bmetimes it feels like your world is caving in around you.  You may want to crawl underneath a rock from the pressure. The effort required to grow is exponential if you have pessimists in your midst. Because you must banish negativity is a critical step in making your comeback, you must find ways to deal with the people who don’t bring positivity into your life.

Start with identifying your BMWs.


You know who they are…those BMWs (Bitchers, Moaners, Whiners) who are among your friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and family.  They are the focus of every conversation, the center of attention, and the source of recurrent drama.

BMWs are the Negative Nellies and Neds in your midst who always see the glass as half empty.  They find the dark side of any discussion or situation.  Like Eeyore, the sad-eyed donkey from Winnie the Pooh,  they have a woe is me attitude. The world is out to get them and you, too!  They are the focus of every conversation, the center of attention, and the source of recurrent drama.  They can’t look at the positives.

Watch out or you could be dragged, kicking and screaming, down to their level of pain and anxiety.  Their mindset will contribute to your attitude toward life and the challenges you face, which is why you must find a way to protect yourself from their negativity.

What is it like to be in their presence?  BMWs take the air out of the room. After you spend time with your BMWs, you feel drained, frustrated, and conflicted.  You feel like you need a shot of scotch, a glass of wine, or a long hot shower.  You might feel like taking your frustration out by kicking your closet door or eating your way through the pantry. The last thing you want is to interact with anyone.

Who are your BMWs?

I’m guessing you can easily identify your BMWs.

Does this sound familiar?  I’m guessing you can easily identify your BMWs.  One BMW stands out in my life: my friend, Jane. She was in an unhappy marriage. Every time we spoke on the phone or met for coffee, Jane complained about her spouse and whatever current drama she was facing. While I had compassion for her situation, our conversations left me worn out and emotionally drained. Once I recognized this negative aspect of our relationship, I made a concerted effort to banish negativity by limiting our one-on-one time and changing subjects or disengaging from discussions that were repetitive or that wore me out.

If there are BMWs in your life, you can limit their impact on you.

 The Detox List to Banish Negativity

Take a moment to reflect on recent interactions with your friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and family.

Identify potential BMWs – anyone who raises your hackles or leaves you feeling exhausted or depressed. Are there names that take your breath away or make your shoulders tighten up?  If so, put them on your Detox List.

For each name on your Detox List, decide how you want to change the dynamic of your relationship. Will you:

  • Limit “screen time” with them
  • Change the subject during a conversation
  • Put selected topics off-limits for discussion
  • Meet them only as part of a larger group activity
  • Put them on your personal “do not call” list

Consider how to implement these changes. Will you move from meeting in-person to phone calls to text messages, reducing contact slowly? Or, will you make a clean, quick break?

Even if you want to support your BMWs, keep in mind that like any addict, they have to admit they have a problem before beginning to solve it.  Their aim in engaging you is to have an ally in their corner.  You don’t own their problems and you can’t fix them. The best you can do is lend a listening ear but be careful to protect yourself.

COMEBACK QUEEN TIP:  You have control over how you choose to spend your time and with whom.

  – Marsha Friedman

 If that relationship is valuable to you, you can take them off your detox list if their circumstances change. Time on your detox list doesn’t mean that you have to permanently remove this person from your life.  Two years ago, my friend, Jane, separated then, divorced her husband. From that time forward, we became close again, spending time in conversation and socializing.

Making a conscious decision to disengage from our BMWs lifts a weight off our shoulders, limits our exposure to negativity, and gives us more time to find joy. Remember, we are only given so much time and, I for one, choose to devote as much time as I can to joy.

If you want to take some first steps to banish negativity and toxic relationships in your life, grab my free DETOX your Toxic Relationships guide today! 


Recovery can start with your first step. As your guide, Marsha can help you open your eyes to new possibilities. If you want to talk and get started today, feel free to book a 20 minute discovery call.