A difficult person is someone whom you hear yourself describing as an asshole. Or possibly crazy. This person probably doesn’t see how their actions affect you. They don’t realize how much trouble they cause for you. Or how much stress or heartache they bring to your life.. Your favorite mantra about them is “they don’t have a clue!”
Many of us have a difficult people (DP) in our lives at sometime or the other. It may be a parent, a sibling, a friend, a love relationship, a spouse, or a boss. That DP in all likelihood makes your life miserable. If they have power over you, as a boss does, they may make life impossible for you. How do you survive?
First: Give up the idea of changing the person. Most DPs are not able to observe themselves and learn from their mistakes. Normal people have.these crucial abilities of self observation. The ability to stand back, look at yourself, go “Oh I can’t believe I did that”, catch yourself, reflect, change course are hall marks of a healthy, normal person. But DP’s lack this ability.Other friends or family may try to help by talking to the DP about his behavior. This intervention is usually met without success. Other times people resort to unproductive yelling or fighting to deal with the DP.
Second: And also hard to accept. Forget assertive communication. Save it for the really tough issues. Assertiveness is a great skill for healthy, normal people but will only antagonize a DP. Assertiveness, most likely, will only make life worse for you.
Third: Begin to think strategy. This means figuring out how you can protect yourself more. It often means lowering your expectations for the DP. It can mean avoiding confrontations It may mean accepting the relationship is limited.. It may mean detaching from the DP’s negative behaviors. That may lead you to examine how you are reacting to the DP. When you are able to stop reacting to the DP you regain your own power. Once you regain your own power you will have more peace and joy.
Fourth: It is relatively easy to know when a person is difficult. It is not easy to accept you cannot change them. It is not easy to have realistic expectations. and it is not easy to think strategy and learn how to protect yourself.
Fifth: Seek help from a professional. Their knowledge, advice, and support can be invaluable.
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