Boxing with Rattlesnakes

11-17-2011 5-53-10 PM

I’m going to take some time on the blog this week to vent and turn to the masses a bit.  There’s a definite trend developing lately around me that is occurring just too often that warrants discussion. In some ways I think there would value if some of you regular followers would chime in as I think at times we could all use a little advice.  Conversation has a habit of turning knowledge to wisdom.  My issue this week stems from dealing with the types of people who choose to make life more difficult for others unnecessarily.

And I do use the distinction of unnecessarily specifically.  I believe most of us have encountered these kinds of people.  They are the ones that choose generate stressful interactions and relationships for whatever reason – sheer pleasure, boredom, some hidden agenda.  Whatever the reason, they choose to create challenging situations for people where they just don’t need to happen.

I also call distinction on creating stress and just having fun too.  Those of you who know me know that I’m a teasing kind of guy.  I pick and push buttons…such is my nature.  At the same time, I would be absolutely mortified with myself should I find out that in doing this I legitimately and deeply hurt somebody.  At that point, there is no fun for anyone.  It turns into a fractured relationship and uncomfortable scenario.

I refer to those people that specifically choose to inflict mental and psychological damage to another knowing that it will create sleepless nights and bottles of headache medicine.  Maybe it’s just that I’m not wired that way, but how is that there are people that are so deplorable and despicable that they actually take pride in this type of exchange.

So in turning the tables this week, I pose the question to the community…why do you feel that people behave like this and what advise can you share on how to address this type of person?  It just seems to me that someone who chooses to treat others like this are just surrounded in such negativity and angst…where does joy come in that?

I get that conflict is just a natural part of life.  We are individual who share different perspectives and ideals and many times these things differ.  But some people just seem to engulf themselves in this and thrive on being incredibly difficult.  When we have differing opinions, it is generally because there is something on our side of the argument which we are passionate about and really deeply believe to be truth.  But have you ever met those people that if you said yes, they would always argue for no, then if you agreed to know would argue that yes was the best answer.  It doesn’t make sense.

So what are methods you use to deal with this?  I know it doesn’t pay to hold a grudge.  I read a great quote the other day that “holding a grudge against someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”  Yet at the same time, we can’t just concede to every fight with this type because we end up the whipping post.  It’s easy to say just ignore or walk away or don’t feed the negative energy, but we are always going to be in situations where we have to address people like this.  So what tools do you keep on the box for dealing with challenging people?

~ by bfmooz on November 17, 2011.

6 Responses to “Boxing with Rattlesnakes”

  1. Tools for dealing with “challenging” people (love the euphemism)…. humor, absurdity. That means retreat but not withdrawal, making fun of everything including the individual in question and myself. I call it gently absurd, it goes in the direction of Albert Camus’ idea of the absurd;-

    • Interesting perspective on a couple fronts.

      First, I very much prescribe to your notion that humor is therapeutic. I find laughter to be a supreme stress relief and an amazing neutralizer. It’s a really tough method on some of the more difficult people we encounter but it can be very useful.

      I also like the parallel to absurdity. The foundation of absurdism is the notion that as humans there are certain thing we can just never truly solve. The same can be true in dealing with negative people. We can’t always fix their lust for negativity but it makes it a much easier challenge to deal with in understanding that we just can’t relate and change them. It doesn’t necessarily make the interactions better but it helps relieve some of the deep seeded stresses we develop in relation to them.

      Thanks for your input and insight.

  2. I also buy into the humor therapy. It breaks the tension and gives you a chance to regroup. I was taught that our thoughts, words and actions come either from a place of love or from fear. Sometimes you have to look at these people and ask yourself what they are afraid of. The most basic fear is that we are separate from each other when, in fact, we are really all connected. That’s why I have to chuckle when some (certainly not a majority) good, church-going people choose to group others into acceptable or unacceptable stereotypes. If you claim that we are all children of God, then we all share the same source, are all part of the one, are all connected. The first volume of ‘Conversations with God’ has some fantastic explanations of these concepts. (I think I need to read it again!)

  3. I certainly agree with you that fear is a great contributor. Threatened feelings have a way of bringing out the best AND worst in us at times. It gets dangerous when those feelings are self induced, meaning we feel threatened where no real threat exists. It creates a perception that we are simply seeking to find conflict where none is really there.

    Thanks for your words of wisdom.

  4. Another way to look at it is whether you have the autonomy to move on. It doesn’t mean you quit your job or leave your parish, but if you have the freedom to avoid unwanted constraints, compromises, obligations and relationships, then shitty people become less relevant to whatever direction you are headed.

    Do you know your direction? Do you have the autonomy? Do you have th courage to act to take care of yourself? If so… then act.

    If not, what can you do to increase your autonomy and effectively marginalize the shitty people.

    • I agree that sometimes the best solution is looking for a means to remove ourselves from the situation. Other times it isn’t that simple. Say for example if the difficult person is a family member or a close family friend. It can get more challenging to deal with the personal complexity that exists in these scenarios.

      I would also agree that your approach is highly proactive in that as the person of the receiving end of the stresses you also hold your own personal power to act without the need for the other person to change. We are only victims as long as we keep ourselves embedded in places where we can continue to be victimized.

      I appreciate your input. Thanks.

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