Toxic Relationships

If you’ve ever been on a therapist’s couch for more than three sessions, the topic of ‘toxic relationships’ has probably come up. You’re vulnerable. Sitting there, next to that not-so-zen fountain.

Then you learn about toxic people. These people are vampires, feasting on our sweet, unsure needy blood. The whole Cheetah & Gazelle game. You know, where the gazelle get it’s face ripped off.

My first time in the shrinks’ chair I was 16. My parents sent me. They were on the last leg of their marriage and… enter mid-life crisis, blah blah blah…

The therapist wasted no time, she told me: our family dynamic was “highly toxic.”

She laid it out logically. It was like being punched in the chest. That moment when you’re not sure how much it’s going to hurt; or how breathless you’ll be. And then she told me something I’ll never forget.

She said, “the best advice I can give you is to get out — as soon as you can.” I picked my jaw up off the floor.

End of session.

But that’s what every therapist will tell you about a truly toxic relationship: if you can’t control or limit the toxicity– don’t walk, run for the exit.

Even still, truisms aside; it’s hard to just squash a relationship. We’re social creatures. And conditioned. Especially with someone imprinted on our lives for so long. It’s a sense of comfort– even if it is toxic; it’s familiar.  After a while, it is all you know.  (aka: Stockholm Syndrome).

I’m 36 now.

A dad now. Two boys. I’ve basically stopped interacting with my parents & siblings, sans the obligatory holiday calls. If I can get them on the phone… It’s sad. I know.

But here’s the thing I learned, and it took me 20 more years to really figure out. Most tigers won’t ever change their stripes. Duh. So, the quicker you figure out your issues, the faster you can decide if you want to deal with that cat standing in front of you. For 5 minutes, 5 days, 5 years, or a lifetime.

And it’s good to take account of yourself & your relationships. It’s cathartic. Go ahead. Get real. Get raw. It won’t hurt forever. Go on. It’s easy peasy.

Let’s start with Wall Street. Watch me…

But hey we’ve had fun too, right? It could be worse. I mean you could be stuck in a some boring relationship– like with a ratings agency drunk on Wall Street fees. Wait. Oh, you’re upset now?

Enron?! Enron who? MERS who?

And in the relationship tally with Wall Street, if you’re actually keeping track anymore, that’s one affair almost every two years. For the last twenty. I’m also being wildly generous about all of the soulless acts you probably don’t hear about, because most of the news is limited to the trade magazines, fines deemed too “small” for you to worry about.

And it’s all toxic. All the same people. With same results. Over & over. They’re standing in the same wife beater Ferragamo shoes with that 5th beer in them private jet all fueled up, ready to go. Just begging for any excuse to bring the thunder again.

Then one day I woke up, hopefully just like you. On some random Tuesday.

…I still have my therapist’s number if you want it.



Your StockBroker: The Alpha – I heart Wall Street

Brokerus Stockus: Wile E. Coyote – I heart Wall Street


Goldman Sachs cited in Wall Street IPO scandal – The Independent

Global Settlement – Wikipedia

JPMorgan To Give Up Over $720 Million In Municipal “Scheme” Bond – Business Insider

Scandal Drove Prudential to Record $811-Million Loss – LA times via Bloomberg

Mutual Fund Enforcement Picks Up Steam – Registered Rep

Dealers Pay Up In Price-Fixing Scam: Doubts Linger Over Billion Dollar Penalty – Traders Magazine

The Great Credit Rating Scandal – MoneyWeek

Why The Foreclosure-Gate Scandal Will Only Hurt The Housing Market – Business Insider

See Also:

Le homage a James Altucher.

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Living is Better Than Dying in College

8 Alternatives to College

Also Starring: @BadDalaiLama

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11 thoughts on “Toxic Relationships

  1. Take your clients and run. Give back the check. It’s tough, I know. Save up some money and do it asap. I never took a check but I did leave & it was the best move ever.

  2. great stuff — how do you walk away and return the retention. After the fire — shoudn’t I get something?

    Working for the bank/wirehouse is like living a prison sentence, 4 years, 6 months and three days.

    It is toxic, I have never heard so many people so miserable about the place they work.

    If I had the coin, I’d be out the door yesterday.

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