How to Deal With People that Rub Us the Wrong Way

Dealing with those who seem to know just how to push our buttons the wrong way can seem like an overwhelming struggle.  Hairs on the back of one’s neck raise at the thought of the persons voice, knowing they are going to have to deal with the abrasive energy transfer from the offensive person leaving a feeling of dread.  The negative association with this person often occupies and makes an unwanted home in our head.  Obsessively worrying about having to deal with things said, actions taken or even just having this person around often creates so much anxiety it is hard to focus on positive things.  Why are people ‘like this’ in our life and how can w eliminate it?

These are important questions to ask and is clear that the relationship needs to be looked at objectively.    The answer can be as simple or complex as you make it.  When these people are in our lives they are serving to be an antagonist for a lesson that we are needing to take seriously.  One of the main lessons learned in a situation like this is learning how to create boundaries: Physical boundaries, Mental boundaries as well as Emotional boundaries.   How do we create boundaries so that these antagonists do not dominate our lives?  By asking ourselves more questions about the relationship that ruffles our feathers. 

1.       Why is this person affecting me so?  What is it about them that gets my feathers ruffled?  Look with honest eyes and make a list of the way this person makes you feel the way you feel. Write down what you perceive and feel physically, mentally and emotionally.  Own your feelings.  These are your feelings.  You are responsible for your feelings.  There is no riwrong way to feel.

2.       Who is this person?  Why are they the way they are?  Get to know the person more to see if you can sense why this person is the way that they are.  Getting an understanding for their background, their thought process and their situation will help getting a broader picture of how life is in their shoes.   This information can also help give insight on how to effectively communicate or set boundaries.  Knowing where they are coming from and what they value can also help in creating a bridge of understanding.

3.       What is the lesson this situation is trying to teach me?  ******  Be objective and try to remove yourself from the situation to see it from a different angle. Many times, these situations are in our lives to provide a lesson.  If we treat it as an opportunity to grow, we will be more effective in dealing with the relationship.                              

a.       They could be in your life to teach you to speak up for yourself and be your own hero. 

b.       As already stated difficult relationships often teach us boundaries. 

c.       Abrasive people can also teach us that we need to learn to deal with conflict constructively instead of using avoidance techniques or reverting to passive aggressive behaviors. 

d.        It may be possible that we need to learn to say NO to people.  Being a “people pleaser” or a martyr does not accomplish what we think it does.  Many of us feel we need to make people happy.  Often through making people feel happy – it only serves as a crutch to gain self-worth from others approval instead of growing our own self-worth. 

4.       How am I benefiting from allowing this person to continue to affect me the way they do?  What am I gaining by having this person in my life? 

a.       Many times, there is a benefit even when we allow these types of behaviors or do not standup for ourselves.  If we identify as a victim, it can give us benefits of someone else’s pity or sympathy. 

b.       Being part of a community equally affected as to have a sense of family or belonging. 

c.       It can also distance one from responsibility to fix or change the situation if it is “not your fault”.    

d.       It may be too comfortable to put up with the situation than risk change or the fear of something worse. 

5.       Where do the scales tip?  Which side do you lean towards more?  Changing your situation or dealing with it as it is? 

Once these questions are answered then you can have a direction to deal with these types of people in your life if you so choose.   Ultimately if you want things to change then it is you, that must do the work.  We can not expect someone to change themselves to meet our needs, but we can learn and grow to know how to respond and to set those needed boundaries.  We have a right to make rules in how we deserve to be treated.  We also need to know what to absorb and what to let roll of the skin.  We can also learn to provide a psychic space for the perfect solution.  Intent as with anything we do goes a long way.  If you are struggling with someone or several people in your life and you are wanting to make a change contact me for a consultation and I can take you through a process in answering these questions to making those changes in your life that give you the type of relationships, you are looking for.