Updated: Mar 13, 2021
Some situations are really shitty, I call them “shituations”…your best friend betrays your trust, your boss takes credit for your hard work, a family member hurts your feelings - you feel battered, used and abused - happens to the best of us, happens to all of us.
The key is to not lose your Shit.
Here’s a checklist of things that may help you in times like these:
1. Check the time of the month: No seriously, we do tend to be more sensitive, irritable and crabby a few days before our periods and despite it being a monthly occurrence we are usually not aware of these changes, we don’t realize it (others around you can feel the heat - if you know what I mean - but they won’t dare tell you). Looking inward is always a good place to start - ask yourself if you are being unreasonable, over-sensitive and could be reading this shituation all wrong? Trust me, you’ll save yourself a lot of heartaches if you realize that the predicament is feeling more acute than it actually is because of the hormonal imbalance caused by premenstrual syndrome. What can you do about it? The key here is to have patience and not react just yet - give yourself a few days to emerge from the gloomy fog and very soon, as the estrogen and progesterone surges start to retreat, things will surely appear brighter again. And what seemed like a huge indiscretion may feel like a slight trespass and you’ll be grateful you didn't over-react and cause any permanent damage.
2. Give them the benefit of the doubt: Before saying he/she ALWAYS does this or that, my rule is to give the offenders three chances. And in-between those three chances look for the good stuff they may also do for you. We tend to have a negativity bias and remember the negative experiences more - but when we focus on the good acts and make mental notes of them, they may just outweigh the bad ones. As we go along this journey we may also learn to love the good and the bad in someone. Isn’t that called growing up?
3. It’s them, not me approach: A little further down the same “growing up” lane is the ‘it’s them, not me’ approach. That is to say that you stop taking things personally - if someone calls you fat or a bad mother or makes you feel unworthy, mostly it is because that is the way they are feeling about themselves at that moment. They may be feeling as if they are not good enough or that they are not heard or not being seen for who they really are. All they are doing is projecting their inner fears onto the outside world - in other words - onto you. It’s a case of misplaced hurt and while it may feel terrible, such situations don't demand your anger but rather call on your compassion. You don’t have to tolerate the abuse hurled at you but you need not let it get to you and react harshly either. I suggest you put your anger aside and pray for them, that they may find a way out of the dark space they are in. Yes, sounds counter-intuitive, praying for someone who hurt you. It could be the toughest thing you ever do. But Oprah says it works wonders - more for ones own mental wellbeing actually. Worth a try, I'd say.
4. Gray rock method - Sometimes it’s your very reaction that edges on toxic people to demean you even more. Don’t let them play you. Don’t react to a slighting remark, instead pretend that you didn't hear it. Don't acknowledge their manipulative behaviours and see how soon the desire in them to irk you dies out. The name “grey rock” refers to how those using this approach become unresponsive, similar to a rock. It involves communicating in an uninteresting way when interacting with abusive or manipulative people. Be brief when communicating with such a person by giving short “yes”, “no”, “uh-huh” answers. Be factual and keep your opinions out of the conversations. Make the conversation absolutely non-stimulating. Further, stay detached from the person and since eye contact facilitates emotional connections, avoid making eye contact by looking elsewhere. Basically, manipulative people feed on drama so become as boring to them as a grey rock and see how fast their interest in you fades away.
5. Don’t spiral down - Don't let someone else's actions/words send you on a downward spiral. Don't let other people's behavior dictate your emotions. Saying your mother-in-law makes you feel bad about yourself, or claiming that your boss makes you mad, suggests that they have power over how you feel. Instead, realize that it is up to you to manage your emotions, regardless of how others behave.The first step is becoming aware of your thought patterns. When you realize that you are playing the same scene in your mind over and over again in an endless loop, catch it right there and then, and with all the strength you can muster, change your thoughts. Thoughts precede feeling. If you feel heavy with darkness, it’s because your mind is consumed by it. It might not feel like it, but you’re in control of your thoughts. You can’t stop them when they initially come, but you can prevent them from going any further. If you believe that negative thoughts are powerful. Believe that your positive thinking can be just as strong.
Then, distract yourself - pick up a book, exercise (one of the most effective stimulants of a good mood), catch up with a friend for coffee, play a board game with your kids, sit down with a thousand-piece puzzle - anything that will take your mind away from all the negativity.
Buy time as such and while you are at it - practice forgiveness and gratitude - and then as the law of karma comes into play, see those negative, hurtful and manipulative people shit themselves over. My only sincere advice - don’t applaud too loud!
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