Polish Toxicity in a Work Place

I was wondering lately about toxicity and what does it mean? Why some of the people tend to be toxic to us? Why do we meet them in our lives? And the most important – how to get rid of such people once we find out they do not bring any positive energy into our lives, but just use us in order to fulfill their needs?

I think we mostly meet such people in our working places. We spend there a lot of time every day and happen to cross our paths with many different personalities. With some we get along, with others we do not. We do not really need to be liked by everybody, do we? And it would not be such a problem in not sticking to toxic people at work, but what if this person occurs to be our manager?

I work in In Poland in a corporation, an American one. For the past few years I noticed that Poles who occupy managerial positions, in most cases are toxic. Or maybe that is the fault of Polish undervaluated society? My observation is that they seem so insecure about themselves, that once they are appointed or get a managerial position in a company, they start treating the employees as their property. Maybe it is their subconscious revenge, as probably when they were employees themselves, they were treated without the respect by their managers. I noticed, in the relations between managers and employees there is no trust, no honesty, no dialogues and no sincerity. Or maybe it is me who demands too much from the corporate life?

I am wondering if this is happening in other countries too? Or is it only Polish phenomenon? Are the managers-to-be taught to be assholes toward the employees while studying MBAs or different management related courses? Or is here the Polish history to be blamed for still having such a big influence over generations and the way we treat each other? Where all of us, Pols, treated without respect and neglected by our parents and when we finally get an important managerial position at work, we subconsciously start feeling that we start to matter to someone or something? Just because we didn’t to our parents, do we somehow compensate the lack of love and attention at our working places?

Most of our parents were neglected by theirs. Have we still not made peace with ourselves and our parents, as it wasn’t really their fault they were neglected and treated like shit in their childhood? Back then emotional awareness and emotional consciousness was not that important. Having a warm and clean place to sleep, feeding the kids, providing them with an education was more important than taking care of their mental health. Do we still tend to suffer because of the Second World War and its mental consequences? Our parents’ parents, that is our grandparents, lived during these horrible times. I cannot even imagine traumas they must have seen, lived through and survived. After so many years do we still, subconsciously, pay the price for what started happening 80 years ago?

I keep wondering why we, as Poles, only tend to hurt each in every aspect of our lives? Was the Polish society made only to suffer? For our behaviors I blame a bit the history, especially Second World War along with the communist times. The former taught most of Poles how to cheat in order to get what they need. Such actions can still be observed in our professional or personal lives even though the system changed. I know the new generation is being criticized for their lack of respect toward many things and the way they tend to act in a reckless way, anyway from one hand I hope they will finally teach Polish society that the luxury things we buy, the money we earn, the hours we spend at work to afford better brand cars or cosmetics, are not really worth the emotional sacrifice. I know it will take a lot of time to understand that nothing can buy respect, love, empathy, understanding, freedom or true friendships. In my opinion, if we don’t work harder on expanding our consciousness and being open about it, we will only be hurting each other even more. It is a funny thing I always preferred to be surrounded by foreigners. Even my boyfriends are from abroad. And I work in a very global company. As long as the managers I was working with were foreigners, all was perfectly fine. The moment I started working with Polish ones, all went wrong. I do hope it will change. For the time being I am working hard on changing my job and get a manager who is not Polish anymore.

Polish society – quite a strange one with big emotional and historical bag that is still being carried.

My Quick Way of Recognizing People’s Personalities

I will start with my quick explanation – by observing people’s behaviours I started to distinguish two types of personalities – weak and strong. How do I do it? It takes me 3 seconds and just a handshake. If it is a firm one, I immediately know I am dealing with a person who will not bullshit me and will tell me what they really have in their minds without any manipulation tricks. My observation also makes me wonder what they have been through their childhood, as it seems they grew up strong because of their childhood experience. When it comes to weak personalities – the handshake is a faint one. Oh, that is something unbearable to me!

I do not even remember when I started putting so much attention into somebody’s handshake. It is said you cannot make the first impression twice and in my opinion, handshakes take part of it. It happened to me I met people with an indifferent handshake and only then I realized they are neither strong nor weak. So my conclusion was simple – they are like their handshakes – indifferent, apathetic, dull. I try not to judge people only by the strength of their handshake  and I always try to get to know the person better, however I have proven myself many times my distinction does not lie and mostly tells me the truth about the other person’s personality.

As it may appear quite obvious, men have firmer handshakes than women do. They usually tend to be considered stronger physically too; however, when it comes to their handshakes I also noticed there are more and more men who are weak. Just because of their sex, they are considered strong, but when it comes to their personalities, I noticed they manipulate the same way weak women do. As I consider myself a strong personality, I also prefer to stick to strong ones as these types of personalities do not lie, are honest and sincere, say what they have in their minds no matter the cost. I know with them I can conduct interesting and fruitful conversations that will bring into my life new and interesting points of view. When it comes to weak personalities, my observation is as follows – they manipulate and they are incredibly good at it; they avoid confrontations; they are not able in explaining their needs in a clear and concise way, and I always get the impression I need to guess what they really want or need.  For me such traits are impossible to accept and I try to avoid these people. They annoy me. I know it is their way of survival and a way they protect themselves from any harm. However I prefer to stick to strong personalities as they help me grow and develop emotionally. In my opinion, only these people make the world a better place! On the other hand, if everyone were strong how would the world look like? Probably it would be a boring one and we, as human beings, would not need to grow emotionally as all of the people surrounding us would be real and honest.

Nowadays, I think our human biggest goal in life, is to learn how to be real and not to be afraid of showing it. And guess what? I am doing it – trying to be real, honest, and sincere as well as not being afraid of showing it! From the moment, I decided to act 100% real I started attracting people who think the same! That is the best that happened to me so far! Strong personalities I am surrounded by help me develop, help me grow, help me learn how to be a better person 🙂 Weak people would only show me how to lie, manipulate and cheat in order to achieve my own goals. What they have taught me however is who I do not want to be – a weak person! Moreover, the most important lesson occurred to be the one when I realized that I have a choice! 🙂 And I chose to be strong –  that is to fulfill my needs in an honest way. That way, by the end of my day, when I go to sleep, I dream peacefully 🙂

One of my Dreaming Symbols – Water

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During my whole psychotherapy I have discovered there is one symbol that appears quite often in my dreams. This symbol is water. When I started digging into it with the therapist as well as with myself, I managed to figure it out. Water means my subconscious itself reflected in my consciousness. It is also one of the archetypical symbols Jung was speaking of and analyzing. The way I managed to interpret it correctly – I hope finally – helped me understand my subconscious better. I need to admit water appears in my dreams at least once a month. At the beginning, I was usually dreaming I was diving deeply into the water, swimming in it or dipping into it. Now I know it means that in my conscious life I was acting led by my subconscious needs. That also proves the power of it – most of our actions are led by our subconscious and we are not even aware of it! Once I started working on my subconscious, trying to understand it by analyzing its needs and use its power – my dreams also changed. Especially the ones with water. Now when I dream of a swimming poor, ocean, lake or anything that represents water, I see myself rather standing on a beach and admiring an ocean view along with a strong feeling I do not want to dive into it. If I did dive that would mean coming back to my old, unconcious habits! I know it is safer for me to stay attached to my conscious part for the time being. However, my dreams remind me there is still the unconscious one that does not want to be forgotten. I am aware I do not allow myself to any subconscious acts, I try to stay away from these. Do I really manage? My observation shows that subconscious is incredibly powerful in our lives and getting to know it is a very hard job as well as painful in most cases. Will I ever be able to get to know it 100%? I do not think so. I do not think it is possible to get to know ourselves 100%. However expanding the knowledge about our subconscious and its way of leading our lives is an amazing adventure! My therapy sessions helped me a lot in getting to know why I am acting the way I am and in the same gave me an opportunity to choose – if I still want to act led by my subconscious needs or there are some of my behaviors I am not really proud of and would like to change. That is probably why now, when I am dreaming of water, it is rather drifting on its surface trying not to touch it or diving into it – that is out of the question! I try to stay away from water as much as possible. That means in some ways I am trying to kill my subconscious and do not allow it to speak anymore. Is that a better solution than acting based on my subconscious needs? I know that sometimes listening to it is a good idea. Anyway how do I know which needs written in my subconscious part bring me filfillment, make me happy and which harm me? Probably I will find it out eventually. For the time being, at least, I know what my subconscious wants to tell me when the water symbol appears in my dreams. If not the therapy I would probably never be able to figure out what such a symbol may mean in my life and how it may help me to get to know myself better.

Sex and Warsaw City

I have lately realized that I like ruining stereotypes. The one I have just ruined concerns relationships. Usually it is considered quite normal for an older guy to be dating a very young girl. I’m not going to speak of the exact age while they are dating, because it doesn’t matter, what matters the most is the age difference between two people. When it comes to a woman, dating much younger guy is not considered to be accepted and normal within the society we happen to be surrounded by. So I got involved, a few months ago, into a relationship with a guy 14 years younger than me 🙂 I am 35, he is 21. We are both quite young though. At the beginning I also got a bit attached to the stereotype and considered him too young for a relationship. I falsely assumed I am too old for him and we probably wouldn’t get along. However seeing him as a friend was not a big problem for me. Why? Why would I be able to make him one of my friends, but when it comes to love affair I was stopping myself from any emotional involvements? But then I changed my way of thinking as I followed my heart. I need to admit this relationship was one of the best ones I have ever created! From the moment we met, we had lots of things in common, lots of subjects to discuss, lots of similar interests, and there was this amazing chemistry between us that you don’t get with everybody. The only thing stopping me from having sex with this guy was his age! We felt so at ease with each other that we could spend all night talking about life, exchanging our points of view and sharing life experience. So after a few days I realized there is no way I’m going to control myself more as I felt an incredible emotional connection between us. The question arose – why would I discipline myself and hide the feelings I had toward this guy just because of the age difference? There is 14 years difference between, so what?! 🙂 When I compare him to some of the guys I happened to date and were a bit older than me – around 40, I found them so immature, insecure, not understanding my emotions and acting like kids, that I did not want to get into any relationships with them. Yet they were older what seems fine for the judgmental society. However their ego and insecurity made me realize I do not want to stick to such men. And then comes into my life this 21-year-old, brings peace and quiet, is emotionally well-balanced and doesn’t fight any battles inside himself. I feel and see how easy-going, relaxed and cheerful this person is and then I start wondering how come such a young guy can be so matured compared to much older ones that I totally do not want to date?!In one of an interview with a psychologist I read that women tend to get along best with men who lived in symbiosis with their mothers. My latest experience only proves this theory right! Do not interpret it that these mothers were overprotective, it only means they were able to create and be in a healthy emotional relationship with their sons. So thank you these types of mothers – you are really doing a great job!
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After a few days I spent with him I realized I’m not going to stick into this stereotype and stop myself from having sex with him only because I’m much older. I felt shouldn’t be doing that only because from a 35-year-old woman you would expect decency. What a crap! 🙂 I listened to myself, followed my emotions and do not regret every single minute of it, because I spent the most incredible time with him full of love, calmness, interesting conversations, amazing sex, chemistry, passion, and tenderness. 🙂 It only leaves me with wanting more of him and his incredible well-balanced personality. Even though he had to leave, as he was only visiting Warsaw for a few weeks, I will never forget him and will try the see him again as soon as possible.

What is very important to me in this story is that I ruined another stereotype in my life. That is that a woman can get involved in a relationship with a much younger guy and it can work out! It is only a matter of personality when it comes to people we meet and invite into our lives, not a matter of age. It doesn’t mean the older you are the smarter you get. That is bullshit! We, as people, tend to judge everything – relationships, the way others act and think, their opinions, their way of life and many other things. I know the only person that can live and feel my life is myself. I have always liked doing things in a totally different way the society tells to do. In this case, if I listened to another stereotype I would have never allowed myself to get involved with 21-year-old and I would have never experienced such a wonderful relationship. The best was for me to listen to myself, my needs, my emotions and follow my heart. 🙂 I wish he didn’t leave, I wish he stayed longer, yet I know he has his plans for life and we managed to meet only for a certain amount of time. I’m grateful I allowed myself to make the best use of this time and gained in return not only another life experience, but a lot of love, respect and tenderness! I know now that men I want to build relationships with, must be the ones that don’t have any problems with their egos and are well-balanced. I love learning through my own actions and need to say I don’t care what the society says. I am aware I might be judged, but these who do not allow themselves to live a real life will never experience what I had with this 14 years old younger guy! 🙂 So thank you my life for this incredible experience!

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Parentification

During my whole therapy I came across a term parentification. What does it really mean? And how does it affect adult life of these who have been through such a trauma?

Parentification is simply quickly becoming a parent once you’re still a child. Sounds terrible, doesn’t it? There are two types of parentification, one is a physical one meaning you need to take care of a sick parent, for example a handicapped one; the second is an emotional one and happens when you take care of, in an emotional way, a parent who is incapable of handling their emotions. I am sure many of us have been through such situations, yet we do not realise it. However it has an incredible affection on our adult lives and the way we build relationships with others. I noticed, and it also concerns my example, that people who lived through parentification always know everything best, always have the best solution, always try to predict consequences of somebody else’s actions, most of the time feel insecure, and the worst is that they think they have the power to make somebody else’s life better by giving good advice. At least now I am aware of me not being able to have the best solution to every problem and I just don’t give my opinion when I am not asked. Everyone has their own way of living their lives and it is not possible to make anyone happy if they do not want to feel so.

The parentification that happened in my life was an emotional one. As my mother abandoned me emotionally when I was a child, I instinctively got closer to my father, and everything would be totally fine if not the fact that I became his partner while still being a kid. My mother was not able to handle her own emotions, be right next to him and create a partnership marriage. For me it is incredible how subconsciously we, as people, create toxic relation within the same family. Handling my father emotionally, while being a kid and later on a teenager, was too much. Listening to his complaints, to what he’s been through at work, comforting him, cheering him up while he was in a bad mood, in my opinion was really too much for a young girl. I think when people get married, both of them a man and a woman, are looking for partners in their lives. If it happens they do not find a partner relation with the one they married, they are looking for it somewhere else. That is probably why people cheat. In my family case my father could’ve cheated on my mother and find another woman who would fulfil his emotional needs, yet he didn’t do so. In return he found in his daughter, that is me, a potential to become his life partner and unconsciously continued it for about 20 years. That was the amount of time for me to realize it and change dependency between us. Amazing, isn’t it?

Another hard example from my life showing parentification, and the one I still remember, is paying the bills when being a seven-year-old girl. The technology was not that well-developed as it is now. Today what I do is just several online bank account money transfers and within a few seconds all of my bills are paid 🙂 However in 1990s in Poland, and probably in other countries too, to pay the bills you had to go to the post office. As everyone was getting their salaries by the 10th every month, you can imagine the queues there! My duty, as a kid, beginning of each month and after school going to the post office and stand there for about two hours to pay all of the monthly bills. Was that really a task for a seven-year-old? Now I know it was not. Now I know they shouldn’t have done that. What is more, during the time I was standing in the queue paying all of my parents bills, my father was sitting in front of TV smoking cigarettes and drinking tea. At least he was not an alcoholic 🙂 Thank you the universe he usually was drinking tea after work! 🙂

From one hand I know it was too much for me to handle, as managing a grown-up while still being a kid is not really a task to fulfill in the childhood. On the other hand it taught me incredible responsibility, but now when I observe myself I would even say too much of it as I keep demanding a lot from myself as well as I can be quite hard on me too. Anyway I am on a good path in changing that 🙂 I start being less responsible, give myself permission to make mistakes and not being perfect all of the time.

How was it in other people’s’ lives? How much parents demanded from them? How much of their unsolved emotional problems were put on kids? Are there people who had a great childhood with parents who knew what love is all about? In my case and in my childhood life everything was all about my parents, it was never about their kids. However now, when I am myself an adult, and try to live consciously, I am able not to repeat my parents’ mistakes. Becoming self-aware is the best thing that ever happened to me! 🙂

Psychoanalysis – to Go or Not to Go?

Why did I decide to go to a therapy and what is its result? There were three reasons for me to do so. The first one was the toxic relationship I was involved in with in and out for the past 20 years, the second was my friend who encouraged for me to do so by revealing his life story and a nasty divorce, and the third one was a new manager at work I couldn’t completely get along with.

So I searched the Internet for a good psychologist. At the beginning I did not know if she was good or not, yet I decided to give it a try. It’s been around three years I am going to the therapy and now I know it was the best decision I have ever made. Quite an expensive one though. The whole therapy and revealing the biggest subconscious secrets from your life to a stranger, and in the same time realising them yourself, made me more self-aware, more conscious, and more intelligent. I do admit at the beginning it was painful and I remembered many evenings after the sessions that ended up in tears. Anyway the pain was worth it. Now I am able to lead a very conscious life and the relationships I am building with others are more honest, sincere and real.

In my opinion not everyone had toxic parents, yet there are always things in our minds we are not aware of and in some cases they may lead our subconscious resulting in making decisions that hurt us. And later on we keep asking ourselves why did we do that to us?

I knew that I was always doing a lot of analysing and I loved thinking why things happen and what was the reason for them to happen, and the psychoanalysis helped me in putting all of my thoughts together and getting a result out of it. It also gave me knowledge how to analyse my dreams. Previously when there was a person in my dream I knew like a friend, or a parent, or an aunt, or somebody else, I always thought the dream was about them. Now I know it was always about me. These people were only symbols reflecting my subconscious. Once I learnt how to read them, I know what my subconscious wants to tell me. And I listen to it as it has an incredible power.

I was always interested in psychology, so thanks to the therapy I got to know how my brain works, read a lot of interesting books that helped me to understand the emotional part of human being that I was never really able to show because of my toxic mother and became smarter. I have also learned what my parents were through in their childhood. That made me realise the way they treated me wasn’t because they wanted to hurt me deliberately,  but it was the result of their unsolved emotions along with their childhood issues. As a small kid I was an easy target to suck all of their toxic emotions as I did not know how to protect myself from these. Now I do and now I do not allow others to cross my boundaries. I do feel sorry for what my parents have been put throughout their early lives, yet I think they were not allowed to hurt me the way they did. On the other hand I’m grateful for what happened because it made me an amazing, strong and independent woman who knows how to enjoy life and is not afraid of living 🙂 It only proves the relationships we have with our parents are always difficult to judge and to be in. Now I’m trying to rebuild and learn how to create a healthy relationship with my father. I am aware I’ll never have a normal one with my mother, because it’s just not possible, and it will never be as she ended up mentally sick.

Coming back to the clue, in my opinion it is worth going to the therapy. The only factor that may stop you is the fear of getting to know the truth with the whole pain that goes with it. Once you deal with the pain, in return you get consciousness, honesty, self-awareness and then you can do whatever you want with that knowledge. I chose to be happy, to enjoy every day life and being grateful that even though my childhood was not a perfect one and my parents occurred to be weak human beings, I managed to grow up a wonderful person who loves to live, loves people and appreciates small things that every day life bring 🙂 Thanks to the therapy I am able not to hurt people the way I was probably doing subconsciously. And not to hurt the person I love the most – that is myself  🙂

A girl – a Lonely Traveler

Why I am travelling alone? Is it still such a strange thing to see a girl who travels on her own? Lots of my friends tend to admire me for doing such a thing. And for me it is not a big thing. I just want to do it, and I am doing it!

From the beginning now 🙂 I think it was my dad who subconsciously encouraged me to travel. I remember when I was young he was reading me to sleep “Gulliver’s travels”. It might have been that time my mind started getting used to the idea of traveling. When I was 19 I left Poland and went living as an au-pair girl in Paris for a few years. I need to mention I did not speak French at all then. I spoke English, yet those who know a bit of French culture will immediately figure out knowing English was not much of a help 🙂 I leant French there. Brave, isn’t it? As some may claim that going to a foreign country may be risky for such a young girl, I think it was just an adventure for a 19-year-old girl. It taught her how to manage in such a cosmopolitan city like Paris. It was 2002. In Poland capitalism was only 13 years old, and even though the capital and the country itself was quickly developing, it was nothing in comparaison to a 12 million Ile-de-France region. My 3 years adventure of living in France taught me only amazing skills, like: becoming very independent and more tolerant, counting only on myself, managing in all kinds of situations and finding out what freedom means to me. I am now not afraid of buying flight tickets and going abroad alone. I would even say I love it! What I love about traveling alone is that I do not need to compromise on anything. I go to places I want to see and visit. I do not need to ask anyone for their opinion or plans for the trip or for the day. It may sound egoist, and yes I am aware of it. Yet I prefer to travel alone than in a bad company. Most of us know how hard it is to find a good companion, especially when it comes to traveling. People have different needs and expectations. In my life there are only 2 people I am willing to travel with – my father and one of my girlfriends. The reason I can fly with them is that they know some unpredictable things and situations will happen and they do not panic then. They are both chilled out and relaxed, they love enjoying life, so if we feel like sitting in a café and drinking some, we just do so. Both of them do not care about money that much, so we are not counting penny for each meal in a restaurant or each souvenir that we buy to know how much we have left. Of course we are being reasonable and not wasting money on stupid things, just enjoying every single moment of our journey.  Rest of my friends do not travel the same way I do, so there is no point going anywhere with them, as it would be only waste of my energy.

What does the travelling alone give me? Lots of positive emotions. Facing challenges. Proving myself I am invincible. Crossing my boundaries. Realizing I am amazing. I love the feeling of getting on a plane, then landing in a foreign country and the story begins – finding myself, asking for direction, searching for places I want to visit, tasting different food, enjoying sunsets and sunrises, admiring landscapes, listening to the sound of sea, ocean and wind. Feeling the universe, understanding it, being grateful for such an opportunity of being where I happen to be. This is what I get when I travel. All range of positive emotions. And people I meet on my way are amazing too: couchsurfers, pedestrians, other tourists. They are always helpful and always making me smile.

Many times, here in Poland, I heard my friends saying that traveling alone is not such a common thing, especially for a girl. I keep wondering why? Are women afraid of doing so and being alone? Are we still thinking only by having with someone around our life has a meaning? Are Polish women still brought up the way they need a man to take care of them, as they are a weaker sex and need protection? Really, are they? If so in my opinion they are missing a lot. Especially their freedom, as they have resigned from it in order to get a false sense of security provided by men. I am aware I am a grown up, does not matter a girl or a boy, as an adult human being I know I am responsible for myself. No one else! At least that is the philosophy of life of a Polish girl who travels alone 🙂 And loves doing it! There are so many amazing places for me to see and I cannot wait to buy another ticket after my 8th Greek holiday this year I am starting soon 🙂 I am sure the moment I come back I will be googling some other flights to places I have never been before. In my opinion we are living in such amazing times and the world is so open to any of those who are willing to take the most of it. And I am one of them 🙂 I want 100% of this world! I know the opportunity is there, just waiting for me to take it. So why would I be like most of Polish girls waiting for their price charm to arrive, when I have millions of flight routes to choose from and still at least 100 countries to visit! I may be egoist, I may not be adapting to society by not having a family and kids, yet I am happy in every single day of my life as thanks to my travels I am such and my open-minded person that has so and many plans for the future! Not only these concerning traveling of course 🙂