Robert this made me think of you ;-)
Robert this made me think of you ;-)
I love the colours in this as well as the words. An uplifting reminder x
Seriously awesome! Show some love please people!
So I was sitting here, pondering why it is that some people seem to feel the need to be obstructive and difficult for apparently no gain. Even at times when it is to their own, or someone they supposedly love's detriment and I had one of those wonderful lightbulb moments, so I thought I'd share it here and see if it makes sense to you too!
In my work as a coach I often talk to people who have been through a relationship breakdown of some kind and need to know how to deal with difficult people. Be it divorce, separation, a dispute at work, or falling out with friends or family, it seems that we are deeply affected by this kind of change in our lives. It is often the catalyst for someone to seek help from an outside source and hence why they come to me. I have observed over the years that people seem to fall into roughly three groups, those who revert to childlike behaviour, those who maintain a more adult rationale and those that swing from one to the other.
One obvious conclusion is that it may well have been this relationship imbalance that caused the problem in the first place, either way, dealing with the aftermath is difficult for most people.
In a classic parent v child scenario, the child may dig their heels in and be as obstructive as possible, refusing to negotiate with the other. The parent player may try to dictate and compel, being equally as beligerent and little progress is made.
In other cases both try to be adult, but fail to take into account the perspective of the other, both wanting to decide - or in other cases both wishing to accomodate the other to the point that no-one is happy. It really can be very difficult!
If both revert to childlike behaviour, then again, there's a clash and it's difficult to find a solution...
The most common cause of frustration though, regardless of the roles assumed by the various players, is spite or pointless obstruction. People being difficult just because they can. How do you deal with that?
Sometimes the easiest thing to do, is to refuse to engage with the behaviour. What I mean by that, is that in order for their to be an arguement or competition, there has to be two opposing sides. If you don't rise to the bait, then the conflict is avoided.
An answer I often get to this suggestion, is that "then they've won", but again this depends on your perspective. In thinking this, you are demonstrating that you too see it as a competition and thus feel that there has to be a winner and a loser. If you can change your inner perspective, so that you see this as a situation in which you retain control of your own emotions and relinquish the need to win or control, you actually feel much better. This is one way how to deal with difficult people.
Once any situation is decided, the moment has passed and if you get rid of the need to feel superior or victorious, you actually end up feeling empowered. If you retain the need to be better or have the upper hand, you will only feel anger or hatred towards the person you are aggrieved with and like most negative emotions, the only person ultimately affected is you.
That's the thing with your feelings about others and your interactions with them. They don't know what you feel inside - and probably don't even care - so you might sit there fuming, hating them with every fibre of your being, but they are totally unaffected by it. They could just as easily be having the time of their lives at that very moment. So where is the sense in it?
Of course this doesn't have to mean you become a doormat. You don't have to let them dictate the situation every time. There will always be things you need to insist upon, but not automatically starting from a position of opposition means that you can often negotiate better on those occassions. If they are not getting a fight every time, they may even begin to come round to a more reasonable frame of mind - not always - but sometimes.
The key thing is, that you retain control of YOU. The only thing that you can ever 100% claim responsibilty for. Your thoughts, your words and your behaviour. You can avoid the sinking feeling of looking back at any situation and thinking "If only I hadn't said/done that" and that alone can be extremely satisfying!
Like most people, I can think of more than one occassion in my own life where I have wished I kept my mouth shut! I can also think of a few where I have very deliberately remained silent and allowed the other person to do the talking and the rewards have been huge! I've watched anger burn itself right out because I didn't fuel it and the biggest slice of humble pie get eaten because I didn't do my usual "It's ok it doesn't matter" when it very obviously did! Keeping quiet is not my natural style as anyone who knows me will tell you! but I've learned it's value and always recommend my students learn it now.
So, back to the original question of Mr or Mrs 'difficult for the pleasure of it' and how to deal with them...
In thinking about how to deal with difficult people of this kind it occured to me today, not for the first time, that the problem lies not so much in their behaviour but in how that behaviour is experienced by the person on the recieving end. I thought about it and realised that the lasting feeling I get each time is one of disappointment. It's usually preceeded by frustration and disbelief, maybe some anger too, but when the hot emotions have cooled off, what I'm left with is a sadness and ultimately disappointment.
So that got me thinking about why that might be and what I could do about it and then came my lightbulb!
The disappointment comes from the fact that I obviously have certain expectations which are not being met. I hope that someone will behave in a certain way - usually what I would consider fair and reasonable in the circumstances - and then when they don't, I feel disappointed.
But here's the thing!!!
My expectations, hopes, values - whatever you like to call them - are based on my way of thinking, my map of the world and not anyone elses. We all have our own version of the way things should be. If I accept that, and accept that everyone has as much right to their own view of the world as I do, and that everyone's version is as valid as my own - which I do - then it removes the possibility of expectation and therefore disappointment!
Your acceptance of the fact that we all have a right to choose how we see, do, feel and think about things, frees you from the grasp of disappointment!
Isn't that incredible!
If you don't expect anyone to behave in the way you would, because you respect their right to live their own way, you remove the chance of disappointment.
I can hardly believe it's so simple! By my own expectation I have set myself up to feel let down. Stop expecting and the problem goes away!