of anything bad) but I had migraines, stomach cramps, anxiety and so many panic attacks during the duration of my time with them. From the beginning of meeting them, till the very end.
I thought I was just sick, that I was unhealthy, that I wasn't eating right, exercising enough, meditating enough. I didn't think that my sickness was co-related to the work partnership nor my date. I just couldn't believe it - how can my "energy" reject someone else's "energy". How can my stomach aches have anything to do with work emails???? I didn't have any proof they weren't honest people, and they were charming and excellent at convincing me that it was a good idea to go into this partnership.
Later on, as these two relationships developed and progressed, I started to see who these people were, what they were about, what their values were, and their intentions. They were not malicious in their intent, but most definitely self serving and narcissistic. I call these people ENERGY VAMPIRES. They take from you until there is nothing to get out of you. They don't care what really happens to you or how you feel (in fact, they don't consider your feelings/work OR your energy at all) all they want is to pursue their goals.
They wear masks to hide who they truly are. They learn about you and your weaknesses, and they use it against you. They are very nice people on the outside, intelligent and brilliant, but deep down inside, they are ugly. In fact, i'm scared of them. You don't know who they are. You get glimpses of them here and there, but they are good at hiding it. In fact, I dont even think they know who they really are, and what they are doing. I don't think they are self aware to that level (if they were, that is scarier because that would mean they are plotting the whole thing) They lack empathy and compassion, all they care about is their appearance, their title, and what people can do for them. They use people like puppets, to serve their goals, and that only. Once you deem yourself useless to them, they dismiss you and turn against you, no warning. They will say everything to convince you, but when the time came to prove the loyalty, to put in their part of the deal, it's out the window.
I noticed that many people around me, from the very beginning, were turned off by them, and chose not to befriend them or get too close. But me, I chose to dismiss my judgements and give them a chance.
It's very hard for me to describe these people without it making me look like i'm bitter from all these failed partnerships, but that is my truth. Now, I reflect on those 2 experiences and realize that the red flags were all there, but I took too long to register it into my brain. I was also binded with a contract for the work partnership. As for my date, I tried several times to leave, but like I said, they are good at manipulating situations to their own advantage. Giving you just enough to think they were real, but actually taking more than they should. I was stuck with these people until I had a chance to cut them off.
I did a little research about these type of people. Narcissists and Machiavellians. I've had many people with these traits enter my life. Something about me and how I am (mainly me feeling sorry for people) that attracts them to me. Apparently, "empaths" people who are sensitive to others and feel very deeply attract narcissists. Honestly, we just want to help people, and we get exploited in return. There are many articles out there explaining the whole thing. Read this for more on this topic. (Friends, if you're in a relationship with a narcissist, or you think you may be in one, there's a video at the end of this post that explains the whole thing. Watch all the videos!)
For me, my main issue in all of this is :
1. Not trusting my gut instinct (which I believe is because I dont trust myself and how I feel sprinkled with some low self esteem - thinking that I must surely be wrong, and others must be right, which led to me completely dismissing the bad vibes I was getting)
2. Not putting up healthy boundaries with people I meet (my boundaries aren't strong enough, and I give in too easily) I just have to learn to be a bitch, basically. No means no.
Anyway, I've learnt now to trust my gut instincts. If I reflect and look back at my life, my instincts have been right 100% of the time. I have to stop feeling sorry for people, and start reading between the lines again. I cannot allow others to exploit my work, or my energy.
I read a lot of books and articles on intuition. The most popular book in this theme is "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell and "Thinking Fast, and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman. Do read those if you like to know more about cognitive biases and intuition. Or you can watch the video above, its long though. Malcolm Gladwell is my GURU! #GladwellGal
Nowadays, I listen to my gut. I have cut out so many people in my life, declined projects and declined dates the minute I feel something is off. It is pretty lonely now because i've basically declined EVERYONE! In the beginning of this new outlook of mine, I felt very nervous. Am I making a mistake here? Maybe this project isn't so bad, maybe this person is nice? Later on, I found out that all those projects did not work out, people lost time and money over it, and that the dates I declined - they started harassing me the minute I stopped replying them, demanding that I reply them, in a very aggressive way (men, seriously what is wrong with you) Or my friends ended up dating them and they were weird.
Your intuition is most likely correct. You just have to learn to listen to it. Sometimes the situation is difficult to read, there is no logic to it, you cant explain why you're feeling what you're feeling, you can't articulate anything, something is just *OFF* ....but that's when you have to trust yourself, your gut and just go with it. Don't feel obligated to agree on projects you feel iffy about and don't go out with guys who are cute and charming but make you feel weird. (hard, I know)
I had to endure months of all these "energy rejection" symptoms, without really knowing what the issue was. Once I got out of these partnerships, I got better, immediately. I didn't have any more cramps, panic attacks or anxiety.
I have accepted that people like me, we are very sensitive to our surroundings and the people that we're with, so it's EXTRA important for me to have good people around me. People I can trust, people who are honest, and people who walk the talk. I am allergic to charming people already. When it feels too good to be true - it probably IS.
Here's another video of my favorite psychologist who's an expert on narcissism and personality disorders. I found it very helpful because FOR SOME REASON I attract all these weirdos into my life. I'll probably write another post on Toxic friendships and relationships to add on to this.
Thanks for reading this post :)
PS - Dr Ramani is the bomb diggity, even Lady Gaga comments on her videos! (fun fact)