We all know them…you recognize them quickly in the way they interact with those closest to them, as if they possess some stature or echelon level over them. You will know them because they interact with those they are NOT close to in a very different light; a performance or a stage ACT. They seem well put together and show up to events, classes, groups, conversations and other human interactions with a sense of courage, bravery and even an air of self-importance when all the while, they are known and viewed very differently by those closest to them.
They tell you what you are doing is WRONG or tell you how you SHOULD do something. They won’t listen to your stories, your feelings or your side. The mood of the day revolves around how they FEEL…..anywhere from eggshells, to conflict or elation, erratic spending and even sudden plans that may or may not involve you. Their words are harsh and their tone loud. Their needs are selfish…its all about them. They tell you how you should load a dishwasher, mow the yard, organize a pantry, do laundry, make a bed, use a hammer, how to speak on the phone to someone, what to say to someone. They will scold adults for not responding how they THOUGHT it should have been. They will eradicate themselves from situations of importance without cause or even notice. They keep some areas of their world OBSESSIVELY organized (maybe a desk, maybe a closet, a dishwasher or even the process of laundry). EVERYTHING in their environment must FIT in their expectations of what they THINK is RIGHT, and even if they speak momentarily that they adapt, when it doesn’t fit, they HAVE A FIT.
Negative people are everywhere. Sure, there are different reasons why an individual might be temporarily negative, but the one’s who work very hard to remove the shine of the positive are the targets for today’s understanding.
As it is quoted
“Some people try to be tall by cutting off the heads of others”
This doesn’t mean that growth and ascension at the sacrifice of certain relationships isn’t appropriate…quite the contrary.
What it means is those who ACTIVELY and PATTERNISTICALY utilize or tap into negative energies to make themselves appear a way that they are not, even through teasing and humiliating with humor, arguing or being combative.
Negative and controlling people LOVE to push buttons to expose another’s weakness or vulnerability…not to actually help or encourage growth, but to put a glowing spotlight on YOU directly as an individual and create a need to become defensive or explain out their side.
This is very different than someone who FEELS convicted by the words or actions of another and argues to defend their toxic or damaging lifestyle, behaviors and actions.
Negative people like to “exploit” the weaknesses in others, using “control” as a means to be “right”. They are typically moody, depressed, angry, and even anxious about the world and everything around them. Some often act like VICTIMS, playing the “poor me” card through social media drama, drawing attention to their multiple woes and how NO ONE EVER gives them credit or helps them. They pretend that they are indispensable and can “survive” without the help of others or that their views are the only views.
Negative people try to CONTROL others, because it gives them a sense of power and offsets their own core struggle: FEAR.
Why do people become CONTROLLING and NEGATIVE?
There are a few reasons why.
- Somewhere in their past, they LOST control of a critical part of their existence (rape, sexual assault, physical abuse, abusive relationship, bankruptcy, hurricane). Their own control over their life was taken, whether momentarily or over the course of time, and they have not LEARNED how to heal.
- They have a superiority issue, or an internal NEED to FEEL SUPERIOR to others. This can be a personality issue or caused by something simple like a guardian using dominance and authoritative parenting tactics.
- Oppositional and stubbornness can cause a person to possess a strong need to CONTROL, especially in UNDERSTANDING another’s perspective, opinion and even another’s feelings.
- FEAR of being abandoned, which is often stemmed from a childhood upbringing of abuse. When children (especially boys) are beaten by their own parents, slapped around, verbally abused, called names like stupid or told they will not amount to anything, they develop issues with loving themselves. The instinctual way to reassert themselves is by controlling others.
- To prove themselves! Their self-esteem and confidence are so low.
The WEAK control for STRENGTH
The INSECURE control for SAFETY
The UNWORTHY control for VALUE
So how do we deal with controlling and negative people? Aye…the struggle is exposed!
Customers, clients, encounters/interactions with waitstaff, checkers, drive-through window staff, neighbors, romantic partners, spouses and even friends and family…..there are those individuals who are seen in every circle as being “negative”, even controlling over everything and everyone in their environment.
Aside from keeping you COOL (just breathe), distancing yourself from them if possible (physically or emotionally), and reminding yourself to NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY, there are some highly effective ways to deal with those individuals who are often negative and controlling.
- KEEP YOUR FOCUS on yourself, your own thoughts, words and expressions. Negative people are negative about everyone. Some even feel safety in “expressing” their true negativity to those who are closest because it is their true vulnerability.
- UNDERSTAND that FEAR is the root of their negativity, their control, their criticism, their projecting and their contempt. YOU CANNOT CHANGE A NEGATIVE PERSON’S MINDSET – SO DON’T TRY. Trying to change them will drain YOU and only YOU, and can create greater challenges and conflicts. Understand that they FEAR being disrespected, not being loved and they fear the world as being a dangerous or unjust place.
- HAVE COMPASSION for them by trying to wear their brain for a moment or through a situation. Can you even begin to imagine what it must FEEL like to be bombarded with negative thoughts all day every day? A negative person’s energy is really a place he or she cannot escape and if YOU absorb it or take it personally, you suffer with them. Just listen, but do not respond to them in any capacity or fall prey to their controlling and negative mindset. Do not feed it. Doing so can have an opposite impact in that they make believe YOU ARE TRYING to change them. Even if you agree with their negativity, just listen to their rants.
- TREAT THEM LIKE AN ADULT AND MAKE THEM RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN NEGATIVITY. Don’t “blame” them for being negative, but rather, when they begin to infiltrate your safe space, act like a grownup yourself and take FULL RESPONSIBILITY for YOUR happiness. This is one of the most challenging components because we TRY to say “I am not happy because so-in-so did this to me”. You create your own happiness. Do this by
- Pursuing your own dreams, not in a “fuck you I’m doing my own thing whether you like it or not” manner, but in a way that still allows you to be who you are and want to be without stonewalling them or cutting them out.
- Take risks. Do things differently.
- Build trusting relationships with those who MATTER. Stop making relationships with know takers and purveyors of drama and negativity.
- Own your choices, even if the negative person tries to make a negative response towards your choices (ie….they tell you that you SAID something WRONG when you spoke truth for YOU and from your own space).
Negativity can destroy people and relationships. It can be a cause for addictions, depression, emotional struggles and the inadvertent removal of another’s SHINE.
I’m not suggesting that life is rainbows and butterflies, but what I am suggesting is that those who DEAL with negative people must know and understand their OWN BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS:
Being treated with respect
Ability to freely and without judgment express your OWN feelings, wants and opinions
Set your own priorities
Say NO without guilt
Get what you pay for
Have an opinion DIFFERENT than others
Protect SELF and take care of SELF from THREATS of physical, mental or emotional HARM
Create our OWN happiness