What is the best protection against difficult people?
There are “vampires” in our lives also known as difficult people. Like this fictional night creature, they also suck, not our blood but our dignity, self-respect, joy and sanity. That’s why we need to keep ourselves from their fangs of pain and cruelty.
We have "protections" against them.
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In his book “How to Deal with Difficult People”, author and lay preacher Bo Sanchez warned single women of a certain “Con Vampire”. He likened the Con Vampire to a habitual liar kind of difficult person. The warning came maybe because singles fear living or growing old alone. I’m glad I purchased this book because the few insights I learned through this book (which I'll share with you) will help us.
Let us have some point of clarifications first. “Difficult” people are “abusive” people. They hurt you either physically or emotionally. They are bully and immature. Meanwhile, “single” refers to “unattached or unmarried” person or a “solo parent”.
FIRST REMINDER: Nothing can ever please a difficult person. Because it’s about him or her, never about you.
SHIELD YOURSELF FROM DIFFICULT PEOPLE
The author suggested two (2) ways to protect ourselves from these difficult people and it has something to do with space. One is to be physically away and two, to be emotionally away.
Protection #1: Be physically away. I had a classmate-friend from first grade to fourth grade who was a bully. From first to third grade, she (and her other friends) would ask me to write down the teachers' lectures to their notebooks. Yes, I wrote for them. They even sent me to run some errands. We're friends anyway, right? I did all this almost every day. Until one day, I tried to speak for myself. However, she being a tad spoiled brat, began counting all that she “gave” me – the chips, drinks, paper etc... Out of gratefulness, I resumed jotting down notes. I only stopped when I felt she's bullying me too much. It didn't surprise me when she denounced me as her friend. But it's different when she humiliated me in front of the whole class! Still, I held my ground. I never sit near her again. That’s the first time I felt what it's like to be a row four student. We were still classmates until fourth grade but I never wrote for them or run an errand for them again since. She couldn’t ask me again.
SECOND REMINDER: Difficult people will only hurt you if you will let them.
Protection #2: Be emotionally away. I ran across this old adage: “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.” According to Wikipedia, it appeared in The Christian Recorder in March 1862. The saying, it said, encouraged children not to strike back, rather ignore the ridicule. Going back to my experience in #1, it was hard ignoring my “friend’s” mockery. For the remaining year that we were in the same room, she would use even the littlest opportunity to insult me. You could just imagine how pissed she would become whenever I pretend I never heard her. Ignoring her and her friends worked! Not that I wasn't tempted to retaliate but zipping my mouth worked for me. They were not worth my time.
IF I AM THE "VAMPIRE", WHAT NOW?
This is the author’s suggestion – always self-reflect. He said we should not be swift to point to another person, to blame somebody. Instead, we should look upon ourselves. One way of reflecting is asking ourselves. What have I done? Why did I do it? What is the impact of my action? How do I amend?
The key? Forgiveness. Patience. Humility. These are the virtues I gathered we need – you and I. Because at some point, we were once that difficult person to somebody. If we are the vampire, we have the first recourse – to pray for these virtues so we stop being difficult. We must forgive ourselves. We must be patient with our transformation and persistent with our change of heart. We must be humble to admit that we made a mistake and that we are imperfect. More importantly, we should not abuse the second chance we are given.