The Dilemma of Difficult People

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Difficult people – we all know them.

At first glance, they may not look the same; after all, different people aggravate us for different reasons and in different ways.

But no matter what they do or what they say that puts us over the edge, you may be happy to know that there is a way to redeem the dilemma of difficult people.

Difficult people can make our lives miserable until we learn how we should respond to them. Proper responses from us can not only turn the situation around, they will help us grow, too.

Think back with me for a moment: when you come across someone annoying, what’s usually been your first response? Remember when you had a group project in school with the kid that just wouldn’t do ANYthing? Or when there was a team presentation at work, and you had to deal with that co-worker who was just oh-so-very controlling? Or maybe you were part of a committee where the chairperson had absolutely nothing good to say about your contributions?

How did you respond? What was your reaction?

When you were in that group project at school, weren’t you just counseled to do your best and get through it? Perhaps at work, with that uber-control-freak, you found yourself just backing off and letting the chips fall as they may? And didn’t you feel just a tad disappointed in yourself when you heard yourself talking trash to your peers about that super critical chairperson, in order to improve your reputation and feel better about yourself?

The thing about difficult people is this: we normally, at the very least, want to get away from them. At the other end of the spectrum, however, we may find ourselves wanting to do something to pay them back for the discomfort or pain they’ve inflicted.


One thing that you don’t need too much life experience to realize is this: there will ALways be difficult people in our lives. There will always be people who rub us the wrong way, who get our goat, who step on our very last nerve.

So I’d like to propose a better way to deal with those inevitable challenges. While it may not be easy or fun, I can guarantee that you will never again look at difficult people with the same attitude!

Ask yourself this about difficult people:

What is this person revealing about me?

See…because we will have difficult people in our lives, we will always, out of necessity, react. If we look for ways to escape the situation, we lose valuable opportunities to grow emotionally and spiritually. By taking your eyes off the other person, and putting your energy instead on self-improvement, you can turn the situation around.

In my free Building Healthy Friendships Mini Course, I take you on a journey through examining your friendships, learning how to put them in proper order, and even confronting the toxic friends in your life.

You can sign up for the free mini-course here:

Let’s look at the situations I presented in the beginning of this piece. Now I’m not a psychologist, but some of my personal experiences do suggest a few possibilities:

* Not approaching the student who doesn’t contribute to the group project may reflect a difficulty you have confronting others, standing up for yourself, or estimating the value of your work or abilities.

* Backing off from the control-freak may reflect similar issues, or perhaps a lack of self-confidence or self-esteem.

* Trash talking your critical chairperson may indicate subtle feelings of superiority or pride, or even envy or covetousness.

And only you know in your heart-of-hearts what is true.

See what we did there?

By turning it around, your energies can go to working on your own issues and healing whatever hurts or pains you own, which in turn helps you grow into a healthier person who is better able to handle those very same “difficult people”!

It’s not magic, but it almost feels that way.

It’s not simple, but if practiced, it can become a healthier “go to” response.

It’s not easy, at first, but over time and as it becomes more of a habit, it will become an effective tool for positive growth.

It certainly won’t remove those difficult people from your life…but it sure will put them to good use!

* The basis for this post came from a sermon delivered at Greenbriar Church in Albany, GA by pastor Tim Bice on April 10, 2016.

Find more posts written for Christian women below:

How to Surround Yourself With Safe People

5 Character Traits of Healthy Friendships

9 Ways to Spot a Toxic Friendship

5 Biblical Ways to Resolve Conflicts

The Dilemma of Difficult People

Recognizing God’s Divine Gift of Connections

5 Qualities of an Authentic Person

3 Things Single Women Need to Hear

One to One

The Despair of the Waiting Woman

Yoga Pants, Caffeine and Why We Still Care

While You’re Waiting on the Promise

10+ Books Every Christian Should Read

It’s Time to Shatter Christian Idols

10 Ways to Lead an Online Bible Study

15 Christian Influencers to Follow in 2018

Can Women Biblically Preach or Teach in the Church?

Weight Loss Starts From the Inside Out

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  1. Hi Rosilind, Yes, unfortunately my difficult and oppositional person is my mother and we’re living together. Sometimes I spend hours being hurt, and more unfortunately sometimes I lose whole days in a tail spend over something she has said or the way she has treated me. I know it sounds crazy as an adult to allow another person to have so much sway in your life…and I don’t think our relationship will improve until I can afford to leave here.

    I think my lesson here is that I need to move past my feelings because as long I stay in the feeling realm I’m “trapped”…like a wasp caught in a spider’s web. I think the root of this problem is my mother’s insecurity and jealousy, although she pretends to be in control. I have tried for the last 4-1/2 years doing everything possible to get along with her, yet she still finds fault with me. I tell myself to “let it go”, but more recently I say “let it be.” We’re both Christians, but she quit going to church when my 2 nieces were born in 2001 and 2003 so she could stay home and fix Sunday dinner for them. I don’t think she reads the Bible anymore but watches CBN every day.

    I know everyone probably has at least 1 difficult person in their life and sometimes you just have to walk away from them because there are no alternatives, at least mentally. I’ve also come to believe that there are some people who because of time and space, you’ll never have a good relationship with, and it’s just a waste of precious time trying to appease them. So, yes, I’ve been hurt and burned by this relationship, but I realize, too, I have to move on and hope for better things.

  2. Oh Buffy, that does sound like such a challenging situation for you. Somehow the mother-child relationship can shomehow get a bit “complicated” as we get older, doesn’t it?
    I’ll be praying for you both as God carries you along on this journey. I know that no matter what, we do have “hope for better things” in Christ!

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