I get that it’s a fact of life that we’re all prone to a little bit of grumbling and moaning from time to time, but a negaholic is one of those people who simply can’t seem to help but spout negativity in every situation. This affliction exists to differing degrees. Some only have a mild case, whilst in others it’s so strong that they seem to have the ability to drain every ounce of energy from you with just a few minutes of conversation. Somewhere along the way they have learned from other equally negative sources, whether that’s the people they surround themselves with, the society they grow up in, or their own family upbringing, and love nothing more than to dump their Debbie Downer slime all over others.
I used to find it incredibly annoying, but now I totally get why the phrase “cheer up it might never happen” was invented. You’re trying to create this bold, brave and deeply fulfilled life for yourself, and as if that’s not challenging enough, you then have to dodge attacks from all the super draining negative people out there. Dare to do anything slightly out of the norm and they’re straight in there pointing out the pitfalls.
These “negaholics” manage to find any way of crushing your mood with their fearful based projections about why you can’t, why it’s not a good idea, and how their cousin Susie died in a ditch penniless when she tried to better her circumstances, don’t you know. #justsaying.
Some of these people in our lives are well meaning (their love for us has just turned into fear for us). Some are simply accidentally and unconsciously projecting their own limited mindset onto us. Some of them (sadly) are just bitter and don’t feel fulfilled themselves, so think the only control they have is to try and rob someone else of this development too.
Either way, I’ve found it so important for my own mental health to guard myself as much as possible from the invasion of the negaholics. Here’s what I’ve found can help:
Make sure you are super selective with who you share your dreams, goals and plans with. Confide in the people who have shown you encouragement and support before. This is especially vital in the fragile, early stages of developing an idea, before we’re sure ourselves that something is going to work out. It’s not that we’re trying to avoid honest and loving constructive feedback, it’s just that it needs to come in a positive way.
Don’t be afraid to cut loose the serial offenders.
Sometimes we change and outgrow certain connections, and that’s ok. It’s not mean and nothing personal, it’s protecting your own wellbeing. We like to think that people in our lives will be pleased for us, but the reality is that some people just aren’t capable of that and it’s got nothing to do with you.
Minimise interaction with the peripheral negaholics in your life.
If you’re not the best of friends but can’t cut them out, then try and put them on mute as much as possible. Politely turned down invitations from negaholics, “thanks but I’m busy bashing my head against a brick wall”. If they’re your Facebook friend, hide them for your feed. (sorry Dave but I’d rather not read about your ranting parking ticket NIGHTMARE). I’m not saying be rude, but stop feeling like you owe people something. You get to choose who you give most of your energy to.
When negaholics are close to home, like parents, family members or even partners it’s really important to create firm boundaries.
It’s a weird truth that sometimes it’s the most strongly established relationships where this negativity comes from the most. You may let the little things slide, but when it comes to the bigger things decide what is and isn’t up for discussion. Your parents don’t like the lifestyle you’ve chosen for yourself? Ok, now that’s been made clear you agree to disagree. Take the option of debating it off the table and draw a line as to what they get to have a say in, rather than subjecting yourself to a barrage of questions and negativity every time you see them.
Top up your positive vibes.
However you can, and whenever you can, surround yourself with positive people who feed your energy supply. Give more time to the people you know in life lift you up. Join groups in real life or online that match your vibe, and offer support, inspiration and motivation.
Above all else, remember that your energy is the most precious resource you have (well, that and Netflix). So always strive to protect it.