We all know what we would like to call them and it is NOT “difficult”. Our choice word would probably begin with the letter “A”. It rhymes with askhole but what this word really means is a whole other conversation and not for this venue. We all know how it feels when we are being polite and normal by any ordinary standards and the creature we have to interact with has a whole other unspoken hidden agenda. Often we are stuck dealing with this person because we work with them and we have to communicate information to get the job done or work on a project together. OR it is a family member. I have come to think of friends as the family we choose when ours is non-existent, not so fulfilling, or the downright monstrous. So how can we do our best to feel as peaceful as possible, get what we need done or communicated, minimize the contact, AND not create a new angle or manipulation for these types. This is the first of a series of articles on the difficult types in our lives.
The abuser is often a narcissist or sociopath and may or may not be physically violent. Both types can either rise to the top of a corporation or do not pass go-off to the big house. Techniques can be gaslighting (undoing someone’s sense of reality by denying things, lying, making a person feel less than, and crazymaking behavior), blaming, screaming, threatening, implying threats, isolating techniques, removing independence and ability to support oneself, removing external escape options through false allegations, playing the victim after being the instigator of abusive behavior, planting false evidence, and even violence when he or she feels confident they have subjugated the victim sufficiently. A person can feel many things such as memory blackouts because the abuse is so relentless, fast, and extreme or abject terror. You lose your heart, voice, and being.
How to Deal With: Run like you know what. You cannot fix these types and can be extremely dangerous. This may mean leaving your job or a relationship. If you remain, your sense of self is in jeopardy and you may end up nothing more than an object to be seen not heard or physically injured. If a person has the potential for violence or harmful ramifications do not confront them directly as this often enrages them even more. Acting quietly neutral and carefully creating your plan to get out are important considerations for safety and sanity.
The Yes But
A Yes But and Not that BUTT wants control by not being agreeable. They are also know as Doubting Thomases. He or she can be a low self-esteem individual with passive aggressive tendencies. A Yes But often initiates a conversation by asking a question or for advice and then finding all the yes but reasons not to take the advice or doing the task as needed once they receive the answer to their question. Yes buts spend all their time finding reasons not to take action or to slow others down. People get frustrated at the lack of certainty, time wasted, and lack of action from a Yes But. People start to avoid the Yes But because an answer is never just good enough. Yes Buts really don’t feel confident and feel resentful of others. They know they can “throw sand in the gearbox” and get control by frustrating others. Spending lots of extra time bringing up all the myriads of possibilities doesn’t leave a lot of time to get work done or create secure satisfying relationships. What happens then? Family members or co-workers find themselves picking up all the slack, doing all the work and Yes But gets out of doing much of the work.
How to Deal With:
The Avoider is never around when commitment or accountability is needed. When a side, team, person, feeling, or stance must be committed to they are gone! They come closer and then pull back. This pattern repeats itself and you feel like you are doing all the giving or encouraging and getting not much back. People start to feel exhausted and avoid the avoider. The Avoider is a fearful creature who learned through abuse that no matter what they did and no matter how good they were-the perpetrator was going to emotionally or physically abused them. The Avoider is afraid to trust, afraid to show feelings, afraid to be vulnerable, and ends up with shallow or short term relationships. Safe, lonely, and a lack of intimacy characterize The Avoider. Attachment theory in psychology says that avoidant types are often insecurely attached and need verification of absolute trustworthiness or find reasons not to trust at all. This is one reason for the approach avoidance dance with The Avoider. One moment everything is wonderful and happy and the next nothing is any good and they vanish for a week. It is a cycle of fear from their past often on a subconscious level of reenactment. This refer to an event that triggers a familiar feeling from the past linked to a memory. A fight or flight response of fear is trigger and an avoidant runs.
How to Deal With: Encourage safety to express thoughts without adverse outcomes, ramifications for avoiding responsibilities and a lack of consistent behavior and detailed timely communication. Lapses such as “I forgot” are also not conducive for progress.
What experience have you had with people like this and how did you handle it? At what point did you realize what you were dealing with?