How to Deal with Difficult (Even Impossible) People
this is an excerpt
First, take responsibility for your part of the interaction.
Detachment is always the best response, because if you can interact without having a reaction, you will be clear-headed enough to make progress in relating to this difficult person.
Try to name what specifically causes the difficulty. Is the person clinging, controlling, competitive?
Clinging types want to be taken care of and loved. They feel weak and are attracted to stronger people. If desperate, they will cling to anyone.
Controlling types have to be right. There is always an excuse for their behavior (however brutal) and always a reason to blame others. Controlling people are perfectionists and micro-managers. Their capacity to criticize others is endless.
Competitive types have to win. They see all encounters, no matter how trivial, as a contest. Until they win, they won’t let go.
Clinging types cannot be handled with avoidance. They ignore a polite no, but you can’t use direct rejection without making an enemy.
Controlling types won’t back down if you show them concrete evidence that you are right and they are wrong. They don’t care about facts, only about being right. There’s always going to be something to criticize.
Competitive types can’t be pacified by pleading. Any sign of emotion is like a red flag to a bull. If you stand your ground and try to win, they will most likely jump ship and abandon you.
Clinging types can be handled by showing them how to deal with situations on their own. It helps to find situations where you can honestly say, “I need your help.” They will either come through or walk away. You will probably be happy either way.
Controlling types can be handled by acting unintimidated. At heart, controlling types fear they are inadequate, and they defend against their own insecurity by making other people feel insecure and not good enough. Show you are good enough. When you do a good job, say so and don’t fall for their insistence on constant changes. Be strong and stand up for yourself. Above all, don’t turn an encounter into a contest of who’s right and who’s wrong—you’ll never outplay a controlling type at his or her own game.
Competitive types are handled by letting them win.
Self-important people: Let them have their say. You can’t shut them up. They tend to forget what they said very quickly. If they domineer to the point of suffocating you, stay away.
Chronic complainers: These people are bitter and angry but haven’t dealt with the reality that the source of their anger is internal. Your only option is generally to put up with them and stay away when you can. Don’t agree with their complaints or try to placate them.
Victims: These people are passive-aggressive. They get away with doing wrong to you by hurting themselves in the bargain. The best tactic is to get as angry as you normally would, if called for. Don’t take their victimization as an excuse. If the victim is a “poor me” type without the passive-aggressive side, offer realistic, practical help, rather than sympathy.
Most of the everyday difficult types want somebody to listen and not judge. If you can do that without getting involved, lending your ear for a while is also the decent thing to do. Being a good listener means not arguing, criticizing, offering your own opinion or interrupting. If the other person has a genuine interest in you—most difficult people don’t—he or she will invite you to talk, not simply listen. Yet being a good listener has its limits.
The above was written by Deepak Chopra is the author of more than 50 books on health, success, relationships and spirituality