Two Methods For Dealing With Negative People

“Relationships with negative people are simply tedious encounters with porcupines. You don’t have the remote knowledge how to be close to them without quills being shot in your direction.” ― Shannon L. Alder




The following is an article by a talented writer, David Cain, on his website Raptitude. Enjoy.

A recurring question I get from readers is, “How do you deal with negative people?” I’ve never directly written about it because I’m not always sure whether they’re asking how *I* deal with negative people, or how one ought to deal with negative people. I can only tell you how I do it. There are actually two ways I deal with negative people.

Method 1

When someone makes a needless negative comment, I feel a spike of contempt somewhere in my lungs, and my eyes probably narrow for a second. I give a terse answer, if one is required. My mind says to the person, “Why do you have to be such a dick about it?” but I don’t actually say that. Then once I’m out of their presence I tell stories in my head about how wrong they are, I play out imaginary confrontations, I might make a speech that nobody will hear. Or I think of what I should have said right then, George Costanza style. “Well the jerk store called, and…”
This kind of internal dialogue/monologue can go on until I’m interrupted by real life, but even then it sometimes resurfaces later. It sometimes makes the day a bad day.
With this method, the one thing I don’t do is do something. I do think a lot though. I think with great force and anger. I think up a storm, a real impressive one. I inventory my reasons for how right I am, several letters-to-the-editor’s worth. My body doesn’t do anything except maybe make involuntary faces. It’s possible my tongue moves, I don’t know. In other words, the first of the two methods I have for dealing with negative people is to become one.

Method 2

It starts out the same: person says something negative, and I feel that contempt feeling, but for whatever reason it triggers a different thought process. I do feel the impulse to go on an internal tirade, but I don’t. Instead I find myself recognizing that the offensive party is having a bad day or a bad moment that could just as easily be happening to me. Even if they’re having a bad life, that could just as easily be happening to me too.
It’s not quite forgiveness, it’s more like, “Ah I’ve been there. Frustrated and unreasonable. Directing it at people who don’t deserve it.”
Even though my knee-jerk response is to stare daggers, I’m reminded that people get negative when they’re unconscious, in pain or trying to protect themselves from pain. All human activity can be boiled down to a combination of seeking pleasure and avoiding suffering. Negativity tends to come from avoiding suffering, and if I’m being fair, it helps neither of us to blame them for it.
Pessimism shields people from despair because it keeps expectations low. Blame shields people from the threats of having to be responsible for a problem they don’t think should be happening. I have been caught up in both, at times today even.
When I use method two I end up feeling almost good towards the negative party. It’s a weird feeling if you’re not used to it. The pain of others suddenly becomes directly relevant to you, yet it remains theirs. 

Shhhhh…. – Words can maim for life

 “Because even the smallest of words can be the ones to hurt you, or save you.”
Natsuki Takaya

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The tongue can set a fire no man can extinguish. The venomous stings it inflicts can break apart even the best friendships. Life and death are in the power of the words we speak. We’d do well to remember that when we blithely spout off the latest rumors, the latest dirt, about the ones we love. Don’t repeat the gossip, don’t listen to the gossip. Shhhhh…..

Also published in Wingposse Magazine, December 2012

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Compassionate War

Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.
Brene Brown

“If one fights with compassion, then victory” – Lao Tzu
 

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It’s a war

to reach out and get smacked back
to help and get pushed down
to trust and be betrayed
to love and be despised
Show compassion at any cost.

11032011

Compassionate War

Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.
Brene Brown

“If one fights with compassion, then victory” – Lao Tzu
 

encrypted-tbn1

It’s a war

to reach out and get smacked back
to help and get pushed down
to trust and be betrayed
to love and be despised
Show compassion at any cost.

11032011

Still – Losing love to addiction

“When you can stop you don’t want to, and when you want to stop, you can’t…”
  Luke Davies, Candy  

“What about today, you ask? Today it’s already too late. He’ll be home soon, and I have dinner on the stove, and wine chilling in the fridge. And he will smile at me when he comes through the door, and I will pretend like this fragile, dangerous thing we have created between us can last forever.
Just one last time, Sweets. Just one last fix. That’s all I need.
And that is why I now understand addiction.”  – 

 Marie Sexton, Strawberries for Dessert
 

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Now love is to suffer at addictions hand,

This fight that happens I can’t understand.
I wish it were you that love had freed.
But addiction won, it a sturdy steed
Forcing itself on loves soft breast
Love itself would lose the test.
So take your leave I know you will
Follow your lust, I love you still

Related post: Evidence of a Shell 

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If you need help with addiction GET IT.

The Hermit Chronicles: Fallen Trees

“But other people also ‘invite’ us to behave like victims, when they complain about the unfairness of life, for example, and ask us to agree, to offer advice, to participate. Be careful. When you join in that game you always end up losing.” – Paulo Coelho, Bythe River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept
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My life is at odds with the general push and shove of crowds. A crowd may be many people, or many words, both which are troublesome. My obstacles aren’t those of briar and bush, but of opinions and gossip. I’m a solitary traveler, troubling no soul along the way. Yet, here he comes, shoving my shoulder as he flies past, mumbling to himself about the error of my way. He assails my peace, that very thing that led me to wander alone. Why am I a trouble to those who hurry to find themselves at some dead-end, or worse, find themselves exhausted at journeys mid-point, gasping and lost? They are fallen trees and I step gingerly around their bulky frames of negativity that I may be unaffected by the nervous energies of their cumbersome discontent. At times they come in packs, each agreeing with the other and with faceless anonymity, slaying those who are at ease along their way. Their unique talent is to destroy dreams with doubtful comments and hinder progress with the attraction to follow their crowd. I maintain my distance though, and to dissuade them, I turn down a path of unknowing to find pastures of unsurpassed beauty. Follow my way through the brush, apart from the crowd, you can see the grasses and limbs bent to my will, a will that holds peace and protection from their diseases of mind and offers fellowship with the wind and the birds that fly on it, neither of us holding anxious thoughts of tomorrow. 

 

The Little Door – Rage is hidden

“Despite all my rage
I am still just a rat in the cage.”
Billy Corgan
 

Wondering were I got this rage

I started looking ’round the cage
Hiding in the back, a little door. 
Shocked, I never saw this before
Pressing close my ear, hoping to feel
hot to the touch, it made me kneel
Whats behind the door, I’m brave to behold
Rest assured it would soon be told.
Locked! But how do I see?
But soon the door would open to me
Turning away I vented a rage
then I heard a click from the back of my cage
Spinning and turning with a stare
I fell to my knees, all of me aware
The door swung open wide
revealing all that was crammed inside
Memories of things all bad
every one of them made me mad
And with a great breath of wind
a sudden gust that made me spin
to escape from this caged man
jumping to my feet again
I’ll not be captive to anger’s sin
I shoved the door closed with all my might
That will do for now, but then the night
I sit shivering looking across the room
at the little door hiding crazy gloom
I will destroy the insanity
without this rage I will be free
to fly again without a cry
No doors now, in my open sky.

Also published in: Broowaha
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