Allow me to introduce you to Mrs. M.

She's one of those holier-than-thou individuals. She's condescending and manipulative yet portrays herself as the poor victim. Mrs. M. lives in her own self-absorbed, self-centered orbit and can never find any compromise. She can be downright mean and has a storehouse of scathing, critical and cutting remarks for anyone or anything that doesn't submit to her every whim.

Get the picture?

In short, she's one of those people whom you just don't want to bump into. Ever!

And here we were slated to spend an entire weekend together. Thirty-six hours in close proximity of this woman! There was no escaping this weekend either.

What to do?

Some moments I answer that looming question with the following:

a) Brace yourself for anything that the woman might say and prepare your own onslaught of sarcastic, biting and abrasive comments in response to hers.

b) Keep waking up in the middle of the night, full of anxiety so that by the time this weekend actually arrives, you'll be too bleary-eyed and exhausted to even notice her.

c) Look in the mirror and practise giving really dirty looks. Even if you can't think of a comeback, these icy glares will be sure to put her in her place.

d) Call up the airlines, pretend you are Mrs. M. and have her ticket cancelled.

e) Let everyone who might be at this weekend know (and even those that will not) how difficult this woman is. You'll be doing them a service and sharing your feelings will make you feel lighter.

Other moments, I realize the self-defeatism of the above and try to come up with something a little bit more sensible. Here's the "other moments" list:

a) Breathe. Long, deep breaths. Imagine breathing out all that negativity and inhaling goodness and blessings.

b) Keep away. Plan to socialize with other people as far away from Mrs. M. as possible.

c) Think of the Teflon analogy. It's the example a friend and I use of some special people who are able to allow life's difficulties to just slide off of them, like Teflon, without absorbing any negativity. As Mrs. M. does her act, visualize her comments sliding right off you.

d) Use the opportunity to grow as a person. Focus on and thank G‑d for all the goodness in your life. Instead of getting all worked up, retorting or lowering yourself to her level, have sympathy for a person who has never learned the meaning and beauty of a more loving, sharing and generous life.

e) Do something constructive with the experience. Hey, maybe write an article about this for And maybe even ask your readers to submit their own tips of how they deal with such toxic individuals.


(Stay tuned. I'll let you know which list wins out…)