8 Reasons Negative People Don’t Recognize They’re Negative

You probably know people who are always negative. You see it, and others see it—but the negative person doesn’t seem to have a clue. Here are some reasons why that happens:

  1. They always believe they have a cause. In fact, they’re always looking for a cause. They see their role as to correct others, and they see it as a godly calling.
  2. What others see as negative, they see as standing up for right. And, they see that apparently, no one else is willing to stand with them—so they stand alone in hyper-spiritualized pride.
  3. They’ve sometimes recognized a real issue. That is, they might well see a problem area that someone needs to address—which validates their concerns. It’s just that they always point out the problem but choose not to be part of the solution.
  4. They seldom have others who speak into their lives. Nobody holds them accountable for anything (which usually means they have other areas of their lives in need of improvement as well). They’re either loners, or they hang out with other negative people.
  5. They usually find an audience to hear their complaints. And, they’re not worried about finding a bunch of listeners; give them just one or two people willing to hear them, and they’ll walk through that open door. One listener is all you need to confirm you’re right.
  6. They’re not that sensitive to the Word and the Holy Spirit. My experience is that the most negative people I know spend little time in Bible study and prayer. They’ll quote the Bible when they need to, but they don’t regularly turn to it for guidance.
  7. Few people are willing to point out their negativism. Frankly, people just get tired of them and choose not to invest in trying to help them. The silence of others then gives the negative person more permission to press on.
  8. They’re sometimes not saved—and unsaved people don’t readily recognize their sinfulness. Even Jesus had a fake among His twelve disciples, and we’ll have them, too—even, sometimes, among leadership. In those cases, their negativity is a symptom of their lostness.

What would you add to this list?


  • Robin says:

    Negativism is often a symptom of depression.or a personality disorder. Individuals who are negativistic often comes from families in which one or both parents were themselves negativistic and critical and may have attended a church in which negativism was a common attitude of the pastor or congregation. Negativistic people tend to see the world as unloving and themselves as unloved. As you noted, other people tend to withdraw from negativistic people due to their negativism. Their withdrawal confirms the negativistic person’s view of himself and others. While they are difficult people to love, Jesus, however, tells us to love them. When you love a negativistic person, they may grow more negativistic at first but if you persist in loving them, their negativism may subside or become less frequent.

  • Yes sir, you nailed it again.

  • Richard says:

    Great article Dr. Lawless. I would add that negative people often have family that serve, sometimes unwittingly, as enablers. They either do not realize the negativity since they’re so accustomed to it they no longer recognize it or they fail to be bold enough to lovingly correct their loved ones behavior.

  • Jim MacPhie says:

    Sometimes people who are negative are right
    Some people dont see the problem others think they are right but dont see outside the box

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