Tall Poppy Diaries

Observations and musings on life as a happy high-achiever (or what the Aussie's call a "Tall Poppy" ). "Unless you choose to do great things with it, it makes no difference how much you are rewarded, or how much power you have." --Oprah Winfrey

Tuesday, August 31, 2004


  Life Is Too Short! Dealing with Toxic People

I have very little space in my life for Toxic People. I avoid them as much as possible, and I don't set myself up for misery by attempting to befriend them. Toxic's rarely change for the better, and I don't have the emotionally energy available to deal with them. I don't feel that it is my responsibility to try to reform them, or to be the butt of their jokes, or to stand and smile while they harass me. LIFE IS JUST TOO SHORT!

However, every few months I find myself in the situation of either being "the good wife" and tolerating the company of my husband's toxic friend OR feeling like the bad wife and refusing to meet with my husband's group of friends (the rest of whom I really enjoy). Not only does Mr. Toxic get under my skin, he is rude to our children. Though one of our sons in particular dreads our dinners with Mr. Toxic (all of the kids are expected to come), he is a real trooper when we are all together and is heartbreakingly charming with the man. Yet, Mr. Toxic is still mean to him! My husband doesn't appreciate the way Mr. Toxic has acted the last few meetings, either, but he feels like we should just ride it out for the good of the group.

I've had enough. I have tried. But it's not OK to make my kids suffer in order to keep these bi-monthly group gatherings together. I feel obligated to sit at the kid's table and walk on eggshells the entire time to make sure that our boys don't provoke Mr. Toxic's ire. The other adults are sympathetic to my situation, as they know that I don't tolerate people like Mr. Toxic well. They appreciate my "efforts" in making sure that everyone else gets together and has a great time--like I am the sacrificial lamb--but they are just too nice to "cause a rift" by saying anything to Mr. Toxic.

My husband says that I should call HIS friend and tell him how I feel. I feel that if my husband wants the rest of his family to join him at future group events with Mr. Toxic that my husband should call and explain to his friend of over 20 years that he expects all of the members of his family to be treated with respect.

I am really good at managing my OWN toxic people, but how do you handle your husband's? Have any of you been in this situation before?

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