How to Deal with Zero-Sum People Part III

Beloved readers, we have covered in Part I what a Zero-sum person is and the havoc they can wreak on your life. In Part II we discussed how to identify them. In Part III, the final part, we will discuss how to get rid of them and/or mitigate their toxic influence in your life. (Huzzah!)

I noted, back in Part I that being a feminine woman can often make you a target of Zero Sum people (man or woman). There are several reasons as to why, but they all boil down to one: being feminine can garner social and economic benefits today in new spaces that it didn’t in previous decades.


It’s no longer strictly and explicitly codified in a way designed to make a particular type of femininity common place (as seen up until the late 50s). It now has an aspect of novelty which lends it a slightly inflated value. It touches people in positive, pleasing, and profoundly substantial ways. The ability to powerfully and positively influence others through the way you move through life is highly enviable.

By the way, please remove the idea of “haters” from your mind, if it popped up. Frenemies do not fit here either. (I explain how to handle Frenemies here.) I’ll explain why in just a moment.

Being feminine will often bring you positive social sanctions of all sorts in varying degrees. People around you (in general) will want to enjoy the social benefits of your femininity to the same degree you are. This is especially true for those with a Zero-sum Mentality–the benefits of being feminine for you are seen as an automatic loss for them (even if she happens to be another feminine woman).

Unfortunately, the most annoying and most dangerous difference between Frenemies and Zero-sum people is that unlike Frenemies, cutting them off from what they are using you to achieve will not cause them to look elsewhere.

Zero-sum people are not concerned with the “path of least resistance.”

On the contrary they revel in the opposite! They don’t mind doing things “the hard way,” or not taking “the easy way out.” She or he will revel in the “fight.” That is how they feel that her or his “win” is justified! They want competition.

The more “competition,” the better they feel about themselves.

Zero-sum people will come back harder than ever when you begin pulling yourself out of a relationship with them.

This is why–and it’s one of the few times I’ll suggest it–if you can: Cut them off like a diseased limb. 

Of course, we cannot always do that. (Sigh.) So, take a glance at–this post–and then try this:

1. Be aware of competition triggers, and try to avoid them. This may require some introspection and life changes on your part, within reason.

2. Ignore their input on your success. As in, simply don’t look for it, don’t take it into account–whether it’s good or bad–to your life experiences. It’s completely worthless to you.

3. DON’T share private or highly sensitive information with them–ever. If you can keep them out of the loop of things going on your life, do so. They’ll be fine learning your of major life changes second hand, if ever.

4. Keep things superficial, polite, and friendly. It protects your peace of mind, reputation, and keeps this valuable skill polished and at the ready.

5. This is terribly important: Steer clear of their antics with others–don’t gossip or add fuel to any of their other fires. Why? War requires allies. Don’t unwittingly become one! You cannot be a true “ally” to someone who thinks this way. They will get around to their one-sided, personal war with you in due time.

6. Do not address instances of their sabotage or belittling in a passive aggressive way. If it comes to it, state your feelings once, directly, at an appropriate time, in an appropriate way, in an appropriate place–calmly. Then move on. Truly, absolutely, positively move on.

Godspeed, beloved readers.