In life we have to deal with many people, some are wonderful and leave an indelible positive mark, others not. There are unbearable people who stress us, twitch or anger, who try to manipulate us or discharge their negative emotional energy on us.
For the sake of our mental balance, we must learn to deal with those people. If we always run away from them, we are likely to end up in a restricted comfort zone composed of people who share our mentality, which could lead to tribalism and intolerance. That is why we could 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 we could all become unbearable people because some of our characteristics could be difficult for someone to tolerate. Beyond the people who humiliate, disqualify and insult, there are other attitudes and behaviors that can be potentially unbearable for the others.
The perfectionism taken to the extreme, for example, can become unbearable because it implies always asking more to the others, without ever being satisfied with what we receive. Overcontrol can also wrest mental oxygen, to the point of becoming an unbearable prison. Complaining continually, infecting the others with a pessimistic view of life can have a cumulative effect on them ending up making that person’s presence unbearable. Those who pretend to become judges, criticize everything and always want to be right, can also be unbearable.
That means that the next time you have to deal with an “unbearable person”, you should bear in mind that this qualification also depends on your degree of tolerance. What is unbearable for you, may not be for someone else. The simple act of assuming this perspective will help you deal better with the characteristics of that person that bother you.
Unbearable People: How to deal with them without losing your mental balance?
- Design a clear plan and prove it mentally. The possibility of predicting what will happen next, as well as the feeling of having the control, reduces considerably the level of stress and feelings of discomfort. That is why, if you already know which are the characteristics of that person, you can prepare yourself mentally for the encounter. How long can it last? What could he tell you and what can you answer? Which ways of escape do you have if the situation degenerates? How will you deal with that characteristic that irritates you so much?
- Protect your inner peace. Patience and self-control are not infinite qualities, they finish quickly when we are exhausted or irritated. That is why it is important that you protect your mental balance. If you feel relaxed and at peace with yourself, the negativity of the others is less likely to make a dent in you and you will be able to manage those unbeaarable people much better.
- Develop a Mindfulness attitude. Many times we do not react to the situation but to the film that we mentally project about what is happening. That means we can give a meaning to the words, attitudes and behaviors of the other person that they do not really have. Therefore, the best way to deal with unbearable people is to assume a Mindfulness attitude, which implies not judging. When in doubt, do not draw hasty conclusions, better you ask and clarify.
- Do not personalize. If you take the situation to the personal level, it will be more difficult to bear the situation. This way you are more likely to feel humiliated or embarrassed. And everything that hurts you usually generates a defensive reaction. Therefore, when you have to relate to an unbearable person, try not to take it to the personal level. Assume 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. On the contrary, developing empathy is an excellent strategy to deal with unbearable people. Instead of feeding thoughts of anger, try to put compassionate thoughts in their place. Maybe that person behaves like this because he has had a difficult life, personal problems or because he suffers some mental disorder. It is not about excusing his bad behavior, but about preventing it from generating an intense emotional reaction that ends up destabilizing you.
- Set limits to your mental dialogue. One of the worst things you can do is keep thinking about what happened, about what you could have said but you kept quiet, blaming yourself for not having defended yourself enough. These ruminative thoughts will not do you any good, on the contrary, they will feed 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 do not, you will be giving this person enormous power because even if he is not present, he will continue to bother you.
- Be clear. Unbearable people tend to tighten the rope a lot, until reaching the breaking point. Do not let them do it. Know your limits and be clear about them. Speak firmly, so that the other person has clear what are the red lines that he should not cross.