A Miniature Guide To Handling Obnoxious People & Saving Your Own Sanity

So, before I return to a few tales of travel and adventure, I wanted to share a small piece of advice I was given years ago that has proved very useful to me since. Back in the days of the job that broke me, and long before that in fact, I took work far, far too seriously. If anything at all went wrong, if people expressed displeasure in any way, I would take it all on myself, take it all very personally, beat myself up for things that were never my fault. A very unhealthy response. But I am a perfectionist and I am a people pleaser. And, if people are not pleased, then it must be my fault. Very twisted logic I know, but it is just one of the many little foibles that make me who I am, and have often driven me (and those who love me) to distraction over the years.

I remember one day getting home from work in pieces. One woman I worked with had been truly horrible to me. She had been abusive and rude and launched an entirely unprovoked and unjustified attack on me. As I relayed the unpleasantness of my day to my husband, I was trying to figure out the best way to apologise to this woman to make everything better. Apologise to her! My husband was not at all impressed with this notion.

He said to me “So, this woman attacks you for no good reason and this is your fault how? Listen to me, you don’t think this person, these people, who treat you this way are right do you? You don’t honestly think they are better than you? No, I’m not having that. They are going in your book until they have earned their way out of it”

“What book?” I ask

“Your metaphorical book – where you write down the names of people who have mistreated you until they do something to deserve their name being removed. That way you can give them no further head space until such time as they redeem themselves”.

Hmmm, this was an interesting new perspective which I had not considered – that perhaps the fault was hers, or that I, in fact, might be a better person than her? What I have learnt since then (thankfully) is that people’s bad behaviour towards you may often have nothing whatsoever to do with you at all. It may stem from some inner battle or insecurity of their own, or they may feel threatened by you, or they may see you working harder, or better, or with more care than them, and want to find some way to put you down, to keep you in your place. In hindsight, I believe that may have been the case with this woman.

So, as suggested, I did put her in my book. But not just her name and not just a metaphorical book. The result was the verse that follows. She never made it out of my book in fact. And her rudeness and negativity have never been missed.

Ode to an Offensive Colleague

Who the hell, may I ask, do you think that you are?
Treating me like I’m something you stepped in
No good reason at all for your sudden tirade
Such abuse, I should not be accepting

I’m advised to put people like you in “My Book”
But it seems with you that won’t suffice
Perhaps a swift slap to the head is required
With you dear, I wouldn’t think twice

I’m fuming, I’m outraged, I’m frankly plain mad
Searching round me for something to kick
It should have been you. I wish that I had
Your rudeness has made me feel sick

My better half tells me I’m better than you
And I must not kowtow to your shit
And though I am certain that this is all true
Not so skillful responding to it

Discord not my forte, do not handle it well
Get words muddled and come off the worse
So I’ll focus instead on just wishing you hell
And with vehemence I’ll inwardly curse

So, screw you dear lady, you are vicious and vile
I’m quite simply more smashing than you
If you wish to to behave like a petulant child
Please continue, but honey we’re through 

Copyright © 2016 · Forty and Everything After


16 thoughts on “A Miniature Guide To Handling Obnoxious People & Saving Your Own Sanity

    • Ah, thank you so much! I’m delighted you enjoyed it. I find this approach a far more constructive way to deal with negative people than engaging with them and lowering yourself to their level. Especially if you are not so good with conflict or defending yourself verbally which I am not. Thanks so much for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I have one of these. She was rude and vile in other ways, praising me all the while out on side of her mouth and being rude out the other. I like the book. Your husband has great ideas. Great thing you’ve got him on your team. Ha ha.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. PART 1: “A Miniature Guide To Handling Obnoxious People & Saving Your Own Sanity”
    I have lived that my whole life. I learned to shy away from those people. People I never spoke to, or even looked at, would get in my way, and berate me. Why? Hell if I know. When I stayed away from people that hurt me, others called me stuck-up, snobbish, and a pathetic-loner. I hear you on this post. I wondered what I did to make these people so mad. If it was a look on me, I was ready to alter it by blade or anything. I never did. I’m allergic to pain. I think you did the right thing. I think you made yourself a better person by removing the ills of others from your life. People are mean, nasty, glutenous little trolls that can’t wait to make someone feel bad to lift themselves up. Why are they like that? We won’t know. One thing for sure is, when they have been that way long enough, it becomes them, and they no longer know what started it. There are tons of cats, empty dusty rooms in their future. They may find love, but love has a limit, and they’ll find themselves, by themselves, until they can understand they need to fix themselves.

    Good first section. Gonna listen to the next one and retort on that, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment. I think people who choose to be mean and hurt others are hurting in themselves probably, and this is why it happens. As you say eventually they will “Find themselves, by themselves, until they can understand they need to fix themselves”. Very well put. In the meantime, we have a duty to protect and be kind to ourselves and not take on others people’s negativity.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Part 2: “Ode to an Offensive Colleague”

    YES, YES, YES! That was just the cream in my pastry!!!!! Edit it with periods and such for distinction and revamp it for general aim, and you got yourself a anthem! I’m pumped!
    Ok, whoever reads this, go have sex! right now! The blood is flowing, so get it done! If you have no one, you still got yourself! Hurry up, stop reading my comment and get it done!


      • Hehe! I was feeling pesky. i wanted to render a comment that wold make someone lean back with a smile while being stunned and giving a mild to strong awkward look at the screen. :D Sometimes, I just want people to be uncomfortably happy, or just plain happy. I often miss the mark by a mile, but I never give up. People need to be happy, and not at the expense of someone else. Keep regaling us. We love it. Yes, I speak for everyone, because there is no reason to dislike what you do. Keep up the awesome!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, peskiness, is that what it was. I can handle a bit of pesky :). Thank you for the encouragement. I will keep doing what I am doing cos I have to. But, it makes it all worthwhile when people enjoy it and take something useful from it. Thanks for taking the time to comment so thoroughly (and with pesk!). x

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Many years ago when I worked in a photo lab, I would find myself worrying myself sick, literally about things beyond my control. And people’s actions which were beyond my control and every simply my boyfriend said, stop it. It’s not your concern. Very simple I know, but it made all the difference. I love this post and the poem, because it seems to fit all of the miserable people that we are bound to run into in the workplace, who absolutely positively live to make others as miserable as they are.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah, I’m so glad you enjoyed it. These things can be a handy armour to have when we are prone to allow other people to make us feel bad about ourselves. Everybody needs a tool they can call on, this one is mine. And you have yours I’m pleased to hear :)

      Liked by 1 person

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