Being happy in spite of negative personalities...
April 1, 2008 5:54 PM Subscribe
How do you ignore someone's attitude instead of letting it bring you down? How do you handle living with someone who can be really negative a lot of the time?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (17 answers total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
I love my SO dearly, but he is an extremely negative person - often complaining about things, getting angry about things, and often just walking around grumbling. Just grumbling, sighing, huffing, yelling, etc. Most often to himself, not me.
I find that I take this very personally, even though he has often explained that he is just in a bad mood and it has nothing to do with me. I have tried to work with him to see how I could help -- he blames a lot of his bad mood on lack of exercise and sleep, so I've offered to do things like have him workout with me or go for walks with me, or to remind him when it's getting late so he can wrap things up and get ready for bed. But instead of even trying, he just complains about how useless it is to even try because he won't do it and he doesn't have enough time or energy. (And I've tried to explain how it's sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy that he won't have energy if he doesn't try to get sleep or exercise, but it's been useless.)
I also realize that he might be so negative and tired/cranky due to depression or something else he needs to talk to someone about, and I have gently suggested this a few times - but he won't. Neither by himself or as a couple.
So, I feel badly that he feels so grumpy all the time, and I can definitely sympathize as I have fought my own battles with depression (and still do), but he won't accept help, from me or from others. When he complains, yells, grumbles, etc, I take it to heart. Since childhood, I have taken other people's bad moods as something that is somehow my fault and something that I need to fix. I either become very doting and apologetic, or very defensive, even when the target of his annoyance/anger has nothing to do with me, and he isn't even talking to me or expecting me to react.
I have things I want to accomplish that I haven't accomplished because I can't focus when I hear someone stomping or grumbling or yelling at themselves/a game/the tv. I can't get done the things I want to get done when I realize I have once again let it get very late at work because I don't even want to go home, because listening to him bitch about stupid things is more stressful than just being in the office. And I have blamed him for it and resented him for it. Like it's his fault that I am not doing what I want to do.
I am at the point where I have realized that this is not about me, and that there is nothing I can do to help him solve his problems anymore - not unless he wants help and asks for it. I can be there when he wants me to be, but I can no longer let the complaining, grumbling, and sometimes yelling upset me. I am not going to be driven out of my home or away from my passions in life because he is angry about something that happened at work and is stomping around and grumbling.
I want to ignore him, or at least to not let his moods get under my skin. I want to be happy and do the things I love, instead of always feeling like I need to be apologizing or defensive. But how do I do that? How do I stop letting it bother me? Is it even possible??
I really, sincerely hope someone out there has some suggestions for me on how to do this. (Or any other advice on dealing with living with a negative person but remaining happy).
If you want to contact me, I have set up an email account at firstname.lastname@example.org.