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10 Ways to Deal with Negative or Difficult People

“Dwelling on the negative simply contributes to its power.” ~Shirley MacLaine

I love her to death, but it’s draining to talk to her.

Every time I call this friend of mine, I know what I’m in for: a half-hour rant about everything that’s difficult, miserable, or unfair.

Sometimes she focuses on the people she feels have wronged her, and other times she explores the general hopelessness of life. She never calls to see how I’m doing, and she rarely listens to what’s going on in my life for more than a minute before shifting the focus back to herself.

I tell myself I call because I care, but sometimes I wonder if I have ulterior motives–to pump up my ego offering good advice or even to feel better about my own reality.

I’m no saint, and if there’s one thing I know well, it’s that we only do things repeatedly if we believe there’s something in it for us. Even if that something is just to feel needed.

I thought about this the other day when a reader wrote to me with an interesting question: “How do you offer compassion to someone who doesn’t seem to deserve it?”

While I believe everyone deserves compassion, I understand what she meant after reading more. She went on to describe her offensive, sexist, racist boss who emotionally exhausts everyone around him. He sounds a lot more hateful than my friend, who is, sadly, just terribly depressed.

But these people have one thing in common: boundless negative energy that ends up affecting everyone around them.

So today I started thinking about how we interact with negative or difficult people. People who seem chronically critical, belligerent, indignant, angry, or just plain rude.

When someone repeatedly drains everyone around them, how do you maintain a sense of compassion without getting sucked into their doom? And how do you act in a way that doesn’t reinforce their negativity–and maybe even helps them?

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. Resist the urge to judge or assume.

It’s hard to offer someone compassion when you assume you have them pegged. He’s a jerk. She’s a malcontent. He’s an–insert other choice noun. Even if it seems unlikely someone will wake up one day and act differently, we have to remember it is possible.

When you think negative thoughts, it comes out in your body language. Someone prone to negativity may feel all too tempted to mirror that. Try coming at them with the positive mindset you wish they had. Expect the best in them. You never know when you might be pleasantly surprised.

2. Dig deeper, but stay out of the hole.

It’s always easier to offer someone compassion if you try to understand where they’re coming from. But that can’t completely justify bad behavior. If you show negative people you support their choice to behave badly, you give them no real incentive to make a change (which they may actually want deep down).

It may help to repeat this in your head when you deal with them: “I understand your pain. But I’m most helpful if I don’t feed into it.” This might help you approach them with both kindness and firmness so they don’t bring you down with them.

3.Maintain a positive boundary.

Some people might tell you to visualize a bright white light around you to maintain a positive space when other people enter it with negativity. This doesn’t actually work for me because I respond better to ideas in words than visualizations. So I tell myself this, “I can only control the positive space I create around myself.”

Then when I interact with this person, I try to do two things, in this order of importance:

  • Protect the positive space around me. When their negativity is too strong to protect it, I need to walk away.
  • Help them feel more positive, not act more positive–which is more likely to create the desired result.

4. Disarm their negativity, even if just for now.

This goes back to the ideas I mentioned above. I know my depressed friend will rant about life’s injustices as long as I let her. Part of me feels tempted to play amateur psychiatrist–get her talking, and then try to help her reframe situations into a more positive light.

Then I remind myself that I can’t change her whole way of being in one phone call. She has to want that. I also can’t listen for hours on end, as I’ve done in the past. But I can listen compassionately for a short while and then help her focus on something positive right now, in this moment. I can ask about her upcoming birthday. I can remind her it’s a beautiful day for a walk.

Don’t try to solve or fix them. Just aim to help them now.

5. Temper your emotional response.

Negative people often gravitate toward others who react strongly–people who easily offer compassion or get outraged or offended. I suspect this gives them a little light in the darkness of their inner world–a sense that they’re not floating alone in their own anger or sadness.

People remember and learn from what you do more than what you say. If you feed into the situation with emotions, you’ll teach them they can depend on you for a reaction. It’s tough not to react because we’re human, but it’s worth practicing.

Once you’ve offered a compassionate ear for as long as you can, respond as calmly as possible with a simple line of fact. If you’re dealing with a rude or angry person, you may want to change the subject to something unrelated: “Dancing with the Stars is on tonight. Planning to watch it?”

6. Question what you’re getting out of it.

Like I mentioned above, we often get something out of relationships with negative people. Get real honest with yourself: have you fallen into a caretaker role because it makes you feel needed? Have you maintained the relationship so you can gossip about this person in a holier-than-thou way with others? Do you have some sort of stake in keeping the things the way they are?

Questioning yourself helps you change the way you respond–which is really all you can control. You can’t make someone think, feel, or act differently. You can be as kind as possible or as combative as possible, and still not change reality for someone else. All you can control is what you think and do–and then do your best to help them without hurting yourself.

7. Remember the numbers.

Research shows that people with negative attitudes have significantly higher rates of stress and disease. Someone’s mental state plays a huge role in their physical health. If someone’s making life difficult for people around them, you can be sure they’re doing worse for themselves.

What a sad reality, that someone has so much pain inside them they have to act out just to feel some sense of relief–even if that relief comes from getting a rise out of people. When you remember how much a difficult person is suffering, it’s easier to stay focused on minimizing negativity, as opposed to defending yourself.

8. Don’t take it personally, but know that sometimes it is personal.

Conventional wisdom suggests that you should never take things personally when you deal with a negative person. I think it’s a little more complicated than that. You can’t write off everything someone says about you just because the person is insensitive or tactless. Even an abrasive person may have a valid point. Try to weigh their comments with a willingness to learn.

Accept that you don’t deserve the excessive emotions in someone’s tone, but weigh their ideas with a willingness to learn. Some of the most useful lessons I’ve learned came from people I wished weren’t right.

9. Act instead of just reacting.

Oftentimes we wait until someone gets angry or depressed before we try to buoy their spirits. If you know someone who seems to deal with difficult thoughts or feelings often (as demonstrated in their behavior), don’t wait for a situation to help them create positive feelings.

Give them a compliment for something they did well. Remind them of a moment when they were happy–as in “Remember when you scored that touchdown during the company picnic? That was awesome!” You’re more apt to want to boost them up when they haven’t brought you down. This may help mitigate that later and also give them a little relief from their pain.

10. Maintain the right relationship based on reality as it is.

With my friend, I’m always wishing she could be more positive. I consistently put myself in situations where I feel bad because I want to help, because I want her to be happy. I’ve recently realized the best I can do is accept her as she is, let her know I believe in her ability to be happy, and then give her space to make the choice.

That means gently bringing our conversation to a close after I’ve made an effort to help. Or cutting short a night out if I’ve done all I can and it’s draining me. Hopefully she’ll want to change some day. Until then, all I can do is love her, while loving myself enough to take care of my needs. That often means putting them first.

I’ve learned you can’t always saved the world, but you can make the world a better place by working on yourself–by becoming self-aware, tapping into your compassion, and protecting your positive space. You may even help negative people by fostering a sense of peace within yourself that their negativity can’t pierce.

Photo by Raymond Brown

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About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She is the author of the Tiny Wisdom eBook series (which includes one free eBook) and Tiny Buddha's Guide to Loving Yourself. She's also the co-founder of the eCourse Recreate Your Life Story: Change the Script and Be the HeroFollow @tinybuddha for inspiring posts and wisdom quotes.

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  • http://www.living-happiness.com Chania Girl

    This was a fantastic post, Lori, and oh so compassionate. Your friend is truly blessed to have you. I'm glad you're loving her but honoring you.

  • brinkness

    Thank you for this. It's funny, I recently was trying to figure out how to deal with this at work. My situation is specifically negative, mean joking — but it comes from the same place, really.

    I appreciate this list.

  • http://www.happinessfactory.dk Jacob Kjerumgaard

    A super post! Thanks for the positive input!

  • http://twitter.com/MarinaGiordano MarinaGiordano

    :)

  • jarlforsman

    Very helpful article, Lori! Eckhart Tolle suggests just “holding” the space for the other who is complaining, spewing, etc. Quietly listening without offering suggestions, comments, or advice leaves room for them to actually hear themselves and momentarily reflect on what they've just said. When there is a pause, I often ask them what I ask myself when I am feeling upset or disgruntled: What does it feel like and where in your body do you feel it? Often just feeling the feelings rather than thinking and talking the feelings does the trick to help move past them.

    I once finally told a friend who called me everyday complaining about her husband that I felt I was doing her no good and maybe even feeding the problem by talking with her about her dissatisfaction with him. I said, “From now on if you feel the urge to call to talk about him, wait until the urge passes and call later.” She never called again. Fourteen years later we reconnected and enjoy each other. I have to say, being honest to her was one of the kindest things I've ever done for myself. I never missed those phone calls.

  • http://consciouschicknyc.blogspot.com/ Conscious Chick

    Great tips. I have a friend exactly like the one you described. I will definitely keeps these in mind – especially #1.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I'm glad you all enjoyed this post! I think it's something that's relevant to all of us. Everyone has highs and lows, and if we can be there for each other without bringing ourselves down, that's a beautiful thing. Not always easy, but worth working at.

    Jarl~ Great addition about Eckhart Tolle's suggestion. Thank you for adding that information!

    Jonathan~ That sounds similar to what the reader wrote to me (the one who inspired this post). I think you hit the nail on the head…that it all comes from the same place. I'm glad to know this was helpful for you.

  • passingthru

    I am afraid that we may be encouraged to label other people as negative. I prefer to be careful with that label. I can be negative. Sometimes I am the one who is being toxic to others. I would hope that my friends don't start cataloguing me as “negative” on that account.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi there,

    I see your point. This is actually what I was getting at tip number 1 (resist the urge to judge or assume). I referred to “negative people” throughout because it's cleaner than writing “people who often seem negative.” But I agree with you that no one is inherently negative.

    However, I will say this: if you are being toxic for others, your friends very well may catalog you as negative, but you can change that at any time. My friend who brings people down–even people who love her call her negative. But we're all in her corner hoping she'll try to see a little of the light in the world.

    Her being toxic affects all of us. So if we do call her negative from time to time, it's not because we're trying to be narrow-minded and insensitive. It's because someone who is toxic is difficult to be around, and we're all only human.

    If she wants people not to call her negative, there's a simple way to start: work on being less toxic.

    I hope this helps and does not come off as condescending. Sending you love and light.

    Lori

  • http://twitter.com/traceyjackson4 Tracey Jackson

    I got much out of this. You have more patience than I do. I often try and then find I have to just leave them be depending on how toxic and draining they are.

  • Jean

    This is a beautiful and insightful post to read upon my first visit to your blog! A few folks in my life have recently lamented the challenge of remaining positive while being audience to someone's vent. You've offered high quality and very practical suggestions.

  • http://twitter.com/nikkyraney Nikky Raney ♥

    Amazing.

  • http://www.cope-inc.com/Stress/IntheWorkplace.htm Organizational Rank and Stress

    You gives some great tips for dealing with negative people. You are right that you can't save the world, but you are doing a great job of spreading information that will help people.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thank you. I appreciate that. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    My apologies for this slow response–but thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed this post, and I hope you found some other useful information on the site!

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  • Chocolateamer

    loved your post. infact i sometimes feel i am like this, and at others, other people who are close. both ways it usually makes me just keep shut and bottle up, except with people i am closest too (and not ina good way – pressure cooker effect?).

    what did you mean by:

    8. Don’t take it personally–but know sometimes it is personal.

    Conventional wisdom suggests you should never take it personally when you deal with a negative person. I think it’s a little more complicated than that. You can’t write off everything someone says because they’re insensitive or untactful. An abrasive person can come at you in the worst possible way with a valid point.

    Accept that you don’t deserve the excessive emotions in someone’s tone, but weigh their ideas with a willingness to learn. Some of the most useful lessons I’ve learned came from people I wished weren’t right. When you give someone credit who deep down doesn’t think they deserve it, you may inspire a profound shift in how they interpret the world.

    could you elaborate, if you dont mind. sorry if its a bad question. was just curious because i found it great stuff :-)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi there~

    I added this point because we often like to see things in black and white. If someone comes across as nasty, we assume they're not worth our time. Your coworker might be abrasive and harsh–odds are that has nothing to do with you. But that doesn't mean you can't take anything she says seriously. Despite having no tact, she may have things to say worth hearing. For example, if she comments that you did a poor job at work–and you assume she's just being difficult–but in all reality you're not doing your best work. If you tune her out you just might lose her job.

    Does that make sense?

    Lori

  • Chocolateamer

    totally. in general i totally agree and have followed that general idea. my probalem is that twice i have been stuck with people i find have a really negative effect on me (not even sure if it's me being over sensitive) and i really love them or am otherwise stuck with them, all the while knowing they wont change / dont really mean it / are just ranting or letting off steam. given all the specifics of the people and the relationship (mom / boyfriend), i know that the only feasible way to deal with it is just work out a way to stop letting it bother me (because if i try saying something it just goes in circles and ends up becoming my fault for always complaining). so then how do you actually in real life deal with a flood of criticism / friendly advice without letting it get to you / reacting? :-)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    What I've done in this situation is learn to do two things:

    1. Accept I can't make other people change. I had one person in particular in my life who always put me down. I WAS oversensitive, but not without merit. This person was really critical of me and it became detrimental to my self esteem. The only thing I could do was accept that person wouldn't change, and then decide what I needed to change to address that.

    2. Put myself first. In my case, that meant minimizing our relationship. It's not always easy because I do feel a pull to that person, but learning to walk away/make separation is the only way to protect myself.

    I don't know if these ideas apply to your situation. For me, I had to decide I had every right to be bothered, and then decide just how much I was willing to take. I can say with absolutely certainty creating more distance between us has made all the difference.

  • tr

    hi, i'm the negative energy drainer. my biggest problem is when my friends tell me i just need to change my attitude or 'be positive' about a really difficult experience. it infuriates me because i think it's bs 'the secret' fake philosophy/spirituality. my 'negativity' is sometimes just realism, and a valid response to a terrible situation. acting positive so that other people don't feel bummed out, is even more stressful for me than just being a negative creep. not sure how to deal with these people.

  • http://twitter.com/ZorbaTheBuddha0 Stephan Juna Giebl

    Hi Lori,

    Oh, I love your blog and I follow you on twitter and Facebook. You're gracious. Haha, wanted to express this for a long time :)

    My personal situation is that I deal with a person who is very dominant and manipulative however it is hardly possible to eliminate him from my life. He is constantly gossiping and talking bad about other people. Addionally I'm very productive because I love the things I do and he tries to bring me down kinda like “Stop being so productive!”. So now I'm kinda frightened that his opinions get into my mind.

    What is the way to be not affected but such opinions which are offered in a very dominant way? I guess I should be defenseless and simply watch what is going on in my mind and in my body when he expresses his negative opinions. Lori, am I on the right track?

    Love,
    Stephan

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  • Libby

    Wow! Thank you so much for these insightful words of wisdom. I’ve read several books on trying to deal with a particular negative person in my life and your blog answered ALL MY QUESTIONS. Thank you, thank you and thank you. ;)

  • Messinah Rae

    People should kiss all the negative a**es! Negative people find solutions for problems, the rest are out partying with all their happy friends. So the loneliness makes them MORE negative. Then when the positive people have a crisis THEN they run back to N’s for help. A vicious cycle where P’s live happily ever after… N’s get to clean up the mess. Spend REAL time with N’s and it brightens their day.. It only brings P’s down when they START off the conversation negative… If someone acts a certain way all the time perhaps YOU have hurt them, but them remain considerate. Who wants to be only invited to funerals and not birthday parties. be for real. Just an example..Families are the worst and NEVER admit any wrong doing. (Play favorites and such) I believe everyone had a P/N/Neutral perception.

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  • http://www.single-dads-diary.com Nigella Noone

    This is such an important skill to learn. I have written a post today that I should have come to you first, about managing a micro managing boss. The two things that get me through situations like this is to try and remember that people are doing the best with the resources they have available and the other is to look to myself and ask why I am attracting these people into my life.

    Excellent post, will definitely visit again

  • http://www.uzma7.wordpress.com/ Uzma

    So true. I often find it very hard to do this. I wish them well, I create energy around me, but yet sometimes I loose my cool. Practice is important,and to create space in our own mind via some mindfulness practice like meditation. Thats what I hope to do and some Hawian healing, via Ho’oponopono :)

  • Anonymous

    I had a relative who constantly used me to unload on. i finally wrote to her and said I can’t do this anymore. if you want to discuss something lets do it through email. i told her i loved her but she was dragging me down and I hoped she would find some sort of assistance with her problems.
    Its working out well.

  • http://twitter.com/lovemethruthis soloflight

    The best “tip” I ever got about negative people.
    Change my perspective of them.
    For just the time that I deal with them, deal as if they are terminally ill.

  • ricercar

    loved your comment nigella! would love to hear more about it.

  • Eddie

    Better follow your heart thn the assumed realities of common sense.Great and bright tips.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed this post.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    What a wonderful suggestion. Thank you for commenting!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I know how difficult that can be, and I admire your ability to set a boundary in that way. Thanks for commenting!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I’ve lost my cool a few times, as well–I think we all do from time to time. As long as we’re mindful and work at maintaining our own positive space, I think that’s what matters. I’ve never heard of Hawaiian healing, but I look forward to looking it up!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Nigella,

    Excellent suggestions. I’ve always told myself that the one constant in my relationships is me. If I’m attracting lots of negative people, my choices have something to do with it. Thank you for commenting!

    Lori

  • Helena

    After reading this, there’s one thing that keeps me bothered.
    What is ‘being negative’? And then, what’s wrong with it sometimes?
    Sometimes there are situations that are really painful, stressy. Situations in which it would be nice to have people to talk to about the way you feel (and yes, of course also on how you can change the situation). Is it ‘bad’ to talk about the less pleasant aspects of life?
    This post makes me feel as if I should always be cheerful and happy, because else I am toxic to other people. Aren’t we here to help eachother in ‘good’ and ‘bad’ times?
    If it is prohibited to express ALL your emotions, including the ones we call negative, I believe people become more ‘screwed up’ and lonely. Of course it is nicer if we deal with our issues in constructive ways, but that doesn’t mean negative emotions should be banned all together. In that way you try to create phony people.

    And, on a sidenote, I would like to say: Who are we to judge others’ struggles? I have a friend with a major depression and yes, I find it hard to see how every sparkle of light somehow seems to have left her. However, I also see her minor steps. She might not act as an extremely positive person, but she does try to make the best of her days. For her, this means: going to her doctor’s appointment, continue studying even though all she wants is to lay down all day. I see how hard it is for her to do it, yet she does it. It might not mean much to someone who is not in her position, but it means the world to her. So then again: Who am I to judge? This is her struggle and I stand beside her. Sometimes I step back, but never forever and never for long because I once made a choice to be her friend and I do not let her down because she faces difficulties in her life.

    I always remind myself that she does not act like this because this is how she likes it. Yes, she can change eventually, but as long as the fear of living is bigger than her selfworth, it is the way it is. What can help her, is to increase her selfworth. If I turn around and let her alone, or if I desperately try to ban negatives in our conversation, I end up making her feel only lonelier. This will certainly not help her to feel better about herself. So, please, do not let them down. Tell them honestly that you sometimes have troubles hearing all the negativity in their life, then go out and take them to the movies (or whatever else will soothe their troubled mind). Set your boundaries WITHIN the relationship, not without. I honestly believe it would defintely NOT help them if all that’s in their reality is suddenly a banned subject in conversation.

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  • ChannaBanana

    I used to be an energy drainer. I believed I was a realist too. But “real” is what you create for yourself, not what “is”. And as a negative person, I was perpetuate and stirring up my own negativity, passing it onto the people around me — in effect, wallowing and bathing in it. There is ALWAYS something positive that can or will come of EVERY situation. The trick is a) to look for it and b) to CHOOSE to focus on and leverage it, rather than to swim in all the negative parts. To be “positive” is not to be an idealist and abandon realism. It is to alter your perception toward the happy/healthy choices that are always there, no matter how much negative may also be present in a situation, person, or moment.

  • Tsol2001

    I had a customer come in yesterday. She was drunk and rude, lit a cigarette in our non-smoking restaurant. As politely as I could I asked her to put the cigarette out because it was GA law….a state law. She said, “F*ck you! Shut up!” She drew as much smoke as she could and blow it in my face. Two days ago I probably would have smacked her silly. But I knew it was coming and held my breath. I smiled and told her the put out the cigarette and stop acting childish. She said that if she had to put out the cigarette she’d leave without paying. I told her that I would simply call the police to extract the needed payment for the bill. She didn’t put out the cigarette and continued to be difficult. I finally told her that she did not have permission to make me feel bad. She got angrier. She finally paid the bill. As soon as I got the money I told her that she would not be allowed in the restaurant again and to take her childish self somewhere else. She wanted a fight out of me and I refused to budge. She’s a sad individual and I hope that she doesn’t own a car because she was not fit to drive. I think she headed out on foot.

    I don’t know if I could have done better but if she’d done that 2 days before I might have an assault and battery lawsuit to answer to. I thank the youtube videos of Eckhart Tolle for getting me through that and up to that level of patience.

    On the lighter side as I went around the counter to spray air freshener I saw she had dropped a $10. I know a few homeless people that would enjoy a hot lunch.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    It sounds like you were admirably calm and kind, and I’m sure it wasn’t easy. I’m sorry you had to deal with that situation, but I’m glad it gave you a case study of sorts to share. Thank you for sharing your story here!

  • Lesley Cahill

    Thank you for this. My mom is a “hoarder” (a la reality TV style) and my husband of 9 years is also trying my patience. I searched how to deal with difficult people just to get some tips on how I can deal with it and this was the best advice by far! Thank you…very insightful!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Lesley,

    I’m glad that you found this post helpful. This seems to be a topic that’s relevant to most of us. I hope your family is trying your patience a little less!

    Lori

  • Betty

    I just got a link to this site and read this article. I am greatful that I was lead to it at this time. My husband has been very negative and angry lately and it has been making me feel so hurt and angry also. Thank you for the great tips on how to deal with him. I will try to remember that he is hurting inside and that is why he is lashing out at me and everyone else. I will remember that even though I can’t control him, I can control my reaction and keep myself positive no matter what. Thank you so much!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Betty,

    I’m so glad you found this post helpful! I hope your husband starts feeling better about things soon. Happy holidays =)

    Lori

  • Andrew

    Your friend sounds like an Enneagram 4. Not sure whether you have heard of this system, but well worth a look in helping to understand people.

  • Bob

    This article came about at the right time for me. I tend to be the negative person who stresses out about everything. But recently I have been put into the listening end of the conversation and I don’t know how to react or say what should be said as to not hurt someone’s feelings. Very nice website. Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome, Bob. I’m glad you found this helpful!

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  • Mike

    Wow, so many folks here treating other people’s unhappiness like it’s a crime they’ve committed. What a stunning collection of spoiled, middle class sociopaths. How about another post about how to deal with people who only see the emotions of others in terms of their own convenience?

    “To the European, it is a characteristic of the American culture that, again and again, one is commanded and ordered to “be happy.” But happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to “be happy.” Once the reason is found, however, one becomes happy automatically. As we see, a human being is not one in pursuit of happiness but rather in search of a reason to become happy…” ~V.E. Frankl

    “…man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of a gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore “suffering” is absolutely relative.” ~V.E. Frankl

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  • Anonymous

    Hey Lori!

    I understand if you’re forced to endure another persons bad energy, but I think above all of these amazing tips to deal with it, I think when possible, a complete severing of the relationship may be in order. In the past few years I’ve become much more aware of what energies people give off, and I definitely enjoy my time more when I’m with people with a positive mental attitude. However, Very insightful suggestions! Thanks for your positivity and light!

  • Tilly

    Great article, wonderful clarity. We often think about compassion as being something we give out and so we give it to others, but this post clearly demonstrates the importance of distributing compassion, therefore using it both for ourselves and others similtaneously.

    This is s great post which can be used upside down and inside out! Thanks you Lori for this I shall pass it on x

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for bringing up a great point. I agree that sometimes it’s best to just walk away. I think these ideas might be most helpful with difficult coworkers or family members–people you either can’t completely sever ties with or love and just don’t want to.

    Thanks for commenting!
    Lori

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome! Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. =)

  • http://www.fredtracy.com/ Fred Tracy

    This is so true. Something interesting happened just yesterday in my life.

    My friend was really upset, she was crying. I decided to try to maintain as positive of an energy as I could, without becoming disconnected from it. I sat there and just let her cry. I didn’t justify it, or fight it. I just let her do it. Eventually, she just started smiling at me. She got out all of her bad emotions without me judging, and that was it. The power of acceptance is strong!

  • Honey_b_temple

    As always, this was a timely and compassionate post, Lori! I do agree with some of the comments that sometimes so-called “negativity” (or admitting that we’re having difficulties) isn’t a problem, but I think this article is more about people who are consistently unable or unwilling to make the changes that would make them happier.I also agree with the comment that sometimes we have to look to see why we’re attracting that kind of energy and what we’re getting out of the relationship. I have a friend who has struggled with depression and anxiety for the 15 years that I’ve known her and it’s very hard for me to know that I can’t really help her. She has to help herself. I find myself getting judgmental, avoiding her, or giving lots of unsolicited advice that’s obviously never been helpful to her. Just yesterday I remembered my own blog post (!) about accepting people for who they are, and realized all I can do is wish her well, be there for her, make sure I don’t give away too much of my energy, and explore other friendships with people who are more proactive in seeking their own joy. Thank you!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome! That’s exactly how I often feel with my friend. It’s tempting to want to “fix” everything. Then I remember times when I’ve spiraled into negativity. The only thing that really helped was my own willingness and desire to change.

  • Kuru

    Sometimes negative or irritating people become that way in response to the way you’re presenting yourself. I have a friend who recently ended our friendship because she felt I was critical of her. The fact is she completely dominated the conversation with me, me, me, and my response to feeling ignored was to criticize. Unfortunately I did not address this problem head on and was actually grateful when she wanted to end the friendship.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I can relate to what you wrote. I’ve been in friendships where I felt something but didn’t communicate it. I think whenever feelings like that bubble under the surface, they end up causing resentment. It sounds like it’s a good thing you’re out of this friendship. Did you ever get a chance to tell her that you felt she dominated the conversation? Perhaps if she knew it would help her with friendships going forward.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=582116766 Chantell Baptiste

    Thank you for a great article. Just what I needed. I may even bookmark this page and read it again and again. May I share this on my blog? Is that allowed? It’s http://www.elementalhealthandwellness.wordpress.com. Let me know and if it’s ok I would love to share it there.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Absolutely. Feel free to share. I’m so glad you found it helpful!

    Lori

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  • jp

    nice article! I googled a lot of articles like this and this one really hit me pt by pt. But one thing I didnt quite get was this:

    under no. 3 “Help them feel more positive, not ACT more positive…”

    The link associated with that did not really clarify for me. I understand help them feel more positive but isnt acting more positive a good thing? I am really not sure what this phrase is trying to tell me to NOT do. Not act positive? I should act negative? Do you see the dilemma here?

    Any insight would be appreciated…

    *******

    One thing that I liked about the article: Most of the other articles treat this issue in very simple black white terms: as if it is easy to disengage yourself or that this person is bringing you down or that you need to focus on yourself, etc.

    In my situation, this lady friend is negative, but that is not to say that I dont get something positive out of her presence. In fact she is very exciting to be around she challenges me intellectuallly, physically spiritually etc.

    And it’s not like some articles where it automatically assumes this persons negativity is misplaced. She has good reasons for being negative

    So of course, basically I wish I could help this person get out of her rut, it’s not really a rut, You know people are complicated, this person has a productive life, she says she’s happy, she’s very active, she’s a positive influence. It’s not all bad it’s not all black and white.

    Well that’s about it. Negative people arent necessarily the devil, in fact this person is quite great in many ways, but I think if I could help diminish the negative vibes, it would be better. For her for me. Just a hunch, I have no proof.

    So that’s where I’m coming from. This article was very useful because the stuff applies to reality, not just “avoid the situation” or .”ignore this”. These comments are too simple for the complex situations with people.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi there,

    I’m glad you found this post helpful! What I meant by “help them feel positive” is that instead of focusing on behavior you don’t like, it might be helpful to interact in a way that is likely to offset it. So telling someone to change their attitude might not actually help matters, but empathizing may help–or getting them talking about something that makes them happy may help.

    This may not work in every situation, but it’s helped me with a friend of mine who is persistently negative. Whenever I sense she’s going deep down a hole of woe-is-me without appearing open to solutions or support, I change the topic to something that I suspect will make her smile. Sometimes this is tremendously helpful in helping her feel less pain and maintaining my own sanity.

    I hope this helps!
    Lori

  • jp

    Hi Lori; thank you for your response. sometimes when we post stuff on message boards we are looking for someone to talk to or help us. And it was nice to know you read that and responded.

    I sort of worked out my own strategy for dealing with my friend this weekend. We’re at the just friends stage to give you a bit of background. Obviously this person intrigues me or I wouldnt pursue it. And obviously just because a person is negative doesnt mean they are a total loser.

    I decided to go through my notes on this person and write down every single negative thing that I recall them saying. I put each one down on the back of a business card. I then shuffled the cards and pulled them out one by one and tried to figure out how would respond to each comment should it come up.

    Some of them were pretty hard. for the hardest one I used Tony Robbins: “your destiny is not shaped by events but rather by your RESPONSE to events.” Each one I tried to come up with something positive, or a different way to see it, or even a joke.

    I put them in my pocket the last few days and every once in a while I’d pull them out, shuffle the deck and try to respond to whatever came up.

    I think it worked pretty well. There weren’t too many awkward moments, but I got a few of my jokes out. I knew she would say something about my awkwardness so I complimented her on how patient she is to deal with me.

    Anyhow thought I’d share that. You have to really practice it and focus your mind on it. I think a lot of negative people we deal with are not worth that kind of time. So it depends on the relationship I guess,

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi JP,

    You’re most welcome. What an innovative idea! It sounds like your friend has a wonderful friend in you. =)

    Have a great day,
    Lori

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  • north9nj

    sometimes all you have to say is hmm or shake your head yes or just say i know what ya mean. then too you can snap them out of it, if their complaining, by coming up with something crazy or shocking. it’s like a slap on the back of their head. ( this is only good for close friends)

  • Liz

    Hi Lory
    thanks about this post!
    Everyday I fight with negative thoughts! My mother is a depression person and I have fear that one day I should be like her.
    I try help her and at the same time me, but it isn’t so easy.
    Thanks for your post and for this community, I find it from a little time and to receive your emails/updates give me a light in the darkness!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Liz,

    I’m so sorry to hear about your mother. I also fight with negative thoughts–I think everyone does! So long as we keep working to have more positive than negative, I think we’re in good shape.

    I hope you’re having a nice weekend. =)
    Lori

  • Pat Flynn

    I am going to hand this article out to my customer service team. Somehow try to put it in the perspective of how to best deal with ‘problem’ customers. It is such a challenge…

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I know that challenge well! I’ve worked in sales, customer service, and telemarketing. I hope they find this post helpful!

  • Ann Marie

    Completely where I am at right now with a friend who lost her job a month ago. She has had a very negative outlook on life for many years now (mostly stemming from her job, but it has “leaked” into other areas of her life). It’s comforting to read this and realize I am doing the best I can for myself and her in this situation.
    I have been sending her links to stories or articles on various websites about how to re-frame what she is going through right now. Every once in a while a little “spark” of hope flares. I keep hoping and praying that one day that spark will start a fire.
    Thank you Lori.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You are most welcome. She is lucky to have a friend like you. =)

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  • Bloom

    It was a great article. Based on my experience I could add that it’s better to avoid that kind of people if it’s possible. You either accept them the way they are or just leave them behind. I beleive that these people don’t need help or special treatment, it’s their nature. But quitting does not always work. 
    The most difficult situation to tackle is when this person is a colleague, a relative or someone who you can’t simply avoid. In this case your mental and physical health is at stake and the article is a precious piece of advice.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks Bloom, and thanks for adding your thoughts. I think you’re absolutely right–that sometimes we need to help ourselves by not surrounding ourselves with people who are persistently negative. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that people only change when their ready, and some people just aren’t ready to embrace a more positive way of being. There have been a lot of changes I made that I know other people wanted me to make sooner. I just had to go through my own process. Losing people in my life definitely motivated me to work through things internally and get to the roots of my issues.

  • http://losing-civ.blogspot.com Sarai

    Great article and great advice, Lori! I used to be one of the depressed people who offloaded on others – groping around in the dark for them to say the right thing and then getting really upset when they didn’t say the right thing… It is amazing how simply realising that you bring people down and therefore make it more difficult for them to support you can change your perspective about both yourself and the situation. I think the most important point is to set those positive boundaries – protect yourself with positivity and try to draw the positive out of every negative comment that they make, whether you say it out loud, or in your own head. Also, don’t feel shy to tell them that they need a dose of positivity and you missed out number 11 – direct them to tinybuddha so that they have access to the wisdom!! :) Thank you for all the effort!!

  • http://losing-civ.blogspot.com Sarai

    Agreed! Depression can also be a form of self-centeredness (in a roundabout way – and I say this as a sufferer of depression), and I do think that if you’re not getting as much out of the friendship as you are putting in, depressed friend or not, you will gain a lot more away from it!!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks Sarai! I used to be one of those people, too. I had so much negativity inside that I didn’t know how to be around other people if I didn’t release it on them. You make a great point about positive boundaries–and perhaps I’m biased, but I also like the suggestion to send people to Tiny Buddha =)

  • Jonel_fernando

    “As a negative person myself, I would like to believe that negative thoughts and negative people are a necessity that makes the world go ’round. If everyone was just happy and contented with everything and do not see anything wrong, then there would never be any room for improvement. Seeing what is wrong can lead to learning and eventually being able to do it right.” http://thenegativepolarity.com/2011/05/14/understanding-the-negativity-in-you/

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi there,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think you’re absolutely right that the world needs all kinds of people, and I also think that we need to feel the full range of emotions. Some may be less comfortable than others, but I am a huge proponent of embracing our whole selves, in darkness and in light.

    The part in your post that really resonated with me was where you answered the question, “Is it bad to be a negative person,” with “It depends on how you act out yor negativity.” That’s really what I was getting at in this post–how to deal when people act out in negativity and it makes things difficult on the people around them.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
    Lori

  • Guest 123

    Run as fast as you can from this type of personality.  These people love being around positive people because they get off on dumping all their garbage onto them.  Also, these people never reciprocate. As soon as you have a minor complaint, they can’t bear to hear you out. But they love to stew in their own negativity because it gives them a high; it is too addictive to give up, so don’t try and change this behavior.  You can’t.   By listening to them you continue to indulge and encourage this type of anti-social behavior. 
    STAY AWAY!

  • Drobnika

    I am part of a two-pesron project team at work, under an irrational supervisor, and in a department with an ineffective HR person so I really have no where to turn for help.  My co-worker is excessively and chronically negative and approaches everything from the persective of: PROBLEM.  She gets frustrated with our supervisor and others in the agency, letting it get to her to the point where she is completely unproductive. She is also extremely stressed out, wasting time putting hours and hours of stress and mental energy into things with very little to show for it.  I wouldnt call myself an optimist necessarily, but I’m a generally happy and positive person and get along really well with people. The things that bug her in our workplace bug me too, but I dont let them get to me and certainly dont let them impact my work. And because she is too stressed out and upset to be productive, I end up doing all the work, even though she is in a higher level position. I’ve reviewed all sorts of online advice, but none of it applies to my situation because I pretty much ONLY work with this one person and although I think I am pretty mentally strong, its definitely impacting me.  What can I do?  Unfortuately walking away is not an option for me, although I have considered looking for other jobs.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi there,

    I’m sorry to hear about your work situation. I can understand why this would be difficult. I wish I had a clear answer to give you here, but it seems like there really isn’t one. That being said, I will do my best to help!

    You mentioned that you have an irrational supervisor, an ineffective HR person, and a negative co-worker–and also that you can’t leave your job. As an outsider looking on, this all seems to add up to a sense of victimization. I’m not saying that you are playing the victim as an attack of some sort–but rather that your summary of your situation implies that you are a victim and have no way out.

    If you absolutely can’t leave your job–and approaching your colleagues has not been helpful to you–really the only thing you can change or control is what goes on in your own head. I realize this is far easier said than done, but I recommend taking time to practice deep breathing to minimize negative thoughts about all these different people. This will go a long way in minimizing the frustration this causes you.

    From there, practice setting some clear boundaries about what work you are going to do–and what work your coworker needs to get done. If she chooses to be unproductive during the day, then maybe she needs to stay later at night. If you don’t do her work for her, than she will have no choice but to rethink how she spends her days. And if she doesn’t, well then your supervisor will realize really quickly that she needs to pay more attention to your concerns.

    If things don’t change at work and it becomes an absolutely unbearable situation, perhaps it’s time to rethink whether or not you really can’t leave. I know it likely won’t be easy to walk away, but unless you are legally bound to keep this position, you do, in fact, have a choice.

    I hope this helps a little!

    Lori

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  • Whitney

    What do you do if you are that friend and don’t want to be difficult to everyone and especially yourself anymore?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I think self-awareness is an amazing thing. I was a very negative/difficult person for a long time, and I’m sure there are times when I am still that way. (I’m far from perfect). But knowing that is a great step.

    Now you can get to roots of how you are to understand why you react to things and people they way you do. As someone who deals with very complex emotions, I highly suggest being kind to yourself! Just because you’ve been negative or difficult that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It probably means you’ve dealt with a lot of challenges, and, as a result, you developed these coping mechanisms.

    These blog posts may be helpful to you:

    http://tinybuddha.com/blog/10-tips-to-overcome-negative-thoughts-positive-thinking-made-easy/

    http://tinybuddha.com/blog/8-tips-to-help-create-a-positive-mental-attitude/

    Much love,
    Lori

  • Joannew

    Oh boy, I can relate to this. My Mother-In-Law moved in with us nine months ago. She is negative (to the extreme) as well as talking bad about everyone behind their backs. Everyday is dooms day!  My husband and I try so hard to keep her upbeat. However, any positive thing we say immediately turns negative. She seems so bitter and hateful. She’s 92 so I feel there’s no changing her now. She makes it obvious that she doesn’t want to change. I decided to accept her the way she is. I just leave the room.  Since she’s older she repeats all her negative thoughts and comments. She doesn’t let anyone talk and demands everyone listen to only her. It is very draining to be in the same room as her. Rather than run far away, I’m on here trying to find help.I will take your advice and try some of these steps. I’m willing to try anything right now! 

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I know so many people with similar situations with their mothers-in-law, particularly ones that are over 80. I wonder if it partly has to do with the fact that they grew up in another time where they may have been treated less than equal to men (and there also wasn’t a strong positive thinking movement). I know how draining it can be to spend time around someone who complains and talks about people non-stop. I hope this post helped somewhat!

  • Anonymous

    Good thoughts!  I agree!  I think that it is something that many of us have done in our lives at one point or another, but some people just never get past it.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Absolutely. We all go through negative times. I know I have! It’s tough when people get stuck and you don’t know how to help them (or help yourself be less affected by them) but these ideas have helped me quite a bit.

  • siri

    long live ,with your good work

  • Messinah Rae

    You can change but no matter what the same people will react the same. Another excuse will replace the negative excuse. I have learned that from experience. When someone said “I liked her better when she was depressed” from across the table…It was funny even though it was about me

    I have found that different personalities ‘click’ better than others and so interacting with as many as it takes to find the ‘ones’ There are people that I faithfully keep laughing til crying, making you feel funny and crack jokes etc. and the others who bring out the dark side .Finding the right rat pack maybe?

    One persons ‘toxic’ maybe anothers ‘treasure’

  • Mairirrcampbelljack

    I can really related to this because I have known many people who are negative, and in the past I have been a negative person myself.  My only question is, at what point do you decided enough is enough and cut the people out? I have cut toxic people out of my life for reasons such as continual put downs in my direction. It did feel sad, but I also felt that I didn’t want to place myself on the receiving end of their need for superiority.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi there,

    I think it really comes down to following your gut instincts. In the past, when I’ve been in toxic friendships, I’ve often ignored these because I wanted the friendships to work–and I always thought if I did something differently, they would. In some cases, that held true. But other times, I was simply delaying the inevitable. It sounds like you have a fairly good barometer for when to walk away!

    Lori

  • Mindfulsearcher

    Thanks for this great post. It was something I needed to hear.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You are most welcome. =)

  • http://twitter.com/KaleyKlemp Kaley Klemp

    A lot of what I write about is how to deal with negative forces in the workplace to create a drama-free office. I love these suggestions for how to manage negative people, both personally and professionally!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks, Kaley! That’s such an important topic. Since we spend such a vast portion of our time working, it’s imperative we create a peaceful environment in our workspace.

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  • Colleen Smith

    Thanks so much for this. I really appreciate your fairness and compassion :) it’s really inspiring to me. 

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You are most welcome. =)

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  • Christy

    I can relate to this article. I am new here. However, I loved reading this article. Unfortunately, I deal with negativity everyday with my mother. My mother has lived a hard life and I feel that her choices have alot to do with that. She married my father, who was and probably still is, a womanizer. They are still married but have a weird living arrangement. He lives where he works at and comes home every other weekend. She only got an elementary education, because growing up, she had to pay for it. She grew in Mexico. She is a very smart woman though. She loves to read and can do just about everything thing from cook really well to sewing clothes and fixing the house problems. One more thing she is a house wife too. However, over the years, she has gotten worse. I know because she is depressed and I know that she feels hopeless. Even though I see that she still has a chance in life. I am the opposite of her, I went to school and graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and I have a career. So you can imagine how we butt heads all the time. I strongly feel that her religion also does not help her, okay, maybe not the religion, but the congregation she goes too. It is filled with people who criticize other people but pray to God. I never understood that. She definitely thinks the worst in me because I left that religion a long time ago. I don’t believe in religion, but I do believe in being spiritual. So you can imagine how we always disagree with everything. It has been hard to deal with her lately, because she is always focusing on negative thoughts and people. I strongly believe that you article will help me deal with her and accept her for who she is. I loved the point that you made in to let her know that I believe that she can be happy. Also the point that negative people lean towards people who react strong. This is so true, because I have always reacted strong with stating my opinion. I am going to try to do my best to not react so strong anymore and feed into what she is wanting, which is usually an argument.

    I am sorry that I vented out, it has just been so crazy lately with my mother. Your website is a gift to me now! Thank you so much!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I’m glad this was helpful to you, Christy. I think it can be especially challenging to know how to respond to a family members’ negativity, especially a parent, because boundaries can be fuzzy. No worries for venting. I know how it goes! =)

  • Bynoek

    I needed to read this today. It definitely reinforced some thoughts I was having to protect my positive space.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I’m glad it helped. =)

  • Monica

    Help! I have a friend who owns her own restaurant and the food they provide is excellent.  Never has she ever had a bad review until now, a customer sent her a letter  regarding one of the dishes they had and they used “crap” and decompose food.  She’s so offended and insulted by that coment that she would like to respond to the customer.  However, I tell her she needs to take a deep breath before she writes the letter  and make sure is well done.  Nevertheless, I would love for her to just write a quote to this customer who seems to think they know how to cook and do it better.  Do you have any quotes I can give her so that she can pass this on to this unsatisfy cutomers.  Something like “we do our best, we never have a complait” is just to bad you can please people all of the time. Let me know what you think?

  • Anonymous

    Wow, that’s harsh. Perhaps this customer was just having a difficult day, and chose to unload it on your friend. I think you gave her great advice. She’s lucky to have your support! I can’t think of a relevant quote off the top of my head. I will let you know if I find one!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=607409472 Emily Parker

    this article is the one that gave me the courage to understand that my mother will always be my flesh and blood and i will always love her, but that we are incapable of having a healthy relationship because we are personality wise exactly the same, and ideologically worlds apart.  the only way for me to love her without pain is to not let allow her continuous access to my life. in my 33 years on this planet, the past six months after making this decision are the only ones that haven’t been filled with resentment and pain and bitterness and anger towards her.  i’ve gotten a lot of flack from it but i refuse to feel guilty for wanting to be emotionally healthy and i cannot keep trying to make myself be different for the benefit of other people’s happiness, not even my mother’s.  in the end, when my time comes, i want to say the life i led was my own, with no one to thank, or blame, but myself, for its outcome. 

  • Angela

    My father was in his mid 50s when he had me and my siblings, so I have a different perspective.  I found that he, and his sister, some friends (who are now in their 90s) are very funny, upbeat, even a little “wild” if you can believe that. However, they detest being around old “grumps.”  It helped me in observing at a young age, there are boring people, there are happy people, there are grumpy people. Their age has no bearing!  If you ask around, look at old photos, or even have them recall earlier days, you’ll find that grumpy 5 year old becomes the grumpy 40 year old who becomes the grumpy 85 year old.  And the same for the happy folks!  It is a lifetime effort to keep yourself positive and avoid the negativity. Don’t be afraid of the old folks! :)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I know what you mean–unhappiness comes in all ages, shapes, and sizes! I was thinking of one woman in particular, who grew up in a family that devalued women. Her brothers inherited massive amounts of land, and she inherited very little because of her gender. I know a few other older women who grew up in that same type of environment–but I also know that this isn’t universally true. I actually adore spending time with older people, partly because they have so much wisdom. There’s a wonderful book you may enjoy: How to Live: a Search for Wisdom from Old People. http://amzn.to/nkAPe2 =)

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  • Angel

    This is nice for people that you love and want to continue relationships with, but I have a person I need to work with a few times a month-not much, I know, and she is really difficult.  I do not want to understand her, I just want to take care of business with as little interaction as possible.  She is truly toxic to me, down to the overpowering, migraine inducing strong scent she wears.  She is extremely defensive; most mistakes she makes are somehow my fault.  (And she makes alot of mistakes-I don’t even tell her anymore, I just fix them myself-I know, not a great way to deal with it, but I cannot stand her defensive, blame me attitude)  Help!!

  • Angel

    I totally agree with you-I need to process things before I get to acceptance and can let them go.  Processing, for me involves talking it out with someone.  Perhaps some negative people don’t feel listened to, or accepted for thier feelings.  Someone listening to me goes a long way toward my letting go of the negative issue, many times changing it into a positive.

    I most likely will never be a Pollyanna type person-really cheerful people bug me-they seem so fake.  But, I can look at both the positive and negative aspects of a situation and figure out where I want to go from there.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Angel,

    I’m not sure I really have any advice to offer you. If you don’t want to try to understand her, and you simply want to have as little interaction as possible, it sounds like you know what you need to do–limit your interactions with her. How can I help?

    Lori

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  • Recdpalmer

    Hi Lori,    I’ve been married to a negative man for 18 unhappy years.  We have a 14 & 16 yr. old boy & girl who are also suffering for it.  I’ve never known a person who can suck the fun out of everything. He makes what should be fun not fun at all and makes you wonder why you wanted to do it in the first place and if you want to do it again you make sure he’s not around.   

    He’s such a perfectionist that I’ve given up trying to please him because I never will.  Everything has to be done in a certain way or he’s complaining about how you should have done it and making you feel inferior at the same time.  It’s like he has to prove a point and be validated but all he’s doing is losing our respect.  I’ve tried to get him into therapy but unfortunately we already a couple of doctors who weren’t very good so now he doesn’t see the point, so I go by myself.

    Several years ago I got depressed and got myself into financial trouble where only “I” had to declare bankruptcy not him but ever since then no matter how many times I apologize he won’t forgive me.  He says he’s still not mad at me but he has to bring it up in every discussion / argument that we have and when he start talking about it he gets angrier and angrier.

    I’m at the very end of my rope with him, I’m not sure if I should stay or leave him.  I’m tired of walking around egg shells in fear of him.  I try to ignore him in hopes of not getting him mad but that ends up making him upset too because “I’m burying my head in the sand” but when I try to talk to him he just ends up getting madder and I get scared and stop talking to him.

    How do you stay married to someone who can’t forgive and doesn’t realize that they’re still mad at you but blames you for all the past, present and future problems.  I try to turn towards my religion but I’m losing hope and love for my husband. 

  • Skoach92

    Helena,
    You are a realist.  I say this in a complimentary way.  For one to have to train themself to be cheery and happy/cordial is how ‘politically correct’ has taken over.  For one to have to guard themself at all times makes one NOT genuine. 

    I am honest with my feelings.  I grew up in Brooklyn where you didn’t have a lot of anything except your word.  But, not in an overbearing way.  I do know how to control my emotional volume.  People consider me the genuine arcticle because I am.  I am a straight shooter and, because of this, it makes me sometimes controversial in my field……..That’s a story for another time. 

    Everyone knows that I am being HONEST and straight forward just by how I am not afraid to compliment OR critisize to be honest.  Sometimes we praise, and sometimes we critisize, sometimes we are moody or sad and if one can’t be honest during all of this, they have become a cookie cutter example of how society has gone in the wrong direction. 

    So many people nowadays feel entitled to have others communicate with them in only a positive way.  This is wierd in itself.  How does that teach one to deal with conflict and sometimes misfortune?  By keeping it inside?  I think it’s fair to say that that’s not a good idea at all.  We all have to decide who we can talk to in certain ways, I guess, simply because there are different levels of trust in relationships, but when I need to be honest and tell it like it is to potentially help another, I will do it whether it mgiht be tense for the near future or not.  Well I’m telling it like it is, again.  Good day!   

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  • lite

    No the reason the world is in the state it is in is because of the negative mindset of people..you would still have improvement but aproached in a positive way will bring positive results aproached in a negative way will bring negative reults. We are going thru a spiritual shift 2012 do not allow your self to get stuck in a negative mindset it keeps you from being your true self God the creator of all things created you to be. a negative mindset can also come from outside forces learn how to meditate sitt be quite, quite your thoughts and let the inner voice speake and the inner voice does not come from your mind it’s a small still voice from deep down inside dont listen to the voices in your head cause some of our thoughts can be crazy. but you have to be still and quite not just you being quite but quite your mind meaning no thinking no thoughts just silence. I have a friend who is very negative i have been with him for 10 years i thought i could help him but darkness and dark forces and dark souls are stronger than you and me. I thought i was helping him and ended up getting sucked into his madness his dramma. then the next thing you know im no longer that optomistic i have a dream person. i started being negative talking negative. ontop of that he has some kind a physcic ability like that allows him to spy on me personly he has dreams to tell him where im at what im doin who im with it is unbelievable i tell him he is from the dark side and he get mad cause i won’t sleep with him…he has visions he doesn’t like to sleep at other peoples house cause of the dreams he has. he always have nightmares,,get this, he has outta body experinces! when he is sleep. he told me onetime he was watching what i was doing. he told me when he does eat at all for a few days it hightens his ability to do what he does. and he is a average guy like he works in the computer field for a living. his spirit is not right. and he is very very dark and depressing but he functions at his job and hides who he really is. my point is i have never met anybody liike him. and i believe i met him to bring me to the point i am at now understanding the truth about energy and negativity and the heavy weight it has on the earth. and dark souls, negative people have low vibration. some souls incarnate from lower dementions. if you meet someone like that leave them alone you cant help them the negative forces is stronger than you tell them that you wont listen to negative talk venting is one thing but consistant negativity NO! i am seperating from him 2012! had enough.

  • LadyTamborine

    Helena,

    I think when people refer to others as being “negative” they mean it in the context that this person is constantly negative, their cup is always half empty, “negative Nancy”, regular complainer, etc, or as Lori states “chronically critical, belligerent, indignant, angry, or just plain rude”.
    I don’t think anyone is suggesting that you shouldn’t feel the emotions you feel, we ALL have dark moments.  But the key here is that we look at the situation, evaluate it, decide our options, find the lesson, learn from it and move on. Are you going to chose to be happy or sad? You are what you think.

    As far as “judging others”, I think we have to be careful here.  Indeed, it can come across as is if we are “judging others”, but if we approach it from a different perspective it’s not about THEM, it’s about US.  By recognizing behavior that we individually feel is toxic (everyone has different boundaries) we are taking preventive measures is protecting ourselves, not putting them down.
    I think Lori makes a great point in that we have to “question what you’re getting out of it” (See #6).  Is this “friendship” worth it, or is it breaking your down? Personally, I think either way…you can always be a “friend”, just be aware of your boundaries

  • LadyTamborine

    I had a dream last night.  I was standing on the bank of a very swift river it was believed that the swiftness was out of character for this particular river.
    In front of me was a bridge made out of wood, believed to be sturdy enough for vehicles to drive across.  I got in my car and started to cross.  After only 2 of my car tires were on the bridge, I decided to back up and NOT attempt to go across.  The swift river was raging and just not worth the risk.
    To the right of me was another bridge, made out different material yet strong enough for a vehicle.  All of a sudden a vehicle was coming over the bridge (toward me) and the bridge collapsed.  The vehicle has 2 wheels on the bridge and 2 wheels on land.  Fortunately they made it across, not without their vehicle in the swift river below.
    Let me say this…I see the “troubled water” (aka negativity) in my life and by applying # 6 (above) have decided an alternate route.
    Thanks for the great post!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You are most welcome! I am always fascinated by dreams. They can be so telling about what’s going on in our subconscious minds and our lives!

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  • SRSpawn

    I feel you there on the put downs i have got that from so called friends and in relations and it don’t feel good especially when its anytime and almost all the time, overtime it does take its toll one negativity breeds negativity and i have ended up losing my cool and ending up the bad guy and the one the person can then point the finger at,  coming across this article is like a God send though am hoping it can help me learn to see things clearer and make me realise that sometimes one has to step back from the situation before they get dragged down deeper and end up saying or doing the wrong thing all out of sheer and utter frustration and feeling depressed by the circumstances that one finds themselve in or have allowed to happen

  • Tom

    Hi, just

  • Tom

    Hi, im confused…I don’t know if I’m the negative one or my friend is? I’ve suffered depression before but usually remain positive.
    Basically I’ve been texting a friend – complementing them & only been saying how great they r. At times this person doesn’t respond or at least acknowledge what I’ve said. Anyway I’ve recently just said to this person that I think they r great, they r an inspiration & I thank them for everything they have done for me. Their response was simply – I hope u feel better writing that, seems like u have alot on your mind! I was really hurt by this, I thought I was really cold. Am I wrong or am I just reading into it? I then texted back & said I’m sorry if I’ve said something wrong but it seems u have taken this the wrong way? (how can a compliment b taken the wrong way?) they just said, u know where I am if u need me! I’m so confused? Am I overreacting? Is it just this person doesn’t like to b complimented? R they telling me to back off? Where’s the compassion?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Tom,

    I think that we’re all negative at different times, though sometimes some of us go through phases when we are persistently negative. I’ve also struggled with depression, and I’ve been there. I’m not really sure what happened with this exchange, but it sounds like your friend didn’t take the text at face value, and instead assumed you were in a rough place. Now this is just my guess after hearing your story, but the bottom line is that your friend wrote, “I hope you feel better.” This is someone who doesn’t want you to hurt.

    It might help to talk to this person directly about what’s on your mind. Expressing our feelings isn’t being negative–it’s dwelling on them that tends to drain other people. (I have been there, too!)

    I hope this helps.
    Lori

  • Vagumera

    “What a sad reality”.   Isn’t that a judgement? Isn’t Step 1 to not judge.  It’s neither good or bad, just ‘what is’.

  • Guest

    Get out now and reclaim your life, and freedom. You can’t change someone else, just yourself and your own circumstances.  If you can’t do that then stay at least until your beautiful kids have finished school and are off on their own lives. You may feel better then about moving on with your own life, like your kids have with theirs. You will look back at those 18 years you spent with that man and possibly regret how long you spent in it. Don’t regret, just learn from it and move on. Life is a learning experience.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi there,

    I actually intended this to be an expression of compassion–recognizing that someone is actually dealing with a lot of pain, but I can see how this may seem judgmental. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    Lori

  • LadyTamborine

    Recdpalmer,
    I hear your pain, I feel your frustration and I totally understand the walking on eggshells game.
    We are responsible for our own energy; this includes the energy we give AND the energy we allow around us.  When one is surrounded by negative energy (such as you have), this negative energy zaps, eats and erodes away our TRUE selves.  It is CRUCIAL to stay true to yourself. 
    Maya Angelou says, “When people show you who they are, believe them”.  Think about that.  Your husband has shown you for the last 18 years who HE is (a negative perfectionist).  And in fact he’s been pretty true to HIMself.  What about YOU?  Are you being true to YOURself?
    Have you read the post titled “Knowing when to walk away from unrequited love”, here on Tiny Buddha? The post is truly remarkable, especially for someone is your position!  One (of the many) profound comments made “…if your relationship…. is unbalanced and one person is hurting, how much is enough? How many pieces are supposed to break and how damaged can we allow ourselves… accept that this type of love isn’t healthy?”

    Like Kelly (author of above-mentioned post) said, some things just don’t work, and it’s okay to walk away from something that hurts you. 

    Remember… hurting someone doesn’t always come in physical form; your spirit has been abused. 

  • Anonymous

    Hi there,

    I apologize for missing your comment. I didn’t see this before. I am going to echo was Lady Tamborine wrote. Someone (and I don’t remember who) once wrote: “We teach people how to treat us.” It sounds as though your husband believes this is how you will accept being treated–harshly, with judgment and negativity. You don’t deserve that. 

    I can understand why you’re feeling confused and conflicted. I’m not married, but I can imagine it’s incredibly difficult to consider leaving someone you’ve been with for 18 years. It would take immense courage to make this kind of choice. My question for you: How will you feel if 18 years from now, you’re having these same feelings? Will you wish you made the choice to walk away sooner? Will you wonder what you could have experienced if you created space for something different?

    There’s a quote that reads, “Some people think it’s holding on that makes us strong–sometimes it’s letting go.” Does your instinct tell you it’s time to let go?

    Much love,
    Lori

  • http://www.peeledonion.com PeeledOnion

    Hello Lori, I landed on your page by chance and am very happy about it! Loved your point on maintaining a positive boundary. I am actually a visual person so I’ll take the visual tip on board.
    Congrats!

  • PeeledOnion

    Hello,
    You sound very sad and lost. I hear you are crying out for help. Can you feel what your dearest need is?
    There are always many voices within us. Here are the ones I hear:
    One is telling you that you are exhausted, physically and emotionally and you do not have the resources within you to continue in this painful relationship. You need rest, you need to recover.
    One is telling you to stay. I don’t know why: your commitment, your love for your husband, your sense of responsibility, your compassion for a man who is deeply suffering, your lack of self-esteem that tells that others are better worth than yourself?

    You are the only one to know all these voices: listen to them all without judging and give them the space to express themselves. Then you will be able to understand your deepest unmet needs and act accordingly.

    There is something else I see in your words:  It has been very hard in the past 18 years. I see your incredible strength and fire to survive and this tells me that you can have the resource within you to get where you want to. 
    For that, you need rest and then to believe in yourself. But I should not tell you what you need. No one should. I pray for you to find this path to your heart and connect to your need yourself and then find the power to operate the shift in your life.
    This is regardless of if you decide to stay with your husband or not. This is your go only.

    I know it is hard and sometimes we feel desperate and we don’t see the light within us. Don’t give up your faith. The light is burning inside you.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks so much! I’m glad you found this helpful. =)

  • Good Guy

    I think you could tell him first that you are considering leaving for the reasons you’ve written above.  See what he says. He may do nothing and keep on how he’s behaving OR he it may hit the nail on the head and be a real wake up call for him. At least you can feel easier knowing that you had raised the issue of leaving a couple of times, before you may actually go ahead with it. I’m in my 2nd marriage now and have 4 kids from this marriage.  I walked away from my first marriage because it had gone completely stagnant and my partner was interested in other people(s). It was the best thing I did and I look back and wondered why I didn’t do it sooner.
    But I think you have to raise the issue with that person first, telling them that you are considering leaving. At least you give that person the option to change. they can only blame themselves if they don’t, and you leave.
    It’s hard with kids and if I was in your shoes I’d either take the kids with me or leave once they’ve finished school. But please give your partner the option to change first.

  • LadyTamborine

    Drobnika,Unfortunately, I see this all the time.  People feel trapped by their environment. .
    When I hear this I think of two things:
    1)      We are responsible for the space and energy around us. 
     
    2)       A quote by Maya Angelou “If you don’t like something, change it.  If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
    It’s so easy to fall prey to negative people, especially when one is a pleaser and doer.  I think this post and the post titled “Knowing When To Walk Away From Unrequited Love” can really apply here.
    They both teach us how to recognize toxic relationships, how to set boundaries, and to know when to walk away.
    In this case I think setting boundaries (mentally and physically) would be the first step to finding inner peace with an ugly situation.
    Best wishes.

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  • Lpalmer

    I was in a marriage that was very similar–my ex made every little thing so difficult that I stopped wanting to do anything. What finally brought me to leave (even after multiple infidelities, his constant need to drink and party, belittle me, etc…) was this line. “Risk hurting others to keep peace with yourself.” When I read that line, something in me snapped. I realized I was trying to keep my kids in a “nuclear” family and keep him somewhat happy, but that I was dying a slow death. And in the end, we have to treat ourselves with respect first, in order to give it. Divorce hasn’t been easy, but it beats walking on eggshells every damn day of your life, questioning your own sanity and behavior at every turn. That is a debilitating way to live.

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  • Julygrrl769

    Awesome article! This really helped me to have a different perspective about how to deal with a negative, manipulative friend (who really is just unhappy in her life). Thank for the tips!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re welcome–I’m glad it helped!

  • fbb

    I found this article very helpful to read! And the comments below, if only to realise I am not the only one who knows someone like this!
    A very close friend of mine rants continuously and I mean ‘screaming ranting’ about home, work, partner so much so that when she is ranting it is as if I am the one who wronged her and she is screaming at me!
    I listen but get so stressed myself through her ranting that it continually ruins my days at work with her. I love her to bits but i cant bear to be with such negativity…though looking at my friends are large number are negative so as your article said maybe I should see what it is about me that I seem to want to surround myself with these people
    An interesting read, thanks

  • ReJect

    This was a great read. I myself can end up being negative just like anyone can and I suffer from severe depression. I have a friend who is constantly down and always sees the negative side of things, never the positives. You try to point out the good in his life and he seems to never accept that he has to change his way of thinking to become a happier more positive person. It seems quite hopeless.
     
     Is it a matter of giving up on this kind of person who just seems to possibly like the attention? If a person isn’t willing to help themself then how can anyone ever hope to help them past this problem?! It’s hard to always be that person that listens when they never bother to listen to any good advice! Especially when they can bring you down with them and it makes it even harder to pick yourself back up.

    I chose to become a more positive person to make MY life better for MYself. It is hard to keep a friendship with someone who is ALWAYS so constantly down. But it’s also hard to cut them out of your life when you believe they’re going through the same feelings you yourself go through. Do you be the friend they need or do you cut them and feel like you’re ditching someone in need? It’s so hard to ever know if a person who doesn’t help themself is just an attention seeker or whether they genuinely need a push and help off of somebody else.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I know this challenge well. I’ve dealt with depression in my life, so I can understand when someone is dwelling on the negative. I’ve been there, and I only considered changing my perceptions when I was good and ready! I think it really all comes to down to boundaries. We can be friends with people who may be struggling, but also take care of ourselves so that these relationships don’t pull us down.

  • Sammom4k

    Whitney, thank you for writing exactly what I wanted to say, and thank you to Lori for pointing us in a helpful direction. I want to be able to save face, and turn my life around.

  • Lisalu

    I bookmarked this page about 2 months ago.  After have to make a difficult choice tonite, I was ridiculed by my best friend (a negative person) and was feeling very glum myself about how things could have been different tonite.  Reading this helped me realize 2 things – When I feel low I go to my BF to lift me up – and he usually doesn’t, so why am I keeping him around? And, the second thing I learned was the truth hurts.  Although the criticism was delivered in a scathing manner – it was valid. I thank the Universe for guiding me to open and read this article tonite!  And I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for writing such an insightful piece.  I am going to go order your book right now!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You are most welcome! I think it’s wonderful that you were able to recognize criticism as valid, despite the delivery. It’s such a hard thing to do, but I think we’re better for being able to do it. I’m also glad you formed that conclusion about your BF. You definitely deserve to be with someone who lifts you up!

  • Michaela

    I broke up with my partner of 2 years about 4 months ago. I broke it off because he would lie to me and took everything I did for him for granted and it just reached a point where I felt non existent to him despite all the chances I’d given him in the past to get it together. Unfortunately it took a break up for him to see all these things and he hasn’t been able to let go since and has been having a hard time dealing with the break up. 

    In the past 3 months.. this other man has walked into my life and he makes me happy.. we talk about anything and everything and he’s incredibly supportive and eager to listen to my ambitions in life.. we just appreciate each others company which has been great lately. 

    My ex however.. hates this new man in my life naturally. Ideally, I want to cut off ties with my ex so that he can move on.. but he’s going through depression and I just dont know what the right thing to do is.. I cant stand being around my ex though because.. when we’re together.. all he does is tell me what to think.. he’s been feeding me with this idea that the New man in my life.. is a liar.. and shady in character.. and that he’s preying on the fact that i’m vulnerable after being fresh out of a long term relationship. This horrifies me because I dont consider myself to be naive at all… what hurts more is my ex keeps telling me that I am a terrible person for not giving him another shot.. but I really do not have those feelings towards him anymore.. but he keeps badgering me and telling me “how do you know that?” When I tell him that I don’t want to be around him anymore.. he says to me: “you dont know that for sure…maybe you do have feelings for me but you just dont realise it right now”this hurts so much because I feel like I’m losing friends as a result of him telling everyone how horrible of a person I am.. I really dont know what to do anymore and I cant stand being around him.. his words just make my skin crawl. What do I do? Its complicated by the fact that I have to be mindful of his condition..

  • Thelaughingmommy

    Your story sounds all too familiar.  That was my marriage for 15 years.  I found this site because I typed in google “how to react to negative energy”…speaking of my EX-husband.  Every single thing you said, I relate to.  For me, I made the incredibly difficult choice to leave the marriage. Honestly, It was the best decision I’ve ever made, aside from having my 2 children.  I have been divorced from him for over 2 years now, and while I dont have to live with a person everyday who is so angry and negative, I do still have to deal with him as we share joint custody of our children, and it is so draining. I just don’t understand how people can put so much negative energy into such a short life that we are given.  It’s very difficult not letting myself react to it, but I am trying.  Shortly after our divorce, our youngest son almost died with an unusual illness, and I thought that would help change who he was, but it didn’t, and if that doesn’t change you into someone who realizes what is truly important in life and how short life is, nothing ever will.  I have to accept that I cannot change him.  I can only change how I respond to him.  My best advice to you is to release the fear…don’t be so scared of the unknown. Value yourself more than anyone. Your children will be fine.  Mine thrive more now than when we were together. I truly wish you the best.  

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Michaela,

    I think it’s wonderful that you feel compassion for what your ex is going through, but at the end of the day, you need to take care of you–and he is not making that easy on you. In fact, it sounds as though he is being somewhat cruel and manipulative (possibly because of his depression, but that does not excuse it). In reading your comment, I got the sense you know what you need to do for you. Now it’s just a matter of whether or not you’ll give yourself permission to do it.

    Much love,
    Lori

  • Amoraqalphawlf

    This was a great read! I have a friend who is negative, very lazy in parenting, marriage and her job, and constantly lying. I’m not really sure why I am still her friend, well yes I do, it’s so that I can gossip about her! That’s terrible! I always feel bad about it and she feeds my fire constantly! I try to talk to her about the positive things instead of the negative but it doesn’t help. I used to talk to her more and bring the positive, truthfulness out of her. But at the end of our conversation I always feel the same way about her. I don’t like the person I’ve become when it comes to my relationship with this friend. We are actually moving away and I hope I don’t bring this attitude to the new friends I am going to meet! But is it right that I am glad I am getting away from this? Or should I try to keep in touch, not to gossip about her, but to help her?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    It sounds like you know getting away from this friendship is the best thing for both of you. I think it’s wonderful that you want to help her, but I’ve found that people generally need to want to help themselves–meaning it might be hard to change the dynamic of the friendship if she doesn’t consciously decide she wants to make changes in her life for herself. The good thing is that you can now recognize this pattern if it occurs in other friendships. That’s something I’ve had to do many times, as I’ve been like a moth to the flame with drama!

  • Michaela

    I think it’s so wonderful
    What you are doing.. Just thank you for listening To us.. All over the world.

    Where can I get
    Your
    Book?

  • Dognrunn

    I saw this before tried it all but made out break and rant which made me snap and something that no one might beliive…

  • Era Thapaliya

    my husband always think negative about me……….he  says so many unnecessary things about me……but i haven’t done anything wrong ………..he love me but i am confused what kind of love he does me……….because of his behavior now i don’t like to live……..i think when i die than only he will realise…….so what i do in these situation………..

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Era,

    My heart goes out to you. No one deserves to be talked down to. There’s a lot I don’t know about your situation, so it’s challenging to offer you advice. Have you talked to your husband about this so he has a chance to change how he treats you? Perhaps he doesn’t realize what he’s doing. Of course this all depends on what he’s been saying and how. If he’s downright emotionally abusive, you may want to consider marriage counseling and even walking away. It might help to talk to someone you trust or love about this. The worst thing is going through difficult times alone. Sometimes just letting someone else in can make it so much easier to find strength and take care of our needs.

    Much love,
    Lori

  • Era Thapaliya

    thank  u  lori……………………..i know and i tried to handle the situation  but you know he used me so worst language that i dont like to see his face……….i always tried to better for him………..how can i delete his negative attitude towards me………………………..i love him from my inner heart…..but because of this i myself feel so bore ………………………

  • Sun girl

    What a great article. I googled and found it because I am in a pickle with my current partner of 4 years. He is a realist/pessimist who suffers depression (but won’t do anything about it) and who heavily relies on me for emotional support (3 or so emails or texts an hour) if I’m not with him, whether it’s xomplaining about work, bosses, weather, life you name it. The thing is he brings a lot of it on him self, he always expects the worst to happen and it normally does for him! But it’s because he goes in with a negative/pessimistic attitude (he says he is a realist who just knows how life happens) anyway he is draining my life away, my family and friends can see it mile and dislike him. He has no friends that live in the country and no family so I have a lot of pressure on me. I’ve tried to end it with him but he keeps begging to stay that he will die with out me I’m the only thing good in his life. he is 35 as well. I am only staying mainly because I feel sorry for him and I feel bad abandoning someone in this state. if it was a friend I would stick by them but maybe not see them often. I kmow if I leave him things will become million times worse for him and well things are bad enough for him. I’m just too soft :(

  • Trinitystar999

    My mother in law is beyond help. She is extremely depressed and paranoid. She sends me negative emails everyday, from “the world is ending” to “beware of your tap water”… I mean ridiculous, obtrusive negativity… Every day. I used to try and diffuse it by sending a positive quote to her everyday, but that backfired. We now have a 6 month old, and her negativity is affecting him. That’s where I draw the line. Any suggestions on how I can tell her (kindly) that I won’t allow it around my son?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    That sounds like a lot of pressure for anyone to handle–having to hold him up and also feeling like he wouldn’t survive if you did what you need to do for you. They say that sometimes things need to get worse before they get better. Is it possible that if you left him he might learn to depend on himself more? I’m not saying that his depression is his fault, but his recovery *is* his responsibility.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi there,

    This is a tough situation, for sure. If you approach her and say outright, “You’re always drowning in doom and gloom, and I don’t want my son around it,” she may very well take this as an attack on her character, as opposed to a suggestion to change her behavior. Even if she does see it as the latter, she may get defensive and resistant. (In fact, she may think she’s just being helpful by sending you these tidbits).

    Perhaps you could approach her by pointing the finger at yourself, which will decrease the odds of her getting defensive. You could say something along the lines of, “You know I used to be so negative–always obsessing over every little bad thing that could happen, and it was exhausting! I try to stay away from all the depressing news now to hold onto my sanity–and my son’s!!” Then when you ask her to stop sending the emails/telling the stories/etc, it seems more like your issue then hers. 

    I realize this is a little less honest than simply expressing how you feel. But I think that ultimately people are more apt to take an honest look at their behavior when they see other people practicing self-awareness!

    I hope this helps!
    Lori

  • Trinitystar999

    Thx Lori. I will try. :0)

  • Jdelao51

    i really,really really thought your information to be helpful. Thanks a million times.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome!

  • DSign

    I found this site because I typed the search:
    can you support someone even when you do not agree with them?

    My marriage has been difficult to say the least, for 22 years. We seem to have reached a dead end (more dead than usual), but we both just found out a fundamental difference about what it means to “support” the other person.

    We have to make a very important choice regarding our home. I told my wife that even though I do not think her proposed course of action will bring a positive result because of a number of factors, I am ready to “support” her, which means I am ready to stand behind her course of action if she believes it is the best one. To me, that means that I am ready to live with a possible negative outcome of our actions, without recriminations, meaning I will not come back later and say “I told you so”, and that my relationship with her goes beyond whether or not she makes the right choices or whether or not the outcome is positive, but nonetheless before we take on any action I thought it important to open up and give her my opinion of why I believe my proposed course of action has better chances of working out well in the end, and my opinion of why I do not think the conditions are favorable to what she is proposing.

    She says that is not giving support. That attitude means I am against her and that she will not follow what she thinks is right because I am not “supporting” her. Of course we argued over what “support” means.

    To me, it is unconditional help, you are ready to stand behind your partner because you care about the person not because of what she does or because you necessarily agree with her. it does not preclude an initial exchange of different opinions, but once a course of action is taken it *does* preclude undermining it by saying “see, it’s not working, I told you so”.

    To her, support can only be given when you agree with the actions of the other person, otherwise you are undermining that person.

    I’d love to hear your opinion, it may help me understand something I do not understand  in my wife’s reply.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi there,

    I can understand why this would be frustrating for you. You communicated your thoughts and feelings clearly, letting your wife know you see things differently but will support her choice to do what she thinks is right, and whether it works out or not, you will accept whatever happens. I think your response was highly mature, but she may be frustrated that it doesn’t reinforce that her decision is “right.” That can be frustrating for her, because uncertainty can be scary.

    It could be that she doesn’t want to hold the weight of her decision alone. Your response, though supportive, leaves room for doubt in her mind. Doubt can eat away at a person. It could be that, in her mind, if you agree (as opposed to merely supporting) then whatever happens, it’s because of the decision you both made, not the decision you allowed her to make.

    That’s my take on it. I hope this helps a little!

    Lori

  • proD

    hey why u deleted my commnet? im here to talk about this + i like your style …i thought wer  all in this together

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Prod!

    Which comment are you referring to? I generally only delete comments when:

    -They’re promotional in nature (with links to other sites or names that aren’t names, i.e.: Cheap Vegas Hotels linked to a Vegas website)
    -They’re offensive or cruel to the writer or readers
    -They contain offensive or foul language

    If your comment didn’t fall into any of those categories, it was an error on my part!

    Lori

  • proD

    i didnt try to offend at all i just wanted to make a chat on this blog-i was maybe trying to debate with you..

    Recdpalmer story was just something i read and i thought  i might give her an idea she would never came across…Dont get offended Lori.; )if my natural response offends you ..thats something else … we come to conclusions to get a better outcome ..ps:and as i said i find u an interesting person
    Dont get offended Lori.
    ; )
    if my natural response offends you ..thats something else … we come to conclusions to get a better outcome ..

    ps:and as i said i find u an interesting person

  • proD

    i cant type in this thing…grrrr

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Prod,

    I’m not offended. I’m glad you find me interesting!

    Lori

  • hope3212

    i know my brother is going to be this kind of husband. everyday i fear physical/emotional abuse for his future wife and i will give any potential girl that may marry him the support and strength to leave him when the time comes. i have suffered emotional and physical abuse and i don’t want any woman or child to feel the same thing or to go through what i have gone through my whole life. i think that these people are just too stubborn to change and become compassionate to those around them. there is nothing we can do if they don’t take a look at themselves and choose to change first. good luck i hope all the best for you and your children.

  • Angelapowiro

    I found this site because I typed what my ex “online” boyfriend said in past time,”I try to manage to get to you.” He said that when I was complaining a lot and cried a lot about he did not come at the time he promised, AGAIN, in a week. It was like that sometimes. SO after I waited him at 2 am in the morning… until 4 am, the time here, he did not show up AGAIN. He promised to come, but he did not come. I felt sooo heavy in my heart, and my chest felt pain, physically, not only emotionally. Cried a lot. Then I thought to stop from being with him… I did not come at monday, but he was there saying,”Hi, you are not here.. It’s ok. I will be here tomorrow. Kisses.” Then on tuesday I told him again that I did not want to be with him anymore since what he did to me… then I got reply from him,”It’s okay. I understand you have enough :D I feel we are complicated…”

    you judge him and me..not me… Until now I feel IF only I did different things that time…. be patiently to wait again even though not always seeing him online because notification from his office to allowance him to come here visit me in other country than him is just days..

    That time after I broke up from him, I got influenced by many love comments on his walls.. I feel jealous. BUT that had been happening before i met him and that happens to my public profile too.. I typed saying,”You have time to have sex ( he asked me to have sex on cam with him, saying that he will not able to be my bf if we dont have sex. But if in real we dont need to do it anymore, his reason, as we will hug and kiss. And that he will know I really love him after we meet in real. So after meet in real we dont have to do sex cam anymore, he said).. BUT you are busy all the time..” I typed this message 3 times on his wall. Then he complained about this…”yes better think that way.”,”It’s not like that.” , “I try to manage time to get to you.” He then came to talk to me again in the morning at his time. 9 am. He said about my complaints about his not coming, hurting me, made me feel pain in chest…”I’m very tired of argueing this now.” He asked if better we stopped forever. I said yes…..So we both agreed. Then he said goodbye many times. He said before about my posts that his female friends some of them message him and asked him,”What is this?”
    acted so proud that his female friends in fact sooo care of him….and im hurted again.

    So later i asked his online friends that consist of females… are you one of his girlfriend… I also said bad things a lot to him in big capital. Saying a lot of hate I felt this long time, especially after a female friend of him said yes he asked me to have sex too. Later then I knew she lied….

    I wanted to blame myself for this too. Other than that he seems to be a good sweet guy, especially if in offline. He is not kind of man that wants to spend lots of time by online…
    He, after i talked to him again, said that he was very happy I talked again to him. That we were friends already… on christmas day, he message me with merry christmas & happy new year, added by “a lot of kisses for you…on cheek”.

    “Thinking you were so mad at me…”, he said when i just talked to him again. 

    BUT, I really feel something his female friends hide about him…so i asked again to her….”are you actually a liar too?” She bursted and angry copied pasted his original message, that he actually said about me behind me,”She is crazy, she making movies about I love her but i never love her.” I was shocked, sad, angry, mad. I copied pasted his female friend words but he did not say anything. Before, he refused to apologize because he said he did not want to apologize for something wrong… I did wrong things to him after I knew what he said… I posted about his profile, his private info in gay forum, signed him to online doctor for herpes, subscribed him to gay magazines by online and herpes articles too..

    Last time he message me after i told him about the words he said, he said,”I still want to be your friends. I forgive you….”

    Let that you being judge………… I feel that if only we met in real, never by online… maybe he won’t act like this to me…. He really is a man that cares to life more… and online world is almost nothing to him. But when before broke up and being left often by online, I felt somehow he started to be more serious, after we had sex cam…he even showed jealousy to me if i talked to other guy.. well im not like that.. im serious to him…..

    He is kind of sweet guy that loves good life, has good job in multinational company, gains bigger income than other guys in his country. Live a good life in an area that has forest near it. But also good access to public shops n services. He is tidy, neat, clean, diligent, sweet, great chef, seems thirsty of new love after separated from his gf. And needs sex and affections a lot. But also manipulative.. to me..coz what he said about me to other online friends he has.

    And its not only because I want to move to better country, start new life with a seem to be very ideal love, that i did not love at first time because of his body shape n fact that he has a son already from his previous relationship. He had a real gf for 13 years…! means he was not playboy. I started to fall deeply again n again. I think Im getting serious to him more n more… but he got not serious to me from time to time….. or being serious few times, next time not serious.. I feel he felt that this online relationship is maybe tiring, not so real, i can not hug her, i have a lot of things to do in real…. He ever said that he wanted to kiss n hug me a lot…

    SO I feel that IF only we met by offline, never by online… things wud be different maybe..
    But in online, he… could have chance to be manipulative n not to think serious about me…

    I seemed to be crazy to him.. upset a lot of suspicious. He said tired of that. He offered friendship last time after i told him what he said. DID not say anything about his words….
    BUT I refused and got mad a lot to him… NOW, he never talk to me anymore…. his ym seems never active although i checked through invisible website… messaged him a lot but never he replied….

    God, I would love to replace him with someone better that loves me n respect me eerywhere….
    full of affection to me, that I also love him n respect too. That we need each other. in You, GOD. I made mistake by agreeing to have sex even by online its wrong…. I will never give my honour to someone except my husband I married in church….

  • simpleandhappy

    I just found this great article and read all the comments with great interest. My situation is similar to many here — I’m a man married to a very uptight negative woman who eschews concepts like “in the moment” and “mindfulness” in favor of being judgmental, negative, and perfectionist.  It’s very draining on a day to day basis, but since we have two teenage children, I have remained in this situation for them.

    I used to wish that I had gotten out years ago, but now I see a greater wisdom behind all of this: I have grown so incredibly much as a result of dealing with her! I would not be the person I am now were it not for her as my tor-mentor. I’ve learned to remain calm regardless of conflict around me. I’ve learned to stand strong and be true to myself no matter what sort of reaction it will get. I’ve learned to look inside my heart for the happiness and love I seek and then expand it to include my children within its light. Had I left a long time ago, I would have not had such a perfect opportunity to evolve and probably would have ended up back in a similar situation.

    The truth is that I married her a long time ago when I was lost and very insecure. She offered me shelter and structure I needed. Since then, I have gone through a personal evolution, and in part it has been because of her. Frustration and loneliness caused me to look deep inside, and through mindfulness and metta meditations, I have healed in so many ways. I am now,  for the first time in my life, strong and confident and truly happy for no reason at all. It’s a real gift.

    Now that I think I’ve learned what I need to learn, the only challenge left is finding the strength to leave this relationship with the dignity and kindness necessary to minimize the impact on my children. What a mess divorce is! She will have do everything she can to make it miserable, but if I can respond by remaining centered and not losing my strength of heart, it will be a great example for my children and the best for me and her as well. She’s not a bad person, and I don’t want to hurt her, but it’s time to be kind to myself now and move on.

    On a related note, having gone through this transformation, I now look at the miserable people of this world in a different way. I feel they are here for a reason — to encourage those inclined to wake up to do so! In fact, I believe that is the reason the world is the way it is. Suffering begets evolved consciousness. Suffering is the ultimate reason to look inside and evolve. Not everyone evolves in this life, but everyone is part of the grand plan. Kind of makes this crazy world make sense, doesn’t it?

    Anyway, I just want to encourage anyone in this sort of situation to see if there is some inner work they should do as a result. Perhaps this person being in your life is a gift in disguise. Meditate on the feelings they bring up within you with true acceptance and compassion, learn the inner mysteries at play, evolve. Then, when you have grown all you can from the relationship, the ultimate test of strength is leaving with dignity and kindness. I’ll have to post back at some point to let you know if I made it myself :)

  • http://www.browneyedbell.blogspot.com/ Heather

    this article was so on point. thank you for sharing

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome!

  • Gfazil

    What do you say to a selfish partner when you do special little things for them such as, open the car door, have diner prepared when they come home etc, and when they say to you, well I don’t ask you to do this for me? How do you handle this without going off and telling them they are selfish, self centered, unappreciative person…

  • Angelapowiro

    i think i had that respond from my online bf…already broke up so long time ago but still remember him. He said,”Heh ? I dont ask this to you.” when I told him it was very tiring and disappointing that I waited him to come at the promised time…….

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    My question for you–why does your partner say “I didn’t ask you to do this for me”? Is it because you are commenting that you’ve done these things, and in doing so implying he should be doing more for you? 

    If that is the case, he may be feeling like you are using the kind things you do as a way to make him feel guilty for his own shortcomings. If you’d like him to do things for you that he does not do, it might help to communicate clearly what you want and would appreciate, as opposed to highlighting how you do little thoughtful things.

    I think ultimately, none of us want to feel scolded–like we should be doing something but we’re not. We want to feel appreciated–and when we feel that way, we tend to do more for the people in our lives. It all comes down to choice: we want to feel like we’re doing things because we want to, not because someone else thinks we should.

    I hope this helps a little!
    Lori

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SFUPN4UFH5L3K6X54Z2PC7RJJA Sam

    Through many hours of therapy and writing, writing, writing, I have discovered I am the negative partner. We moved back to “his neighborhood” when our 3rd child was 6 weeks old, 16 years ago. We live in a house that belonged to his parents, lived across the street from his parents (until they died a year or so ago), live across the street from his brother (who has lived in “the family home” since birth, down the block from his sister, in the same neighborhood as his cousins, aunts and uncles, and next door to his life long best friend.

    My husband has never stood up to his family for me or our children. I have recently discovered that all of the parenting ideals I thought we held were in fact, only my ideals. He has been working with “his family” to assimilate our children to “their” way of thinking since we moved here.

    Due to financial constraints (he started a business which didn’t take off for over 10 years, and we were living on credit cards and borrowed money) I have only 3 times been able to return to visit my family. I have no support here from my husband or his family, I am distanced by time and space with my family. I feel lost and very much alone. Now that he has “easy money” (his parents died, and left him (only him) a goodly amount of inheritance, he is spending a fortune on himself and the kids, further distancing them from me and my “penny-pinching ways.” I believed in a simple way of life, eating healthy foods and spending time together as a family. His family believes in carry out food, eating in front of the television, and drinking a lot of alcohol. He and I have no ability to communicate, at all.

    After 26 years, I am ready to call it quits. I want so much to have this be a positive statement – I believe in family over things. I want a household where my children talk to each other and me, we eat together, we spend time together. It won’t happen at this house, because “Dad says,” is always thrown in my face. He travels a lot, and when he is here, the tv is on and the house is a mess. When he’s gone, the tv is off and people take care of their own things. There is no middle ground. If we follow “my rules” when he’s here, they’re resentful and treat me poorly. If we follow “his rules,” I’m resentful.

    Every time I walk out the door to try to file for divorce, or even look for rental property, I feel like a pathetic soul who’s running away with her tail between her legs. I can no longer stand up for myself and the beliefs I have for my family, because he has such strength with his family and friends, and they all believe that they’re right and I’m wrong. I feel that everything good about our family is gone. With all of his family and friends here, I will be viewed as the bitch who “destroyed our family.”

    All of this rambling. I feel so lost and so alone. I am trying so hard to see things positively. He is so positive about everything, and of course he is! He’s got all kinds of support, he has money, he has property. He’s got all the answers, but never shares them with me.

    How on earth does one become positive about the choices in life? How can I move from being angry about giving up so much of my life, losing all control of everything, to being someone who knows what she is choosing is the right path (and I know it is, I know it is broken here and will never be fixed). How can I bring positive into my negative space?

  • Vincelljpeterson

    I luv this!!!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I’m so sorry you’re in pain Sam. I can understand why this situation would create conflict in you. It sounds like you know in your heart that this isn’t working for you, but you’re scared of making the “wrong” choice. The reality is that there is no right or wrong–there are just different options, both leading to an uncertain future.

    You mentioned you want to see things positively, and that’s great, but that doesn’t mean you can’t think critically and rationally about what works for you and what doesn’t. If you want to bring positive into your negative space, I suspect you’ll need to actively address the things in your life that you feel negative about. What does your gut tell you to do?

  • Emily

    Hey Lori. im 14 years old girl and My mother just got out of a 6 year marriage with a disrespectful man whle battling cancer and now shes free of it but shes now dating an old family friend she hasn’t seen for a while .hes a recovering achoholic and drug addict and is doing good but she is continuously having problems with him about spending time with her and bi-polar towards her one minute there all around plp and hes happy but then wants they get alone he starts complaining and being rude. my whole life ive always given my mom relationship advice but this has happened so many times i dont ever know what to tell her and i feel terrible bc i dont know what to do to help her. ive tried calling him out about it and try to confront him alone but everytime i try he gets pissed and grabs his keys and leaves the house. i dont know what else i can do to help her. can u give me any good advice or tips that might help me or her to get through to him?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Emily,

    I just saw your email. I am going to respond to you there!

    Lori

  • Emily

    i sent something back its a little long

  • Paul Clarke

    Hi Sam, that’s a real predicament that you are in. You keep saying that you are negative. I can’t see anything you’ve said as an example of you being negative. In fact I think you’re positive, because you can see that the current situation doesn’t work for you and you want to change that. Change takes strength and courage. Doing the same old, same old like your husband and his family does and their being fearful of change is what I consider negative. I think you know what needs to be done and have considered going ahead with it, moving out and divorce. The law is on your side. Find a good lawyer that specialises in family law and just go and talk to them. That’s what I did. They can tell you what options are available for you. Also, in a court of law, they will always award at least half and probably more to the wife, mother. So this money that he has, would actually become yours as a result of the court process, and he will have to pay maintenance each week to help you with the kids. Move out when he’s away next time for work, just to make it a little easier for youself.

  • Max

    Lori,

    I wonder if you can help me escape a cycle of awful misery and frustration I feel, and have felt for years over the way my sister in law is towards me. Ever since we met she has accused me of saying / having done things I did not do and reported back to her parents any angry words we had as a result of these accusations, creating problems with my husband’s family. To the outside world she seems quite normal, a little quiet and not very outgoing and nobody would think that she could act the way she does! At one time I thought we had overcome our differences and I tried hard to be a friend and include her in our lives as she had a difficult divorce. Then out of nowhere she accused me AGAIN of having done something ridiculous, creating a family rift again that went on for months. During this time she refused to admit that she was wrong and slandered me as a trouble – maker and listed times where I had apparently said one thing while clearly meaning another (am I being clear? making barbed comments at her to put her down while pretending to make innocent comments) when the occasions she was referring to had not been meant in any other way but innocent and in fact it was her paranoia. Also at this time she said that she had expected to be godmother to our new baby and I had deliberately excluded her of this to upset her (when in fact I have lots of friends and relatives who love me and who don’t think I am the devil incarnate, who would be much better suited to the role!)  In the end I apologised for ‘my part’ in things at the wishes of everybody else, expecting to get the same response back, but she didn’t ever say sorry and just asked that we move on – This leaves me impotent with rage because I actually didn’t have anything to apologise for! Her family always stick with her and it makes me feel so, so miserable and frustrated because I feel like no one believes me. Sometimes I get so frustrated and upset thinking about things she has said and done I just burst into tears, or I go over and over it again and again with my husband, causing arguments between us (he is actually very supportive as he knows what kind of a person she is). It has come to the point now where I tread on eggshells whenever we see her lest I be accused of anything else, and I still try and be friendly, though sometimes all I get in return is a blank straight face (then I kick myself for bothering to try and be nice!) But I never know what reception I’ll get so I don’t know how to act. I’m actually quite a jolly, happy person in general but she saps the energy and happiness out of me with just one look. It is not easy to avoid her because we all live nearby and our daughters go to school together. I feel like I am stuck with her in my life forever, with no end in sight, waiting and waiting for the next time she will be rude to me, or god forbid accuse me of doing something else. I don’t live near my own family so I don’t have them to fall back on, and although I have friends nearby, who know about the situation, they don’t really understand, and I feel completely alone in this. I almost feel like she’s bullied me into submission, by accusing me of being ‘the bully’.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Max,

    This definitely sounds like a tough situation, and I can understand how it would make you feel alone. Perhaps it would help to talk things out with her again. I know you mentioned you two seemed to work through your differences before. It’s a different time now–maybe you could try it again. I can’t guarantee this will cause her to change how she treats you, but it may give you some insight into how you can best respond to her. Since you can’t remove her from your life, your smartest choice might be figuring how to minimize the drama.

    Lori

  • Jeevan

    Hey Lori, this is a very insightful blog…Speaking from my own personal experience, if I may give you an advice on your friend…something you could do for this dear friend of yours is to let her know that getting some psychiatric help..particularly going to therapy will truly help her…!

  • Bgraceflutterbye

    Hello Lori!
    Thanks for the ways to deal with negative people. I have a friend who is consistently negative. The calls I receive from her are when she’s having problems and that’s it. I feel as though she breezes in leaves her baggage and the breezes back out with feelings better. After noticing this trend with our friendship, over the last 17 years, (it started out completely different) I am at a loss on how her baggage effects my daily life. I feel drained for weeks at a time, i use to be stronger at handling others negativity but for the past few years my positive, optimistic self is angry. And that’s what I feel most of the time, is there such a things as transference? I would love to be rid of her negative feelings but somehow she placed them in my place. Not dealing well with it at all, I need a time out! Hehe.
    Any advice? 

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi there,

    I know the feeling you described very well. With my friend who often calls with problems, I’ve tried to be more proactive in creating positive encounters. When she starts talking about everything that’s wrong, I do my best to show support and offer advice only if she asks for it. Then after I’ve done that, I change the subject to something I suspect she’ll enjoy talking about (like a show we both like, or the wedding dress she just bought).

    I hope that in this way, I am creating a new pattern for our friendship, so that it’s more balanced. I really think it all comes down to boundaries–knowing and marking the line between being a friend and being a receptacle for constant baggage dumping!

    Lori

  • Crystal

    We know “right” and “wrong” are subjective. What’s right and acceptable for you may not be for me. We know there are a multitude of cultural and moral differences among us and for the most part, we appreciate our human diversities for affording us each an individual expression of what life is according to our definitions.

    That said, there are certain codes most of us hold true and can agree with in most civilized societies, including some primitive ones. Examples of this might include “do onto others as you would have done onto you.” This idea might be responsible for the sense of duty we might feel towards those who may be less fortunate than us. We want to help, no? We give to charities, we donate our time and resources to help others find opportunities, we sacrifice for strangers, friends and family members in need and we do it with one thought in mind…”that could be me in need of assistance.” Because we are empathetic, we put ourselves in their shoes.

    Many of us understand the importance of having goals, proactive planning and execution of plans especially in the face of adversity. We understand the need to focus and make sound choices on how we spend our time and energy. Those of us with children realize the immediate impacts our choices will have on innocent members of our families. We are considerate of others in our day to day actions and make every effort not to be a burden on those we care about.

    What happens when we find ourselves repeatedly helping a loved one through a tough time, and eventually realize we might have to accept that this “tough time” is simply their perpetual way of life? It becomes increasingly harder to empathize with them because that is not our way of life.

    It becomes clear in observing their behaviors, attitudes and choices exactly why they are where they are.

    After considerable sacrifice and extended efforts on their behalf which prove fruitful only to the extent that we remain directly involved, do we accept permanent and personal responsibility for this person’s life out of sheer love and duty?

    When is it okay to allow them to reckon with the negative consequences of their poor choices without feeling a degree of guilt for not rescuing them from themselves?

    This can prove to be a critical dilemma for those of us who have been taught to be our “brother’s keeper”. If we are to remain true to our upbringing and spiritual sense of responsibility, how do we reconcile with the side of us that knows there are others in our household who are immediately affected by our decision to support the irresponsible family member?

    Is it selfish to expect that this person do the bare minimum to reduce the inconvenience their presence in the household presents to the family?

    Is it unrealistic and therefore foolishly idealistic to have any expectations at all from the family member you are sacrificing harmony to assist simply because they have never demonstrated the ability to be self-sufficient?

    It would appear that if a person who is reaping the benefits of your assistance indefinitely while routinely being inconsiderate, argumentative and ungrateful in their actions they are taking advantage of your good nature, no?

    If this person can not be trusted to be truthful or at the very least follow through with pre-conditions they agreed to, when is it morally acceptable to give up and make them leave your home when you know they will end up in a bad way? When your experience with this person’s combative nature tells you that if you continue to allow them to stay, your family will continue to suffer, which makes you a part of the problem as the “enabler”? When you suddenly find yourself struggling to make ends meet and get to the point where you might need assistance yourself, while this person works, lives rent and bill free for over a year and neither contributes nor saves money to get on their feet?

    How do you reconcile the feeling of responsibility towards this family member with the feeling your sacrifices and family are being disrespected and abused?

    What is the right thing to do?

    How do you eliminate the guilt that inevitably follows when you have to ask this person to leave your home after giving them free shelter for longer than you expected with nothing but disrespect and dishonesty in return, knowing their tendency to be self-destructive yet prideful in refusing any external help other than yours?

    The answer seems simple, but it is easier said than done.

  • Iyernagaraj

    well, whilde doing research on buddhism I was fortunate to come to this site…very informative quotes and yes inspiring….

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Welcome! It’s a pleasure to e-meet you. =)

  • Anonymous

    Try following this advice when that type of person you’re calling on the telephone is an immediate family member, or other loved one.  Yes, you love them, but at a certain point their inability to change or correct their dysfunctional views can absolutely exhaust you, and pull you and your health down into their negative vortex.  When it’s a close person like that, especially if you are an adult child dealing with an emotionally difficult parent, others can walk away from the phonecall, or at the end of the day–you yourself, however, cannot always do that. 

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  • Rtree

    I have a question for you regarding mentally ill people. This is not so much about a person I know, it is someone I have watched videos of online. This person is deeply hurt, suffering and incredibly anger. Furious. 

    It really disturbed me to see such an angry person, even online. What should I do? I tried to feel their pain and cultivate compassion from it. I asked for happiness and the causes of happiness to enter their life, and I hoped for freedom from suffering and the causes of suffering for them.

    I don’t know what else to do. I’m not sure if i should contact them, or forget about it. 

    It’s very hard to forget. I have never seen so much anger. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/alyssaastewart Alyssa Stewart

    Reading this… I really wish people knew about this more… I got into a scuffle on an online community the other day for my negative thinking. Rather than these tactics. 
    They decided  it was best to deal with me in a loud and public way. They decided that it was best to drag my name through the mud, and make sure no one wanted to associate with me. Made sure that people thought that I deserved to be an an asylum just for thinking negatively. 

    In the end they approached me negatively (Or rather passive aggressively making them seem like the victim, when it is them who dragged my name through the mud). And they got a negative reaction out of me.

     Reading this, they claim they did it because they care. But I wish if they truly did; they read this and dealt with me this way. Things would have turned out differently. And a more positive change would have occurred.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alyssaastewart Alyssa Stewart

    This is pitiful. Youd rather allow them to continue their destructive path than help them to overcome it. You sound hurt. And like you’ve had your own fair share of this way to many times. 

    But still remember they’re still people. If you care for them as a person you’d help them overcome it. Not bad mouth them and people like this.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Rtree,

    I think it’s wonderful you care enough to want to help. When it comes to mental illness, the treatment can be tricky and multifaceted, but I’m sure it never hurts to read kind words from a stranger who cares.

    Much love,
    Lori

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I’m sorry to hear about what happened Alyssa! Being called out harshly and publicly is never fun. What you wrote about not harming people in the real world kind of hopped out at me–as I think of this blogging community as a huge part of my real world. Still, you bring up a great point–words can hurt, and we all have a responsibility to treat people kindly.

  • Chantell

    Hi Alyssa,

    It sounds like you’re very hurt by what was said.  One thing abotu writing online is that people writing and responding feel safer because the person reading cannot “do anything” to them if they don’t like what was said.

    I think that this is probably why you feel so safe sharing your negative feelings in this space.  However, it is also why they felt that they could share without tact (that they would have used in an in-person conversation) how they felt.  Because they were so mean to you, you felt more hurt and probably more apt to being negative in the future.

    It’s a good lesson, because if you were not worried about whatever they brought up to you, would you have been that hurt?  I don’t think so, but then I don’t know what they said in response to what you might have said before.

    I think that it’s helpful to remember that even though we might be sharing online, we are all real people with real feelings.  Look after yourself and treat yourself with the kindness that you would like to see from other people :)  I think it starts there. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/alyssaastewart Alyssa Stewart

    I think of that blogging community as a huge part of my real world as well. And the fact that they made such a public. “War” out of it (yes they used the word war, because it was a group of them against me).

    I find it hard to cope, to understand how to deal with the situation. To change. To even attempt to make a come back into that community.
    As even though they were the ones who felt victimized by my negativity.In the end, the brash public way they dealt with the situation. Left a scar that will take a very long time to heal on my heart. As well as how they negatively affected other’s opinion of me as well. Pft, If they were to read this they would berate me about playing the victim. But really. Who is the victim here?*pardon for the senseless babble.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I know this might sound like a difficult way to look at it, but could you possibly see this as a challenge and an opportunity? Maybe the challenge is to learn to respond in a positive way to something that clearly feels negative; and the opportunity is to learn and evolve through that process. When things like this happen to me (and I feel crushed and have no idea how to respond) it helps for me to think there’s some use in the experience for my long-term growth and happiness.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alyssaastewart Alyssa Stewart

    Its definitely a start thank you!.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. =)

  • Guest

    Sometimes the negative people are in a bad situation that they feel helpless to do anything about, and are seeking to relieve themselves by ranting, but don’t stop to think they’re draining everyone elses energy in doing so when they should be conserving their efforts for focusing on changing their circumstances for the better in anyway possible.

    This tends to be a common transitional period for people in their twenties, who have to adjust from the cushy world of childhood into adult accountability.  

    I am (hopefully) in the process of doing this myself.  I had a horrible boss, and for a year and a half, I was so miserable, I just would complain and complain to everyone I must have spoke to.  I didn’t realize it, but I must have seemed like the most negative, burdensome person to the ones who didn’t know me well, and even the ones that did must have really had their patience tested.  

    I didn’t even stop to think that my constant complaining must really have been boring conversation, and depressing.  But I eventually left my boss, improved my life, and like to think I am more considerate to other peoples needs, whether or not I’m in a bad period, and have become a better listener.

    A lot of my other friends, also in their twenties are, surprise surprise, coming in or out of harsh periods as well.  This is growing up, and it’s especially hard in our economy.

    Most people are not negative because of who they basically are, but because of negative situations they’ve fallen into and dont’ know how to deal with. They just need to develop better coping strategies and are capable of being good friends who can really add something to your life, if you you just work to establish boundaries within the friendship and not become somebody’s enabler.  This is in the end what’s best for both of you.

    If you can manage to hold on through the terrible twenties, most of your old friends will be worthwhile people you will be glad to know for life, just make sure you never stop yourself or them from changing and growing for the better.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brittanybhanes Brittany Hanes

    i feel the same  way i have been married for 21 years to a abusive husband,
    i have so much negative in my life now i found someone that i like i have given him nagative everthing my husband has alot of nagative what do i do i dont want my marriage anymore, cause i want to be happy plus i want this person to be in my life 
    so what do  do i want postive in my life i feel for u i do undertsand what u are going threw its not easy at all marie

  • Annasul60

    Hiya, I too am hurt. A friend whom I shared 2 years of supporting emotionally through her break-up, turned into someone completely different when the tables were turned. That is to say, my Ex-partner decided to end our 19 years relationship, leaving me bewildered. My thoughts were confused, my emotions in turmoil, yet where was this friend when I needed her. She offered me 5 minutes of her time, yet at the same occasion delivered more negativities of her life at me. I am grateful for 5 minutes of her time, and to sit listening endlessly to her problems. Until one day, not long after meeting someone this friend ‘unfriended’ me on facebook. There wasn’t an option to message her. I decided to delete her phone number and leave any questions regarding why. The only explanation I can think of is, she’d lived through 2 painful years of her break-up has found happiness, and when a friend life me, happens to be going through similar, the pain is too great, or all too familiar to rake up. That’s how I accept this friendship can no longer progress from her prospective. Never mind. I have commitments I adhere to. I like certain aspects of life, my children, job and hobbies. I’m trundling along nicely.

  • CreateCheerNotFear

    Wow…I loved the article but simply cannot believe the negativity that followed in the comment section. Did everyone else forget to read the advice??? Buying into another’s demeanor & perpetuating it vs. warding it off positively only feeds into the cycle of Karma… wishing everyone here some peace. It REALLY is as easy as turning on a light switch!

  • Deliamtorrez

    Does that include smashing a door up. Honestly it can be frightning
    Where is the justification in that?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I don’t think there is any justification in that. Being compassionate for someone’s negativity doesn’t have to mean condoning violent or aggressive behavior!

  • Guest

    This is a great article. I have a family member stuck in a bad situation and I can understand she must feel trapped. She is currently living in an environment she doesn’t like and doesn’t have the opportunity to leave just yet, so she just has to wait it out. I get emails from her every other day, but they are so depressing and to me they are about small things that she shouldn’t let get to her. I know she is just venting, but I feel like she has never been happy and no matter what situation she is in, she still won’t find it. I am at a loss as what to say to her. I have slowly put a barrier up between us over the years, and have tried to ignore it, but its really sad because she is family and I still want to have a good relationship with her. I don’t know what to say to her, and I am kind of sick of the complaining and negativity. I am on my own path of trying to feel content, happy and to lead a simple life. She has her own great concepts of leading a simple life, but at the same time her opinions of others around her are rude and un-accepting. How can she be so judgementa? I find it so hard to see her point of view. How can I help her and how can I let it now get to me?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi there,

    I empathize you with you because I have a family member in the same type of situation. And I always want to help her, but every time I realize I can’t. It’s partly because she isn’t willing to help herself (I’m not sure if that’s the case with your family member).

    Maybe the key is to stop trying to help her and just be there for her as best you can–but also set boundaries for yourself. It’s more easily said than done, but for me, this means listening, offering my love and support, and then disconnecting when it’s becoming too much. People generally only change their situations when they feel intrinsically motivated to do it–meaning sometimes the best we can do is be there when we can, and walk away when that’s what we need to do for us.

    I hope this helps a little!

    Lori

  • chris

    hi lori, i am one of these people who create negative atmospheir iv only noticed i v been doin it this year and since then it just seems to be getting worse by the day iv been tryin to sort it out but the more i try the more i put myself down iv had enough iv been so derpessed over this i wanted to do serius self harm. i really want to change but have absalutly no i dear how im at the witts end with myself so pleease give some advice

  • HMU

    Hi Lori. I am a middle schooler and my friends and I are always fighting- saying mean things to me and I seem to be the one who they always blame. Basically, me and my friends are divided. There are a group of negative, mean girls and a group of nice girls who are the complete opposite. We all were so close in elementary school and now, it’s different. A lot of drama has been happening and we all went to the counselors many times and after that, we were friends again. But after a few weeks or days, drama strucks again.

    So recently, my friend- who is in the mean group was rejected by a boy and she reached out to me and she kept calling herself ugly and all that and I told her that she’s beautiful but she never believes me and she’s just down on herself with negative self-esteem and has no confidence. So altogether, I told her to forget about him, even though she really likes him. The next day, she was avoiding me and whenever she’s mad at me, she always takes my friends away and tells them HER side of the story and they take her side.

    The next day, which was a weekend, I told her that I’m sorry for what I did and she just didn’t forgive me. Then she told me that she’s not only mad at me for that. She also told me that she heard from a girl that I was talking about my friends behind their backs. So, I called the girl who told her that and she said that she never told her that. So I told my friend that I never said anything behind their backs and she totally didn’t believe me. She started saying go to hell and to stay away from her friends, which was my friends too and she said that the games have begun. And by that she meant, fighting and I’m not that kind of person.

    I am really thinking of going to the counselors and to tell her everything. But what really hurts was when she said to stay away from her and her friends. They were MY friends too. What should I do? Should I stay away from my friends or still be their friends? The fact that she’s saying to stay away from them really hurts my feelings and I still want my friends but I’m afraid she’s going to fight me. What should I do?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Chris,

    It seems like this has been causing you a lot of pain, and my heart really goes out to you! I’ve gone through times in my life when I’ve been more negative than others, and I felt a lot of guilt and shame about it.

    I’m concerned that you’re thinking about harming yourself. Have you told this to someone you trust? There is a difference between being negative and being in crisis. If you are feeling that down on yourself, I think it’s less about simply being more positive, and more about getting the help you need.

    Have you considered talking to a therapist? I spent many years in therapy when I was younger, and I think it’s a big part of what saved me. I may have done some serious harm to myself if not for that outlet to explore my fears and feelings.

    Please know that you’re not a bad person, and there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re just going through a tough time, and you deserve love, compassion, and understanding–whether you seem negative or not!

    Much love,
    Lori

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Hmu,

    I’m sorry to hear about what you’re going through. I went through a lot of similar drama when your age, so I absolutely know what this is like.

    You mentioned that some of your friends are “mean girls” and others are nicer. Is it possible to spend time with the nice girls, and distance yourself from the mean ones? Anyone who treats you badly and tries to turn people against you is not your friend. The girls who truly are your friends won’t let this one girl convince them to turn on you.

    I think going to the counselor’s office wouldn’t be a bad idea. It might really help you to talk about this out loud, to an unbiased adult who can give you advice.

    In answer to your main question: My advice is to not let this one girl scare you away from your friends. Unless they tell you they don’t want to be friends with you, there’s no good reason why should abandon them just because she told you to.

    If she has a problem with that, I would tell her clearly, “We don’t need to be friends, but you don’t get to choose who else I spend time with.” I know it’s likely easier said than done, but the bottom line is you don’t deserve to be treated this way–and your true friends will agree and stand by you.

    I hope this helps! If you’d like to email me, you can reach me at email(AT)tinybuddha(DOT)com.
    Lori

  • Tajco

    I’m a negative person. Lol.
    :]

  • HMU

    Thanks, Lori.. You’re advice helped me alot and now her and I aren’t friends anymore and also her other friends. But I’m still really good friends with the nice girls. I went to the counselors and we talked it out and I feel better now and that a weight has been lifted off my chest. Thanks Lori (:

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. I’m so glad my advice helped! =)

  • Trudywhitehouse

    i agree totaly with that ! keep posertive no matter what you have to face! and smile when you dont lways feal like it.. And most of the time you will get posertive back. you cant change a person so dont try .. only they can change them salfes from with in :-) smile miles makes the world a better place to live in !

  • Mike M

    Hi Lori,

    I am going through a very rough time with my girlfriend of almost 6 years. We have had many up’s and down’s within the past year I would say. My issue, is that I am the mediator in the relationship. Any time things start to get rocky, I am the one to step in, and wants to sit down and talk about the situation, where she just wants to give up and run away.

    Without saying it out loud, she has made it very clear that I am only supposed to take her feelings into consideration, and she rarely if ever, asks me how I am feeling, and when I do come to her with an issuer that I may have, she often gets angry, says it’s not a good time and to use more “common sense” because she is not in the proper mind frame. The alternate scenario to this is that she will listen to what I have to say, but will continue the same disrespectful, disregarding behavior as though I never even said anything to her.

    She works full time, is in school full time, holds a leadership position in a sorority, and also works on the weekends. We do not have much time to spend together now because of this, and she is just often stressed out, and does not know how to properly deal with her stress, and as a result of me trying to get her to listen, takes all that stress out on me.

    I have tried so many different approaches, and different times of approaching her, yet on a consistent basis, she puts me and our relationship on the back burner, treats, and talks to me disrespectfully, and devalues my feelings, and tries to put every problem on our relationship on me, yet is unwilling to recognize her own flaws, and does not openly say she has things she needs to improve. The things she has noted she had to improve upon, she either hasn’t changed, or they change for a short period of time and then revert back to how they were.

    I am just so drained from constantly having to be the mediator, trying to get compassion, affection, sexual attention, recognition, and respect from her. I do not think these are ridiculous things to ask for from a relationship, and I feel they are very important to maintain a healthy, stable relationship. She is just such a negative individual, and it is making me so unhappy. I love her and I care for her with all of my heart which is what stops me from leaving, and just hoping she will change. She says she loves and cares about me as well, which is hard to believe because her actions speak otherwise. I just want things to get better in the relationship, but I am also afraid to leave.

    I have tried to make some improvements of being more empathetic to her busy schedule, and to let some of the little issues I have go, in the hopes that she would start showing me some of the positive behavior and support I have been attempting to show her, but it only seems to have improved very little for myself, and it’s almost as though she thinks I am putting on an act instead of legitimately being sincere toward her stress, and her feelings. I’m am very sorry for such a long post, but I desperately need some help or constructive advice to hopefully improve my relationship, or what things I can try to do to make it improve. I do not want to throw 6 years away, but this is not the same person that I fell in love with. Please, help.

    Mike M
    Male: 24
    Milford, CT

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Mike,

    I really feel for your situation, because I know it’s hard to consider walking away after so much time together. But I am going to suggest that it’s something you might want to consider.

    For starters, you were very young when you started dating. A lot changes from 18-24 and beyond. If one of your main reasons to stay in the relationship is the time you’ve already been it, you’re potentially robbing yourself of the ability to one day enter a relationship with someone who is able to meet your needs, as they are now–and meet you where you are now at 24.

    It is not unrealistic to expect all of the things you’d like to get from a relationship. Respect, compassion, consideration, attention–these are all things you deserve. It’s admirable that you’ve tried to make changes within you to change the relationship. I think that’s something people don’t do often enough; we’re generally more apt to point a finger at someone else. Still, there are times when the other person simply isn’t giving back what is required to sustain a healthy, balanced, mutually supportive relationship. And nothing one person can do or change will change that–unless that other person truly wants to change.

    In short, I think you need to take some time, look within, and ask yourself some questions:

    1. Has she given you any signs that she understands your needs and is willing to work to meet them?

    2. If this relationship stayed the same for the next year, and the next five years, or maybe the next ten years, will you be glad you didn’t walk away just because of the history you had together?

    3. If you knew that walking away from her would allow you to meet someone who would treat you like you want to be treated–someone you would love like you never thought possible–would you be less afraid to walk away?

    I know it’s scary to leave something when you don’t know what’s ahead, but you do know what’s behind you–and only you know if that truly is something worth saving.

    I hope this helps!
    Lori

  • Tinaraffa

    Extremeley helpful and gives me hope. Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. =)

  • Anand_s53

    As I have experienced if you cannot change others you have to change yourself.feel free to go ahead…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/G7O5EGVZ4VDTJXAE6XC6ZV76VI Effy

    This article is so timely for me. My mother is a very negative person. Since my father died I have tried my best to make her happy, but I can’t. I may even be making things worse. She has always been negative and seems to enjoy her misery, why else would she continue to hang on to it so long. This article helped me realize It isn’t my job to make her happy, but hers. I doubt she ever will and will go to her grave as she is. I still call her, and visit and send her flowers, but I do cut our conversations shorter as they suck the life out of me and I can’t give to my own child anything afterward, as I am exhausted. I also have gotten help with William Glasser’s choice theory (he is Non-Freudian). No matter what our past–which we can’t change–we can determine our outlook on today and tomorrow. It is very empowering.

  • Kay

    This is truly helpful, thank you for the wonderful and peaceful advice.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome! =)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nikita-Foltz/100000709573952 Nikita Foltz

    Hi Lori – I’ve got this friend who I love dearly but is so negative! She’s the definition of Hater! Her way of thinking drives me crazy, she always thinks something bad is happening to someone or someones really a certain way than they act. For examples: We were sitting on my porch and a repair man pulled up to work on the electrical wires across the st. and she starts going on about oh he’s probable turning off your cable and I assure her I pay my bills and I know he isn’t here for that or he would of pulled up in front of the house and not the neighbors driveway and she just keeps going on about you don’t know that he’s not that’s how they turn it off blah blah -
    Also she learned I had a girl come to one of my parties that she doesn’t like, so in reaction she starts telling me the girls been talking shi*t about me and all this stuff and the truth is she only met her 3 times and doesn’t talk to anyone she knows but since she doesn’t like her automatically the girls talking behind my back!
    And this kind of behavior just irritates me so much that we always fight to the point we’r kicking each other out of our homes! We have completely different personalities and outlooks on life that it’s rare that we don’t argue when we’r hanging out! Some days I just wan’t to get her out of my life she’s bringing me down, always seems like she’s trying to make me feel bad and that life isn’t as good as I see it but then on the good days I have so much fun with her and we can talk for hours about nothing and that’s not something I have with a lot of friends. So what should I do? Should I just walk away from our friendship even though I kind of see her as my best friend. Or just try and change the subject when she goes on one of her ‘hating’ sprees? Or what? I’ve tried telling her that she’s extremely negative and that she use to be different but she just says she’s changed for the better and is a realist. Ugh! 

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Nikita,

    In reading the first part of your comment, I got the sense her behavior is unbearable to you, especially since you mentioned it’s rare that you don’t argue when you’re together. However, you later mentioned that you have a rare relationship that involves a lot of trust and fun. Which do you feel outweighs the other–the good or the bad?

    If it’s the former, then perhaps you can do as you suggested (steer her toward more positive conversations) and otherwise accept her as she is. If it’s the latter and the bad outweighs the good, you might want to start spending less time with her and more time with friends who don’t bring you down.

    I hope this helps!

    Lori

  • http://www.carlsbadvillageortho.com/ CarlsbadVillageOrthodontist

    I’ve recently had an episode with someone, and it was the first time that I was pretty much fist to fist in terms of the emotional leakage that occured. I think it went from neutral to worse because both of us were having a bad day, but it was just pretty horrible. I wish I can temper negativity, but I think I have to work with myself first before I can offer support for anyone else.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I hear that. I think we all get into those situations every now and then where our issues crash up against someone else’s. I know I’ve been there. Sometimes we just need to focus on our own needs and growth.

  • Megha

    I was very very disturbed and you post gave me food for thought and diverted my mind…thank you so much…for 5 mins atleast I felt better … Would you answer a question of mine please
    Its understandable that mothers in law are hypocrites, that they want
    their sons in law to pamper and love their daughters but when it comes
    to their daughters in law, they wont allow their sons to care for them.
    But what if your own husband is a hypocrite. The one for you doesnt want
    to do anything for you, doesnt dress welll for you, doesnt spend money
    for you but does for his family, his sister. Then what should one do?
    where should one go?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome Megha. It’s somewhat difficult for me to offer advice on this matter, because there’s so much I don’t know about your husband and your relationship. Have you spoken to him about this?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1342132126 Cidne Zollicoffer

    so true . 

  • Vivian

    There is a term in psychology called “anger replacement.” Someone you love always do this to you because they think you can take their pain away by being the “garbage can.” If you cannot take it anymore, sit down and talk to him that you know what he’s doing and you can’t take it anymore. Suggest to him to seek other type of “garbage can” such as sports, walking, reading a book to de-stress. It’s not fair for you to be the “garbage can” all the time. The best solution is to point out him everytime he’s doing this to you and simply telling him to stop it with a humor. And then you can decided to give him some positive energy or change subject.

  • Vivian

    One more thing: if this doesn’t work and he kept doing this to you. You can finally ask him: Are you going to love me or use me as anger replacement? I am not here to be used and abused. Try to get him to promise you that he won’t abuse you again. Clearly tell you if he abuse you again, it will be the highway. You deserve love, not abuse. If you two work it out and hopefully there will be just love and happiness!

  • Ashish_prajapati1990

    I have same situation.i. Love her and want to know she loves me or not.

  • Alex

    Hi Lori,

    I am a 17 year old teenager who have very negative parents and siblings, and it seems to be affecting my life as all they do is complain about me, whatever I do and say. I don’t have a good relationship with any of them, but I know even though I want to not acknowledge it I am always hoping that they treat me right and some day it’ll all be fine. Because I know this will not happen I feel like I’m chasing nothing and will end up getting even more hurt.
    I know this article even though it is very good does not seem to be helping me much,
    Piece of mind?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Alex,

    In what way does your family complain about you? Do you mean they push you to do and be more, as if you’re never good enough? Do they demean you? I guess I’m trying to understand exactly what you’re dealing with.

    There’s negative, and then there’s abusive–and there’s a big difference.

    We don’t always recognized when we’re being emotionally abused, but I’ve found this can be even more damaging then physical abuse because it’s persistent, and it goes right to the core of us and impacts how we feel about ourselves.Is there any adult in your life who you trust, who doesn’t talk negatively about you? It might help you to confide in that person so you aren’t alone with your feelings–and also so they can help you decide what might be the healthiest thing for you to do.One thing I want you to know is that you don’t deserve to be mistreated. If your family members aren’t willing to listen to your concerns and change how they treat you, then it might be a good idea to consider moving out when you’re of legal age. (Which luckily, is just next year.)I hope this helps!Lori

  • Alex

    Hello Lori ,
    Thank you for the reply.
    And you’ve asked some questions and I thought I should reply to them.

    Well they seem to find whatever I do not good enough and judge me. Give me strange looks and suspects that I do wrong things, never believe the things I say. They have already told me that I’m a huge waste of their time and I embarrass them.

    There is no adult whom I trust in my life, though I’ve spoken To my aunt who says That I’m sure does not believe me and thinks I’m over reacting.

    My only hope of getting out of here is to attend to a university abroad, for which I have already applied but I need to pass my oncoming exams really well and at this rate with the problems I’m facing I don’t seem to be concentrating on my studies and am pretty sure I’ll fail them which will in turn get me rejected from my university and have to end up repeating the whole process again or .. I haven’t planned out anything else other than repeating.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Alex,

    Do you have a guidance counselor at your school? I remember when I was high school, there were two different kinds of guidance counselors: one to discuss college plans with, and another who was there for emotional support.

    What I think would really help is to have an ongoing relationship with someone you trust who can advise you and offer their support. If there isn’t a guidance counselor at your school, that might even be a teacher or a close friend.

    It’s not a given you’ll fail your exams, but it might be if you carry the weight of these stresses alone. 

    I know this might be really tough, especially considering the negativity around you, but try to talk to yourself positively if you can. Instead of thinking, “I’ll probably fail my exams,” tell yourself, “I can do this. I am going to give it my all, and I have every chance of succeeding.”

    It might sound corny, but you’re more likely to do well if you start believing you can!

    I hope this helps a little.

    Lori

  • Lila

    I hear you.  I’m going through a very difficult time (probably separating from my husband) and my friend of 21 years, who I listen to ALL THE TIME, is completely ignoring the situation and ignoring me.  My only guess is that she’s so obsessed with her husband, she doesn’t want any of what I have to rub off on her.  It’s just strange.  It’s like we don’t know each other anymore.  Sad.

  • nani

    HI,
    My husband and I have a 33 year old university grad who we have been having an on going emotional battle since she was in her teens with us. She feels unloved by us and keeps saying we love her siblings more, nothing we do is ever right for her. She is our first born who was loved and wanted before I conceived her.She can twist some thing positive into some thing negative from us. She has never been able able to maintain a relationship for long. She had a African American boyfriend 14 years back who had beaten her up that I found out weeks back. He called me crying 14 years back saying ” She used me to cause you all annoyance because of my skin”. She has been beaten by her roommates in the past as well when she was in school. Now she is not talking to us because she wants to be a single Mom and asked us for an opinion. Thinking she wanted to hear the truth I gave her our opinion that  ” no child should be deprived of not knowing his or her father.” I love my daughter and I understand she wants a baby to fill her life. I have no problem with this at all but if she keeps stop talking to us, accusing of never loving her and has an art in misrepresentations and is accusing of being bad parents and that she ” sick and tired of Parenting us”. Parenting us ? We sent her to best of school and she has traveled the world by the time she was 19. It makes us feel very sad because regardless what we do for her  she is unhappy with us and her family. Now she won’t talk to us because she wants a baby and because when I said 14 years later. I did not think her boy friend and she would have worked out was obvious. (We actually liked him and I felt he did love her) I have told her if she has a baby or not we will still love her and her child but I may not be around to help as I am sick and don’t know the future. I will love her no matter what. I am sadden the medical industry does not look into the emotional needs of women wanting to get pregnant with out a man. We are not chicken. Does any one ever think about the long term effect on mother and child? Or is the gravy bowl to deep for Shrinks to keep on giving wrong message with out seeing the bigger picture. My daughter and several members of the family suffer from depression. Some members address the issue wisely and some don’t but they don’t cut the other member out like my daughter is doing. I can only love her until i am gone.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Nani,

    My heart goes out to both you and your daughter. I’ve struggled with depression before, and I remember that sense of despondency and emptiness. I’ve also had family members with their own emotional challenges, so I know that feeling of frustration and helplessness.

    Has your daughter gotten treatment for her depression? Has she ever seen a therapist before? Especially, if she’s been abused in the past (by her ex-boyfriend and her old roommate) she’d likely benefit from professional help. I imagine she’s carrying around a lot of pain and anger. 

    You are both in my thoughts!

    Lori

  • julie

    thank you for expressing in a few words what it took me 26 years to understand about my relationship with my mother. I truly love my mother and she has made so much and has suffered so much for me; but in 26 years I was a spectator in my own life; how do I escape the guilt of not being able to give back what she gave to me ? I feel powerless because she never let me feel in charge of myself never mind others…. 

  • tina

    Over the years my mother has got worse. She used to be so lovely and supportive and as time has gone on she can just be a complete diva who spits out the most venomous comments. I remember when my husband left me as he was having an affair I went back home to the safety of my parents. One morning my mother flipped and told me to get out so I went back home (only a few miles away) to an empty house being heavily pregnant with my 2 3/4 yr old son and feeling devastated about my marriage. She did apologise but things have happened since then like her telling me (in front of my children how to deal with them, completely undermining me in front of them).

    Sadly my beloved Dad passed away last year. My parents met when they were very young so obviously my mother has been very badly hot by this. She goes on like they had this idilliac relationship but latterly my Dad used to complain about her controlling behaviour, how of she didn’t get her own way she would have a strop etc. he was mauled to death by her. I know how my Dad felt about me and her and sometime when she spits at me…your dad would be disgusted at the way you treat me, I feel like telling her the way he felt but know she would go ballistic.

    She found out just after Christmas that she had a tumour in her bladder which was devastating when we’ve recently lost my Dad. She’s been very apprehensive about it all and keeps saying she wishes that she was dead which is lovely to hear when you have just lost your Dad. She recently had surgery to get her bladder removed And it was a huge operation. She was in hospital for two weeks and it was a rocky journey with sickness and pain but last week I collected her and brought her home. I must add I went into see her everyday after being at work for eight hours, looking after my two children and either dropping them with a friend when my mother was very poorly or picking them up feeding them and ensuring they were ok. It was very tiring and on top of this I had my mothers elderly dog which was waking up around 530am every morning. I was getting exhausted.

    Obviously she is out of hospital and at home on her own and is dealing with sorting her stoma and placing the bag correctly which is stressful on your own but I have been running around getting errands and food she fancies.

    Yesterday I went to a local pub who gave sold us some Sunday lunches to take away.i got to my mothers house and attempted to warm some gravy and spilt it. she nearly went made and I said for gods sake in the scheme of things and she spat out was I due to have the time of the month and that she knew I was resentful that I’d had to look after her and she said I was ungrateful (as she given me some money) I said look I don’t want your money, then she called me a stupid bitch and that my Dad would’ve been disgusted at me So I walked out after saying that will be the last time you call me a bitch. I feel so upset but she is a,ways having little digs at me. She feels sorry for herself but really apart from this she’s had a great life.

    I know she’s I’ll and I’m the only one to help her as my brother lives in Africa but she’s hurt me once too many times.

    What can I do?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Tina,

    First of all, I’m so sorry for your loss. I can only imagine how difficult it is to simultaneously grieve the loss of your father, contend with your mother’s condition, and raise your only family. It sounds like your mother’s overall attitude makes matters far worse.

    Have you explained to her how this all affects you, and how she could help make things easier for you? I’m sure she’s dealing with a lot mentally and emotionally, which may somewhat explain her difficult behavior. But perhaps if you had a candid conversation with her, she might see things a little differently.

    You are in my thoughts!

    Lori

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=503304523 Heather JM

    Hello,

    I have just started journeying down the path towards a peaceful, meaningful life and I have hit several road blocks in regards to difficult people. I have always had a difficult relationship with my Mother, though for the past 5 or 6 years it has been smoother and less rocky.
    Recently, on a visit back home, I spent what I thought was a quality afternoon with my Mother, talking about a range of topics (from her health, to my health, to schooling and our families) A nice, semi-personal series of conversations that I think a daughter and mother should be able to share (probably the first we have had in 10 years)
    However, after several days, I hear that my Mother has taken all of what I had said negatively… Though she had not (and has still not) confronted me, she told my sister (in tears) how I was being critical of her! I have gone over and over and over the conversations in my head, picking apart each word, and I cannot figure out where or how she took my concern for her health as criticism. I do not want to be the cause of pain or strain in my family!
    She has a history of being sensitive, and has over-reacted to many things people have said to her in the past… Which I fully understand, and which is why everyone in my family walks on egg shells around her… It makes all family events difficult, and all relationships strained.
    This issue makes every conversation a mine field of potential disaster…

    I guess my question is: Is it best to just not cross the mine field at all? AKA Not talk to her on any sort of personal level? I am not sure where to draw the line!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Heather,

    That’s a tough situation! It sounds like you had nothing but positive intent, but your mother was determined to feel criticized, since that is her pattern.

    Have you told your mother that you didn’t intend to be critical? Since you can’t control her interpretations, all you can do is express your intent and then allow her to internalize your words as she chooses to…

    I know it’s tough to swallow that, since you mean well and wish your mother would understand that. I hope your relationship with her becomes less rocky!

    Lori

  • Sara

    Hi. I know I am being selfish now but I really need advices to deal with my relationship with English teacher. I don’t like him, obviously. Because I think he is a hypocrite. He likes to gossip about everyone and then he tells the students to not gossip about others.! He also enjoys lying and then deny it with thousands of excuses. I just can’t stand his hypocrisy and I don’t even want to talk to him at all! But the problem is I have to face him everyday for 45 mins. I know I am not kind enough and is very stupid to punish myself with other people’ fault. But at this moment I just can’t get over it…
    Thanks

  • Abby

    Hello Ms. Deschene, I’m glad I’ve come across this entry! Everything you have written has helped me see that there are other people who know how it is to deal with being friends with a depressed person. I was beginning to believe there weren’t many out there.

    My friend is what I believe is in the bottom of depression, always saying that he is uncared for, no one can handle him, everyone hates him, hates life, hates himself, and everything about it, and even hates his friends! He also suffers from other mental illnesses which I believe are furthering his depression, yet is not being treated as of now. I am very displeased that he has not mentioned to his therapist just how messed up in the head he is. I know I shouldn’t say it in that manner, but I have to be honest. I don’t believe he can start healing until he gets a proper prescription of medication for all his mental issues. These mental issues aren’t those that you can see him display though, which lets him be able to keep quiet about them, which really sucks.

    Ever since I discovered he was depressed, I have been doing my best to be there for him, only to realize that he was draining me of my energy and bringing me down as well. I’ve talked to some counselors and they told me I had to take care of myself as well, which I’ve been doing lately. However, it is very hard to keep a healthy friendship with him. I honestly try my best to come up with topics of conversation in and outside of school, but it is incredibly difficult. I am a very shy person who has trouble dealing with social situations, they make me feel dizzy sometimes. I am trying to become a better person and to handle socializing, but it is difficult when he is there, not saying anything and making everything extremely awkward. Some of my other friends who are fairly close to him as well know he is depressed because I told them, but he does not know that. I only told them because it was killing me on the inside to hold what I knew in. My friends also have trouble talking when he is very depressed some days because they do not know what to do either. He has little communication with his family, even though I’ve had to call 911 a few times so that he could get help because he threatened to kill himself, and they haven’t changed at all even with those few incidents! What is wrong with their family?! They are incredibly nice, yet they have done nothing to support him further! Why?

    Honestly, in the past I’ve listened to him on the phone just go on and on about things such as dying, having no purpose in life, and just not feeling real. For a few years now I’ve been the one he lashes out verbally a lot of times. I don’t think I can do anymore now, can I? My friends and I are only teenagers for the love of Christ! How how are we suppose to know what to do?!

    Even though I believe I am doing my best to include him, despite how uncomfortable it gets because I leave my area of comfort at times, he still feels horrible and hates everyone day by day. It seems to just get worse and worse. I wish to stay friends with him, but how can I do that when everything I believe I am doing correctly isn’t working? When his own family doesn’t seem to get that he needs SERIOUS help?
     I don’t want it so that he is just a few of those helpless cases that end in suicide, but it seems like that is where it is heading.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    First of all, I think it’s wonderful you’ve been such a good friend to him. Although he may not be in the place to recognize it, he’s fortunate to have you looking out for him.

    Considering the fact that he sounds suicidal, I don’t feel qualified to offer you guidance. What I would suggest is calling a suicide hotline and asking a qualified professional what they recommend. http://suicidehotlines.com/

    This way, you can get some insight as to how you can best help him.

    My personal perspective, however, is that you deserve to put yourself first. There is only so much you can do for someone else. At the end of the day, you need to take care of your own needs!

    That may mean setting boundaries with him so that you don’t feel so frequently pulled into his depression. That doesn’t mean you can’t be there for him and help him. It just means you also take care of yourself.

    I hope this helps!

    Lori

  • Running My Own Race

    I wish your article would have touched on the fact that sometimes it is healthier to just walk away from the relationship. In not every case will somone opt for that path, however, in some cases that is the healthiest solution. While I agree with the majority of your tips I think it would have been beneficial to include that sometimes you just need to separate yourself from certain relationships. Some are beyond repair. Some are mentally and draining enough they begin to impact your health.

  • Mimi

    Hi, I found this post very interesting. I stumbled upon it as I am trying to figure out how to deal with a severely depressed, very negative friend. She is the sweetest person in the world but she is never happy and very dark and suicidal at times. I listen, give pep talks, try to understand. When I get low, I keep it to myself. I withdraw. With her, she likes to share and often. I try not to let my mood affect others’ moods – a lesson I learned in recent years. Lately, I’ve felt a bit drained, like I need a break. I feel guilty because you always here the good old “that’s what friends are for” spill. And she gets made when people comment about her negativity or oversharing. She will throw it out, “I’m sorry but isn’t that what friends are for?” But where are the boundaries? I’m not a therapist. I feel like friendship should be give and take. I think it should be fun, too! Where are the fun times? I guess I wouldn’t mind the lows as much if there were some highs to balance it out. Sometimes I have to give myself my own mental break. So, for example, yesterday when she sent me a couple of texts (going in a negative, sarcastic, complaining direction) I reponded in brief and ignored the texts, refusing to give her space . . . refusing to feed into it. That’s what she wanted. Me to open the flood gates. I refused. Does that make me a bad friend? I just need a break sometimes. Every day is just a bit too much to digest such negativity. I’m pessimistic myself and have been very negative in the past. I am making a concerted effort to change my attitude toward life but sometimes I find that difficult when being confronted with such negativity on a daily basis. I want to change the energy around me. Again this may make me a bad friend. But I don’t think taking a day or two off (from every day correspondance) is so bad. I feel like I need to enter therapy just to be her friend.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    It sounds like you have a good sense of what you need to do for you. I personally don’t think setting boundaries makes you a bad friend. It just means you  understand what it means to take care of yourself.

    I think you bring up a great point about balance. If a relationship is all about one person holding the other up, it’s bound to lead to resentment. It’s wonderful you’re making a concerted effort to change your attitude. Perhaps if you tell your friend, and explain which things you’re going to try to minimize (complaining, dwelling, etc) this will inspire her to do the same!

  • LNinan

    I completely agree. In my life, I feel like people have stayed, and I have stayed, with intentions that one of us would grow or change into what the other expected. Sometimes it is best to just get out of the way and let the miracle happen. I’m very grateful for everyone who has come into my life, but equally grateful that some have moved on.

  • Darcy

    I’m so glad I read this! My daughter is 28 years old and has a 9 month old daughter, they both live with my husband and I. My issue with her is she is always so angry and negative and my husband and I are both positive people. It is soo emotionally draining living with an angry person! There is such ap bad vibe in my house and I can’t get rid of it. I can’t tell my daughter to leave (I wish I could) because of the baby…she has no job. hELP!!!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Darcy,

    Has your daughter ever opened up to you about why she is so angry? I’m assuming the father of her baby isn’t around, and that might have something to do with it (along with the the fact that she has no job…and maybe there’s also some postpartum depression going on too). Perhaps you could start a conversation with her, asking if there’s any way you can help That way, you may be able to help her address the underlying cause of her feelings.

    I hope this helps!
    Lori

  • Sweet Sonna

    Hiii…i have a problem here…i hope u guys can help me..
    Im an eighteen year old…nd my mother stresses me out a lot…she is nt at ol happy with the way my father has been since their marriage and has faced a lot of difficylties..she has tld me everythn nd i dnt knw what has happened to me…i stress out ery easily. .Have no self esteem nd a hv become very negative…i whenevr my mother tells me smthn bad abt my father. .I get angry nd outraged nd den after sometime…i start crying…wat shld i di?…i cnt taje this nymre…i love my mother bt i cnnt help her this way..wat should i do?

  • LoriDeschene

    Hi there,

    I can understand why this would be stressful. It’s never easy to be in the middle this way, and I’m sure it’s even more difficult when you feel you have to choose sides with your parents. I know this might seem like an obvious question, but have you told your mother how all of this makes you feel? Perhaps she doesn’t understand the impact all this has on you. Maybe if you explained to her how this is affecting you she will make an effort to stop putting you in this position.

    Lori

  • POO

    HOW CAN I EAT POO ? WHEN I LOVE IT?

  • A negative dude

    There is however, people that are by default born like this.  We don’t feel happiness or love or rather cannot, the way it was meant to be enjoyed.  Trying to help people like us won’t and doesn’t work.  It’s a neurological disorder from the time when we were conceived in the womb.  It’s not just we think negative, we’re wired this way.  The medications actually will make us far worse to deal with than you can imagine.  The best thing you can do is stay out of our way and leave us be.  

    The way I see this blog post is, yes, it’s positive but for the most part many people can’t or won’t follow it to a tee because they are afraid of change, they want to get the other person help instead of fixing their own damn problems (mental constructs / set).  Perhaps those people too have neurological problems that can’t be worked out by a shrink or counselor.

    I’ve tried to fix myself / get help in this regard and once I found out it’s neurological wiring, there’s nothing I can do, so I just warn people to stay away.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Your comment made me so sad, because it sounds like you’ve given up on yourself. I’m curious what diagnosis you’ve received. The reason I ask is that I was told that *I* had faulty wiring when I was 17. I was given a diagnosis that I carried for years, and I was over-medicated for a long time. I stopped taking medication about 6 years back, and though I am still an emotional person, I have coping skills that help me experience love and joy as I never thought I could.

    So I guess my question for you is: Are you sure it’s neurological wiring? I’m not saying it’s not–psychiatric conditions are real. But I do know the industry over-diagnoses, because that’s what sells medication. I think what’s sad about it is that a lot of people write themselves off, assuming there’s nothing they can do, when for many, there is. They just don’t realize it.

  • gio

    I couldn’t agree more with Helena. I find it almost offensive this notion that friends are expendible only because they are not happy, chirpy, positive folks living charmed lives ALL the time. And, no, everything isn’t about ‘US’, many moments like these are about ‘THEM’.
    Seems we Have become a society of me, me, and only me. What am ‘I’ getting out of this relationship? What is it doing to ‘me’. ‘Negatvie nellie’ is bring me down, gotta cut her loose. Think about it, what if we treated our marriages like this?
    So glad I have dear friendships, some of over 40 years, that have stood the test of time through the peaks, through the valleys – and to know they will always be there for me as I have been there for them – very much like my husband and I feel about each other – through good times and through bad.
    What a joy these loved ones have brought to my life!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Gio,

    I can understand your reaction here. Perhaps I did not clearly communicate what I intended to communicate. I believe we all have highs and lows, and we can be good friends to each other by recognizing and supporting that.

    However, there comes a time when we need to recognize when a relationship is unbalanced and limiting our ability to care for our own needs.

    There was a time when *I* was chronically negative and difficult, and I know it dramatically impacted the lives of everyone I loved because everything was all about me. I am grateful for the people who set boundaries and took care of their own needs, because that’s a big part of how I learned to do that for myself. It wasn’t always about judgment (though some people did judge me). Sometimes it was an act of love.

    Lori

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CKCBDOOICGARPY5FQMONEXQWCI Nealko

    I’m on halfway finishing M. Scott Peck’s book, “People of the Lie.” There is 

  • Jod_jones

    I did a stupid thing I was afraid the I would not get information from a person and e-mailed them and of course I got exactly that response, I handed better after that and I e-mailed everyone that got the information that to let me know if the information was sent out I received the information from two people.  I was acting with fear and doubt and anger instead of trusting my Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist practice that we will get what we need, if we are doing our best to practice.  Please read the Lotus Sutra best English translation by Burton Watson

  • Militarymom1364

    I am in the same boat as you! Maybe we can go row ourself back to land that we got in the boat to begin with and start over :)

  • motherlove

    Your story is almost identical to mine – married for 18 years, each one more intolerable than the one before.  3 teenage children who had 2 disfunctional parents as role models – me because I valued myself so little that I allowed the emotional abuse and him because he was a bully and someone who never saw the wonderful family he really did have.

    I made the most difficult but liberating decision to leave him and i can honestly say I have never looked back and my children got to grow into wonderful beautiful adults in a calm peaceful and happy environment.  my life has changed so much now, I find it hard to believe that I was ever that downtrodden woman, afraid of my own shadow, always afraid to make decisions because I knew he would criticise them and make me feel stupid. 

    I’m not saying that leaving your husband will be the right decision for you – only you can make that choice.

    All I can tell you is that when I finally made my decision, It came down to these two points: 

    1, What sort of a role model do I want to be for my children? 

    I decided that I wanted my children to see a strong confident, loving and protective mother. 
    I realised that soon my children would be moving out into the big wide world and i so wanted them to have a few peaceful fun-filled years where they could have the space to rebuild their confidence and learn that life could be fun and that making mistakes was a normal part of life.

    2, Can/will my husband change and if he doesn’t how long am i willilng to be his victim?

    You get to decide how you are treated – every bully needs a victim, willing to be bullied, the day you make an absolute decision that you wont be his victim is the day that it stops.  it took me many years and much pain to learn that lesson.  But by the time I had learned it, I was no longer in love with him and I didn’t want him in my life any more.

    You deserve a happy, joyful life, either with your husband or without him, I believe that he is acting from a place of insecurity and fear otherwise he wouldnt need to control his nearest and dearest. He deserves your compassion but not your compliance with his behaviour. Life is short and precious and as Louise Hay would say – Your point of power is in the present.

    Trust yourself that you can make good decisions for yourself, I will pray that you recieve guidance and courage to follow the path that is right for you. I wish you all good things in your life.

  • Maci

    This is my first time commenting about my situation. Still trying to understand and deal with my mothers chioce to marry my ex boyfriend.

  • Maci

    I will explain more. My parents were married for 32 years. My mother ever since I can remember was very unhappy with my “father”. Our family was very disfunctional from the start. My mother got pregnant with me, my real father and her were sneaking around together during summer break when this happened. Come to find out he was getting married to his fiance soon afte his summer job ended. His fiance lived in another state and was waiting for him. Well my mother didn’t know about her until she broke the news about her being pregnant. She must have truly believed he was going to marry her for sure once she was expecting his child. Huh. . . Boy was she wrong. So nevertheless she quickly jumped in the sack with my “father” and they were married within a month. My “father” was head over heals in love with her till the day he passed away. It’s going on a year now. I wish my mother felt the same for him, but she only used him in every aspect possible. My mother was the most unhappy women I have ever know and still is. It’s been 10 years now since my mother divorced my “father” and shacked up with a old boyfriend of mine that I dated for around one year during college. No one knew what she was up to or why. She just up and left from one day to the next, which was not normal for her. Little did we know she had been waiting for my ex bfriend for five years now and was finally released out of prison!! Oh my gosh was this the most embarrassing situation I have lived through. So they eventually tied the knot and remain married to this day, soooooo unhappy the both of them. Sad to say. Also during the time she left my “father” that’s when we both found out the truth about me not being his real daughter and him not my real father. We lived in a small town and the people starting finding out about their break up well alot of other thing came out that needed to be. I was actually probably the last one in town to know about my dad, and I was crushed. So this is why it’s hard for me to understand how can a mother even think about being with her daughters ex boyfrien much less marry him? And still act as if it’s completly normal and exceptable when It’s not! Right? ? ?

  • Sammom4k

     I liked this post. I left a 27 year marriage just a few months ago. He hasn’t spoken to me for 7 months, based on a belief I committed a terrible act against him. He has embezzeled tens of thousands of dollars from our business, yet, he holds me in contempt. I have been miserable for a number of months, and felt unable to make a decision to make my life worthwhile.

    The role model I was providing my children was as of a door mat. He came and went without any sort of communication, he told our children they had to comply with “my” rules because I’m a bitch, and he purchases anything he desires.

    He has no intention of changing his ways. I have encouraged marriage counseling for years, with it always being shoved down my throat that if I wasn’t such a bitch, our life wouldn’t be so miserable.

    Life is a 2-way street. Maybe our lives as parents would be more productive if we were working together? Maybe I wouldn’t be so unhappy if we could communicate with each other?

    I took the plunge, filed for divorce, and he moved out. My children tell me he says I threw him out. I did not. He left. He took all of our money, and he moved “back home” into his parents’ house with his brother. (my husband is 52, his brother is 57).

    I can honestly say, despite the financial mess and the push for my children to hate me, that I have never been happier. I have honest, really big smiles, I have new friends who love me (my former friends have sided with him, and it’s like there was a guillotine from my married life to my new life.)

    My friends and I went to a dance recital last night. I saw photos, and I have a beautiful smile! I have not seen it since I was in high school, before we met and started dating. It is sad it took nearly 30 years to get my act together, but not nearly as sad as the thought of spending the next 30 years with someone who does not honor me.

    Best wishes to you all!

    Sam

  • Nickybe52

     why have you been married to a negative man for 18 years? do you not think that you have a problem, and not him?

  • Nickybe52

    instinct is not telling her to let go…. instinct is telling her to stay in this relationship, for another 18 years, because this (negative man) has probably put up with enough bull from her, to last him a life time…..and if this woman, is so unhappy……. well, there is a front door, (back door to walk out of)…. by the way, i’m a 41 year old English woman, thats been living with a Greek man, for the last 10 years…..he has negative moments, constantly…..and so do i……am sure, that this person, has just as much negativity as her husband has,, maybe more…….. question? what’s she going to do about it?….

  • Talagamapraveen

    do you know the place in the world where people visit to low down their stress and anger on somebody…
    its like the people visit the place and they throw stones, they do what ever they want, nobody stops them.. all this is because to low down their anger. Do you know what is that place and where it is..?

  • Noelleduverger

    My name is noelle, and I have become a truly negative person.I am in recovery from drug addiction and I am living with my mother who is a a narsasstic ‘blamer’. Although I realized she was taught this from her parentsn who are both deceased now, I find little solice and no compassion for the abuse I Have suffered. I know realize that feeding into her negativety, or trying to help or fix it only made it much worse. I have prayed and not found solice in drinking or drugging it away in awile, instead I pray, imagine myself protected by light and love,and DO NOT react. Reacting only gives my energy to the negative energy and it grows bigger. It is a constant struggle and I pray for an affordable place of my own. I finally realize I cannot change her or help her but can only help myself! I must always remind myself of this because it is easy to slip back into the circle of negativety, very easy! Thanx all for your postes. And know you have the power to make your life a happy one! If you desire peace you will find it!

  • http://fussy-budget.com/ Ribbons Undone

    Sometimes, I’ve found, that after years and years (we’re talking 10 or more) of being friends with negative people with them continuing to be negative, I have to take a look at myself and ask if I am being an enabler (something similar to what you said) and if it turns out that I am, I have to put some distance between myself and that person. Love them from more than arm’s length away. Some people are so toxic in their negativity that they infect everyone around them and the only thing you can do is walk away knowing that you did the best you could. Yes, I think we should try to help our friends who need/want help. I think we should be compassionate and kind. There are limits, however, to my ability to continue to buoy myself when bombarded with anger, negativity and complaints, not to mention trying to buoy another person. 

  • mindlessthinker

    I think you need to stop using “father” in quotes to describe the man who raised you.  It sounds like your mother was the problem, not him.  So why are you disrespecting him by refusing to admit he was your father?  Your real father is the one who raised you, not the one who impregnated your mother.  You have it backwards in your post.  I’m adopted, and I refer to my adoptive parents as my REAL parents.  There is no question about it.  My biological parents were simply that—biological.  But they were in no way, shape, or form my “real” parents.

  • Ellie

    Lori, thank you for putting this on line.  I am in pretty much the same spot as you are.  My friend is gloom and doom about EVERYTHING.  I have never known a person like her.  She gets angry with her husband becaus ehe doesn’t worry about the things she worries about, which is everything.  I had thought about getting some professional help for myself because I want to save this friendship.  She is a true friend, but it is not pleasant being in her company, and I find myself criticizing her for staying stuck in her negativeism. I find it very difficult to carry on a conversation with her because of it.  Your information has helped me a bit.  Thanks, again. 

  • Jim Theo

     you know, i used to be depressed, and that was because i didn’t take responsibility for the ‘thoughts that i keep’. more often, than not, stress, depression and anxiety arise merely from the thoughts that one chooses to keep. the trick for such a person is to a) observe how they use their mind b) become aware of their thoughts and how they affect ones mood c) change the way you use ‘thought’ and become MASTER (through letness, not the ‘controlling’ sort of mastery) of ones mind; in other words, not letting autonomous thought entities determine who you are, and identifying with the vessel of ‘self’ created by those thoughts. this is very hard to impart, however, to those who are wrapped up in this way of being, but i agree with you, nobody is ‘wired’ to be depressed, although i will say that i thoroughly believe that the parental units affect the embryo, womb, especially (obviously) the mother, the thoughts she keeps CAN affect the child in the womb, and especially the formative first year, the child is most certainly impressed with any sort of ‘depressive’ appraisal that a mother may exhibit. negative dude needs to assert that his mind is his own, or concede defeat to thoughts that are generating themselves (i liken worry, negativity to a ‘mental cancer’ that grows many ‘branches’ to keep itself alive). hope he finds help, i have proven, for myself, that ‘wrangling’ ones over 20 years, since i decided to take ownership of my mind and the thought it keeps. great blog, thanks, tiny buddha!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks for sharing your experiences Jim! You brought up some great points, about being mindful of your thoughts. I know my thoughts played a huge role in my depression and anxiety–especially since everything improves when I meditate and/or practice yoga regularly. 

    I’m glad you’ve been able to move beyond your depression! =)

  • Sammom4k

    I liked this one, Lori. I do take “issue” with this statement, however: Even if it seems unlikely someone will wake up one day and act differently we have to remember it is possible.

    Every day we tell ourselves we can change, we can make a better life for ourselves. If we truly believe it is unlikely for someone else to wake up and act differently, how can we believe it for ourselves?

    I had to cling to the hope that some day my life could improve. I’ve been horribly negative for a long, long time, and had to believe that some day, something could get better. I finally got the courage to get a divorce. My abusive husband moved out, and I started to see a glimmer of hope. I am left with three angry teenagers, who are stuck living in a house they don’t like, with a mother they hate, and a community which has rallied around my soon to be ex. He’s so nice to everyone else, and treats me with such contempt. It has been a draining 27 years with him. I complained to everyone. And, as a result, I have very few friends.

    I have changed. Every so often, I slip back into that I HATE MYSELF mode, but I remind myself that I don’t hate myself, things are difficult, but my psyche is so much better than it was even 6 months ago (when I wanted to die).

    I have new friends who like me for who I am, call me to come over, complain to me and trust me with their secrets.

    Please don’t give up hope that your negative friend can change. Sometimes that hope is all that is keeping the finger from pulling the trigger.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi there,

    I actually intended to convey the same idea–that it is always possible for someone to change; and that even if we lose faith in someone based on their continual behavior, at any time, they could do things differently. I certainly hope that for my negative friend–and I’m glad people hoped it for me when I was far more negative.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your divorce, but how wonderful you’ve found a sense of peace with yourself and connected with new people who value you for who you are. I appreciate that you shared your story here. =)

    Lori

  • Ebizrep

    I have a friend who sometimes gets difficult for a company, and at times I used to be desperate thinking all my time is wasted in his company. Yet I did realize that his company did something lastive positive effects to me. First, it helped me uncover my own ulterior motives; I wanted to be a big brother for him, the savior one. Of course it never worked out that way. Then as I had to question myself for why do i keep wasting my time with him? I found this;  That I actually love him, despite knowing that he cares little. It was my weakness for him that got me into hurt feelings.

    I changed my approach, and learned to rise above the reaction and instead get myself into an objective stature in his company. And I remembered in my past several years ago I had one dear friend of mine with whom it was this same issue of negative-positive relationship existed. Only, at that time the roles were reversed: I was the one playing negative with my friend being a (He is and shall remain so ever, only he now lives in a distant part of our world though sometimes we meet) a reservoire of positive energy. But even him couldn’t bring about a positive change in me a bit at that point of time.

    As after many years later on when i found that the table were turned upon me with my present friend. I then at some point underwent a revealation, and it helped bring an overall positive effect on me. Specifically, i learned to be quieter, less reactive, a bit more tolerant, and accepting people as they are, and not how I wanted to see them to be like.

    My friend has many positive traits about him, most are not cultivated to the fullest, but then I am more down-under when it comes to realizing the full potential, or developing any worthwhile skills. I find myself in no way better than him in any respect.

    But Its not about comparison. Ultimately It’s our companionship that matters to both, more or less.

    What lies behind me, and what lies ahead of me, are trivial matters compared to what lies within me.

    Today I got this email and I want to tell you about it here.
    Its from Stephen Dinan of The Shift Network.

    The subject line says: Jean Houston says “If you read only one book this year, this is it!”

    The book is called Cultivating Peace and here si a direct link: cultivatingpeacebook.com

    Do check it out for dear self and us, I plan to get it as soon as possible for me.

  • Guest

    Completely agree CreateCheerNotFear.  This is exactly what I was thinking, particularly about the poor woman considering whether or not to leave her marriage, a very difficult decision, particularly where children are involved, being basically told it is her fault for choosing/staying with a negative person. Your love for someone doesn’t go away because they are negative and your wish to keep your family together doesn’t either. And you allow things into your life because of what you’ve been exposed to/taught and because of your personality, values etc. not because you are weak or deficient in any way. She needs our compassion and support, not our judgement. 

  • acdeaton

    Wow, found this on Pinterest and love it.  I feel like the friend you describe is my mother and I feel your pain in wanting to help them in every single way.  But it is so draining.  While my mom is going on her rants, I used to try to remind her that she did wake up this morning.  But her reply would be “Yea, and it only got worse from that moment on.”

    For over a year now, I’ve asked my mom to go to lunch with me almost every Friday and Saturday.  But she has no motivation to do anything in life.  It is so hard accepting this person as my mother, but after years and years, I’ve finally realized that I have to.  I can’t let myself get upset or wrapped up into her misery.  Misery loves company, but there is way too much beauty in life to even spend a moment in it.

    Whenever she tries to surround me with negativity, I turn that energy into something positive.  I will say, ok I don’t want to be around this and I cannot make her happy; so I’m going to go do something that makes me happy.  

    If you have any loved one like this, try not to surround yourself with this negativity.  Life is way too precious and too short to think about any of it.  Remember, no matter how bad your day may seem, there is someone else out there fighting just to get one more day.  Keep your head up and always find a way to turn negativity into something positive!

    Thank you for the suggestions, the last one seems like the hardest one to swallow… :(

  • acdeaton

    It may seem pitiful on the outside, but when do you accept them for who they are after years of trying to help an individual.  You can only help people so much when they see nothing wrong with themselves.

    It has to be something that these people see as a problem with themselves.  My mom sees nothing wrong with herself other than how she’s had such a traumatic life. Yes, she’s gone through a couple of tough times and we were all right by her side.  But she is someone that does not take change and hardships easily.  That is how she is.  If something happens, she expects everyone to be by her side and comfort her until she’s ready to move on.

    I feel like the problem with her is people get tired of being dragged down and move on from her before she is ready for them too.

    Do I ask her every week if I can take her to lunch, help her with the garden, take her shopping, etc.?  Yes, and every week it’s the same answer.  But why I have I not stopped asking, because I would hate to see the one time I didn’t ask was the one time she would have said yes.

    Am I bad mouthing her, no.  I have been coming to terms with her depression as something that is bigger than her, me, and the family put together.  But their comes a point when she has to want to help herself.  When everyone has sat down and asked her just to talk to a doctor, she immediately shuts us off and wants everyone to turn on that person.

    It is a pitiful situation, but am I going to stop letting it bother me that my mom has not gone shopping with me in 10 years?  Am I going to be ok with her always rejecting my offer to do something for her?  My answer has to be yes in order to keep my own sanity and not get trapped into the negativity she wants to surround me with.

  • jennylynnlee

    Wow!  THANK YOU and thank you. I was searching for SOMEONE who understood tonight……I wish I knew you so we could talk more.  For the first time lately, I understand:  I am not alone.  I am ok.  It’s not ME.  Other people feel the same pain that I do.  And, last but not least, others have to step away…and it’s ok.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HGJBSO6JWHP7TFVL66DCMWOIKI Florencio

    The first word out of her mouth this morning was “I.”  That pretty much sums it all up in one word “I.”  “It” (whatever it is) is all about her first; screw everyone else.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HGJBSO6JWHP7TFVL66DCMWOIKI Florencio

    Wanting something a certain way (demanding) does not make a person a perfectionist unless the asker is incapable of performing said task.  I’m married to a woman who thinks that cleanliness in the kitchen is not important.  She too gets upset when she gets caught “not doing the right thing.”  Why can’t she see the importance of cleanliness to the same degree as me?  Is it because in her mind I’m not “doing the right thing” by insisting on some basic sanitation principles?

  • Ditzy

    …”already a couple of doctors who weren’t very good…”.  Add to the Aryan society and you’ll find that most people don’t believe “cheese” is worth having any more.  Oak…cut some and cure it…it helps!!  (‘

  • Sandi

    I love this place. And all of you. And thank you Lori! you’re awesome

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome–and thank you so much! =)

  • Chris

    Your suggestions sound nice Vivian, but it many cases it takes more than just asking them to change in order for a real change to take place.  In some cases you need to hit rock bottom in order for the message to come across to these negative people, and they don’t usually appreciate humour because they are so hurt inside that they will take it as an insult to their personal pain.  I think a good place to start with these people is to ignore their negativity.  If you don’t respond to it, they will stop throwing it your way because they get no pay off anymore.  What do you think?

  • Chris

    I know it’s hard to understand why people are negative, but it didn’t get inside of them by accident.  It was part of their programming, perhaps from in-utero.  Not understanding or being willing to understand them is most of the problem and they will never get better without someone who at least tried to understand them.  I’m glad that you’re happier and I hope he finds the help he needs.

  • Sharonjoyce1255

    I loved it. You write beautiful. I feel like i learned so much. I wrote notes for myself. Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome, and thank you. =)

  • Tigerlve72

    how do you deal with somone who says u dt care about them and nothing matthers ? shes to strong for me to try and convising her that she does matters to me.

  • julio

    My wife and I have only been married for a little over 2 MONTHS. We started having problems and LAST WEEK she came to me and told me she wanted to get our marriage annulled. It completely broke my heart and I totally broke down. I have been praying and asking God to give me the strength and tools that I need to be the husband that I need to be and for any help to come on how to make the marriage move forward. I never talked to my wife or told her i was searching for some help online. Then i found the winexbackspell@gmail.com email contact on how he has help many relationship marriage round the world. I purchased and tell him my problems and he told me what to do which i did. i have already seen it working she has completely change and i loves it,i have already seen an improvement in our marriage. With His help, our marriage will be saved and we will spend the rest of our lives together living for kids not to think bad about the familly.

  • boss

    people like this are seeking solutions in their friends, try to help them solve their problems instead oif judging – they’re generally asking for practical help rather than simply complaining

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/UDZDEBYHUPWTV7Y4VKY2PWYVBU websay

    i can give you an example of negative. I have never known my ex to be happy about anything. always something to gripe about. now to stay out of her view. now that makes me happy.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/UDZDEBYHUPWTV7Y4VKY2PWYVBU websay

    you enjoy being married to a loser. You use the children to escape your responsibility of being happy for yourself. Guess you assume you can get a few morsels of pity and sympathy on this blog.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/UDZDEBYHUPWTV7Y4VKY2PWYVBU websay

    how is pluto at this time of the year?
    We are doing okay. Down here on planet earth.

  • Slim

    It’s not about judging someone else’s struggles. People who constantly nag and complain are negative people. Those who never see the bright side of anything are negative people. If you struggle with something, there are millions of ways to take care of your problem. Voicing and venting to any and everyone is NOT the answer. Posting on social medias on a daily basis is NOT the answer. All it does is irritate people. Especially when those negative people actually have things going for them but only want to focus on the negative aspect of their life. They may not have a job but have their health. They don’t have a significant other but they’re able to live life regularly. There are some people who are healthy, have healthy children, a job, a car, working limbs who still find something to complain about. If people were more grateful for having life or simple things like a job, a home, anything, their lives would be more meaningful to themselves.

  • victoria

    I found this article very helpful and surprisingly accurate to my situation. I have a little sister that constantly likes to torment harass and create anger in the family. I have reached a point where I am traumatized to go home because I know I will hear cussing and bullying. I haven’t tried these strategies yet but I think they might help:)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I’m glad this was helpful to you Victoria! Have you spoken to someone about how your sister treats you? I was bullied growing up, and if there’s one thing I’d tell my younger self if I could, it’s that I didn’t deserve it and didn’t have to accept it. I hope things improve!

  • Mooshells

    Nickybe, not everyone happens to be the way you perceive yourself. You are being prejudice over a woman suffering with an ultimatum, just because you can detach from people easily and seemingly “accept” constant negativity doesn’t mean that other people can, and are wrong for not being able to. Putting the lack of empathy aside, there are usually 2 sides to a relationship and even though each participant may have their flaws, one usually will out weigh the other and perhaps even effect the person they’re with even more negatively. If you don’t realize that relationships are way beyond “black” and “white” and that one can’t just make an impulsive decision to leave, than I’m sorry but maybe you have your own issues. Excusing my hypocrisy for judging you, I will say that we are all different and have different methods for handling situations. Don’t judge others if you would not like to be judged.

  • lolo Mk

    very useful article … wish best luck to you and to learn from life as much as you want … thank you sooo much for sharing

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome!

  • anonymous

    I know someone very well who is just like the negative person you describe.For ayear now I’ve tried to be in her life but not be dragged down to tears by her.I failed many times.I appreciate this article.I’m saving it and will reread it whenever I forget how to deal with this person in my life.She is my sister.I love her.But I have almost come undone myself by letting her hurt me.I don’t want her to suffer,either…and she is getting help,thank God.

  • yaz

    I’m dealing with selfish incosiderate freeloaders.. they are my husbands cousin whom he wanted to help. They are going thru meth withdrawls.. honestly I don’t get anything out of helping them in fact all I get is more financial & emotional stress but remain patient and compassionate only because my partner dosent want to give up on them… I don’t want to deal with them but they are his family.

  • Sebastian

    I agree, sometimes we just can’t act all happy, and faking it would certainly not help. You can’t jump from a feeling bad place to a cheery place, just like that. You have to cross some bridges, from anger, to frustration, to irritability, to boredom, to hope, and finally somewhere near happiness (thanks Abraham). So expressing those negative emotions is sometimes really recommended, just not hanging there for too long.

  • Catherine

    I admire and appreciate the value of this post and this idea, but I have to object to a particular turn of phrase used a couple of times in this post. The idea is the “hope that they will change/improve/get better”. My sister gets angry very easily about small things, or about things people say to her that were completely well-intentioned; she also always seems to find something to complain about in a situation. Of course, we all do this from time to time, but I’ve never met someone who complains about small things that most people are able to live with so constantly.

    While it sounds depressing to say it this way, my sister has been this way her entire life, and it is not because of exasperation or frustration that I say, I don’t think it would be fair to her right now to say “I hope someday she’ll change and realize that she’s not living her life the way she should”.

    The way I’ve found solace in this situation is that, whenever we’re together, I realize that, no matter what she does, if I get angry or frustrated or impatient with her, that’s my doing, and my own reaction to her actions. I can’t change her actions, but I can decide how I want to react. And all I have to do is choose not to allow her negativity to interfere with my happiness. And I don’t think that “hoping that she’ll change someday” is a healthy way to go about it because if it’s simply the way she lives, part of her personality, then it’s almost patronizing to think “oh, she’ll grow out of it”, and that mindset would also make it harder for me to become at peace with her behavior rather than become impatient for it to “pass,” when it really isn’t something that just “passes.”

    I don’t know if I’ve articulated this very well, but I hope that at least I’ve made clear my objection to that particular aspect of this post.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I think your sister’s very fortunate to have someone so loving and compassionate in her life! I hoped to suggest a similar idea with my post, regarding accepting people as they are.

    With my friend, I sometimes want for her to change because I know she’s so unhappy–not because I think she’ll grow out of it, but because I hate knowing she feels so much pain so frequently. Still, I know the best I can do is love her for who she is, even if that means asserting a boundary for my own well-being at times.

  • Stacy

    Thank you so much for this post. I am dealing with a cronically negative person right now and this was VERY helpful!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome!

  • Mel

    I went in search of an article to help me alleviate the negative feelings I have towards the drug dealers in my neighborhood. Although I had to read between the lines here, this was helpful. Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome Mel!

  • Merci

    Dear Lori, thank you so much for this sage advice. My sister is a very difficult and negative person and many times she ha sucked me into that rain cloud. Your post has made me realize that I’m not helping when I comment on how she should change we attitude. I’m going to practice accepting her and not feeding into her misery.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. I’m glad this helped!

  • Sofija

    What do you do when the difficult person is your mom? :( I can’t really keep my distance and its also hard not to get emotionally involved because… she’s my mom.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Many years ago, a therapist told me we can’t change people; we can only change our response to them. Could you respond differently to your mom than you do now? Could you set clearer boundaries? I know that’s far more easily asked than done, but this is one of those situations where there really isn’t an easy answer….

  • Listener

    If you think it is hard to listen to this friend, imagine what it must like to BE that friend, live that reality. Obviously, people who are “negative” are fighting a silent battle. Not everybody is blessed with the ability to see the world as just and happy, there are people out there who have been knocked down by life and just want someone to say “wow, I’m so sorry. Let’s fix this.” It is very easy to tell when a friend is trying to change you, or drive you in a different direction. This friend needs to experience that pain, and not alone, and not with someone who is telling them that they just need to “change their mindset” if things were that easy PTSD, depression, anxiety etc. would not be in existence. Count your blessings that you are not someone who feels this pain, and maybe open your heart instead of trying to change this friend.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi there,

    I understand your perspective, and I couldn’t agree more with what you wrote. I know what it’s like to fight a silent battle, particularly because I struggled with depression and an eating disorder for a decade after years of being emotionally and physically tormented. What I hoped to convey with this post is that we sometimes need to set some boundaries to take good care of ourselves.

    With this particular friend, she really has never been open to “fixing” things. I want to help her, and I’ve tried; I’ve also tried to challenge the instinct to “help” and “fix” and simply be there for her. But by the same token, I need to take care of my own emotional well-being.

    I think really it all comes down to balance–learning to offer kindness and compassion, but also knowing when we need to step back to offer those same things to ourselves. At least, that’s been my experience.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    Lori

  • Omw

    I just realized, I’m one of the negative people you all are trying to deal with.

  • Buddy

    Thanks for writing. I am very close to a negative person and after a few years, I have lost some of my pos. edge. I am a firm believer in taking care of you first (In a selfless way). God keeps me hanging on.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome Buddy! I’m glad this helped.

  • Believe2Perceive

    I didn’t get judgement out of the article

  • Believe2Perceive

    WOW THANK YOU!!!

    A light went on my head!

    You brought to my awareness, that I focus mostly on how other people act and not how they feel. I want to teach myself to focus and contemplate more on what and how THEY are feeling.

    Love & Light
    NAMASTE
    Biiy Joe :)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome! Light and light to you as well. =)

  • Tonya

    This was a good read – I. Myself have experienced some of the same Friend issues – I’m learning to Love them where they are at – I’m giving them space right now – So, Prayfullly they may want to look deep within to want to change – I know this one Thing though: That they don’t go off on you if they don’t Love you

  • Idealistic Dreamer

    I’m having the worst case. It pains me. I’ve had a friend who was very inconsiderate, and not aware of others’ feelings at all. Several people had reported him having this trait of lack of empathy. He often annoyed and angered people. I tried hard to write to him several times and told him how we feel about it, but he ignored me and continued to act that way. It seems like he doesn’t realise his actions are making people unhappy. I don’t know if he will ever learn since I tried very hard to tell him about this and he is still not aware! I think I am very compassionate and kind towards him, but this frustrates me because I feel like he is never gonna change and improve. I am worried about his future that he will worsen.

  • http://twitter.com/luckygirllefty katie curran taylor

    YES yes yes yesssss! I need to read this every morning!…possibly afternoon and evening too. Thank you!

  • Mary

    I think that the problem with what you and some others on here think, is that you are ignoring the fact that some “negative” people may be suffering from clinical depression. This not a choice for them. You can’t just “think positive” your way out of it. Even if they do have good things going for them it does not mean that they are choosing to be miserable. Plus even if they don’t have clinical depression they might have a perfectly good reason to be upset. They might be dealing with issues that remain unspoken. For instance, what if a woman is being emotionally or physically abused? Would it be helpful at all to say “Well, stop complaining, your legs work fine.”

    I do like a lot of the inspirational websites like this one, however I think that the new age concept of “being positive” all the time is flawed. It puts unfair expectations on others so when they are going through a hard time then they can’t even acknowledge it without someone critisizing them. They have to hold their emotions in check and suffer alone.

    I have bipolar disorder and the best thing that anyone has done for me was listen without judgment. There was a time when the only person I had to help me was my dad. Now I have found other ways to help me cope such as support groups, in addition to medication. But according to you even support groups are wrong. I feel sorry for you. The basis of spirituality is empathy and love, not judgment.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome Katie!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Mary,

    I hoped to communicate in my post that we all need to take care of ourselves, so while it’s important to be compassionate and non-judgmental, we also need to set boundaries for ourselves. I know when I was at my most negative and depressed (and on six medications, including antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and sedatives), I would have dwelled on everything I felt was wrong, unfair, or painful for as long as someone would have allowed me to do it. And it would have been unhealthy for both of us. I wasn’t always sharing my feelings to get help, but rather venting to get pity and company in my misery (partly because I associated pity with love).

    While understanding and compassion helped a great deal, I had to get to a place where I was willing to make some changes in my life. I had to do the very difficult work of healing and letting go. It actually really helped me when people refused to feed into the destructive habits I’d formed because it made me realize the consequences of not learning better coping skills.

    Now, if someone had been cruel, insensitive, or judgmental, that wouldn’t have helped–but I ultimately appreciated it when people acknowledged when I was creating imbalance in our relationships. It helped me realize there was a different, far more fulfilling way to relate to people–and that I could do that if I became healthier within myself.

    Incidentally, I wrote a post about positive thinking that you might find interesting:

    http://tinybuddha.com/blog/why-positive-thinking-didnt-work-for-me/

    I think you made a great point about empathy and love. Perhaps the question we all need to answer for ourselves is: How can I be loving and empathetic without enabling someone in a way that ultimately contributes to their staying stuck?

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!

    Lori

  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.carr.90038 Susan Carr

    It’s great to be there for your friends that need your help but if you do have a friend that is constantly moaning and not willing to help themselves then it can be very draining.

  • Meg

    Great article! I have been quite stressed the past few days dealing with a depressed friend that I really care for. However, I have fallen into the bitter depressed zone myself. Your article helped me a lot today.

  • Cares

    Negative people don’t always speak in a negative way and positive people don’t always speak in a positive way…

    Our neighbours, a grand-mother and her adult daughter are a good example…the grandmother speaks very negative about other people etc but does it with such good humour that she leaves you feeling very happy and positive, and yet her daughter speaks positively about what she has been doing or has planned etc but leaves you feeling very drained of energy and unhappy!

    This has been consistent for the 5 years we have known them.

    I love the daughter and have a lot of common interests with her but can only stand her company for such a short time or I feel really down and yet I love to spend heaps of time with her mother who doesn’t like very many people but is the ‘salt of the earth’ in all other respects and delightful company even when she is bagging out other people.

    Go figure!!!!

  • Cares

    Sometimes peoples ‘Energy’ is positive or negative and has nothing at all to do with what comes out of their mouths!

  • Pixie47

    Thank you Lori for your nice response! This is Mary still. I am having trouble posting my response so I am using my old Disquis account

    I actually do get a lot of what you are saying, my reaction is mainly towards those who have a completely negative view of depression. I do agree that it is up to the person to get help for themselves. One thing though that many people miss is that when you are in a bad place it is extremely difficult to see all your options. What may seem a small step to a normal person could seem like a chasm to someone who is depressed. One thing that does bother me a great deal is when people think that my behavior is manipulative rather than looking at the fact that just because something is easy for them, that it isn’t to me. Now that doesn’t mean that I can’t help myself, but frankly sometimes people can be cruel to others when they do not make an effort to understand.

    I worked for seven years as a peer supporter at a mental health center so I do understand the value of self-help. At the same time I was always respectful of where people were at the time. I mainly ran support groups. Quite often when people first came in they were a complete mess. They would cry about things that normal people wouldn’t. At that point I would adjust my expectations because I recognized that what they needed the most was not for some person to tell them they were wrong. They needed a place to unload before they could even begin to take in any kind of advice. They also needed to be in an atmosphere where all their feelings were ok so that they could learn to trust.

    Is it realistic that friends and family can always take on the role of supporter? Probably not. But it can be cruel to reject someone simply because have challenges that others do not. I have experienced that myself with certain members of my family. I recognize that actually there is something deeply wrong with them because I have never been a burden on them and have rarely asked for advice. They seem to be offended by the fact that I have a mental illness period. This is very different from setting boundaries like you are talking about. In fact as I have gotten better I now realize that they are the ones who are always negative, because they want to blame their problems on me. I think it is very telling when someone insists that you have to change and then when you do, they throw more flak at you! So now I have been the one to put the brakes on their behavior and they don’t like it one bit! This has resulted in a possibly permanent rift that I do not want but feel I have no choice in the matter.

    Sorry this is so long. I did pop over to your link and found it very helpful. I agree that it is not a good idea to force yourself to feel positive, but rather find a way of nurturing it instead. You thinking parallels mine and if you are interested I have written a few blog posts on that vey subject.

    http://www.bipolarlessons.com/2013/03/22/are-negative-emotions-unspiritual/

    http://www.bipolarlessons.com/2013/03/23/does-positive-thinking-play-a-role-in-recovery/

    Congrats on recovering from depression! You are an inspiration.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I think that’s the tough thing–we generally don’t change until we form our own insights and realize it’s in our best interest. I hope your friend comes to that place where he recognizes how he’s affecting the people who care about him.

  • Rosanne Feneley

    Dear Helena,

    Thank you for your insightfulness, compassion and love.

  • http://halinagoldstein.com/blog Halina Goldstein

    Hi Lori,

    I just realized that this is an old post that (magically?) showed up at the top of my feed reader today, when I – cautiously and after a few months of silence – reconnected with my own version of a somewhat negative friend.

    Besides this, with my present dedication towards widows, your post makes me think of how this feels from the other side so to speak. The thing is that just about every widow experiences that after a little while of supporting her 1. Some people turn their back on her 2. Other people start pushing her: “It’s time to move on, you should go out dating, be positive” etc. etc. As a result many widows tend to either suppress what they’re going through or isolate themselves or lose trust in everyone who has not experienced losing a partner personally.

    Knowing this, your 10 ways appear even deeper and more meaningful. Because, generally speaking, widows are not “negative people”. They’re just people who experience one of life’s greatest challenges – which for most people takes multiple years to move through – in a culture that basically denies the existence of death and where fear of death and the urge to avoid the topic is very powerful.

    And that – as well as the situation with my friend – reminds me of how important it is to acknowledge that there is always a reason why we react too. It really is helpful to dig deeper (and stay out of the hole :-)) internally. After all, all understanding builds on our understanding of ourselves, and all compassion builds on our ability to be compassionate with ourselves.

    From there we must react in whatever way feels authentic, including with withdrawal sometimes.

    Thank you for re-posting this Lori, this clearly is a fundamental issuse for most of us…

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.slattery.355 Michael Slattery

    behaviour in the workplace drove me almost mad – catty, bitchy gossip and abuse passed off as humour – 2 male colleagues ‘bantered’ a female co-worker so much that she was reduced to tears and had to be moved – why weren’t they moved..???

    our manager seemed to find it funny – he once asked another female colleague – as a joke – if she was ‘a man’

    am I ridiculously over-sensitive..?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Mary,

    I think it’s wonderful that you offered your services at a mental health center and offered such kind, supportive care to people in need. I know from my experience that there are plenty of people in the mental health field, professionals and volunteers, who don’t treat patients with that type of compassion and understanding. And I understand what you mean about the difficulty of seeing your options when you’re depressed. Sometimes the tiniest effort can take all the energy you can muster.

    Thank you for the links to your blog. It does seem we’re aligned in our thinking!

    Lori

  • Snezzle

    Don’t be a sh*thead, wet blanket was my interpretation.. ;)

  • jo

    I think it’s so ironic this article is about dealing with negative people and a quote from Sri Chinmoy was chosen! A guru who sexually abused some of his female disciples, told everyone to be veg while secretly eating meat and forced my family (I was raised in his cult) to give away our pets as we were told it was a rule not to have any animals while he kept a bunch of illegal exotic animals hidden in his NY house basement…among other things. The man was also an egomaniac! Besides that a nice article so thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Jo,

    I had no idea that Sri Chinmoy abused people or that he led a cult. I’m so sorry to hear about what you’ve been through. I am going to look for a different quote for the post. Thank you for bringing this to my attention!

    Lori

  • jo

    Oh thanks then, makes my blood boil a bit when people quote him. Usually because they don’t know like you…but sometimes because they still believe he was an incarnation of God therefore he can do no wrong in their eyes…arrggg. Very considerate of you to take it off, peace.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome. I can understand your reaction given your knowledge and experience.

  • Alexa

    Lori, This was the article I was looking for! I read this when you first published it. I loved it, but it didn’t resonate with me until now. I am currently friends with someone who is very negative. We have been friends for awhile, but her negativity has either just shown up or I have just recently noticed it. It has become increasingly difficult. Thanks for this article. I know I want her in my life, but it has gotten to the point that after we speak I don’t feel good like I do after I talk to my other positive friends. I feel a little down and ‘bothered’. I will learn to work on myself.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome Alexa. I know that “bothered” feeling. I think it’s a natural reaction to talking with someone who is highly negative. It’s just plain draining, even if we’re compassionate and non-judgmental and we set boundaries. I’m glad this was helpful to you. :)

  • Stella

    Hi Mary

    I thought I would share this with you and that you may find it of interest.

    I think that whilst it may be difficult for some people to break free from their negativity cycle for reasons outside of their control, sometimes, it is a habit. Please, note I am not talking about everyone, here.

    Our bodies respond to our thoughts and if, for years, we fed them with negative thoughts, some of these bodies probably have become junkies for the neurochemicals that are released each time they were triggered by a negative thought. They create more neuroreceptors for the chemicals (hormones) that are released the most and because there are more of them, one may need the drug more and more often to get to feel “normal”. That’s because the neuroreceptors ask for their dose of what they were created for. Cheeky nature!

    Next thing you know is that we are stuck in this pattern which has probably been fed, by some, as long as they can remember. There is oftne a good reason why they feel a certain way, even if such reason happened 30 years ago (please note I don’t mean to sound insensitive of people’s circumstances as I am referring to my own situation here).

    As a result, doctors may prescribe drugs mimicking our hormones to counterbalance the chemical party that is happening inside such bodies.

    My view is that if the hormonal unabalance exist as a result of our own doing maybe we can filp it back? If the chemical unbalance is genetic, there’s no harm trying to help nature, since when we understand how it works.

    So, here is a good news, habits can be broken! It’s like having an unhealthful diet. Your body may be chocked by the change, request its dose of whatever it is used to, ….but ultimately one’s mind can be stronger. It may take time- remember sometimes we’ve been feeding these habits for a lifetime- and require willingness, work and strenght and even with this, it is likely not to be easy. But things that are worth it are not that easy anyway, right?

    The main difference I’ve observed between people who announce their goals and reach them as opposed to others is their motivation and the effort they put into achieving such goals. They really beleive in the outcome.

    I think beleiving in achieving one’s goal is a great starting point. And , in this case, what is the worse that can happen by trying to also focus on the positive things that happen to you?

    Here is my current (kind of) story/regimen:

    - Ackowledge and feel the negative emotions (pain is not an emotion, it is pain and can hurt like hell. I think that whatever its magnitude though, it usually decreases when the cause is dealt with).

    - Identify the causes of such negative emotions.

    - Determine a plan to outgrow the above.

    - Establish a timeframe to kick-off the plan (like, okay that was (not) fun. Time to move on!)

    Time helps, but I can also help speeding up the process by approaching the cause of my emotional ordeal from different angles. It try not to focus on the reasons it is hard to deal with, but striving to emulate those who get stronger from such experiences. It does not mean I stop feeling the bad stuff, but maybe don’t dwell on it that much and also remember to feel the good stuff too.

    Now, the weird bits:)

    I am currently trying to reconnect with my mind and body.I decided to show compassion to my body as I have not treated it with the care it deserved and understand that it has rebelled. I am “talking” to it, letting it know that I care and showing it such care. It is a special body, it’s mine. We’ve establised that it hears our thoughts, so I have to be mindful of those.

    I speak to my mind, as if it was a different entity. I also show compassion towards it but I show less indulgence to it than to my body. I understand that it has probably learned to ‘respond’ a certain way due to whatever circumstances. But, I let it know that I am ready for a change and that I want to respond in a more positive way to circumstance.

    My mind is cheeky, it wants to do its own thing. Well, I used to let it do its own thing so now, we fight sometimes. Nothing bad, I acknowledge the thoughts that I don’t want or don’t agree with and ask it why it comes up with such things? I remind it what I want and that it has to change its ways. I still ruminate but more and more I bust out the negative thought that arose by a thought that is more in line with what I want. And, the negative emotion that goes with the negative thought vanishes with its daddy. However, if I happen to linger on it, it’s like it is feeding itself and the relating emotions last longer. Well, practice makes perfect.

    I switched off my phone most of the time for the last couple of months. I’ve also been watching, reading inspirational resources. I used this time to recharge and start the background work for a change. I touched base with some friends to reaffirm my love and care for them during this time. I sometimes had a break from my ‘retreat’ by catching up with some of them. During this ‘break’, it was easy to identify those who left me drained and those who left me uplifted after talking!
    I’ve also noticed how, when I was not available because of my own circumstances, some took it personally because of their own needs and did not seem show understanding that I needed to take care of myself.

    Draw your own conclusions. Mine is, smile to life so it smiles back to you.

  • na

    When ever I go out with my friends this same guys is always trying to mess with me. He insulted some girl and said she looked like a boy just because he did not like the way she looked. Then he said I looked like a boy. I was really pissed I got up a left and felt negative about it ever since. I really feel like shit right now and really don’t understand why this person does not like me. He looks at me with these evil eyes and he is always been a a-hole ever one says. So I really want to be sure that it is not me, but maybe I am insecure so I believe his negative comments towards me. God I was so happy before I went up their it was publicly humiliating and I feel ashamed of myself because I took it out on myself and others. It’s funny how one negative person makes one person feel so stupid.

  • mixermatt

    Okay, I know a gal that is always negitive.. use of the word “hate” How her family hates her.. but yet she’ll flash photo’s of her family.. She gets foul w/ words as well.. a person can only do so much to show them the bright side of life.. at she time she looks for a pity party.. and with her it’s like a every day thing.. She at one time thought she and I were going to be dating, Of also had people say “were is your girlfriend” I had to tell people it would never happen.. and than I have to sit this girl down and tell her again the dating will never happen.. to a point I’ve had to push her a side.. for my health.. will back fire has taken place.. back to step one.. the last go around was she told me about a happy night she had, and I said great hold on to the happy thought.. the doom and gloom, with a mean side.. and she’s looking at me.. this gal wants to break up a couple relationship and she’s looking at me for help.. the smart guy that I am I told not to look at me for help, and that I want nothing to do w/ that, and not going there… her wards were “I’m going to break them up anyway”
    ——————————-
    So now I’ll wait for feed back

  • Carol

    My mother had been divorced several yrs and dating when surprised by her pregnancy with me. At age one my mother and father went Seperate ways. Prior to my arrival my mother was married to her HS sweetheart, who yrs later left her for another. Mother had four children by that marriage. 22′ 21, 18 16. She had tajpken custody if the two oldest who by now were on their own the oldest went military the second oldest left mothers home at 16 and ran off to Florida. When I arrived my mother hadn’t seen my oldest sister for 5 yrs. Although my sister did take mother and I into her home and took care of mother it was clear growing up she resented our mother. She belittled her constantly. She felt it seems as though mother owed her, when asked questions about her personality she explained our mother and her ex husb my sisters father drank and abused the kids emotionally physically. My mother had not taken care of her own health and by 55 she had a massive heart attach by age 65 had three strokes and was placed into a nursing home when she passed away in 2008. My questions for my sister who is 21 yrs older was this” why didn’t you show me love as a child?” Any type of emotion I displayed was a trigger for her to call me a name or to slap my face to sit me asside from her own children. Outwardly as a young child I wondered and asked why she loved all the other children accept me? Having two older and two younger. Why did she speak over my mother when my mother was speaking to me? She explained she was resentful bitter and unsettled she did not want our mother to need her any longer as mother seemed to be content in being a dependant.
    I was twenty and living on my own when mother went I to a nursing home. Incapable of giving advice being a typical grandmother I took my children to see my mother twice a week. When I would call ” home” I would hear negative in my sisters life, in complaints about the other children in ther spouses, it became habit to just not call and early on I would make sure to pick up mother and be around my family on holidays an birthdays. Asside from that I was not close to any family. After mother died two years had passed by where each holiday became frustrating with my sister belittling me and my children with her comments and hurtful words. I no longer associate with her. Her children think I am more stubborn ypthen my sister that I can not tolerate criticism and won’t allow my family to continue what I find destructive interactions. I feel happier without them in my life. But have a small amount of guilt on holidays birthdays that my kids are nit seeing my family. The last time I was near my sister we were in jcpenneys she was buying my great niece an Easter dress each time my 11 yr old niece came out if the dressing room, ths is her grand daughter she would cut her apart with comments on her weight, telling her se was fat, that was wrong type of dress not add for large girls wasn’t she wearing a bra? Or does she need to fit her for that two? If she wasn’t overweight she would be needing a bra..she shoud come stay with her grandmother so she could help her watch her diet( my sister being over 250 lbs) I asked my nice e why she lets her mother speak to her daughter this way? I already knew its because my sister was paying for the dress. My niece said “you need to learn how to bite your tongue mother is 57 yrs old she isn’t about to change now!
    I didn’t make it to Easter!

  • kazz

    Well said and so eloquently so!!! kudos to you and your friend – keep up the good work and positive attitudes inherent which will only serve to help healing with your friend…….good soul, God bless

  • jcwink

    If you believe you have a experienced or are experiencing a negative person.. consider this… Its you and no one else, not one person, not one or two tragic events… if you are stuck in blame you will NEVER BE HAPPY. We control the frequency of our energy through our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. If we are predominately positive and feeling good, we are attracting like positive energy in ever area of our lives. If we are in fear, powerlessness, BLAME, or any negative emotion, we are attracting like negative energy into our lives. As every single thing is energy, positive energy draws positive people, circumstances, and events into our lives. Negative energy attracts negative energy, which we will experience through negative people, circumstances and events.

    So go on with your life wallowing in your pity party and wonder why all this crap happens to you. You might as well put a sign up saying hey I am negative person magnet. Complain that its not fair.. the universe will send you more negativity, accept responsibility its you and only you. Go look in the mirror.

  • Anand Gupta

    Dear Lori

    This is one of the best piece of advise regarding inter personal relations I have read. Before I have read it, I used to avoid people with a negative mind set, since, I believe, I did not have any constructive or productive options for delaing with such people. Some of the suggestions like non judgment, suggesting some thing +ve to break – ve talk, empathy and drawing a positive boundary are very valid.
    Thanks for the beautiful and insightful piece of writing.
    Regards
    Anand Gupta

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome, and thank you!

  • Linda

    Many negative people have clinical depression, but meds and therapy still do not help them. I can only guess that it’s a difficult childhood that the person cannot overcome. I have two people in my life like this, and it’s very draining. One of them, at least, is aware of it. The other person seems to have no clue. The only thing I can do is distance myself a bit from the second person because she rambles constantly about negative things from her past. I’ve played her second therapist for way too long.

  • Charlie Victoria

    Thanks Tiny Buddha for this article!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome!

  • hairbuzz

    Some were along the line these negitive peeps were abandon. Or they themselve abandon somthing they loved. When u dont have a strong bond with someone for support you look for it else were . Your child like Self. And loving self says u are suppose to love me even through badtimes. And someone they loved didnt and abandone them. So they search for love, but have unresolved emotion. And bad things come at them and the only way to resolve it is through anger, empathy ,loathing, selfish woe is me .its really about them not being able to solve probloms bye themselves, so everything bad that come at them is oh my look what they did to me Be careful of these folks, because yes they useing u as a pawns to get relief of an empty wound . If u fall for it. And then abandon them at some point which u wil because u have ypur own life, it isnt abandoning them u just need to take care of yourself and own life they dont look at it that way they will get angry with u. And once u do wrong they will tell u so. Even though u supported them they will only look at what u did to them. Be careful when taken on a friend like this. People have to find happiness in themselves.

  • river

    the root of many depressions and negativity is the BELIEF that money is going to fill the dark void in THEIR souls. Money ONLY gives us comfort, not love or respect. Its scary the amount of time so many people think about the money they have or haven’t

  • amy

    That’s easier said than done. There is no point helping a person if they have no interest in helping themselves. All that does is waste time and waste energy, and makes you feel bad when you realize you’re efforts aren’t “good enough”.

    Our lives are short and so many people spend that time trying to make others happy instead of themselves. If a person’s negativity is making you feel bad, then you are under no obligation to help them overcome it. You need to help yourself first. And if that means cutting all cords with them, then so be it.

  • Amy

    My guess is that many of the people in the comments section simply haven’t dealt with people who are truly negative. They assume negative means “a little bit sad” or “a little bit mean”, when in fact is can be toxic, nasty, awful stuff that can have a detrimental affect on your own mindset if you hang around them too long. There is only so much you can do to help a person who has no interest in helping themselves.

  • Amy P

    I can’t understand how you could come to such a conclusion without personally knowing the woman that posted this. I hope that you grow out of such judgement, as it hurts you more than the person you use it on.

  • Deb Stein

    I have been and currently am, one of the negative people you are describing. I have run off nearly all of my friends. Interestingly, I no longer feel bad about that. Because all of them used me to make them laugh. I love to make others laugh and am good at it. And they love me at first. Then they see “the dark” Deb and bail. That incites rage in me. It is a pattern. It feels like betrayal to me every time. As long as I am providing entertainment for them, great. Otherwise, I am pegged as negative. Well, here’s the other part, just to be all negative and defensive. This rage comes from being on empath on THIS planet. This grid has BILLIONS of beings on it being tortured every day (lab animals, dolphin slaughter, the fur trade (and youtube THAT if you please), children sex slaves, war POW’s etc) and on a lesser scale people being abused by corporate greed mongers that have NO problem abusing and ripping off their own employees. I turned to humor as an escape, as well as music. And for awhile, spirituality. In every…single…endeavor, there was a pecking order. If you are attractive, have a high position, the leader, etc, you are treated differently. I mean, even in frikkin meditation circles, everyone had to be in a cliche! So of COURSE I got negative and never can seem to pull out. “Happiness is a choice”. Meanwhile, here I am working in customer service, age 54 for $325/week. With no options so having to live with my MOTHER! And the path here was incredibly stressful as I attempted to do sales (and actually did well until the stress and subtrefuge of that environment). Then we have the emotionally absent father, the critical mother, the brother with PTSD after two heart attacks and the path to a heart transplant. Happy? Try watching someone you love have the medical community “warm their hands over the body” over the prospect of getting $1.5 million, plus the nurse that tied him to the bed and almost klled him. OR the gynecologist that yelled at me about how fat I was, then as he inserted the UNsterilized speculum said “here it comes baby” and gave me PID. The people who let their kids make pig noises at me while I was in a restaurant, or grown adults that made a FILM of me from behind, panning up to show my big behind, and then showing in the room with a team of 35 people (and that was at MCI!). And.those are just the highlights. I am a person that is negative because this PLACE is and most people are shallow judgmental assholes that throw people a way if they have no way to use them. Or even if they can use them, it’s while they are on their cell phones supposedly having lunch. And I realize that there are those out there who have had it much worse than I. Ones that have been raped, torured, survived horrific circumstances, seen their mothers beat and do just fine. Supposedly. I would venture that if you put them in front of a situation they experienced, they would act FAST to stop it and probably do so without compassion, but with some of those ‘negative’ emotions. It’s bullshit this “be happy no matter what”. Because when I come along, all bets are off. All those “happy” people turn dark fast. Did I create that? Or was it just THERE. This “you have to hang out with positive people” isn’t the truth, it is emotional bypass. I have experienced much pain, and that pain turned to rage. OF COURSE IT DID!! And to treat me as someone you consider toxic because of that is the exact opposite of what I have needed from anyone;. I DO have a true friend left though. He is a love being. Just loves me. I never got a whiff of how I was bringing him down, even though he didnt like some of my words or actions (and would tell me straight up). He spoke his truth and though I didnt like it, I just knew and still know, that he loves me as I am. I adore him! We can still find humor and laugh. Anyone else.. nope, they would rather just vacate and leave me sucking air like there is something fundamentall wrong with me. If you demonize someone, you get a demon. I dont expect anyone to be able to handle all this, but i am sure as sh*t tired of this stuff spouted as truth that isn’t. Everyone can find their way and everyone has preferences, just don’t paint it that you are “creating a good life for yoursel” when you do this TO people, no matter what you call it. Seriously, it’s harmful.

  • Growing old

    I must deal with a close relative who refuses to move past every perceived wrong or slight to her though her entire life, rehearsing the details endlessly to all who will listen, even magnifying her own pain and suffering throughout it all… convincing herself of her great character in enduring a lifetime of ill-treatment by everyone in her life. Because most others do not follow suit with endless lists of their own personal pains, the complainer is even more convinced of her own unique set of circumstances and the belief that she alone has endured the unendurable. It is as though she must display every scab and scar of her life to prove that she has suffered more than anyone else. Every conversation, nearly every comment very soon shifts focus to the relating of another wrong she has suffered. Though we love her, and see so many fine qualities in her, this wearisome negativity is sometimes almost more than we can deal with. Any suggestions? By the way, she is still complaining about sibling rivalry that took place 50 years ago. And still today, any annoyance, any unpleasant effect from poor judgement, any tardiness to appointments, any triviality we all experience in our daily lives, to her is the fault of someone else.

  • Violet

    I have a problem with an arguement/suggestion that says “Remember the numbers’ and then doesn’t actually offer any to back itself up. There are plenty of miserable people, even murderous dictators, who live well into old age. I therefore question the assertion made in that section but the section doesn’t actually offer up a specific study or piece or source of research for further investigation. If we’re expected to ‘remember the numbers’ we need to know they actually exist.

  • Jennifer Hain

    Thank you! Very helpful and what I needed to read today. Have a great week!

  • poppyandpear

    I’m a bit late, but I believe the commenters that saw this article as judgmental have never *truly* dealt with a person like this. I have dealt with a person like this for 30 years of my life and that person is my own mother. She’s self-absorbed, constantly complaining, insulting others, blames everyone for her own problems and just plain see’s life as a big dark, crappy hole. I have to listen to her complain all day about things as simple as a web page wouldn’t load right, or she can’t remember a password and that the webpage must have singled her out because they don’t like her, or that her shampoo isn’t properly washing her hair, or that her feet must have grown 3 sizes in the middle of the night because her shoes don’t fit and it’s always. someone. elses. fault. I guess I should mention also that she’s bi-polar and obviously has borderline personality disorder and is a hypochondriac. I can also say that, although I like the advice given, none of it would work on a 53 year old woman who has made up her mind about how she wants to live her life. Every time she says something negative I counter-act with something positive, but it just. doesn’t. work. This woman drives me to tears. This woman gives me anxiety attacks. My brother and sister refuse to speak to her. My brother hasn’t spoken a word to her in 5 years. But me? This woman lives with me because she refuses to take care of herself and has no one else but me. I cook for her, drive her around, pick up after her, give her money, buy things for her and she constantly tells me that I don’t care about her and that no one ever does anything for her although I’ve turned my whole world upside down for her. Her own elderly father (my grandfather) has spent over 8,000 of his pension getting her out of all the stupid jams she gets herself into. I can’t just shake her off and be done with her (and believe me, I want to be done with her) but because she’s my mother and I feel obligated to take care of her even though she never took care of us as children, but that’s a whole other story. This woman is gonna give me a damn heart attack from the stress and there’s nothing I can do about it.

  • Maria

    If one of your best friends told this person not to disturb me. Until I am ready. And this person still persists. What shall I do.

  • Therese

    I dont entirely agree with this article…….especially number 7….Its not because someone has a lot of suffering in their lives its because of their negative attitude…i feel thats so infantile to think….Look at Wayne Dyer….the kindest, nicest person had cancer. There are many people who suffer BECAUSE of negative people around them and develop disease..I am a very kind person, but i am surrounded with people who are determined to see me as negative and so everything i do is wrong in their view…My daughter is the sweetest person, strong and kind…she has a brain tumor……

  • brooklynn52

    Thanks for the info, but in all honesty it’s too much work! Life is too short, no one is privy to
    tomorrow and I cherish my time. If someone is toxic or emotionally draining I move on and would rather love them from a far!

  • Anonymoud

    I’m a very “difficult person” and feel very guilty for my depression & pessimism. My antidepressant helps tremendously, but some days it’s just exhausting to keep throttling myself all day long. It’s better to avoid people, because I hate being a monster. This is not a rationalization for any behavior.

  • Christine M. Peoples

    I can relate to this article because I have somebodyI am Alive hosiery negative and won’t look at the bright side of things we tried to help her and give her suggestions and she goes back to the negative thinking. she never sees the bright side of anything and she likes to argue with people and start 5 and it is very hard for her to trust people so she looks at the bad in everybody

  • c

    I am this negative friend. I did not always act like this. It is hard to watch it happen and not have any control, to feel jealousy towards those who have not made poor decisions, who are happy. I am jealous of myself, before a string of bad decisions that have left me in a dead end. It’s harder than you know to be the negative friend.Wishing you could disappear but knowing how many people would be hurt. It does not feel fair to have to bear the burden of living so others may not feel guilt or sorrow. I wish there were more articles to help people like me that aren’t just links to mental help specialists.

  • Christine

    I found this article very helpful. I have been surrounded by negative people who try to drain the very life out of me. No matter how much you try to help someone who always has a negative attitude, nothing will come of your help if that person or person’s does not see their problem and doesn’t want to change. The only person we can change is ourselves. To continuously hear the negative person complain year after year on a daily basis about the same thing, Can be very draining on your own spirit, your ears, and your emotions. Yes we love these people, but remember, they make their own choices in their life of what they want to hold on to and you have to make a choice and choose you, yourself and what positivity you want to feel around you. Why should your ears have to always be bombarded with someone else’s doom and gloom? We give these negative loved one’s enough of our time and energy. They have to do their own homework to change and you can’t do it for them or they will never get the lesson that they are suppose to learn in this life.

  • Moving on…

    I have a sister who goes on and on about negative things in life. It’s always that *expletive* person or this thing or that thing and she doesn’t even realize she is dumping on people. She seems to use conversation to satisfy her need to talk and vent, rarely asks about the person she is speaking with, and if she does it is only to bring the conversation back to her. It is the same thing EVERY single conversation; her pain, this person she got even with, that person she doesn’t approve of. What ever happened to conversations of “It’s a beautiful day” or “isn’t life full of great things such as…. I lost respect for her because she recently went into a relationship with a family man, didn’t get the dream relationship she projected she wanted from him, so proceeded to create something that ruined him and his family. Like a snake, she is cold hearted about the situation, other than to feel superior because she taught someone “some great lesson”. This unfeeling attitude only seems to extend to others but not of herself. The only lesson that I have seen from her and “coincidently” only other females is that they are mentally unbalanced. I wish nothing to do with people who are always talking negatively about people, life, and their lot. Get over it and yourselves. And don’t come crying to others when you have burned your bridges with your conversational sub text of passive aggressive behavior. Eventually people are not going to want to deal with you and it will be too late to turn back the relationship to a healthy one. Look in the mirror and take a hard look, you might not like what you see when you take your observational skill you use on others and apply them to yourself. Enough said, this is just a waste of time for people who are programmed toward negative thinking. Life is a mirror and what you concentrate on will show up in your life. The good news is you are in control, the bad news is you are in control. Choose wisely!

  • Lookinamirror

    This is about constant negativity and there are many people out there that can’t see themselves properly to know that they are one of those very people. Good luck, I am sure you and your miserable self will be “happy” with one another. Count the rest of us out!

  • Notworthonemoreword

    Only miserable people who have got that. Let the dead bury the dead….

  • ClickBESTandchooseNEWEST

    If you look above and see the word Best then Community I invite you to click on BEST and choose NEWEST instead. The thread under best is full of enablers and whiners. It is probably a lost cause but sometimes negative people need a mirror held up to them as they do not see themselves as they project onto others. Know thyself! Try some personal growth work. You probably don’t even think you are stuck with mental paralysis.

  • Dawn Wave

    Debbie downer! Get over yourself and stop pretending you are some empath mystic. Turn off your empathy and yes it can be done! It is obvious you want to be miserable, good luck with that!

  • Dawn Wave

    Stein? And a jew, oh christ! No wonder!!

  • Deb Stein

    To Dawn Wave: Thanks for such a compassionless and ignorant reply. Actually, NO thanks to that. I’ve had plenty like you that give pat answers and offer judgment like you did in your response. Saying things like “you just want to be miserable” after I layed it all out there is just code for “I dont give a sh*t, just shut up and get over it.” Oh wait, you did pretty much say “get over yourself.” How stupid and unoriginal. It is obvious that you just didn’t want to take a look at it and decided instead to add me up as “Debbie Downer”. Did you consider the fact that it is me being somewhat vulnerable to write what I wrote in this forum? I could have just kept this all to myself instead of putting out there, but I did that in the hopes I could get more clarity besides the abundance of work I have done on myself. That actually makes it worse – the fact that I HAVE done so much to be a better person. It is now seemingly a neverending affliction. I could be wrong. But to say this: Negativity is due to stress and no outlet via connection with others. Add to that someone telling them, (or acting like), there is something wrong with that person instead of offering something as simple as “Wow, what a life you’ve had. You can still make others laugh after all that? ” OR offering words that demonstrate understanding. And finally, you don’t have to understand my level of empathy. I am quite sure you wouldn’t even if I explained what it is like. It is like having acute hearing in the middle of “Indiana Jones”. Try to stretch a bit and imagine what that’s like. That’s what it is like being an empath..but only sometimes. When it hits though…well, I get a bit moody. OF COURSE I do! And it doesnt help that 95% of the population react like you did. Just makes me feel isolated, which is too bad, cuz I still have a lot to offer others and do try as often as possible. Sooo….now I have moved to Colorado, starting a new job and away from the conservative judgers in Texas…so we’ll see how that affects me.

  • Dawn Wave

    I just don’t understand all these empaths that don’t realize they can turn it off. I am an empath and I HAVE had to turn it off. The reality is my responding to your post has no relevance to you other than my own frustration with dealing with negative people, finding this site, posting, and happenstancing on your profile. Of course, I can’t know your life but for what I see written. You empathy might be precise but like most, your words are twisted to convey what you really mean! You look like a debbie downer. Have you ever thought that how you feel and how you convey yourself is where the translation is lost? It is like Facebook where the delay between someone commenting on a page and the response of that comment don’t meet. It is a human problem. Why should you care or open yourself up to people, who with callus remark for their own frustration, all of a sudden becomes your problem and your focus. I am sure if I met you, I would probably like you. I like people who are witty but I don’t think it wise to be something other than yourself to trick people into liking you for something other than a parlor trick. You will find that if you just be yourself, you probably wouldn’t take on so much of other people and settle quite comfortably into yourself, without the unwanted burden you carry. Sorry if I was unkind. I am direct but I hit a wall last night in dealing with a family member who only knows how to get energy by draining it from other people. I have had quite my fill with this type of person. And there are a lot of them out there. Excuse me if I confused you with one of them, that is if you are not in fact one of them…..

  • Dawn Wave

    And the reality is that you yourself said that you are one of “those negative people” who has driven off people so I am confused about your own confusion! Mean what you say!

  • Joseann

    “There was a time when *I* was chronically negative and difficult, and I
    know it dramatically impacted the lives of everyone I loved because
    everything was all about me.”

    This made me curious: can a negative person actually love at all? If “everything is all about me” in their life? Isn’t negativity actually the consequence of “lacking love”?

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Interesting question! I know I didn’t love well when everything was all about me, but there were certainly people I cared about. I just didn’t do a great job of showing it back then.

  • Jimmy

    congrats! :)

  • squaddly bebop

    Ya know this is so right. But my combatants come at me when I relax. Like at home with my son and the grandparents. Always bringing up the why it suck’s's and asking me about only days I was sick or injured at work. Or about the day I messed up at college. Not my career or interests. But once I difuse one bs topic. Grandma wants to talk about a guy who beat her up 40 years ago and the emotional charge and how charged. Until she resorts to breathing vodka breath at me just because I’m waiting for mom to get off work.

    Or its people constantly baiting me to explain but ignore me during like…a way to tire me out so they can take over with random stories of how they just don’t wanna do work and they are tired (at work). Like call of duty and micraphones. No one uses them they sing until they get muted. But my mute button resets only when I’m relaxed and its without fail.

    How do you not just plan on avoiding them when it seems like you are forced

  • flambango

    We are dualistic in nature (like the movie full metal jacket). It is natural/neutral/nature/default. To experience the bad and the good. It is a creation when you choose the way it occurs and is no longer default.

    To accomplish a problem being solved you can look at a column full of the diapleasing tasks or a column of solutions which may work.

    Defaultly it happens like thay with people. They focus on all the unpleasent stuff. The negative. The stuff that has nothing to do with solutions. Then they have so much thought about it, they actually can if your not careful, replace all your internal dialog about anything and everything so… you can know exactly why .15 cents more per spark plug is going to ruin the world. Or how detaily messes up it is to fight for a budget because their husband is abusive. Y
    The TMI train. But like, full of details upon details of arduous stressful facts and aspects of a seemingly obscure or gossip filled way.

    There is a process abraham hicks explains. When your giddy and stoked. You accomplish faster. But it turns out all successes and solutions occur from focusing on alienating those stressful details and focusing on just solutions.

    The negative suffering ones are stuck unaware of a difference between the stress based facts and catagorizing and implimenting solutions.

    When you get the perfect burrito. Jorge made it perfect. That taste and happiness is as unexplainable as how lucky we are to have something as valuable as sunshine. There is no way you could earn that. Its awesome.

    When people get stuck being negative it means they will start framing words and phrases to match their opinion and thus is a devious way to reframe things you are thinking of.

    In places you don’t choose your friends this is the norm. Racism and gangs make hate profitable and the more depressed people the easier it is to sound like mcguilla gurella without people challenging you.

    Then it takes decades to find out you and everyone below 19 is prettymuch physically equal and the more you escape the negativity or antisolutions the insanely fast you grow. Until 34-45. Then only some are strong but defaultly the strong can not survive without total alienation of the negative around their ability.

    This is the source of people saying you can’t do it. Cause they “can’t”. They don’t see a difference between arduous stressful actions and solutions to be implimented while excited.

  • A concerned psychologist

    This article is largely talking about people with a clinical condition called borderline personality disorder. Those who deal with overly negative people should seek advice from their doctor/psychologist and ultimately ask their negative friend to seek assistance. Being ‘generally negative’ is not normal and not acceptable when it impacts on other people.

    A concerned psychologist.

  • Dina Strange

    This is selfish first of all. Second, what is being negative. If you know for example that cows get skinned alive in our farm factory industry and you talk about to your friends, and they consider you negative…isn’t it simply that people don’t want to face facts that are uncomfortable to them.

  • Dina Strange

    So if someone has chronic pain and impossible to cure, they are negative coz they constantly complain about pain?

  • A.S.Mathew

    We have failures and that will haunt us for ever and speaking about that may give us some relief. It is better, if we speak that to ourselves or to GOD. If we constantly talk about that, other people would be greatly depressed; and it will come to a point that nobody would be happy to be around us.

  • you arent a mom

    I have a 40 year old daughter that gets more money every month than I do. She claims she can’t make it. I ask her what bills she has paid and she tells me ,but when I ask her for the receipts she never shows me. then she will start ranting “you don’t trust me”. Well when she is wanting my money, I’m going to ask questions. Isn’t that my right? Every month her lights get turned off. She has a 15 year old living with her and is drawing a check from her deceased father. My daughter gets a disability check. the total of both checks are 1700 dollars a month. When she gets her money she doesn’t want me to help her payout what she needs to pay, then when she is getting low on money and then starts calling me I tell her that I can’t help her she starts with the name calling. “you aren’t a mom, you don’t care what happens to us, you don’t care that we haven’t got anything to eat and so on. This will go on for days, all day long. And then when I won’t answer the phone, she shows up at my house and starts screaming out calling me names. She has already been arrested for domestic violence. And is on probation. And it doesn’t matter how much I give her it’s never enough. She has even taken the money that I have given her for such things as probation fees, light bill money,and so on and doesn’t even pay what she owes. Then will start begging for more. I tell her no, I don’t have any more and then she starts calling me a bitch. I’m so TIRED OF THIS. sHE HAS EVEN CAME TO MY TRAILER AND STARTED ON ME SO BAD,THAT MY LANDLORD HAS THREATEN TO EVICT ME. ALL SHE DID WAS LAUGH. THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON SINCE HER HUSBAND DIED 12 YEARS AGO. PLEASE HELP ME TRY TO FIND SOME SANITY.

  • tinybuddha

    Hi there,

    I’m so sorry to hear about what you’re going through with your daughter. I can only imagine how tough this has been for you. Since I’m not yet a parent yet and I don’t have any personal experience with this, I’m not really sure how to advise you.

    Perhaps it would help to share your story in the Tiny Buddha forums, where you can gain insight and guidance from others who can relate. It’s free to join here:

    http://tinybuddha.com/register

    Then you can access the forums here:

    http://tinybuddha.com/forums

    I hope this helps a little!

    Lori

  • Rose

    I have to deal with a negative family everyday. It’s harder to escape when you live with negative people. I feel myself being pulled into it… My mother especially is so negative and critical. I don’t want to be like that.

  • EddieMarriage

    Narcissistic personality disorder. That’s what it appears that your friend has. All those symptoms you’ve described, that is precisely what my elderly mother has. And she definitely has NPD (almost all of her children and several of her grandchildren agree on this).

    There are many, many negative aspects of NPD (to us, not to them). But the most pervasive is the ability of the NPD to boost their image, and denigrate the image of others. And to let everybody around them know this. Some of us do these things in our own minds, where we try to boost our self-esteem, and criticise others, but most of us tend to keep it there — in our own minds.

    NPDs don’t. They tell others. You start talking to an NPD and they will inevitably find a way to tell you about their accomplishments. And about the losers they have had to work with or live next to, etc.

    Along with that, of course, is the self-pity. Essentially that works to engender response from the listener that either boosts the NPD’s self-esteem (“oh poor you”) or helps in the NPD’s denigration of others (“yes, he is evil, look what he’s done to you”). Again, those 2 key components.

    One final item — forget phone calls with them. As you noted with your friend above, she is not interested at all in your half of the conversation. Anything you say is just a springboard for her to go off on another tangent about herself. Face-to-face is a bit easier, as you can control things a bit better (raising your voice to a NPD is a good way to do it). But phone calls are too difficult. NPDs always win there.

  • EddieMarriage

    One way to deal with them is to just laugh at them in your head. Think of them as being like comedians, where every word out of their mouth is a joke, and meaningless.

    And I know this sounds cruel, but also look at them as being beneath you, intelligence wise. Even if they are kind of smart, it doesn’t matter — it’s better to think of yourself being superior to them.

    I mean, don’t tell them that. But think of it in your mind. It’s kind of like the advice they give to people doing public-speaking, when they say: “pretend your audience is all sitting there in their underwear”. It makes it easier to kind of think that you are superior to them.

  • EddieMarriage

    Good for you that you can admit that. And that it looks like you are changing for the better.

  • LBee

    Excellent post! I do have constant complainers in my life that are dear, older family members. This post will help me love them but also practice compassion instead of feeling so exhausted by them.

    I do need advice on another close family member who lies all of the time. It’s so hard to trust her. I do not feel like I can call her out on it though because I am afraid I will not be able to see my nieces again if I did that. My brother is blinded and very righteous. (Here I am labeling them!) but this is real and very frustrating, stressful, and it seems like every day is a new pile of crap to deal with because of her/them (there are other issues besides the lies – money, legal, etc.) and it’s very upsetting to my parents too. I do not know how to manage this. Any thoughts are welcome.

  • Detra

    I think Helena she means don’t be negative all the time. It is virtually impossible for a person to be negative all the time and be normal. That means something is wrong with that person as we all have good and bad days. Not all days are bad so it is impossible to be negative all the time. Some people are on a mission to be unhappy and make others unhappy in the process.It’s how they thrive. They have messed up thinking. That can drain people. Just think of it this way, if it rained all the time, (and we all like a good rain once in awhile), we would grow to hate the rain. Life is a mixture of all different types of moods and experiences. Being on one plane means there is major unbalance. I always try to see the good in people, as I don’t think we are all bad, just misguided in our beliefs.

  • Detra

    I agree!

  • Detra

    if you have depression or other issues affecting your brain I don’t think she was talking about you. There are legitimate medical issues that can affect people’s thinking. I think the article was talking about people who don’t have disorders, but are just negative people

  • Detra

    I think you should ask him to change and if he doesn’t leave. You only have one life to live and I would hate that you would live it unhappily.

  • Detra

    I think sometimes people get into patterns of behavior for so long that they question even the most logical answers which is “GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN!” If she were to break the patterns of behavior that she does even a little bit, more and more over time she will realize how crazy her idea of staying is. Sometimes we talk ourselves into staying doomed. It’s brainwashing done on autopilot. You have to take action to break bad patterns.

  • The Ruminant

    I know this is an old discussion, but I just read it yesterday and there was one thing in this response that I wanted to reply to, even if it never reached the original poster.

    I don’t think it’s about seeing the world as “just and happy”. That would be being delusional. The world isn’t just and it never will be. To expect our version of justice to happen in every situation is an invitation to be miserable and bitter forever. To dwell in that misery and bitterness isn’t going to change what’s happened. It just prolongs it and will possibly draw more people into it; it creates more misery instead of alleviating it.

    You can’t forcibly change the world or others, and you especially can’t change the past. All you can do is accept the reality for what it is and try to live a life of love and peace and hope that it will inspire others to do the same. Unfortunately, the road there can be very painful and requires a lot humility and letting go. I’m sure many aren’t willing to go through that. That’s why it’s so very difficult to “fix” things for someone else. As long as they’re not willing to see that they need to let go of what ever is causing them pain and accept reality for what it is, there’s nothing you can do. That pain will be there for as long as that person is holding onto it and nobody else can let go of it for them or “fix” things. What we can do is try to create a safe and loving environment for a person who’s willing to go through that scary phase, or at least not to add to their pain.

    Accepting that mistreatment and suffering has taken place is not the same as condoning it. It’s just acknowledging that it has happened and trying to learn from it and responding to it in a way that doesn’t jeopardize our health any further. Trying to wish things away or getting obsessed over the events will never change things for the better. That is why it’s so difficult to deal with negativity: it is a useless exercise that will only stoke the flames of bitterness and pain and will never heal the deep wounds.

  • unga

    Yea who the hell wants to be around people like that… they’re vampires..energy suckers
    They are not worth time..they are abusing and using you for distribution of their negative behavior. Tell them to go to a shrink

  • Scott McCoy

    WOW, just what I’m going through at the moment with some dear people.
    Humans like you’ve just described, some how……draw you in to the despair, the dark vortex of no hope. Depression is very cunning.
    You get sucked in and loose yourself in the process if not careful.
    I would add just being present will help your loved one find a glimmer of hope.
    Its hard to listen sometimes, but just stay with the thought and let them talk.
    To be present and not judge is love, be love. Pema Chodron
    happy trails

  • Angela Martin

    I recently quit my job, because my co-worker was extremely negative! She was horribly rude to most of the customers, and she was verbally and physically abusive with their pets. She would constantly gripe about the previous employee who had worked there before me. I would listen to her complain every day, but I would not feed into her gossiping. I feel like I was really only there for her to have someone to rant to, but I was very nonchalant with my responses. I think this caused her to become even angrier, since I wouldn’t join her in berating this person whom I’d never met? She would also curse and yell about our boss, and she would throw hissy fits and throw things across the room and start crying. On a daily basis. This was a 50+ year old woman. I understand that people go through hard times, but there are better ways to deal with them than that! I only lasted about 6 weeks at that place. Was I wrong for leaving? I didn’t feel like it was appropriate for the workplace. I do feel somewhat guilty for not sticking around, but I didn’t want her negativity to affect me. I just don’t know…

  • fran

    thank you so much, i feel better just by coming to this site

  • Positivethinkingrules

    Lori, I enjoyed reading your article. I found it after I Googled, “How do you deal with negative people who are family members?” I have someone close to me whom I love dearly, but every time she calls me or I call her, she dumps on me and complains. This has been going on for years. She doesn’t ask me anything about my family or me. She thinks my life is perfect. I don’t complain and I choose to be happy and positive, and I live my life by concentrating on the small joys that I can find in something every day. I also think of what I’m thankful for every day. I could absolutely find something to complain about if I chose to do that. But when I complain, it just makes me feel worse and brings on more negative feelings. I have been reading a lot lately, and one of the things it said was to cut off negativity. You can do that a lot of times, but sometimes you are held hostage to others’ negativity. I am always there for my friends and family and do try to help them however I can, but this person close to me doesn’t want my help. When I suggest things to them or turn it around, they resist it. What has worked for me is imagining a hard plastic shield around my body, and anything that I perceive as negative that is coming at me, I imagine it is deflecting off of that shield and I am protected. It really has helped me. Have a blessed day!

  • Sam

    Hey Lori, I think you’re an amazing writer. Your post really helped me accept the nature of my long-distance girlfriend if I want us to be together one day. Her negativity was beginning to irk me and for a while I was beginning to think I’m a jerk, or that I’m using her for my own happiness. I really want her to be happy, when she’s upset I just feel like crap because I can’t do anything to help but talk to her. Me realizing that cutting and all sorts of self-harm methods are nothing but a cry for attention even if kept private formed an obstacle at first, but soon after I began to understand why she used to do it. I’m going to start focusing on helping her today rather than tomorrow and hopefully bring some positivity to her life as she says I do. Thanks for the post.