I just had a personal encounter with a black hole, It was the strangest thing; I bought a tube of lipstick, tucked it into a small pocket but when I went to retrieve the tube, it had vanished. Once again I purchased another tube, stuck it in the same purse pocket, and theorizing the lipstick had spilled out the top of my purse, I mindfully zipped the zipper to seal it shut. This went on several more times, until I finally happened to pick up my purse from the bottom, and felt several strange bumps. When I inspected my purse pocket closer, I detected a small rip in the fabric, which was just large enough to allow the tubes of lipstick to slip out of the pocket and into the bottom of my purse underneath the lining, I made the rip large enough to stick my fingers through, and retrieved many tubes of lipstick. Mystery of the black hole solved!
The Real Black Hole
Scientists explain the real back hole is a region of space resulting from the collapse of a star. It contains an extremely high gravitational field and according to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, the gravitational field is so powerful that nothing-including electromagnetic radiation (visible light) can escape its pull after having fallen past its event horizon.
We have a similar phenomenon to the black hole right here on earth; negative people who pull us into their vortex and suck us dry of time, energy and at times what seems like our very life force. These people can be bosses, co-workers, friends, parishioners and often family members.
“Subtracters’ is what Dr. Verna Cornelia Price calls them. Dr. Price is the founder and president of J. Cameron and Associates, a local organization committed to empowering and motivating people to realize and positively use their personal power. Upon completing her first book, The Power of People: Four Kinds of People Who Can Change Your Life (adders, subtracters, multipliers, dividers) readers asked for concrete advice to help them deal with subtracters, so she wrote, The Silent Cry-Dealing with Subtracters in Work and Life.
In ten chapters her book spells out how to tell if you are a subtracter (who, me?), the seven subtracter personalities (smiler, shamer, snipper-nipper, gamer, dreamer, blamer and worrier) and how to deal with them. Plus Dr. Verna dedicates one entire chapter on handling a ‘substracter boss.’ The author encourages the reader to manage their time, emotions, energy and words, and shows how to tap strengths, partners, collaborators and networks to achieve your career goals.
Is there a Subtracter in your inner circle?
Dr. Verna explains an inner circle is ‘a small group of people to whom you look for advice, counsel, leadership, mentorship and guidance.’ In order to achieve success, she says we need to have only adders and multipliers in our inner circle, and find ways to keep the subtracters out.
But what if we already have subtracters in our circle? Dr. Price shares a step-by-step process for moving them out; reduce the amount of time we spend with them, stop talking to them about critical issues in our lives, don’t react or defend ourselves when they try to blame us or put us down and limit the amount of resources we give to our subtracter friends (money, clothes, transportation, etc.)
She also shares five similar-yet more severe steps to take when it is time to completely let go of subtracter friends:
- Immediately stop spending time with them.
- Stop giving them space in your life.
- Stop talking to them. Check your caller ID and don’t take their call.
- Stop offering any help. (use discretion over life threatening situations).
- Refuse them access to any of your resources.
‘Just is’ family
Dr. Verna tackles the most difficult group of subtracters last: family members. She calls them the ‘Just is’ group; you didn’t select them, they ‘just is’. In order to reduce the negative impact they have on your life, Dr. Verna shares her strategy including:
- An honest assessment about how the person treats you
- Naming what they subtract from you
- Stating what emotional traps they set
She then leads the reader towards the specific steps to identify and break the old agreements, and actions to set and keep healthier boundaries.
Dealing with negative people in life can be difficult, but don’t let your spirit be drained by subtracters in life. Keep healthy boundaries so you can dedicate your energies towards worthy causes.
Mary Rose Remington, M.S.Ed., is a career counselor and life coach, author, motivational speaker and freelance writer from St.Paul, MN. She is the author of Career Quest, a Practical and Spiritual Guide To finding Your Life’s Passion, available through Amazon.com. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.