You’re Driving Me Crazy

Posted by on Feb 7, 2014 in Faith | 2 comments

117Take a moment to think about someone who drives you nuts. Not a little, but that person you’ve fantasized about snapping in half across your iron knee. Or stabbing them in the neck with a pencil. Oh come on. Don’t tell me it’s only me. Because I know it isn’t. It’s you too. Maybe your revenge of choice wasn’t quite so dramatic, but for some of us…I mean some ‘other’ people, it is. Maybe when you’re around this person you want to shrink down to nothing-size and hide under a leaf in the forest. Or perhaps you’re like me and you like to wear glasses when you know you’ll be facing this person, as you can drop them down your nose and be suddenly ‘blind’ which gives you a weird sense of safety. We all have irksome people in our lives. I actually do not have one right now, which is great, but it has certainly happened before.

Today, a friend was venting about just such a person in her life. Her complaints were so valid. Not communicating, listening, condescending behavior; the works. I happen to know said offender and don’t have the same experience or relationship with them but I was considering what kind of advice to offer. I didn’t have much really, but I reached really deep into my memory of the last time I was in this situation and what helped me. Here is a list to give you some perspective next time you cross Mr. PITA’s path. (Google that if you don’t know what it means. Or don’t. If you don’t know what it means, you’re innocent and shouldn’t.)

1) What are they NOT telling you?

What’s Ms. Cranky Pants not sharing that you don’t know about? Did her mom just get diagnosed with cancer? Maybe not, but maybe her mom isn’t very nice to her and lives in the back bedroom. Perhaps he’s got some painful and embarrassing condition that he is so scared people will find out about. Is his boss breathing down his neck and he lives in constant fear of losing his job and not being able to make the mortgage payment for his high maintenance wife? Some people have small children and don’t sleep. Ever. Not that I’d know.  I’m just saying. Think about the crosses that person is bearing. Some people have issues like anxiety, depression, hypertension or overachiever syndrome they just can’t shake. Give them the benefit of the doubt and don’t take it personally.

2) Maybe they are afraid of YOU!

Are you nice? Friendly? Helpful? If you just said, “I think I am,” then you’re not. Are you really? Maybe you’re the demanding, crazy perfectionist kind of person that people shirk away from. Your antagonist in this story might want to crumble around your tall boots and respond in an unlikely way like passive aggressive-ism (is that a word? – is now) or committee-ism (also, new word.) Committee-ism, if you haven’t heard of it, is when people talk to other people about what they think of you and then suddenly, because someone else agrees with them, they are totally absolved from any wrongdoing. Consider this: “I totally ate like 10 Oreos just now.” Friend: “Oh my gosh! I did too!!!!” Then you squeal in delight that you’re not the only one and voila! The calories don’t count. Only they do. And when you and someone else get together and ‘agree’ that so and so is so annoying/aggravating/lazy/etc., you’re the jerk. Times two. Just saying.

3) They also are a cracked pot.

We are told that God is the potter and we are the clay. We are a bunch of cracked pots! (Get it? Crack pots? anyway…) If he is molding us into the beautiful pottery that we are supposed to be, it’s going to get a little hot and we are going to crack a bit. But when you look at this cracked, clay pot, you’ll see a gorgeous and sunny ray of light bursting from that pot. That golden hue? That’s the Holy Spirit. It’s Jesus. It’s God and He lives inside each and every one of us. True story: A coworker from a life long past made me want to snap her little body in half (ok – you caught me.) I was SO very angry at this person and their tactics. The thought of her would make my blood pressure rise. Weekends were ruined from thoughts of how to make this person go away, or stop what they were doing. Oh it was bad. I read about the little cracked pot/Holy Spirit analogy and the light came on. I plastered her face on that cracked pot and saw the light come out of it. Dang it! If Jesus loves that dirty, scruffy, CRAZY CRACK POT LADY, then what’s MY problem?!?!  I decided to change my attitude. It wasn’t easy – I am not going to lie. But each time she said or did something that I wanted to throw up about, I’d pause and stare at her face and skin, her hair and her delicate hands. I would take a moment to think about what her husband loved about her, about the strengths that God decided he wanted HER to have, about the nice way she composed an email albeit passive aggressive. 🙂 It took work but eventually, we because friends.

4) YOU are a cracked pot. 

There’s work to be done on you. Maybe you aren’t patient, or maybe (and this is my favorite) maybe God is putting you through this so that you know how to handle a more difficult situation that is going to come up later in life and you don’t even know about it! In fact, one of the worse things that ever happened to me has prepared me for more situations in life than I can count. I remember being so scared, so upset, so panicked. And in the end of that story (that’s for another book…) I am thankful now. Thankful that I got through that, and thankful that I learned so much from it. Sure, it was rough. Notgonnalie. But in the end, God was preparing me for a world of various obstacles and feelings that I would inevitably have in other less stressful situations in life. Situations, that certainly weren’t anywhere near as bad. Or maybe they would have been had I not gone through the one terrible experience. If I learned one thing from that lesson, it was that I will never again choose to not trust my instincts. I will never again allow myself to be mistreated. I will stand up for myself and do what might be terrifying – leave and cut ties with the offending parties. THAT confidence has propelled me in places I never would have gone otherwise. Praise God.

5) Give peace a chance.

I was mildly irritated by a coworker’s behavior once.  He was levels and levels above me but I had to interact with him regularly and what’s worse, get him to do what I needed. But he was starting to irk me…until one day he mentioned how appreciative he was of my approach to the issue and how he valued my questions and experience on the topic. He went so far as to say what a pleasure it was to work with me on these issues. Mind. Blown. That impressive compliment really gave me a huge level of respect for him and his position. I knew he valued what I had to say and trusted my instincts. He could tell me ‘no’ a hundred times after that and because I felt valued, I would in turn trust his expertise. When someone is starting to get the best of you, find a moment to give them a fantastic compliment, a recommendation, a cup of coffee or a high five. Pick anything that is worth celebrating and celebrate it. Maybe that’s just the nudge they needed to work better with you or very least, the nudge to stop irritating the heck out of you.

2 Comments

  1. So beautifully put Nancy!! I related so much to this !! It was like it was coming out of my heart !!
    I too had to learn from a horrible and painful experience within myself as I would ” react ” to a certain someone. Although, mine was a family member or two! Lol
    It’s amazing how our hardest lessons teach us the most !! I heard once that “Pain is God’s great megaphone.” It’s so true !! Lol
    I think we hear the best when are the most eager to end the pain !! Pain can cause hunger for change!! The change in question is almost always the change WE most desperately need!! So ironic, isn’t it ?!

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