We all know those difficult people. We all have at least one. Those people who are difficult. That person who makes it difficult to be around them. You dread them. You can’t please them, and the more you try the more frustrated and angry you get. Often they are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, or even grandparents. When it is those people we feel obligated to love and spend time with them. This makes dealing with them all the all the harder.
Types of Difficult People
David Brown describes several types of difficult people and how their behaviors serve to irritate others like a course grade of sandpaper:
- Perfectionists. If you are looking for quick results, perfectionists can be a source of frustration.
- Control freaks. When you want to do things your way, overly controlling types can be a source of irritation as well.
- Creative people. They’re essential if generating ideas is the plan but can cause frustration when you just want to get to delivering a simple result.
- Shapers: Although shapers may seek to take over as and when they see fit, they can really help drive action.
- Aggressive or defensive people. Assertion can help move a group forward. Aggression or defensiveness can have the opposite effect on the group’s dynamic.
- Submissive people. The lack of confidence and fear of failure that many submissive types display can be a source of frustration as well.
I realize the list above did not have “spiritual” qualities but I hoped they would help identify the character qualities of our difficult person.
Im Better then you
It is difficult people who are spiritual often think they are better than someone else. It has been my experience they usually have a list of how you are failing to be biblical in daily activities. However, it is often our perception of what we believe a person thinks of us, or should I say what we believe they believe about us. Which affects a relationship.It is though, a good idea to assess yourself, See if there is anything the difficult person could be right about. This is only to be done if the person who is difficult is relatively somewhat normal and sane. I have found that I don’t get along with my difficult people often because of what they criticize me about has some validity to it. That is not always true some time they just live to be mean.
Don’t Get Angry
Most Christians buy into the whole don’t get angry. Now I don’t agree with the whole idea of never getting angry. However, letting difficult people or situations eat at you and burn inside you dwelling on it, that is often where the problem lies. I think that is what It means in Ephesians about not letting the sun go down on your anger.
Choosing to let it go and let God take care of it. Sometimes it is just best to give your difficult people to God. As it says in Proverbs 23:11 for their (the righteous) defender is strong; he will take up their case against you. In other words Christians you have someone else who will fight your battles for you and deal with your difficult person. But he will not take up your case if you don’t choose to give it to the Lord as it says in 1peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Romans 12:19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 1 John 2:9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister (in Christ) is still in the darkness. Who knows maybe that why they are difficult.
What the Bible says
According to the bible, there is a whole host of problems that arise from anger but I think I will let that be for another post. The bible also tells us in Ephesians 4:26 not to let the sun go down on our anger and in Proverbs 19:11 A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. Maybe this is the answer to your difficult person. Proverbs is probably one of my favorite books in the bible. It’s like a condensed source of wisdom. I could overwhelm you with the sheer amount of verses that talk about not letting anger get the best of you. But that means not letting a Difficult person have power over you.
Consequences of anger
According to one website I looked at while preparing for this article it stated that 8% of adolescence have anger issues to me that seems like a lot. According to the article adolescence anger was also no the rise. What happened when your angry according to Psychology today anger releases the stress hormone and that can destroy neurons in areas of the brain associated with judgement and short term memory. Anger can weaken the immune system.
A Quick list
- Remember sometimes it nobody’s Business but yours – you don’t have to everybody everything sometimes it is best to realize some people simply will not understand or won’t. So do make life harder than necessary by giving Difficult people information they don’t need.
- Focus on What is Real – Sometimes it’s not about you but realizing that a difficult person is trapped in a way of being, or in belief systems, in hatred, in grief, or in fear.
- Having Resilience / Clear Boundaries – You can avoid conflict and drama in your life by having clear boundaries, knowing yourself, walking away when you need to, and not letting people dump on you. Also having a strong respect and love for yourself.
- Don’t Be a Victim – You always have a choice in how you respond to situations. Even in the most severe of places, Auschwitz, people responded in powerful ways, when they chose to help others, or bring hope to the most extreme circumstances of the concentration camp. Choice is power. Use it well. Seeing situations for what they are, with wisdom and clarity, and staying unaffected is truly powerful.
- Being an Extraordinary Human – Don’t hold grudges and grievances against people. It only serves to hold you back from who you are meant to be. It is a poison.
We are a light
We are called to be light to a broken and corrupt world. Therefore we are going to be tried tested and proved. We could possibly be someone else’s difficult person. Life is going to be a rose garden with all the thorns and thistles and the beauty. So sometimes God uses those difficult people to bring about a better you.
Character above all
Only you knows your difficult person. And only you can choose how you will deal with them you can’t avoid them all the time but you can choose to minimize their effect on you and who you are when you are around them. The way you choose to deal with them tells a lot about your character. You can chose to “get them” or “show them up” but would you be sacrificing your character?
So I guess If I were to suggest a type of action spiritually speaking, I would say: realize we are all broken vessels and God has not “fixed” us all. Therefore in the Light of eternity or on the spiritual plane is it going to matter? I know sometimes it is hard to do so, I often find my self pacing my porch having a conversation with God while I smoke a cigarette or two. (not one of my better habits) In the course of my conversation with God he often reveals to me my faults (just what I want to know right?) and how I might have been the one to create the difficult situation. Or encouraged the actions of the difficult person. Sometimes that requires me to humble myself to that person and ask for forgiveness or correct myself. And some times it is all about grace.
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