I would say that learning how to say no or walk away without first having to make someone “bad,” was one of the most liberating realizations of my life.Seeing people from a loving compassionate place, doesn’t mean that you need to tolerate them. It also doesn’t mean it’s your job to fix them. All it means is understanding that they would do it differently if they knew how. You don’t have to muck up your own water to get them out of the mud. If they are choosing to sit in the mud puddle, that’s their choice. Here are a few ways that I handle passive aggressive or volatile people.

  1. As soon as I notice that I have been triggered, I pay attention to the emotions that I am experiencing.
  2. I remind myself that I am in charge of how I feel. If someone is doing something that is upsetting, I have the ability to choose to respond however I want and if I respond from a reactive place, I will most likely feel badly afterward. I know that I would prefer to feel good, so this typically takes some of the steam out.
  3. If I am still triggered, I will look with eyes of compassion (this is not always easy but it does get easier with practice). If I picture the bad behavior coming from a childish fear, for instance someone that is forcefully asserting their opinions onto others, I could say to myself, they must really not feel heard or important if they have this strong of a need to force people into listening to them. At that point, I can almost always feel my body release its tension and I feel free to walk away without feeling a responsibility to react.

I have found that usually it is not yet possible to help them understand how to do it differently, unless they have identified it as a problem for themselves and asked for help. Until that point, I believe that the best thing that can be done for them is to role model kind and loving behavior both internally and externally. Hopefully, they are inspired by how your life seems to have a lot less pain than theirs and potentially see that there is a different way of being in the world than the one that they have chosen. Either way, finding your own peace within during the interaction is key to the possibility of a mutually enjoyable relationship. So, focus on what brings you peace and let the rest fall into place.