As an organically happy and compassionate person, this human experience on planet earth can be pretty taxing at times for a plethora of reasons, but one particular subject that regularly comes up in conversation with my clients is, "How do you deal with selfish, difficult people?" That's a million-dollar question because each individual person is different, along with their personal issues and those things creating conflict and disconnections for the relationships they hold. Sometimes people are exceptionally willing to see their role in the creation of conflict and disconnections because they deeply desire change and don't want to lose the ones they love, while others live in complete denial, deflection, conflict, and blame, they either don't know how to deal with reality, would rather die than be wrong or prefer to avoid than cope.
When a person is on the receiving end of someone else's poor behavior, it can be extremely challenging to deal with because in those moments where poor behavior, reactions and or responses seem to flow without any hesitation, remorse or sense of consideration for the feelings of others, the recipient is often manipulated and blamed for reacting and responding to the offender; The recipient is actually made out to be the villain instead of the antagonist. It's a sick blame game that many offenders love to play to avoid taking responsibility for the problems they themselves create, they often lash out, self-sooth or hide behind a self-proclaimed victim role so that the world around them feels sorry for them, allowing them the ability to maintain the control they often crave.
There are multiple reasons why people behave poorly, but sadly, there's no ONE SIZE FITS ALL solution for the damage it creates. Many folks with unresolved personal issues, chronic pain, trauma, insecurities, guilt, narcissism, obsessive compulsive behavioral patterns, control and anger issues, just to name a few, often present huge issues within relationships if not addressed and cared for properly. Some issues are very treatable and manageable, while others often end in tragedy due to a lack of willingness or the ability to change. "People have to want to change." When people who love you begin lashing out, flipping you the bird, swearing profanities or even get physically abusive for no reason other than the fact that they don't want to listen, cope or deal with reality, how do you respond? That's a great question.
I'm sugar and spice and everything nice, until I'm not. I'm extremely patient to a point, but there is definitely a dragon that sleeps peacefully and quietly beneath the mountain, when he is awakened he is fierce and brutally honest. I'm a firm believer in setting personal boundaries and speaking directly to situations, if not immediately, as soon as appropriate. What people don't do or say to protect and defend themselves, will compound at consumptive rates and can transform into volatile damage very quickly. The problem with dealing with individuals that we love who struggle with poor behavioral patterns is that we all only have patience to a point. If dealing with disrespect, projecting, control, guilt trips, humiliation, slander, bullying, accusations, physical/mental/verbal and emotional abuse regularly, our compassionate communication and reactions tend to go straight out the window. It's extremely frustrating to repeatedly attempt to hold conversation, express concern, and care, to share thoughts, feelings, and healthy suggestions with someone selfish who refuses to listen. When the #1 person that you’re addressing only listens to is self, that's an issue. If they are unwilling and or incapable of listening to reason, are unwilling to see anyone else's perspective outside of themselves, they will only ever listen to themselves. Narcissism is a perfect example, is it possible for them to change, sure. Is it likely for a narcissist to change, unlikely. What do I do?
"I love you, but I love myself more," one of my all-time favorite personal quotes. Set your personal boundaries ladies & gentlemen. What you do not do or say to maintain your own sanity will cause you great pain and illness in the end. "What are you willing to compromise?" If the relationship(s) you are dealing with involve people who are willing to do the work and they care enough to own their behavior, then healthy change is possible, stick with it. That's why I created this site and why I'm dedicated to this work. In 45 years, I've dealt with plenty of different personalities, both healthy and unhealthy, to allow unnecessary abuse to continue. I refuse to continue allowing poor behavior to consume relationships, families, children and even animals. If the individual(s) you're dealing with are self-absorbed and refuse to do their own self work, "Hit the road." You're wasting your time. If compromising yourself for someone else is okay with you, stay. It's your choice. However you choose to cope with your reality, be sure to remember how it could potentially impact you and those you love, what you're willing to take on, "Is it worth compromising your health and happiness?" Only you know that answer.
Setting boundaries and or distancing ourselves from unhealthy people and behavior is not easy, but if maintaining your own happiness and physical wellness are important to you, it's very important to call a spade a spade sometimes. Sometimes people have to hit rock bottom to realize that what they are doing and how they treat others is absolutely not okay. "You get what you give." Treating others poorly, results in poor reactions and responses. Treating people with respect, results in respectful reactions and responses, unless dealing with poorly behaved people. Again, choose your battles.