In my post on Monday, I wrote about negatively charged personalities and how they can drain you. Coping with or avoiding prolonged encounters with negatively charged or toxic personalities is a regular topic for my clients. Brett Blumenthal wrote a wonderfully descriptive and concise piece describing 8 toxic personalities. If you have not already read 8 Toxic personalities to avoid here is your opportunity.
Now that you have familiarized yourself with these personality types, take an other look at the list of negatively charged people in your life. Which of the personalities do you see reflected by the people on your list? Are there any other toxic or negatively charged personalities that you have experienced?
Are you tired of having your energy drained by these personalities? I thought so. So what to do about it? Once you know how to spot ’em you can start to be attentive to what specifically about these personalities gets under your skin. Just pick one personality, and start to write down what is it about this type of personality who just drains away the positive from you and HOW this occurs. Once you are aware of and become familiar with the “how” of their impact you can begin to develop effective strategies for you to diffuse the impact of the negative energies, as well as developing effective strategies to reactivate your positively charged energies.
Let’s take Debbie Downer as an example. For several years, I lived next to a woman, “Mrs. Q.” who was the classic Debbie Downer personality. A late May day could be sunny, the temperature about 82 degrees, have a soft breeze blowing with little humidity (a feat that time of the year in New Orleans where I lived at the time), and picture perfect clouds in the sky. I’d comment about the beautiful day and how nicely her Camellia was blooming. She would say “ACHK, but it is going to rain cats and dogs tomorrow and Hurricane Season starts in a week.” Wish her a Happy Holiday and she would complain about how infrequently her only child came to see her. There were times I wanted to pull my hair out or waited until I was sure she was gone before I walked out my front door. Since neither option was to my benefit (or hers), or even practical in the long run, I had to do something different.
What got under my skin was how easily her voice to cloud my thinking about the day or whatever else it was we had been talking about. One day I tried a new approach. I would wish her well for the day and wait for her complaint. While I listened to her complain, I consciously reminded myself it was her speaking, not me. I then wished her a good day and went about my day. After about a week or 10 days it dawned on me that I no longer dreaded seeing her or went out of my way to avoid her. My theory is I had some new neuropathways fired and wired regarding our interactions.
What tips and strategies do you have for spotting and coping with negatively charged personalities?