Everyone has a difficult person in their life. How do I know this? Because we live on planet Earth. Over seven billion of us and counting (if I Googled that right). Have you ever asked yourself, What do I do here? Should I cut my ties with this person? As for questioning whether or not you should stay in contact with a difficult person, only you can answer that- but, whatever you decide, here is some information to get you considering your best coping strategy. I hope it offers some relief from the grief!
- Don't take it personally. You are only responsible for 50% of an interaction. A difficult person's problems with you (their 50%) may not be about you at all- and they definitely aren't all about you. You become a screen upon which their difficulties (fears, pain, sorrows) are projected.
- Have compassion for yourself. Dealing with difficult people is painful (because they are in pain). We need our compassion most when we are suffering. Be kind to yourself- you deserve it!
- Have compassion for the other person. It's hard being a difficult person in this world! Another word for difficult is unhappy. Imagine being in their shoes- and be glad you're not. It can help inspire compassion to imagine them as a young or hurt child. Healthy people aren't difficult.
- Don't give your power over to a difficult person. It makes no sense to place your happiness in the hands of an unhappy person. Think about it. Ultimately, you must decide your actions.
- Set boundaries. Limit your time with difficult people. Take breaks and deep breathes. Practice the art of distraction. It's all about staying clear-thinking and grounded. Staying in control of you.
- Detach when it makes sense. There is a lot to lose and not much to gain from sharing vulnerable parts of yourself with someone who is unable or unwilling to go there with you. What might be a more comfortable level of sharing? Keep it surface. Keep it light. Keep yourself safe.
- There are no rules, no wrong or right way of doing relationships with difficult people- even if they're family. Remember, you have choices. And, you can change your mind at any time.
No one's as simple as a stereotype! We can transcend those patterns that have proven problematic. I'm rooting for us 100%! Our time together depends upon it.