Some people are just negative. They’re going through a dark time, and it’s rough.
That’s not always the case, however.
In some situations, Debbie downers are actively trying to bring you down and ruin your sunny day.
Here’s how to spot a downer and stop them from ruining your life.
10 warning signs someone is trying to bring you down (and how to stop them)
Look out for these signs.
Whether it’s a romantic partner, friend, family member, coworker or friend, people who are engaging in this kind of behavior are definitely trying to bring you down.
1) They focus on the negative
Talking about negative things and mentioning them is an important part of life.
You can’t solve a problem or work through it if you actively avoid mentioning it or dealing with it.
Focusing on the negative is different.
This is like putting on special sunglasses where all you can see are tragedy, sadness and despair.
This is one of the biggest warning signs someone is trying to bring you down:
They try to force you to wear the sunglasses you have on, and when you say no they start overloading you with negativity and judgment.
Solution: just say no.
Eventually, you may have to physically walk away from them or tell them you have a headache and need to go.
2) They compete to be more ‘positive’ than you
On the flip side of being enormously negative, is “toxic positivity.”
This disturbing trend has gotten a real foothold in the New Age community, especially because it’s encouraged by mindless ideas like the Law of Attraction.
These pat-on-the-back bullshit ideas tell people that you have to be positive all the time if you want good things to happen to you in life.
Ironically, someone being overly positive and trying to “out-positive” you is one of the top warning signs someone is trying to bring you down.
Noticing the wonderful things about life is great!
Toxic positivity is something else entirely.
It’s trying to repress your own true emotions and guilt and shame others when they’re going through a hard time or just don’t buy into the positivity cult.
Watch out for this one, it can be subtle!
3) They try to throw you off course in your life
One of the classic warning signs someone is trying to bring you down is that they try to throw you off course in your life.
It can be very low-key, but make no mistake:
These can be little comments sowing doubt in your heart about your career, your relationship, your values…
Insecure people love to find an Achilles heel and then chip away at it.
4) They gaslight you
Gaslighting is where you make someone doubt what they see or blame themselves for your problems.
One of the top warning signs someone is trying to bring you down is that they love to gaslight you.
They will tell you that you’re wrong about everything, even what your own eyes observe and your own ears hear.
They will have you doubting whether gravity exists and doing all sorts of things that make no sense.
This is the classic con man (or con woman) profile:
Somebody who breaks others down and makes them doubt everything about their experiences, in order to build them back up as somebody they can fully control and manipulate.
Sleazy gurus love to do it.
Don’t let anybody bring you down by making you hate or distrust yourself.
5) They try to undermine your beliefs
Disagreeing with somebody’s beliefs and telling them so is everyone’s right.
Undermining and actively working to bring someone down about their beliefs is another thing.
You can respectfully disagree without getting personal.
Unfortunately, one of the most worrisome warning signs someone is trying to bring you down is that they take your beliefs and make them personal.
“I can’t understand why you believe that,” they may comment, sneering.
“I thought you were smarter and more open-minded than that,” for example.
What is this?
They’re claiming moral high ground and hoping you take the bait so you can get down in the dirt with them and feel like shit too, as you defend your beliefs.
Forget it. Not worth your time.
6) They compete in the victim Olympics
The victim Olympics are the opposite of fun.
The worse off you are, the more gold medals you get.
This sick mentality has found itself into intersectionality and all sorts of related ideologies. They use fancy words, but they boil down to:
If you don’t validate my pain and the beliefs I have that stem from that pain and experience, then you are evil.
This is one of the most common and disturbing warning signs someone is trying to bring you down:
They out-victimize you.
So your house burned down?
They were born as an orphan with a drug addict for a dad!
So, you just broke up?
They have an alternative sexual identity which makes them feel insecure about being socially accepted so your breakup is nothing compared to their pain.
Try to stay away from people who want you to compete in the victim Olympics.
The more gold medals you win, the worse your life will be.
7) They try to make you nervous and insecure
Life already has so many circumstances that test our confidence and resolve.
Many of the top warning signs someone is trying to bring you down revolve around trying to worsen this.
They try to get you off balance and doubting yourself…
Doubting your plans…
Doubting your friendships, relationships, and values.
This type of person wants to take advantage of any inner unbalance you feel and maximize it.
8) They try to ruin your reputation
Ruining somebody’s reputation is easier than ever these days, thanks to the power of the internet.
If they didn’t do enough stupid or creepy things that you can dig up, you can always turn to Photoshop and show them doing something outrageous!
This is one of the top warning signs someone is trying to bring you down…
They stalk you, cyberbully you, trash talk you, write negative reviews online for you or your business, and so on.
They want to make your life worse and use all the tools at their disposal.
It can be alarmingly difficult to stop.
One bad apple can cause hell for someone.
Just ask any journalist who works at a news agency. They’d like you to think they don’t care about angry e-mails they get and random crazies ranting at them on the phone.
They care a lot. And it stresses them out.
9) They shame you for your appearance
Another one of the disturbing warning signs someone is trying to bring you down is that they pick on your appearance.
You’re too fat, too skinny, too ugly or too beautiful.
There’s definitely just something about you that’s awful and wrong and horrible according to them.
Any insecurity you have inside yourself gets amplified the more that they continue in this kind of petty assault.
If you’re like me, you don’t comment about people’s appearances in a negative way because it’s a hateful and creepy thing to do.
But someone who is trying to bring you down will do just this.
And it’s not always verbal, either.
Sometimes it’s a very obvious disdainful look up and down at you and then turning away from you like they’re going to retch.
Honestly, f*ck this kind of person.
10) They play games with your feelings
One of the most destructive warning signs someone is trying to bring you down is that they build you up just to knock you down.
They play games with your feelings.
This is very common in relationships and in work environments.
One day it’s all nice words and praise, the next it’s pure criticism and angry recriminations.
You just can’t keep up…
Which is kind of the point.
This person wants you baffled, confused and feeling hopeless so that they can dangle you around like a puppet on a string.
They want to control you and be the only one who offers you a glimpse of hope or happiness when they decide you should get it.
Don’t let them do this!
The more you allow someone to be the person who brings you down, you also reserve them to have the only power to bring you back up.
That’s the most powerful thing you contain inside yourself, so don’t give it away to anyone!
Don’t bring me down!
We all have down days like I said.
We all need a shoulder to cry on sometimes and other times we look back and apologizing for going too far in venting our unhappiness to others.
That said, nobody has a right to unload all their problems onto someone else and make it into their responsibility.
This is especially true of family relationships where it’s most common, as well as romantic partnerships where people often think they have the right to use their partner as a blank check of sympathy and endless support.
Well, it doesn’t work that way!
Even the most understanding of us eventually has a limit to how much we will put up with…
As the British band the Animals sing in their 1966 hit “Don’t Bring Me Down”:
“When you complain and criticize
I feel I’m nothing in your eyes
It makes me feel like giving up
Because my best just ain’t good enough…
Oh! Oh no, don’t bring me down
I’m beggin’ you darlin’
Oh! Oh no, don’t bring me down…”