Last week, I suggested that a way to be more at peace and content in your life would be to stop trying to be reasonable with unreasonable people. Today, I want to explore how to know if you are dealing with an Unreasonable Person (UP). First,I mean no disrespect but use the term “Unreasonable” as a “broad-brush” that could apply to any number of difficult people. It could include serious problems such as addiction or personality disorders but could as easily apply to other people in your life. This article provides a list of signs that can help you identify if you are dealing with someone who is not responding to your actions in a reasonable or expected way.
How Do You Know if You’re Dealing with an Unreasonable Person?
You are likely dealing with a UP if you experience any of the following:
- Do you tense up when you see this person’s name on caller ID or feel drained or dread when you think about dealing with them?
- Do you often apologize or make excuses for this person? Do you make excuses for their bad behavior to family or friends or cover for them to their employer or teacher?
- Do you avoid social situations with this person because his/her behavior can be a problem?
- Do you avoid social situations without this person to avoid a backlash from him/her?
- Do you avoid social situations because you want to avoid talking about this person?
- When you are with other people, do you or others get upset if the topic of this person comes up?
- Have you helped this person numerous times only to be frustrated that they get into the same (or worse) jams over and over?
- Do you avoid giving opinions or censor your words to avoid conflict when you converse with this person?
- Do you stay alert or on edge when you’re with this person to steer away from emotional landmines?
- Do you stay alert to keep track of this person’s behavior – e.g., how many drinks they have, who they’re talking with on the phone (perhaps a dealer or someone who might upset your loved one)?
- Do you feel like you (or others) are blamed when things go wrong for this person?
- Do you sometimes apologize even when you know you’re not to blame, just to restore peace?
- Does it seem that your feelings, needs, desires, or viewpoints are ignored and only this person’s feelings or viewpoint count?
- Do you find yourself getting angry and swearing to never help or engage with this person only to later feel badly about your anger and relent?
- Do you ever feel like you’re in a parallel universe with this person because his/her version of reality is so skewed from your own? Does this person try to convince you that you’re imaging things or blowing things out of proportion when you get upset with their behavior?
- Are you confused sometimes by the reaction this person has to you or to other people or situations because his/her reaction seems abnormal?
- Are your words or actions taken out of context and you find yourself defending yourself over and over?
- Do you feel like a failure because no matter what you do, it is not good enough for this person?
- Do you feel confused because what was OK yesterday may be all wrong today?
- Do you spend an inordinate amount of time checking up on or cleaning up behind this person?
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, you are likely dealing with a person who has a mental health or an addictive disorder.
First thing you need to know is you are not alone and you can learn healthy ways to deal with your UP without turning your back on them or pulling your hair out. You must learn to separate yourself from the problem and learn to set reasonable limits and boundaries with your UP. More about that in an upcoming blog.