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Dealing With People Who Distance Themselves from Crisis Situations

Updated on May 9, 2011

Last One Standing

Do you know people who seem to adopt a "no care" attitude at the exact moment when you need them to care the most? There are multiple situations and circumstances in which this behavior shows itself. Maybe you are facing a deadline on an important work project and one of your team members who seemed all into doing a good job at first starts to distance him/herself at the moment when you need them to be most engaged. Maybe you have to make a big financial decision and your life partner totally bails out on being helpful or even actively present in making the decision. Maybe you need to make a defining and life changing decision about your company such as whether or not to take out a loan or close shop and your business partner goes on vacation.

Being abandoned during your moment of need feels as if the ones closest to you are setting you up for failure. They are just hanging back so they can blame you when things don't work out. Who really knows why some people tend to disengage in crisis situations? More than likely their behaviors aren't about you at all. These folks who distance themselves at the most inappropriate time possibly are afraid of their own success or failure, so they leave things up to other people. Maybe, they just can't handle the pressure; feel insecure, unconfident in their own ability to make appropriate decisions. Whatever their real reasons for bailing, you are left alone to face the problem and make a decision.

Acknowledge Your Hurt But Move On

Chances are the person who bailed isn't going to own up to his/her behavior. They may not ever get to the point where they can say they are sorry or that they will do better the next time. All you can do is control your own behavior. How are you going to act? Are you going to walk away as well? No, if you are reading this, than chances are you are going to do the right thing and follow through with your commitments. Inoculate yourself against any feelings of failure by not adopting this attitude period. Worrying about possible failure only makes you feel more anxious and unable to move forward. If you feel someone else wants you to fail, than do not own this feeling as your own. Boost yourself up and say to yourself "I will do the best I can do." Make the active decision that you will continue with your plans. Deciding what to do is half of the battle. Once you make the decision to continue, you automatically begin to move forward.

Celebrate Your Fearlessness

While it is easy to feel hurt and resentful towards the one who left you hanging and you have every right to your feelings, your resentment will not change his/her behaviors. If the person in question is unwilling to examine his/her real reason for disengaging, than you can't change someone else's unconscious behavior. All that you really learned is that you now know that you have to think twice about depending on that particular person in the future. Such knowledge will help you prepare better for how you handle things in the future. While your disappointment may cause you to doubt yourself or give credibility to the feeling that someone else wants you to fail, you need to retain and even boost your self-confidence at this time.

Important things to remember:

  • you are strong and fearless because you are not running away
  • success can only come to those who are present and engaged in their life
  • being dependable and responsible makes you a good person to have as a worker, friend, life partner, and parent
  • skill, confidence, and experience comes from getting out there and doing things
  • living a life of courage makes you a mentor for others
  • celebrate your accomplishments and efforts and learn from your mistakes.


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      Good Soul 5 years ago

      Very insightful post. People who abandon you when you need the most- people who are emotionally unavailable. - there are so many people like that among our friends, relatives, family.

      Thank you for telling me what to do with them and how to deal with the situation.