Is being Online taking our brains Offline?

How is being online affecting our ability to think for ourselves? I’m thinking about Farenheit 451 in which they have the big screens on the walls. Many of the images from science fiction turned out to be fact . We do live in constant contact with technology and advertising. But what impact does this have on us?

This is a question I often ask in my work — “What impact is this having on your life?” We have a tendency to want to judge all our behaviors as “good” or “bad”, “acceptable” or “not”. Unfortunately, this type of judgment can lead us to forever shaping our behavior based on society’s value system and not our own. So I tell people to take the judgment out of it and just ask themselves “How is this impacting my life?”.

When we ask this question, it turns our reference point inward; we reflect, and look at how our choices are impacting us.

“How is it impacting me to drink every night?”

“How is it impacting me to stay in this relationship?”

“How is it impacting me to be online as much as I am?”

Then we can assess the evidence (our feelings) to determine the overall impact of something. Sometimes, we may conclude that the overall impact is ambiguous–“I hate not sleeping well and being hungover when I drink but I don’t know if I hate it more than the pain I feel when I don’t.” This may lead to an important realization about the feelings that dominate your life and what that says about your experience. Our thoughts and feelings are important tools that allow us to know ourselves deeply.

But what if access to these tools was disrupted? What if our heads were filled with, instead of our own thoughts, worries about what we see on the news and desire to obtain the most advertised products? We don’t like to believe that our will can be bent by outside forces but we naturally respond to what we see and hear and if what we see is advertising and what we hear is the news, then we’re going to respond.

The multibillion dollar advertising and news industries know this. They’re built and run on shaping the public consciousness.

We are told that we need The News because the world is a scary place and we need to stay informed. You wouldn’t want to seem uninformed, would you? Advertisers tell us we need their products and services so we can look “better” and feel “happier”. Being happy is important, isn’t it?

What is “happy”? Is it joy? That would be kind of weird to feel joy ALL the time, especially if there was some messed up shit happening in your life. You wouldn’t want to feel joyful about a shitty boss or partner. Is it comfortability? The myth of constant comfortability is one of the most destructive myths of our time. I believe this is what is luring us into complacency, numbness, and addiction. We need discomfort. You need to FEEL your leg is broken before you can fix it.

The News, Social Media, and Advertising have their own value$ and need$. Are those YOUR values and needs? What is most important to you in your life? What do you truly need to live a more fulfilled life? Close your eyes, turn off all distractions, and listen for the answer.

Narcissism in Our Mothers

I’ve been wanting to organize my thoughts on this topic for awhile. Through therapy and my own research, I came to a realization several years back that my own mother had what some call “narcissistic traits”. In my personal and professional life, I’ve encountered many other instances of mothers who seem to exhibit narcissistic traits. With the recognition that we tend to see our pain, struggles, and concerns reflected in the world around us, I write this for others who may also be struggling to conceptualize their experience and observations about narcissism in mothers.

Like other terms that get over-used, the meaning of “narcissistic” is somewhat unclear. What I understand it to mean is both based on the myth of Narcissus (the derivation of the term) and the diagnostic criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) that is used by mental health clinicians in the United States.

Briefly, the myth of Narcissus is about a beautiful youth who falls in love with his own reflection. The DSM diagnosis is characterized by a “pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:”

  1. A grandiose sense of self-importance
  2. Preoccupation with fantasy of unlimited success, power, beauty, ideal love
  3. Belief they are special and can only be understood by other special people
  4. Requires excessive admiration
  5. Sense of entitlement
  6. Interpersonally exploitative
  7. Lacks empathy; unwilling to recognize or identify with others’ feelings
  8. Envious of others or believes others to be envious of them
  9. Arrogant

The above list is abbreviated but is taken directly from my Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria from DSM-5.

What the abbreviated descriptions of the myth and the diagnosis fail to capture about narcissism in mothers are context and meaning. In essence, this is a shallow understanding of these traits, much like a narcissist’s understanding of themselves and the world.

To gain a deeper understanding, we look more closely at the myth. Narcissus was the son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Liriope. Liriope was told by the prophet Teiresias that her son “would live a long life as long as ‘he never knows himself”. Narcissus grows up to be beautiful and he is pursued by many but is only captivated by his own reflection in a pool. He cannot be drawn away from it and eventually dies only to be “reborn” as the Narcissus flower.

We might not feel a ton of empathy for a character who is so shallow and self-absorbed that he dies while gazing at his own reflection but when I think of what this implies in the real world, I find it profoundly sad. In my observations, these types of people are deeply fearful of relationships and extremely insecure.

We see this in the diagnostic criteria as well. Grandiosity is an overcompensation for a feeling of insignificance. Think of the truly confident people you know, not arrogant, but truly self-assured. They seem at ease with themselves and the world, like whatever life throws at them, they’ll be able to handle it. The true mark of confidence? They have no need to convince anyone of their worth–they already know. Truly confident people do not need to display “arrogance” nor do they have an excessive need for “admiration”.

What about “lack of empathy”, “entitlement”, and “personally exploitative”? Empathy is a vulnerable emotion–we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes which can be painful but can also lead to deep connection with others. The door to our hearts is open and we give of ourselves when we empathize. For those who can’t or won’t empathize with others, there is often a wound that precedes it, sometimes very early in childhood. They feel a profound emptiness, perhaps like they have nothing to give or if they were to open up, they fear being taken advantage of. How do they cope? By closing their hearts to others and only using them to sate their need for numbness against the pain of emptiness. At their core, narcissists believe

“I am nothing so I have nothing to give. In order to live, I need others to remind me I am worthy.”

Though this may seem sad, this does not mean we need to relax our own boundaries around people who are like this. They are very adaptable and will find ways to get what they need from you through flattery, seeming fragile or wounded, or convincing you that you owe them somehow. My mom always seemed helpless and fragile so I felt I must be there for her and protect her. For others, their moms can be deeply critical in a way that makes them seem better by comparison.

But the question that haunts me is “Why might these traits occur in mothers in particular?” I’ve found a lot of insight into this from the work of Bethany Webster. She writes about The Mother Wound, which shares commonalities with narcissism but she doesn’t call it that. She instead talks about how our mothers’ dysfunctional coping mechanisms were their attempt to deal with the pain of being devalued in a patriarchal world. This has wide-reaching ramifications down to our relationships with ourselves and the earth. I highly recommend her work.

To me, this provides great insight into why we may see these types of traits more often in mothers. In a world that tells women that our value is in our image and in what we can give to others, why wouldn’t we want to protect that image and why wouldn’t we feel fearful about only being valued for what we can give to others? In a world in which women’s bodies, time, and emotional labor are exploited by those closest to us, why wouldn’t we want to close off our hearts, protect ourselves from disappointment, and invest our time and energy in the only thing that seems to hold currency for us–our image?

For mothers, especially, there is a tremendous amount of expectation and judgment directed at them for how they raise their (and their partner’s) children. Women are taught our only value lies in the approval of others so we grow up seeking it out and when we become mothers, we may look our children to give us the reassurance we crave. Our mothers learned long ago that they were never enough. They fought to be noticed and to be valued and some of them are still fighting. Their pain and emptiness is so profound that they need a near constant supply of reassurance from others to soothe themselves.

Again, this doesn’t need we need to feel guilt or make allowances for mothers who behave this way. I actually find that these realizations make it all the more urgent that we break the cycle by learning how to deeply love and appreciate ourselves. Then, when we do decide to give of ourselves, it’s from a wellspring of appreciation for our own humanity and the humanity of others and not just a shallow puddle where we see our muddy reflection.

Thoughts on The Porn Industry

Saying you look to The Porn Industry to teach you how to have a healthy sex life is like saying you look to the Fast Food Industry to teach you about healthy eating.

Both industries are built on consumption, exploitation, and addiction.

Believing The Porn Industry has “ethical” business practices because it cares about the people it exploits and about your health and well-being is about as good as believing the Fast Food Industry cares about your health and about the people and animals it exploits.

Anthropomorphizing companies, corporations, and industries by advertising that they have human feelings and are capable of “caring” is a way to lull consumers into believing that nobody could ever be hurt for profit and nobody could be hurt in order for us to consume what we crave at prices we want. The Industry cares so we don’t have to.

These industries rely on our detachment from the practices they engage in to deliver their product. They rely on us not thinking about the lives that are harmed during the production and consumption of their product. They rely on us buying into their lies long enough to consume their product, receive a hit of endogenous opioids in our bodies so that we become addicted, lifelong consumers.

Snow White as an Allegory for the Relationship With the Narcissistic Mother

When I first started this blog a few years back, the tale of Snow White was resonating with me. Her descent into the dark woods captured something of my own journey into darkness after leaving an abusive relationship and going no-contact with my mom. Years later, I’ve come to realize that Snow White’s tale encapsulates even more of the relationship between a daughter and her narcissistic mother.

illustration by Trina Schart Hyman

Narcissists move about in the world with a mirror in front of their faces–all they see is their own reflection. The mirror obscures their view of anything or anyone else such that they’re not able to see others as separate people, only reflections of themselves. This may help to explain why they’re children can struggle to form their own identities–their experience has been that of a mirror for their moms. Children of narcissistic mothers may be viewed as good reflections of her, bad reflections of her, or as competition. We can see Snow White’s growth into a beautiful child as the growth that every child experiences when they begin to develop their own unique personalities and self-expression. As for many children of narcissistic parents, this can be viewed as a threat that must be neutralized.

illustration by Trina Schart Hyman

Our mother’s rejection can take the form of silent disapproval, withdrawal of love, or outright attacks. Regardless of what version of rejection we experience, it can feel as though we have been cast out into the dark woods to fend for ourselves or die. For some, we will do anything to get back into her good graces and she knows this. We can see the repeated attempts to poison Snow White as the narcissistic mother’s attempts to get us to assume the responsibility of the mirror who only reflects the good in her as well as being the one who internalizes all her flaws and shame, thus protecting her from ever experiencing them herself.

Trina Schart Hyman

Every bit of this poisonous responsibility we accept–and we have no choice as children–makes it difficult for us to breathe and be ourselves and certainly requires that we become “unconscious” if we are to exist in her world. When Snow White swallows that bit of apple, it lodges in her throat, preventing her from speaking, breathing, or inhabiting the world in all her vitality.

Trina Schart Hyman

When the prince happens upon her, we can take this as a symbol of something new entering Snow White’s psyche. First of all, he sees her through the glass coffin. In this moment, she is not a reflection but her own person–beautiful. Just as she is. The prince might be a symbol of maturity if he is older (maturity and wisdom are also represented by the crone in fairytales) and, as he is a prince, he is a symbol of sovereignty. When Snow White regains consciousness, she rejects the poison her mother has fed her (the apple becomes dislodged from her throat and she spits it out), and she awakens to her own maturity and sovereignty over herself and her life. All children of narcissistic parents must reject that poison and open our eyes to the truth–we are more than just mirrors, we are human and must exercise our sovereignty.

Trina Schart Hyman

In the final scene, the stepmother is invited to Snow White’s wedding (a symbol of a young woman stepping into her own sovereignty). When she arrives and recognizes Snow White, she is pained that her poison did not work. Our own mother’s may disown us when we reject their lies. Hot iron slippers are placed before her and she is made to dance in them until she falls down dead. We do not have to punish our mothers in order to heal but I do believe that we must allow them to be accountable for their behavior. Whether they are living or dead, we can accept that it was never our responsibility to reflect only the good while we carried the rejected parts of her. We can accept that it was always her responsibility, and the responsibility of every person, to acknowledge and relate to both the light and dark aspects of our psyches.

Trina Schart Hyman

I waited to address the dwarves last because I’m less settled on their significance. Perhaps they represent the little parts of ourselves that are easily dismissed–the parts that say “Protect yourself–not everyone has your best interests at heart”. The parts of ourselves that do seek to preserve our lives are often very small at times, so small we may not know if our lives are worth preserving. But, like the dwarves, they are steadfast and keep a vigil over us even as we lay unconscious in a tomb, waiting for the day we come back to the world and decide to inhabit our lives lives. To me, the dwarves seem to be the little rays of hope that exist in all of us, ready to clothe and comfort us at the darkest points in our journey.

Trina Schart Hyman

*A note about the illustrator: Trina Schart Hyman died in November of 2004. She was my inspiration to draw. Her enchanting illustrations sparked my imagination and nurtured my own flame as a child. I found, through art, that I could express so much of what I could not articulate with words.

Fighting words

More wonderful food for thought from Deborah Cameron.

language: a feminist guide

Note: this is post is a reworking/updating of a piece I wrote for Trouble & Strife magazine in 2014.

Remember Betty Friedan’s ‘problem that has no name’? Or Gloria Steinem recalling that in the 1960s no one talked about sexual harassment–not because it didn’t happen, but because ‘it was just called life’?Naming women’s experiences of oppression has always been an important political task. Though you don’t solve a problem just by giving it a name, naming it brings it more clearly into focus, making it easier to recognize, to analyse and to fight.

Feminists don’t always agree on what a problem should be called. We have arguments about terminology—about the difference between, say,‘prostitution’and‘sexwork’, or ‘gender-based violence’ and ‘male violence against women’—because we don’t think these are just empty labels. They are tools for making sense of the world, reflecting different understandings of what they name.

As times change…

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Reflections on No-contact at 4+ years

I was listening to an episode of one of my favorite podcasts discussing the topic of estrangement. I should state the podcast looks at various topics from a Jungian Lens and in general I find it very interesting and helpful at times. The episode description didn’t state specifically that the hosts were looking at estrangement from one’s parents but this was largely the focus. The general message seemed to be: take caution when considering cutting off a parent and if a resolution can be reached, that should at least be taken into consideration. They discussed how painful estrangement from one’s child is for the parent which I think is fine but could have used a little more balance with the pain experienced by a child who comes to the decision that they cannot maintain any sort of a healthy relationship with their parent(s).

It made me think about my decision to go no-contact with my mom several years back and whether or not I had made the right decision. The hosts discussed how cutoff from a parent can cause cutoff in us from parts of ourselves deemed unacceptable. I think this is a good consideration because any part in ourselves that we completely reject will ultimately manifest in our lives again and again in ourselves and/or in those around us (e.g. cutoff anger may manifest as anger toward ourselves and/or an inability to stand up for ourselves and/or getting involved with people who also have an unhealthy relationship with anger). They talked about the importance of seeing our parents as flawed and limited people but didn’t really talk about how distance and separation can create enough safety for us to actually see ourselves as separate from our parents and allow us the time and space to develop compassion for ourselves and for them as flawed individuals.

I only came to be able to appreciate the gifts my mom gave me (a love of art, music, and literature and irreverence for patriarchal institutions) after a few years of no contact. Being a child in an extremely enmeshed relationship with their parent (what some of us think of as emotional incest), I needed distance and time to see the dynamics in the relationship clearly and to grieve and be angry for the girl and young woman who was used by her mother to fill the tremendous emptiness left by her relationship with her own mother. I don’t currently think of my mom as some monster but as an extremely limited individual with whom any type of relationship might not be possible.

The hosts talked about this realization and some sort of acceptance of our parents’ limited capacities and the consideration of a relationship with some boundaries. To me, this assumes that our parent is capable of having boundaries, which hasn’t been my experience. At this point, it seems as though my relationship with my mom was contingent upon me not having any boundaries whatsoever. The VERY FEW times I tried to assert a boundary with her, she reacted with rage and attack. My thought is, if your relationship with the person you’re estranged from requires that you have no boundaries, how can you have a boundaried relationship with them?

They also didn’t discuss that when we are adults, we get to decide what types of relationships we want to invest our time and energy into. If any type of gift or affection a parent gives has numerous strings attached, why should I invest my time and energy into that relationship? Because they are my parent? Because it’s so painful for them to be estranged from me? What makes it worth it on my end?

I don’t say this flippantly as I’ve considered it many times when I feel drawn to reach out to my mom. But every time I feel this draw, I remember that no matter what, there was always the implication that I was indebted to her (“After all I’ve done for you.”), constant denial of anything she could have done to contribute to my emotional and mental difficulties (and thus, an inability to ever apologize for anything), and a near constant need to be reaffirmed by me and a need for me to take on a parenting role with my brothers. And so I’m still left with the thought, if I wouldn’t choose to have a relationship with a friend or lover who treated me this way, why would I choose to have a relationship with a parent who treated me this way?

Perhaps they weren’t really considering that or the episode wasn’t long enough to really go into. They did mention briefly that they wouldn’t expect someone who’d suffered “egregious” abuse to return to their abuser but this wasn’t really elaborated upon. Again, I think it’s important that we allow for shifts in our thinking and feeling as well as our decisions, but I also think it’s good to be clear about what we are and are not willing to tolerate from others. We need to be able to weigh the pros and cons of being in relationship with someone, regardless of how we’re related. You’re not indebted to anyone except yourself.

Cleansing Anger

A friend and I were discussing female anger and exchanging our favorite artistic representations with each other. I love them so much I wanted to preserve them and share them.

The Diana and Actaeon Fountain at the Feet of the Grand Cascade
I’m only featuring Actaeon getting attacked by his hunting dogs here as I find it the most interesting part of the sculpture

Fountain of Diana and Actaeon (from The Fountains at Caserta), sculpted by Paolo Persico, Pietro Solari, and Angelo Brunelli


I only know this is a representation of the Goddess Kali but I don’t know the artist. If you have more info, please leave it in the comments and I will add it.


Judith Beheading Holofernes | Artworks | Uffizi Galleries
Judith Slaying Holofernes, Artemisia Gentileschi, c.1620

A lot of Gentileschi’s work is extremely powerful and I would highly recommend checking it out.


Another representation of Kali, artist unknown.


I’ve seen a few different titles but I’m going to use Timoclea pushing the Thracian captain who raped her into a well because it’s the most descriptive. The painting is by Elisabetta Sirani c. 1659

You might find it interesting to know that Sirani also did a painting of Judith and Holofernes.


Diana Hulton | Translations
The Death of Actaeon, After Titian, Diana Hulton, 2006

You can visit to view the artist’s statement about the painting.



What is “Healing” if the Healers Can’t Be Healed?

I was just reading this article and found it to be, at first, quite shocking and then, ironic. It talks about how the suicide rate for doctors is quite high, especially for psychiatrists. The article states

stigma is a major obstacle to seeking medical treatment. One 2016 study found 50% of female doctors who completed a Facebook questionnaire reported meeting criteria for a mental disorder but were reluctant to seek professional help because of the fear of stigma.

Stigma is an obstacle to seeking medical treatment…among medical professionals.

The review also showed that of all medical specialties, psychiatry is near the top in terms of suicide rates.

The people who prescribe you the medication that’s supposed to alleviate depressive symptoms are also highly likely to kill themselves. The article goes on:

But she says it is not surprising, given the stress doctors face.

The stress starts in medical school and continues in residency with the high demands, competitiveness, long hours, and lack of sleep. This may contribute to substance abuse, another risk factor for suicide, Brodsky says.

This makes sense but I also find it very telling that the people we look to for healing find healing to be so elusive. Why, when medical professionals have so many tools for healing, not just in terms of external resources but also their own knowledge, are they not able to find healing? Why would they face stigma for the treatment they prescribe to their patients?

I think this says a lot about our societal attitudes towards healing. As with illness, we expect healing to be quantifiable and measurable, best if it comes in pill form. If I take x amount of this drug for x amount of time, I will be healed. Or, If I just keep taking x, I will always be well. But this article suggests that this is not the case, or these medical professionals would have been healed by the drugs they prescribe.

It also says something about our expectations around what it means to be well. Wellness, I often find, seems to mean the absence of illness or dis-ease. Sickness, depression, and even mild discomfort are unwelcome visitors that we seek to eliminate as quickly as possible. It also makes me think of how dissatisfied certain patients are when they’re told that whatever they came to the doctor for must run its course.

Intolerable! So many of us cannot tolerate even the slightest discomfort and this is highly reinforced by the patriarchal capitalist system them promises to make everything better if we just buy this book/product/service/take this pill. 

We expect healers to meet these expectations but healers themselves are not immune to these expectations for their own healing. Perhaps we should question medicalization of our existence and the mandates of the Patriarchal Capitalist Machine to always be better, faster, stronger.

We need to question a system that only wants us to be healthy enough to keep producing but also demands we be sick enough that we keep consuming; a system that demands we constantly produce and consume and that kills us if we don’t.We need to question a system that is powered by our dehumanization and ultimate death only to be replaced by a new crop of producer consumers.

What if we found that our “need” for perfect comfort/health/etc. was not actually our need but one of the many mandates of the exploitative system under which we live? And what if we accepted that illness and wellness were both parts of the human experience and not necessarily things to be sought after or avoided? What if we questioned the medicalization of everything and the need to defer to a system that is rife with so much illness among its own practitioners? What if we saw medical professionals, not as experts, but as fellow human beings, fallible, and vulnerable as we are? What if…

I don’t really know but I take comfort in the questions.


Motherhood Sold Here

I recently told somebody that women receive messaging in the popular media to have children and he wanted to know where I was seeing this.

Yesterday, I saw a post in an online group I’m a member of that sort of epitomized motherhood propaganda: it was a series of professional-grade, highly curated photos of a woman giving birth at home. Viewers got to see selected shots, many of them with the woman giving birth and her loving dog or her loving husband or her loving children, or with a serene look on her face and somehow no sweat, or happily welcoming her bundle of joy into her arms.

The comments were all along the lines of “amazing” and “beautiful” and “thank you”, generally gushing over this curated display. I’ve used the word “curated” a couple times now because I believe there were less flattering shots that were left out as is the case with social media posts.

But I could not join in the adulation. The whole thing felt like an advertisement to me. Kind of like any of the myriad images……

A Journey Through Motherhood

…we see that glorify…

Thoughts On Motherhood 18 Months Out - Jessica Delfino - Medium

…and flatten…

What Motherhood Means to Me | ParentMap
Who is this woman who is forever tossing her baby in front of a sunset??

…an incredibly fraught experience.

I guess I would have appreciated some images that show the depression…

Motherhood Can Be a Lonely Place - Scientific American


Opinion | Motherhood in the Age of Fear - The New York Times


This Conversation Changed How I Thought About Motherhood | Time

…and precarious nature of motherhood as well.

Time to rethink our social construct of motherhood - The Boston Globe

If you’re presenting one-sided, overly flattering images meant to induce longing in the viewer, you’re not presenting true life, you’re presenting an advertisement.

Funny enough, in all those Tossing-a-Baby-In-Front-of-a-Sunset pictures, I found this picture of a really free-looking childless woman.

International Women's Day: Our Questions, Their Answers - IMT ...

Maybe that’s my ad for not having kids.



Relationships Under Patriarchal Capitalism

I was just talking with a friend about poisonous relationships and social interactions and thought I’d share a few insights.

There are too many pathological types (if you want to call them narcissists, sociopaths, users, parasites, etc.) out there for me to think in terms of a bunch of isolated incidents. Exploitative relationships are reinforced by the patriarchal capitalist regime in which we live.

The goal is always to exploit or capitalize on every relationship and milk it and the other person for all it’s/they’re worth. We see this repeated in popular media representations of relationships which are based around exploiting another person (mainly women) emotionally (using them as ego-boosters or emotional dumping grounds), physically (using them for sexual gratification, physical labor, pregnancy, etc.), and mentally (using their ideas and mentally fucking them).

The belief that we and others are always deficient is primary to this dynamic. The patriarchal capitalist regime mandates that we swallow the belief we are always in need, that we are deficient or incomplete somehow and must seek out something to fill our needs. That something is often another person who is able to provide some sort of mental, emotional, or physical sustenance for a time. Pathological types (which I’m thinking of as the progeny, arms, or minions of the larger patriarchal capitalist monster) often relate to others in a very superficial way, offering flattery, feigning emotional or sexual connection, or being charming so that their targets believe they’re benign or that they’re actually gaining something from the relationship. This, of course, is a lie but can feel very compelling such that it’s difficult to see the dynamic for what it is and can be extremely difficult to extricate ourselves from.

The symptoms of being in this type of relationship can seem subtle and of course we’re taught to ignore them. What I’ve noticed is that interactions with these people can feel extremely draining but we’re not certain why. We may find ourselves compromising our boundaries over and over again whether they be physical boundaries or things like time, money, and energy. Though we may not be conscious of it, we know on some level that these relationships are conditional upon allowing these people to use use us in one way or another. Most glaringly, and what may clue us in to something being wrong, we may actually suffer consequences if we assert ourselves in some way, maybe by just disagreeing with them or saying “no” to something.

I don’t know that there are any real “solutions” so much as just really paying attention to how you’re impacted by a relationship and responding accordingly. You can test the waters by asserting your boundaries and personhood and watch for their reactions and use that information to decide what direction you need to go.

Stay vigilant and remember that you’re a full person. People who don’t treat you that way don’t deserve to be in your life.