Who is winding you up today? The beauty of people who annoy us!

You’ve probably got an annoying person in your life.  Don’t worry you are not alone!  Somebody who winds you up.  They bug you so much that being in their company, or sometimes the mere mention of their name, leaves you feeling uptight, anxious and down right annoyed.  Let’s call them a thorn in your side.  I know you’ve probably called them worse, but today they are a thorn!

You may have more than one thorn.  Ouch!  Dare I say it?  You may even be a thorn in somebody else’s side!  Double Ouch! 🙂

Who is your thorn?

Thorns take up valuable time and energy that you cannot afford.  They can come in various shapes and sizes, so see if you can spot your thorn in this list:

  • the interfering Mother-in-Law (I’m not married so I can say this quite freely with no repercussions)
  • the draining friend who takes and never gives
  • the demanding child who doesn’t appreciate you
  • the disinterested husband who reads the newspaper while you are trying to tell him something really important
  • the back-stabbing colleague who points out the things you don’t want other people to notice
  • the lousy boyfriend that never returned your call (soon to be ex if he keeps on this way!)
  • the harsh parent who criticises, judges and knows it all
  • the short-sighted boss who makes your personality part of the reason why you’re not doing your job their way

……….and so the list goes on.

What does it feel like to have a thorn in your side?

Crosspatch (SmileyCoach) with a thorn in her side

I know when I’ve got a thorn in my side because:

I can’t stop talking about them (yes I talk alot anyway, but this is ALL I can talk about)

I can’t stop thinking about them (yes I’m a deep thinker but this one keeps me awake at night)

I can’t stop obsessing about making it right (if only they would change, it would be OK)

I want to avoid them to stop myself feeling rubbish (I’m hiding but still thinking /talking about them)

What is so beautiful about a thorn?

Nothing.  It’s sharp and prickly.  A thorn can frustrate you, anger you, upset you and hurt you.  ‘How dare they do this to me?!’  A thorn can quite cleverly and maybe unknowingly (benefit of the doubt is a good place to start) push all your buttons and work you up into frenzy.

Basically if we could just extract said annoying thorn, it would all be OK.  Right?

No No No.  A thorn can only hurt us if we let it.  We can’t control what anybody else does or what happens outside of us.  If you are trying to do that, STOP now.  You will exhaust yourself in a no-win situation.

Unfortunately sometimes we can’t extract the thorn.  Anyway, we wouldn’t want to because (and this is the great part), the real beauty of a thorn is that it shows us what we don’t want in our lives.  Why is that good?  It takes us a little bit closer to what we do want.

Life presents us with people and situations that cause ‘contrast’ in our lives in order to help us grow.

What we persist resists

The reality is that there are very few roses without thorns.  Have you noticed how if we extract a thorn and by that I mean, disassociate or eliminate the annoying person from our lives, another one with similarly annoying qualities will rock up to take its place?

When there is a problem, there isn’t something to do, but something to learn

Life has a funny way of showing us all that we need to learn so that we can be all that we need to be.  If you keep finding your life full of the same thorns, there is a message in there for you to learn something about you.

The more bigger the thorn, the greater the gift

So that friend, the one who keeps calling you up and draining you of all your time.  Her problems are bigger than your’s.  Right?  She makes you feel so insignificant?  Yes.  She takes and takes and takes and you are exhausted as you get nothing back?  Yes Yes Yes! What is your friend showing you here that you could do  in order to take back control of this situation?  (Remember, you can’t change your friend, that’s her job if she wants it.)

Maybe you could set boundaries with your friend and make a decision to be available to her on your terms.  Or  maybe you could be more honest with her and explain your expectations of the relationship.

When you have worked out what it is this thorny friend is giving you – the gift of assertiveness, the gift of honesty, the gift of self worth or whatever it is, this thorn will stop being a thorn and turn into a beautiful rose or as if by magic, this thorny friend may even disappear altogether.

Thank you to all the thorns who have been in my side.  You’ve hurt me and helped me more than you’ll ever know!

**This blog is written with enormous thanks to Patricia Norman, my very dear friend who without being a thorn in my side taught me the beauty of contrast.**
 Image credit © http://www.madaboutshoes.org © www.studio49photography.com








  1. What a great article. Very insightful. I love the idea of the gift of the thorn and it makes me think about my thorns. I love your quote that a thorn is a gift, a reason to learn. I believe life is about growing and facing your challenge, in a positive way, contributes to that.

    Mariette posted an article recently about how people avoid saying NO by using BUT:
    mariette recently posted..WHO DOESN’T DARE TO SAY NO BUT USES BUT …My Profile

    • I know what you mean. I’ve had a week of thorns and so some very big gifts coming my way too. Although it didn’t feel like it at the time 🙂

  2. Great post Lisa,
    I have a fair amount of thorns in my life, some I am thankful for the lessons that they have tought me and the person I have become due to their adverse effect on me. Other thorns seem to be a little harder to deal with, some thorns remind me of the fable of “The scorpion and the frog” in that it is part of their genetic blueprint to systematically rub me up the wrong way.

    Maybe there is a lesson to be learnt that I haven’t been able to decipher as of yet, who knows eh? I do know that some thorns are easier to deal with than others and sometimes you have to be strong for those who you know cannot be strong for themselves.

    • Thanks Sean. I really like the way you have reframed it, so it’s more about being strong for those that cannot be strong for themselves. Have you thorns given you any gifts at all? One of my thorns gave me the gift of assertiveness and another self esteem. They are huge gifts to get from somebody who was so toxic. I guess for me it makes the experience more acceptable when I see it that way. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your comment.

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