Self Esteem Secrets For Women

Friday, March 24, 2006

21 Surprising Ways To Bring Out The WORST In People

"I just can't believe she did that to me! I am not putting up with this any more! I'm fed up and I don't have to take her abuse!"

Have you heard this kind of reaction before? Unless you've lived a completely sheltered life, you've probably been on the receiving end of bad treatment from family members, "so called friends" and co-workers.

Do people treat you badly on purpose or is there some other motivation that even THEY aren't aware of?

The list below titled "21 Surprising Ways To Bring Out The Worst In People" was first created by my wife Marsha about six years ago. I've kept it all this time and showed it to no one.

I've decided to share this list with you, but first I want you to hear why Marsha created it. What experiences did she have that produced this kind of accurate insight?

For reasons that Marsha is NOW aware of, but wasn’t at the time, she seemed to be a magnet for abusive people. Grade school teachers, high school teenagers, neighborhood bullies, abusive family members, and finally, a self centered husband. (That would be me…many years ago).

In January, 2000 Marsha began to gather all her memories along with all the insensitive things I had done to her, and she compiled them into the following list.

For a downloadable PDF version of the "21 Ways List", click here.

When she gave it to me, she explained that people do the things on this list, most often, not to damage anyone else, but because they are only thinking of their own needs. For instance, #6 is people taking things from you, not because they want to hurt you, but because they find their own need more important than what you might feel once you discover your loss.

#10 finds people overvaluing you. That's when they begin to stroke your ego and say how great you are. When you “read between the lines” and look at their REAL motivations, you’ll find they are doing it because they want to get something that you can provide. The second version of #10 finds them undervaluing you simply because they feel threatened by your talent, looks, or some other asset they feel unable to compete with. I want to point out once again that these people are not trying to hurt you. They are looking past you at their own goal. That is why these 21 ways are SURPRISING.

You may be saying, “Well that’s interesting Larry, but what can I do with this list?”

This list will help you when you’re in a situation where you feel you’re being taken advantage by someone. Rather than attacking them directly, or complaining about their actions to someone, else call them up and tell them that you found this list titled “21 Surprising Ways to Bring Out The Worst In People”. Tell them how interesting you thought it was and ask if they would like you to email it to them. When they agree, send them the list. In your email, type the following question, "Have you ever noticed that people don't realize they’re doing these things to you because they are just focused on their own needs? They’re not intentionally trying to hurt you, but in reality, that is always the end result.” What do you think?

Sign your name and wait. That person will begin thinking about…you guessed it, themselves again and will want to share with you how other people have been doing these things to them. That's when you’ll have the opportunity to ask "Did you ever think you've done some of these things to me without even knowing it?

Notice that you ask a question, you don't make an accusation. It is with QUESTIONS that people begin to think, become more reasonable and start to see things your way. So the next time someone offends you, refer to this list to make them aware of what they’re doing.

That is exactly what my wife did with me. At the time, I had no idea why I was upsetting my wife, but now that I’m aware of what I was doing, I think of her first and as a result, I’m able to avoid a potential argument and keep my stress level down.


  • Thank you Marsha (I think).
    The list grabbed my attention because I have often felt that my husband brings out the worst in people (not just in me but in certain other people as well). I was really feeling like “Hey, this is great. THANK YOU, MARSHA! I will send this to my husband and get him to see this.” But then I had a counter thought “I wonder how many of these things I do to others, especially my husband. Do I really want to know? Maybe I should send the list to him and find out.” Now I feel compelled to look at myself first and I am not so sure I am thankful for the information any longer. Well, what do I have to lose? I am going to give it a try. I will use a slight variation of your suggestion, Larry: “Did you ever think I've done some of these things to you without even knowing it?
    Hmmm, I wonder what I will stir up.

    By Blogger Teri, At 9:00 AM  

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