Tag Archives: dealing with difficult people

Fire Starter

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Most people know at least one person who likes to bring the heat and keep things unbearably hot.  That person could be a coworker, family member, friend, or neighbor.   In my case it was Eliza.   I  try to distance myself from heat seekers because I enjoy living a balanced, uncomplicated life. 

But how can you maintain your equilibrium when someone is constantly trying to singe you with fiery combat?  Obviously you can’t control the actions (and sometimes upbringing or mental status) of others.  And apparently they missed the memo when you play with fire everybody gets burned. Well, personally, I like my skin texture and tone just fine, thank you very much! 

Here are a few things you can do to avoid getting caught up in the smoke:

The Devil’s in the Details:  I had to learn the hard way that it was best not to give Eliza too many details.  My husband was the expert at this.  He knew that any information beyond what was necessary would just feed her desire for fire.  She burned me a few times before I learned this painful lesson.  Eventually I figured that I was only responsible for keeping her informed about important issues and nothing more.  I stopped trying to soothe her  febrile ego or provide “helpful” commentary.  Anything other than the basics is breeding ground for combustion.  Do yourself a favor and stick to the bare minimum.

Heated Hubris:  Overly dramatic folks love to get your emotions flowing and once you get this way, you tend to lose control quicker.  This also lends to a lot of irrational bantering so avoid responding to any emotional buzzz words and stay on the topic.  Address the issues and not the person by keeping your emotions intact.

Sizzling Sasha or Calm Callie: If you are not normally vindictive and crazy don’t allow yourself to imitate that persona.  Fire Starters are stoked you when you to take on their traits.  Then their fireballs will really become fast and furious as you’ve given them the ammunition needed to fight fire with fire.  Because fire starters are really martyrs at heart, they hate when you refuse to be the victim and resist their blazing darts at the same time.

Be An Extinguisher:  While you might not have started the fire–you can be the one to put it out.  This entails knowing when and when not to fight battles.  Let’s face it, everything is not a life and death matter and some things are just silly to expend energy on.  If I had to do it all over again, some things with Eliza wouldn’t have even been an issue.  I would have let her have her way, which would have taken the wind from her sails.  When you are an extingusher you make the choice not to do things to push their buttons.  Even though they might deserve it (and it might even feel good momentarily) you know that it won’t help put out any forest fires in the blended family tree.

Install Smoke Detectors:  I quickly learned when Eliza was going to fire up and would therefore take a backseat to allow her rage to fizzle.  Her spells usually centered around special occassions such as holidays and birthdays.  During these times I did not give her any information that I knew would aggravate her already inflamed state of mind.

Stop, Drop, and Roll:  We all learned this drill in elementary school and it is still applicable with today’s Fire Starter.  When it gets too hot:

  •  stop trying to reason or argue with the person,
  • drop out of the picture for awhile,
  • and roll on with your life. 

You don’t have to entertain a fire-loving drama queen for trifling matters.

Fires Eventually Fizzle:  Like with most things in life (from flora to fauna to foe) if not properly fed; they cannot survive.  If you quit kindling the fire it will soon become an smoldering ember.  Fire Starters know this, which is why they will do everything in their power to keep things smoking.  No fighting=no fuel.  Sooner or later they will direct their ire somewhere else.

Fire Power: As hard as it may be, try to focus on something positive about the Fire Starter.  Although fire has the potential to destroy, it can also be used for good(cooking and heat to name a couple).  This approach can help you “warm”  up to them.  They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, so I have to thank Eliza for turning me into Hercules!  She has drug me through so much that I have come out stronger for it.  She has also inspired me to be a better person.  I never want to hurt people in the manner that she has. 

Fire Proof Yourself:  A Fire Starter thrives on breaking you down, cauterizing you in the process. They will use very weapon known to man to do so; especially words which are flung like Molotov cocktails to defame your character.  It is to your advantage to develop a firewall so you won’t be devastated by what these dragons breathe into existence.  Know ahead of time that tongue blisters will be apart of the vocalized revolution against you; so don’t take their every heated word to heart.  The odds are in your favor that they wish they were in your shoes!  It’s never too late to erect that firewall for protection.  When Eliza slanders me I know in advance that the real issue is with her.  Therefore the “hot fire” that she spits cannot char me.

Ring the Alarm:  Arson-the crime of deliberately and maliciously setting fires.  When the actions of the Fire Starter become scaldingly criminal, it’s time to alert the authorities.  There are some things that you just should not tolerate and criminal activity is one of them.  I would also suggest that you document any forms of harassment.   Sometimes it is even necessary to get a trace placed on your phone (we had one successfully traced back to her residence).  I have a huge binder that I have kept over the years to create a papertrail on Eliza and her many attempts to annililate, annoy, and torture us.  The contents proved to come in handy, too when combating her scorching lies in different situations.