Dealing With Difficult People

This has been a whirlwind last couple of weeks dealing with a menagerie of people with diverse personalities. I think many of us are suffering from what I like to call the “back-to-school hangover”, but it’s apparent that some haven’t made it to the hangover stage. They have not reached that period of calm where they can actually let out the breath that they have been holding for the last several days.

They have not had the symbolic glass (or bottle) of wine after the initial days of, “you bought me the wrong calculator”, or “I need the CRAYOLA markers…not the Rose Art markers”, and “I need a parent signature on all of this (30 pieces of paper, all of which I am supposed to read and be able to cite) by tomorrow morning”. Trust me, that gallon of crisp peach sangria I made came in handy those first few days. We all need to decompress.

Unfortunately, some folks are in a constant state of crisis readiness, their pupils dilated, heart racing and standing in a pool of sweat. They are always exasperated, negative, and bad-mouthing other people (even their own children and spouses). The fact that they have 3 children has become a reason for pure madness, as they attempt to sign up for every volunteer job at the school. By the way, not one single job is done well because they have signed up for so much shit that they can’t devote any time to one single project.

If you have personally dealt with people like this, you sadly know what I’m talking about. If you let them, these toxic people leech into your life like a deadly gas seeping in under your front door and through cracks around the windows. They can affect your marriage and your relationship with your children because you transform into a complete and total crab ass in 10 seconds flat! You become just as crazy as they are, avoiding their text messages, phone calls, and praying that you don’t cross paths at the high school football game on Friday night.

They are bullies who insist on infiltrating your life because of some tangential relationship you had through an old playgroup, PTO committee, or previous career. Their lives are in constant crisis mode, and they’re going to suck you in any way that they can under the guise of needing your “help”. I’m a sucker for helping people. I’m a nurse for God sake! It’s what I do! Somehow, their problems become everyone else’s problems.

I have learned a lot on how to deal with this type of person in the last couple of weeks. A personal experience propelled me into the inner workings of a seemingly psychotic mind as I tried to feverishly navigate my way out of what felt like a house of horrors at a carnival. Yes, I wanted to escape that badly!

Sadly, I had to bring in the big guns. My husband. Anyone that knows Chris is probably laughing at that comment because he is the kindest most good-natured person on earth. No one and nothing ruffles his feathers, boils his blood, or even drives him to utter an unkind word. Me? No so much.

Anyway, Chris was almost pushed to the point of going ballistic, which is equivalent to driving a saint to commit murder. Thankfully, he was able to convince this person that they need not call us ever again. No one should have that kind of control over your life, and you have every right to refuse his or her entry into your everyday family soiree. I’ll bet you have challenges of your own! Go figure!

Our time here on earth, and especially while we are raising our children, is short. I cannot stress enough that my boys have grown up faster than I ever thought possible. It sounds very cliché, but it is the undeniable truth. There is absolutely no need to have someone in your life who is highly toxic. They are wasting your precious time!

I’m not talking about the occasional challenging mom, or the demanding coach, or the picky teacher. Hell, I’m challenging, demanding and picky a lot of the time! People that affect your mood, feelings, and overall sense of wellbeing on a grand scale need not infiltrate your mind and heart. You should never feel like puking when you see a phone number on your caller ID. That’s just not healthy.

We all need to practice saying “NO” to these poisonous people, and not feel poorly of ourselves for doing so. I know that if I saw my child getting ready to ingest drain cleaner, I wouldn’t feel bad about knocking it out of his hand! This is the same damned thing. Do yourself a favor and “just say no”. Yep, I am a child of the 80s, but that little slogan means so much more to me now as an adult.

Dealing with difficult people can be challenging.  How have you coped with these folks?  Do you have any good advice for the rest of us? If so, please leave your words of wisdom in the comment section so we can all benefit!

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Filed under: Parenting

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