Difficult Relationships – Ten Tips to Make Life Less Stressful
Difficult people are everywhere – but in your personal life, they can be devastating! When someone close to you is in the midst of their own pain, anger or other negative emotions, they can completely ignore what they are doing to you. Below are 10 tips on how to handle difficult people in your personal life:
1) Remember that most of the reason they are upset with you is not personal. Even
though you may have a part in what is happening for them, their state of mind is what
determines their behavior and their words. Their own thoughts are creating a version of you
that is inaccurate. It is not you.
2) If you think you deserve to be slighted you will be. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” said Eleanor Roosevelt. Don't let another person dictate your self-esteem.
3) Feeling disliked stings. It is hard to not to want to retaliate when someone seems to be deliberately trying to hurt you! Do your best to not respond if you are emotionally reeling from a verbal attack, a nasty silence, or a show of contempt. Give both yourself and the other person time to back down before moving on to solving an issue between you.
4) They may not realize they are impinging on you. This may seem hard to believe, but when people want to feel important, are having a bad day, or acting unconsciously, they may wonder why you seem so crabby! Gently point out how what they are doing affects you.
5) You must want to get along with the more than to engage in drama. Stay true to what you want the relationship to look like. Chances are good that they will be won over. Being kind is often the fastest way to end a drama.
6) Is an unhealthy dependency part of the problem? Dependency kills respect. When you
let yourself be dependent, or another person encourages you to take care of them without
mutually agreed reciprocity - resentment easily finds its way into a relationship.
7) Are you truly able to listen? Not listening and not understanding can lead to shouting, withdrawal and hurt feelings. Listen to the person without interrupting and look at them. When
they are completely done, ask if you can repeat back to them what you heard for clarification.
8) It is human to confuse fighting with caring, especially if this was what was modeled in
one's family. This “negative caring” can lead to full-out relationship war. Is it easier to fight
than communicate? If so, seek more positive ways of caring as quickly as you can.
9) You can't always get another person to seek help so you may have to do the changing.
But don't worry – if you change, they will have to change over time. Relationships are like any
other system – if you change your output, it follows that the system will change.
10) Is your life out of balance? Is it possible you are so caught up with your career, other
people, hobbies and activities that you are neglecting your most important relationships? Do you spend much less quality time with the difficult person than you once did?
Relationships more than anything else help us grow and mature in life. They polish off our rough edges and support us to live longer and happier lives.
Often, the most powerful secret to changing another person's behavior is simply to treat them differently. It is often the fastest and best way to get out of a nasty situation with someone you care about.