or What to Do When the Buttinski’s Pay a Call
(dealing with self-righteous people)
Dealing with self-righteous people can be terribly taxing on one’s soul.
Tom and Callie had been friendly with James and Edith for several years. Their children were friends. They had mutual friends. They attended many of the same social events. Tom and James especially hit it off and enjoyed the same sense of humor and music.
While Callie had some reservations about Edith early on, in time she began to appreciate her, despite Edith’s tendency to speak negatively towards others and her strong displays of self-righteousness.
The couples spent many happy hours together in both homes visiting, fellowshipping, and celebrating life events.
While Edith had developed a close friendship with mutual friend Ally, Callie kept Ally at some distance from her heart.
There came a time when Ally and Callie said goodbye for good. It was not pretty, it was hard and sad and heartbreaking for Callie.
Edith, however, was pretty excited by this turn of events and jumped into the fray with great gusto and unrelenting insistence.
Tip # 1 Trust Your Gut Instincts, if someone is displaying hurtful characteristics keep your boundaries high when dealing with self-righteous people.
Have you ever been through something really hard only to have someone not directly involved in the situation make it about themselves? Decide they are the fount of wisdom all should take advice from? These self-righteous people make everything more difficult.
Over time Edith chipped away at Callie to get her to really open up to her, and after resisting for quite a while…Callie did.
There is nothing more disheartening than being manipulated into sharing your heart honestly only to find out it is for the other person’s nefarious, self-serving purposes.
Perhaps attention-seeking drama queens, narcissists, and the self-righteous people know they have no place unloading their list of wrongs they have been keeping – without first manipulating you to admit you have some frustration with them also. It is a self-serving strategy the self-righteous often use to get their way.
However, once you open the door (after they beg you to open it) they have a toe in the door and gleefully let you have it with both barrels.
Tip # 2 If someone’s insistence is making you uncomfortable, don’t give in, stand up to them and say no.
Edith appeared to walk away feeling satisfied and happy.
She got to have her say finally. Now she was ready to act as if everything was great. Didn’t matter a bit that Callie, who was already down before Edith pushed the door in, is now bleeding profusely. Edith feels pretty righteous, kicking Callie when she is down was beside the point. Callie needed to hear Edith’s carefully curated list of wrongs. Now that Callie has heard them, Edith is ready to be generous and forgiving. Maybe even willing to let her list of wrongs go. Obviously, she is the wiser and more mature woman.
Tip # 3 Drama Queens, Narcissists and the Self-Righteous Make Everything about Themselves
If you have these people in your life, don’t ever allow yourself to expect compassion or understanding from them. Dealing with the self-righteous, self-serving types requires confidence and strong boundaries.
Tip 3.5 if you have never seen them display compassion or empathy – run.
Edith continued pursuing a shallow friendship with Callie and didn’t understand why Callie was keeping her distance.
Tip #4 This kind of personality is never going to understand the pain they cause.
But what if you are wrong and we are misunderstanding them?
Certainly, we should not burn bridges unjustifiably? True.
Tip # 5 How to Know if Someone is Looking for an Authentic Friendship
- If they really want to understand and show you
love, you will know.
- Trust your instincts.
- There will be some willingness to understand you and your perspective.
- There will be some humility in them to understand they have had a hand in the hurt.
- They will be willing to set aside their preconceived judgments and try to hear/understand you.
As Rabbi Weintstein states:
So be brave. Every time you see drama, remind yourself that your role is to ensure that you don’t get drawn in. Then ask yourself if there’s something productive you can do about the situation. If there is, do it. If there isn’t, remain calm. If you are criticized for not caring just smile and remind yourself that you’re walking the longer, shorter road. It isn’t easy but it ends up being much easier.Rabbi Weinstein, Good Men Project, Why People Thrive on Drama and How You Can Avoid its’ Pitfalls
Dealing with Self-Righteous People is Wearying
In conclusion, it is our duty and delight to forgive all the Ediths of the world. We don’t know what happened to them to make them like they are.
Forgive them and keep your boundaries in place. Move on, be kind, be friendly, but don’t allow yourself to get sucked back in.
If their heart truly changes, they’ll let you know.
They blessed your life by being a conduit to learned lessons!
Praise Yah, and thank you, Edith, with all sincerity.