Leslie Huddart L.Ac.

How To Deal With Difficult People – Empath’s Guide

One thing we know about people is that they can be difficult, sometimes really difficult, especially people that you live and work with. So how do we deal with them?

As we go through healing processes, what happens is that we heal in ourselves and then we realize that we’re not in a vacuum and we actually need that bridge of how to deal with people on the outside. 

Today’s question came from someone in our community: “Leslie, I’ve made so many changes from subtle body work. I’m making twice as much at my job. So many things in life are so much better. And I noticed this pattern about myself that I still get triggered by difficult people. I see myself reacting in the moment and is not good for me or for them.”

How Do I Not React In The Moment?

Today, we’re gonna go over four key steps to really transform your ability to be free and less affected even while other people are still kind of being wounded jerks. And this is important because if we are suffering, we’re suffering in ourselves. 

You Are The Common Denominator

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably head and shoulders above the average person who has yet to come to the realization that they are the common denominator of their experience. This is just the way of the world, of the outer world. We need to be equipped as striving heart-aligned people to not just help ourselves, but do so in a grounded, 50% line appropriate way. In our Subtle Body work, we want to extend and radiate that grounded safety to other people without being a doormat, still getting our needs met and serving other people but not throwing ourselves under the bus.

The number one key here is:

1. Make a mind shift.

And that is that always the biggest problem of a situation with a difficult person. The most important solution is myself. It’s true. They’ve got wounding, they’ve got personality aspects, they’re hard to deal with. But if I’m in a situation where I’m worried about losing sleep, getting sucked into the whirlpool with the difficult person, the 51% important thing to deal with is the Velcro in myself. And that must be dealt with because Subtle Body tenant rule, ‘It’s never about what it’s about.’

It’s Not What You Wanna Hear, Life is coming from me, not at me. 

This is a whole area that we deal with in the Body Wisdom Academy and Subtle Body training. You have to actually be able to find out, where is the Velcro that that negative person’s sticking to the most?

So that mind shift. It doesn’t mean that the person isn’t a major cause in the problem, but if I’m getting triggered, there is always 51% of my attention that needs to be focused in me.

And you can know that you’re getting traction in this area when you can think about the person…think about the issue that happened. Pull up their crappy behavior in your mind and if it triggers you, you really feel into it and ask yourself, how much does it trigger me?

Check In With Yourself

If you’re anywhere 5 or over, that’s enough Velcro in your thing, in your body, in your system that you need to deal with that first. This is very practical because that’s what will help you stay functional in the moment.

The rest of the things that I can give you, if you are so triggered by something that you go from 0 to 10 in two seconds flat when something happens, you’re not gonna stay functional or apply these techniques.

So the mind shift is the most important here. Not what you wanna hear, nobody wants to hear that we are the source of our experience, but that’s really important. 

Strategic Prevention

2. As much as you can, think about strategic prevention.

Now this is not always easier possible, but let’s think about the situations in which it is. If you know that someone is a difficult person, obviously if you’re having this conversation, there’s some way that you’re linked in with them, you work with them, you can’t avoid them at the office, but I want you to think about doing what you can to set up not getting yourself stuck in that situation.

Set Up Expectations In Advance

“Hey, just wanna know, I know we’re having that meeting tomorrow. I’d like to go over X, Y, Z first.”

Is that amenable to you? If it’s a family member planning things in advance, talking with that difficult person or with other people, family members involved in the situation and letting your preferences be known. “Hey, I know that difficult person, Sibling A always, you know, needs to have these things in that certain way that doesn’t work for me and everybody else. So I’m going to make do as much as I can not to uber control the situation, which is never really possible, but I’m gonna make my ideas and my preference known and maybe have everybody decide to have it at a different venue….or to do things in a certain way that will minimize the difficult person’s ability to control the situation.” 

Minimize The Suffering

If you’re at a family dinner and part of the difficulty of that person is that when everybody’s seated at the table, they control the conversation and sort of hold everybody hostage awkwardly at the dinner table. Maybe you preemptively prevent and you try a new family tradition where people sit at small tables or you do something that’s out of the box. 

There’s always five different ways that we haven’t thought about that you can do things differently that will minimize the suffering of that person from being contagious. This is not always possible, but it’s a good thing to run through your mind because often we don’t think about changing the situation or communicating in advance to that difficult person or to anybody else. 

I want you to open your brain and analyze the situation if there’s anything you can do. 

Number three, and this is a huge one. Maybe one of the biggest.

3. Train and manage your initial reaction.

Where most of us get stuck with difficult people is, especially if you’re a bit of a truth teller or a bit of a boss lady or a bit of a like tell ’em like it is– we can get stuck in that initial reaction where it just comes out of our mouth before we even realize it and then we have escalated the situation. So although other people are sometimes very difficult, we need to train and manage in ourselves to work ourselves out of initial reaction.

Practice Ahead Of Time

And the way that we do this is very practical. We practice ahead of time and we practice doing a filler. We train ourselves when something comes up, we train ourselves to go, “Hmm, interesting.” 

So you can sometimes train yourself to do a little like namaste class, the hands in front of you. This is also helpful to sort of like put a little space between you and the other person. Give yourself sort of a tactile reset of like, “Huh, interesting.” I want you to practice in the mirror saying things like, “Hmm, interesting.” 

Then you go to something like, “I wanna make sure that I’m understanding you right. I wanna make sure that I’m tracking with what you just said.”  

This combo of space filler and getting comprehension. Yes, you may have heard directly what that jerk just said with their crazy idea that is stabbing everybody in the back at the workplace, but instead of you going backstabbing, you go, “Huh, interesting.”

Toss The Ball Back In Their Court

You can also add in a little bit here, an appropriate share from yourself. Something that’s kind of neutral of like, “Oh, I’m surprised to hear you say that.” Or “Oh that wasn’t what I was expecting.” Hmm, okay, then you go to, “I wanna make sure I’m understanding now,” even if you are 99% sure what you just heard that jerk say, you are still gonna say this. Partly because it adds to your filler, it keeps you internally staying with yourself using all of your inner Subtle Body Tools and giving yourself some time. But now you’re also kind of tossing the ball back to them. 

This leads us to our last key point for dealing with difficult people.

4. Energetic Communication

Now, energetic communication, is a very specific word we use that is created and attached with Subtle Body Work…but essentially what we’re going for is using various words that connect with the energy between people, what’s happening underneath.

Energetic communication is very wide and we train deeply in this over the course of the Body Wisdom Academy. But in terms of things you can use right away, you’ve started from working on your initial reaction. “Oh, interesting. I’m a little surprised to hear you say that. That’s not what I was expecting. I wanna make sure I’m hearing you correctly.” 

So now we’ve shifted to number four part A:

4A. Require a response from them. 

Instead of them being in the power position of like, bam, now you’re reactive and I’m gonna escape from the scene before I can have any consequences… You sort of hold them there and you get them to share more. And often when that happens, it will bring out the delusion behind what they think is actually a good idea. Sometimes people will contradict themselves, sometimes they’ll get nervous.

Bring Their 50% To Light

It gives a lot of time and it sort of brings their 50% to light. It’s also helpful because sometimes they will share their thinking in a way that will help you get more depth of understanding of where they were coming from. Often if they are a really difficult person, it will also bring to light how they really weren’t thinking about other people or how they don’t give a crap about what happens with other people.  

It Starts With You

Start with yourself, make that mind shift and work as best as you can to get out the Velcro in yourself, which is never really about what it’s about.

Anytime we are triggered by another person, it’s because we have some sort of Velcro for it within ourselves. This is what Subtle Body work and the Body Wisdom Academy help us free ourselves from. Because you have to be very specific and it’s not always straightforward. That doesn’t mean that the person isn’t difficult or a jerk or a little bit malicious.

  1. Your business is to clean up your Velcro within yourselves and you will become more skillful as you do that. 
  2. Think about prevention of the situation. How can I minimize in a group setting, in a group geometry, how can I minimize this person’s effect on the group? 
  3. Really work and train on your initial reaction. Couple times during the day, maybe every time you go to the bathroom, you finish by washing your hands, looking in the mirror and going, “Hmm, interesting, that’s not what I was expecting.”
  4. Practice the energetic communication stage to keep people talking and to bring out what they were actually thinking. 

Stay Clear In Yourself

People are everywhere and they are a great gift and reflection to help us see where we still got Velcro in ourselves and how we can be more free. Because it is a gift to see other people’s essential suffering that they’re trying.

Their wounding is trying to be contagious by being difficult. Instead saying, “No, I see you. Your crap is on your 50% and I’m here doing my job.” That will minimize it. 

You can’t transform other people, but you can help the situation greatly by staying clear in yourself and facilitating a way better outcome for everyone involved.

Disclaimer: This program is not intended to be a substitute for professional mental health or counseling services.  No practitioner-patient relationship is established and the training content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.  These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and nothing here is intended to diagnose, cure or treat any disorders.

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