Last week, I suggested that a way to be more at peace and content in your life would be to stop trying to be reasonable with unreasonable people. Today, I want to explore how to know if you are dealing with an Unreasonable Person (UP). First, let me say that I use the term “Unreasonable” as a “broad-brush” term that could apply to any number of difficult people. It could include serious problems such as addiction or personality disorders but could as easily apply to the rude customer you deal with every day or even your own surly teenager.What’s most important is to recognize that you are dealing with someone who is not responding to your actions in a reasonable or expected way.
You are likely dealing with a UP if you experience any of the following:
- Do you tense up, or feel drained or dread when you think about seeing this person?
- Do you often apologize or make excuses for this person to your family or friends?
- Do you avoid social situations with this person because his/her behavior can be a problem?
- Do you avoid social situations without this person to avoid a backlash from him/her?
- Have you helped this person numerous times only to be frustrated that they get into the same (or worse) jams over and over?
- Do you avoid conversations, giving opinions, or censor your words to avoid conflict?
- Do you feel like you’re blamed when things go wrong? Do you sometimes apologize even when you know you’re not to blame, just to restore peace?
- Does it seem that your feelings, needs, desires, or viewpoints are ignored and only the UP’s position counts?
- Do you ever feel like you’re in a parallel universe with your UP because his/her version of reality is so skewed from your own?
- Do you stay alert or on edge when you’re with this person to steer away from emotional landmines?
- Are you confused sometimes by the reaction your UP has to you or to other people or situations because his/her reaction seems over-sized? Do you feel attacked when your response isn’t sympathetic enough?
- Are your words or actions taken out of context and you find yourself defending yourself over and over?
- Do you feel like a failure because no matter what you do, it is not good enough for this person?
- Do you feel confused because what was OK yesterday may be all wrong today?
- Do you spend an inordinate amount of time checking up on or cleaning up behind your UP?
First thing you need to know is you are not alone and there are healthy ways to deal with your UP without turning your back on them or pulling your hair out. You must learn to separate yourself from the problem and learn to set reasonable limits and boundaries with your UP. More about that in an upcoming blog.