Difficult people

If you’re going to be a difficult person, you better also have some charms.

I’ve encountered too many people who are pains-in-the-assses without having any redeeming features to offset that. Or at least not any they are willing to employ.

I’m not an easy person and make no claims to it. But I KNOW I have my charms. I know also that I can be reasoned with.

This man I knew who killed himself 6 months ago was a pain in the ass. But that wasn’t the whole story. I think that’s really why he got under people’s skin; because he couldn’t be dismissed (out of hand). He ranted and raved online (and sometimes in person) but he wasn’t evil and he wasn’t stupid. He wasn’t a nutcase. If you met him in a social setting, he had a rather disarming way about him even. He liked people.

Too many people are just sucking up the air, taking from everyone around them or trying to, without putting anything back out there. Always an angle, an AGENDA. Sometimes transparent, sometimes not so much, but there nonetheless. I’m weary of them. And wary of them.

Now me, I hold people’s feet to the fire. I pin them down. I hold them accountable. I don’t roll over. I find my ground and I stand there. I’m surprised by how often other people are surprised when I do any of the aforementioned. There’s something about me that must suggest “lightweight” at first blush. Maybe it’s the friendly demeanor, the easy laugh, the extroversion. Maybe it’s how I look. But screw with me, screw with someone I care about, interfere with my money or well-being, try to push me around, or deliberately mislead me, and I won’t take it kindly. And what I mean by that is I will stand up for myself, I will say my piece, I will quit or slow up on giving my time, my attention, and my resources to the other party, I will back away. Why is anyone surprised by that. I can’t even make it a question. I am a grown up lady in charge of her own life. And yet they are. They act faux-baffled when called out.

Difficult people without redeeming virtues however, by definition, raise holy hell for no reason. No apparent reason. Their causes are indiscriminate and interchangeable. It doesn’t matter what it is. It’s the rant du jour. They have no sense of humor about themselves or their weak points. They are loud and they are obnoxious and they put people off. Instead of giving attention, people learn to avoid them or quickly get rid of them. The difficult folks think barking and attacking is the way to go, the way to get others to hop, but those others will then almost never do them a good turn voluntarily.

When I was younger, difficult, obnoxious people could railroad me, cow me, demand my time and attention. I must have thought there’d be terrible repercussions for not acquiescing. But were there? Are there? The last thing I want to do now is reward jackass behavior. What are they going to do? If they are not my source of income, food, shelter, or love, what can they do? Not very much is what I’ve come to see. I ask myself: “Who is this person to me? What incentive do I have to please them? Why should I do what they want? What’s in it for me? These questions were so unnatural to me for a long time, dating back to childhood, but they’ve grown easier. You have to be able to relinquish what other people think about you. I had to train myself to say what do I care what a jackass or an obnoxious person thinks about me?? Oh no, they won’t think I’m nice?! Yeah, I had to give that up.

I don’t think it’s that really difficult people just don’t know HOW to act decently, to make requests or state opinions in a civilized way. Hell, they teach “please” and “thank you” on Sesame Street, don’t they??! I think that secretly they use the element of surprise, catch people off-guard in order to get their attention or do their bidding. We’re not expecting a stranger or acquaintance to haul off on us verbally, to make demands. I think people act the most difficult when they believe they can get away with it. When they think you – whoever you may be – are no trouble to them. When you are seen merely as a means to an end, their end.

If you’re going to be difficult, you best have your charms.

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17 thoughts on “Difficult people

  1. vanbytheriver

    You have offered up a great description of the classic narcissist. I had them in my family, and it took me years to recognize them for what they are/were. I spent/wasted many years trying to fall in lines defined by folks other than myself. Reality hit hard, and I walked away. 💘

    Very thought-provoking post, Colette.

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Thank you. The whole concept of being “difficult” has been stewing in my mind for awhile. I mean I’ve liked/loved my share of difficult people but they had other charms. I actually think narcissism is a bit different. Difficult people are very easy to spot, but narcissists can be much more subtle and for that I consider them more problematic/dangerous. Narcissists will make you question your sanity and reality itself in a way a plain old jackass never will.

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  2. George

    Very interesting piece, Colette. I agree with most of what you wrote, I just don’t know if difficult people are worth my time even with any charms they might possess. One seems to eliminate the other for me. The exception would be if their “charms” made them nice and considerate people and their difficulties were simply annoyances that I can handle. Otherwise, I don’t need to walk with extra baggage in my life just because they may have pleasant personalities when their moods are convenient for them or serve their purposes. That’s just manipulation and I don’t have the time or stomach for erratic behavior.
    You were very passionate with your words. It appears someone got under your skin recently..:)

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      I get where you’re coming from but oftenimes for me the difficult people are the interesting ones. They are not “easy going” or “mild-mannered” or always “agreeable.” Hence the need for a charm or two or three. And I have to revisit what I said about myself: not an easy person in the manner in which I described. So it’s good I have my charms.

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      1. George

        Lol…I’m sure whatever charms you have help you. Not sure why you feel you’re not an easy person. That’s too broad a statement for me.
        I know a lot of interesting people that are not difficult at all. I think you’re generalizing to a certain degree, which is probably what anyone can do I these situations…:)

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          1. George

            That’s very true. Some of the best creative people who ever lived were very complicated, had dependencies and at times were self destructive. While incredibly gifted and interesting, they could be difficult or a burden to those who cared for them. Just an example, of course.

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  3. Anne Mehrling

    Most interesting! I’ve been subjected to many rants and never considered walking away to be an option. It hasn’t happened recently, so maybe I’ve left all the undesirables behind. Gosh! An awful thought! Maybe everyone has walked away from me!!!!!

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Oh no! But nah, I doubt you’re the difficult one.[smiley face] I wasn’t necessarily thinking literally walking away but yes, it can be done. Refusing to be baited, being noncommittal, not engaging, not answering “questions”, it can all be done. Just need steely determination. (And when you see nothing all that bad happens, it builds confidence.)

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