Magazine article Psychology Today

When You're the Difficult Person

Magazine article Psychology Today

When You're the Difficult Person

Article excerpt

EVERYONE GRATES ON SOMEONE. MOST EVERYONE CAN FIX THAT DYNAMIC.

WE ALL KNOW Big-D "Difficult" when it walks into a room. These offenders colonize our social brains and the pages of this issue (if only to be dispatched them once and for all, beginning on page 52). Then there are those who get along with everyone, save for their friction-inducing triggers. I'm thinking of the consummate grown-up who devolves into a petulant toddler in the company of Mom, or die person who is uncharacteristically curt with just one or two colleagues. If you're consistently annoyed by (and annoying to) a select few- congratulations, you're human. And unlike most BigD offenders, you're capable of dialing down problematic interactions.

* FAMILY

A realist might say that seeing someone at their worst is the price of intimacy. But when little effort is made to control "the worst," the family member you theoretically cherish has been rezoned as an emotional dumping ground. Once the parameters of a relationship are set, expectations emerge and you start to feel like the person exists to meet your needs. This erodes your love and their patience. You can back off by taking responsibility for your own well-being and actually thinking about someone else's. …

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