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How to Deal With Difficult People or, How to Not Go Mad During the Holidays...

Man, haven't we all had to deal with some real wack-jobs out there? What? They're in your living room, and you just escaped to your only true friend, your computer, for a little solace? I know where you're comin' from, Baby. Been there,don't plan to go back.

However, when the Holidays hit, it's next to impossible not to have to come face-to-face with one of your biggest nightmares... or in some families, an entire flock of them. Oooh, and they can be some seriously ugly birds, too.

Here are some of my 'Tried & True' methods I use to cope, and the best method I've ever come across.

1. Avoidance. Works for me. I try to stay as far away from the 'Social Irritant' as possible. Another Country is great, but if not that, another State, a different Town, other side of the Kitchen Island if it's too late and they're already in your home. It's much more difficult to manage this clever Avoidance technique if you're stuck at their house, in which case, I suggest you move on to Number 2. And don't agree to go and stay in the Lion's Den, again -- a Cheap Motel is a better option!

2. Drink. And lots of it. Numb away the pain, I says. Shays. Shay, did I ever tell you that old joke about the... oh, wait. You're still in need of some help, and so I pass you another glass... Now here's the sad part -- I really did have to do this with a particular set of In-Laws (I've had more than one set, if you can believe that! ha,ha,ha! That's just for my own amusement...!), in preparation for them coming over. Thankfully, they were very distant, so I rarely had to see them, and it was my Mother-in-Law who was the most difficult one. I would put on the coffee early, get out the Baileys, and Voila! Therapy in motion. And it totally helped, too, since I laughed more and cried less... a good thing. Or at least, a slightly better thing.

3. Pretend. Oh, I used to pretend all sorts of things, just to maintain my own sanity. Can't remember the baby's name and you only have three Grandchildren? No problem. Why would a complete stranger know our sweet little baby's name, anyway? That doesn't even make sense... sob, sob, gulp, gulp... shure, I'll have more wine. Just pretend your day away. Are you in Hawaii on the Beach? On a Date with someone with a much better Family?? (That's a popular dream, I hear...) Anything you can imagine that will create a little emotional distance might work. Don't forget that drink! (Man, what would a Recovering Alcoholic do? Maybe remember the old days for a bit, and continue on to more 'functional' methods below...)

4. Read a Good Book. Pornography might be a good choice if you're still trying for that 'avoidance' thing, since folks will take one look and assume the worst... don't you hate that? Judgemental Bashtards. (I have to assume you went with Tip # 2, and now your own level of judgement is slightly impaired...) No, no. The bestest book I've ever read that truly helped me deal with Difficult People was (is) The Four Agreements, by don Miguel Ruiz. . Thank God I found that book before I went mad. It's hard to find a good book at the Loony-Bin... or so I've heard...

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In case you're reading this and it's an emergency situation, and you can order the book, but it won't be here until Monday, and you don't know if you can last that long, here's what I took out of that book -- It's not about you, it's all about them. Yep. You've probably heard that before, but get this -- it's true! Everybody has their own view of their own life, but they also have a view of YOUR life. They actually think they can tell you what to do, criticize you for who you are, what you want to be, how you like to dress or how long your hair is ... okay, that's my own family, but you might have a similar one, no?? ha,ha! Oh, great, now we're back to Tasty Method # 2...

So here's the deal. Who cares what they think or say about you? Who the hell cares. (Now you're an angry drunk...) You know who you are, and you know your Dreams are critical to your own success. Forget about the nay-sayers. I always think it's funny when someone says how supportive their family was all along -- it's been most peoples' experience that the family only begins to support you once you've reached the pinnacle of your success, and not a moment sooner. (Now who's the cynic?)

The really, really hard part is when this stuff involves your children. That's hard to deal with, because they're too young to be able to truly understand that mean words from an oldies mouth are from their own bitterness, and not because of the child. (And 'youngens' can be mean, too, so don't attach an age to a possible 'meannie'!) Tough to get that message across. Your only hope, there, is to 'tell it like it is' with your child, and give them all your love. They might have to learn early that not all people are nice, and not all the people are in your corner. (Where you are huddling in a small heap, right now... come on out. No need to hide anymore. Read the book and you'll be able to put it all into perspective. You'll love your new sense of Personal Freedom you get from one quick and easy read.)

Oh, and here's the thing -- you can still love someone who is less than kind to you. Often, you already do. I don't quite get the 'love' part of an In-Law story, though, since they're not a part of your Family, but if you plan to stay married, it's good to work out a deal in your own head where you can survive a Holiday Meal (or, God Forbid, a whole Vacation... in the same house... did I mention you can buy Booze by the Case? Yep. You might want to check into that...).

One thing I feel very strongly about when it comes to getting along with your Spouse's Family: If it's your Mother-in-Law or Father-in-Law who is giving you all sorts of grief, it's NOT your problem to sort out, as many wives have heard over the years. (Or husbands, depending on the relationship his wife has with her family. It's been my experience, though, that a woman is really good at defending her own family -- not so much herself, but really good at defending her children and husband from intruders. The same often can't be said for some husbands who want to pretend that everything is great, and nothing is happening. Nothing is happening. Nothing is happening. It's like a little 'husband mantra'! ha,ha,ha!)

The only person who can deal head-on with their own parents, or any other part of their own family is the one who is related by blood.Or a very, very long connection with said annoying family members...Nothing else will work, since you're the imported one. (Sounds like 'imported wine', and that brings us full circle back to glorious method # 2...) If they won't help you manage the difficult situation, try to make you deal with it, instead, or don't believe you when you cry all the way home that something terrible went down the second they left the room, and you were sitting there, desperately trying to mind your own business, when all hell broke loose (Oh, man. It happens like that, don't I know it), then just refuse to get into that situation, again. Make it a 'No-Go Zone'. If they want you to go, they have to help. If not, yippee! You've got the whole day to yourself!

Hey, you know what would be fun and would help you to get through (or over) all the crap that happens to you over the Holidays? Let's add your Painful Moments to my Site! We'll laugh, we'll cry ... we'll all commiserate. Then we'll all feel better to see that everybody on the planet has to deal with difficult, craaazy folks, so we might as well make fun of them, right? Come on! It'll be fun! Send in your stories -- not too graphic, please -- I'm just kidding about that 'porno' thing! Watch for language, too, although I'm totally okay with you mumbling under your breath while you write about your story! That's normal, anyway, ain't it? Remember to put in a Subject Heading so I'll open the email -- you might be surprised at some of the crazy folk who sometimes write to me... ha,ha,ha! No, they're my friends. I happen to like a person with a touch of crazy. They're funnier. They've figured out how to cope with difficult people with humor, which brings us back to making fun of any difficult situation. (Oh, and that's the 'Good Crazy', not the 'Aaah, You're a Nut - Crazy')

Actually, just thought of something... lately, since I read The Four Agreements, when someone says something crazy to me, or treats me in a bizarre way (there's a girl at the gym who appears to hate me -- whatever... I just laugh to myself and move on to the next piece of Equipment, where I lift massive amounts of weight to relieve my stress... uh, oh. Well, it's better than Crack, I say, so not to worry. 'Hooked on Lifting' oughtta be okay...)... Anyway, I go straight to the thought of what their perception of me is, and how I know it couldn't be further from the Truth. I know Me, so I just let everything slide right past me, now. Very effective.

Well, Good Luck with your tricky situation. Do drop me a line and tell us all about your terrible day, though -- maybe we can help. Take the burden off a little. (Did you just hear they were pouring Bourbon? Me, too -- gotta go see!)

Happy Holidays, My Pretty's. Pretties. Ptri-T's. Ugh, who can spell after all that booze?

Love, Laughter & Sanity! Ailsa

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<><><>< > I just really love the Amazon Gift Cards... perfect for somewhat lazies, such as meself! haha! I often will think about someone's Birthday, or Anniversary, or whatever it is that is not ME, well in advance, and then quickly and easily forget all about it, until I am panicked about a day in advance, and that's when I love Amazon Gift Cards the most! lol! They are little Life Savers for me! Makes me look good when I really a little bit Bad! hahaha :)

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Here it is -- The Four Agreements, by don Miguel Ruiz. Beautiful read. I picked up the Companion Book to The Four Agreements, and it's every bit as good (wonderful, if you will...) as the First Book of Agreements.The Companion Book to The Four Agreements is particularly useful when you are trying to cope with difficult people, and you need a better way.

Can't wait to get back up to my Sunroom (where I love to read!) to finish this next Book.Update: Now I've read every don Miguel Ruiz book I could get my hands on, and I loved them all. Especially The Mastery of Love -- wonnerful, wonnerful books!<The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom





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