3 Thoughts about Mean People - Christine Kane

Someone I know is dealing with an abusive client. After a recent violent outburst, this person is panicked. She’s wondering how she could attract anyone so horrible into her business and what she can do to change this energy and create a more positive environment.

Now, I’m a big fan of clear communication, correcting mistakes, and apologizing in situations when you’ve messed up. That’s the first place to start.

And if you’re a reader of this blog, then you know I regularly refer to the Law of Attraction and similar approaches to daily life.

After that, three thoughts come to mind:

The first thought is about Wonder Woman.

It’s oh-so tempting to think that because you’re a “conscious” person, or because you understand Law of Attraction, that you now have to slog through every negative situation in your life in order to figure out how you “attracted it” and how you might “heal from it.”

I call this Superhero Thinking.

We’re certain that we could transform any situation if we could only use our powers of thought in the perfect and right ways.

Sometimes, however, this isn’t the best choice. Often, it makes us stay in bad relationships, draining friendships, and hurtful jobs to prove that we are able to leap tall negativity in a single bound.

It will benefit you, your dog, your children, your friends and the entire planet if you get over this as quickly as possible.

I spent two years talking with business coaches and reading management books trying to change myself so that I could deal with an abusive employee. At first, she was a star in my office. But as time wore on, she became angry and lashed out when she didn’t like the decisions I was making about my music career. It was painful. And I tried hard to make it work because, after all, I knew about these spiritual principles.

Finally, I did the wisest and most conscious thing I could do.

I fired her.

We may think we have super powers and that if we could just get healthy enough then we can transform a negative situation — but sometimes the best answer is to take off the orange cape and mask and simply let go.

The second thought is about fear.

Often, the real issue is not about what we’ve attracted. The real issue is why we won’t let it go. The real issue is that we’re scared. We think we need this client, this employee, this boyfriend, this job, this gig.

We think these external things are the source. The source of our money. The source of our joy. The source of our productivity. So, we become attached to them.

That’s when things get wonky.

We convince ourselves it’s about changing our thoughts and working with the negativity we’ve attracted. But really, it’s about addressing our fear of lack and our misguided attachment to something outside of us.

The third thought is about water-skiing.

When I started water-skiing, I’d get my balance and then immediately lurch forward, slamming face-first onto the lake. Then, in spite of all the water-skiing wisdom anyone had ever offered, I’d hold onto the handle for dear life as the boat dragged me several hundred feet across the lake on my stomach.

Now, the problem was not that I attracted bad experiences as I learned to water ski. The problem wasn’t that the boat was mean to me, or that the lake was evil, forcing me to swallow much of its contents.

The problem was that I wouldn’t let go of the handle.

It’s the same thing in life. Sometimes you have to stop asking how you could possibly attract this and recognize that you’re the one holding onto it.

  • J. Hawke

    Oh, man. Where were you and your blog about, um, four-and-a-half years ago when I thought it was true-love-lasts-forever but it turned out to be great-harmonies-don’t-make-great-relationships? Thank God I dug myself out of that pit.

  • Christine Kane

    You’re not alone, Brenda!

    Thanks David!

    Janice – what a great blog you’ve got! thanks for visiting!

    shama – it’s all fixed. And i’m working on the email thing. very soon, you’ll be able to subscribe through emails.

  • Shama Hyder

    Okay, I still love your writing. Wish I could get posts emailed to me!

    Events section at the right isn’t working. When I click, it takes me to a blank page.

  • Janice Cartier

    Found you through Sonia this am. Great stuff in Chicago I hear. Lovely post. Especially the last line. Will be back.
    All best, Jan

  • David

    Great post. I really understand what you are saying because at 50 years of age I can relate to the “water-skiing. Keep up the good “blog”.


  • Brenda

    Oouch! I just saw myself in the Superhero example! Thanks for making me see a past issue in a new light … it may help in the journey ahead!

  • Christine Kane

    Thanks everyone! I’m off to Chicago today – and I just wanted to say a special thanks for the lovely notes from each of you here!

  • Barbara


    Have been reading your blog since a friend sent me your entry about New Year’s Revolutions. Thank you for giving me (It’s all about me, right?) such meaningful thoughts to ponder.

    I liked your sentence”Sometimes you have to stop asking how you could possibly attract this and recognize that you’re the one holding onto it.” The thing I’m holding onto with all my strength, and then some, is depression. I’ve been dealing with it half my life (I’m 50), and KNOW that I have the tools to significantly decrease it or get rid of it. I think the biggest obstacle for me is the fear that if I use all those tools and they DON’T work, then I’m screwed. If I don’t use them at all, then there’s still a chance they could work if I decide to use them. (Confused yet?)

  • nel

    I’m smiling about my invisible calluses from holding on. “Is it true? Is it mine? I can let it go.” Energy and freedom and growth for me in the letting go and seeing how the universe just handles it all when i release. Thanks christine for your guidance. Here’s to finding courage.

  • Jeanie

    “The real issue is that we’re scared. We think we need this client, this employee, this boyfriend, this job, this gig.”

    That resonates with me in a beeeeg way. For me, it always comes back to fear… Which is ironic, as people who know me often describe me as fearless/ballsy/confident. Inside, I’m a wreck 🙂 But that’s ok too. At least I’m aware of it – and can work on it.

    Christine, I won’t assume to know why you started this blog… but I am sure you didn’t realize how much impact you’d have on (so many) people’s lives. You’re truly making a difference, and should be proud of that. Thank you for the thought you put into your posts.

  • Mindful Mimi

    I fit your waterskiing metaphor. Always thought i attracted ‘the wrong people’ – and I did. So I changed my behaviour but was still having ‘wrong situations’. Until I realised that I was holiding on to them. So figuring out the law of attraction is not enough – or at least it wasn’t for me. 🙂 Now I only have the right people in my life, living the right situations. Or at least I try. And if shits hits the fan I know (more or less) what to do with it or am at least surrounded by people who can advise me.

    Let me work on trying to find someone to pay you to come play in Europe… 🙂

  • Christine Kane

    diane – no need to transcend ego all the time! sometimes it’s good just to notice it and take action in spite of it.

    thanks imelda, irene and lexi!

    thanks for the link melanie. i’ve been through some similar stuff with friends. sometimes i’m amazed at some of the verbal abuse i used to allow in my relationships. it doesn’t even register anymore!

    michelle – thank you!

    heather – it also helps to try to see them not as “negative” (I know i called them “mean people” in the title – but I was making a funny.) but see them instead as wearing masks. seeing the essence under the mask can be pretty fun too. it creates LOTS of space in the interaction.

  • Christine Kane

    diane – i suck at waterskiing. but that’s the very reason i love it – like i love basketball and ping-pong and putt-putt golf. i’m so very bad that my perfectionist can’t even come to the table… 🙂

    pat k. – absolutely. you are right there. AND i have found that some folks aren’t yet where they can grasp that quiet space. so, i try to approach it from a place that’s easier to understand and take action from.

    colin – wise daddy!

    thanks jen!

    caren – i totally know that free feeling. all the wringing of our hands can’t compete with making a decision and just going for it.

    james – congratulations on successfully working for yourself. one of the inspirations for this post was my friend suzi. she and i were kind of “coming up” at the same time. me in music. she in web design. and we both “fired” people a lot – and guided each other through it.

  • Heather

    That was a great post.

    Negative people hold out a rope–if you grab the end of it, it will inevitably lead to a tug-of-war with them.

    The smart thing to do is to NOT grab the rope in the first place. The next best thing is to DROP the rope.

    Let negative people strangle themselves with those twisted ropes they extend.

  • Michelle

    I love this at the end:Sometimes you have to stop asking how you could possibly attract this and recognize that you’re the one holding onto it.
    I will remember that. A really great post

  • melanie

    This is very much something I needed to hear. I have been hanging on to one particular friend more out of fear than anything else. Although, after reading this I am not really sure what i am afraid of! 🙂

    Going to post a link to this on my blog today!

  • Lexi of Creative Energies

    I love this post! You completely nailed it!

    I stumbled and reviewed it, thumbs up to you!


  • Irene

    WOW! Now I call this an eye opener. I never look at it as letting go. That explains a lot for me. A fresh way to sort it out and being okay to walk away from a difficult situation.
    Thank you Christine

  • Imelda/GreenishLady

    Thank you. You make so much SENSE!!! Thank you.

  • Diane

    Remember the Nike bumper stickers everywhere “just do it” There needs to be one that adds “just do it…let go!” For me, transcending that darn ego takes practice.

    Pat, it is so amazing when you can just keep quiet and refuse to play their game isn’t it?…And they do eventually tire out…good reminder.

    Caren, glad you let go of a relationship that wasn’t making you happy. And wow, you didn’t even mention “the wedding” seems like that is what many are actually clinging to.

  • James

    Great stuff Christine two years ago I fired my passive agressive boss, after three years of subtle put downs and manipulation. A bold move that is rather uncharacteristic of me since I have a family to support. However once I let go and started working for myself things couldn’t be better. My life has many stories like this and I really think this is a recurring lesson for me. Thank you for the reminder.

  • Caren

    Ditto what Jen said. Except for ciao, I don’t think I’ve ever said that. 😉

    I stayed in a relationship for months longer than was healthy because of those thoughts: I *should be* (red flag there!) learning about myself through this. I *should be* able to get to a place of acceptance of these behaviors. We were engaged, and were miserable! I felt so free when I broke it off.

  • Jen Worden

    “Sometimes you have to stop asking how you could possibly attract this and recognize that you’re the one holding onto it.”

    Christine, as always, your voice is a clear, concise, no bullsh*t beacon in a sea of mediocrity. It’s why I read. It’s why I’ll keep coming back.

    Thank you. 🙂

    ciao for now … Jen

  • Colin

    As my daddy used to say, “If the horse is dead…get off.”

  • Pat K.

    Looking through life with the “Eckhart Tolle” lens. Yes, I know we are all not perfectly aligned with life, having dumped our Ego’s and pain-bodies, but one thing you can do when there is a snarky, violent, verbally abusive person is to become totally still inside and concentrate on your breath. Let this person just do what evil they must do, while you fail to take any kind of action, or feel any kind of re-action such as retaliation, smart comebacks or panic attacks or wise sayings in the face of danger. Like water off a duck’s back.

    Just let them tire themselves out like when you have a large fish on the line. They will tire themselves out. After a while, they will realize that they can’t harm you. You, in becoming still and not reacting (watching your shenpa), is the act of letting go. It’s just a different way to think about it.

  • Diane

    Thanks Christine! I’m almost embarrassed to admit my biggest revelation. I will though since I know you appreciate honesty. I can still learn to water-ski?! I gave up over 20 years ago because I figured my arms just weren’t strong enough! I never even got to the finding balance stage! I’m assuming you did finally learn to ski?

  • Christine Kane

    Thanks Hagit – glad this is relevant. I hope it helps!

    lilalia – I’ve been through that same kind of situation in many areas of my life. i’m finally at a place where i don’t have to think about how to let go because i can just not allow it in the first place. it might take time in the case of the women you’re observing!

    well thank you mokana! I’m glad you like that song. and thanks for all that you shared!

    danni – i think sometimes in business situations, women tend to try a little too hard to “fix it.” sometimes we have to conserve our own energy for the areas that we really need it. (of course, in a bank – there could be perpertual areas like that.) we need to be willing to be on our own side.

    thanks m!

    mark – congratulations for letting go of the client. that’s a big thing. and i’m sure you learned that you can do this without being “finger-pointy.” you can just say it and let it go!

  • Mark

    Thanks Christine…great stuff, great stories.

    I recently told a big-name client I didn’t want to work with them anymore. I put up with some harsh treatment because I wanted the work, I wanted to be associated with their name, and I wanted future work from them. It could have been a wonderful relationship.

    But after the way they acted, I realized I’d only be punishing myself. So I told them exactly why I was finished. They were shocked! Nobody ever talked to them that way before.

  • m


    A friend of mine had a simply awful tennant in her house (which due to complicated housing laws in Amsterdam she couldn’t get rid of – they have housing POLICE there ! – she too talked about learning the lessons etc of dealing with this person. Then she just rented out her part of the flat and moved herself into another rented apartment. She is now so much freer and unstuck in her life after just removing herself from the situation.

  • Barbara

    Thank you for a wonderful post. I needed to read this after a lifetime of water ski-ing in a relationship!

  • Danni

    Wow, great stuff…. I just coached a friend who is nearing the breaking point at work that she needs to limit what she can feel responsible for solving….. especially at work or in relationships of implied or spoken commitment, we feel our role is to be constructive and solve a problem… but sometimes the problem in front of us is just not ours to solve- not solely by reason of responibility but by virtue of the underpinnings of the situation… if a client is raging, we want to calm them, but if we are a target for pent up pain and anger reaching back into other areas of their life we just can’t possibly be constructive enough to make that all OK for them. Our role is resolve it in a bubsiness sense but not to take on their emotions, our role as a person is to hold up a mirror and outline a boundary so they can use that feedback to learn to more appropriately handle their issue….. as abank manager, my friend faces a lot of high emotion and has a hard time preserving her sense of self…. I’ll send her this link- thank you!


    Aloha! I found your website last night while checking out a friends who then in turn had someone leave a comment on her blog which referred to your blog which was so good that I was inspired to subscribe to your RSS feed which now shows up automatically on my website http://www.mokana.com as soon as you post something . . . Whew . . . . 🙂

    Any way . . . . when the “Mean People” Blog came up I just had to read it right away becuase I just wrote about Mean People on my Blog:

    http://healthylivingblogs.mokana.com/2008/04/be-hero-in-your-own-story.html . . .

    I really liked your song “Outa of no where” (?) and linked that into another one of my Blogs. It was so good and I would come see you if you were a West Coaster! ! !

    I even passed you along to a few friends. We all came out of the Self Help movement and I thought you were cool. A friend of mine . . . Micheal Peterson . . . . a Country Music Artist of the Year writes simliar stuff and he is on tour at High Schools right now. I just helped get the trademarks for the work.

    Any one who is trying to make the planet a better place is alright in my book!

    Keep up the flow of good writing . . . .

    Mahalo nui loa a hui ho!


  • lilalia

    Such wonderfully wise words. Two dear friends of mine are in partnerships that grind away on their sense of wellbeing. After reading this post, I realise that one is Wonder Woman and the other is still holding on to her fear. They know the relationships are poison to their souls, but they continue to argue staying in the relationships in the manner you wrote. I appreciate your post, for I can understand better the motives behind their arguments to stay.

  • Hagit

    Wow, I could swear I attracted this post! 🙂 I was dealing with bad energies yesterday from someone I work with – I’ve been telling myself that I need to let go and not work with that person ever for a long time, but everytime there’s that fear that doesn’t let me do it. I did it again yeterday, got caught up with that person and felt “who do I think I am” for the rest of the day, and I was thinking to myself, wow, I wish Christine would write about those people who we just shouldn’t hold on to. So happy to read this now. 🙂 You’re right, we have to let go, and it’s so difficult, EVEN when we realize the situation itself is bad for us.