Writing Within Toxic Relationships.

Since finishing my University studies, I took a well-deserved break. However, that break has since made my return to writing become a very slow journey. It has left me questioning my motivations and wonder if I really want to do this writing gig anymore. The simple answer is yes, it is who I am; yet I’ve become to realise that what is holding me back is a complete lack of self-confidence, brought about by toxic relationships.

Toxic relationships can happen in the form of friends, and although painful, it is easier to keep such relationships at a distance. However, toxic relationships in the form of family can be an even tougher challenge.

A few years after I left school, my mother laughed at the idea when I told her I always wanted to be a writer. To this day she insists I never knew what I wanted to do when I left school; either she refuses to listen or refuses to accept my career choice and who I really am (after all, ‘there’s no money in the arts’). She also insists that ‘you never had any self -confidence’. I hear it over and over again – the trouble is when you get told a lie often enough, you begin to believe it.

Despite how this all sounds, I’m not bagging out my mother; I’m only trying to demonstrate that some people (and often those closest to you) can destroy our self-esteem without even realising it. We want our family and friends to be proud of our achievements and support us in what we do, yet their good intentions to protect us from getting ourselves hurt can often backfire. We reach a certain age where we’re old enough to make our own decisions and learn from our own mistakes; this is what life is all about. Why should we let someone else’s opinions rule our lives?

After speaking to my cheerleader and accountability buddy (ie. my husband) about it he began showing me some motivational quotes. This is the one that spoke loudest to me:-

motivational quote

I’m beginning to find that by reading some good motivational quotes, walking and listening to writing podcasts and music early in the day helps to make me happy, and in turn, motivates me to write. It can be a long process, but finding that belief in yourself, in the end, ultimately begins with you.

Are you surrounded by others who lower your self-esteem? What do you do to keep up your motivation? Do you find it is more your family than your friends who try to demolish your dreams? What type of things has been said to you?

Image via theBERRY

12 thoughts on “Writing Within Toxic Relationships.

  1. timamarialacoba 04/06/2014 — 2:57 am

    It’s sad but true that the ones closest to us can often be the cause of our insecurities. But you are an excellent writer, Debbie, and it would be a loss to all of us if you didn’t pursue your dreams. You go for it, girl. Dream and do!

    1. Debbie Johansson 04/06/2014 — 4:51 am

      Thanks Tima, that so sweet of you! Sometimes I feel as if it’s two steps forwards, two steps back – but I’m working on it. 😉 Thanks for your support; it’s very much appreciated.

  2. You are not alone in having the people closest to you be the people who sap your self-confidence. Protect yourself from the toxicity by picking and choosing who you talk to about your writing. It was difficult, but I have had to leave a few toxic friendships behind even though I enjoyed the person’s company. Family members are trickier. They can be afraid that you might fail and should, therefore, not try. Their fear is understandable, but unhelpful. Share your dreams with people, like your husband, that lift you up and propel you forward.

    1. Debbie Johansson 05/06/2014 — 1:57 am

      Hi Elizabeth. I completely agree with you, which is why I’m very hesitant to tell people that I’m a writer. I don’t discuss it with my mother or any other family member, and if ever asked I say very little. It’s just not worth the hassle. By joining IWSG and being on social networks, it helps to be surrounded by other creatives. Thanks for your advice and stopping by; it’s very much appreciated.

  3. I resonated so much with your brilliantly written post! I do think it is family members and not friends who are the worse offenders of confidence bashing as your comment, “when you get told a lie often enough, you begin to believe it” clearly illustrates.

    What I do is try to become conscious of it and turn down the volume on those voices while actively seeking out support and tuning in to that.

    You’re writing sparkles! So much so that my first comment was lost in cyberspace and instead of moving on, I just had to send it again. Write on!

    1. Debbie Johansson 05/06/2014 — 2:05 am

      Hi HJ. My husband tells me that I chose to listen to the criticisms and take it too much to heart, so I guess I’m still working on that ‘thick skin’ we writers should all have. 😉 Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words; it’s very much appreciated.

  4. jenlanebooks 04/06/2014 — 3:45 pm

    Wow, Debbie, that sucks that your mom laughed about you being a writer. I used to feel down about my family’s lack of support of my writing until I found out how ubiquitous it is among writers. I chalk it up now to all of us being so busy and all of us having different interests–it would probably be unique for a family member to love my writing in my specific genre. But still, it hurts, and I agree that we begin to believe the negative stuff, especially from family members. I’m glad your husband is encouraging!

    1. Debbie Johansson 05/06/2014 — 2:13 am

      Hi Jenlanebooks. Criticism does begin to wear you down after a while, but it can be a great learning curve and make us stronger. My husband keeps telling me to hurry up and write that ‘best seller’ so that he can retire early. I’d best get to work then! 😉 Thanks for your support.

  5. Hubby is right. And its the hardest thing to do. I bet the more you write the stronger you’ll feel 🙂

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

    1. Debbie Johansson 05/06/2014 — 2:21 am

      Hi Anna. You’re right! Writing can be great therapy. Thanks for the encouragement.

  6. Hi Debbie, I came across this through Twitter and can really relate to this post. My family, although meaning well, has never been enthusiastic about my writing pursuits. It took me a long time to realize that this is my journey, not theirs, and that their approval isn’t something I need. I don’t even know you but am proud of you and wish you the best!! Do you have a way to follow your posts?

    1. Debbie Johansson 05/06/2014 — 2:38 am

      Hi Saumya. I agree. Ultimately, we’re writing for ourselves, and not seeking the approval of someone else. I have stopped myself many times if I should keep writing, but I wouldn’t know what else to do. It’s just something I can’t not do. Thanks for the encouragement and I wish you all the best too! You should be able to find the subscription icon to the left of the screen. It’s good to meet you. 🙂

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close