Dear Dr. Bobbi,
I recently read an article in the Healthy Living Magazine that gave some tips on how to rid your life of stress. One of the tips was to keep yourself surrounded by positive people and to take charge by staying away from negative people. The article went on to say that negative people affect us whether we realize it or not. I have a problem. I live with a negative person. Avoiding, staying away from this person is not exactly possible. I find myself in the line of fire by this negative person and it leaves me feeling pretty "beat up" and drained. Okay, I am married to this person so it isn't as easy as just moving to get away. I'm feeling a bit trapped here. Can you help me?
-Stuck In Standfield
That is a difficult situation, but not an impossible one. Here are a few suggestions that may help you decide what you need to do.
1. Seek God by prayer and Bible reading. This will give you inner strength to cope and will allow the Lord to shield you from the darts of negativity. Your spouse has a real problem and it's not you. Although the anger is dumped on you, you don't have to accept it.
2. When the negativity begins, don't get hooked into an argument. It goes nowhere and just escalates the anger. Walk away if possible. Say nothing, or speak kind words softly, such as "I can see this has bothered you a lot."
3. Suggest to your spouse that (s)he get help for the negativity/anger. This one usually is rejected or provokes more anger so approach it with caution.
4. Give your spouse an ultimatum: Stop the negativity or we can't be together anymore. This is a drastic step and should only be used if there is danger of violence.
5. Leave. The one is to be used only if nothing else has worked and the negativity is destroying your health or has become violent.
God bless you as you prayerfully consider what God wants you to do.
Regards, Dr. Bobbi
To the readers out there, is there any other advice you can give to "Stuck"? I'm sure it will be greatly appreciated.