Make the Impossible Person Bearable

By Bob Rausch, Ph.D.

Have you ever known someone who was impossible to please? No matter what you did it was never enough. Every time you were around this person you were on edge, constantly concerned that you might say or do something that would trigger their anger.  Even when you did what they wanted you were in danger of getting their wrath. The smallest mistake caused all Hades to break loose and you would be on the receiving end of a tsunami of anger, defensiveness, and abuse. Nothing seems to please them even though you continue to try and find something that will.

Come on Dr. Bob, you’re the energy doctor, can’t you give us a way to communicate with or please the impossible person. The answer is a resounding “NO.” There are some people who truly are impossible to please. I could give you all the psychological reasons why they are impossible but that won’t make any difference. The truth is you will worthlessly use a lot of energy if you get caught in the trap of trying to please the impossible person. However, there are some things you can do that will make it bearable.

  1. Accept the person as they are – Make no mistake people do things for their own reasons, not for yours or mine. Some of the most impossible people on the planet have their reasons for doing what they do.
  2. Stay away from criticism – If you do step number 1 it will be easier to resist criticizing the impossible person. This includes mentally criticizing them. When you criticize you are actually trapped by the person you are complaining about.
  3. Keep communication simple – Ignoring them is a set up for failure – give them the polite hello, good morning, and thank you. As best you can avoid any conversation that invites conflict.
  4. Stay away from any emotional response – They are behaving this way because of their own need. Don’t take it personally by using your energy to be angry or fearful.
  5. When they complain don’t participate – get neutral quickly. The best response is no response.
  6. If they attack, don’t defend – Don’t participate in an argument – If you sense they are setting you up don’t play.
  7. Stay away from explanations – Any explaining or defending yourself is fruitless.
  8. Spend as little time with the person as possible – The less contact the better, even if the person is a close relative.
  9. If it’s your boss take a risk – If you believe the boss will be receptive schedule an appointment and ask how to improve communication with him. However, if it turns into a conflict thank him for his time and immediately leave his office.
  10. Have a walk-away point – If it’s completely unbearable exercise your right to walk away. Some people are far too costly to continue a job or a relationship.

Lastly consider this old proverb; “There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.”


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