Certified
Logo
Check Availability
Check Availability

How to Stop Letting Other People Upset You

It happens to the best of us.  We find ourselves completely undone by someone else’s behavior.  It could be anything from someone cutting you off in traffic to your spouse cheating on you.  Mild to severe, other people’s actions can turn our world upside down.

I recently let myself get all caught up in someone else’s drama.  My boyfriend’s daughter was behaving in some ways I found unacceptable.  He was trying to rein her in; she was acting out more and more; we all went to counseling (I can’t tell you how many arguments, sleepless nights, and general fury on my part all this caused).  Suddenly, she decided to move in with her mother. As soon as she moved, poof – there was peace on earth.  No more drama, angst, or fury.  Is she still doing all the stuff we had problems with?  I’m sure.  But now it’s not my issue.  And you know what?  It never was.

Most of the things that you get upset about aren’t your issues.  The driver who cut you off?  Their driving is not your issue. All you need to worry about is getting safely to your destination.  That lazy co-worker who isn’t doing their share of the work?  Not your issue.  All you need to do is focus on your own good work.  Your cheating spouse?  Not your issue.  Your issue is why you would stay with someone who is cheating on you.

Some tips to help with this:

1. Realize you cannot control other people.  They are going to do the crazy, stupid, incorrect things they are going to do.  You can’t force them to do anything else.  You can’t force someone to stop being lazy or lying to you or cheating on you.  The only person you can control is you.  You get to decide how much you’re going to let this person’s behavior impact you.  Your worrying, obsessing, venting, etc. has zero impact on them – and only hurts you.

2. You have three choices – change your thinking, change your behavior, or do nothing.  My boyfriend is not a planner – it’s just not his way.  This used to drive me completely insane.  I would constantly argue the importance of planning – that if you failed to plan, you planned to fail.  I was quick to point out occasions where his lack of planning cost him (I’m such a charmer!).  He finally told me that if I liked planning so much, I could just plan everything and he would gladly go along.  I finally accepted that I was never going to change him.  I can either live with no plan (changing how I think about planning), make the plan myself (changing my behavior), find a new boyfriend (also changing my behavior) or just keep complaining about it. But I’ll never make him a planner.

3. Examine your role in the behavior.  Did the driver ahead of you cut you off because you just started talking on your cell and slowed 20 MPH?  Did your teenager lie to you because the last time he told you the truth he was grounded?  Is your spouse cheating because you are on the road 358 days a year?  I’m not condoning any of the behaviors – I’m just asking you to look at the only person you can control – you.  Maybe you are playing a role and not even realizing it.

4. But realize it may have absolutely nothing to do with you.  I hate to say it, but this is more often the case.  We are all the center of our own universes.  Many times we think people are doing things because of us or to us and they aren’t.  The driver may not have even seen you.  Your teenager may lie just because he doesn’t want to be embarrassed.  Your spouse may be cheating for the thrill of it and still loves you (although they have a crummy way of showing it).

5. Don’t inadvertently enable the behavior.  Some people engage in their crazy behavior because the people around them encourage it.  If your spouse cheats on you, and you take them back and treat them better than before, can you blame them if they cheat again?  If your friend “borrows” money from you, and never repays it and you lend them more, can you blame them if they never repay that loan either?  I love Maya Angelou’s advice, “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”  I know you don’t think you’re enabling, you think you’re helping.  You think they will behave differently this time, that perhaps your love or kindness will change them.  I say to you – why are you trying to control them still?  Trying to change someone is trying to control them.

6. Let it go.  Think of whoever drives you crazy right now.  Get worked up – think of how they lie to you or how they don’t do their share or how selfish they are – whatever it is they are doing that drives you crazy.  Assume they will never change.  Ever.  Can you just let it go?  Is it really a minor thing you’ve been focusing on, making it major?  In the big scheme of things, my boyfriend’s nonplanning is just not that big a deal.  It’s offset by his kindness, patience, and wonderful good humor.  Can you focus on the good more than the bad?

7. Let them go.  Some behavior you just can’t let go of.  Sometimes there’s not enough good to offset the bad.  The best thing to do may be to let go of the relationship.  Why are you staying with someone who causes you so much upset and pain?  If you can’t let go of the relationship (say it’s a co-worker), can you let go of thinking so much about them?  I bet they aren’t spending so much time thinking about you.

8. Get help.  Can’t let it go or them?  Talk with a professional counselor – life is too short for all this drama.

9. What about kids?  Obviously when kids are little, you have to control them.  They might think running into traffic is a good idea and you should probably put a stop to that.  But as they get older, you’ll find that you need to alter your behavior to impact theirs.  Maybe they start to dress inappropriately.  You have several options – you can check out current fashion before you freak; you can yell and tell them they’re not going out like that (giving credibility to their attempt at rebellion); you can cut off the clothing allowance (controlling your behavior not theirs); or you can ignore it, knowing that sooner or later they will be embarrassed just like the rest of us and will fall in line.  And if you are sharing clothing with your children, know that the rest of us are trying to let it go.

The bottom line is that you can’t let the behavior of others steal your joy.  But if you do, it’s your choice.  Focus on being the best and happiest that you can be – that’s where your energy should go.  Set the best example you can and spend time and energy on people who lift you higher.  And remember, somewhere there’s someone out there who thinks YOU need to change!  Ha!

Subscribe
Notify of
591 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kenny H
6 days ago

Nice piece.

Ofra
10 days ago

Simple rules to remember. Thank you!

ReezeDay
24 days ago

Hi, Good read, I am mentally and emotionally tormented bcz of a b*tch. Out of sight out of mind they say, but I have to co-exist with that b*tch, so how? I will be seeing her/ her stuff so often, I just cant take it, and I can’t fake it when I hate someone. I hope I can be strong enough to ignore her, having to co-exist with her just drains me/ my energy. The fact that she has the privilege to gloat makes me even more pissed, to see her gloat. I am worn-out, drained, seriously. Anyhow, thanks for… Read more »

Jerry
1 month ago

Some kind of way I have neighbors who listen to my every word recording me and the family in my home/computer/cellphone etc. and then use the information against me. I’m in no contact talking with neighbors. What I’m I to do about this problem?

Suze
1 month ago

This is a wonderful article; thank you so much.

I have been struggling with my anger towards my husband, and you helped me immensely.

Shhhhh
1 month ago

I have a neighbor who I can’t get rid of her I am so terrified of her she is the type that can manipulate others into harming you by saying bad things that can get you hurt..I am afraid of her and I can’t seem to get away from her. What can I do where it won’t cause anymore drama then it already is…I need someone’s advice and how I can just stay far far away that she would let me be..I want safe advice please let me know

Dana <3
3 months ago

I like this article a lot! I am trying to look into this and see if any of the advice given will help me grow tougher skin. I’ve been through a lot, but I am still extremely sensitive and even the slightest insult will bother me because I am extremely insecure. I know people are harsh and I taught myself that but still the slightest insults about my plumper body make me want to curl up into a corner and bawl. Any advice for growing thicker skin?

Nats
4 months ago

I like this article. I have a friend who is also my co worker and my room mate. Only when I started to love with her I noticed that she is super defensive and always wants to be right.She can never apologize and it seems like she always has reasons/escuses for everything she says. ts like being with a tough wall. Even before making a joke about her I have to think twice as I know she would be defensive in a second. i even spoke about this to her because it was draining my energy by overthinking. She said… Read more »

hafsa
4 months ago

normally i never read till the end and if i did, i skip, but this article, i am gonna print it and stick it at my work place and at home. absolutely well written.

Niedra parker
4 months ago

Well said! I needed to hear that! Thank you for your insight. Clarity. I had to clarify and strengthen my resolve. So often I get swept away by the current events. It’s just the matter. Not the flow. Don’t be the clog! God bless and thanks for how you living.

John
5 months ago

Everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.

I appreciate this write up.

SP
5 months ago

Hi, I am here again. Whenever I am feeling down or upset because of people’s behaviour towards me, your article will give me the comfort. I would feel better after reading it. Anyway, this time is regarding the same colleague again. Recently, I had asked her something about work. However, I was appalled by her rude and cold reply. When this happened, a few people were also present so it was also kind of an embarassing situation for me. In the end, I just walked away quietly. I thought perhaps when I had asked her about that matter, she was… Read more »

Albert&Leslie Ureña
6 months ago

I like the article but you know there’s also time when a lazy employee affects your work too. It may be because you are stuck to work as a team and your hard work is shared among everyone who even didn’t do much effect to deserve it, conflicting opinions because the lazy mind and the productive mind cannot get along to make a productive decision, and lastly the other person attacks your efforts by making you feel like you are not doing enough. At the end it really isn’t your issue but when it’s mandatory to work together then issue… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Albert&Leslie Ureña
Sekou Diarra
6 months ago

I love this. Growing up people, no matter who they are, always say things that I hate and don’t like and it hurts me too much. I always have painful memories of words. I hate lots of things about people

Lala
6 months ago

Thank you, this is a very good article. I have someone in my life who likes to make passive aggressive comments and blame me for things that aren’t my fault. They are far from bad but they get really angry and ignore me when I tell them I don’t like what they are doing. I do a lot to keep things okay but I just can’t stay silent when they do these things. It may seem minor but it feels so uncesscary and I wish i can escape it but can’t

Lala
6 months ago
Reply to  deniseryan

Thank you I really appreciate this solid advice. It’s really helpful☺

Tammy
6 months ago

Thank you soo much for this article , I am constantly trying to change others, or fix them and any thing someone says or does effects me soo emotionally, have been living this way for as long as I can remember , just been getting worse lately .
I have a teen daughter and husband that constantly effects my mind and emotional well-being and have no idea on how to let it go , I saw the reference to some books to read up on it and am soo gonna see if those help .

Ali scott
6 months ago

Thanks so much for this eye opening article. My husband is 64 and shouts at me and sometimes is violent pushing me to the ground etc. he is in a bad mood most days. We have no fun. He is a narcissist. My dad is old and frail and he is manipulative trying to get me to do everything for him but I found out recently after a year of doing everything for him that he can do things for himself and has been lazy and pretending to be unable to clean his house and do shopping. My neighbours put… Read more »

Bby girl
8 months ago

I have a friend that keeps manipulating my feelings
She keeps standing on her wrong and never apologizes
She gets mad at you even when she’s wrong
She’s someone I care about and don’t want to let go of

Isabella Peters
8 months ago

Wow
This helped me
Thank you

Angie Mariani
8 months ago

What a great read. Thank you so much for posting this article and for all of the thoughtful responses to each of the commenters. You are Amazing! I’m low contact with my parents bc it’s so toxic and it’s been such a breathe of fresh air having the space from them to enjoy my life. I’m very close with my in laws. I love and care about my mother in law to the point that I donated my kidney when she needed it. She has treated me so well from the moment we met and I want her around for… Read more »

Moon moon
8 months ago

Me and my friend have been friends for like four months now. At first I saw her as a bubbly, smart girl who just loves music and gets excited over small things. But nowadays, she always tries to criticize people around her. She doesn’t compliment or say assuring stuff when I ask for validation but she asks for my opinion on her looks from time to time. She has told me that she doesn’t care if she hurts other people cause of her opinions. And that she thinks the people who aren’t good to her are jealous of her. I… Read more »

deepti
8 months ago

I got super stressed out and angry when i fought with my neighbour…and she has been very rude…telling all other neighbours how bad i am and badmouthing about me. Being an introvert, leave picking up fights, i hardly speak to the neighbours 🙁
But…i think people will do what they do…i need to ignore such bitches

Tom T
9 months ago

This has happened like 25 times by now and it really helped.

Fatima Ahmed
9 months ago

My life has been like roller coaster everyone life is. Today I went to university and my professor who teaches me islamiat made a comment on me in front of the class that can she speak I was very embarrassed but this has happened to me quite a few times I did not that much effected me but yeah

ALP
9 months ago

A person said to me that he “wants to burn my mom” in an online game. I was obviously mad but I didn’t show it, instead I just said I’m sorry to disappoint you. He was an horrible and very much retarded person but I didn’t play his game. But I am upset. I think at the core of my sadness there is the fact that how horrible people can be. This fact is what makes me upset. But I’m also mad that why am I affected so easily by random people.

Ines
9 months ago

After 2 years relationship and moving in together with my boyfriend (we both lived by ourselves in the uk before that) he now got to a point where he’s not happy here anymore and is going back to Romania, his home country. Even though I know that no matter how i feel about it, it won’t stop him from doing it .. living with him and seeing him everyday breaks my heart because I know he’s gonna leave and our relationship is going to be over at some point but at the same time I don’t want to move out… Read more »

Sabrina
10 months ago

People get upset with me all the time because I let little stuff bother me. I used to be positive happy person. And I know I have issues my self. But I need to understand your advice because how to let go of your child who knows how to push your buttons and keeps on because they think it is funny. Only then to tell you that I’m allowing myself to get upset. I do not understand how that is to be done

PavanKumar
10 months ago

Thank you for the Wisdom 🙂
I got so much triggered that, I showed its effects on other people.

Ross
10 months ago

This really spoke to me. Do you have any books I can read to learn how to separate myself from the impact other people’s actions? I have difficulty with my partner not doing things like your example of planning. Thanks for your support!

Cat
10 months ago

I was abused as a child and also in my two marriages that is physically I work with people who have anger issues I mean they blow up. I don’t want to go near these people because my heart starts beating I want to cry but I have to continue to work with them. I have called in sick went home early because I can’t deal with this person’s anger. The lashing out at customers. I have kept a diary of every time I talk with management about his behavior. But is this an irrational fear how do I get… Read more »

Sarah Brown
11 months ago

I am afraid I obsess with people, I think because of my upbringing. I need to stop, get some confidence and think about myself. My brother got with my best friend and, knowing that I wasn’t impressed, they lied to me for 6 years about it. I didn’t like it a) because he is 15 years younger than my friend and myself and she knew him as a kid and he fancied her when he was 10. 2) The main reason is because my family have gaslighted me all my life and I didn’t want her involved. All our family… Read more »

Natascha Smit
11 months ago

I took to heart what u’ve said….and I will write them down, study them and try my best to apply them… I REALLY struggle and don’t like who I am when I am with my husband….We have 2 beautiful boys…3 & 8….and he is a wonderful father….(the father he never had) however, not so good a husband. We’ve been together almost 12yrs….and perhaps happy 6months of those yrs. We’re not friends, never laugh… I have many friends, love my work and I am happy, just not fulfilled in my marriage…. I don’t know what rlto do anymore…I’ve left several times,… Read more »

James
11 months ago

I think in my situation that the reason I get mad at people who upset me is that they violate my own beliefs and rules (I wouldn’t do it to them so why do that think they get to do that to me?) For example, if I wouldn’t go around bullying someone, yet someone bullies me, I’d feel like that was a violation. I guess I shouldn’t think like that, but every time I do, this question crosses my mind: “If I can’t expect people to treat me with respect, why should others expect me to treat THEM with respect?”… Read more »

Lina
11 months ago

Omg this is exactly what I needed to read. I have such a hard time not letting other peoples actions affect me. ‍♀️. And your right I guess I am trying to change them, and I shouldn’t. It’s just hard when you see someone making so many choices you think are mistakes and say nothing. All the little things people do get to me and I need to realize they are not my problem to solve. Definitely something I need to learn to let go off and stay in my lane. I need to stop expecting people to live up… Read more »

Michelle
11 months ago

Such good advise. My ex husband was pretty hands off while my daughter grew up. He lived 4 minutes from us for several years and only saw her on his scheduled weekends. And on Fridays when she had sports events for school, he never attended. He had a hobby to participate in of his own. Saturdays, he left her with her uncaring step mom. He also never helped with support unless it was court ordered. No college, no wedding, cars, braces, glasses, surgery, on and on. Bottom line, he was a lazy dad, self absorbed. Fast forward to now. He’s… Read more »

Michelle
11 months ago
Reply to  deniseryan

Thank you for the reply it is truly a blessing! It is just a relief to vent to someone and feel understood.
You are right, I have wasted too much time on this person who really is irrelevant. God bless you.

Susmita Gupta
1 year ago

Hi , I love this article ,in my life I have gone through very wrost situation I had many emotional break down ,people call me I m too emotional I get attached with the people so quickly, but once I get attached with them they start taking as a granted ,they said I always complain about everything, but I am not wrong all the time ,when I see something wrong then I complain only, now a days everybody want a happy face or happy mood , once you start serious conversation about relationship ,they said you are overthinking , I… Read more »

Susmita Gupta
1 year ago

Yes

blondine
1 year ago

interesting! i cant stand is my husbands lack of keeping his end of the deal; he will promises, for instance, that he will vacuum for you, and then (after youve done your part of the deal) & then you do his laundry, & make him breakfast. when its late in the evening yet he still didnt do what he said hed do!

Kat W.
1 year ago

Thanks for writing this!! I’m currently struggling to not be affected by my fathers drinking. He gets drunk, acts recklessly, forgets and when we bring it up to him he makes it seem as if we’re wrong for worrying about him or wishing he didn’t drink. I try to not let it get to me but I tend to cry a lot or feel tense because its my dad and he refuses to open up about his past and chooses to get drunk everyday to escape. It’s hurtful to watch and I find myself getting worked up about this constantly.

yos
1 year ago

I love this article. I recently had an argument with the father of my child. We recently separated but we were trying to make things work. However, I am realizing that all he does is gaslights and manipulate me into making me think I am the problem because “I MAKE THINGS DIFFICULT” Of course, It is my fault because I put up with it. You literally cant change someone of they don’t see what they are doing is wrong. As much as that hurts, we stay because we believe we can change someone but in reality, if they’re not going… Read more »

Christy
1 year ago

Denise, Thank you for this article. I feel its something I need to re-read everyday until it comes natural. There are so many times that I dwell on people and things that are completely irrelevant to my own life. I am so easily annoyed that it frustrates me. I dont want to be this way, I dont want to care. I just dont understand why/how some people are the way they are. But, I will NEVER understand that and I need to LET IT GO. Not my monkey not my circus. I know its easier said than done but your… Read more »

Sarah Brown
11 months ago
Reply to  Christy

Not my monkey, not my circus, love it!

Erica P.
1 year ago

Thank you sooooooo much for this article. I feel like people are constantly irritating me, from my mother asking me to do A and then changing it to A through S, to the husband’s overdrinking and laziness, to the girl at work at the department behind her who keeps changing the rules of how I need to work my project, to a guy who rigidly went around the mulberry bush just to say what I had already said as if it was a novel idea, the last of which brought me here. I blame it on PMS, lack of sleep,… Read more »

Christy
1 year ago
Reply to  Erica P.

Erica, You sound like me! We should be best friends HA

SeekingAnswers
1 year ago

Thanks for the article. I wanted to write because i really needed some encouragements…. I moved to a foreign land due to marriage and I have a child of 4 years old whom we have enrolled in the preschool of the public school. We were generally happy with it until beginning this year, a boy in her class started to hurt my child (and some other children too) in 3 separate occasions within 3 months. Knowing that this happened to only my child, I asked the teacher to do something about it, but she didn’t. So on the third occasion… Read more »

shanaya
1 year ago

such an informative article. ur amazing

elizer
1 year ago

sometime’s i have a guy called mr roy in i have been with him for one year
he is sometimes crazy i don’t like him sometimes he make’s me have a bad day in he is really annoying he is like a jerk he say i can’t eat carnival food sometimes he thank’s every place in new jersey is so far from paterson too

Last edited 1 year ago by elizer
Andrew Gordon
8 months ago
Reply to  deniseryan

This is the best response ever

nicki
1 year ago

I am someone who just thinks that people are really nice and trustworthy and tell them my secrets, just because i tell them it is something important to me.More than often people aren’t like that. Ive come to realize that but somehow I still tell people secrets.So i told one of my classmates who i knew, but not too well some secret stuff about me and soon after i regretted it.Now i just have this feeling that the whole school knows about it, they probably don’t but i just cant get the thought out of my mind and it probably… Read more »

nicki
1 year ago
Reply to  deniseryan

thank you so much this means a lot, and i will do my best to follow your advice

vikki fisk
1 year ago

This is such a useful article thank you x

aperenna
1 year ago

A friend of mine who I’ve known for over 20 years has burned out my willingness to understand her decisions. The decisions she makes are self serving (I get that part)… Add to it her purposeful ignorance of the pitfalls, the easy to project disastrous outcomes. (I can even handle that part). It’s the complaining afterwards of all the problems her decisions have created. I stopped long ago at attempts to give advice. I’ve stopped encouraging conversations about much of anything because the conversations are almost always one sided, with her relaying the excitement and enthusiam of her next acquisition… Read more »

Atharv
1 year ago

I was bullied and verbally abused by a boy in school when I was 15. I was just minding my own business when he started throwing paper balls at me, and when I tried to get him to stop it, he came up and he slapped me. I am a very shy person and as that was right in the middle of the class I was shocked and froze as he simply just walked off. After that he took every opportunity to humiliate and demean me but whenever I tried to take it up, he always said that they were… Read more »

Atharv Goel
1 year ago
Reply to  deniseryan

I appreciate you replying to my message. I have been speaking to a counselor about this for a few months now. I will certainly do such a symbolic act as the one you mentioned. Thank you for your wishes!

Stacie
1 year ago

My 20 year old son has ADD, been arrested for drugs, was arrested for drugs again. He’s not a leader, he’s a follower. He is the nicest and kindest and most compassionate person you’ll meet. It’s his downfall. He cannot say no to anyone – and all his friends happen to be procurers, users and sellers. So if they ask him to do something- he will. He knows they use him. I can’t control him and his choices. I’ve been seeing a therapist for years (started with my other kid). I just can’t let go of the idea that if… Read more »