Who Steals Your Joy? [ the victim, the martyr, and the cynic ]

IMG_20160516_143535-02hands -02hands -02IMG_20160516_143535 (1)hands -02Random encounters.

You run into a “friend” and you share wonderful news from your life [ a story of luck, success, new love or big money ] Just before you start, a voice in your head whispers “hold on. not now.”  But you ignore it and say it anyway.

Your story meets – surprisingly – with a stone face. You see a glare of jealousy in their eyes. [ if you share bad news, you will sense your loss makes them happy ]

Regardless of what they say, you feel deflated. You walk away feeling dirty.

The thief that’s always there.

You could also deal with something like this on a regular basis.  You may have a family member who serves as a true fire blanket for your enthusiasm – blanket which comes with a lifetime warranty.

So you often hear: “calm down”, “tone it down”, “don’t get ahead of yourself”, “oh yeah? What are you doing it for?”  “don’t drink so much” “don’t dance like that” and other comments, that should bring you back to “where you belong” to make you feel guilty, ridiculed for your aspiration or fun you have.

Sometimes it’s not words but just “the look” and emotional withdrawal on their part. As if your better job, adventures, luxury car, or a handsome boyfriend was a personal offense to them.

Such family influence may create permanent damage if we are not mindful.  Pain, harmful patterns, interpersonal issues, limiting beliefs roll over from one generation to the next.  If.  We are NOT mindful and don’t rebel against them.

Who are those people and how should you handle them?

They are the victims, the martyrs, and the cynics.

The cynic was once happy, with dreams flying high, but got shot down and stayed there.

The victim and the martyr live in the world where sacrifice, bad luck, and suffering are parts of their “grey reality”: “this is the way it has always been…”  Their mind can’t conceive a thought of pleasure and joy just for the heck of it. 

But what can YOU do?

First, let me remind you about the danger of having such people in life (and continuing engaging with them):

  • You may really tone it down, to match the low vibrational energy of the grump (feels like dying, right?) contributing to the bigger crowds of grumps (because this is what the world… doesn’t need)
  • You may also start an open war with the tribe (this will take you down to the negative vibration as well.
  • You may keep around a “friend” who is jealous, just because you have known each other for years. Not realizing that the “friend” is secretly wishing you failure.
  • You may subconsciously sabotage your success, choose a car that’s not so flashy, style that’s not so flamboyant, resign from the promotion – especially when your family of origin (the original tribe) made a big deal of “who do you think you are.” Sabotage your relationship with a person that seems “out of your league.” (you may fall into this trap especially when you grew up with low self esteem, nobody ever believed in you.. so when things were getting better and better you dealt alternatively with self-doubt and exhilaration of what’s possible. …but which one is going to win?)


  • Even though it could be very enjoyable to throw a glass of ice water in their face, it’s more productive to focus on you, not them.
  • And specifically focus on PROTECTING your joy, your aspirations, and your right to dream of more and better.
  • First identify who they are. In some cases you will just feel their disapproval, even if they stay quiet.
  • Don’t dwell on the negative feedback.  Not for a minute.  Instead: go where the supportive people are. Develop intuition about what to share and with whom.
  • Don’t put energy to it.  Instead watch NOT to be less YOU because they said you are “too much”! Dream even bigger.
  • Don’t shut down.  It would mean they won.  Instead: create better boundaries.  Diplomatically refuse invites to the family picnics where you could be stubbed with a plastic fork.
  • Avoid thoughts of revenge.  Stay compassionate.

Protect your joy.  It takes deliberate effort to find it and to cultivate it.

Your celebrations do not need approval of someone, whose life is nowhere close to where you want to be.  

When you stay on the positive side of passion, joy, and enthusiasm, you give others permission to do the same.