They’re always out there… People who not only seek to knock you off of the path you’re navigating, but people who find pleasure in doing it.
Depending on where you find them – work, home, your social circles or, God forbid, all three – people like this can thwart your growth and enthusiasm at work, threaten your personal existence and happiness at home, and cause upheaval ranging from emotional pain to financial ruin.
The truth is, these people aren’t going anywhere. Their habits are deeply rooted in the way they approach life and others. They’re part poison, part velcro, and if you have to co-exist with people like this you have two choices: You can be extremely creative and guarded at all times or you can collapse under the pressure. I’ve never been one to collapse, but the constant need for forced survival techniques can be exhausting. And if you have bills to pay, children to protect, passion for life – a beating heart – there doesn’t seem to be any other choice. Forget reason. Don’t try to appeal to their humanity. People like this are hard-wired for contention whether you are or not. None of the subversive war-games seem fair. And I’m always shocked and deeply saddened when people choose to attack rather than cooperate, sabotage rather than build, hurt instead of… well… be nice. It’s mean. It hurts. But there’s no time to figure out “why” they do it. And when you’re busy surviving, in the words of Carly Simon, you simply “haven’t got time for the pain.”
And that’s why I wish there was a law against the type of bullying these dysfunctional people exhibit. Since there isn’t one, it’s important to bolster yourself when people like this put you in their line of sight. Gather the support of friends, co-workers or family; set boundaries whenever possible; try to remember the cause you’re fighting for in the first place in between the grenades being lobbed at your head and torso. Because joy is out there and worth fighting for.
There is always light at the end of a dark tunnel, but that light won’t be reached without skillful navigation through rocky terrain and a few bruises along the way. And be prepared for your opponent to attempt a complete cave-in, regardless of who s/he takes down with you – children and small pets included. You’ll make it through because you’re determined, because you love life and because your cause is true. Just speak softly and carry a big flashlight… and a pick axe.
(When fighting against dysfunctional people – for your own sanity or your family’s survival – how do you approach your day-to-day existence? What effect does that daily fight have on you or those around you? How do you keep calm and carry on? Please feel free to share your thoughts by replying to this post. I’d love to know!)