Can you make me sick? Only if I let you.
How does anyone else on the planet effect us? They touch some nerve, irritate us, threaten us, annoy us, intimidate us.
When it comes to our personal contacts including old friends and acquaintances the best course of action is to just walk away. Life is too short to find ourselves doing "battle" for no particular reason. For those relatives who must remain a part of our lives, we may just need to adjust our own attitudes towards them. It may take an act of will to resist engaging in arguments or allowing ourselves to experience distress, but it is an activity worth pursuing.
I've spoken to individuals who describe horrific business associates, bosses, co-workers, that seem to really "get" to them. As a result they feel anxious, agitated, unable to work to their fullest capacity. This feeling contaminates the rest of their lives, making them absoultely miserable.
But we know this doesn't have to be the case. I've met others who have had similar experiences– but then changed. Perhaps they have literally changed their work enviornment, even to the extent of changing jobs. Or Ultimately it is up to us to change. It is unlikely any other individual will change their behavior or attitude.
How we perceive life's experiences, including our interaction with others, determines our level of serenity. Of course we will "feel" an emotional reaction when someone annoys us. But we can choose to resist that reactive response if we decide to do so.
Is it easy? No. We often instinctively hold on to our negative emotions. We want to validate our own feelings. We may even decide to retaliate in some way. But it may be wise to stop before reacting.
As a physician I've seen the physical consequences of emotional stress–abdominal pains, change in bowel habits, altered eating habits. It is also well known that chronic stress adversely effects our immune system and makes us susceptible to infections.
Breathe deeply and calm ourselves down. Engage in an internal dialogue first. Is reacting in our best interest? Will we obtain some satisfaction in doing so now, only to "pay the price" by remaining annoyed or agitated for some time in the future.
Letting go of the emotional reactivity allows us to think more clearly about what course of action is ultimately in our best interest.
It is also less likely to cause us to "feel sick".