When to Walk Away

A few years ago, I was part of a group of people I considered friends. I socialized with them. Had online conversations. Told them things about myself. I liked most of them, and I thought it was mutual with at least some.

Then I learned the sad truth. Some of them were not only saying insulting and hurtful things behind my back, they were overtly trying to sabotage my connections with other people. Including my own husband.

I had known that some of the people in the group weren’t my biggest fans, but I hadn’t realized their dislike of me ran that deep until two people, independently, came to me and said, “These people told me this about you and told me not to have anything to do with you.” When I vented to my husband about my pain and anger, he said, “Oh, yeah, they said that stuff to me too.”

Despite knowing there were members of the group who didn’t think so highly of me, and in spite of things a few had said to my face, I’d hung in there. I was determined not to let them “run me off,” so to speak. After all, didn’t thinking highly of *myself* mean not allowing other people to have power over me? Didn’t not caring what others thought of me mean continuing to expose myself to people who didn’t think kindly?

Nope. It didn’t mean any of that. And when I realized how deep the dislike ran, and how much damage some people in the group had tried to cause–and may have succeeded in causing, because I did learn that at least two people I’d tried to form connections with had chosen not to due to what the others said to them–I realized I wasn’t doing myself any favors by staying in that group.

I left. I cut ties even with group members who, to my knowledge, hadn’t said or done anything negative, because I was no longer sure I could trust them. I blocked them on social media. I called it quits.

And I immediately felt lighter, more positive, and more sure of myself than I had in a long time.

We’re often taught that we should keep people in our lives. Especially if we’re “spiritual,” according to some, we’re supposed to keep connections even with people who are toxic to us because otherwise, we aren’t showing compassion or forgiveness. Some of us also come from backgrounds in which we were expected to accept poor treatment without complaint, and even expected to forget it entirely the moment someone said, “Sorry,” even if we knew they didn’t mean it and would only do it again. 

Some of us become conditioned to being treated poorly and blaming ourselves for it, and take that to mean we can’t walk away just because we don’t like how someone is dealing with us.

But that isn’t how it’s meant to be. We are under no obligation to keep people in our lives when we know they’re treating us badly or that they’re toxic to or unhealthy for us. We aren’t somehow more spiritual or evolved because we choose to continue exposing ourselves to people whose actions cause us to doubt and dislike ourselves.

We can walk away from those people. Not caring what others think includes not caring how others view our choices about who to allow in our lives. It includes building a life in which we feel happy, confident, and positive, regardless of what anyone else tells us we “should” do.

No matter who someone is, what their role your life has been, or if they’ve done anything positive for you, if their behavior toward you is hurtful and toxic, you do not owe them any place in your life. You have the right to shut them out for your own sake. That isn’t refusing to show compassion, and it isn’t “unevolved.” You are showing compassion for *yourself*, and evolving beyond a life where you are constantly feeling negatively about yourself due to the actions and words of others.

The time to walk away is when you feel it’s necessary. You don’t need to explain it or justify it to anyone. If you need to have someone out of your life, you have the right to make that choice. 

Some Things About Me

It occurred to me that people visiting my site might want to know who I am as a person, not only as a practitioner. So here are a few facts about me:

1. I have 2 kids, both adults now.

2. I’m a witch, but I sometimes feel like I’m not very good at it. (I’m a good witch, but not good at *being* a witch.)

3. I prefer following my own instincts, intuition, and focus over following other people’s rules.

4. I’ve been on a journey to heal from abuse, bullying, and trauma for years now, and I love helping others on their journeys.

5. I’m an author; although most of my books are out of print now due to publishers closing, at one time I had over 80 novels and short stories on the market under 2 different pen names.

6. I was a special education teacher for a number of years, and developed a phonics-based reading/comprehension program during one of my jobs; the program’s been on the market since 2002.

7. I’m agender. I don’t identify as female or male, just as me.

8. The “River” part of my business name (RiverEvolutions, formerly River Flow Healing) is part of a name I was gifted when I started studying witchcraft and chose it as my spiritual path.

9. I’m polyamorous, meaning I have the capacity to romantically love more than one person. Thanks to a very understanding and compassionate husband, I have a marriage of nearly 10 years (anniversary in April), a long-term relationship of 4 1/2 years, and other connections that bring me happiness.

10. I’m a grandmother. My older grandson is technically a “step,” but I don’t think of him that way; he’s been part of my life since he was 3. My younger grandson turned 1 yesterday!

11. Sometimes I fall flat on my face when it comes to following my beliefs about healing, manifestation, etc. I’m constantly learning to feel more compassion toward myself at those times.

12. I learned Chios Energy Healing after a friend offered me a session in 2005; I’d never heard of energy healing before that. I became a Certified Chios Master Teacher in less than 6 months because it resonated so deeply for me.

13. I channel a being of light who calls himself Shiva. He’s been my guide my entire life (I used to think of him and my other guides as “invisible friends,” and became very angry as a child when people said my friends were imaginary, not invisible), and I learned to channel him around the same time I learned Chios.

14. Shiva and my other guides, as I said, have been around my entire life, and they offer a lot of guidance and support on my journey… but I don’t always listen to them. Kinda like a toddler doesn’t always listen to their parents…

15. I was raised as an only child by parents who rarely socialized with anyone, so a lot of human “socialing” behavior makes no sense to me. I do much better and feel much more comfortable interacting with people one-on-one than in groups.

16. I tend to overexplain and make really long lists.

Energetic Matches and Mismatches

Everyone has an energetic vibration specific to them. However, the frequency of that vibration can be the same as or very similar to other people’s. It can also be very different.

When you’re around someone whose vibration is much higher or lower than yours, it can be painful, emotionally and even physically. Have you ever been around someone whose very presences causes you to feel like you’ve been punched in the gut? That’s an energetic mismatch. Does someone cause you to feel uncomfortable or have another strong negative emotional reaction? Probably an energetic mismatch.

If you feel uncomfortable around someone, sometimes it’s referred to as having a good “people sense,” or good instincts. But the way you feel in someone else’s presence is determined in large part by their energetic vibration. Your “instinct” is your recognition of how they’re vibrating. The more sensitive you are to energy and emotions, the more strongly you’ll be able to feel this.

I’ve known people who took an instant dislike to me. In some cases, they disliked me on sight, before I even spoke a single word to them. Once we started speaking, they didn’t make much effort to hide how they felt.

On my part, around these people, I felt scared and as if something was shrinking me. My stomach ached. Breathing was difficult, and I was tense and on edge until I walked out of the setting.

There isn’t anything wrong with me. There probably wasn’t anything wrong with any of the other people. There was just a discrepancy between my vibration and theirs, and we reacted to it.

On the flip side, many of us have had the experience of meeting someone for the first time and feeling as if we’ve known them our entire life. There’s an instant comfort, and you feel safe and restored.

The sense that we’ve known someone our entire life might be due to having actually known their soul in a past life, but it’s also about the energetic vibration. The more connected to and comfortable with someone you feel right off the bat, the closer your energetic vibration is to theirs.

Obviously we can’t avoid people with whom we have a vibrational discrepancy. To do that, we would have to avoid the majority of other people, because there is a fairly small number of people whose vibrations are a match for one another. But when we’re choosing friends and partners, when we’re deciding whom to spend time with, we can choose to be with those whose vibration feels good to us.

Being around people who are a vibrational match for us benefits us in terms of emotional well-being, which can contribute to physical health. We feel more relaxed. We’ve probably found someone to whom we can talk when life isn’t going well, which helps lower our stress level because we can verbalize the stress and experience support and care. And the more time we spend with these people, the higher our own vibration goes, along with theirs, because you are fueling and supporting each other’s frequency.

Pay attention to how you feel around other people. Trust what you feel, and as much as possible, surround yourself with people who feel positive and beneficial to you. And work to raise your own vibration through means such as self-care, meditation, and energy healing so you can be a positive, beneficial person to others.

Polyamory

I’ve blogged before about polyamory. It’s something that a lot of people don’t understand, so for the Ultimate Blog Challenge I thought it was worth bringing up again.

Polyamory, at the most basic, means having the capacity for more than one romantic relationship at a time. Someone who’s polyamorous is able to love more than one person. That’s essentially it.

It gets more complicated than that, of course. People don’t necessarily understand the difference between polyamory and cheating. The biggest difference is that in polyamory, everyone who’s involved knows about and has given their agreement to what’s going on. No one’s doing anything behind anyone’s back, unless that’s part of the agreement. (Some people who are polyamorous go by the idea of “don’t ask don’t tell,” where it’s mutually understood that they’re seeing other people but they don’t talk about it or share any information about their other partners.)

In polyamory, each relationship is its own separate entity, but the relationships can affect and impact each other. Some people practice what’s often called “kitchen table poly,” where everyone involved is friends with each other, even if they aren’t romantically involved with each other. The idea is that everyone involved would be comfortable sitting around the kitchen table for a meal together.

Polyamory takes a huge amount of communication to make sure everyone’s on the same page about agreements, schedules, and so on. Although a common misconception is that people who are polyamorous just don’t want to commit to anyone, the truth is that polyamory in some ways takes more commitment than monogamy. You aren’t choosing not to commit to anyone; you’re committing to multiple people.

There are pluses and minuses to polyamory, and this blog post isn’t going to be long enough to explore all of them. But there are a lot of books and other resources available if you’re interested in finding out more.

Impact

NOTE: I have previously posted this on this blog.

In my previous life chapter, prior to moving to Massachusetts, I worked in special education. Teaching (including substituting and working as a teacher’s aide) was my career for the better part of sixteen years, with a year or so detour as I tried to find my footing.

Many of us have a teacher who stands out in our memories as someone who had a profound impact on us. I have more than one: my kindergarten teacher, who realized I loved writing stories and allowed me to do so as part of my reading instruction; the tenth grade English teacher who further encouraged my writing; my college advisor, who recognized my awkwardness with others and tried to help me correct it.

I never thought I was one of those impactful teachers, though. I just did my job, enjoyed my students, and did the best I could to help them get where they needed to go.

One of the memories that stands out most strongly for me was when I left my longest-term position, as special education teacher at a very small rural school in Maine. Some of my students made great gains while I worked with them, and I celebrated those while never really giving myself credit. As far as I was concerned, the kids were the ones who got there. I just helped a little.

(Sometimes we minimize ourselves far too much. It’s definitely one of my flaws…)

Because the school was so small, I was the only special education teacher there, and I had the same students throughout, with some changes as some went on to high school and others entered kindergarten or moved into the district. I became close to some of the students and their families, though “close” is a relative term because professionalism.

But on my last day there, the mother of one boy with whom I’d worked from my first day came to me in tears, put her arms around me, and said, “You have made a difference.”

Those are words we all should remember, whenever we look back at the people we’ve encountered in our lives. No matter what our role was with each other, no matter how much time has passed, we all make a difference in the lives of those with whom we become involved. And we all need to recognize how powerful that difference can be.

Family Conflict

I feel very sad when I see people who are living happy lives and in happy relationships encounter opposition and even hatred from their family. Unfortunately, it seems to happen a lot.

Obviously different people have different beliefs. They’ve been brought up in certain religions and/or cultures that have strong, ingrained outlooks on things like marriage, same-sex relationships, sexual orientations, genders, and so on. For some people, overcoming those beliefs is difficult. This might be because they don’t understand other points of view. It might also be because they just plain don’t want to overcome those beliefs.

When beliefs interfere with family, though, something is wrong. And it probably isn’t the person who’s happy in a same-sex relationship, or a polyamorous one. It probably isn’t the person who’s just come out as transgender. The “something wrong” is that rigid beliefs are causing family members to turn against one of their own.

I’ve always taught my kids that the one thing I want for them more than anything else is that they be happy and safe. If that means they’re gay, or trans, or polyamorous, or whatever, that’s fine with me. Even if I don’t understand how they’re identifying themselves, I can see whether they’re happy and confident, and that’s what matters most to me. I don’t have to understand. I can just love and trust them, and let them be happy.

I know too many people whose families don’t think that way, and sometimes I just want to gather them all up and tell them I’ll be their family. It’s okay to believe what you believe. It’s okay to believe what you’ve been taught. But I can’t see how it could ever be okay to completely turn against your child, or parent, or sibling, or whoever, because their happiness means they aren’t living by your beliefs.

Polyamory

I know a number of people who are polyamorous, and who have encountered varying degrees of understanding and acceptance. Polyamory and other alternative relationship styles are more common than people realize.

Some people confuse polyamory with the polygamy they’ve heard about in the news. While polygamy can be a form of polyamory, it isn’t the only one—and cults that enforce polygamy have little to nothing to do with polyamory.

Polyamory, put most simply, is having, or having the capacity for, more than one romantic and/or sexual relationship. In general, people include romantic love as a requirement, since the “amory” part of polyamory means love. But as a broader term, polya, as some people call it, can also include sexual relationships that don’t involve romantic love.

There are many different forms of polyamory, and trying to explain them all would take a month or more worth of blog posts. Even then, I would probably miss something. Looking online, you can find a number of resources about polyamory if you’re curious.

There is no “one right way” to do polyamory. Relationship configurations and agreements differ from one person or grouping to another, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. Jealousy is a thing for some polyamorous people, and there isn’t anything inherently wrong with that either, as long as the jealous person owns their emotions and controls their own actions and responses instead of trying to control their partner(s).

I’ve seen debate about whether polyamory is an orientation or a lifestyle choice. Personally I would say it’s both or either. Feeling as if you’re “hard-wired” for polyamory still requires a choice about whether to have polyamorous relationships. For people who consider polya their romantic orientation, *being* polya isn’t a choice, but *doing* polya is.

For other people, it’s entirely a choice. It sounds like the way they would like to conduct their romantic life, so they do it. They don’t necessarily feel like they’re wired that way, they simply like the idea.

That said, polyamory definitely isn’t for everyone. But it is a valid way to live and love.