Dealing With Impossible, Negative or Crazy People
Today’s Taoist Question of the day from a Reader:
How do I deal with an impossible person?
The fast Taoist answer : With Kindness.
The much longer explanation behind the Taoist Answer
To be impossible, means that the person in question is limiting options in such a fashion that are unkind to your own needs or situation.
Several aspects need to be considered here.
The order in which you apply the options can vary, except option nine, which is always the last case option. Since once you invoke option nine, you change the dynamics of your situation, in an irreversible manner.
Option One: Clear communication.
Often times “impossibility” represents a breakdown of communication, where needs are not being clearly identified or expressed. Be patient and explain in different terms what is required in the situation.
But first, don’t just re-express what was said, rather take a moment to understand the other person’s perspective. In haste, we are often so involved with what we need, we fail to see what the other person might truly need or see. So with kindness take a moment to see the situation from the other perspective. Make sure you are not asking something that is considered impossible to the other party.
Then balance out their view and your own view and restate what is needed in a more balanced manner.
Sometimes this means taking a longer path to educate the person in such a way to show what you are asking isn’t limiting in itself.
If this doesn’t work, then you can restate what is required in a manner more towards your needs or their needs and this becomes negotiation. But only do this if it is clear the other person is willing to shift in their terms.
Option Two: Don’t be too nice.
If you are too nice, people are often impossible because they know they can take more from you. Be kind to yourself, stand up and respect your own situation and needs.
Being kind, is also always to respect yourself, your situation and requirements.
Option Three: With Humor or a Smile.
To be impossible: is to be stuck in limitation. Humor is the opposite of this, humor is all about possibility and changing perspective. Make a person laugh and you will open up doors that weren’t there before.
To smile is likewise to indicate you are open to working with them. Sometimes a simple smile can make all the difference.
Option Four: Without Judgement.
To be impossible: is to be stuck in limitation. These are people who are often judged very harshly by others and in that judgment people lash back out with judgment in return. Judgment is a limitation! So judgment creates impossible situations and interactions. Releasing your judgment of a person changes the whole dynamics of communication. If you open up a conversation with measuring comments or constrain them with judgment statements, you can often force a person into taking an impossible stance.
Likewise if a person starts with an impossible stance, talking to them in a non judgmental manner often melts down all barriers and limitations they put up to you. You will be amazed at how many impossible people you can melt away into become reasonable humans by releasing judgement of them.
A side note: This can be difficult to do when a person is very self judging of themselves. If you can help them release their own self judgement this can be the key to everything. But this is a delicate dance and can require lots of patience to achieve.
Option Five: Show respect or assist the other person.
Often impossible people are those with power issues. If this is the case, they are using the power to be impossible to help give them strength and definition. As a result, often you can give that person help in other manners, to help them find personal power or definition. This is a kindness if done in such a way a person can live more gracefully. Many times impossible people have issues elsewhere in their life. Some respect or assistance could help them release these issues and then in return will help you and stop being impossible.
Option Six: Go elsewhere.
Lets face it, occasionally you will hit some conflict that is not resolvable in the time frame you have. If this is the case move on.
Option Seven: Bring in another voice.
Many times you cannot go elsewhere. At this point you can bring in a third party to help broker the difference or to stand in for you.
Option Eight: Mix and match
At times you may have to mix and match several of these options together. A common blending is Options 1 and 5.
For instance, sometimes people put up fronts on purpose to test you, to see if “you are of worth” to interact with. In these cases, this is a mixture blending respect and communication style together. This type of individual will only work with those they respect, and it requires several different styles of communication to achieve respect. For example, some people only respect strength and require you to be willing to fight up front to prove your strength. Many people who are too nice, won’t fight and as such won’t gain this person’s respect. However, if you did fight up front with respect and strength then often once respect has been gain, this person will then “judge” you worthy and then change how they interact more kindly with respect.
Option Nine: Legal or Social pressure.
At times the problems involved are intractable social issues (for instance two people married who cannot agree what their marriage is really about) and as such, once you hit a social issue, that can’t be resolved with the earlier solutions, you then elevate it to the very social structure in place to deal with it.
This is why societies have legal systems and rules of conduct.
At times the kindest option is to go to system and to use the rules in place to figure out the best answer. Be aware, in this case, as society doesn’t care about individuals, this is often the least kind option to the people involved in the dispute. However, it’s often the last case option. People often hesitate to use this option for this reason, but it is a valid option and should not be shunned when needed to move on in life.
Please note: Option Six is long before the legal option on purpose. Legal or Social pressure is really the last course option to take, because it is true conflict at the deepest level of judgement and it’s almost always irreversible. You have to truly feel you are “right” and be judgmental to make this option work.
All the other options remove judgement from the picture. Option Nine is pure judgement…
Option nine should be the rarest option used, and yet because of most modern societies have become extremely judgmental societies, it is often sadly one of the first options to get used by people. Once used, it splinters apart and generates ripple effects of judgements that will impact your life long after the case is done.
If you look at older cultures and tribal cultures you will find this option is only used as last case recourse due to the social ripples it causes. This is one thing that has to change in modern society and won’t change until we begin living more kindly again.