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The Toxic Dead – Part 1 of 2

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The Toxic Dead – Part 1 of 2

Who do you think has the most power and influence over your life – the dead or the living?

You’ll either come up with an immediate answer based on gut feeling (it’s a totally binary question, no tricks), or retire to the study or your favourite bar for an alcoholic libation and some reasoned philosophical thought.

The living clearly have a significant influence. Your friends, family, partners, children, coworkers and so on. You’re exposed to them on a daily basis and are influenced by their opinions, views of the world etc. You rub up against them both physically and mentally, and they probably appear in some of your dreams. So it’s fair to say that the living have a significant influence on what you do, how you think and behave, and ultimately who you are.

You want to ‘belong’ to your peer group and represent its values, right? If not, why are you hanging around there?

But it’s undeniable that much of our culture, society, law, ideology, language, beliefs and so on are shaped by those who have long shuffled off their mortal coil. Many of the opinions held and shared by even the hippest and trendiest of our friends and role models simply reboot and revamp the ideas of those who have long ceased to exist.

Now, this can be a most awesome thing. Ideas and cultures survive because they have longevity and value. They’ve been forged over centuries and even millennia. Most people believe that democracy is a good thing, rate Shakespeare as a ground breaking genius (even if they can’t be motivated to go to the theatre), consider that Wagner is a rocking badass of a composer, swoon to Dali’s paintings and so on.

And of course, there is a flip side, as less healthy and life de-enhancing ideas from the past still haunt the hinterland of our collective and individual consciousness and impact our daily thoughts and actions. This can often be at a subliminal level, so that you act upon an idea, belief or value quite unconsciously, without having even considered or thought it through.

Let’s say you have a Toxic person in your life. They are a complete blight upon everything. They might be a Necrotic Narcissist, in which case they wear you down with incessant me-ism and demanding tantrums that absorb your time and energy, leaving you nothing for yourself. Maybe they’re a Dream Destroyer, in which case any hopes of a better future that you are foolish enough to share with them are shot down with alacrity, making you feel stupid for having even entertained them in the first place.

Unfortunately (for them, one must suppose), the Toxic dies.

It doesn’t matter how. They just die. It’s nothing to do with you. They’re out of your life and you’ll never see them again. Unless you have strong views on the spirit world or the after life, or reincarnation. In which case, you at least get some for of temporary respite from them.

You may experience a number of feelings when the Toxic ceases to exist and annoy you, and you realise you will never be plagued by them again. Elation, guilt, resignation, despair etc. – all depending on your psychological make up and what triggers the Toxic had lodged in your mind. And of course what your family and friends deem to be an appropriate response.

The Toxic, egomaniac that some of them can be, may have demanded a huge, almost State, funeral to see them off in a fit of post mortem narcissism. They may have entertained visions of a huge cortege of all the friends who never liked them, tear stricken but united by grief, as a stoic relative reads the oration over the wreath decked coffin.

You, and others who have been intimately affected by their poisonous ministrations, might have preferred a stake through the heart, exposure to sunlight, cremation, and a salting of the ground on which they last stood.

So, your Toxic has departed this vale of tears (most of which they precipitated in others). You’ve done the funeral, cremation or Tibetan air burial bit, according to how the executor executed the funeral instructions, and everyone has stuffed themselves full of sandwiches and grooved on down at the Wake, maybe a few people singing ‘no more Toxic’s anymore’ to a famous tune by the Stranglers.

That’s it. The Toxic has no further influence over you, no additional role to play in your life. Hasta la vista, baby, bye bye, that’s that.

Or is it?

To be continued tomorrow…

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