How to handle negative people?26, Feb, 2015, by Seema Bhatnagar
External root of more than 100 years old tree at Periyar Tiger Reserve, Thekkady, Kerala. Giving an impression of clutches.
In this world, it is impossible to find an individual who has never come across any negative person in life. Each one of us has an experience of dealing with or facing a negative person - that person could be your friend, teacher, sibling, spouse, parent or boss, almost every interaction in life throws a possibility of coming across a negative person. Dealing with negative person is a sheer pain and loss of personal energy, moreover it retards and inhibits personal growth.
But the hard truth of life is, as long as we are alive we will have to deal with negative people. Presence of negative people fills environment with suffocation and fear. Constant stay with negative people drains personal energy and robs of personal motivation and confidence. I have seen, how in marriages, if one partner is negative, the other turns negative naturally, similarly if the boss is negative, majority of team members are also negative, so is true with all relationships.
To deal with negative people you must first understand their very basic nature:
- They always have their first answer as “No”, simply because it is a very safe answer to avoid many problems in life.
- Their best companion is their big fat ego which does not allow them to be open enough towards people and situations in life.
- Due to fear of losing personal image they play safe and spend a very isolated life. Even if they try to mingle with others they feel easily offended and live in a constant fear that if they accept others' opinion and advices they would be considered inferior.
- Have a strong urge of controlling others, so that others do not take them for a ride.
- They are true sadist and derive pleasure in seeing others sad and miserable.
- They can easily wear masks of two personalities, one for negative and other for positive. They can act like a positive person if their superiority is under threat from somebody who is more negative or they want to be well accepted by others.
Going by these characteristics, no wonder, if negative person in your life is making your life hell. Actually, s/he is perfectly playing role of a negative person. So, instead of confronting or cursing yourself of becoming a victim of destiny you should learn how to deal with such an individual.
How it feels with negative person?
A negative person can go to any length or height for feeding personal ego and to ensure personal ruling over others. You might be sulking for days and months because of your last interaction but it hardly affects that person, it is in fact a matter of pleasure for that person that the goal of hurting other has been met and somebody has been taught a lesson for misbehaving.
In presence of negative person you are constantly thinking of how to save yourself from approaching missile of insult, humiliation or anything which creates a fear in you. In all this it makes you to forget about focusing on personal productivity and creativity and every task becomes a goal to make that person somehow happy. Oh…I wonder, if someone spends that much energy in making God happy, life can change by 360 degree, but since God is a simple and positive guy so nobody bothers much..:-)..
Why people are negative?
Situations, circumstances, past conditioning, parenting and personal motivation levels plays significant role in determining the behaviour of negative person. People who have suffered troubled childhood, negative parenting, failed marriages and relationships are worst hit. The reason of negativity is deeply rooted in past with troubled relationships and associated failures. Unable to bear the load of negativity their every action becomes an expression of venting it out.
Second reason is, negative people feel that being negative and overpowering others can get things done and can make somebody to dance to their tune, with this mindset, negative people become more negative in life.
Thirdly, a negative person will rarely choose a positive company because it is a direct threat to their ego. Due to this, negative person will never ever feel motivated to overcome personal negativity. So, a negative person closes all the doors to see the other side and the only hope left is the divine help.
On the map of human consciousness, negative person stands between 100 and 150 which is a lower end of map.
My personal experience
For the major part of my life I have lived like a negative person. I wouldn’t categorize myself as a highly negative person but on the scale of 0 -10, I would place myself at 6, well, people who had bitter experience with me would surely like to add more to it, but let’s go with 6 at this moment.
With a score of 6, I exactly know how it feels to be a negative person and how much damage it can cause.
Going back in past, being a negative person, I would always suspect that other person has an intention to cause some harm to me in some way or will make mockery of me if I become extra friendly or that person will take my advantage in future and will put me in trouble. Though this mindset protected me from several unsolicited advances but at the same time it also snatched away wonderful opportunities to make good friends and relationships.Working with a negative boss was like stabbing myself with a sharp knife. Fortunately, yes it was really fortunate, 40% of all my bosses were highly negative (9/10 scale rating). Working with them made me realized the height of negativity and also a great realization that I am little lesser on the scale of insanity.
I, myself as a boss, was popular as a snobbish and negative one because I used to make people uncomfortable and sometimes used to behave rude. I was an individual who would seek ways to spread negativity doesn’t matter mildly or aggressively.
Being a negative person, I would ensure that nobody is ahead of me if somebody is then I would find out ways to highlight his/her weakness and gaps. Appreciating somebody would be like as if I am putting a stain on my image of superiority. If somebody is appreciating somebody else then I would maintain a distance from both. I will not feel happy unless everybody follows and appreciate me. If somebody would criticize me or my work or for any of my behaviours, I would pray to God to give me another birth to take revenge for this unmindful act. Gosh…it was limitless insanity.
With this state of mind, I happened to work with a boss who was at 9/10 on scale, he was like pouncing on everybody for every mistake or not meeting his expectation. His undeclared mission was to make everybody’s life miserable in every possible way. Many a times I also became his prey. At that time it felt like a hell but actually in a way it happened for good, he taught me what it really means a negative person, thanks to him for coming in my life; I surely owe much to him.
Tracing to the root of my negative behaviour or mindset I discovered that it was due to my childhood conditioning. I was conditioned to ensure that I play safe and take no risk even if it means avoiding people or difficult situations in life. Since my boundaries were set already so my horizon of thinking was very limited, whatever choices I had made in life were within this range. Perhaps, subconsciously I firmed this limited frame of mind from my environment which included my friends and family.
But God has been very kind to me and blessed me by sending highly positive and negative people in my life. They have literally shown me the right path to follow.
It is said in spiritual realm that when you have a strong desire that can really uplift you to a higher level of consciousness, God makes all arrangements to help you. Yes, very true, when the negativity level became unbearable for me and all situations and circumstances turned against me, at that time, providence gave me strength to leave my job and do something which would really help me to grow.
In this process of self-cleansing, leaving my job and cutting myself off completely from people who are walking manifestation of negativity, doesn’t matter how closely they were related to me are the most effective steps I have taken in my life. Most significantly, with my constant endeavours and grace of my God and Guru, I have become a positive and fearless person who is open to life. There still might be some traces of negativity left in me but now I am very conscious and aware about its presence and ensure I do not let it stay and overpowers me even for a minute.
Interestingly, once you become a positive person, it becomes easier to handle negative people. Now, when I see somebody who is behaving negative, as a first thought, I feel pity for his/her personal struggle and get a very fair idea of what and how much would hurt that person. Actually, I see reflection of my past in such people.
Summing up my experience - it is extremely hard, challenging and energy draining to correct others for their negativity and the only way out is to learn and develop skills of handling them and it is indeed a life transforming skill.
How to handle negative people?
Learning this skill will make your life unbelievably easy and stress free. Here are few tips which you may try while dealing with negative individual. Trying these might sound tough and challenging but this is how you can minimize emotional hurt to self.
#1 - Be thoughtful.
This is a basic fact that you must understand before you think of interacting with any negative person. You must understand that any negative person is in that state of mind because of past conditioning and not because of personal choice. Whatever it may be, the fact is that s/he lacks required emotional strength and willingness to work upon self.
If you approach any negative person with this understanding, you would really feel sympathetic towards that individual instead of feeling hostility.
#2 - Do not argue.
Negative people don’t like others to argue with them even mildly. They want others to obey them without questioning. So whenever you are interacting with them instead of arguing you should wait for the right occasion to put across your opinion and must seek their permission to say something which has some hint of disagreement. You must ensure to choose the mildest possible words to articulate yourself - it should be smart yet mild.
The positive side of this is, you are improving your own communication skills. So in a way that person is helping you and you should be thankful enough for this.
#3 - Do not hurt their ego.
They maintain a big fat sensitive ego, so you have to be extra careful. Be mindful of the fact that if any word or incident which is even remotely pointing to them can become a reason of big conflict and argument with you. So do not ever dare to say something which can make them feel inferior to anybody in the world.
Mind it, even a friendly joke could be a poisoned teaser for them so you need to be highly cautious even when cracking jokes.
#4 - Talk in scenarios.
Whenever you are engaging with them and want to discuss some problem then try to use scenarios instead of presenting the actual facts. This is because of their low tolerance towards external negativity. If you tell them something which shows potential loss or negativity they would consider you worthless and not up to the mark for your work.
#5 - Be patient.
Do not expect positive and quick answers or approvals to your proposals and ideas. Since they stay in a high negativity zone so they need extra time to ponder upon all possibilities of hidden personal attacks. So, give them more than sufficient time to respond and be patient while waiting for response.
#6 - Give your attention.
They are like kids always yearning for appreciations and attention for every task done. So wherever you feel you can give some appreciation then do it immediately and be generous about it. It might sound like a form of flattery but consider it as a way of making a mature child happy.
#7 - Stay away and disconnect.
They have a tendency to pull others in the same zone where they exist. They constantly try to pull others in their negative zone to check and ensure personal superiority. If possible, reduce or minimize your interaction with them.
You just can’t avoid meeting negative people, they are everywhere. You might be wondering, “how can I stay away if it is my partner or my parent?”. Well, it might sound harsh or rash but the reality is you must become positive yourself in order to handle others. Becoming positive while staying in a negative zone is really very draining and decelerating, so you may think of choices how you can reduce and minimize your interaction with negative people until you achieve higher levels of positivity. Sometimes you have to make hard choices in life in order to grow and move on.
Handling a negative person is not a child's play but surely making a child to play. It is like walking on a mine of bombs and every step has a possibility of causing explosion. However, once you learn how to defuse bombs you can walk fearlessly.
An opportunity in disguise.
Presence of negative people in life is an opportunity in disguise. It presents an opportunity to realize that one should not be negative to cause harm to others and one must make all possible efforts not to become one.
Secondly, your every interaction with them enhances your strength to handle personal attacks.
Last but not the least, it also tells you that you still have some traces of sanity left in you which can save you from reaching to a point of no return. Remember, negative people are differently challenged, easier to be diagnosed but harder to be treated, so be thoughtful of the fact that you should never ever succumb to thought of competing with them.