Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario


I always know when I’m off-balance.

Not the “off-balance” that comes from being top-heavy, or wearing stupid shoes without heels. I’m talking about the situation when I’m in overload, and need to step back and take a deep breath and calm the fuck down. (Excuse the f-shot. But I am having trouble dealing at the moment.)

When I am off-balance, it is important that I make the bed.

Nay, it is CRITICAL that I make the bed. Or, as is the case in my current situation, I am compelled to make a spreadsheet.

Years ago, when I was in overload mode, say, like the time I was 19 and getting married and working a bazillion hours of overtime and not even remotely in love with the hubby, but, you know, we had sex, so that’s love, right? And if that’s love, you get married, right? Well, back then, the cue to being out of kilter was an inner ear disorder. I was literally dizzy any time I moved my body from sitting or standing, or even turned my head.

The same disorder cropped up again, when I was married to “The One.”

Maybe menopause eliminated that particular quirk of emotional excess. (As I understand it, inner ear disorders are related to estrogen levels.) I’m not woozy these days. Just cranky. And swearing a lot. (Can you tell?)

And not at all sure how to deal with someone who is passive aggressive and being a general pain in the tuckus.

I won’t name names, but the offender is not a household or a family member. No one you’ve met, actually. But someone whom I am obliged to deal with through my volunteer work.

Someone who, if I recall my meditation days, is a being who has been set on my path to teach me life lessons.

You may have encountered this strategy for dealing with difficult people – take a look at the troubling situation and consider what you might learn from it. I had a poster hung up beside my work station for years: “Thank you for the lessons you have to teach me.”

Suffice to say, I am struggling.

So, to calm myself, I draw up a spreadsheet. I make lists. I clean up my email inbox or organize the junk drawer. That kind of thing.

Also, there is wine.

How ironic is that, that to “whine,” to complain, to piss and moan (or whinge) also sounds like fermented grapes. Ah, universe, you are a sly, devilish sprite, you are.

Cheers, and thanks for allowing me to vent.

And please! Do share your strategies  for dealing with difficult people!

Categories: Uncategorized

52 replies

  1. Avoidance if at all possible! But that’s not likely the case for you Maggie if you are working alongside. Are you someone who remains silent or will you confront? I used to be so reticent to speak out first, but have adopted a new philosophy in the past few years to speak up, speak first and hound the offender until they either give me a credible answer or walk away never to be seen again 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Maggie, you know passive aggressive behavior is handed out to tick you off, so people feel better about themselves, especially if you react! They are superior over you. This person sounds like a little person who needs to feel bigger. At your expense. If the volunteer is a good worker, ignore the comments. You know where they come from! Good luck! 📚 Christine

    Liked by 2 people

  3. When dealing with difficult people, psychic vampires and their ilk, I try very hard to remember not to give my power away to them i.e never let them know how much they irk me. Passive-aggressive and manipulative types are especially hard to deal with so I usually just calmly call out the behaviour when I see it and tell them it won’t work on me. That usually leads to a lot of back-pedalling and denial, but it stops them in their tracks. If they know you are on to them they usually drop those tactics. And then of course they will try something else, but if you hold firm on the boundary you set that you don’t respond to those behaviours eventually they give up (and move on to their next victim, unfortunately).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Deb – I’m with you – establish boundaries and defend them.

      I try to limit contact with this individual because I know each and every exchange will include some element of unwanted behaviour. I do remain calm, in that I bite back the words, but if this person is in any way paying attention, they’ll note the tension in my voice. And the daggers in my eyes. Which is why email is such a great way to conduct business. I can point-click-edit (and more often than not, DELETE) whatever I don’t like from them, and more to the point, what I don’t want them to hear from me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dealing with difficult people is not my strong suit, Maggie. I wish you more luck than I have ever had. It’s much worse when the difficult folks are people you need. Good luck. Vent any time you like.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good luck, Maggie. I wish I had good advice to give but generally I’m a take-it kind of person – at least until the day I inevitably snap. Then it’s usually pretty ugly.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I wanted to write something quirky and humourous about dealing with an irritable associate. Unfortunately everything I came up with seemed wildly inappropriate to make fun of. It may not be a humourous situation at times but I admire anyone that can deal with it and come out with a sense of humour. You can. You do. And you will continue to. Kudos my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My natural reaction would be avoidance. Since that can’t be, I’d probably grin and bare it until I exploded. No wisdom here, as you can see.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Now you see, I’m beginning to realize that it is wise to “turn the other cheek” to “pick your battles” and so on. What we call avoidance is really not such a bad thing.

      Until, I suppose avoidance turns into being a doormat. Which is where I’m at with this person. Time to pick myself up off the floor, so to speak.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I say, make your spreadsheets. Then wrap a mallet in them and wack your nemesis upside the head. Just kidding… I’m a non-confronter too. Mona Lisa smiles and avoidance (and a mallet, just in case).

    Liked by 2 people

  9. “Also, there is wine.” There’s your answer right there. Well, there’s my answer.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I remove as much toxicity from my environment as I can, but yeah, there are those few who remain due to other commitments. I genuinely attempt to kill them with kindness. There’s something about remaining unbearably happy in their presence that makes me drunk on smugness. Tis true. Freakin miserable bastards; I won’t have it 😉

    Of course, I also clean a lot.
    And struggle with vertigo.

    I adore you.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You are to vent whenever the mood takes you – if only because it reminds me of that post about all the blokes in your life. Sorry ! – all your exes. [grin]
    I have never been able to put up with people I really don’t like. I wish that everyone I know would case and desist from pretending to put up with those they don’t like, so that they would STOP WHINGEING ABOUT THEM TO ME !!!!
    Sighh …

    Liked by 1 person

  12. And I didn’t mean you, MW.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh, Maggie….I do feel your pain. My supervisor is passive-aggressive. She vehemently denies it. Really? I try to avoid people like this. Remove me or the person ’cause I ain’t got time for that! Wine, too. Good luck, my friend. Sounds like you’ll have the cleanest house in Cobalt. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Walk away every time they say something passive aggressive. Look away if you can’t walk away. One thing I learned during my ABA training for my autistic son is that everything we do is a behaviour. Even saying hello. If we get a response, we do it again. If we don’t get one, we learn eventually to try another tactic. Planned ignoring. It works. Keep doing it until you get a behaviour out of them that’s acceptable.
    In the meantime, wine. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I recall learning something similar from my DSW days and behaviour modification classes – extinction, I think was the name for it, then – ignore undesirable and reward desired behaviours.

      And ignoring and “avoiding conflict” are similar responses, I think, which I am generally capable of doing. And I will continue to do. Except, it’s not always possible to walk away, as was the case this week – we were at a meeting, with several people, including visitors. This person was loud, aggressive, and making inaccurate and insulting claims. I pointedly and sternly corrected the remarks. And we moved on. But it left me shaken.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m a smile and wave type of girl when I get passive agressive people…

    Then sometimes it’s come home and have a glass of wine (large glass) and vent to hubby.

    There are times where I know that won’t be enough (today actually)… So it was a glass of wine (always wine) & alone time… I listened to my loud music, had a nice long relaxing shower, then did a nice face mask…

    I just try and get back to focusing on my and my needs. Instead of thinking about them.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Jesus drank wine and now we know why: He was surrounded by egos who lost sight of the common cause! It’s frustrating, Maggie. I am no shaper-upper of others, so I myself move on quietly after a while.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So, what you are saying is that I’m in good company, then?

      Jokes aside, no, I am not a shaper-upper either, and can hardly claim to have the finer points of human interaction mastered. But I have to wonder, how is it that I find myself in these leadership positions when I’d much rather be in the back row???

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I like the idea of making your bed and making spread sheets…it’s a way of controlling what you can control, and that’s soothing. Otherwise, if this person is a volunteer, you may have to think about whether your organization is better with them or without them. I have volunteered at an animal shelter for 16 years now, and during that time I have seen a handle of volunteers get “fired.” Sometimes the trouble a person brings simply outweighs the help they give.

    Liked by 2 people

    • EXACTLY, Ann. I used to kick at the traces when Mom used to force me to make the bed, sometimes just before bedtime. It’s ironic that the chore is my go-to activity when I need to self-soothe.

      I hear you loud and clear about the merits of keeping on a troublesome person. For now, I’m going to let things remain as they are. We have a population base of less than 1500 and of those, the volunteering types are already over-extended, doing what they can. I haven’t reached my breaking point. Yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I always ask the person to please be direct in their concerns at the onset and not let them build up inside of them until it spills over into nasty insinuations. That’s generally what happens. They’re irritated with something but they wait until a nasty mood and then it all comes out It’s an awfully hard condition to admit to or to overcome. Rant away…..

    Liked by 1 person

  19. You and I have spoken many times over the phone about the frustrations of volunteering. My advice Mag, “walk away – let them do the work”. It’s not worth the aggravation. You have always worked well on your own, and you are aware of this. There are many “Queen Bees” and many “Drone Manipulators” and with these “control freaks” nothing will ever be good enough for them – they want it all.

    You need not reply to my comments. Instead, call me then we’ll chit chat.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Some days can be so challenging. Rough days are no fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Wow, Maggie, I too am on overload right now. The universe keeps throwing one iron weight at me after another. When I thought I could take no more (mainly business and financial stuff), I took my dear Perry cat to the vet today to find out he needs an echocardiogram because she thinks he might have a very dangerous heart disease. I’m so very attached to him!!! The cardiologist I took my old cat Mac to years ago couldn’t do the echo until August, so I am taking him in 2 weeks to a different one. The vet doesn’t want to wait.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Welp, everyone has already given you the advice I’d offer so I’ll just say that I hope things are going better for you in regard to this person. Or if not, I hope that your wine supply is holding steady.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I find it helps to assume everyone else has some sort of mental disorder. (It couldn’t possibly be me!) That way, I can pity them, but their actions do not relate to me. Perhaps this is a cruel thing to do, but it can keep me from loosing f-bombs on them.


Your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s