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What You Can Learn From the Difficult People in Your Life

Written by Dr. Debi Silber, founder of The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute

Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine

It’s likely that you deal with at least a few people that know how to push your buttons. However, you can learn a lot from difficult people. Challenging situations present opportunities for learning and growth. Are you making optimal use of the difficult people in your life?

What if the people you enjoyed the least actually taught you some important concepts? How powerful would that be? Would it justify the frustration a bit? Here are a few ways to make the best of the situation; even using it to your advantage.

  1. Learn patience. Whenever you’re stuck dealing with someone you’d rather avoid, use the opportunity to practice being patient.

  2. Learn to manage your emotions. You likely find that your mood and emotions take a turn for the worse when dealing with certain people in your life. It’s a great time to work on maintaining your composure in a stressful situation. Take advantage of their presence and use it as an opportunity to hone your skills.

  3. Learn about yourself. Why does a particular person drive you crazy? In many cases, you’ll find that the people you dislike possess characteristics that you also have, but dislike. Think about those whom you like the least and see if you can learn something about yourself.

  4. Gain an enhanced ability to focus. One effective way to be patient and manage your emotions is to focus on a resolution to the issue. If your thoughts stay centered on solving the challenge of the situation, your emotions can’t get the best of you.

  5. Practice relaxation techniques. There’s no better time to practice relaxation techniques than when you’re under the gun with someone. Bringing your stress down just a notch or two has many benefits. It’s good for your health and the situation.

  6. Learn how to let go. Do you allow a negative interaction to ruin your day or even your week? Suffering longer than necessary is hurting your health and well-being. Learn to how to let things go and enjoy the rest of your day. The interaction can only continue to haunt you if you allow it. Turn your attention back to the present.

  7. Learn to be compassionate and forgiving. Many difficult people have painful reasons that explain their behavior. It doesn’t excuse their behavior, but with more compassion and forgiveness, it won’t impact you in the same way. You can never be certain of what’s going on in someone else’s life. *They might be going through a divorce, a death in the family, physical abuse, shattered trust, betrayal, or serious financial challenges. Avoid taking the words and behavior of others personally. *Even the kindest of people have a bad day or even a bad decade. Learn to forgive others.

  8. Of course, if the person is abusive, breaking contact with them is likely your best option. Neither of you are learning anything if the abuser continues to be able to abuse, and if you’re tolerating abusive behavior.

  9. Difficult people show us how NOT to act, react and behave. They’re wonderful examples of what not to do. You’ve probably heard; “Hurt people, hurt people.” The people in your life who are miserable, judgmental, critical and pessimistic may be coming from experiences of pain, loss, rejection, abandonment, etc.. While it’s not an excuse for poor behavior, use their behavior as an example of what NOT to do.

The people that challenge our thoughts and emotions give us an opportunity to practice setting boundaries, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance and so much more. If you’re not using these challenging people and situations to your benefit, you’ll be ignoring an excellent opportunity for growth. Learn from the difficult people in your life. The skills you develop will come in handy.

Dr. Debi Dr. Debi Silber, founder of The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute is an award-winning speaker, bestselling author, holistic psychologist, a health, mindset and personal development expert who’s created a proven multi-pronged approach to help people heal (physically, mentally and emotionally) from the trauma of betrayal.


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