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Mr. Awful, I really enjoyed reading your story, even though it was difficult to hear the sadness and frustration you have dealt with. You are a very good writer and maybe you should consider doing that professionally.

I was reminded of something I learned from a friend recently which profoundly changed how I am handling negativity (from others and from myself). My friend was talking about a period in her life when she was forced to work with a coworker who she said was "draining energy" from her. He appeared to be nice on the outside, and was doing nothing obvious but she felt depleted, physically sick after being around him, and he always seemed to be around her, no matter where she went, he wound up being at her side. She was beside herself in not knowing what to do about it. One night, she was watching a home movie of her parent's 50th wedding anniversary and the camera focused on her young nephew who was on the dance floor trailing the light patterns on the floor from the disco ball. Something made her focus on the love she felt for her nephew at that moment and she had a revelation. "I knew I was loved, and I have love, and I'm not going to let him steal that from me." From then on, whenever she encountered this coworker, she "protected" herself with a bubble of love. She focused on picturing all the love she knows and experiences in a bubble surrounding her. This completely ended the problem she had with this coworker and he even wound up helping her with a few things after that. He went on to do the same negative thing to other coworkers and she noticed he would be paired with people the company no longer wanted employed so they would quit eventually.

My own revelation after hearing her story was that I have been draining positive energy from myself. I was feeding into my own negativity, focusing on feelings of being inadequate, depressed, angry, anxious, guilty. It doesn't matter where the negativity is coming from, if you can protect yourself by refusing to feed into it, and focus on what you love or makes you feel loved, you are going to be moving in the right direction. You mentioned how it helps you to focus on how you feel when you help others feel happy and that's what made me think of this. So you can channel those feelings to protect you when things are making you feel bad and you are unable to control them.

Just another tool to help deal with life. I wish you, your mom, and your family all the best!
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