How To Deal With Crappy People, PART TWO
- Posted by James Altucher
I hate you and I never even met you. That’s my gut reaction when I open my eyes in the morning. That gut reaction is sent out into the cosmic psychic layer of the planet to seven billion people. Trust me when I say stuff like that. Claudia even snores in reaction when it happens. I have to summon back the demons or it would be too overwhelming. It’s no easy job to hate everyone. To judge constantly. To see people on the street and know all the ways they’re going to be crappy to me so I better hide in my room.
When I did my post on how I deal with this: “How to Deal with Crappy People” it turns out that it became the most popular post on this site.
It turns out everyone is dealing with crappy people. Not just me. Sometimes they are incredibly painful to us. It really hurts to be hurt. To be ignored. To be gossiped about, to be slandered. It really hurts when people lie about you or they try to actively harm your career or progress in life. Every day I think someone attempts to hurt me.
Since that post came out, the most common question I am asked is: what if the crappy person is your boss? Or someone you work with? Or someone you live with? In other words, what if the person who is actively trying to harm you, who probably hates you to the core of your being, is someone you or forced to deal with every day?
Let me say this: the crappy person is ALWAYS someone you have to deal with. If he were just your neighbor down the street who you see once every six months, then no big deal. You know what to do: ignore them. Ignoring is a bit harder when they are a work colleague. Or a boss. Or someone in your social group. My initial advice there is still: ignore them. Do the minimal contact: “hello” and nod and walk away. But stay on a constant path of ignoring towards that person. Ignore them in your head also. It’s a horrible thing to wake up hating. To go to sleep afraid. To go into work morose. To hang out with your friends hoping so-and-so doesn’t show up.
And once I started writing this blog I got a lot more hatemail. A lot more people writing in public forums negative things about me. I had to re-read my own post about Crappy People over and over. Maybe that’s why it’s the most popular post on this blog. I’ve probably re-read it one million times.
I had to really think about all the hatemail, hate comments, hate articles, and even people close to me who didn’t like what I was writing so started slandering or worse behind my back. Over time I had to develop more techniques to deal with the onslaught.
It became a two-step process for me:
A) Look in a mirror. Let’s say you make the statement, “Jill hates me” and so now she is crappy towards me. Let’s see what it looks like when you put that statement up in front of a mirror. There’s several ways it can come back in our prismed mirror:
1) Maybe “Jill likes me” but she’s jealous or afraid or intimidated. Or maybe I misinterpreted her actions. Remember that people are largely unconscious. They are just as afraid, just as judgmental, just as scared about life as the other seven billion people. Maybe Jill is in a bad relationship. Maybe Jill was beaten as a little girl. So she has a hard time trusting people and showing how she likes people.Maybe I’m also blowing out of proportion some events but I’m forgetting all the times Jill clearly liked me. Because we are biological animals, avoiding the predators that are after us, our brains tend to blow out of proportion the negative moments. There’s the saying: “historical equals hysterical”. You ever meet someone who can outline every wrong you’ve made since 1990? They like you. But they’ve blown out of proportion all the times they think they’ve been wronged by you.
2) No? That’s not it? Ok, maybe “I hate Jill”. Maybe the reason I have such problems with Jill is because I hate her and I’m not even conscious of it. Ask yourself, “why would I hate Jill?” Maybe I am jealous of her. Or overly judgmental. Again, the things I have interpreted as crappy might just be because she senses how much I hate her.Maybe I haven’t even been conscious of how I’ve been treating her. That happens. If you’re Jill, I’m sorry.
3) “Jill hates Jill”. It’s hard for Jill to be nice to anyone. She looks in the mirror every day and says, “Ugh, I’m disgusting. I hate myself.” How is she going to recover from that in time to be nice to people during the day. She can’t. Liking others starts with liking yourself. But what if Jill has control over my career? Or she’s my roommate’s best friend so I have to see her all the time and she takes out all her anger for herself on me? That’s fine. You don’t have to be her best friend. All you have to do this very second is figure out where the “crappiness” is coming from.
4) “I hate me”. My normal state of affairs. Perhaps I make it too easy for people to be crappy to me. Because I always thought I was ugly so I think its easy for a girl to not like me. Or I always feel like I’m “faking it” so it’s easy for people not to trust me. I used to think projection was a myth. The idea that we treat people the way we would treat ourselves. We project our worst features onto other people and then attack them accordingly. But when I studied many of the hatemails I was getting, even so far as to researching their backgrounds (particularly on actual death threats), I realized that many people had trouble dealing with their own lives and careers and loves and decisions and so would attack my life or loves or decisions as if I were them.
Again, this doesn’t mean I have to hang out with these people. Or love them. Or even treat them with compassion. But it helps to take the unconscious surface reality (“Jill Hates Me”) and put it through various mirrors. Like in a circus where you walk through the mirror tent and see yourself as fat, small , skinny, tall, etc. You’re none of those things. But you’re all of them.
So what do we do with these mirrors. We’ve maybe figured some stuff out. Or maybe we’ve just confused the issue. Either way, the anger starts to dissipate.
B) Deal With it. If someone is crappy to you, then 99% chance it’s for one of the above four reasons. And you can’t change them. So you have to be able to deal with more crap from them. Because they will do it again. You have two choices now:
1) Always remove yourself from them. Quit your job. Get new friends. Say “hello” in the hallway and move on. If its an ex, then no problem. Don’t return calls. Whatever. But often this is not practical.
2) Say, “I look forward to the next time Jill is crappy towards me.” Because she will be. And there’s nothing you can do about it. She is crappy for 1 or all 4 of the above reasons. She is completely unconscious about it. A walking zombie. Not worth your time to think about.
Each time she is crappy to you it gives you an opportunity to learn from it, to study it, to define which of the 4 above applies (maybe all four!), put the crappiness in it’s appropriate bucket and move on. It gives you a chance to practice your own independence. Why are you letting Jill rule your whole life? Are you that insipid that it only takes Jill, who is a zombie, to throw you completely off your game for days at a time?
If you practice taking your usual reaction to crappiness (as in “ARRGG! I HATE HER!”) and study it from every angle, the normal feelings of dread and anger will start to wither away over time.Our bodies are 70% water. Our planet is mostly water. Water hitting this planet from unknown asteroids created life and then consciousness on this planet. Water, over time, withers away all rocks. You be the water. Don’t be the rock.
Jill has become your greatest teacher. Be grateful for her. Your life will become better for knowing someone as crappy as Jill. Now, with all the new time you have, go enjoy yourself. And if your name is Jill, go fuck yourself.
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