It is inevitable that we will encounter people who are difficult or challenging to deal with. Just as we are sometimes the difficult person to others! With so many personalities, opinions, values, and perspectives, it’s guaranteed that you will encounter people who leave you feeling frustrated or exhausted after interactions. Usually, those encounters happen infrequently – at a family gathering, in line at the grocery store, or especially online! Often, those interactions require us to regroup, breathe, maybe tell a few people, then let it go and move on.
But what happens when the difficult person you must deal with is someone you see daily or someone close to you? What if that person is your boss, your spouse, parent, or even your child? This can be exhausting and taxing on our mental health.
Symptoms & signs of the stress caused by dealing with difficult people
These emotionally charged interactions can leave you feeling the effects of stress, anxiety, and depression. Depending on the severity of the impact they have on you, difficult people can even be abusive and inflict trauma.
- Inability to stop worrying about encounters with this person
- Feelings of constant fear
- Feelings of never-ending stress
- Being easily startled and/or quick to panic
- Feeling socially isolated or alienated from others in your life
- Being withdrawn from everyday life
- Problems in your social relationships with others due to the feeling of being vulnerable
- Indecisiveness and inability to concentrate
- Low self-esteem
- Feeling worthless
- Lack of joy in things or activities that used to bring pleasure
- Feeling irritated
- Mood swings
- Fear of the difficult person
- Fear of attending school, work, or other events where the difficult person may be present
- Feelings of shame
- Misplaced aggression towards other people or family pets
- Openly or secretly planning revenge against the difficult person
- Trust issues
- Feelings of numbness
- Shock and confusion
- Trouble catching your breath
- Difficulty sleeping (Insomnia or excessive sleeping)
- Trembling, muscle tension
- Digestive problems (diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, etc.)
- Heart palpitations
- Back pain, chest pain, muscle aches, and joint pain
- Change in appetite or weight
- Self-destructive behaviour (alcohol or drug use/abuse)
- Exhaustion and fatigue
- Trauma response (PTSD)
When is it time to get help?
Generally speaking, if you’re experiencing symptoms that are affecting your ability to function, enjoy your life, or your physical or mental wellness, then it’s time to seek help. No one should have this kind of impact on your life and it’s okay to access support to reclaim your power from this person.
Treatment methods for the stress caused by dealing with difficult people
There is no one single treatment for dealing with difficult people because it depends on what impact they’ve had on you. For example, if this person has stirred up anxiety in you, then treatments for anxiety will be effective. If you’re depressed, then that’s the focus of treatment same goes for abuse, trauma, PTSD, etc. Together with your therapist, you will discover the best treatment method for alleviating symptoms.
What will I get out of treatment with Insight Psychological?
It’s important to note that in addition to treating symptoms, your therapist can assist you in fully dealing with the difficult person causing you stress. They can help you with:
- Effective communication (staying calm and reasonable when you feel anything but!)
- Setting healthy boundaries
- Finding allies if needed
- Making healthy choices such as deciding to distance yourself from the difficult person, if needed.
Infrequent encounters with people who are challenging is part of life. Having those people negatively impact your life to the point where it affects your health and happiness is not. Contact us and we can help you to break free from the stress of this relationship so you can find your way to peace, satisfaction, and contentment.