- The person doubts the commitment, loyalty, or trustworthiness of another, convinced that others are deceiving them. This could also be a form of projection where the person is actually uncommitted, disloyal, and untrustworthy themselves , and unable to accept this, they develop a self-created illusion whereby their heinous attitudes are projected onto the other person
- They read hidden meanings into innocent remarks or casual looks of others. They perceive the intentions of others to be in alignment with their own agendas rather than seeing them objectively.
- The person is unforgiving and holds grudges for imagined wrongdoings.
- The person is often controlling and jealous of others. This can be particularly apparent when working in groups where others display talents and abilities this person does not possess.
- They cannot see their role in problems or conflicts and believe they are always right. When cornered by logic or facts, they often deflect to a well-worn passive-aggressive stance of acting as if the other person is out of control or not being professional, notwithstanding their own indefensible position.
How do you deal with people like this? Of course, there is not one answer. It can depend on whether you are unable to make sweeping changes in your environment. If you can, it may be the best thing for your own mental health to walk away and go on with your life. If you can't make that choice, you will have to call into play other options. You can develop a way of interacting with such people.
- When you find yourself being accused, simply say, "I'm sorry you feel that way," and walk away. It may not reduce their paranoia, but it will certainly reduce your stress level.
- When they read hidden meanings into your words, respond with "I'm sorry, how in the world did you come up with that impression?" When they offer their spiel, respond with "Gosh, I never intended that interpretation, and I wasn't trying to punch your buttons. I just didn't know you were so sensitive." Refuse to engage with their paranoia.
- If you have a person who is unforgiving and holding grudges, you just have to walk around them and avoid interaction. You can't change their attitude; you can only give them more ammunition to fuel their imaginings.
- So many people like to be on committees at work and other places. However, it is rare when they are really prepared to do the work involved to complete the task at hand. It is common for one or two people to shoulder the burden. My husband went through a class project in college that dealt with this very situation, and it proved that most only wanted to come to the meetings, but had no vested interest in doing the necessary work. Consequently, you have to decide to shoulder the burden or walk away. However, if you do shoulder the burden, you should be prepared to be the target of the arrows of those who did not. They attempt to assuage their guilt over doing nothing or their jealousy toward those who did the work by finding fault, nit-picking, and making false accusations.
- When confronted by a passive-aggressive personality, arguing with them is fruitless. Simply cut them off with "Please, spare me the platitudes." Then end the conversation by walking away. Of course, in today's world, such remarks are usually made by email; however, you can still respond the same.
I know you're probably saying at this point that all this seems a bit harsh. I used to think so, too. However, experience has taught me that such people are using you to feed their sickness, and as long as you allow it, they are draining you of your energy. They are energy vampires. They feed off of you. When you realize this, you have a choice: participate with them and get dragged down or find a way to cut off their food supply.