Yes, I know… some people are so difficult to communicate with.
It can be a colleague, a family member, or just someone we occasionally meet but always feel that something is off in our interaction with them.
This negative emotion can range from anxiety, stress and sadness to anger, guilt, and self-pity. It can take a while to process these emotions before we regain balance and move on with our lives. Until the next time we meet them.
It’s a vicious circle, but why does it happen?
There are usually some deep-rooted reasons, especially if it happens repeatedly, and psychotherapy can help to gain insight and understand the reasons.
However, I can give you some tips on how to make the interaction less upsetting and more constructive. It can also help you understand why others might react to you in certain ways.
Tips for better communication
When we feel uncomfortable in someone’s presence, we tend to avoid eye contact or withdraw from the conversation, irrespectively, whether the other person did something to cause it or not. This instinctive reaction leads to disconnection.
Instead, we can examine our feelings, observe them, and delay our reactions. It will help us decide how to act according to our values and goals.
How we see ourselves affects our relationships with others. Accepting ourselves “just the way we are”, with all our positive or negative attributes, is invaluable for accepting others. When our tolerance towards ourselves and our performance improves, we free ourselves of our own or other people’s expectations or judgement.
Relationships can be challenging, and we will all get triggered by someone at some point, which might cause us to feel uncomfortable emotions (e.g., shame, sadness, frustration) and even lead us to act unfavourably (e.g., blame, criticism). When this happens, we must examine what is triggered and find ways to look after ourselves. We can only be kind to others if we can be kind to ourselves.
In therapy, we learn about human behaviour and the impact of past experiences. When we realise that people’s behaviour is intrinsically linked with difficult experiences they endured growing up and current triggers activate their unresolved trauma(s), it can explain a lot about how and what they are talking about and how they behave.
Accepting that some relationships are complex is a liberating act that eventually can impact the nature of our relationship with other people.
Some relationships that are still present in our lives have hurt us in the past. Suppose we decide to keep these relationships in our life. In that case, it is crucial to work on forgiveness to protect both partners from maladaptive coping mechanisms we may inadvertently or not implement. It is not an easy process, but psychotherapy can help you to feel peaceful about the past.
If you find certain communication situations difficult, psychotherapy can help you.