How To Deal With Difficult Relationships


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It is important to learn how to deal with difficult relationships and difficult people. If we don’t, those situations can permeate our whole being, until we become difficult ourselves.

Many of us have episodes and memories in our life that we would rather forget about. Few of us have the courage Jennet McCurdy has shown. Jennet, ex-Nickelodeon star, is getting a lot of flak over her memoirs, that she titled ‘I’m Glad My Mom Died’. After suffering years of abuse from her mother, she says writing the book has been therapeutic for her.

 It’s easier to sweep those negative incidents ‘under the carpet’ and pretend they never happened. Many times they form the foundation of our life, as what we learn as children has a powerful impact on us. Negative parenting has a deeper and longer lasting effect on a child than positive parenting.

Not everyone has Jennet’s drive to write about bad experiences, but there are other simple steps you can take.

Negative Parenting

It’s hard to understand why a parent abuses a child, or why mother-in-laws earn themselves such a bad name. What is the demon in their head that drives them to be difficult? A child rarely has the privilege of a troubled parent opening up to them. You need to see past whatever created that difficult parent in order to move on and develop a healthy way of life.

The first step to dealing with negative parenting is to distinguish between healthy parental expectations and unnecessary control. It is natural to be angry at that parent, then feel guilty because you feel that way. The aim is to come to a place where you can forgive the parent.

You need to recognize your own sense of worth and identity, and are not the person your parent/s see. You should be self-sufficient with a healthy self-esteem.

When confronting a difficult parent, enlist the assistance of a family member or friend your parent/s respect. This may help to keep the peace. It is important to remain civil, no matter what happens. Staying deadly calm is the only way to get your message of independence across.

My daughter is moving out of the area where I live. Having moved to be near her, this was really distressing. I used writer’s license and thought back across the years of heartache I must have caused my mother. I didn’t just leave the immediate area, I often put an ocean between us. I was the only daughter, so that would have added to her pain. After visiting me, her last words would always be, “I may never see you again.” I believe that is called condemnation.

Finding Your Own Space

You need to establish strong and consistent boundaries in any difficult relationship, as respectfully as possible. Cutting all ties, particularly with a parent, only ends up making you feel extremely guilty.

When all else fails, you may need to gain some space of your own, through modifying the relationship. The important issue is that you forgive that person who is being difficult. You have no knowledge what demon in their head is driving them.

Letting Go

Before an eagle lays her eggs, she lines the nest with soft moss and feathers. When it’s time for the eaglets to leave the nest, she plucks the soft lining out of the nest, leaving only prickly bare sticks. The youngsters quickly get the message. Some parents need to learn a lesson from the eagle.

Parents rarely recognize when it’s time to let go. As a child, you are not obligated to your parents to the point they stifle you. You need to build your own life, with or without their approval. It can also be difficult to recognize problems and know when to step out of a difficult relationship.

How To Deal With Difficult Relationships

No one said it would be easy learning how to deal with difficult relationships, but there are some benefits from having to deal with a difficult parent or relationship. It can instill a powerful need to prove who you are and give you the ability to deal with difficulties. The sad thing is, that a young an inexperienced wife you can be easily cowered by an aggressive mother-in-law. Or later on, it can be step-children.

We all have the right to be ourselves, without judgement or condemnation from others. When a situation becomes sticky, draw back and find some safe ground to operate from. Don’t press on, to your own detriment.

Rules On How To Deal With Difficult Relationships

There are some general rules for dealing with difficult relationships. Taking a firm line won’t help in a difficult relationship. It is vital to stay calm and controlled.

As you move away from the confrontation, quickly replace the negative comments with something that is realistic and positive. Each time you renew a memory, it becomes more deeply imbedded in your psyche, so don’t dwell on the incident. When you can, laugh at the absurdity of the situation. Laughter is the great healer.


Some people will think ill of you no matter what you do. You need to get on with your life, and accept that you can’t change their mind.

You don’t need to take abuse from anyone, so limit the negative contact where possible. Walk on, with forgiveness in your heart. Harbouring bitterness and resentment will only leave you offended and bitter.

No Retaliation

When you face the contagionist, use a soft voice and avoid aggressive eye contact. Keep your body language relaxed and remember, arguments improve nothing. Don’t behave like the offending party and, above all, don’t hold a grudge.

You can spend your life looking backwards, or you can concentrate on being a better person. Let them get on with their own life. There is no such thing as healthy retaliation.

I used to receive disturbing texts from a family member late at night. Some comments were really upsetting, so I blocked their number. After several months, I heard from a third party that the contagionist was upset they couldn’t get in touch with me. I nervously reinstated the number. They have since held a civilized conversation with me. I am still very cautious and have to-date, avoided face-to-face meetings.

If you stop and look back, you’ll find that difficult relationships have an element of the ridiculous in them. It is better to find something to laugh about rather than looking for revenge, even if it is just to laugh at yourself. Laughter truly is a healing hand.

Tomorrow Is New

Your entire life can be poisoned by negative relationships. Some people are content when they think negatively about others. The fact is, you can’t please all the people all the time. Learn to walk on and laugh at yourself.

Despite what may have happened in your past, you need to be true to yourself. Aim to be the best you can. Tomorrow is a blank page, not yet written on.

Believe In Yourself

Some people spend their life saying ‘If only…….’ and they can’t change yesterday. Believe you can cope with today and move on, one foot after the other. Every journey begins with just one step, then you take another. Don’t take the blame for the way others behave.

When things threaten to overwhelm you, talk to someone you can trust. You are not on your own. There are people out there who understand what you are going through. Your voice is important and you are valuable.

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    Wendy is an Inspirational Freelance Writer specializing in offering encouragement to women in all walks of life.

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