Feeling triggered whenever you deal with a particular difficult person who is part of your life, that is, they are not going away – you work with them or you are related to them and there’s no getting around it, you have to interact with them. You are stuck with them and they are stuck with you!
What’s your story about their story?
Here’s a tool that has helped some of my clients stay more grounded and calm when dealing with difficult individuals:
Facts → Story → Emotions → Behaviors
Everyone has their story about how they got to be how they are.
Try changing the story you are telling yourself about the other person. This way you might be able to better control, manage and direct your own emotions and behaviors.
Here are two examples:
Recently a client used this tool and changed her perspective on dealing with a difficult employee she was managing named Bob. When she interacted with him, rather than get annoyed (okay she still got a little annoyed), she turned towards having a more compassionate view of Bob by thinking about his difficult childhood (she learned he lost his parents at a very young age) – and that might be why Bob is the way he is. Same facts as before, but she changed her story about Bob, had different emotions about him and ultimately, was able to stay more grounded and calm during the difficult situations, feeling more compassionate towards herself (for having to deal with this employee) and her employee Bob (for being the way he is).
Another client mentioned he was changing his story about his boss Steve by bringing a sense of humor to the situation – reminding himself that while his boss Steve was making life difficult for him during many situations, his boss had to live with himself 24 hours a day (versus the few hours a day my client interacted with his boss Steve!). This helped my client bring a more compassionate view towards his boss and take a lighter view towards the situation.
Feel free to share your stories about how you have managed a difficult situation by shooting me an email about your story!