Dealing with difficult people

February 5, 2008 — 6 Comments

Arguing Cartoon CharactersLike it or not, we all have difficult people in our lives. Maybe it’s a family member. Maybe it’s a co-worker. Maybe it’s a neighbor. If you’re like me, there have been times in your life when you’ve had to deal with people from all three groups at the same time!

Difficult people come in many varieties. One of my least favorite kinds is the controlling person — you know, the one who must always have his way regardless of the thoughts, feelings, and rights of others.

These people can be manipulative, conniving, and downright mean — whatever it takes to get what they want.

Here’s what I’ve found to be true in most cases:

Controlling people are extremely insecure.
They have never learned how to love and be loved. They have also never accepted the fact that they’re really not in control of anything — including themselves. Therefore, they exert an inordinate amount of effort and energy trying to convince themselves — and others — that they really are in control. They are often motivated by fear — fear of failure, fear of success, fear of abandonment . . . . the possibilities are endless.

Controlling people distract others from the things and people that really matter.
The best way to defuse a controlling person is to remind yourself of one truth: No one can control or intimidate you unless you allow them to do so. This is something many Christians struggle to understand. Just because you seek to model Christ does not mean you become a doormat to be walked on and abused. Don’t let the controller rob you of your joy and sense of purpose in life.

Controlling people don’t really like themselves.
Think about it. Jesus taught that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. We must first have a love relationship with ourselves — the very person He uniquely crafted us to be. No matter how good a controller is at pretending he likes himself, the way he treats other people is the best criterion for judging that.

Controlling people don’t win in the end.
Sure, they may get away with a lot of crazy things for a while. But ultimately, their rudeness, pettiness, abusiveness, and selfishness end up biting them in the butt. What goes around really does come around in the long run. Sometimes you won’t be there to see it, because controlling people always look best in the rearview mirror. They have a hard time keeping friends, employees, and even close relationships with family members. They often end up miserable and alone.

So, who are the controllers in your life? How are you dealing with them? Are you perhaps one of them? (Wow . . . I bet I’m hitting close to home for somebody out there.)

I look forward to your thoughts.

6 responses to Dealing with difficult people


    Oh man! I was going to blog about difficult people and now you’ve stolen my idea! Bushels of razzberries your way. Or is it that all great minds think alike? : )


    I could not have come across this article at a better time than this. There is a man that I love very much and he creates barriers through blaming people for not expressing their true feelings for him or mistreating him. When in actuality he’s the one that does the mistreating and withholding of feelings. I’ve kept my distance from him to avoid drowning in his negativity, yet I’ve expressed that I love him, miss him and care about him. When we first met I asked him just out of the blue what he fears in life and his response was that he doesn’t fear anything. He expressed that he’s been through too much to fear anything. How can one not fear anything; Not spiders; or fear of heights; or snakes or something be it big or small. I often times feel sorry for him and feel that this is someone that God has placed on my path for a reason. I have tried to express love without trying to get to close, but just letting him know that i’m here. Don’t quite know what else to do other than pray to try to break the shell. One minute he can be the most compassionate and loving individual, which is often times towards strangers or close relatives, but then he can be very cold and uncaring if you attempt to get to close. He can go from being soft and gentle to downright mean and distant. It’s almost as though he expects one to prove their love and I don’t feel that’s something I should ever have to or can prove to anyone. Either you recognize and receive it or you don’t.
    ~thank you for this opportunity to share;-)


    As for me, I no longer have a single controlling person in my personal life, except for the occassional one I run into and get rid of quickly. I am very picky who is in my own personal circle, with only supportive, usually loving people. However, often one must deal with these morons at work or in a business relationship. I’d like to know how people have done that succesfully. Here’s a few examples: a co-worker who controls by feigning friendship only to get others to reveal personal things that he later uses to humiliate them by adding to or even using outright lies, a boss who gets her kicks (she is patheticaly unhappy in her lonely personal life) by manipulating, controlling and kicking around her subordinates…to mention just a few.
    I personally have tried confronting them in front of others where they can’t dismiss and lie their way out so easy. Then they will back off, but later it surfaces again and again and then again….how does one strike enough fear in these idiots to keep them from coming back with more of their crap


    He is not a good person. He has a personality disorder of some kind and you need to get him and anyone like him out of your personal life ASAP. There a millions of people on the planet…pick and choose and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do that. You can’t afford not to be picky…save yourself only for the best and then give you best. Butr only give your best to the best…you are wasting it on the worst. This person you are describing will only give you a miserable life to match his own.


    When you meet people like this, they are the ultimate test/opportunity for you to learn to love God and yourself. You must work through the emotional, mental and spiritual uneasiness that results from the many ways and techniques they use to control you. Either live free or become a puppet.

    Any relationship you have with God… me, will become stronger and deeper.


    I have come to a spiritual awakening about myself. I have an inability to love or tolerate diffucult, controlling, abusive people. In my case the difficult people I deal with are my family and coworkers. I work for the govt. so, I have my share of difficult people. Can you say postal?

    Just out of sheer emotional survival, I have to learn to love difficult people. I don’t want to put out negative energy, thinking about difficult people. Being angry at difficult people is putting too much wear and tear on me.

    I have to focus on the Law of Forgiveness. I have to forgive and love so I can be forgiven and loved. If I am putting out resentment and unloving feelings, that’s going to block the love I want from coming to me.

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