thought of the week: they don’t get a pass

as the end of another school year draws near, the number of students requesting sessions has increased. while typically, the two most discussed topics during this time are stress around final exams and worry paired with sadness around starting somewhere new without their closest friends, the topic that has come up again and again in the last couple of weeks has not been either of those.

there have been countless discussions around family dynamics and what is acceptable treatment from a family member. i often pose the question of what is acceptable treatment in general. it is often met with confusion – almost as if there is a separate rule book for family and one for everyone else. that can be a slippery slope and for many of my students, the end result has not been positive. especially for my seniors, we have been doing a ton of work around setting boundaries that feel good to them. i came across this quote recently and read it aloud this week in multiple sessions. for many, it brought them to tears.

“simply because someone is related to us by blood and may have even been the one to birth or raise us, does NOT give them a pass to be cruel and harmful to us.” -therapy for black girls

who have you given a pass to? what message are you sending by giving that pass? what is the long term impact on you and your spirit?

xoxo,

k. tap

thought of the week: what is gaslighting?

this blog post is long overdue. on my instagram live in december, there was a question about gaslighting and many of you messaged me about doing a full length post on it. between the end of the year not wrapping up as i anticipated + the start of the new year being brutal both at work and in the world, i didn’t have the energy to tackle this topic. it’s an important one that deserves my full attention.

first things first – what is gaslighting? gaslighting is a specific type of manipulation where the manipulator is trying to get a person(s) to question their own reality, memory or perception.

during grad school, i found myself frequenting the psychology today website. during my final year in my mft program, there was this great article on 11 warning signs of gaslighting. it is a quick and easy way to analyze whether or not the relationships you are in are truly healthy. let’s get to these 11 warning signs:

1. they tell blatant lies

2. they deny they ever said something, even though you have proof

3. they use what is near and dear to you as ammunition

4. they wear you down over time

5. their actions do not match their words

6. they throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you

7. they know confusion weakens people

8. they project

9. they try and align people against you

10. they tell you or others that you are crazy

11. they tell you everyone else is a liar

any of these individually are less than ideal but it would make more sense that a person could miss that this was happening in the first place if they appeared as isolated events. it would also make sense for a person who grew up being gaslit by their family may not recognize how controlling and manipulative said behavior is when building relationships with friends and partners as an adult.

as we kick off a new year, i encourage you to take a step back and look closely at the most significant relationships in your life. are each of them free of this kind of behavior? if not, why is this behavior being tolerated by you?

if struggling to end a relationship where you are being gaslit, just remember to treat/talk to yourself like someone you love.

xoxo,

k. tap

thought of the week: goodbyes aren’t always a bad thing

for as long as i can remember, saying goodbye has been framed as both difficult and negative. sometimes, i could feel myself tensing up around upcoming goodbyes so much that i would consider avoiding them all together. goodbyes vary from parting ways with a person/a relationship as a whole, a job/career, an animal, an ideology/mindset, etc. what i didn’t (and still don’t) hear enough about is what happens after we say goodbye.

“goodbyes are often times introductions to ourselves.” -vienna pharaon

in saying goodbye to a toxic family member, i said hello to boundary setting and self respect. in saying goodbye to a job i grew to love unexpectedly, i discovered nonnegotiables for future jobs/my career as a whole. in saying goodbye to my favorite dog, i unearthed just how much i could love something or someone unconditionally. in saying goodbye to the need to please others all of the time, i have realized that i am not only more happy, but that the important people loved me even more for being authentically me.

who or what do you need to say goodbye to in order to get better aquatinted with yourself?

this post definitely made me think of one of my favorite jay z songs. the opening line is, “allow me to reintroduce myself…”

xoxo,

k. tap

thought of the week: you are allowed to change the price

in the world we live in, there is this unspoken idea that we are supposed to be constantly dialed in.  right now, i am typing this from my macbook that is linked to my imessages with multiple windows open across my four gmail accounts.  when did this become the norm even during summer vacation?  anyone else in the same boat?

 

even with me being dialed in pretty regularly, something i have been working on is accessibility.  it is one thing to have all of these windows on my screen open – it is an entirely different thing to feel an immense pressure to respond to every text, phone call, email, dm, etc.  i am someone that has to be dialed in for work from august to may.  we have been instructed to keep our cell phones on our desks in plain sight so we can see the alert if the school goes on lockdown (what a world we live in).  this is in addition to me working in mental health and getting more texts than i could ever count about crises that need to be addressed immediately.  when i am at work, this does not bother me because i knew that this simply came along with the job.  but it is outside of work that started to chip away at me.

 

there did not seem to be boundaries around my accessibility.  it is like i had made this unconscious decision to be equally accessible for anyone at any given point in time, no matter the reason for contact or my mental/emotional state of being at that moment.  something had to give.  this quote summed it up perfectly.

 

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“you are allowed to change the price of what it costs to access you.”

 

i cannot tell you how much i needed to see this in print or how much it resonated with me.  there were people that had access to me that did not deserve it.  there were people who had access to me that was too easy considering the lack of reciprocity in our relationship.  there were people that accessed me with heavy content without first checking to see if i had the capacity to hold it.  but here’s the thing – i was, am and will be in complete control over who has access to me along with what it costs to access me.  while the cost may not be monetary, it certainly includes things like reciprocity, compassion and loyalty, amongst other things.

 

have you stopped to think about what it costs to access you?  do you need to change the price or is it fine as is?

 

xoxo,

k. tap