In life we have to deal with many people, some are wonderful and leave an indelible positive mark, others less so. There are unbearable people who stress us out, make us angry, try to manipulate us or unload their negative emotional energy on us.
To maintain our mental balance we must learn to deal with those people. If we continually flee it is likely that we will end up in a restricted comfort zone made up of people who share our mindset, which could lead us to tribalism and intolerance. That is why we may see unbearable people as a wonderful opportunity to grow emotionally.
Who are the unbearable people?
First of all, it is important to keep in mind that all of us may become unbearable people because some of our characteristics may be difficult for someone to tolerate. Beyond the people they humiliate, denigrate and insult, there are other attitudes and behaviors that can potentially be unbearable for others.
Perfectionism taken to the extreme, for example, can become unbearable because it involves asking more and more of others, without ever being satisfied with what we receive. Excessive control can also suffocate to the point of becoming an unbearable prison. Continuously complaining, infecting others with a pessimistic outlook on life, can have a cumulative effect on others, ending up making that person's presence unbearable. Even those who pretend to become a judge, criticize everything and always want to be right can be unbearable.
This means that the next time you are faced with an "unbearable person", you have to keep in mind that this definition also depends on your degree of tolerance. What's unbearable for you may not be unbearable for someone else. The simple act of taking this perspective will help you better deal with the characteristics of that person who is bothering you.
Unbearable people: how to deal with them without losing your mental balance?
- Make a clear plan and mentally try it out. The ability to predict what will happen in the future, as well as the feeling of being in control, greatly reduces the level of stress and the feeling of discomfort. This is why, if you already know what a person's characteristics are, you can mentally prepare yourself for the meeting. How long can it last? What could he tell you and what can you answer him? What escape routes do you have if the situation escalates? How are you going to handle that feature that irritates you so much?
- Protect your inner peace. Patience and self-control are not infinite qualities, they run out quickly when we are exhausted or irritated. This is why it is important to protect your mental balance. If you feel relaxed and at peace with yourself, the negativity of others will be less likely to bother you and you will be able to handle those people much better.
- Develop a mindfulness attitude. Many times we do not react to the situation but to the mental image we have built. This means that we can make sense of the other person's words, attitudes and behaviors that they do not have. Therefore, the best way to deal with unbearable people is to take a mindfulness attitude, which involves not judging. If in doubt, don't rush to conclusions, better ask and clarify.
- Don't customize. If you take the situation personally, it will be more difficult for you to bear it. This way you are more likely to feel humiliated or embarrassed. And anything that hurts usually generates a defensive reaction. Therefore, when you have to relate to an unbearable person try not to experience it on a personal level. Take a psychological distance that allows you to separate yourself from the emotions you are experiencing.
- Be empathetic. When you are frustrated, irritated, or angry, it is difficult to be empathetic with the person who generated those feelings. Conversely, developing empathy is a great strategy for dealing with unbearable people. Instead of fueling anger, try to think compassionately. Maybe that person is doing this because they have had a difficult life, because they have personal problems or have a mental disorder. This is not about excusing his bad behavior, but about preventing him from generating an intense emotional reaction that would end up destabilizing you.
- Set limits on your mental dialogue. One of the worst things you can do is keep thinking about what happened, what you could have said but didn't say, blaming yourself for not defending yourself enough. These ruminating thoughts will not do you any good, on the contrary, they will harbor emotions such as frustration and anger. Therefore, if you think you have made a mistake, learn the lesson but turn the page as soon as possible. If you don't, you will give this person tremendous power because even if they are not there, they will continue to make you feel uncomfortable.
- Be clear. Unbearable people tend to pull the rope a lot, to the breaking point. Don't let him do that. Know your limits and be clear to respect. Speak firmly so that the other person is clear about the red lines they shouldn't cross.