Posts Tagged 'difficult people'

Are You Involved with a Dangerous Person?

wolf in sheeps clothing cartoon

You have had some painful experiences.  You suffered narcissistic abuse from a partner or you were targeted by a bully at work.   You didn’t see the warnings.   As is so often the case, this person treated you especially well at the start, and turned up the heat so slowly you barely noticed it.

Added to that, there’s a better than average chance that you grew up being taught to ignore bad behavior, tolerate boundary violations, and maybe coached to ignore your fears and worries.  There may have been conflicts explained away as,  “nothing to be afraid of.”   Perhaps obvious violations were denied, with, “your cousin would never do that!”     Your feelings could have been minimized with arguments like, “you don’t really hate your sister!”

However badly others tried to bend your reality and no matter how well meant they were, the good news is this:  your perceptions are still intact and probably very highly refined.

I’ve never met a target of abuse or bullying who didn’t have a very well tuned sensitivity to others, ranging to acute intuitive abilities.  You have exactly the skills you need to identify potentially dangerous relationships.

You just need to apply those perceptual skills and trust them!

Much of the time, it is really quite simple to identify a person who is dangerous to be around.  Good relationships feel good.  Bad relationships do not feel good.  If you frequently feel bad around a person, that is probably not a good relationship for you.

If you frequently feel bad around many people, it’s probably due to your own “stuff.”  The rule is still quite simple.  If you feel bad around someone, more than usual, or more than you do around anyone else, question why you would spend any more time with this person.

In personal interactions this is quite easy.  If you feel bad about the interactions, or confused by the behavior, shake the dust from your feet.  Move on.  It will not get better.

In professional interactions, this is not not always so easy.  You may find you are able to work quite well with someone you do not especially like, if the interaction is respectful.  On the other hand, you may, at least in the short run, have to work with someone who is very toxic.  Still, if a particular person causes you pain, start looking for ways to get out of the situation.

Those of us who have found most relationships painful, may argue that this is not realistic, but here is another bit of good news:  Good relationships are not particularly painful.

Good relationships are available, but you may not have held out for them if you don’t think they are possible.  If you wonder about this, watch for my next post which will give you reassurance that safe and rewarding relationships exist.

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The Socratic Interaction

XantippeI attended an AAUW (American Association of University Women) meeting recently at which we held a Socratic discussion.  This wonderful form of interaction a was made even more delightful to me when the topic chosen was civility.

I have found that AAUW meetings are usually quite civilized to begin with; a bunch of mature, smart women around the table exchanging ideas instead of soundbites.  The Socratic discussion format further encourages civility by allowing participants to clarify their thinking, examine their assumptions and provide evidence for their opinions.  In addition, the implications of an argument are examined and a space is made for counter arguments.

A lovely time was had by all.  I had feared that the facilitation would be pedantic and dull, but delving into each others’ ideas rather than bashing one another with opinions, resulted in a lively and friendly debate with room for everyone’s ideas.  Not once did an intelligent introvert get talked over or shut down!  The extroverts got their turn to speak as well. It was, in short, the most enlightened verbal interaction I can recall in a group that size.

I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about Socrates, but I began to remember a bit about him. You might think Socrates developed his methods from debating with his philosopher cronies, and coaching recalcitrant students.  But I also seem to recall that Socrates was married to Xanthippe, whose name has been given to shrews throughout history.  Xanthippe had a reputation for being quite harsh and abusive, even stomping on a cake that a student had given her husband.  Not a nice gal!

In Xenophon, Symposium 17-19, Socrates is quoted:  “And that is just my case. I wish to deal with human beings, to associate with man in general; hence my choice of wife. I know full well, if I can tolerate her spirit, I can with ease attach myself to every human being else.”

So we can see why Socrates would facilitate discussions in a thoughtful and civil way – and why his students brought him cakes!  I expect he learned to appreciate and value civilized interactions in the way so many of us do – by experiencing a lack of them!

Thank you Xanthippe for the Socratic discussion…and stay away from my cake.

 

Toxic People Play by Different Rules

Toxic people don’t play by your rules of give and take. You can make sense of their behavior when you recognize it is competitive not collaborative. Its purpose is to get the upper hand.

Here are some clues that you are dealing with a toxic person.

• You feel confused after your interactions with this person.
• Conflicts are never resolved. The toxic often declare a discussion closed while you are still struggling with it. No compromise is reached, or worse; you find yourself apologizing after their outburst.
• You feel depressed or depleted after spending time with this person.
• When you are feeling good, or enjoying success, the toxic may attempt to deflate you with a subtle put down or an argument.
• If you are feeling bad, the toxic person is likely to have a crisis that is more urgent than your problem and demands your attention.
• Difficult people demand your attention; interrupting your wedding or your mother’s funeral with their routine problems.
• They become inappropriately angry. A toxic coworker may turn red and look daggers at you as you express an inoffensive opinion.

Toxic people live in a different reality than you do. If you assume they are being rational, you will try and try to understand them or explain yourself so they’ll understand you. But the toxic person doesn’t want to come to any understanding except that you are at fault when they feel bad.

Once you know who is toxic you protect yourself from their poison. If you are involved with a toxic, difficult person, check out my upcoming class: Emotional Freedom from Difficult People. Learn easy, safe techniques for feeling better fast and being less susceptible.

New Class in November: Emotional Freedom from Difficult People

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I consulted with my PR and Marketing coach last week and told her of my dream to offer a class each week, teaching people to use intuitive tools and techniques to deal with the difficult people in their lives.  She asked a question that I think all great innovators ask:  “Why not just do it right now?”

Why indeed?  There’s a bit of prep time to outline curriculum, but I know the material I want to offer.  There’s a bit of infrastructure needed to offer classes.  I need the software to meet online or by phone.  What I need most, is you, and others like you who want to know how to find Emotional Freedom from Difficult People.

I will offer this weekly workshop, beginning November 7, from 7-8:30 p.m. ET, for six weeks (not counting 11/28.)  It will be held online so you can join in from anywhere you like (you can wear your pajamas.)  If you are interested you can take the whole six sessions.  If you are busy, you can pick one or a few.

This is an experiential class.  You will practice the mental and emotional tools and techniques to manage how you think and feel.  That means you will build skills and not just information.  It also means that you will probably feel terrific after class.

  • November 7  Dynamics of Difficult Relationships – Understanding what you are up against, why being rational won’t work, learn about helpful resources.  
  • November 14  Why Your Problems aren’t What You Think – Most of the problem with difficult people has an unconscious source.  How to find it, drag it into the light of day, and work with it.
  • November 21  Benefitting from Bullies – Don’t let the difficult deplete your energy.  You can be energized by difficult interactions if you master one physical state.
  • December 5 Maintaining Your Space and Your Balance – You can wash that controlling person right out of your hair with simple mental tools.
  • December 12 Serenity – your power lies in being centered, serene and unruffled.  But how do you do that? Come find out.
  • December 19 Communicating with the Unconscious – Difficult people are often not so much bad as unconscious.  Learn how to reach them on that level and create freedom from their control.

$27 per individual session $150 for all six.  Email me at ruth@ruth-wilson.com and I will send an invoice for the classes you wish to attend.  You will receive an invitation prior to each class which will enable you to access the session.

Vampire Romance? Eeuuww!

Most people who hear the term “Energy Vampire,” have an  immediate sense of what it means because most everyone has encountered an energy vampire or two.  When so many people suffer from the effects of energy vampires, I find the thought of vampire romance to be repugnant – Yeah!  Just the opposite of sexy.  Eeuuww!

Would you go out with a person whose M.O. is to drain you of  your life force and make you feel awful so he (or she) can feel great?  Unfortunately, the answer for many of us is:  “Of course I would! …and I have…but not knowingly!”

Before he (or she)  has gotten his fangs into you, a vampire’s mystery and overt interest in you and what you have to offer can seem sexy and attractive.  Strong, sinister, silent types, such as vampires, make a wonderful blank slate for romance stories, because we can project our desires onto.

The fact is that a lot of the unappreciated qualities we attribute to an energy vampire are actually our own projections.   Most of us have unappreciated qualities and would really like them to be recognized.  It is just that psychological signature which attracts energy vampires in the first place.

If you have pretty good boundaries, you are unlikely to attract these unfortunate but dangerous creatures.  Most of us have been taught to have poor boundaries by parents who did their best (and some who didn’t) so we are used to unhealthy energy exchanges.  I could tell you how this looks to an intuitive or feels like to an energy practitioner, but really, who cares?  (If you want this detail, check out Joe Slate’s Psychic Vampires here:  <a title=”Psychic Vampires” href=”http://http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wwwproactivco-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=0738701912&ref=tf_til&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr“>Joe

What you really need to know is how to avoid these people before they get their fangs into you.

I recently spent the day with a group of women and came home feeling like I was coming down with flu. When the flu didn’t materialize, I looked more closely at the company I kept.  One of the women, subtly but continually, put down, questioned or dismissed the others. She asked me a couple times if I was sick, saying that I looked ill.  One of my companions was having a lot of fun and was told, “Oh, you’re so childish… I mean, childlike!”  She repeatedly forgot the first name of one member of our group – despite having met her many times before.

None of these things is bad in itself.  It was the intent to upset that made the excursion unpleasant.  The power of your upset emotions energizes the vampire, and sure enough this woman became more and more chirpy and smiley as everyone else’s faces fell.  I now avoid her like the plague, but I have that luxury because she is a passing acquaintance.

If the energy vampire is a close relative, or Heaven forbid, your partner, that’s a whole ‘nother blog post, but you can learn to hang onto your energy with this person if you have good boundaries.  Once you recognize this person you can even benefit energetically from their shenanigans.
(But that’s another blog post too – watch for it.)

The trouble is most of these people get their teeth into us before we know what they’re like or they are careful to appear quite positive as they get their digs in.  They often plant seeds of doubt or fear in our minds that keep us upset and mentally connected to the vampire long after we have left their company.

Psychic attacks are like viruses and germs.  A healthy immune system is more effective than anti-bacterial wipes.  Any practice or therapy that clears your mind and builds healthy boundaries will benefit you.  But you can recognize and avoid these people pretty easily if you pay attention to your feelings.

The first thing to notice is when you feel tired, depleted and depressed in reaction to your interactions with others.  If a particular person’s conversation, Facebook postings or emails repeatedly make you feel sad, angry, tired or disturbed, start watching these interactions more closely.

Watch also for the Yuck factor.  If in-person interactions make you feel slimed, disturbed, exhausted or queasy, on a consistent basis, look for the vampire in the mix.

Especially notice if the person who makes you feel disturbed shows signs of being energized by your discomfort.

If you notice any of these things, head for the hills or at least a different room.

Psychic vampires are not romantic at all, so do not expect the culprit to look sinister.  He or she probably seems quite unassuming, maybe quite cheerful and self effacing.

As sinister as the term “vampire” is, the energy vampire is quite pathetic, really.  Anyone who does not know how to access their own resources and feels they must drain yours is pretty sad.  The practice leaves them in a very unhealthy state after a while.  You are doing them a favor by not making your energy available to them.


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