“Refuse to Fight Small Battles with Petty People, Your Life is Bigger and Better Than That.”

My thoughts today are about petty people, mean people, and those who facilitate their bad behavior.

All of us have dealt with them before, those people who are petty, mean, and selfish.  They are those people who are focused only on themselves, their wants, their hurts, and their problems.  The petty ones can be found parading their “poor me” attitude in an attempt to garner pity and attention from those around them; and the mean ones can be found using dishonest and manipulative behavior to try and paint themselves in the better light with the hopes of making others around them look worse.  The petty people tend to be consummate victims; the mean people tend to be incredibly insecure; and both seem to always have justifications handy to excuse their inappropriate behaviors. 

There is no such thing as petty or mean person who is happy with themselves; rather they would be described as insecure, jealous, angry, envious, spiteful, and in constant need of attention.  They are never satisfied or grateful for what they have, rather they focus their entire attention on everything they don’t have, and they try and tear down anyone else who truly is happy in their lives.   Both are one thing and one thing only – TOXIC!

Unfortunately we live in a world where at some point we will have no choice but to encounter these people, so how can we best handle them?

First we have to remember that we cannot control someone else’s behavior.  We can only control our own.  Our focus must be on controlling our own actions and reactions and we can’t allow ourselves to get sucked into their madness.  When we allow ourselves to get sucked into it, we only end up hurting ourselves and rewarding them, which only encourages them to continue with their bad behavior.

Next we have to remember that you cannot “fix” someone else.   Everyone has to take responsibility for their own actions, and when we mistakenly think that we have the ability to change another person we only end up bringing ourselves down in the process, rather than lifting the other person up.  Often in trying to “fix” a petty or mean person we end up facilitating their bad behavior and making excuses for them, which only encourages them to continue their bad behavior. 

One of the worst traps we can fall into is the trap of becoming an enabler to those who are petty or those who are mean.  We cannot let our own actions become a facilitator that rewards and encourages the bad behavior of another.  Doing so will only push them further down the path they are already on. We must be willing to take a stand on what is right and stand against what is wrong.  We must stand true to our values, doing so in the most respectful way possible.  Some describe this as “tough love”.  We should never allow ourselves to shrink from standing for what’s right with the excuse of trying to “help” that other person, or out of a desire not to “hurt their feelings”.  Bad behavior is just that, it’s bad.   We can’t allow ourselves to be treated badly or taken advantage of as it doesn’t just hurt us; it also hurts the person committing the bad acts.  By standing for what is right we both set an example for the other person as well as teach them that they must behave differently if they are to be part of your life. 

Finally, we have to recognize when the time has come that we must simply walk away.  At the point it becomes clear to you that these petty or mean spirited people are not going to change, the best thing to do is to walk away and cut off any association with them going forward.    As hard as that may be, there comes a point where that may be the best option.  My suggestion is that this step be taken only after you have taken time to truly contemplate if doing so is the right thing for you to do.  You need to feel good about the decision to walk away.  Don’t ever allow yourself to walk away in anger or bitterness.  You need to feel good about the choice you make.  And if you end up determining that ending the association with toxic people in your life is the right step to take, then do so in the most respectful way possible.  Keep your integrity in the process.  Then walk away and learn whatever you can from the experience that can help you in the future.  After all,

“Some people aren’t meant to be in our lives forever,

some are just passing through to teach us a lesson.”

so learn the lessons and move forward.  The world is full of amazing people to make part of your life.  I can attest to that as I have met a tremendous number of amazing people that lift me up and make me a better person by having them in my life.  There are plenty of happy, secure, kind people out there who have gratitude and who spread joy to others.  Fill your life with those people because “your life is bigger and better than that!”  So live it joyously!

Have a great Monday everyone! 

~Amy

44 Comments

  • TAN says:

    Great post. However, what do you recommend for toxic people at work? It isn’t always easy to walk away when you have to deal with them on a daily basis.

    • Sarah says:

      What a wonderful and helpful article! Thank you Amy. You just made my day!!! Xoxo

      • Jade says:

        Very wise and encouraging words, thank you

      • Kelly Carby says:

        Wow what an amazing post. So true, every word. Everything that happens, good or bad is a learning experience. Difficult people, are no exception.
        The positive about toxic individuals is that they do teach us a valuable lesson, and they are not meant to be in our life forever!

  • Leta says:

    A wonderful reminder Amy! Thank you

  • Anonymous says:

    I seriously needed this today! I have been dealing with some toxic family members, and although I am not ready to cut them completely out of my life, this post was sucha great reminder to stay positive. It’s not worth it to fight with them, because that is what they want. I will not give the satisfaction of breaking me down. Thank you.

  • Anonymous says:

    Awesome Twogg, or is it a Bleet, I’m not sure either way thank you very much. : )

  • Kenneth says:

    I greatly appreciated this post. I end up empathizing with someone who has only their interests in mind, sometimes to the point where they will destructively attack my esteem in order to maintain their position. Funny thing is, treating them kindly was a gift I gave in the first place. I guess it just goes to some people’s heads. Cruel world, I guess. Once someone has become spoiled and destructive there is often nothing you can do but cart them off to the curb.

  • Sarah says:

    Great article great advice! Someone just did something really mean to me and I came across your wonderful article at the right moment! It makes me so much better now. Who cares about the petty people! There are so many meaningful things to spend our time on! Life is too short! You made my day Amy!

  • wholesaleralphlauren says:

    Hi, just wanted to tell you, I loved this article. It was helpful. Keep on posting!

  • Shelby says:

    What a wonderful article. I know a few like this and it’s as if they get satisfaction out of being mean, may be they do!

    I have distanced myself to a certain extent after having tried really hard to give a lot, only to be met with mean manners.

    Make way for the positive people in your life, the ones who make you feel good and appreciate all you do.

    Some people resent others being happy but it is up to them to alter their perspective if they can.

    • Carole Heath says:

      I completely agree with many of the comments on this site and it is a great article to. Some of the dilemmas I have experienced myself in the past. Petty minded people can be nasty and vindictive distance yourself and don’t rise to the bait that is the way I handle these situations. There are many people who haven’t got those traits so make friends with them you don’t need stressful people who make your life a misery.

      • Sarah Anne Forbes says:

        I agree with Carole Heath she is quite correct in saying that some people go out of their way to make your life a misery so move on and make other friends etc. Life can be stressful anyway so extra stress is not something you need too.

  • Jade says:

    Very wise and encouraging words. Thank you.

  • amanda durrant says:

    I wrote a letter to a friend a few months ago as someone we both knew had sadly died quite young unfortunately. I said I was sorry to hear the news and mentioned a few things about that person nothing bad or nasty. I received a rude letter back saying I had been unkind to that friends memory and I should back off and mind my own business. I also got a telephone call from the person who died husband saying I had bad mouthed his wife to the other friend in a letter which was quite untrue. I decided to put my point across he would not listen. I have now lost his friendship because the other friend had told him about my letter. She should have kept my opinions to herself now I have moved on from her she caused trouble and I don’t want friends like her. Some people are so petty.

    • Vivienne Matthews says:

      Sorry to hear of your experience it must have been very hurtful as you sound going by your comment very sad about your friend’s death. I to had a similar problem myself once which I found very hard to deal with. Some people do take things out of context and it can cause problems. Of course a death of someone in a family or a friend is a very difficult time. But I think the other friend should not have mentioned what you said in the letter to her to the husband. As you say there was nothing disrespectful or unkind meant. And the fact the husband would not listen to you regarding his wife was indeed a bad reaction on his part. Now you have moved on from the situation is good. As you say some people can be very petty and cause friction.

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    • Carole Heath says:

      Friedrich Nietzsche A philosopher of some merit. I have just purchased from The Great Courses DVD’s Philosophy as a Living Guide. And Nietzsche is included in the course. And also Freud and other well known people who where great thinkers.

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  • Kris says:

    It’s difficult to find educated people on this topic, however, you sound
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  • Lola says:

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  • picked on says:

    This is very good and I believe in every word. But how do you get rid of that one toxic person that is both mean and petty in your social circle. I can easily delete then from my life but there’s that chance of hanging out with them as we have mutual friends.

  • Jasmine says:

    This is exactly what I have done, I kept my integrity and walked away from unfortunately my eldest sister who is spitefule and always carrying on a fight. I walked away and I found my peace and quiet.
    The words I use to describe her are all mentioned here. This justifies my action to not let a petty person pull me down to her level and rule my life. No way, Jose.

    THANK YOU AMY. 🙂

  • Julie says:

    It’s comforting to hear I am not alone in having to make a very difficult decision in walking away from a brother of mine and his family. They are toxic people. It is hard to accept that I can not change their way of thinking and behavior. I actually said that they are dead to me today. I must stay in the moment with happy healthy people that contribute to my health and happiness.

  • Elsa says:

    I appreciate this post. I come from a step family who were what they called close, but the truth was that their closeness was just a mask over the fact that they couldn’t make it in a world where they had to put themselves out there, because of their fears, so they stayed within their own circle where they tore everyone else down and talked about others horribly. I was lucky to be able to walk away but in my lack of knowledge, I repeated this dynamic in marriage. my husband is a great family man but many members of his family are very petty and unfortunately when he is around them he falls into that and it has fallen many times onto my shoulders and the shoulders of my children. we have made some headway and he by himself does not act like that but once he’s around certain family members who are petty he falls right into it. I fed into this at first, thinking that he loved them more, I mean it really hit all of my insecurities and the cycle of stupid was on a roll. I was ready to divorce him, but after seeking counseling I have a clearer understanding of the dynamics that I’m looking at. We are not out of the woods, but as I have been able to put a name to things, I better able to distance myself and not allow myself to feel that there is something less about me. Thanks for this post in how to navigate. That is my next step…empowering myself with knowledge so that I can see clearly what is in front of me and respond or not respond appropriately. It has been a rocky road, but as I walk it with knowledge and love, I feel confident that if it became necessary I could walk away out of rational thought as opposed to anger. The thing I’ve found about leaving out of anger is thatit doesn’t stick, but leaving from as place of honest understanding and knowledge is a whole different story

  • Maui says:

    Thank you for the post. I was able to calm down and clear my mind after reading this. My question, what if that toxic person is your very own mother?

  • Miss Reyes says:

    This article shed some light for a similar situation based on behaviors and pettiness. Based on my own experience I find that people that continue to try and create battles and problems are displeased with the themselves so they shift blame and change focus to make it seem the other person is the problem when its the other way around.Target I.e jealousy, misery, list goes on. can always notice the bigger person usually are the ones seeking solutions to issues. Those that are petty problem starters seek to drag out the issue while the mature individual seeks solution. Can always differ between the parties involved

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  • Miranda says:

    Good post. I have a sister who thinks nothing of putting me down with spiteful comments (and we’re both in our 60s!). I didn’t realize until the past decade how mean-minded she is but it all came out when she was challenged over something she wanted but couldn’t have. Now I realize there is nothing to salvage of the relationship and will have to detach myself. Not easy when our mother is still alive and needs care and a pity when I have no argument with her husband or family. But it will happen one day as a reconciliation is impossible after all her nastiness. Why would anyone stay friends with someone who can do that to you? In the meantime, I have to train myself to get on with the good things in my life and not to keep going over her insults in my head as it has a paralysing effect.

  • whitejade says:

    Great advice and uplifting ! very helpful for my mental state dealing with such persons.

  • Tracy says:

    I went on to browse about how to deal with spiteful family members, and really I this article made me feel better after reading it. Thanks a lot for such encouraging words.

  • Mel says:

    This is a really great article! I appreciate your insight since I’m currently dealing with a toxic situation. Thanks for your thoughts!

  • Steph says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I felt so lonely that I couldn’t cut some people in my life because that would lead to cutting off with more than just one. But overall, I think the whole group was toxic.

    I think I can now stand up straight and be stronger and better person!

  • stella zanger says:

    Amy you’re amazing ! !!!!!!!

  • Sophie khan says:

    Thanks for this post its so amazing.some time before I faced an tolerable argument with my grandma.not an argument but have to tolerate her cruel voice and bad words.as there was not my mistake.therefore I began to cry like anyone is died bcz it was over limited.and I was feeling so lonely as no one was there at home and while crying I search to this site so that I can stop my crying..ten after reading this post I stopped my crying took a long breathe and wrote a comment.thanks for this.it reduces my energy wastage..thanku..

  • Sophie khan says:

    Thanks for this post its so amazing.some time before I faced an tolerable argument with my grandma.not an argument but have to tolerate her cruel voice and bad words.as there was not my mistake.therefore I began to cry like anyone is died bcz it was over limited.and I was feeling so lonely as no one was there at home and while crying I search to this site so that I can stop my crying..ten after reading this post I stopped my crying took a long breathe and wrote a comment.thanks for this.it reduces my energy wastage..thanku so much Amyby this we can understand u are a good human.

  • Johnny says:

    Having read this I believed it was extremely enlightening.

    I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this information together.
    I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and posting
    comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

  • Viki says:

    MAY YOU BE BLESSED FOREVER!! I am amazed how perfectly true your words are, and your advice is spot on.
    I will never forget your wisdom.
    Thank you for keeping us positive.

  • Viki says:

    MAY YOU BE BLESSED FOREVER!! I am amazed how perfectly true your words are, and your advice is spot on.
    I will never forget your wisdom.
    Thank you for keeping our positive spirit on the right track.

  • Yama says:

    Wow, that’s really well written. Inspiring to say the least. I’m going to try and just not engage with the toxic people around me so I don’t fall to their level.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this piece of advice. I really needed to read this to gain a sense of peace after a petty argument/fall out I’m experiencing with a long time friend.

    From what started out as me being mad over something somehow developed into my friend being mad at me for being mad at her and invalidating my feelings.

    Your wisdom was much needed. Time to pull out the scissors and be at peace.

  • Anonymous says:

    This was INCREDIBLY helpful. Everything you have said is so true, there is no point wasting your time on people that radiate negativity. Instead we must fill our lives with positive people who encourage and support us.
    Exactly what I needed to hear. THANK YOU, you’ve truly made my day. We need more people in the world who understand what is written in this post.

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