Tag Archives: dignity

Hostility in a Relationship

Are there really people in this world that are hostile in how they treat others? Is it possible to be in a dysfunctional relationship and be trapped in a conversation and/or environment that is damaging to your spirit and emotional state?

The answers to these questions are a RESOUNDING YES!!!

The outcome of these types of situations usually drives the target of the hostility into a tailspin emotionally; they begin to feel as if the issue is their fault; and they spiral into this cycle where they feel trapped and as if they will never be able to break free from the manipulative grip of the one who is presenting the hostility.

This happens more than we would care to admit. We would rather not think about it hoping it will go away, or acting like it is not really an issue. We can be afraid to speak up or confront the person who is covertly or overtly causing the distress, because it may actually make it worse.

The only word for this behavior – is bullying. Bullying is hostility in relationships. Bullying and hostility happens when someone has crossed the line and begins to direct their abusive behavior or talk toward a particular individual that has not done anything to merit that behavior or talk.

There could be MANY reasons behind this kind of behavior or malicious talk. Maybe the personal life of the bully is a tornado of circumstance. Maybe they have a valid reason (at least in their minds) why they have chosen to direct their abusive behavior outward.

What I have found is no matter what the reasons are, there is absolutely no grounds to target an innocent individual, simply because they are different, have differing viewpoints, or may be a threat to your power or control.

I used to believe that everyone has good intentions and that there is a reason for their bad behavior or manipulative treatment of others. Through personal experience and research into this, I have discovered it is possible for an individual to have malicious intent toward another human being. There is no simple explanation as to WHY someone would do such a thing.

I would like to think it is an anomaly, but unfortunately it happens all too frequently in this world.

The question is…how does someone who is the recipient of bullying behavior to respond?

First of all, we could respond out of fear. This is a tough one. The fear this person is experiencing is usually a fear that if they confront the issue it will only elevate the negative behavior against them driving them further into depression, questioning themselves and keeping them from moving forward in their life.

Another response is to lash out. The recipient of this behavior can press down their feelings for so long that they become like a ticking time bomb. A person can only take so much pressure before they break. This breaking point can manifest in several ways. No matter how it manifests, the outcome is not positive.

Another response is to direct your anger towards those that you love. In other words, bullying can beget bullying. The way to stop this vicious cycle is to get the recipient of the bullying or hostility to open up in a safe and trusting environment – address it and provide a way out of it.

Still yet another response is to shut down completely and enter into a depression that affects you and those around you.

Any one of these responses has one thing in common. The recipient has allowed the source of their pain to have control over their heart, their emotions and their immediate future.

This is unacceptable.

I have been the recipient of this manipulative controlling behavior. It doesn’t feel good. I lost sleep. It affected my health. I allowed it to affect my family relationships. I even entered into a depressive state for a while.

Then a couple of things happened.

  1. Someone in my life saw what was happening and helped me to see what I was allowing to happen to me
  2. I realized that I needed to confront the issue or it would continue to drag me down.
  3. I understood (with some counsel) that I was yielding control of my life, emotions and heart to someone that did not truly have my best interests in mind.
  4. I realized my life, emotions and heart need to be protected, if only for those I love to have the best of me, and not the broken pieces left from a dysfunctional relationship.
  5. I decided not to willingly walk into any situation where this person could possibly manipulate me, control me or drag me down with their hostility.

None of these things were easy.

There is a way to frame this that I have found is the best possible way to deal with hostility in relationships.

I have a relationship with God that helps me understand that my identity is not the sum total of all my experiences, my life is not defined by the negative people who wish to step on me in order to get to a higher level.

My identity is found in my relationship with Jesus Christ. If God would send His Son for the express purpose of providing a way for me to have a relationship with Him – God sees value in my life – His creation.

I am not perfect. I am far from perfect. I make mistakes. I mistreat others on occasion.

The difference? My relationship with God helps me to see where my flaws are relationally and to work on them. If someone decides to treat me unfairly, with malicious intent, or with narcissistic tendencies – whether they know it or not – I decide how I am going to respond.

My first response now is to pray. My second response is to understand that Jesus is my source of strength. Everything that comes out of that is framed around my relationship with God.

As long as I maintain my integrity, honor and dignity in a situation – I believe God will protect me, avenge me, and provide what I need to make it through the relational emotional storm at the words and actions of someone else.

Besides, even though I cannot control or even change someone who treats me with hostility, I do not have to allow them to control my heart – because it belongs to God. I can confront the situation and rest assured God will give me the courage and the words to say.

One young man decided to take control over his emotions and heart after being bullied and treated with hostility. His example can become a catalyst for us to effect change in our surroundings – to help others to become less “me-centric” and more “you-centric”.

Watch this video and then feel free to post comments, email me directly or share your own story of how you overcame a hostile relationship.

I would LOVE to hear your stories and how you may have worked through a hostile relationship – whether work or personal. You can leave a comment on this blog OR email me at TheSophosGroup@gmail.com. Thanks for reading!


Negativity SUCKS!

Have you ever been around someone that never has anything positive to say?

Everyone has the right to be negative at some point in their lives.  There will be circumstances and relationships that could play a major role in affecting someone’s attitude.

The question is… when those times come in your life, would you rather swim in the murky waters of negativity or work your way to the clear waters of a positive perspective?

OH NO!  Not another POSITIVITY GURU!!!  I get it.  You do not wish to hear another person talk about how you should be positive no matter what the cost.  You are sick of having someone point out that if you “just have a positive attitude, your day will get better.”

Not to worry!

This is not a “Let’s Get Positive” speech.

What I will attempt to do here is to help us focus on our relationships, how important they are, and why it is important for each of us to be a part of someone’s life helping them to be positive.

This is a “It Takes Work and Relationship to Be Positive” exhortation.

Let’s think about a clear glass of water.  This clear glass of water is a representation of pure unadulterated positivity.  There is no negativity in a clear glass of water.

clear-glass-of-water

Over a person’s life, negative things will happen. Negative people will infect them. Negative thoughts will arise. Insecurities, imperfections, troubles outside of their control, and rejection can take their toll on someone. These negative experiences stay with us. If we are not careful, they can cloud our judgment and especially hurt our relationships with others.

Each time something negative happens in our lives, imagine the same cup of water with blue food coloring dropped into it.  The blue food coloring is a negative event, word, or thought.

Clear-glass-of-water-BLUE

Over time, many negative events begin to taint the clear water and turn it blue.

Clear-glass-of-water-More_BLUE

If we are not careful, the entire cup of clear water can turn blue.  This is when we allow negativity to take over our thought processes and it infects everything we do.

Negativity produces more negativity in relationships.  Have you ever been in a conversation where someone shares a negative story, and all of a sudden the conversation takes a giant leap into who can share the most negative information?

So how can we be a positive influence in our relationships with others to stop or even reverse the negative cycle?  There is a tendency in some where we just want to avoid any negative people, circumstances and relationships.  However, this just adds more blue food coloring to the already tainted water in someone’s life.

How do you take a negative person or relationship and turn it into a positive one?  How do you remove the blue food coloring from a cup of water?

Please forgive the water and coloring analogy, but this is where it gets interesting!

You could poor out the water, wash the cup and fill it up again.  This would be unrealistic in this case because no one can undo something negative that happens or that is said to them.

The best way to rid the cup of water of blue food coloring is to stick it under a faucet of clear water and continually fill the cup to overflowing until all the blue coloring has been washed out of it.

This is where we come in.  If we begin to pour into our relationships encouragement, love, caring, respect, dignity, a listening ear, appreciation, affirmation, gratitude and anything that lifts a person above their circumstance, eventually the negativity in their life will slowly begin to disappear.

Unfortunately you cannot stop negativity in this life. You and I CAN keep the faucet of positivity flowing so we do not allow the negativity to cripple us or those we are in relationship with.

This can be applied at work, at home, at church, with your friends, and with your family.

Recently on Facebook, there have been friends that have been challenged to share three things they are thankful for, I’m assuming in order to focus more on the positive side of life than the ever-so-prevalent negative side of life. This is a great way to begin to change the color of the water back to crystal clear fresh perspective!

The next time you have a friend or co-worker that is being overly negative, take some time and feed in some positive encouragement – not in a fake way. Instead of shying away from them, decide to be the positive flow in their life.  You may earn a deeper friendship in the process.

Take caution though! Beware that in your desire to take this on, you too can allow the negativity you are trying to overcome to overtake you. This is counter-productive.  Look for your own source where you can refresh yourself, gain a more positive perspective in your life and flush out the negativity that can cloud your thinking, your decisions and your relationships.

Try an experiment at home with a cup of clear water, any color of food-coloring, and a faucet of clear water. Start with the clear cup and drop as many droplets as you can into and allow the food-coloring to overtake the water completely changing its color. Then begin to slowly turn on the faucet and watch the color change back to clear.

Let the experiment be a reminder of how we need to keep refreshing our minds, have an outlet and develop our relationships where negativity can be flushed on a constant basis.

Take 10 minutes and watch this video by Alison Ledgerwood (Social Psychologist) called, Getting Stuck in the Negatives (and How to Get Unstuck).

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please post a comment below. If you like the article, share it with your friends.