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7 Ways to Deal With a Poisonous Person

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I’m going to start doing “Get Real Fridays” where I share more ‘real’ topics about life.  I enjoy writing about these things every now and then but it seems like a craft and sewing blog is a weird place to share!  So if I just tell you up front to expect this sort of thing on Fridays, you can not be freaked out, deal?  Deal.  Also, I need to state that I am not trained to be a therapist and these are only my opinions on things based on my own experiences.  So any advice I give out, just keep that in mind.  

Today’s Topic:  Poisonous People
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Everyone has at least one “Poisonous” person in their life.  A Poisonous person is not necessarily someone who is a terrible person, they are just someone who frequently causes you grief over a consistent period of time.  They can be found in friends, family, kids, parents, etc. You don’t have to have a crazy dramatic life to have a poisonous person in your life.

I have, of course, a couple in my own life.  These are things that I have found helpful in dealing with them.  I’m in no way a perfect person and I’m 100% positive I have not always handled situations in the best possible way.  But I try to learn from my mistakes.  And here’s what I’ve learned.

1.  Talk about it.  You must talk about your relationship with your Poisonous Person to someone.  I have to say that I’m a fan of going to therapy, but since it can be pricey, find someone you trust who will listen to you.   However, some people are so Poisonous to you that you really need to be in therapy. 

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 2.   That being said, Limit the number of people you need to validate you.  When you have someone who is bothering you, don’t blather about it to anyone who will listen.  Find a few people who care about you, who are understanding and will help you feel better, and talk to them about your Poisonous Person.

 3.  Limit the number of conversations you have about your Poisonous Person.  No one wants to hear your rant about So-and-So for the billionth time.  You will start losing friends if you can’t talk about anything else!  Evaluate if it is really sincerely bothering you and decide whether you need to talk about it.

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4.  Less Venting, more Talking about it.  When you vent, you are merely complaining about something.  Talking about something can actually lead to some sort of resolution. It’s okay to vent, I do it all the time!  But when you have a Poisonous Person in your life, there is no end to the venting.  You can’t just vent about So-and-So for an hour and then be all better.  You need to accept that it is a real problem and that venting won’t fix it.  The more you vent, the more worked up you will get about your Poisonous Person and nothing is solved.

5.  Sometimes the answer is actually a personality disorder.  This is definitely not true of many Poisonous Person, but it might be something to consider.  Don’t jump to it though.  It’s something that needs to be fully diagnosed by a licensed counselor.  But if you suspect something like Bi-polar disorder (or the many others out there) then learning more about the disorder can really help you to understand your Poisonous Person.  Additionally, simply learning about their distinct personality TYPE can help you.

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6.  Put yourself in their shoes.  Sometimes there is a deeper problem in your Poisonous Person and they do not know how to deal with difficult issues the right way.  Usually they are not temporary problems, since a Poisonous Person who gives you grief on a consistent basis over a long period of time.  Rather than feeling attacked, think about where it truly could be coming from.

6.  Accept that you are not responsible to save a relationship with your Poisonous Person.  You do not have put the burden squarely on your shoulders.  Frequently Poisonous People say mean things about you that you might start to believe.  Don’t believe the things they say about you!  They are good at finding things about you that might have an ounce of truth to them and expanding them to make them much worse than they are.  Take their criticism with a grain of salt…extract what you think might actually be true and evaluate those traits in yourself to hopefully improve yourself.  But just because one thing might be kind of true does not make everything true. 

7.  Pray about it.  I firmly believe that problems can be helped by prayer.  The answer may come in an unusual way and not your preferred path, but trust that the answer can help give you peace. 

I once worked with a Poisonous Person.  It was at a restaurant where I was a waitress.  I had only worked there a week when this person, who I will call Jill, had turned all the other employees against me.  She was the ring leader and I had accidentally offended her in some way that I was completely unaware of.  She made working there very, very difficult for me.   I almost quit a hundred times.  One night a nasty girl (different girl) said something very rude about me which Jill laughed at.  I went to work in the back and almost started to cry.

“Why don’t I just quit?  Why do I stay here when it’s so horrible?”  I thought.  So I decided to quit.  But then I felt this voice tell me to just stick with it and it would get better…the answer would come to me later.  Sure enough, about a month later, I felt like I needed to stay late after my shift to help Jill out as much as I could.  I thought that if I just selflessly helped her even when I could have gone home, maybe she would decide she liked me.  So that’s what I did.  It was very uncomfortable for both of us, but after a few days of me helping her a lot, she and I were friends.  And then she decided she really did like me and told all her sheep followers to like me.  Work improved 100% after that and she is still a good friend who I really care about. 

Not all of your Poisonous People will become friends or people you get along with.  The truth is that there will frequently be someone like that in your life and it’s best to know how to deal with it.

Have a great weekend!

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3 Comments

  1. Mosaicology says:

    I am extremely happy for this idea! I blog on mosaic art and one day I just wanted to vent on my blog (besides talking about this …poisonous person with my friends). I understand YOUR need to do this and I congratulate on the analytical approach, the way you present your thoughts as if to sort of "purify" and put your ideas into place. It will "hurt" less. So, good luck. The title of the post on my blog was "bad girl" if you want to go and read what I had written. Love,

    Mag

  2. I understand that sometimes you just can't get rid of someone (like a coworker), but when it comes to the point where YOU might be losing friends over it or YOU are shelling out big bucks for therapy… isn't it better sometimes to just cut the poisonous person out of your life? You didn't suggest that as an option.

  3. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

    How funny that you mention this, Larissa. I actually wrote a bit at the end about it, but ended up erasing it because I thought about how you can't cut poisonous family members out of your life and didn't want to encourage anything like that, or divorce. But I do agree to a certain extent that you should consider it with certain friends, co-workers, etc, that if you can and it's best, then do it.

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