Wayne Dyer accurately quipped that, “Some people are always looking for a reason to be offended,” and most of us don’t have to look too far to see evidence of that.

We will all find ourselves, at one time or another, interacting with people whose behavior seems to be way over the top. Unfortunately, as Codependents, we are quick to take responsibility for other people’s feelings and actions. We doubt our reality and instead resort to our old childhood programming, where we internalized what other’s said and did and made it all our fault. We weren’t taught that people will behave however they are going to behave, independently of us. Our caregivers were quick to blame and shame us, so we learned early that our behavior had a direct correlation with the behavior of others.

Consequently, we never learned how to protect ourselves, nor did we learn a healthy way to deal with harmful and manipulative people. Part of our journey back to health is learning how to react in a manner that is better for our well-being .

Coping with Crazy

I have a mentor that I cannot offend. Believe me, I’ve tried. He finds humor in everything and is always looking for an opportunity to laugh. I’ve also had encounters with unhealthy people, who are always looking for slights and who want to create drama out of thin air. I’ve developed a coping strategy for whenever I find myself in an emotionally charged situation, with someone whose behavior is unstable.

Assess the Situation Rationally: Take the emotion out of it. Ask yourself, “Is their behavior appropriate for the situation?” “Was my behavior out of line?” “Are they over-reacting?”

What was the Intention: Were they trying to hurt you, manipulate or, insult you? Think about why they are behaving the way they are? What is their agenda? Are they acting out of faulty programming? Think about your intention, are they reacting to something you did? Did they misinterpret your behavior? Are they making mountains out of molehills?

Resist Your Programming: As Codependents we really want to make everything our fault. If you notice that thought train creeping in, stop it in its tracks immediately. Resist the urge to make other people’s behavior your responsibility. Look at the other person as separate from you and that their behavior is a product of their programming, thoughts and experiences and has nothing to do with you.

Be like Teflon: For some of my European and African readers – Teflon is a non-stick surface used in cookware – nothing sticks to it. Most of us have heard the old saying, “Like water off a ducks back.” It means – let things slide off of you – don’t let anything stick. Learn not to absorb other people’s energy and issues. Nothing can affect you unless you allow it, so develop a thick skin and just shrug off other people’s crazy.

Look at the Source: If you’re interacting with someone that you know is unstable and makes a habit of acting out, then this is probably someone that you should not be interacting with .

Don’t Engage: Let people be who they are without the need to involve yourself in their problems. Don’t try to fix or change them, or the situation. Their issues are none of your business. You don’t need to convince them that you’re right, they don’t have to like you or agree with you. If someone is claiming that you’ve offended them, say you’re sorry and that wasn’t your intention and move on. You don’t have to have a Power Point presentation about what you meant or why they should agree with you.

Pass it Back: What you don’t pass back you pass on. If someone is cray cray that’s ok. It has nothing to do with you. If you post a picture of a person beside a picture of George Michael and they look surprisingly similar and it’s funny and then that person gets really upset (this may have happened to me) and they start freaking out saying, “(Xxxx was right about you)” and other crazy things, it’s important that you don’t internalize their issues. Maybe that person is homophobic, maybe something bad happened to them while they were listening to Carless Whisper, who knows. All I know is , “You cray cray and I’m gonna leave that crazy with you.”

Resist the Urge to Get Recruit People to Your Side: People that are insecure often feel the need to tell others what happened and get them on their side. You know what I find? The independent third party you pulled into this, will agree with either side depending on who is in front of them at the time. So their support is usually superficial at best. You don’t need a team of supporters. It’s enough that you know you didn’t mean anything by it. The less you make of it, the better for you and the other person.

A colleague of mine thought she was alone in a room and she uttered a bad four letter word. She turned around and cringed as she saw the religious fanatic, of the company,standing behind her. Let’s call him Jim. “Sorry Jim,” she quickly said. He then started preaching and said something about her eternal damnation.

She got very upset and replied, “You don’t know what I believe. You don’t know the life I’ve lived. You don’t have the right to judge me.” She came into my office and told me the whole story, still huffing and puffing over it. I said to her. “Jim is crazy. (Not because he’s religious. He has a history of very odd behavior), so you shouldn’t even have engaged with him. You’re just encouraging more of his behavior. You said you were sorry and that’s enough. You don’t need to make him see your point of view. Who cares what he thinks? Let it go and move on.”

There are lots of unhealthy people out there and they don’t have to be narcissists, or psychopaths to express inappropriate behavior. The trick is to always keep yourself in a state of harmony and balance. Don’t allow yourself to get wrapped up in the drama. You always want to walk away from anything that threatens your sense of well-being. When other people’s behavior changes your emotional state – that’s a problem. Your emotional state is very important. It not only controls your mood and behavior in the moment, it also changes the vibrational frequency you are sending out there, which controls the people and situations that you attract into your life, so your emotional state is your business and your responsibility. When you can master your emotions, take the emotional charge out of the situation and then let the negativity slide off of you, you are the master of your domain.

If all else fails, you can do what my mentor does, when someone acts crazy around him. He yawns and acts bored. Not only is it effective, but it’s pretty damn funny too. “Sorry Jim.”

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Image courtesy of artur84 at freedigitalphotos.ne