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BellaOnline's Midlife Editor

Midlife, Idiots and Idiosyncracies

Of course, I thought I would be young forever. Then, shock of shocks, I grew older - I don't want to say the word "old" - but, in other words, life happened - and I am now in midlife. At this point in time, the best way for me to describe this stage would be maybe - a catharsis; a possible reinventing; discarding the old ways, and trying something new - whether it's career, home, hobby. You will find this is very much the case with a lot of people as they get to this stage in their life. They want to feel fulfilled; they want meaning in their life.

I'm not saying I'm adverse to a good shopping spree once in a while, but that is not at the top of my list for fun or interesting things that I want to do - not the way it was 5 or 10 years ago. And, while I do like a lovely home, it is not the be-all and end-all to me anymore either. I guess what I am saying is that my priorities have changed - and I am not so much into "things". What was once important to me is way down on my list - I would rather live in a tiny apartment - and be near the people I care about, and who care about me, then living somewhere else, in a big, beautiful house with all the trimmings, surrounded by people who are superficial.

I want to travel, explore, learn about things; learn a new language; see Machu Piccu; find meaning in things. Find the truth; be inspired. I am not suffering fools gladly at this point. I'm also at the end of my rope with people who think they know it all - know better than you - know what your problem is - have a strong need to tell you what you need to be doing.

Yes, that's right - the insecure, misguided fools out there who think they are in complete control of their lives - and now they're going to try to control yours -- in other words -- I'm talking about - the "control freaks". I'm sure at one time or another - everyone has had one of them in their lives - they are, unfortunately, rampant. Some of you may even have one or two of them in your own families. You have my deepest sympathy. I know what it is to deal with 'control freaks'. They are usually the 'authority' on everything.

They need to dominate. The sad part is - they think they are perfect - and haven't found out yet that, no one is perfect, not even them. These are finger pointing people - they backbite, they critique you - even to your face - oh, yes. They 'suggest' to you. They can be very negative as, they, and only they, could and would know how to handle YOUR problem. If you look closely at these people - they are a mess. They just don't want to look inward and deal with that mess - it's easier to find fault with, and point fingers at - everyone else. They can be quite sarcastic. They are extremely judgmental and opinionated - at all times. I wouldn't want to be in any of their shoes on Judgment Day, that's for sure. Even I know that in the Bible it says "Judge not, lest you be judged". Powerful words. These people are in big trouble!

I have worked for -- and with - these control types. It can be hell on wheels, especially if they have any kind of authority. Throw in immaturity, and it's a formula for disaster! I worked with a woman once who I thought I could befriend - but early on I found out differently. We were at a dinner one afternoon for someone who was leaving the company. I looked across the table and gave one of the other women a compliment about her daughter, who I had just been introduced to. Suddenly, I felt a kick in my leg under the table. This woman sitting next to me, had kicked me! I immediately thought to myself - I must have said something wrong, but I couldn't figure out what. Later on, after we left the restaurant, I asked this woman what I had said that was wrong - was it not her daughter?? had her birth daughter passed away? She responded - that this woman had gotten way too many compliments about her daughter already and that SHE was tired of hearing it! Can you believe that? It's absolutely true. I knew from then on she was someone I would have to keep at a distance. Who the hell is she, I thought to myself - telling me not to give that woman compliments on her daughter! I barely knew this person who felt comfortable enough to kick me! I always regretted not telling her off right then and there.

I know several women who are so controlling that their spouses don't dare give their own opinion on anything - without looking over to the "controller" for their pre-approval. Unwittingly over the years, these spouses have become co-dependent, each on the other, although there is only one who always maintains the 'control'. At this point in life, I really don't think these spouses even even know their own minds, or how they honestly feel, about anything. They have had to stifle themselves in order to live with that controlling (and often manipulating) spouse in peace - quite often it's the husband who is the 'control freak' but I have also seen it in reverse, where the woman is the 'control freak'. This emasculates the husband. These embattled spouses have had to give up their most precious possession - their own identity. As long as they never disagree with their spouse, there can be peace in the house. How sad is that?

One type of 'controller' I would label as the 'accusing critic', one of the toxic personalities described in a book I'm reading entitled, 'Toxic People'. These are petty people who often nitpick, finding fault with insignificant things that don't really matter. They try to make you feel wrong in order to elevate themselves - as in when putting you down, it makes them feel superior. In criticizing you directly to your face, they try to make you feel small, or less of a person. You can never do anything right around these 'Accusing critics', and, therefore, you never know when they are going to try to humiliate you. That is why it is usually very uncomfortable to be around them.

Control freaks have a need for YOU to be perfect. They never bother to look in the mirror and see the person they have really become. Yes, they are cowardly. And, if you even think about getting assertive with them, they will stick a label on you - to keep you "in check". They can be very patronizing and condescending. Don't expect them to change - they won't. I've given up the ghost on that idea, too. They are too shallow.

In the book, Toxic People - they list ten ways of dealing with people who make your life miserable. Among other things, it says in this book that some of these people are so insecure they have a need to only associate with people who can elevate their self-esteem.

The book goes on to say that these 'toxic' people have such low self-esteem that the only way they can relate to you is by turning everything into a contest. They constantly try to impress you with how much better they are than you (or so they think!) They are known for being invasive, rigid, manipulative, arrogant, aggressive, pushy, unreasonable, stubborn, selfish, threatened, disrespectful, tenacious and - unevolved.

Another 'toxic' personality is known as the 'Snooty Snob'. She acts as though she is superior to everyone else. They act like this to make themselves feel more important - because the truth is deep down inside they are trembling with insecurity. This type is self-righteous, shallow, belittling, fault-finding, aloof, weak, bitchy, intimidating, judgmental, nitpicking, rejecting, rigid, condescending, petty, rude, superficial and holier than thou. You may know someone - or several people who are a combination of the two.

You might have tried to tolerate people such as these and put up with them 'warts and all' because you have a history together - whether they be a friend or relative. But, at some point, you may feel that you have had enough of the negativity that this person finds joy in imparting to you - and realize you have to "unplug" from her - or him! You will, eventually, have had enough of this person who does nothing but cut you down, be non-supportive and look at you with crooked eyes, as the book says.

At times, when dealing with these toxic people, I have wanted to yell, 'Who died and left YOU Master of the Universe?'

The bottom line is -- why subject yourself to this kind of cruel and negative atmosphere? You cannot thrive in a toxic environment. Every human being has the right to feel validated and respected. If you're not being treated properly, you know what you have to do. Be kind to yourself. Don't let anyone walk all over you. Kick them to the curb - the sooner you do, the better you will feel - and, if they value you - they will have to take stock and heed the wake-up call!!

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