Quote from misskayy
I'm naturally the type of person to bark back because I noticed that people will continue bothering if you don't.
Two things with regard to this. They may keep at it if they sense they might get anywhere with it. When they know
it is getting nowhere, they are pretty likely to give up, get distracted, or just get bored. Secondly, and this is hard to hear, no one bothers us unless we are bothered. [There are extremes; I'm not talking about those]. In many different situations (more than most people believe) we
get to choose how bothered we are.
- There can come a time when it makes sense to limit opportunities for negative interactions; in other words sometimes you may have to reduce the time voluntarily spent with such people. I'm not sure where the empowerment to do so comes from, perhaps age, wisdom, realizing that "life's too short," etc.
- For me there has been a change (with effort) in my processing of others' negativity. I can't take it on anymore. I refuse to. I used to be very negative (defensive) in response to such and then it just "clicked" that I am almost completely responsible for how I feel about this and how I handle it. I can finally see that others' negativity has way more to do with them than me, and that if I don't handle it wisely then I myself
am making it my problem too. Being able to walk away is so freeing! Others may see it as weakness and I used to too...until I realized that for me, engaging in tit-for-tat, i.e. what some would call "defending myself" or "not tolerating that" (in other words, not being able to "let it go") was the weakness all along.
Constructive criticism is different, as mentioned above. That is always welcome when it comes from someone I trust or whom I sense means well for me.
Luckily I have zero people in my personal life who were ever part of this problem.
Bottom line, I think one day you just wake up and realize you don't have time to spend on negativity. No time for being negative, and no time for responding to it, either.