Study sets, textbooks, questions
Upgrade to remove ads
Dealing with Difficult People
Terms in this set (154)
Resist the urge to be defensive
Understand very clearly that you cannot beat these kinds of people, they're called "impossible" for a reason. In their minds, you are the source of all wrongdoing, and nothing you can say is going to make them consider your side of the story. Your opinion is of no consequence, because you are already guilty, no matter what.
Accept the situation
Impossible people exist; there isn't a thing you can do about it. The first step is all about facing reality: if you think you might be dealing with an impossible person, you're probably right. When in doubt, proceed as instructed below. The headaches you save will be your own.
Do not call out the other person
Bluntly stating the problem will not improve your relationship with someone who is impossible. Instead of reaching a reconciliation, he or she will likely just become more difficult. Recognize that you can't handle this like you would any other personal conflict — it's a special situation.Give up all hope of engaging these folks in any kind of reasonable conversation. It will never happen, at least with you. Remember what happened in the course of the last fifty times you tried to have a civilized discussion about the status of your relationship with this person. Chances are, every such attempt ended in you being blamed for everything. Decide now to quit banging your head against a brick wall.
Understand that it's not you, it's them
This can be surprisingly difficult, considering that impossible people have complete mastery of shifting the blame. Chances are, the more often they blame you, the more they themselves are actually at fault. Keep in mind that this is not to be used as a way to blame them. Blaming is what impossible people do, and they do it well. Instead, you are only facing the facts, for your own sake.
That being said, here's a simple way to tell: if you accept responsibility for your own faults and resolve to improve yourself, it's probably not you. Remember, impossible people "can do no wrong."
Remember to "detach, disassociate and diffuse."
When you're in the middle of a conflict with an impossible person
Staying calm in the heat of the moment is paramount to your personal preservation. Spitting angry words, reacting with extreme emotions such as crying, will only stimulate them to do more of the difficult behavior.
Remove yourself from the situation and treat it with indifference. Do not, under any circumstances bad talk to their face or to anyone else because then you are sinking down to their level. Add something positive by redirection such as by focusing on something, anything, positive in the situation or in the conversation. Whatever you do just stay calm!
It can help to realize that the side of a conversation that contains the most truth will always win out, and it's best to "name the game" that an impossible person is playing, usually by asking them or the group a question that starts "Why...," (rephrasing their "impossible" position to illuminate the consequences). You will move the conversation to a higher level, and the group, or even just the impossible individual, in a one-on-one, will respond to this "higher truth," although the individual will usually respond by (more) obfuscating.
Guard against anger
If it helps, consider the fact that your anger is actually a precious gift to the impossible person. Anything you do or say while angry will be used against you over and over again. Impossible people tend to have amazing memories, and they will not hesitate to use a nearly endless laundry list of complaints from the past against you. Five years from now, you could be hearing about the angry remark you made today (which you didn't even mean in the first place). Impossible people will seize anything that provides them the opportunity to lay blame like it was gold.
Prepare for projection
Understand that you are going to be accused of much (or all) of this behavior yourself. If your impossible person gets a look at this text, to them it will look like a page about you. Prepare yourself for the fact that the impossible person's flaws and failings will always be attributed to you. Remember, in their minds, you are at fault for everything! They will have an endless supply of arguments to support this, and if you make the mistake of encouraging them, they will be more than happy to tell you why you are the impossible person, and how ironic it is that you are under the mistaken impression that it is them.
Be a manager
Until it is over, your task in the relationship is to manage the impossible person, so that he or she deals less damage to you.
As a manager, your best resources are silence (it really is golden in some cases such as this), humoring the other, and abandoning all hope of "fixing" the impossible person. Impossible people do not listen to reason. They can't (and even if they could, they wouldn't).
Recognize that you can't convince them that they have any responsibility for the problems between you. They don't recognize (or if they did, wouldn't try to improve) their flaws for a very logical reason; they don't have any flaws. You must understand and manage this mindset without casting blame and without giving in to anger. It's far easier said than done, and you will slip from time to time, but as time goes on, you'll become a better manager.
Consider that it might be a question of compatibility
Sometimes, a person who gets along with everybody else quite well is an impossible person for you personally. Most relationships between people contain many shades of gray, but some people simply mix as well as oil and water.
It is common to hear your impossible person proclaim "Everyone else likes me." This is an attempt to shift the blame to you, so don't buy it. It doesn't matter how this person interacts with others. The fact is, the way the two of you interact together is terrible. Remember that blame never changes the facts.
Don't get cornered
Avoid one-on-ones with this type of person, actively; in other words, when you see them coming to corner you, suggest, and then demand that at least a third party be brought in. This will often thwart the impossible person's plans, and a typical response from them will be to unilaterally decide that "we don't need anyone else." You are perfectly free to claim your need for a third party to help your understanding, and insist upon it. Bullies never stand up to a crowd.
Protect your self-esteem
If you have regular dealings with someone who tries to portray you as the source of all evil, you need to take active steps to maintain a positive self-image. Focus on the people who validate you. Realize that this person is hurting you on purpose to improve his or her self-image. When he or she comes out with a statement that is designed to hurt you, realize this; realize why he saying that -- to get people to tell him that he's awesome. You are bigger and better than this person if you're not lowering yourself to this level.
Protect your Self-Esteem 1
Remind yourself that this person's opinion is not necessarily the truth. Understand that oftentimes, impossible people are particularly "fact-challenged."
Sets with similar terms
SSP 109 Unit 2 Personality and Life - Vocabulary
Sets found in the same folder
Chapter 1: History of Psychology
Other sets by this creator
Byron Katie's Inquiry and Turnarounds
Wealth Affirmations 2
Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence (Jack Canfield)
Tyshane went swimming with friends who did not want to get into the pool because the water felt cold. Tyshane jumped in and after a few minutes declared, "It was cold when I first got in, but now it's fine. Come on in!" Tyshane's body became accustomed to the water temperature due to a. priming. b. absolute threshold c. difference threshold. d. selective attention e. sensory adaptation.
In a paragraph, try to persuade one of your friends that he or should be hypnotized for a specific reason.
As Jeff rends his psychology textbook he is able to convert the light waves into signals that his brain can interpret due to the concept of a. transduction. b. perception. c. priming. d. signal detection theory. e. threshold.
Which subfield or perspective is most interested in studying the link between mental activity and brain activity? a. Humanistic psychology b. Gestalt psychology c. Cognitive neuroscience d. Psychodynamic perspective e. Evolutionary perspective.
Other Quizlet sets
Con Law Midterm
Chapter 11: Post Test
What are examples of non-verbal cues?
What are the different responses to stress?
Seery, Holman & Silver Life Adversity Study
Defense Mechanisms: to draw back or away; evidenced through daydreaming and living in a fantasy world