Messy people: 6 commandments for dealing with drama-starters

Credit: Getty

Credit: Getty

Article By Angie Smallwood // EEW Magazine Spiritual

Drama-starters, also known as messy people, are toxic and detrimental to your mental, spiritual, emotional, and relational well-being.

When you come across folks that are notorious for stirring up trouble, diminishing others, and spreading unwholesome rumors, there are some rules of engagement you must follow. Here are 6 commandments to live by when encountering messy people.

Commandment #1: Thou shalt not tell them your secrets, for they will others. Proverbs 11:13 NIV says it this way: “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.” Toxic people love telling others’ business and spreading lies. They are gifted at getting the rumor mill turning. Don’t expect their displays of affection and concern to be genuine. Just as soon as you open up, to your dismay, they will take your formerly closely-held matters and spill all of those secrets in the streets. Messy people are never to be mistaken for secret-keepers!

Commandment #2: Thou shalt not indulge in their gossip, for it will taint you. Proverbs 20:19 NASB plainly says, “Therefore do not associate with a gossip.” Simply put: keep away from those who are always meddling in others’ affairs, tearing people down, and sharing salacious details of folks’ lives. There is no way to associate with a messy person and not get some dirt on you. Just as sure as they talk about other people to you, they will talk about you to other people. You don’t have time to dwell on nonsense. Philippians 4:8 says you should be thinking about true, honest, lovely things, and good reports—not nasty, negative gossip.

Commandment #3: Thou shalt not be naïve about their intentions. Expect them to create drama. Even when you don’t partake in the foolishness of a messy person, they are still somehow gifted to create tension, controversy, and chaos everywhere they go. They are notorious for misrepresenting your comments, spewing out negativity to get a rise out of you, or even flat-out lying for attention. Don’t get baited. Don’t let the calculating generators of havoc push your buttons. Be determined to walk in peace, despite the confusion they are attempting to create.

Commandment #4: Thou shalt not take offense to their verbal jabs and insults. The first portion of Ecclesiastes 7:21 ESV says, “Do not take to heart all the things that people say.” Turn off your ears and your emotions, and when you do hear something offensive, don’t take offense. Simply dust your shoulders off; don’t take things too seriously. It’s not that deep. In a boxing match, when a boxer hits “below the belt,” that means a punch lands beneath the belt line—in a sensitive area that especially hurts. Manipulators and messy people love to employ this “low blow” tactic, only verbally. They will try to expose and exploit your weaknesses by poking at sore spots and probing sensitive matters. If you don’t take what they say to heart, they won’t get the reaction they want out of you. Therefore, you win and they lose.

Commandment #5: Thou shalt not allow them to pit you against others. An ancient proverb says, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” One of the oldest tricks in a messy person’s playbook is to become your ally against a common enemy—whether real or perceived. A manipulator will try to find the fault lines or divisive issues in existing relationships to create tensions they can use to their advantage. Sometimes, messy people will even falsify a negative statement that someone supposedly said about you to make you angry. Don’t fall into this trap. If you cannot verify the source, don’t assume something is true. A useful biblical law found in the Old Testament, specifically in Deuteronomy 19:15, says, the testimony of a single witness may not be used to convict. Two or three witnesses are required. Even if you confirm that something negative was said or done, don’t let it get inside your head. Refer to commandment #4.

Commandment #6: Thou shalt not stay in relationship with them. Cut them off. When someone insists upon being messy and does not want to change, don’t be afraid to block them from your life. Titus 3:10 ESV says, “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him.” Sometimes it’s necessary to cut people off because they are pleased to repeat bad habits and negative cycles. Who has time for that? Who needs that type of negative energy around? Not you. Protect your environment, relationships, and health. Keep drama-starters away.

No one, no matter how diligent, can avoid all drama. There are some co-workers, family members, church members, and acquaintances you must interact with sometimes. In such cases where total avoidance is unrealistic, use these commandments. They will no doubt keep the drama to a minimum and make it easier to stop messy people from making a mess of your life.

RELATED: How to choose friends wisely