It’s tough to live a positive life around negative people.
Dealing with negativity can be quite a downer. I once had a coworker whose negative energy would wash over me on a daily basis. In our conversations, she would complain endlessly about everything – work tasks, family, friends, health, and anything else she could think of. She was also extremely cynical about others, often doubting their intentions and judging them harshly. Talking to her wasn’t a pleasant experience, to say the least.
The first time we had a meeting I felt completely drained. Even though we spoke for just 30 minutes, I barely had any energy left after our conversation. It felt as if someone had literally sucked the life out of me, and it took a couple hours for the effects to wear off. The same thing happened the next few times we spoke too. I quickly realized I needed to work out an action plan to deal with this kind of negative energy. After all, she was not going to be the only negative person I was going to encounter in my life.
I gradually developed several key strategies for dealing with negative people effectively. They have worked wonders in my own life, and now Marc and I use them to assist hundreds of coaching/course students we interact with on a weekly basis. I’m hoping you find value in them too…
1. Set and enforce limits.
Negative people who wallow in their problems and fail to focus on solutions are hard to deal with. They want people to join their 24/7 pity party so they can feel better about themselves. And you may feel pressured to listen to their complaints simply because you don’t want to be seen as callous or rude, but there’s a fine line between lending a compassionate ear and getting sucked into their negative emotional drama.
You can avoid this drama by setting limits and distancing yourself when necessary. Think of it this way: if a negative person were chain-smoking cigarettes, would you sit beside them all day inhaling their second-hand smoke? No, you wouldn’t – you’d distance yourself. So go ahead and give yourself some breathing room when you must.
If distancing yourself is impossible in the near-term, another great way to set limits is to ask a negative person how they intend to fix the problem they’re complaining about. Oftentimes they will either quiet down or redirect the conversation in a more harmonious direction, at least temporarily.
2. Respond mindfully – don’t just react.
A reaction is a hot, thoughtless, in-the-moment eruption of emotion that’s usually driven by your ego (as human beings, we’re more likely to react when we’re disconnected from our logical mind). It might last just a split second before your intuition kicks in and offers some perspective, or it might take over to the point that you act on it. When you feel angry or flustered after dealing with a negative person, that’s a sign you’ve reacted rather than responded mindfully. Responding mindfully will leave you feeling like you handled things with integrity and poise.
Bottom line: when you encounter someone with a negative attitude, don’t respond by throwing insults back at them. Keep your dignity and don’t lower yourself to their level. True strength is being bold enough to walk away from the nonsense with your head held high.
3. Introduce lighter topics of discussion.
Some people’s negative attitudes are triggered by specific, seemingly harmless topics. For example, one of my friends turns into a very toxic self-victimizer whenever we talk about her job. No matter what I say, she’ll complain about everything related to her job, and when I try to interject with positive comments, she just rolls right over them with more negativity. Obviously this becomes quite a conversation dampener.
If you find yourself in a similar conversational situation, and the person you’re talking with is stuck on a topic that’s bringing you down, realize their negative emotions may be too deeply rooted to address in a one-off conversation. Your best bet is to introduce a new topic to lighten the mood. Simple things like funny memories, mutual friendships, personal success stories, and other kinds of happy news make for light conversation. Keep it to areas the person feels positive about.
4. Focus on solutions, not problems.
Where and how you focus your attention determines your emotional state. When you zero in on the problems you’re facing, you create and prolong negative emotions and stress. When you shift your focus toward actions that can improve your circumstances, you create a sense of self-efficacy that yields positive emotions and reduces stress.
The same exact principle applies when dealing with negative people – fixating on how stressful and difficult they are only intensifies your suffering by giving them power over you. Stop thinking about how troubling this person is, and focus instead on how you’re going to go about handling their behavior in a positive way. This makes you more effective by putting you in the driver’s seat, and it will greatly reduce the amount of stress you experience when you’re interacting with them. (Read Loving What Is.)
5. Maintain a level of emotional detachment from other people’s opinions of you.
Maintaining a level of emotional detachment is vital for keeping stress at a distance. Not allowing negative people (or anyone for that matter) to put the weight of their inadequacies on your back is vital to your emotional health and happiness. It all comes down to how you value yourself, and thus believe in yourself.
People who manage their lives effectively are generally those who work internally – i.e. those who know that success and well-being comes from within (internal locus of control). Negative people generally work externally – i.e. blame others or outside events for everything that does or doesn’t happen (external locus of control).
When your sense of satisfaction and self-worth are derived from the opinions of others, you are no longer in control of your own happiness. Know this. When emotionally strong people feel good about something they’ve done, they don’t let anyone’s shallow opinions or spiteful remarks take that away from them.
Truth be told, you’re never as good as everyone says when you win, and you’re never as terrible as they tell you when you lose. The important thing is what you’ve learned, and what you’re doing with it.
6. Let go of the desire to change other people’s negative tendencies.
Some people you can help by setting a good example, others you can’t. Recognize the difference and it’ll help maintain your equilibrium. Don’t be taken in by the energy vampires, manipulators and emotional blackmailers by desperately trying to control what is out of your control – other people’s behavior.
With that said, if there’s a specific behavior someone you love has that you’re hoping changes over time, it probably won’t. If you really need them to change for some substantial reason, be honest and put all the cards on the table so this person knows how you feel and why.
For the most part though, you can’t change people and you shouldn’t try. Either you accept who they are or you choose to live without them. It might sound a bit harsh, but it’s not. When you try to change people, they often resist and remain the same… but when you don’t try to change them – when you support them and allow them the autonomy to be as they are – they gradually change in the most miraculous way. Because what really changes is the way you see them.
7. Dedicate ample time every day to self-care.
You do not have to neglect yourself just because others do. Seriously, if you’re forced to live or work with a negative person, then make sure you get enough alone time to rest and recuperate. Having to play the role of a ‘focused, rational adult’ in the face of persistent negativity can be exhausting, and if you’re not careful, the negativity can consume you.
Negative people can keep you up at night as you constantly question yourself:
- “Am I doing the right thing?”
- “Am I really so terrible that they speak to me like that?”
- “I can’t BELIEVE he did that!”
- “I’m so hurt!”
Thoughts like these can keep you agonizing for weeks, months, or even years. Sadly, sometimes this is the goal of a negative person – to drive you crazy and bring you down to their level of thinking, so they’re not wallowing alone. And since you can’t control what they do, it’s important to take care of yourself so you can remain centered, feeling healthy and ready to live positively in the face of their negativity when you must. (Marc and I discuss this in more detail in the “Self-Love” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
Although it can be hard to admit, sometimes the negative person is YOU. Sometimes it’s your own negativity that hurts you more than anything else.
If your inner critic is trying it’s hardest to get the best of you, try giving up all the thoughts and contemplations that make you feel bad, or even just some of them, for the rest of the day. See how doing that changes your life. You don’t need these negative thoughts. All they have ever given you is a false self that suffers for no reason.
Do you have a personal story you’d like to share about dealing with negative people? What helps you stay positive when negativity surrounds you? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and insights.
Photo by: ernagotyar
Thank you so much. Your posts and emails are so helpful. I really needed this one. It’s so hard when the negative person in your life is your spouse and you feel like you’re always trying to help them see the positive side of things, and it never helps. In the end, I’m the one that ends up feeling more upset because I allow the negativity to bring me down. I need to focus more on how I handle his negativity that’s out of my control, and less on trying to to help him overcome it. I have to realize that’s not my job. It’s his job. My job is my own well-being. Thank you again.
Marc Chernoff says
I agree with your sentiment, Heather. I think you’re on the right track. Stay strong.
Thank you Heather. I found this sight because of a similar situation. I’m finally in the place where I can accept his choice for separation (3rd time in our year of marriage) and I’ve learned to distance myself. But he is the one that continues to text me to find out things about my life. This time I’ve chosen not to give information and keep our communication minimal and only for needed info until I’m completely out of the house. It’s not easy but I can say that I’m actually taking care of me this time, learning as I go. Much love to you and thank you for sharing….
Over the past seven months, your course and book have actually helped me eliminate a truly negative relationship from my life once and for all. One of the points you and Marc make in your course is to evaluate your core principles against the company you keep. Understand those principles and live by them. In a somewhat natural fashion, negativity will gradually fade from your life when your principles are upheld and exercised on a daily basis.
I have found that this positive way of living applies to both friendships and intimate relationships. I’d rather have less relationships than have endless negativity in my life, like I used to have.
Also, your final point about taming your own negativity is important too. I’ve made lots of progress in this area too.
Thank you as always.
Marc Chernoff says
Thank you for supporting and being an advocate of our work, Dee. Angel I are reading these comments together and it truly warms our hearts to know that the course material and coaching we’ve worked through with you has made a positive difference. Talk again soon.
Martha Brettschneider says
I agree with you, Dee. The quality of our relationships is so much more important than the quantity!!! It sounds like you have experienced the same phenomenon that I have — the more positive we become in our own lives, the more we attract positive people into our environment. Positive people are party poopers for negative people. 😉
I love the balanced approach you discuss in number 6 about putting your foot down, but also practicing acceptance when it makes sense. Like Dee, your book has helped me find this balance, gradually. I’ve since made it a point to surround myself with people who bring out the best in me, and also work through some negativity-related issues with those people whom I know are worth the extra effort.
Marc Chernoff says
Thank you for supporting our work, Amandah. We truly appreciate you. It’s great to hear that our work has helped you make progress in your relationships.
Marc and Angel,
Thank you so much for this much needed post as I was just hit hard by negative people and your post and webinar helped immensely!
Thank you so much for this, Angel (and Marc). I’ve recently been trying to create more positivity in my life, and I’m really pleased with how it’s working out, but as a result, I’ve been more aware of the negative people in my life. I was really struggling with how to deal with them. You can have all your positivity work undone by someone who just wants to moan and wallow non-stop at you without finding a solution! I love the idea of thinking of it like cigarette smoke – you wouldn’t sit around without doing anything while they blew smoke in your face, so why do we put up with the negative vibes they give off?! I like the reminder of finding a solution as well – focusing on the positive ways to deal with it puts you back in control (and means you can keep your positive mindset!) Thank you! Once again you have made reassured me that I’m not alone, and given me some positive steps to take 🙂 Really helpful post!
Ashish Raj Shukla says
This entire website is Great (very thorough too).
And this particular post helped me today.
Thanks Marc and Angel.
At work, I’m forced to sit by the most negative person I’ve ever met — his constant narcissistic whining and downer complaining give me knots in my stomach. I can’t change seats — so I wear headphones for most of the day. It’s not ideal, but I realized I’d literally die of stress otherwise.
Prasanna Dasari says
As always your email today made my day, Angel. I really need to thank you guys for the motivational posts. And this is my first ever comment here, the negativity ruled me for many years. It is me who is with the negative state of mind and fetching for the reasons and excuses to run away from the problems. However, slowly I drifted my mind from getting more influenced by the negativity.
And how I did that is by giving my mind a specific task which includes the problem solving skills. And I applied it everyday, this negative impact was vigorous in me during my college. And with the reality, I learned that nobody will help me and even their pity won’t help me to solve the problem I am in. This realization made me to think practically.
I felt so deeply down when I recall the excuses and complaints I made after each failure. That feeling made me to quit for the pitying glances from people.
There are many more things related to positivity which I learned from your site, I sincerely thank you both for all those wonderful posts 🙂
Martha Brettschneider says
Love this post. I became ultra sensitized to negative energy when I was recovering from breast cancer treatment six years ago. It was also during this period that I discovered that ego was the main source of negative energy output, both in myself and others. That realization helped me to a) not react in a way that fed the drama mongering; b) see beyond the negativity to the suffering that lay behind it; c) ask the person what action they planned to take, and advise them to let go of the rest. But it took time to get to this point. In the early stages, I think I came across as uncaring, since I would often ask the person “How important is this anyway?” It takes practice, but each opportunity shows us how we can respond more effectively the next time. And life will always give us plenty of opportunities to practice! 😉
Thanks guys once again… This message being delivered to my inbox couldn’t be a more perfect time!! Today is my birthday and once again I’m dealing with very negative husband , not just today but most days . I’m going to re read this blog once again and practice it today and everyday ! This is a day to celebrate my special day,, and that I will with positive vibes!! Love you guys, your timing is always perfect!!
I get trapped in point 7 very easily! For some reason I always seemed to take it all on through the sidedoor. Even if I know there is negativity, I feel like there’s no way to avoid the aftereffect. I have started getting more attuned to noticing when someone is on a negative setting (and sometimes it’s covered up, so you have to be very alert or you get it passed to you “under the table” before you know it) and I keep a distance. If something does get to me, I cut off, go to bed for a bit, break the cycle of the day and those awful thoughts in my head I know only too well, then it’s gone, after an hour or so. Sometimes a quick regenerative sleep does it. There’s normally a very good reason why a person/situation has managed to “get inside” me, something I haven’t given attention to that I need to. But lying down does help me get there.
Thank you. As usual, you always have good advice. Your posts help me to introspect a lot. I used to really care about the opinions of those who are close to me and that has taken me down some unhappy paths. I also used to give so much of my time and energy that I neglected myself. Now I am working on maintaining a good balance and having joy which is internal, not based on opinions of others or circumstances.
How to deal with a caregiver that is referred by a family member. She takes care of my mother who has dementia. She has been causing trouble within in the siblings and babys my mother to getting her way . she has opened family mail, involved herself with mothers social security knowing mothers has been totally dependent on my dad which past last year and she has caused a stressful life for me because i see through her. I could fire her legally but mother would be effected and her dementia is getting worse. How do you get the point across to her. She. Believes mother will need her no matter what she wants to do. She also tries to manipulate the hours of anyother caregiver taking care of my mother to cause them to feel sorry for her to give up their hours. Whats the best way to deal with this person .
Sandy Covey says
This sounds like she could be dangerous to your family and your mother. Getting into her social security is a huge red flag. Making herself “indispensable” also is unprofessional at the least she and could be actually trying to isolate your mother. Fire her immediately! No one should be that involved in her private finances but her family.
Thanks so much for this.
We used to have a very negative, ego-powered business partner. I remember when he was hired to work for the company and felt he should oversee my work … well micromanage, every Friday I would quit my job. Then over the weekend I would recover and stick it out another week. This went on for months.
His abuse to us in emails was crushing. He used to send us a long email every Sunday complaining about the sales. By Monday we were so stressed out.
We are however very thankful for him because he eventually forced us to pack up and start our own company. We were more successful in the first year than our other business was in the ten years it operated.
We are going from strength to strength and it’s largely because of this negative, abusive man … and these blog posts which help us with perspective. Thanks you guys!
How do you support a negative person (#6)? I’m in Heather’s boat. I’ve reached the point where I know I can’t change him and I know I’m not responsible for him or his happiness (even though if you ask him I basically am responsible for his unhappiness), I just don’t know what else to do.
Michele Collins says
This was a great article full of sound advice. It was very satisfying to read because I found some validation here regarding what I’m going through right now – thank you Angel for your vey wise words.
Its really hard when the negative people in question are your own parents. I have recently come to the conclusion that I (for now at least) need a no-contact distance from them. This is not to say I don’t love them, or never want to see/talk to them again. But for my own psychological and emotional well being, it must be this way right now. What makes it even harder is that they are now elderly, so I feel like I am wasting precious time not seeing them. I feel guilty as a daughter, and it is not my intention to neglect or disrespect them. But they bring such negativity and distortion to my life. Everything is a huge guilt tripping, manipulative, mind game. My mother creates needless drama for sport. She speaks badly about me to everyone. She makes me the scapegoat of all familial issues even though it is basically her denial of reality that has perpetuated circumstances that now divide our family. My father is mentally ill and very verbally/emotionally/psychologically abusive as well. He has contorted my mother into someone I don’t even know any more. I am a single parent raising two teenagers on my own. I can’t fight this psychological war with them anymore, I can’t have it literally draining my vitality through my pores. I can’t continue to see myself through their eyes, or be exposed to their self-serving, judgments about me or their misinformed accusations of the person they think I am or what my life is about. They will always see what they want rather than what is right in front of them. They are missing a relationship with a wonderful daughter but I cannot fight it anymore. I have too much to accomplish and all they are is life-sucking drama that boarders on imbecilic. When I used to know a visit would be coming up, my stomach would literally be in knots like 2 weeks before the encounter, and I’d be screwed up emotionally for like a month afterwards. Life is too short for all that static.
Also, just a quick comment about point number three. I had a friend whom I would try this tactic with, changing the subject from this to that to distract her from whatever crazed rant she was working herself into. Turns out that this woman was able to put a negative twist on just about anything, short of the color of the sky. That’s when I knew the ‘friendship’ was beyond help or hope, issues were way too deep for my ‘expertise’ or skills to deal with, so I eventually had to just cut it off. Oh well. As you get older, hopefully you learn to second-guess yourself less and just do what needs to be done for the sake of self-preservation.
well done. You sound like a very mature adult woman, who recognised it is not worth to waste your own life for anyone who does not respect the time you spent with them.
I know very well what you mean with negative parents. I’m definitely guilty of not following #6…until recently. I’m coming to accept that things are as they are. Like you said, distance doesn’t mean we love them less, it just means we love our lives more. And it’s how it should be.
Luca – thanks for your supportive comment. It’s nice to know there are people out there who actually ‘get it’. Sometimes the judgment b/c it is my parents, can be very harsh and unyielding, so I usually keep these matters to myself and don’t garner much support from other people. (These are usually people who don’t have a frame of reference aligned with my own.) Your kind words mean a lot.
Michele, well done with your progress and you’re not alone in this! I totally understand. I come from a similar situation. Both my parents have always been negative people, plus forever quarrelling… In my teenage years I avoided them by leaving home asap with the “excuse” of study, work, etc. Now I still live away, but when I go see my now-widowed mother… well, you know the feeling too well… Superdrained, so much that I have to plan days off to recover. Over the years I found some techniques to shield myself, yet they don’t work 24 hours a day. The sense of guilt I understand totally, and I also believe that daughters more than sons are expected to be all-nice, caring, selfless, etc, otherwise they’re called heartless. That might be one of the reasons you don’t seem to find other people feeling like you – they might just be ashamed to admit it. I’m Italian and catholic (although not practicing), so the upbringing here is definitely leading girls to self-sacrifice – at least it did for my generation (I’m 49). Also, speaking to women I find that practically no woman has a perfect relationship with their mother… and I thought I was the only faulty one… I find that for me unfortunately love and hate are paradoxically merged together (the aggressiveness in people I don’t care about doesn’t shock me that deeply): even though I never felt love for my mother, even as a child when she was still bearable, there must be some kind of love somewhere down there if she makes me so freaking angry! Aaarrghhhhhh! Still working on it, maybe one day I will recognize it. With my father a miracolous acknowledgement happened during his fatal illness, so we parted on much better terms. Best of luck, Michele, and YOU CAN DO IT, especially since you have your own family to concentrate on. Love, Isabella
Angel Chernoff says
Yes, well done, Michele. I can only echo the sentiments of Luca and Isabella. 🙂
I have been going through a very parallel relationship with both my parents for my whole life (turned 60 this year).
The feeling of stomach knots and mental draining describes how I felt and still feel every time I know I will see them. We have lived in different states for over 20 years.
My father is very controlling, narrow minded and never admits to having any responsibility for his actions or words. My mother has never been loving as far back as I can remember. She has demonstrated hatred and envy towards me and other family members for years.
In the past we had times they would not speak to me as I also had chosen to distance myself to preserve some self sanity.
I have a beautiful life with my husband of 30 years (whom they despise), a daughter whom I adore and 2 wonderful grandchildren.
We moved 3 years ago to live near them as to enjoy our family and be apart of our precious grandchildren’s life.
My parents are elderly but they are still trying to pin our family (sister, aunt) against me…..but they’ve lost that war!
I’m at a crossroad….again, trying to decide if enough is enough.
I want and need to get the toxic poison out of my life not to mention my husbands life, as my health affects him as well.
I do care about them. Nothing I’ve tried in all these years has worked.
I am at the point as well, to have no contact with them.
You are not alone and neither am I.
Recently I found myself in a difficult situation with someone …I had genuinely apologised for my part in what happened between us, which she couldn’t accept, despite calling herself ‘kind and spiritual’ , and continued to blame me for her behaviour.
She avoided any admittance of guilt on her part – how she had been towards me which had started the whole fiasco.
i gave up expecting her to admit her part, she wrung out every last thing she could think of, whilst not examining her own behaviour, and finally she was happy.
I’d had to compromise to ameliorate the situation, which then got resolved for her, but I’m left feeling resentful…..I wish I hadn’t turned myself inside out in order to make someone else happy at my expense, it’s so hard not to do if you’re trying to make peace, for me anyway.
Thank you for your wonderful posts, they always arrive at the right time !
Cheryl S. says
Thank you – I have your book and love reading these posts daily. Your tips really help me. I am about to end a 5+ years relationship because of negativity that just brings me down! I can’t change my mate so I have to move on! I am sad but know I will feel free when I do so!
Angel Chernoff says
Keep taking small steps in the right direction, Cheryl. Stay strong.
And thank you for supporting our work. 🙂
Thank you for continuing to write what so many of us need each day! Your tips are grounding and very helpful. A friend recommended your site during a very overwhelming time in my life a few months ago. Step by step and day by day, I am focusing on the positive and making strides. Keeping that positive movement aligned with management of a negative person with their own issues is a constant struggle. My mantra is to never let angry words be my last and to extract myself when that person is stuck in their negativity cycle. I have to know that I cannot change anyone but myself. Daily mantra!
Thank you for your work, your words and the encouragement to all of us on this daily merry-go-round called Life!
Thank you for sharing your daily mantra! I have heard that before, however today the idea of repeating that phrase to myself is GENIUS.
Angel Chernoff says
I love your mantra, Sam!
Sandy C says
Thank you for this timely (HOW do you do that?) post. My work atmosphere is ramping up it’s negativity due to “change” which is a constant in this environment. It causes a great deal of stress ~ the atmosphere is thick with it & negative folks are displaying their banners in manic ways. Your advice is golden, mine is to add that it could go on for a while but consistent behavior will ease the pain. Ramp up your self-care during this time and let your loved ones know what is going on so they can help you balance this til it gets better. Also, don’t be a Polly-Anna ~ negative folks actually smell blood and get worse when this happens. Be calm, be consistent, be the rock.
Thank you so much, Angel, for sharing this post!
I’m a craniosacral therapist. Many of my clients have been experiencing very intense time lately. They are desperate, overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin to heal. During a session, I feel that negative quality in their system, too as dehydration, very buzzy, electric energy and resistance to relax. However, when I’m deeply grounded and able to hold space for their Inherent Health and true authenticity without any judgment or trying to fix anything, they eventually relax deeply, and sometimes, even they let go of the resistance to change.
I always try to use that technique in the daily life with a healthy boundary. I don’t always succeed, but I’m getting better at it.
Awesome post, dealing with negativity is really a skill we need to develop!
Personally, I try to enforce a rule that if someone is “hating” on something, they also need to suggest a solution to it. This is part of a general attitude of separating complaining vs. giving constructive criticism.
Thanks for sharing this!
Leanne Winters says
this is such a wonderful insightful post, its madness how other people can bring you down and ill be following these steps for sure x
Thank you for this insightful read today. I struggle with many negative immediate family members in my life. I appreciate your tips and will definitely use the one where you ask the person how they plan to find a solution to their issue. My question is, what if they say that they can’t find a solution and have already tried everything? My son is 22, still at home with me and struggles with ADHD and anxiety on a daily basis. He wants to have a “family meeting” almost every evening to discuss his stressors but the problem is that he repeatedly asks for help to the same problem over and over. I want to be supportive to him but I have been overwhelmed with the constant questions and telling me that he can’t figure it out on his own. Please help with suggestions!
Maybe he could keep a note book, or have a file on his phone, or on the family computer, of his discussions with you all. Then he / or you can refer to the previous information you shared with him. Also recording a session could help. He sounds like he needs another forum to be validated.
Angel Chernoff says
I agree 100% with Goldi’s suggestion. That is an excellent strategy to start with.
I absolutely love your articles and share with friends, each time I see they need to find inspiration to overpass some situations. You are doing an amazing job out here!
Hi Marc and Angel,
What do you recommend for deciding whether to stay with a negative spouse? I have been battling this one out in my mind for years and can never fully decide to leave. But I am so often hurt / bombarded / exhausted by all of his negative energy and most days I am left thinking that I don’t want myself and my kids to constantly be exposed to the negativity. How can I tell if I’m just being too sensitive (allowing his negativity to affect me too strongly) vs. really needing to make the change for a better future? How can I reconcile hurting him so badly when he really doesn’t mean to hurt me? He truly does try hard to be a good husband and father. But at the same time, he is stubborn and refuses to change, and even refuses to read self-help books or inspirational books that could give him a new perspective.
Btw, thank you for all that you do … your valuable advice and inspiring recommendations have helped me out many times!
Just want to say thank you so much for sharing this. This article helps me a lot. I really appreciate it 🙂
If someone is being persistently negative, I will generally try to put in an alternative perspective if the situation is conducive to it.
Often people seem to get on a roll with negativity, impervious to suggestions, so I will make some simple excuse to get away, like needing to go to the toilet or needing to make a phone call.
I try to give them some form of love in one way or another, or sometimes a little prayer that their dark cloud will lighten.
I do love your ideas in this post. It is soooo hard for me to practice these principles when it comes to my ex-husband. Trying to co-parent and arrange children’s schedules with him is such a battle. He can turn a simple, “Can you watch the twins while I go out of town for a business trip?” to a major battle, raking up all the negative feelings I have tried so hard to leave behind. I always leave feeling beat up and worthless. All during our marriage I took his put downs, but I want to stand up for myself now. However, I realize this is reacting and goes against your idea #2! Staying detached from his opinion of me (#5) is also so hard when he was such a part of my life for 23 years.
Well? I’ll keep working on it. Thanks for your posts that inspire me to do so!!
I loved your analogy -“if a negative person were chain-smoking cigarettes, would you sit beside them all day inhaling their second-hand smoke?”
One of my favorite pieces of advice is,..
“Don’t let anyone live in your head rent-free.”
Lisa Z. says
My favorite take-away from this piece:
“Truth be told, you’re never as good as everyone says when you win, and you’re never as terrible as they tell you when you lose. The important thing is what you’ve learned, and what you’re doing with it.”
I’ve learned that if you don’t want to be affected by people’s negative opinions of you, the key is to master the other side of the coin and not be flattered by people’s positive opinions. Releasing the need for validation has really helped me to shield myself from negativity. That, and a good anti-depressant : )~
Angel and Marc,
When I first stumbled across your articles, I felt you were the best self help I have ever found!
Three months ago I bought your books and they are so helpful and on target.
This blog was just what I needed at this time. I also read the comments others share and for the first time (today) I have posted a reply to one of the comments on this article.
My aunt and cousins will be visiting me next week. They are from abroad and we don’t get to see each other often. Very excited!
I have a great relationship with my aunt (my fathers sister).
However, my relationship with my parents has been strained for years. (See my reply to Michelle).
My father has pinned members of our family against me for years…..of course he would deny it and hit below the belt if he was confronted.
My father asked my aunt why she and her family are going to Atlanta, what kind of work does she have there? (where I, my husband, daughter, son-in-law and 2 precious grandchildren live). This really hurts, having your father dismiss mine and my family’s very existence!!
I want to have no contact with my parents, my struggle has been honoring God’s Ten Commandments…..Honor your father and mother.
I am torn. How does one continue any relationship with people who have no love or respect for you?
Dear Marc & Angel,
Thank you so much for this article. Towards the end of the article you wrote “Negative people can keep you up at night” I just had one such sleepless night today & while going through my mail I saw one of your mails dated 3rd September. I feel so much better after reading the article. So thank you so much.
– Tina from India.
I agree with you Lisa. A good anti depressant that too without any side effects 🙂
I agree with this wholeheartedly. I struggle with how to utilize these approaches when dealing with someone who is bipolar, specifically a spouse. It’s kind of hard to use these approaches when you love that person. Is there a different mindset when that scenario is evident?
Thank you! I have one sister, my only immediate family, and she is the most toxic and vicious negative energy I have ever encountered. My whole life has been coloured by this relationship and outside of the relationship I am excited and thrilled about everything I am learning and knowing. I know this relationship is fertile ground for growth, and if I can learn to cope and stay true to myself around this person I feel like I can do anything. This article is so very helpful and says so many things exactly the way I need to hear them. Thank you thank you thank you!!!
Baskar Alvar Maniccam says
Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally. When you make it a strong habit not to take anything personally, you avoid many upsets in your life. Your anger, jealousy, and envy will disappear, and even your sadness will simply disappear if you don’t take things personally. There is one recurring, persistent, perennial, and dogging personal problem which, more than any other, steals the force and peace of people and ruins projects and enterprises and careers. It is the habit of feeling hurt because of what others do or do not do and what they say or do not say. Do not to worry about the opinion of other people who don’t even have a good opinion of themselves! The approval of such men, who do not even stand well in their own eyes, has no value. The world is so inconsistent in its opinions we should just be done with it. We are totally independent of the good or bad opinion of others. Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.
Thank you for this article. I have learned something from it. The truth is that I have been negative at times, because of previous negative experiences I have been subjected to (from harassment to verbal abuse at work).
Negativity is a black glue that stuck to your face if you are not strong enough to wash it away with bleach….
I will use these tricks to make it easier for me and for all that get in contact with me, whether positive or negative people, by addressing these tricks either to those that are negative or to myself when having a negative moment.
Joseth uzhca says
This was so helpful. I’ve been dating my boyfriend for about a year. He is a twin and his twins girlfriend is a person who by just being in a room with her I feel tired, sad, drained. At first I thought maybe I don’t like her, but it’s not that because no matter how hard I try her energy just comes as really negative. My boyfriend wants me to be her friend, but I don’t know how to explain it to him that I literally feel her energy and it makes me feel sick when I’m around her. Please help
You dont owe it to anyone to form a relationship, friendship or otherwise, with soneone you are not drawn to. We can literally choose every single person we want to let into our worlds. Right now, the planet is undergoing major shifts and changes and we all feel it. Some of us cannot help but live in fear, which is why the are constantly releasing negativity. Here’s what you do: nicely but firmly draw a line with your BF. Say something like “honey, i know that your sister and i forming a relationship is what you want. I get it . I really do. You want your two special ladies to be friends. It’s sweet. But…. the truth for me is that I dont feel drawn to her in that way. She’s a fine person and there’s nothinh wrong with her, but I just dont see much chance of any relationship besides being casual aquaintences.” If that sums it up for you, feel free to use it. We don’t owe anyone anything in this life. We are independent free creatures. Make your choice from your heart. It appears as if you already have. Good luck.
David McKee says
Brilliant! Thank you for this!
Umm…this article is really helpful. I think I need to work on my internal locus of control, be more solution oriented and master the art of emotional detachment. Thanks! Really helpful..