I looked over all my 2019 goals last night and saw that I am actually doing well. I’m working on my novel, being creative and actively thinking about my empty nest hood. But I realize there is one place I am actually reverting, and I’m not sure how to fix it. How do I learn to deal with people who annoy me?

So seriously: how do I learn to deal with people who annoy me?

The other day someone said something to me and it just pissed me off: I’m still festering about it. Part of me wanted to say “Oh my God you’re a complete ass.” But I didn’t. I opened my mouth to catch a fly and then shut it. I swallowed all the words that were about to stream forth. This was a social situation. This wasn’t a place to go crazy.  Yet….yet…this person had basically said that my values were wrong on something (and no- not political- this was actually worse- attacking a way of life and how people choose to do things).

I’m still mad about what was said. I’m still replaying it in my head. I can’t let it go.

So what do I do?

What do you do when someone tells you what you’re doing is basically stupid (sorry- stupid is the wrong word, but I’m at a loss to think of a better way to describe it- see- that’s how upsetting it is- I can’t think of the right word), even though it is not morally wrong, or spiritually wrong, or wrong in any of the ways you would feel good about condemning?

Do you stop seeing someone socially if they think there is something lacking in your character?

What if you think that the person is acting this way towards you because of envy or jealousy? What if part of you thinks the other person is wrong? What if you think the way they’re acting is ridiculous, yet your social cues and long forgotten manners are telling you not to say something snarky? How do you reconcile with yourself that some things are better off left unsaid?

I am 54 years old, and yet I can’t figure out how to turn the other cheek without feeling I’m letting myself down.

Part of me appreciates that people can speak with candor, to be honest in their feelings about something. But…what if that honesty feels like an attack? What if you’re not sure about the motivation of the honesty? It’s times like this when I think that maybe honesty is not the best policy? What if the honesty is driven by something else?

So….it’s March and I have the same issue I had in January. People annoy me and I can’t stop replaying the tune in my head- the ultimate earworm. At points like this, I feel that a cabin on top of a hill miles away from anyone will be the only solution.

(I must add a disclaimer- my writing friends told me they didn’t like the way a scene was going in my book- I’m making sure they know that that is not the instance I’m referring to.  I’m 100% glad they told me the scene wasn’t working- that’s healthy critique based on logic and continuity. The incident to which I refer is totally different)

 

73 thoughts on “The One I can’t Get A Handle on

    1. By the way, was thinking about you. Students have been coming to Northwestern, they’ve been accepted, so now looking to see if this is where they want to go. Excited to hear where your daughter decides to go. Crossing fingers she gets into her FIRST choice. :>

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      1. Thanks!! She got into all her targets, and one reach which is luckily her third choice!! She would be thrilled even if she gets into nothing else, but still looking forward to thursday!

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      2. FYI she got rejected from nw, which we thought she would because the6 accept much of the class ED, and she knew she took the risk not applying there Ed. But, the school she got accepted to was right behind nw, and it’s not a plane ride, so she is actually thrilled she doesn’t need to choose between them! Ivies on Thursday though, and that could be a spoiler

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      3. Thanks for sharing, this is that moment in life that fills you/her with so much emotion, it will determine her life, her path for the next few years. Hopefully, she can find her passion in life, then life is easier. My older daughter is getting her Master’s in prosthetics and orthotics at NW, she loves it. The second daughter studied Int’l Business in Ireland, with focus on accounting. Doesn’t really want to be in accounting, fell into that… however, we sat down and did a “color my parachute,” exercise and realized that when she was young, she really enjoyed cooking/baking, etc. So, we are trying to focus on finding a finance/marketing position in a food oriented company. A nice man I met said that her background in finance can coexist with her love of food. So… as mother’s we try to help out children focus.

        You are a great and loving Mother, for sure, your daughter knows this and will make you proud in whatever she decides to do. If we raise our children properly, even as they become independent, they still value our opinions and advice. Here is to a BIG celebration next week!!

        Sorry for long paragraphs, but wordpress is acting up, where curser is not where it needs to be, not allowing me to write properly. Strange. Have a great day!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. 💗💗thank you! My daughter actually loves law, so as of now she really wants to be a lawyer. If she ends up at jhu she will probably double major in history and writing seminar, but hasn’t ruled out international studies because they have a top notch is program. It all works out for the best! I know your kids are going to be awesome in their fields and whatever path life puts them on!!thank you!!

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  1. I think you are probably better off not saying anything. A few days ago a friend snapped at me out of the blue over something stupid and really hurt my feelings. I’m still wondering what her problem is. I’m trying to forgive her, but it’s hard. I’m afraid she’s really damaged our friendship with her outburst.

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  2. For what it’s worth here’s the way I think about things like this. I’ve come to embrace a saying that goes like this: don’t make as your priority someone who considers you secondary. I remind myself of this whenever someone ticks me off by behaving rudely toward me. I then feel better about ignoring them– sometimes forever. A thought…

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  3. I’m not sure either. I have the same problem. I dont know why some people feel that they can say anything, anywhere, at any time. I think everyone is done with winter but that doesnt make it ok.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think how well you know the person is the key. The key to knowing if they are just being “stupid” or trying to make some constructive criticism, like your writing friends. Plus the way someone says something goes soo far! People that rrally mean well are going to be careful at how they give constructive criticism because they really care about you! They aren’t just going to spout off at you.
    Sometimes I think we do need to make the decision to not be around some people as much. Not if they are routinely draining you by being negative.

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  5. I think it depends on the situation, but somehow I think it’s fair to call the person out. You cannot do this in anger because emotion will cloud your message. Something to the effect of, “if someone spoke to you the way you just spoke to me, how would you feel? Being on the receiving end, I’ll give you a hint — it feels pretty crappy.”

    Then just clam up and have nothing more to say to the person. If they can’t get that large a social clue that they did something ugly, then they don’t deserve to be graced by your wonderfulness. Sometimes this might reveal that they are under stress for something completely unrelated to you, but you got the brunt of it. It’s hard to do without snapping back….

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    1. The thing is, can someone be so clueless that what they’re saying is at best insensitive? I’m not sure if it’s awkwardness or just meanness. It just stinks though

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      1. True. But I wonder if it’s worth opening up the box. What value is there? I think the friendship will forever be strained, even if I clear the air in my side, because I think me responding will only hurt the other person, not in my actual words, but in what the words imply

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I write an excoriating letter to the person, which I sometimes lace with all manner of expletives, making it clear how inferior this person is, how severely he or she has wronged me, how I intend never to see or speak to them again, and then I tear it up. The process transfers my anger or hurt out of my head and heart and onto the page. I find it very useful; less enervating than a screaming match and requiring less emotional investment than trying to have a reasonable conversation to let the person know how I feel. Just be sure to tear up the offending missive at once!

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  7. My favorite line is “I guess we’ll agree to disagree on this” and drop the subject. If it was that hurtful, I might have a conversation with the person later and tell them that what they said bothered me.

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    1. Could you have said, I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying? It sounded like , blah blah blah. Is that what you meant? If you are sure they were attacking you, sometimes you just have to accept that some people have different beliefs . If it really bothers you, then maybe there was something they said that you are unsure about ? It’s okay to question ourselves and maybe come to new understanding. Or come to stronger conviction.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. For me I always have to look at my reaction. It’s never someone else’s fault if I’m upset, because it means they triggered something in me that needs looking at. It means for that moment I’ve made some person, place or thing bigger than God. Or I’ve chosen to be God to people, places and things. Terrible formula. Now not everyone is a God person, but it can still work to let go to something greater than you every day. In doing so, the ego goes away and only the soul is left. At my soul level, I am perfect. No one has ever hurt me, been rude, judged me or betrayed me. I also have not done that to someone else. And so, with that in mind, I am free. (And, because I’m not perfect, when someone DOES piss me off, I see my part. What did they trigger? Was I tired? Was I already angry or anxious or insecure? And then I address THAT.) I figure like me, people are insecure. In the end, I decide if someone is a true friend or an acquaintance only. If the first, I say something with love. If the second, I let it go and detach with love. I figure, like me, they too are spiritually sick and taking it out on me rather than do their part to see their issues. (Long answer. Very passionate about this. I struggle too with this!)

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      1. So this just happened to me and it really hurt my feelings also. I had to take my own advice. Oh my gosh it is so hard isnt it?

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes, I have felt this way. What you do about it depends on the person (did the person realise what he or she was doing?), and the situation. You can’t always get out of social situations. But you owe this person nothing at all if this sort of thing continues. Say something. You don’t have to put up with abuse. It’s funny because I was just thinking, today, of my anger (general anger), and how you are not supposed to let that out, and what would happen if you did. I was going to write a post about it. It all depends on the situation what you actually do. But it sounds to me like either ignorance – the person genuinely didn’t realise what he or she was doing, in which case you need to have a quiet word – or, as I said above, it is a form of abuse, and you definitely don’t need to take that.

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    1. I tend to blow up,quickly and I’m trying to manage my emotions better…what was said just hurt something important to me, so it made it worse

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  10. For times like these, I refer to the second agreement (of the four agreements): Don’t take anything personally. It really has made things easier for me because I stop to ask myself why what the other person has said bothered me. Many times it’s because of how I’m feeling about myself and the other person’s words have just reflected what I already thought. When that’s not the case, then I find it’s because I’m also judging the other person and what s/he has said. Either way, none of it matters and it shouldn’t be taken personally. That’s what helps me.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Hmm now there’s a thought provoking conundrum, do you stop seeing someone socially when their views display a lack of character? I’m over age 50, and a little less tolerant than when a young man of 20 and I’m afraid I have little time for fools (me withstanding 😀 ) so yes I’d possibly cut them adrift if I found their views seriously troubling.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s the big thing for me too. As I get older I want to see people less…I’m more selective with my time. I guess I feel bad because this woman has few friends…so I feel for her…but….

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I totally understand. I think the best thing to do is try to avoid that person. If you can’t and they attack you, by all means defend yourself. That is what I try to do anyway. Too bad everyone can’t be as wonderful as we are.

    I have been feeling the same way about someone. I think she is jealous of me. She always tries to one up me. It is so annoying. I want nothing to do with it which sometimes makes things worse because I am not giving her the attention she desires by my reaction.

    Worse comes to worse, I have a cabin in Wisconsin that you could hide out in. But I have to give the disclaimer that we still have snow on the ground. 😂 Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. You wrote: “I am 54 years old, and yet I can’t figure out how to turn the other cheek without feeling I’m letting myself down.” And I think you are…letting yourself down. Because…You wrote: “So….it’s March and I have the same issue I had in January. People annoy me and I can’t stop replaying the tune in my head- the ultimate earworm.” And you are most likely gonna find yourself in a similar situation three months hence.

    You can either adopt a dismissive attitude to the antagonist… “Go Away Fly.” Or go all bumble bee with the boorish and sting ‘em with a demand to explain and expand on what you consider to be an insult and or an act of verbal aggression. What da think? 80…90 precent of the time people feel aggrieved, it’s for cause. Trust yourself.

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  14. I tend to process things slowly, but have knee-jerk reactions without carefully considering what was said. Instead of blowing up, my goal is to ask the other person “Why do you say that?” and try to figure out where they’re coming from, process it and calmly come up with a logical response . I’m hoping it can defuse the situations instead of escalating to where I obsess about how wrong it all was and how horrible I thought the other person was being.

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    1. I know I made a face…I can’t help it…a poker player I’m not….so I would think she got that I was irked…but sometimes social situations….I just don’t know

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  15. Sometimes when something is going on in MY life, stuff spouts out of my mouth before I think about it. I have gotten better about apologizing for things I’ve said without thinking. But I wasn’t always so considerate. Sometimes because I didn’t know better. If this is someone you know well, I would ask them why they said what they did. It could have a simple explanation. If its NOT someone you know well, then maybe its just someone you really don’t want to know better anyway and let them go.

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  16. As we age, we tend to get more annoyed with people. It’s a work in progress. I usually force myself to get around people like that in order to work on myself and it helps to let it go.

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  17. It’s an inner struggle for sure. I know in the past (years ago) when I’ve had problems with people online, and I’d get very angry and frustrated, when I stopped and prayed for both the person and me, but mostly the person, our relationship eventually got better. Peace and cordiality came between us. I need to remember to do this as I’ve not practiced this habitually. All the best. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. In the moment, shutting up is the best recourse, and you’re already doing that. My practice for the “can’t let it go” moments that inevitably follow, is to think, “I’m SO glad and grateful not to be that person!!” That’s all I got. 🙂

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