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  1. #1

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    Bitter people - how do you deal?

    How do you deal with the bitter people in your lives? We all have them. From the bitter friend who is unhappy with their job, to the aunt who is bitter because of being alone, to the internet entity who is bitter because of hardships in their lives and they feel the need to spread the bitterness to the world through their keyboard.

    I guess it all boils down to how you are at dealing with negative energy manifested through a sad/angry/upset person. I guess one way would be to just ignore them and hope they go away, or you could try and help them out by listening.

    I know from personal experience I have one friend that was just so unhappy about everything (job, home, personal life) I loathed when they would call me because inevitably itíd always be a sad depressing conversation. Then they actually found something that truly makes them happy and its amazing the joyful conversations that have happened since then.

    With family itís hard because, well, they are family. You love them because they are family and you want them to be happy but in the end all you can be is another family member to them.

    Internet entities are a different lot all together. I guess online message boards can be an outlet to the bitter person locked up in a room in some far off land. If there isnít anyone to vent to in their area, why not vent it to the world via the WWW. I guess we can choose to listen, and maybe even lend a helping hand with opinions.

    Unfortunately sometimes the bitter negative entity just wont go away, no matter what. Its like they feed off of starting things so that people will enter their lair so that they can LASH OUT! Like a spider with a web, waiting for the inevitable meal to fly into the sticky death net. Iíve seen it happen in every message board I belong too and its sociologically fascinating to me.

    Anyway, just curious to see how everyone out there handles the bitter people in their lives. Do you help? Ignore?

  2. #2

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    Re: Bitter people - how do you deal?

    my sister is the most bitter person in my life. I choose notto deal with her. We have never been close and she would only call to put me down and brag about her pathetic life. I guess it made her feel better to put others down. We do not talk. I do not visit her and she's not invited to visit me. In her case this is not just something in her life caud=sing it...she has always been this way..even as a child.

    my parents are negative in other ways. I can deal with that easier. Short conversations and only visiting when they are not in their "moods".

    as for friends. I do not have friends like that. I love the saying. "you can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family". ...or something like that..

    knowing I grew up in a house full of negativity and being told I'm negative at times ...i now realize I may have the tendency to act that way and I try very hard not to. I do not have to be like my family....right?...LOL....my BF and my close friends do not think I am...so I guess thats what counts..

  3. #3

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    Re: Bitter people - how do you deal?

    I usually try to find out what the problem is so I can help. If there's nothing I can do, I try to do my best to keep their mind off what's troubling them. On internet boards, it's hard to help. Most people don't live near you and there's not much you can do but try and talk 'em down. However, it also makes it hard because you only know the alter ego of the posters so you don't know how to approach them. And some you just need to put on ignore. But all in all, I will try to help!
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  4. #4

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    Re: Bitter people - how do you deal?

    Maybe try some of the empathy you demand for yourself.

    Maybe try to not judge a person (as Grumpy said- you only know so much about someone online)

    and maybe, just maybe- take some responsibility for the things you say to people online (or anywhere) that might be a cause of disagreement. Sometimes I would say it is less that someone is bitter and just lashing out (which just makes you the victim boo hoo) than it is a time when you have done something hurtful and instead of taken responsibility- you blame them for their lasting mistrust of you.

    Anywhere in life you go there are going to be things that open old wounds and create new ones....and sometimes it happens by accident and sometimes there are people who trail you around causing distress for some purpose of their own.

    But respect, empathy and a less judgemental attitude goes far. If you don't know nor understand what is causing someone to hurt- maybe you should not work so hard to rub salt in the wound, especially when you yourself often demand understanding and empathy- but often choose to give it back only sparingly while you wait to wound someone again and again.

    There's alot of hurt in the world- it's really a shame when you see someone having a hard time- and then kick them when they're down. Too few people say what Grumpy said- that they would help. Most people only care about themselves....I would suspect that helps people become "bitter".

  5. #5

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    Re: Bitter people - how do you deal?

    I suppose I have a tendency to reach out first. If the person has a problem that is familiar to me it feels good to tell them what your circumstances were and how you dealt with it. If it appears that they are just depressed, unbalanced or just plain bitter, then it is something they either have to seek help from a professtional for, or try to change their attitude. If not, I back away.

    You're right, ON -- every message board has a handful of people like that. It doesn't take long to spot them and I mostly avoid them, same as I do people like that in everyday life. There are threads where you know it's just a matter of time until so and so appears like a moths to the flame.

    As for personal experience, my sister and I have finally come to realize what a negative, bitter person our mother is and probably always has been. The older she gets the more she exposes that. My partner asked recently, "Does your mother like anybody?"

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    Re: Bitter people - how do you deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nephythys
    There's alot of hurt in the world- it's really a shame when you see someone having a hard time- and then kick them when they're down. Too few people say what Grumpy said- that they would help. Most people only care about themselves....I would suspect that helps people become "bitter".
    I agree with this to a point. There comes a time after years of trying to reach out and getting knocked down for it that you just need to walk away. I realize my sister and parents will not change. I can get along with my parenst at times, but just being around my sister is to much for me. Every encounter ends in me feeling bad and depressed and her telling me how horrible my life is..I'm happy with my life. everyone makes mistakes in life, but she has great joy in throwing mine in my face every chance she gets. I can't tolerate to be around her any more. I'm sorry she can't find happiness and she's drove all her friends away...but she just does not change. She feels it's awlays everyone eles fault. Everyone is agaisnt her.

    if my friends are having problems and are down...then of course I try and help them, but if they are always that way for years on end...then I prefer not to be around it. Maybe I am self centered?...but my friends are not like. the ahve periods in their life...liek me...where they may be down, but it's not a 39 year period of being a bitter bitch....

  7. #7

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    Wink Re: Bitter people - how do you deal?

    Dealing with bitter people is tough if you don't know how to get away. Realizing [I]you[I] are the bitter person can just be downright depressing. With the word "bitter" in my subtitle, I can say I've been doing a lot of soul-searching over the past several years. I [I]was[I] one of those people who was down on everything on the internet. I left another popular Disney forum because my posts were first put down by another member, and then ignored by everyone else. Then I finally had a roommate who was just angry at everything and everyone. And no matter what good points she made about my life, I realized I never wanted to be like her.
    The big thing I realized (that I think was the key to my bitterness) last year, was that I revolve my life around other people's oppinions. Also, I'm not doing what I want to do with my life. I'm almost certain that most people are bitter for the same reasons. The best advice I can give to someone who is angry or bitter or depressed is, before you make a decision, ask yourself if it's actually your idea or someone elses. It might sound silly, but it's kind of surprising to see how many choices I've made because of what other people's oppinions are, and how few I've made because of mine.
    Also, pick your battles. Sometimes we take things way too personally that were never intended to be personal. Like Nephythys said, "most people only care about themselves". If you don't believe that, try driving on a major freeway during the rush hours.
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  8. #8

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    Re: Bitter people - how do you deal?

    You know, I have a LOT of experience with bitter people. My sympathy card has been used up for them - especially since I have PLENTY of things in my own life that could make me into a bitter old hag. But, I'm lucky. I CHOOSE not to be bitter. I look at where I can be responsible for my own life and where I am responsible for my feelings and how I come across in this world.

    You know, in the last year I've had cancer, Graves disease, been let go from a job because of my illnesses, been radiated in several ways time with energy-zapping crap. In prior years my father committed suicide, I lost a baby at 5 1/2 months, my mother was found dead in her house, my company went bankrupt, I got divorced, delt with alcoholism, yadayadayada. There's been a LOT of crap thrown at me. I only mention it because I have the "right" to be bitter if I choose. However, I choose not to. I make the best out of my life as it is delt to me and, in return, I give back as much as I can to others. I am happy, content, active, and I love being alive. Why? Because I choose to be.......and I choose NOT to be bitter.

    So, while I'd love to help all of the bitter people in the world, they have to first be WILLING to be happy. Otherwise, I have nothing to give them and it would be a waste of my own energy to help those who don't want to be happy.

    Some people like to be victims. It obviously bring them the attention they are craving and it's their choice to act that way. They may never learn to take responsability for their life, their feelings and their actions. It's sad but true and I've seen it more than I care to.

    My choice to stick with the people who are actually happy and I can learn something from OR to work woth those who want to change. All else is a waste of good energy on my part.

    And, like message boards with the "ignore" feature, I have to learn to apply that in real life at times. Whenever someone tries to shove their bitter pill their way I just remember how lucky I am that I didn't take that route.

  9. #9

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    Re: Bitter people - how do you deal?

    And, DAMN my avatar looks good with these colors!

  10. #10

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    Re: Bitter people - how do you deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by SCUBAbe
    I agree with this to a point. There comes a time after years of trying to reach out and getting knocked down for it that you just need to walk away. I realize my sister and parents will not change. I can get along with my parenst at times, but just being around my sister is to much for me. Every encounter ends in me feeling bad and depressed and her telling me how horrible my life is..I'm happy with my life. everyone makes mistakes in life, but she has great joy in throwing mine in my face every chance she gets. I can't tolerate to be around her any more. I'm sorry she can't find happiness and she's drove all her friends away...but she just does not change. She feels it's awlays everyone eles fault. Everyone is agaisnt her.

    if my friends are having problems and are down...then of course I try and help them, but if they are always that way for years on end...then I prefer not to be around it. Maybe I am self centered?...but my friends are not like. the ahve periods in their life...liek me...where they may be down, but it's not a 39 year period of being a bitter bitch....
    There are times to walk away- but with family, I find that you usually try to come back and try again. My grandparents are like that- and we do keep trying- but when you get slapped down over and over- it does get harder.

    With other people in real life- it depends on the level of the friendship. You can often find out just how strong a friendship is by how it weathers a rough time, or the damage and baggage someone has when it comes out. Everyone has issues and baggage- and if they say they don't- they're lying. If you find friends who can be there when you are up- or down, then you are blessed.

    Online? Being somewhere like this seems to make people braver. They say things they normally would not- and they make efforts to both help, and HURT people they normally would not. They can hide behind the keyboard- making broad character judgements on people they don't honestly know anything about. People become targets for whatever angst ails you- you vent, someone responds in a manner you don't want- and they become the most convenient person to lash out at. It usually doesn't last- people have ups and downs here as well as anywhere else. But if you are the type of person who carries a grudge and snipes out at people for the sheer vendetta of it all- then for some people it never goes away.

    I think that people who think they can judge someone's real personality, the depth of their struggles, or who they really are and what they want- from words on a screen- usually make mistakes and get it wrong. But if it makes they feel better about themselves to find other people lacking, or judge who they are and find them wanting- I guess it's something they really need. As sad as it is.....

  11. #11

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    Re: Bitter people - how do you deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nephythys
    I think that people who think they can judge someone's real personality, the depth of their struggles, or who they really are and what they want- from words on a screen- usually make mistakes and get it wrong.
    Well, sadly, that is all that one has to judge on. And, it usually is a pretty clear indicator of many things. Once again, if a person is being mis-judged then they might want to take a look at what they are putting out there. Is is each person's responsability to take an honest assessment of how they come across. If people are getting the wrong idea, maybe things need to be communicated in a better fashion.

  12. #12

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    Re: Bitter people - how do you deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nephythys
    There are times to walk away- but with family, I find that you usually try to come back and try again. My grandparents are like that- and we do keep trying- but when you get slapped down over and over- it does get harder.
    Distance is the key with family, I think. My sister lives within 20 minutes of our mother. We are 6 hours away by car. Sis works full time and does look in on mom once or twice a week to take her for groceries. Her doctor doesn't want her driving anymore so we took her car keys and are in the process of selling her car.

    When we do visit, we no longer stay with mom (she secretly told my sister that she's not up to overnight company) so we stay at my sister's and let her vent. Lunches, dinners and little visits while we are there is plenty of time around her. It's a constant monologue about relatives and neighbors and how much they've disappointed her by some action or perceived misbehaviour. She's still ranting about slights and mistreatment that she endured as a small child.

    After a 20 minute tirade against her older sister, (who is exactly the same) I looked at her and asked, "When are you going to realize that the past is never going to get any better?" She looked at me in stunned silence for many seconds and then looked away and changed the subject.

  13. #13

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    Re: Bitter people - how do you deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Not Afraid
    Well, sadly, that is all that one has to judge on. And, it usually is a pretty clear indicator of many things. Once again, if a person is being mis-judged then they might want to take a look at what they are putting out there. Is is each person's responsability to take an honest assessment of how they come across. If people are getting the wrong idea, maybe things need to be communicated in a better fashion.

    True- but it also helps when people step back and stop making those judgements. Or at the very least- stop assuming the worst, or even better, keep their judgements to themselves. The keyboard shrinks get really annoying.

    Quote Originally Posted by desertdweller
    Distance is the key with family, I think. My sister lives within 20 minutes of our mother. We are 6 hours away by car. Sis works full time and does look in on mom once or twice a week to take her for groceries. Her doctor doesn't want her driving anymore so we took her car keys and are in the process of selling her car.

    When we do visit, we no longer stay with mom (she secretly told my sister that she's not up to overnight company) so we stay at my sister's and let her vent. Lunches, dinners and little visits while we are there is plenty of time around her. It's a constant monologue about relatives and neighbors and how much they've disappointed her by some action or perceived misbehaviour. She's still ranting about slights and mistreatment that she endured as a small child.

    After a 20 minute tirade against her older sister, (who is exactly the same) I looked at her and asked, "When are you going to realize that the past is never going to get any better?" She looked at me in stunned silence for many seconds and then looked away and changed the subject.
    My grandmother did not speak to her own sister for like 7 years over not getting to sit in the front seat of a car. They are still mad at me for doing something like not sending a thank you on time. I have come to Cali several times in the last few years- and they won't even welcome us for a visit. I suppose that is just as well- though it hurts. They won't even acknowledge my kids- their only great grandchildren-they hate us for having moved away. How dare we not live down the street!

  14. #14

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    Re: Bitter people - how do you deal?

    I help -- but only to a point. I cannot help someone that is spreading negative energy if they do not want to be helped.

    I understand the need to be a sounding board -- that is what friends are for a lot of the time. However, if the negative energy gets SO incredibly bad and the person has no willingness whatever to get out of a negative space, then it might be best to keep any contact with that person to a minimum. I am not going to help someone at the expense of my own sanity / emotional well being.

    Of course EVERYONE has their ****ty days. And everyone needs help in their lives. But being so bitter ALL the time that it starts sucking other people down with you? No way man, life is too good and too short.

    Also:You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Not Afraid again. What you said above just rocks.
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  15. #15

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    Re: Bitter people - how do you deal?

    I pretty much just ignore them... or tell them to piss off.

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