Dealing With Difficult People

(image source: emdot)

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships, as in when is it OK to end a relationship that is no longer fulfilling.

And, does that change when it’s family?

The other night, my father-in-law told me my butt is flat.

Squirrel told me not to take it personally which struck me as funny because it hadn’t even occurred to me to take it personally. I was too busy trying to figure out how someone drops “your butt is flat” into casual conversation.

He said it so matter-of-factly – as though he was commenting on the weather or the football score.

I tried to remember a time when I gave his butt any thought, but nothing came to me.

I wondered whether there was a deeper message here. Was he reflecting back to me a part of myself I hadn’t completely accepted?

Then, I remembered a quote I once read – the only quote on dealing with difficult people that ever made sense to me:

I am thankful for the difficult people in my life.  They have shown me exactly who I don’t want to be.

-unknown

So, I’ve taken his comment as a sign of sorts, to let go of judgement and vanity and focus on creating a fuller, rounder, more pert inner life.

He probably won’t notice that at the next family gathering, but at least I’ll have something to be thankful for.

How do you deal with difficult relationships?
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13 thoughts on “Dealing With Difficult People

  1. It is a great quote. I have definitely found that bad behavior from others gives me a chance to reflect on myself and realize how I never want to come across. Sometimes behaving the way I’d like to around certain people is difficult. Some people just bring out my brat side!!

    That is a rather strange comment, especially from a father in law, but I dunno, I think having a flat butt sounds like a good thing! 🙂

    How I deal depends on how difficult the person is, but I’ve had relationships, even with family members, that I’ve ended because it just ended up being easier than continuing even after giving the other party many, many chances to change.

    • Candi, I think it takes a great deal of strength to make the decision to end a relationship with a family member. And you’re right, sometimes it’s absolutely necessary. Family is not a free pass for ignorant behaviour!

  2. You know, I wish I had an answer for you. I have cut very few people out of my life. But two difficult people I’d LOVE to deal with are my in-laws. But I bite my tongue and just tell them off in my head. I seriously replay scenarios where I lay it all on them. One of these days, I have a feeling it will all come blurting out, but for now I love me some fantasies 😉

  3. Aarrrgggghhhhh! I’ve long pondered what to do with “difficult people”…my definition of a ‘difficult person” is one that, after having spent time with them, I am left feeling bad about myself. As I don’t believe in “cutting people off” totally, the only substitution I can think of is to spend as little time with this person/people as I possibly can. I have incorporated this into my life for some time now…and to date, it’s the best solution I have…not perfect but better!

  4. Great quote.

    My sister told me I should wear my hair down for my wedding because I have a strong jaw (was quite lean at the time). Just one of many gems from this particular sister. I believe my ass has also been described by her as flat and at one point in a marathoning/counting every calorie phase, nonexistent.

    Why do people say these things? The only correct comment on someone’s body or appearance is a positive one. Or a discreet whisper that they have spinach in their teeth.

  5. Oh my…why is he even aware that you have a butt? I love that you can write about it with a sense of humour, and I love that quote too. When I emailed my office to tell them that I had brought in my handmade greeting cards for sale, someone (a young girl) said it sounded really “hokey” but they were actually “not that hokey” once she had a look at them. It’s like telling a pregnant woman that she’s getting huge…I think some people just don’t have a filter.

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