Weed Farmers

Insecurity and DoubtSome people are just weed farmers.

They plant seeds of doubt in the fertile manure of your brain, and then carelessly leave them to germinate and grow weeds in your happy little garden.

I don’t like that. I hope I don’t trip up and plant the occasional weed, because it’s noxious.

Sometimes the evil seeds they plant are composted…er…composed entirely from their own faulty thinking or assumptions. Sometimes, it’s a thorny opinion that cuts and stings. Some weed farmers do it on  PURPOSE. Yep, for some reason, they plant their dirty little seeds and even spritz a bit of water as they take leave. They want you to feel bad about yourself, your actions, your work…whatever. I’ve written about  “Fear Biters”  before, but the malicious Weed Farmer is different, because they catch you unaware. They are cultivating doubt like Monsanto genetically modified corn. Rude, mean and evil.

I’ve spent a fair portion of my life learning weed control. My “Fair Weather Thinking” series focuses entirely on the work we do between our ears. I teach other people how to weed. I’m a weed whacker… (click to Tweet)

But, no one is immune.

Last week someone laid down a seed of doubt and I promptly picked it up, pushed it into the muddy recess of my mind and tossed in a little fertilizer for good measure. I used my precious, “could be positive energy” to tend it.  I’m still tending it, because here I am – writing about it. All solid evidence dispelled their view as a faulty logic. But, because they strummed a chord of insecurity, I have strapped on that seed bag and fertilized the shit out of it. Shame. On. Me. You’d think I could practice what I preach.

So many people come from backgrounds where this type of gardening is prevalent. They may not even recognize it, they’ve become so accustom to hearing it – and they unwittingly grow the crop for the weed farmer. People in unhealthy relationship forget the weeds aren’t flowers. Honey, look at the bouquet I brought you. Bahhh! Why do we let it continue?

Because, the deep rototilling that must take place to tend a healthy garden is laden with sweat and it painful turf. Here are a few ways to control the thorns and thistles:

1. Eliminate weed farmers from your life – Just tell them to take their seeds and leave. It’s tough to send them packing. Sometimes they are family, spouses or long time friends. Here’s the hard truth – if someone is continually sabotaging your self worth, you owe it to yourself to get them under control. If they do this intentionally, there shouldn’t even be a question. Evict the share-cropper.

2. Confront the farmer – This is uncomfortable. Most likely you’re addressing, and revealing a deep seated doubt or insecurity you have. That puts you in a vulnerable position with someone you’re not sure you can trust. Secondly, you have to have the courage to ask, “Tell me more…I’m not sure what you meant by that.” If the weed farmer is of the malicious variety, they can simply lie, and you know this when you start, so it’s difficult. Often, at this point, you need to stand up for yourself and communicate a boundary to them. That can be difficult, but it’s worth it for relationships you value. That’s why it’s best to observe #1. You won’t have to practice #2 nearly as often.

3. Fill your life with flowers – Everyone knows a healthy turf will choke out the weeds. It’s best to replace these weed farmers with people who propagate roses and daisies and such. Life CAN be a bed of those…but you have to be a diligent gardener…and sometimes even a master gardener can get fooled and have an occasional weed growing though the cracks. Just pluck it.

 4. Don’t water weed seeds – This, for me, is the toughest of all. Although my weed farmer’s “seed” defied all logic, I still, days later, entertain it. I am weak and tender. The fact I can’t control my own thinking around this is indicative of the growth I have to do. Here’s where I can practice what I preach.

So, rather than letting some hillbilly, gapped-tooth, drooling, weed-planting share-cropper spoil the soil in the garden in your mind, follow these steps…and put this on your mirror.

doubt and insecurity


You might even picture them hillbillies to disarm your unconscious that may still clamoring to nurture the relationship. Anyhou, we are all in this together…and my dear flowers…I thank you for your sweetness.


Michelle Andres is a writer, artist and coach who nudges, nay, shoves, her clients in the direction of their dreams, helping them to overcome non-productive behaviours and enjoy more success in Writer, Artist, Coachtheir lives. Available to you for a little hand holding or a good ass-kicking.

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31 Replies to “Weed Farmers”

  1. Michelle,
    So right on . . . o dear, how toxic to life are some immediate family members to their own relative in pain (emotional, mental, physical . . . don’t know which is worse).
    Yes, thank you, I’m at #1 of your instructions. Weeding the true weeds that invade. But I know I must now simply love them from afar because they are making me sicker and sicker. Or I should say, taking responsibility, I am allowing them to make me sick and until now, have let it continue. Life is too short. Time to follow my bliss before this one passes on.
    peace inside and out (an aspiration, at times capable of being engaged),

  2. Omg, yeah thank you for the permission. I just had to let go of a friend that continually planted small weeds, then all of a sudden hit me with a whopper. Took me months to do it but I finally said adieu…every once in a while a reminder like yours is a necessity for me.

    1. Happy to help remind you, Bobbie. Yes, it’s a difficult thing to do, but so good for your soul. Sometimes, we can just have the conversation, we don’t have to get rid of the person. Other times, it’s just too toxic to live with. Take care and BLOOM! ~m

  3. This comes at just the right time for me. I am choosing to cultivate new flamboyant flowers as friends and to pull up those weeds planted by others in my garden of growth. Sometimes saying or doing the hard thing is what must be done in order to thrive.


  4. Thanks for the weeding info Michelle, it’s so good! Unfortunately for me I live w/the two farmers in my life that are constantly negative and never supportive to me! I am related and caregiver! Sooo, I just have to tune out and weed whenever I can! Thanks for the reminder!

    1. I’m sorry you’re in a difficult situation, Loretta. Other than setting boundaries (and farmers often do not respect them) some good work can be done in between one’s own ears. All the best to you, and I hope things start looking up! ~m

  5. This is so awesome. My last boss really sowed weeds. So badly it took me years, three years, to pull them up. Thought I was one big weed. Not worth farming. Even to the point of selling the farm. Was laid off because of recession and slowly, and I do mean slowly, began pulling weeds. Now know people love me and I am not one big weed. Thanks for being there. Love your words. Jenn

    1. Hi Jenn – I came from a corporate background. I know weed farmers are alive and well there. I’m glad you did your weeding and have found some lovely, fertile soil. What happened to you is not okay and you are not alone. Now, you can go live your dreams and cultivate a beautiful, healthy garden. Good for you! ~m

  6. Well said, Michelle. There are people we work or live with who often seem to want to bring us down–planting “weeds” of self-doubt. I wonder if their motivation lies in their own feelings of self-loathing. I try to understand them and reach that unhappy place in them, in a effort to help heal that place, but sometimes they just don’t understand. Also, once in awhile, I find myself face-to-face with one who is simply bent on harming me–pooh! Can’t let them do it. The weed farmers remind me of naysayers when I’m launching a new business; those folks can’t stand to see someone else try and maybe succeed where they don’t dare to travel.

    1. It’s kind of you to try to help them, Linda, but as you pointed out, it can be kind of dangerous! Sometimes, I don’t think they are intentionally planting weeds…I just had an experience like that. I think the farmer was trying understand (given the information she had) and drew conclusions which suited her…though they were hurtful to me.

      1. Artists are usually sensitive people. So, those unintended (or even deliberate) unkind comments, or “weeds” as you put it, do hit tender places inside us and sting. It’s always helped me to put myself in their shoes, and try to view myself through the lens they may see me through. Mostly, they aren’t thinking about how their remarks could hurt you; but, often they really don’t understand you and might jab at you a little to see what comes out of you…just to find out who you are!

        1. I agree with you, Barbara. I have stretched to understand this particular farmer’s intent was not unkind. or a jab (at least in my case). I really noticed the last time. The seed was planted I spoke about above. Then, occasion arose and a comment was made AGAIN (an unkind comment with a pretty benign intention, I’m guessing). This time, I was not so tender and could see the clumsiness for what it is. Still, I had to ask myself, what is the value of this relationship? I found the answer was to distance myself a bit more simply because the relationship was not providing the exchange I’d wished for and perhaps we were more different than alike. Sometimes, you can be happy acquaintances instead.

          1. Getting back a bit late…yes! I know what you mean. With some people, we have to just distance ourselves a little more, or even more still, in order to keep our equanimity. Not everyone can be our closest friends, nor even friends. It’s great that you can accept that person who makes those remarks that can wound, and maintain the right distance to preserve your sense of self. I’ve had to do exactly the same thing, more than once, for those who just don’t care if they hurt you. Those people are not my “cup of tea”, but they’re still humans.

  7. I so appreciate this article! Toxic people are much more difficult to deal with when they are family or a long time friend but, you’re right that it needs to be done. I, too, have found that I keep watering the seed unless I call them on it (question it) at the time. I do want to nicely point out a weed seed you put in my mind though. I am what my dad always jokingly called “a 2nd generation hillbilly”. My parents grew up in the smoky mountain area of Eastern TN but moved to Ohio as adults where I was born – thus his remark. Many hillbillies are lovely, talented, creative people – not gapped-tooth or drooling. So, I was curious as to why you chose the hillbilly as the image of something so negative as a weed planter? It’s not a huge deal but it seems there could be many other images that could be used in this idea that aren’t negative stereotypes of a group of people. I’m just going to try and pull that weed seed out before it takes root. But, I do love and agree with the concept presented in your article.

  8. Hi Shauna – I’m sorry if you were offended with the image and the description. Occasionally, when I write, I go off on a tear of hopefully unoffensive descriptors. As often as I do it about others, I do it about myself. I happen to be Cajun and am the root of many of my own jokes. If you read more posts, you’ll probably find it is more my style and less about a specific group of people. The image of a farmer…weed farmer. I didn’t want him to be the kind of farmer that would be taken too seriously. I thought the photo was pretty far from any “truth.” Please don’t consider it a seed…consider it an unintended mistake if you are offended. ~m

  9. Michelle, A valuable post. Real gardening is next on my list today, so I literally will be tending the flowers & pulling the weeds. And have an upcoming reunion with lots of opportunity to choose what I nurture.

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