I met a delightful woman recently who asked me about my work. She said she really needed help with dealing with difficult people. As she spoke to me, her whole body collapsed as if the strings that held her together had suddenly lost all their tension. Here is the irony, her work is of such value to our world. She is a true giver and makes routinely makes joy for others.

Here is a reality that has taken hundreds of hours of interactions with clients over many years for me to realise that life at school, work, church, groups, families and any group of people is bound to have difficulties. People are our greatest gift and often cause our greatest problems. Once we realise that duality, we are much more realistic about how to manage and cherish our interactions.

Dealing with difficult people commences with humility. Can we dare to ask ourselves ~ am I the one being difficult? Oh, that takes some effort but it is vital.

The Toll of Dealing with Trouble

The deepest truth about that topic is that I am reasonably good at dealing with trouble but it has taken a terrible toll on me. The levels of exhaustion I feel after dealing with demanding behaviours are extreme. Migraines almost come knocking on my door when I know I have to interact with certain difficult people. One of the revelations about my reactions was that I had no ability to defend myself because I had been brought up with lots of manners, self-discipline, stiff upper lip and good grown-ups. I was never good at squabbling and the hard truth was that some people are very good at squabbling.

BUT here is the good news, you can improve how you react and reduce the toll it takes. It takes time and effort but it can be done. Here are some tips for the gentle souls who need some backup from someone who has had a significant tantrums, self-pity and/or aggression imposed upon them.

  1. Behave as well as you can. Keep the moral high ground. Let the logic shine. Be fair and firm.
  2. Its ok to state your position with facts and logic. Be prepared, always. It is ok to defend yourself. It is ok to remove yourself.
  3. It might feel like a very personal attack but it reflects on the tantrum-thrower, not you. Their ego, insecurities, lack of emotional maturity, lack of discipline and lack of brain development are all on display. If they have done it to you then it is highly likely that they have done this to a whole host of others. You’re not alone in the sorrow.
  4. In a week or a month or maybe a year, this will matter less. Fill yourself up with good people, good places and good hours. You ought to be stronger from all experiences, use this for your spiritual growth.
  5. Don’t keep replaying it in your head or retelling it. Those acts amplify the hurt, bury it and let it disintegrate naturally.
  6. If possible look for a win-win solution, make accommodations and realise that imperfection is normal.
  7. If that’s not possible, learn from it. What would you do differently next time?
  8. Don’t be a victim. Keep your head up, your mind calm and your mouth clean.
  9. If a sincere apology comes your way, then accept it but be cautious in future. An apology should mean that it won’t happen again.
  10. Remember your worth. Try and remember their worth. Life is bumpy, people are both wonderful and not-so-wonderful all at the same time. Pray for your own behaviours and keep shining my friend. The world needs more of your goodness, you might just need it to be a bit more weather-proof in future. Joy needs protecting. Come and hug our puppy, she will love you forever!

I often say to clients that in the end, goodness shines, it is just that sometimes we have to fight for its right to do so.

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