Really -- not me. My moderate tendency to introversion aside (and with Sophia Dembling's help, I'm recognizing this isn't much of a problem), I've got a generally sunny and optimistic personality. For which I take no particular credit. I think it's a function of heredity, for the most part. And a certain amount of will power. A deliberate focusing on the good stuff, most of the time . . . . (sorry about the exasperating Pollyannishness that this can also exude).
But quite often here at Spark I read Spark friends' blogs describing various conflicts arising out of interactions with their challenging family members or work colleagues or friends! (Today, MJREIMER's blog sparked this thought).
A wise and elderly person whom I had the privilege of getting to know very well once told me that it helps to characterize such individuals as just "having a difficult personality to manage". You know the kind of person I mean: perpetually griping; perpetually entitled, perpetually self-focused; perpetually critical; perpetually just plain miserable to deal with. They might not even realize it. It's like asking a fish about water: their emotional condition is the only one they know.
We'd prefer to steer clear of such types. Yet we must quite often deal with them: the toxic mother-in-law, the imperious boss, the sulky teen, and maybe even from time to time the dear spouse?? (Not mine, thank goodness).
But I do have such people in my life whom I can't avoid. It's pretty much a certainty you do too. And yeah, it does help simply to recognize that those individuals very often suffer from that "difficult personality". Which they don't know how to manage.
Because it's their burden. Their loss. Generally their poisonous outlook on life that diminishes every aspect of their journey here. Even when "being difficult" works for them, or they think it does. ("Sure, we'll come to your place for Thanksgiving AND Christmas." "Yup, absolutely I can work overtime tonight. And tomorrow." "OK, you don't have to clean your room before you go to the mall. When you come back. If you're not too tired."
Me, I have a difficult metabolism to manage!! Every calorie I take in is present and accounted for!! Whether I track 'em or not, my body is tracking 'em. Always.
But . . . I'm pretty grateful that my problem is the difficult metabolism and not the difficult personality.
And I'm not going to let those persons with unmanaged difficult personalities stress me out and tip me into mismanaging my own difficult metabolism.
No way. Not happening.
PS, my response to _LINDA's great response, below:
Loved your comment on my "difficult personalities" blog. My absolutely fave strategy to deal with such persons is to "nice 'em out", yeah!! Modelling the appropriate behaviour; not rising to the bait; and simultaneously exasperating the pants off 'em!! Oh revenge is sweet.