How to Deal With Difficult People – Insights from the Wilderness #48

How to Deal With Difficult PeopleHave you ever had that powerless feeling that comes when you have to deal with a person who has suddenly become demeaning, insulting, superior, sarcastic, or nasty?

Or even worse, the passive aggressive person who you know is being aggressive and judgmental, but outwardly hides their feelings and attitude behind a “sweet” insincere smile.

Not a fun experience unless you know the real issue behind their behaviors.

What you are dealing with is the out of control primitive ego of their unconscious inner-child. The part of them that fears conflict and gets angry when it thinks its beliefs are being challenged.

Their primitive ego has taken control of their psyche. It is using an instinctive survival skill called “survival of the fittest” to strike out and aggressively take control of a situation it feels is threatening.

Unfortunately, at that moment, their primitive ego is assuming that “you” are the threat.

You feel powerless because “your own” primitive ego is feeling threatened and wants to retaliate in kind. It quickly joins forces with your instinctive reptilian brain, and both are telling you “you are in a battle for survival“! You must “win“!
At the same time, a more evolved and conscious part of your psyche knows that giving in to those primitive feelings will only make the situation worse.

The ambivalence or struggle between your two opposing levels of consciousness is what makes you feel so helpless or powerless.

What you need in those moments is a pre-thought out strategy. A strategy that will help you maintain self-control as you deal with the difficult personality confronting you.

Step 1– Recognize that you don’t need to take anything they are accusing you of personally. Even if your words or behaviors might have created some of the conflict, it’s not about “you”.

You might want to pay attention to how your input could be modified in the future, but it’s “their” primitive ego that is feeling threatened. You just happen to be the current target of their negative energy.

Step 2 – For some reason, probably having to do with their childhood, their self-esteem is feeling insulted, hurt, humiliated, criticized, rejected, or demeaned in some way. The primitive ego of their inner-child is simply trying to protect itself the only way it knows.

Step 3 – Offer compassion. Recognize that the person is in pain and deal with him or her the way you would any child in pain or frightened. Be calm. Tell them you meant no harm to them. Maintain eye contact. Be soothing. Let them know that you care about how they are feeling.

Nobody’s ego wants to be seen as self-centered, rude or unreasonable. So calmly give them the time and space they need to get their emotions back under control.

It may take time for them to calm down.

Help them maintain their pride even if they continue to insist that “you” are the reason they are upset.

Trust that the basic nature of most people is to be compassionate and caring.

Trust that at a deeper level, they know they are acting in a way that they are not proud of. They are just searching for a way to walk away with their self-esteem reasonably intact.

While you are helping “them” reset, remind “yourself” that we are all human. We are all guilty of “knee-jerking” negative energy into the world from time to time.

Sometimes we can evolve our consciousness using our own ability to be self-aware. But the path toward enlightenment is rarely a solitary journey.

Sometimes we need the kindness, patience, compassion, and caring of others for us to grow and become the more enlightened person we would like to “be”.

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