Toxic People: How to Spot and Remove Them from Your Life

Hi, my name is Leif E. Greenz and I’m constantly surrounded by toxic people. In today’s episode of Toolbox Tuesday, I’ll explain how to spot and remove toxic people from your life.

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This is a long and heavy video! We’ll go over what makes a person toxic, why we’re attracted to toxic people, how to tell if someone is toxic, and how to remove the relationship from your life. I’ll also give a quick primer on trauma and betrayal bonds and explain the difference between a toxic person and an abuser.

Throughout this video, I reference Patrick Carnes and his book, “The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships.” It’s available on Amazon!

Do you have any toxic people in your life? How does their toxicity manifest? What do you plan to do about it? Let me know in the comments.

Toxic people can be difficult to get away from, especially if they’re abusive. I know that my words can’t stop a betrayal bond from happening — in fact, I myself have been in many situations where people try to help and I can’t or won’t listen. That’s how strong these trauma bonds are. So please be gentle with yourself. This is a long, winding, and arduous process. You’re doing great.

I love you all so much. Be sure to subscribe to my channel for twice weekly updates from a professional crazy person!

Thanks for watching my video about how to spot and remove toxic people from your life. I’ll see you on Thursday for a video about mental illness and language.

Leif E. Greenz

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PTSD Rage: How to Embrace Your Fury (Toolbox Tuesdays – Trauma)

Hi, I’m Leif E. Greenz and I have a rage problem. My fury is a product of severe sexual trauma and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

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In today’s episode of Toolbox Tuesday, I’ll explain the origins of PTSD rage and provide you with tools to embrace and channel that fury, rather than turning it inwards or hurting your loved ones.

Rage, once triggered, is difficult to control. I’ll help you figure out how to let your rage out gradually, rather than all at once, so that you can preserve your meaningful relationships while still processing important emotions.

At its core, our rage is designed to help us survive. It is motivating, energizing, and it encourages us to act in the face of danger. If left unchecked, though, our rage can rear its head at inappropriate moments and at people who don’t deserve it.

For those with trauma: your rage is normal. You have the right to be angry.

I love you all so much!

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A regular ol’ Big Mouth blog post…

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Hi, I’m Leif E. Greenz and I think I’m back.

Is anyone still out there?

I’ve been wanting to resurrect “Big Mouth” since I announced that I was done with it. I don’t know what happened. Maybe I stopped writing because my life got less chaotic … or maybe something in me died.

I thought I was going to die. I was sure I’d be dead by 27. I said it over and over again, sometimes during breakdowns, sometimes casually, like I was stating the time or commenting on the weather.

“I’m going to die this year, I just know it.”

And it’s hard to blog when you’re pretty certain you’re about to die. It’s hard to invest in anything when everything is so obviously temporary. I mean that’s life in a nutshell, but most people don’t walk around feeling so dangerously close to the edge all the time.

Unless you have PTSD. This apocalyptic mind-frame is common among survivors because we live in constant fear of danger. At any moment, we think, our lives could end or we could be raped or tortured or kidnapped. It’s hard to enjoy hanging out with friends or to even feel like there’s a point to having friends when you’re certain you’ll be gone within the year.

Truthfully, our lives could end at any moment. Folks with PTSD are just hyperaware (too aware) of that fact, so much so that they struggle to stay in the present moment. And that’s putting it lightly. Staying present is like pulling teeth out of the traumatized. It is excruciating. It feels like we’re being ripped from our comfort place — that place where we’re consistently scanning the past for evidence and the future for danger. Both non-realities fuel and feed off of each other and demand far too much for the present to get a word in.

I feel so flighty writing this. I want to get up from my desk and look at the window at the neighbors who just moved in. I want distractions so I don’t have to be real to myself. What is this raw shit coming from my fingertips and how do I stop it?

Another thing: this blog is so dead, I feared resurrection would be futile. But really… who cares. If I get something out of sharing myself, it doesn’t matter who reads it. If someone else gets something out of it, hell yeah! But that’s not my fundamental reason for writing.

I write because I have to. Because it’s in my system. My body screams for it and shames me when I neglect the pen. I’ve neglected it for months…. six months to be exact. I wrote a whole damn book and then ignored it. It remains ignored at the corner of my desk, wondering why I’m so keen on abandonment.

Because writing is pain! Writing is pricking your finger and recording your truth in blood! Writing demands honesty, so if you’re being a fuckoff, you’re going to have to be real about it. And when I’m being a fuckoff, realness is the last thing I want.

There’s a biological piece to this, too. If your body is in survival mode, certain parts of your brain start to shut off in order of importance. Emotions are often the first to go.

I was numb for one year. That year looked like this: psychologically tortured by rapist boyfriend, fled to Arizona, got assaulted in Arizona, moved to Minneapolis, moved out of house in Minneapolis, lost best friends, moved to the country.

I had moments of intense feeling, but they were short-lived and rare. When the feelings did come out, it was terrifying and overwhelmed anyone near me.

My body spent the year fighting and in that fight, I was barely aware of my surroundings. I couldn’t distinguish danger from safety and, frankly, didn’t care to. I was fully prepared to be murdered. If not that, then to do it myself. Nothing mattered. I had no hope, no dreams for my future, no friends. I’d pushed everyone away. I’d scared people. I had been overwhelming.

I somehow maintained a romantic relationship throughout that mess. We’re still together. Forrest is a.) a survivor and b.) a fucking saint. I’ve told him repeatedly that if he hadn’t stayed with me, I would already be dead and I’ve meant it.

It is difficult to write when you don’t have emotions. I’d sit down at my computer to try to edit my memoir draft and … nothing. I felt disconnected from the work — like the words had been written by someone else. I was hyperfocused and couldn’t see outside of my quest for survival enough to think poetically about my past.

Okay, I caved and got up from my desk to shove trail mix in my mouth. I missed writing like this… not giving s shit.

I guess what I’m getting at is that I’m trying, once again, to bring this blog back from the dead. I’ve been living without direction for a long time and I’m finally starting to get an idea of who I am and what I want. I think I want to use this blog again. I definitely want to keep making YouTube videos. I’d like to revisit my book.

Here’s a shameful truth for you! I am a fucking terrible employee. I have, to some extent, failed at every “normal” job I’ve had over the past decade — barista, journalist, corporate sellout, summer camp counselor (don’t get me started on that one). I’ve failed every “PTSD-approved” job I’ve tried — dog walker, Uber driver, clothing reseller. I’ve even failed at illicit careers — prostitute, cam girl, dealer. And because of my chronic unemployment, I was legitimately ready to give up on myself entirely and in a dramatic way.

And then I woke up covered in sweat and self-hatred one morning, grabbed my old cam girl webcam from a drawer and sat down to record my first YouTube video without even bothering to put pants on. That’s right, I was so depressed, I wasn’t wearing pants in my first few videos. It’s only been a month since I started my channel, but it has already done so much for me. I have a routine again. I have something I look forward to. I feel like I’m making a difference. Most importantly, I’m transforming my pain into something productive — something that helps people and doesn’t eat at me like bacteria.

Wallowing alone got me nowhere. I am happiest when I’m letting others learn from my mistakes — when I’m exposing myself so that others may relate. I feel best when I’m making art. My depression has lifted to an astonishing extent. I’m realizing that my voice is my best medicine. When I’m not using it to express how I feel, my feelings express themselves in destructive ways. I let the pain build like bubbles in a pressure cooker and when the lid comes off, everyone around me gets burned.

That’s why people find it so difficult to stand by me. I’m unpredictable. I project one thing when I’m feeling the opposite. When I was younger, I tried to be bubbly and people-pleasing. As I aged and faced more abuse, that “sweet” coverup turned into rage. Neither approach was more or less authentic than the other — they were both equally false selves. My true self, buried somewhere unreachable, is heartbroken and scared.

It’s seemed easier — safer, even — to mask that truth with aggression. But honestly, it’s just gotten me in more trouble. I spent months looking for people to scream at, people to fight with. I wanted them to confirm the things I already thought: that humans are scum, that no one is trustworthy, that life inherently sucks.

That’s about when I started smoking weed again, lol.

I developed “angry Leif” in my teens. She’s a very distinctive personality. Her blood boils and she operates on uncomfortable levels of adrenaline. She was born around the time my family fell apart and I realized I would have to fend for myself. If you’re a very traumatized person walking around looking heartbroken and needy, you’re going to have a bad time. That’s how it was for a while… sad Leif was easily taken advantage of.

I created my angry self in an attempt to protect myself from that. The thing is, most abusers can see through the masks anyway, so I would still get raped, even at my “most powerful” place. Case in point: I met and moved in with my worstabuserever just a few months after I published my story about beating up my rapist. People read the article and thought I was strong, which is exactly what I wanted them to think. My reality just the opposite: the feigned strength drained even more of my energy, weakening me further. As a result, I got severely abused and was too afraid of ruining the “badass” image to actually open up about it. The abuse continued for seven months. When Jefferson got arrested, I went fully numb.

That numbness finally ended when we moved into our new home in the country. After two months of decompression, I’m back to a place where I can be creative and feel my feelings again. A lot of weird memories are coming back, which is usually what gets me to start writing in the first place.

So here I am!

I hope to keep up with this blog in addition to the YouTube channel. It feels good to return to my standard mode of expression. I’m thinking I’ll shoot for one post per week, but we’ll see!

Hope you enjoyed this rambling.

Leif E. Greenz

Feel free to follow my YouTube channel to keep up with me throughout the week:

Btw, the other major development in my life is that I am now addicted to Kpop. I will leave you with this.

How to Stop Falling Apart For Stupid Reasons (DBT Chain Analysis)

Hi, I’m Leif E. Greenz and I’m constantly falling apart for stupid reasons as a result of PTSD. In today’s video, I’ll walk you through the dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) chain analysis skill using my recent episode as an example.

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A chain analysis is a way of looking at “negative” events (or non-events, e.g., forgetting to complete an assignment) and figuring out where things went wrong. Chain analyses involve looking at vulnerability factors, biological changes, action urges, problem behaviors, and consequences. If you use this skill regularly, you’ll learn how to stop falling apart for stupid reasons, too!

When we see how each component of the chain analysis connects, we can learn to soothe ourselves earlier in the chain so that we don’t lose control of our words and actions later on as a result of past traumas and PTSD.

In this video, you’ll see me falling apart over something EXTREMELY stupid and embarrassing on the surface. Using that episode as an example, I’ll guide you through three DBT worksheets and a simple chain analysis to show where I went wrong and what I can do differently next time.

Click the links below to access the worksheets and follow along!

The following worksheets are from “DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition” by Marsha Linehan:

“Observing and Describing Emotions” (Worksheets 4 and 4A) —

“Figuring Out How to Change Unwanted Emotions” (Worksheet 6) —

Simple chain analysis layout:

I hope you enjoyed today’s video! Try out the chain analysis exercise and let me know how it goes in the comment section!

Leif E. Greenz

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Are You Manic or Hyperaroused? (Bipolar vs. PTSD)

Hi, my name is Leif E. Greenz and many of my PTSD symptoms resemble those of bipolar disorder — especially my “manic” (aka hyperarousal) episodes, which can last upwards of three months at a time.

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In this week’s Toolbox Tuesday video, we’ll discuss the similarities and differences between bipolar disorder and PTSD, focusing specifically on the parallels between hyperarousal and mania.

I have been diagnosed, at various points, with PTSD, borderline personality disorder, depression, and anxiety, but I have only been diagnosed as bipolar once. That diagnosis came from Dr. Henry Emmons, author of “The Chemistry of Joy.” In this video, you’ll learn exactly how I feel about Dr. Emmons and my bipolar diagnosis.

Have you ever been misdiagnosed as bipolar? Do you experience symptoms as a trauma survivor that mimic mania? Let me know in the comments.

Towards the end of the video, I’ll explain hypervigilance, another unfortunate symptom of PTSD that falls under the hyperarousal umbrella. If you can combat hyperarousal, you can conquer hypervigilance.

The video concludes with a handful of skills you can use to prevent and recover from hyperarousal episodes.

Thank you so much for watching. Be sure to reach out in the comments with any future video suggestions!

Leif E. Greenz

Instagram: @leifegreenz
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6 New Tricks to Stop a Mental Breakdown (C-PTSD Dissociation)

Hi, I’m Leif E. Greenz and welcome to the first episode of my new series, Toolbox Tuesdays!

Follow me on Instagram @leifegreenz and subscribe to my YouTube channel at

Do you suffer from severe dissociative episodes, flashbacks, or general mental breakdowns related to borderline personality disorder (BPD) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? Today you’ll learn six simple tricks for stopping your breakdowns in their tracks.

These methods include adjusting your body temperature with ice and water, intensely exercising, dying your hair, painting your face, hanging out with animals, and grounding yourself by literally getting on the floor.

These tricks are specifically designed to help folks with BPD and PTSD, but anyone can benefit from them!

The DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) skill I draw from in the first half of this video is called TIP — temperature, intense exercise, and paced breathing. I’ll show you the most effective ways to implement this skill during a severe mental health crisis.

Thanks so much for watching! If you have questions, concerns, or ideas for future videos, leave a comment down below. I would love to hear from you!

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Hi, I’m Leif E. Greenz and I often struggle with being alive.

This silly video outlines 50 of my favorite things to do instead of dying. These tools regularly help me fight through the despair and hopelessness inherent in PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Living with a serious mental illness certainly isn’t easy, but we can learn to tolerate it and maybe even have some fun in the process.

If you are currently feeling suicidal, please reach out to someone you trust. If it’s an emergency, I implore you to contact a medical professional immediately. We need you here.

This video is a bit of a departure from what I’ve been posting, i.e. it’s a lot sillier. Discussions of mental illness and healing don’t always have to be clinical and miserable. Sometimes it’s good to loosen our grips and laugh about the mess we’re in.

Thanks for watching! What do you do when you’re down? Let me know in the comments and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

For more insanity, visit

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Writing About Sexual Trauma: Safety, Prompts, and Tools (PTSD)

Hi, I’m Leif E. Greenz. In this video, I’ll discuss how to write about sexual assault safely and effectively. This video does NOT contain graphic descriptions of assault and should be safe for most survivors to watch.

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In today’s video, I’ll start by discussing two examples of sexual assault in writing and analyze why some approaches work and some don’t. Who can write about sexual assault and why?

Next, I’ll explain how people with PTSD (or C-PTSD) can write about sexual assault without retraumatizing themselves. The writing tricks you’ll hear about in this video include surrealism, repetition, detachment, and metaphor.

If you have any questions or want to share your experiences with writing about rape, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to write back!

Connect with me on Instagram @leifegreenz

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Can Hair Dye Cure PTSD Symptoms? (C-PTSD Recovery)

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Hi, I’m Leif E. Greenz. In today’s video, I’ll be talking about why I dye my hair during complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) episodes, aka mental breakdowns. I’ll also give an overview of alternate rebellion, a dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) skill for borderline personality disorder (BPD).

Super sorry for the background noise. My computer was stressed and calling for help lol. But hey, I sorta figured out how to include photos!

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Check out my other YouTube channel where I post old Y Lime? videos:…

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Hi, I’m Leif E. Greenz. In today’s video, I’ll be talking about how borderline personality disorder (BPD) and complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) can lead to what I call “toxic empathy,” which is essentially empathy that doesn’t serve you — or worse, empathy that destroys you.

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I’ve notoriously made friends with lots of shady characters who use, abuse, and exploit me. Why? What is it about toxic people that PTSD and BPD sufferers are so drawn to? Today, we’ll set out to find the answers.

In the second half of the video, I’ll discuss how to make room for healthier relationships. I’ll also introduce the dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) concept of relationship circles and help you decide which relationships should go where.

Thanks for watching. Please feel free to ask any questions or submit video requests in the comments and I’ll be sure to reply.


Leif E. Greenz