Dealing with people everyday all day, you can’t help but to notice some habits. Some of these habits are great yet some are just leading to disaster. Today I want to share with you 5 habits that will ruin any relationship. I’m not just talking about romantic relationships, I’m talking about relationships at work, home and every other areas of your life.
1. The Famous Dump Session
We’ve all experience this at some point. This is the person who call, emails, texts, or shows up at your house and the 1st words out are about their problems, how crappy their work is, how bad the world is, how much they hate things, all their drama etc. Then they leave and leave you feeling like you need a shower to wash away all the toxicity. This is the type of person that when they walk in a room the positive energy get’s sucked out immediately. Often everyone around them is guarded, and thinking “here we go” or “can they just shut up”. Often most wont tell that person a thing because they’re the type of person who’s so dramatic that they will either go into a crying fit of no one likes me or a gigantic rage fit screaming and doing tantrums worst than a 2 year old who’s favorite toy got taken away. They’re constantly volatile, a ticking time bomb.
If you’re the person dealing with someone like this you will need to set some clear boundaries. First step is to confront the person regardless of what their fit is and let them know you don’t appreciate getting dumped on. Let them know so long as the relationship is a one way relationship you will be choosing to limit the amount of time you spend with them or you will have to end the relationship all together. I know you may feel bad doing so but it is vital if you want to help the other person. Often these people where never taught to have boundaries and respect others. Their parents may have told then to do so, but the minute they wanted something, at the 1st sign of a fit their parent caved in. Giving them a feeling of entitlement and developing narcissistic personality disorder. While that’s not the only thing that can cause a person to become this way, it is one and will give you insight unto their behavior. According to the National Library of Medicine
“Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition in which people have an excessive sense of self-importance, an extreme preoccupation with themselves, and lack of empathy for others.”
Narcissistic people may never change so it will be up to you to enforce your boundaries or remove your self from the situation.
2. The Walking News Paper Syndrome
This is probably one that drives me nuts and I’m sure once I dig into this you will too. This is the one where the person only comes to you to tell you about what others did, share the gossip, you know the typical “OMG!! did you hear what Jane Doe did?!”. And in your head you’re thinking, “who cares! I’ve got enough on my plate to worry about Jane Doe’s drama”. If it’s not gossip about the people you mutually know, it’s gossip about celebs etc. The one thing you need to know is that just like this person is gossiping about others to you, odds are they’re doing the same about you behind your back. This is not the type of person you want to confide in. This behavior is toxic. Merriam- Wbster defines it as
“a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others”
One way to deal with this kind of behavior is to simply tell that person, “Have you share with Jane Doe what you’re about tot ell me about her? Is she ok with you talking about this?”. It will do one of two things, either they will realize they’re doing wrong or they will never talk to you again. Either way the gossip stops. I know this one from experience. I had 2 people in my life years ago that just couldn’t get along. It was like water and vinegar. One day I but my big girl patties on and said “I had enough”. Confronted them about the gossip and let them know there would be no more on my turf. Let’s just say they didn’t like it one bit, they really wanted to keep it up. As time went by one person realized she was in the wrong and decided to #BeMore and have her own #LiveRadical moment. She transformed her life around and today is living a life beyond her wildest dreams. The other person held on to their old ways, today that person is going from drama to drama not catching a break. Everything in their life just continues to fall apart. You see gossips is equivalent to murder. When you gossip and speak ill of others you’re speaking death over their lives. Not just physical death, but death of their dreams, relationships, careers, self worth, etc. Doing the gossip or listening to it is pulling the trigger and staining your hands with their blood. Not to mention that when one gains that reputation of being the gossip or hanging out with such you lose credibility and the trust of others.
3. Negative Nancy
Oh yeah! I know you’ve dealt with this one too. It’s the one who never says anything good. Urban Dictionary defines a Negative Nancy as
“Someone who commonly whines, complains, or looks at the bad side of things.”
You could be having a wonderful time at a restaurant, laughing, creating memories and when you ask the person if they’re enjoying themselves they will say “yes, but that server could have brought my drink faster”. They have an incredible skill to spot out what’s wrong in someone or in the room in 10 seconds or less. They often come off to be very critical so having a conversation with them can feel like you’re in for a visit with a judge. Being around them leaves people often feeling less than, and drained. Often can leave those who do not have a healthy view of themselves feeling inadequate. If you share a goal or dream with them, they’ll be the first to tell you to not do it. They will tell you compelling stories of all the people who have failed, how you’re not qualified to do such thing because of your past, the economy, etc. Their advise is just stay at your job, get a secure paycheck and live miserable. After all misery loves company. They’re also the ones to tell you everything that is wrong with you , yet they have nothing to fix. In fact they’re the epitome (a person or thing that is a perfect example of a particular quality or type) of perfection.
What they don’t often realize is they’re the debbie downers of society. If you’re not familiar let me brief you on who Debbie Downer is. Debbie is a character from Saturday Night Live. This character is know for always coming up with something terribly depressing there for destroying the positive atmosphere. I don’t want to be that person nor do I want these type of people in my close circle of friends and neither do you. Constant exposure to this will turn one into a negative person, will keep us from dreaming and growing eventually becoming stagnant.
How do you confront this person? Whenever something comes out that is trying to discourage or speak negative of a person or situation you respond with ‘That’s great Jane Doe, now tell me what are 10 things that are going right? What are 10 things you’re thankful for?” You’ll catch them off guard and they will often just be quiet because they actually have to think of the answer to that question. At that point take advantage of that silence ad begin to praise that person or situation and highlight all of the wonderful thing’s you’ve learned from it and how it has blessed others. Another way would be to say “I don’t know about those experiences, all I know is that Susie Q has been a blessing in my life. Her drive and imperfection has taught me that I can achieve great things even when I’m not at the place I want to be. She’s truly inspiring many to become amazing right where they’re at.”
Did you catch that? in just a few sentences we in a very polite way said, “I don’t want to hear it”.
4. My Way or The Highway
This one is also a narcissistic behavior. It the one where everything has to be done that person’s way only. It’s once again centered on the me factor and no regards for others. While there is times that we have to do things a specific way with no deviation there’s other times when a person can add their own spin and still get the same results. These type of people often knit pick at the little things like, “you’re holding the mop wrong or you add the coffee 1st then the creamer”. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s people that suffer from OCD and other medical disorders and they can’t help but to be this way. I’m not talking about those people. I’m talking about the ones who are such control freaks that if things don’t go their way they become unglued, condescending and downright jerks. Making others around them feel like dirt and incompetent to do their job. They often bully others into doing things their way and have no regards for the persons own ability to rationalize and make their own choices. They often adopt the attitude of “If you want it done right, do it your self”. We women are often guilty of this with our men; not just our partners but also our sons. Not wanting to understand that men will never see things like we do because they’re wired different. If we want the to see our view we have to be patient and show them our view. Unfortunately (and I’m guilty of this my self) we resort to emasculating and cracking “wise jokes” about how incompetent they are. This is a dictator not a person wanting to build relationships. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a dictator as
“a person who rules a country with total authority and often in a cruel or brutal way. One ruling absolutely and often oppressively”
Oppressive! who wants to be in an oppressive relationship? Last time I checked that line was empty; not even a single volunteer. The feeling of oppression is horrible, you have no identity or freedom, you’re forced to be someone you’re not. That’s a huge burden for one person to carry and a whole lot of surrendering from the other party. To deal with this you quite frankly have to be prepared for the fact that you may have to sever that relationship for good. This kind of behavior if not acknowledge by the offender as negative can eventually turn into abusive and violent situations that can put one’s safety at risk. So if you’ve had a heart to heart talk with this person and this behavior continues, I urge you to cut ties.
If you haven’t had the talk yet have it let them know that behavior is a no go and that they need to trust your judgement if they want that relationship to work. Just don’t give into the manipulation. That will only make the situation worst for everyone. Stand firm, and If you find yourself having to cut ties do so. If the person threatens you or show signs of becoming violent, this is a perfect time to not only let those close to you know the situation but also notify the authorities and get help. Whatever you do don’t play with your safety.
5. Dansel In Distress
This is the the person who always needs rescuing, always needs help and cant get anything done on their own. This is so dangerous my friend; It is a sign of codependency. If not handled it can leave all parties involved drained, and even harboring resentment. Coda.org and organization that helps people with codependency has created an extensive list you can review at http://www.coda.org/tools4recovery/patterns-new.htm that breaks down what the patters look like. Codependency is defines as “excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner”. Know that this is not just a romantic partner, it also happens with friendships, work, business and our kids. The best way to deal with this aside from getting professional help for the person, is to improve our leadership skills. If we create an environment that is hostile towards codependency, you will see that the people around you will rise up to the occasion and do what they need to to to help themselves. Yes be willing to help by sharing tools and resources, but DON’T do the work for them. They have to learn how to fish if they want to eat every day.
When approached by someone who just wants you to do it for them respond with “John Doe, I’m so happy you thought of me for help in this area, the help you need is at (send them to a resource online, person, book etc.) you can check that out, I’m sure they will have the answer you’re looking for or can point you in the right direction”. If it’s someone at work constantly using you as their policy book use this “I’m so glad you asked about that, reminds me I have to review the policies my self. Since I’m not sure where our company stands on this and I don’t want to misinform you I recommend that you refer to the company’s policy book.” you do this enough time eventually that person will create a habit of searching for resources before coming to you. I’ve shared some other techniques to deal with codependency in the Time Management Series.
If you are finding yourself dealing with this I want to also recommend some great books to help you improve your relationship skills in these areas. Don’t be afraid to get help if you need it. Everyone deserves healthy relationships including you!
Books: (click on the images for more info on each book)
Have you experienced any of these habits? I wan to hear your story. Share your thoughts and comments with me in the comments section below.