Don’t Play with Petty: 3 Ways You Can Go High When He Goes Low

BY: - 28 Oct '16 | Marriage

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A dear friend of mine has been dealing with some unwanted drama in her life. We talk about it a lot. I offer advice when she wants it. When she doesn’t, I try my best to bite my tongue and give her a shoulder to lean on. It’s what I would want any friend to do for me.

Recently, the drama has been causing her a lot of stress and anger. I get it because just listening to some of the things her ex has told her (and done) makes me angry. But I also know that being angry and stressed out doesn’t help her or her child. Honestly, it just keeps her in a nasty cycle that is damaging her health and keeping her from living her best life.

With her situation, as well as situations I’ve faced in my own life, I know that being angry and petty sometimes feels so justified that we run with it. When someone does or says something we find hurtful, we want that person to hurt, too. We want him to feel the same pain.

The problem with that, however, is that hurting people rarely makes us feel better about being hurt. Sure, we may feel some momentary satisfaction from sticking it to him, but that doesn’t last. Eventually, we just feel drained and disappointed that we had to sink to his level. We wonder why we didn’t have the discipline and right mind to take the higher road.

Well, that’s because the higher road sometimes feels like some bull. We often feel sick and tired of being the better person and doing the right thing all…the…time. We just want the pain to stop, and if we have to do something dead wrong to make that happen, we are often willing to go there.

But what I have realized is that getting even and being petty is far more harmful than most women think it is. Saying nasty things just because they’ve been said to you, won’t make you feel better. Angry text messages don’t accomplish anything. Being mean and vengeful doesn’t feel all that good when that’s just not who you are.

And listen, I know that going low is so much easier than going high like our First Lady Michelle Obama has suggested through this presidential campaign. I get it. But I also know that going low comes with consequences. Going low damages your spirit. Going low changes who you are and compromises who you can become.

So the next time an ex or a current mate decides that making you feel little, stupid, unappreciated, worthless, hurt or anything else is the right thing for him to do, try one of these three tips to help you take the higher road and get on with the life you deserve.


Don’t Engage

A nasty voicemail message, mean texts, a peaceful conversation that starts to go way left; does any of that sound familiar? If it does, I know those scenarios can bring up lots of emotions, including anger. But don’t let it go there. Don’t engage in the foolishness.

When you ignore nasty texts or fail to respond to mean voicemail messages, it sends a clear message that you have better things to do and you have no interest in getting petty to prove a point. And if things get nasty during an actual phone or face-to-face conversation, simply disengage.

Tell the person you have no interests in having a straight up battle, and the discussion is over until he is able to have a mature conversation with you. This is all hard to do, but it’s incredibly effective.


Channel Your Energy Elsewhere

The best way to go high is to make a conscious decision to channel your energy toward other things that matter. The more energy you invest in something that doesn’t matter, the less energy you have left for the things that do.

I would like to believe that you have better things to do than engage in a back-and-forth with someone who seems hell bent on stressing you out. Whether it’s working out, reaching professional goals, having fun with your girlfriends or spending more quality time with your kids, find ways to refocus and move forward by avoiding the pettiness and doing better things with your time.


Focus on What You Really Want

When we waste time fighting and arguing, it’s a sure sign that we need to change our focus. If we remain focused on the present, we tend to do things that make us feel better in the moment.

Although being present is actually a good thing, it poses a problem when we choose to be present without any concern or regard for the future. Petty behavior rarely considers where someone wants to be in a year or even six months.

Petty behavior is focused on your desire to feel right in the moment. But take some time to focus on your future. What really matters to you? What do you want your life to look like a year from now? What do you need to do to achieve that vision? If you can focus on what you want and need to live a better life, you will be less likely to engage in activity that leaves you feeling frustrated, angry, annoyed and depleted.

BMWK family, What have you done to avoid petty behavior with a mate (or ex) and take the higher road?

About the author

Martine Foreman wrote 496 articles on this blog.

Martine Foreman is a speaker, writer, lifestyle consultant, and ACE-certified Health Coach who specializes in helping moms who want more out of life but feel overwhelmed and confused. Through her content and services, Martine is committed to helping women embrace their personal truth, gain clarity, and take action to create healthier, happier lives. For more on Martine's candid views on life and love, visit her at To work with her, visit her at Martine resides in Maryland with her husband, two kids and sassy cat Pepper.


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