The Toxic Godfather
Many of us would have encountered such individuals at some point in our lives – the toxic godfather figure. Concerned, mature, seems to have it all figured out and wants to guide you on a similar path to success. Or so it seems.
Toxic godfathers are actually people with a massive inferiority complex. It’s just that you don’t see it. They hide it really well. They claim to care about furthering your career, guiding you along the tried and tested paths of life, showing you the ropes as it were, on dealing with people, building habits and being the best version of yourself. Initially you would be so grateful and thrilled in a way. Here is someone who is like a parent, but better. Wants you to achieve and wants to show you how. Heck, when life hits or seems a daunting uphill climb, who wouldn’t be grateful for such individuals? It’s so easy to get swept up in the flow that you forget to watch for the warning signs. In the beginning everything would be nice and rosy and because you are also new to this, you would be wanting to please.
But as time goes on, what your gut instinct tells you to do would be pushed down by the Godfather. You will be told you have immense potential, that you are talented and very good but somehow, there would always be a ‘but’. The catch would be that you are still too young, still ‘getting there’ (wherever that is) and that you need to learn a lot more and build up your talent, skills whatever. You would be made to feel that only the Godfather truly knows and appreciates you. No one else can or will. And you just fall into that trap of El Dorado – mythical city you are chasing that never exists. And you never stop to wonder why you are never good enough coz anyhow you grew up in a home where you were made to feel inferior and after all – these are new frontiers right? So it’s best you tackle them when you are ready. Or rather, when the Godfather deems you ready. Which is never.
Coz honestly, they are there to hold you back. Some are put there by others and some on their own are these figures. A sensible older person who gives a damn about you won’t be constantly reigning you in. They will let you take risks, learn and go your way. You would not have to keep running back to them for advice. That is control. That is not what is good for you. You will be caught in a toxic cycle of interdependence with the Godfather where your own instinct and voice is drowned by this benevolent psychopath who will eventually drive you to the ground. You see it between older and younger people and even amongst some of your peers. The older ones are worse. They have years of honing their skills and hide the insidiousness very well. You end up being just another brick in the wall of their destruction. Some are very mild and almost dismissive. And you would feel compelled to go back to them coz they seem to have lost interest in you and that would be terrible (or so they let you feel). They will show success stories around them but you realise later that the ‘success’ is only what they Godfather has seen. Not the outside world. Coz no one else knows nor cares. You are the Godfather’s pride and that’s it. Nothing more. Think of it in terms of a dictator – not the brazen ones. The stealthy ones. The ones who come with a smile and words of encouragement while slowly slicing your life line and bleeding you.
So beware. They are everywhere. In all walks of life. In all communities and in all age groups. Men, women who are there to drag you down. So before the tide hits and you get dragged underneath – stop and listen to your instinct. That tiny voice you keep silencing. It knows. It will guide you.