We all have that one (hopefully only one) difficult person that literally sucks the life out of us anytime we are around them or even answering a text. It could be a parent, relative, pseudo-friend, or an ex that you have children with and unless you plan to flee the country or commit some kind of serious crime that ends with you on “Dateline,” it’s time to figure out of how to deal with them. In the book, F*ck Feelings, written by a Harvard shrink (Dr. Michael Bennett) and his daughter (Sarah Bennett), they explore some real-world solutions with the premise that these difficult people will be in your life and if you want to have one ounce of happiness, you need to change the way you deal with them because they will never change. Here’s how you got to the point on hating someone close to you:
- Important to realize that the hate you feel is often acquired only after a clusterf*ck of bad behavior.
- If someone’s inability to stop doing wrong makes you furious, then feeling less anger may be only be possible when they improve their behavior, which is to say, never.
So, you getting upset, frustrated makes you feel violated mentally because you have to endure their unfounded outrage or general negativity and often try to be nice to placate their craziness. It’s time to stop and take back control with a few simple steps:
- Control your mouth (Yes, your mouth, the less you say and not react to them will drive them crazy. You’ll feel better that you’ve controlled your own temper and if they don’t get a reaction, they may tone down their negativity.)
- Penalize bad behavior (Spend the least amount of time with them as possible and avoid any unnecessary contact. If they want to act the way they do, they’ll have to do it seeing a lot less of you.
- Most important, celebrate that you can still be happy while managing a very difficult person in your life.
As the authors say, “You can’t help having hate in your close relationships, but you should respect your ability to make them work, even it’s in a difficult, entirely f*cked up way. ” So, no magical cure but you can still be happy with a difficult person in your life, it just takes patience and work.