How to Manage Difficult People: Helping a Difficult Person

Alphabet of emotionsAs you have seen in the previous post, every difficult behavior can be mapped to an unfulfilled need that the “difficult person” cannot find other ways to fulfill. Each need is a strong belief that they must have something, they cannot live without it and they can only get it by “being difficult”.

Now that you understand the missing feeling that difficult people are searching for, you are probably asking yourself, “What do I do to give it to them?”

One of the biggest challenges of helping and supporting difficult people is the fear that giving them what they want will make them think their obnoxious behavior is a good strategy of getting what they want and it will only make things worse. I have heard this claim millions of times when working with children – “If a child is behaving in a bad way and you give him what he wants, he learns that this is a legitimate way to get what he wants”.

Well, that is not the case.

Focus on needs, not desires

There is a big difference between giving children what they say they want and giving them what they need. Much like difficult people, children do not know that they behave the way the do to fulfill a need. If they knew, they would give themselves that thing without the difficult behavior.

If you focus on giving them what they need, then after a while, when the need is fulfilled, they will calm down and ease their demands. I am not saying, “Give them what they want”, I am saying, “Give them what they really need”. Give them what they are missing, because they do not know how to give it to themselves and may not even know what it is.

Read more about how to help difficult people


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