How To Deal With Difficult People

Episode #32

Have you ever had to deal with a difficult person? Does it sometimes feel like these “difficult” people follow you in the course of your life? We can be so quick to label someone as difficult but, oftentimes, we have trouble in knowing how to deal with these people. In this episode, we get to the root of why someone can be “difficult” for us. Listen in and learn some practical ways to handle these relationships in a healthy way for your own well-being and sanity!


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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Ashley
Hi ladies! As an empty nester and a mom with young kids, we both share very similar and very real struggles. Through our faith and our friendship we’ve come together to bring to you this podcast, from chaos to coaches now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life filled with more peace and more joy. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the Rise Up and Shine podcast.

Claudine
All right, welcome back. Ladies, if there was ever a time to rise up and shine, it’s now as most of you know, we’re going through a lot of things in our world, we’ve got the pandemic, we’re almost on month three. And now we have a lot of pain and suffering, revolving around racism and discrimination. We’ve had looting and peaceful protests, which is great, but a lot of violence as well, the last couple of weeks, we thought today we would do a special podcast just to discuss our thoughts, and hopefully bring some practicals that can help us all moving forward.

Ashley
Yes, I definitely wanted to focus a lot on our emotions to Claudine, just for our listeners, because things like this, I mean, 2020, we’ve been going through a lot and trying to get back on our feet. But unfortunately, it seemed like we go from a pandemic into another crisis. And there’s a lot of emotion that’s being stirred up right now. And what I’ve noticed as well and felt myself personally is, there’s a lot of emotion that is coming about from a much deeper place, when we have certain fears that we’ve lived with, or we have certain beliefs that we formed way in our childhood, when those get triggered by certain things. And you know, like this with just injustice, it triggers a lot of those deep rooted thoughts and beliefs and fears. And it just boils a lot of emotion to a whole degree. And so that’s why we’re here today, just because we really wanted to address these emotions, and what do we do with our emotions? How do we recognize what emotion we’re feeling? You know, where do they come from? And so that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Claudine
Yeah, and it’s, for me, it’s been really difficult. To be honest, I’ve been pretty radio silent on social media and anything public. For me, honestly, it started with a mod arbory, which was he was shot in February, but it really came to light more in May. But for me, you know, and some of our listeners know, but not all, my youngest son is adopted, and he’s African American. And for some reason, that really triggered a lot of fear in me, I started getting fearful for my son, what if he goes out on a job? Yeah, and doesn’t come home. And he’s 25. And he’s one of the sweetest, most caring, compassionate young man, he wouldn’t hurt a fly. He’s gentle and kind and loving. But if people are going to judge him by the color of the skin, they won’t know that. And it triggered a lot of fear. And I remember he was about he’s the same age as Trayvon Martin would have been. And when he was shot, he was about 17 or 18. And I remember having to pull my son aside and talking to him, you know about that, and, and different people along different young black men over the last decade that have been shot and killed and, and he’s like, Yeah, I know, Mom, I know these things already. But as a mom, it creates for me, I started having a lot of fear. And then as a white woman, I started feeling well, it’s not my place to share, because I haven’t personally endured this. So my fears as a mom were pretty intense. And there was one night then though, and then the George Floyd thing happened, and then the protest started happening and the looting. And there’s one night where I found out that there was a protest and looting and a lot of violence going on about five minutes from where he lives. And I texted him, I wasn’t sure if he was going to go protest, or if he was staying indoors. I didn’t know and I tried reaching him and I couldn’t. And my heart was just gripped with fear that I couldn’t reach my son. And I just thought, I hope he safe. Now thankfully, he’s got a little bit of healthy fear. He’s like, No, I’m just gonna stay indoors. I don’t want to be around the violence or the craziness. You know, there’s other ways to make change. So I felt grateful for that. The other part of it is that my husband and I, we lived through the LA riots in 1992. So as this progressively got worse, the looting and the curfews and the violence, it triggered a lot of that for me, and that was 28 years ago, and I just felt sad, like, nothing’s changed. It’s been 28 years and nothing’s changed. So I had to deal with all my own emotions. Dealing with fear dealing with hopelessness. And I’m just grateful that I’ve had a lot of one on one talks with my friends, both white and people of color. And I’m so grateful for their helpfulness, feeling like changes coming, good changes coming. And it really helped pull me up from feeling hopeless and fearful.

Ashley
What you just said earlier, even about living through the riots 28 years ago, again, it’s fear you’ve experienced this time around is just compounded with what you went through lifetime. How have you been dealing with the emotions, the roller coaster of emotions that you have been experiencing with this, especially in regards to your son? And I think it’s great that he’s having this healthy fear, as you say there, how did you start becoming aware of these emotions that you are feeling?

Claudine
Well, that’s it, that’s your you hit it, it’s becoming aware, first of all, so I could feel the fear, right. And I could feel the hopelessness, but I had to then examine the thoughts like, what thoughts are creating these emotions. And so my thought was, my son is going to get hurt or killed because of the color of his skin. And that was creating the fear. So I had to really look at that thought and go, it’s possible for sure it’s possible. It’s also possible he lived till he’s 95, and have a long prosperous life and, you know, a long lineage of family members and all that. So which thought Am I going to choose to focus on and so I had to do that, first of all, is become aware of the thoughts that were creating the fear, creating the hopelessness. Because the thought, for me that made me feel hopeless was things haven’t changed. Nothing’s changed in 28 years. Well, that’s a really depressing thought. Yeah. And even though there’s certainly a lot of similarities, and it feels like that, to me, because of that thought, the truth is, there has been change, and there will continue to be change. And now he’s probably going to be an opportunity for even greater change. So really becoming aware of my thoughts that we’re creating those emotions, and then taking them captive, choosing which 1am I going to focus on, like, which 1am I going to choose to spend my mental energy on, I can keep thinking my son has dark skin, and he’s going to get killed, or I can, I can think, you know what, God has a plan for his life. And he’s going to protect him. And he’s smart, and he doesn’t fall headlong into trouble. And he’s going to be okay. And so that, that helps me first becoming aware of the thought, because I was having all these feelings, right, I’m feeling all these feelings, I’m feeling anxious and depressed and don’t know what to do with it. And it’s like, hold on, I know exactly what to do with this. This is what we teach. This is what I coach, other women on, what are the thoughts and really putting them down on paper and going, Okay, I’m going to choose a new thought to think on, it’s a possibility he could go out, he could get killed, but any of us could really, regardless of the color of our skin, we may not be, you know, need down by a police officer, but any of my children at risk every time they leave the house to injury or death. So trying to focus on the positive for him, and then trusting and hoping in the positive that’s gonna come from all of this being faithful that good is coming. And honestly, it was friends of color that helped me see that they’re the ones that were feeling positive and faithful and hopeful. So that was really encouraging for me.

Ashley
Yeah, that’s really reassuring, because we are led by what we’re filled with, you know, so what we are choosing and allowing ourselves to be filled with is how we’re going to go about, you know, it’s going to affect our choices, it’s definitely going to affect our emotions, if we are focused on certain thoughts like, well, this will never change, or we, you know, haven’t gone very far. Like, right, like you said, you know, nothing’s changed after all this time. And so many times we can focus on what we’re not there yet, rather than being filled with fear, full thoughts, being filled with helpful thoughts. And it takes a conscious effort, because whatever we’re feeling is fueled by our thoughts. So if we’re filled with a lot of fear and anger, then it’s great to take a look at what am I thinking about? What What thoughts Am I putting focus on right now?

Claudine
Exactly. You know, and a lot of thoughts aren’t even, we’re not even conscious of them. They’re subprime. Right, right. So, like the basement of a house, we have a lot of thoughts that are maybe not useful, maybe that we’re not even aware of. I mean, we don’t have basements here in California. We have storage units, but you know, you think about that. That’s where people store things that they don’t use often. And you often forget about it. I think about the thoughts that some of us may have from our childhood or from our early upbringing, that we’re not Even conscious of you and I were talking earlier, and both of us have a thought that as young women, I’m a little older, but still young enough young women who are young at heart, we don’t want to go out at night alone. Like, that’s something that both of us in our early childhood were taught or came to believe somehow, that it’s not safe for women to be out alone at night. And certainly not to put that in the same category as discrimination for the color of your skin. But yet, that’s a belief that you and I both have, we both believe that in it, it drives our emotions and our actions. And sometimes we need to re examine that and say, now, is that a useful thought? does it serve me and a lot of thoughts we have, it could be on racism, or classism or sexism. They’re not useful to us. But we have to become aware, it’s kind of like you have to get those thoughts, bring them up, bring them upstairs and unpack them. You know, most all our belongings are in storage currently, as you know, through all this through a pandemic, and through civil unrest, we have packed up all our belongings, put them in storage, and are soon to be headed on a three week road trip and kind of taking the summer, just not staying in one place, which is a whole nother stressful situation. But that’s okay, because we’re good at that. But it’s really unpacking our thoughts really saying what do I really believe, and having the humility and the vulnerability to really look at our belief system. And what we do think about people of color are people that are different than us people that are in different class from us people that are different gender, even different religion, I think about that I think about even in Christian communities, we can judge one another, you know, they don’t have the full truth. They just to have part of the truth. You know, there’s so much discrimination and really sitting down and taking time to examine, and question our beliefs and our thoughts, and not to judge them. Don’t judge them. If they come up, you know, if you realize, yeah, you know, I do have a little bit of racist thoughts or a little bit of sexist, but don’t judge them. Because when we judge them, we want to shove them back down. But really be curious about it. Hmm, I wonder where that thought came from. And it doesn’t really matter where it came from, but to be curious to question and examine is an ability to release it. So you know what these thoughts don’t serve me? I choose not to keep them around anymore. unpack them and take them to the goodwill of thoughts. If there is one, although we don’t want to recycle the bad thoughts, so actually put in the dumpster? It’s time to throw away unuseful thoughts.

Ashley
Yeah, I want to add on a little bit to that, you know, those beliefs, those thoughts, they, they do go way back, even talking about how not feeling safe going out at dark, you know, or wearing a ponytail. Like I remember reading an article, I know where my fear comes from. I was shown a lot of newspaper articles about things that happen and you know, to young women who are alone or wear ponytails or go jogging in this, you know, like on the bike path, kind of hidden from plain sight, like I was kind of ingrained in this fear. Just for my safety, of course, you know, so all right, good intention to try and help me to be aware, but it definitely, like, caused me to live in paranoia, you know, Oh, my gosh, you know, and then I’m looking around my shoulder, you know, is someone is someone following me is that what do I hear footsteps is right. And yeah, but it goes way back. And like you said, just subconscious. I mean, we have so many thoughts that gets stored so many beliefs, all of our experiences are all stuffed back in our subconscious, like you said, a storage unit or a basement. And we don’t typically go back to those places. Let’s say you walk into your storage unit, and you see all these boxes taped up, and it’s overwhelming too much, you know, to uncover, I don’t, I don’t want to do I’m going to avoid it. You know, and we do that we just, we don’t allow those in because they’re uncomfortable. But our brain remembers every single little thing that has ever happened in our life. Everything that’s been told to us every experience we’ve had, every memory we’ve had, it’s all been stored in our subconscious. We don’t always tap into it. And, you know, in a way, rightfully so because when you go through painful experiences, you don’t want to remember those things. My brother and I were talking last week when we were visiting each other how there’s a lot of memories of our past or childhood that we don’t have like they’re in there somewhere. But I can’t recall a lot of our childhood because we’ve experienced painful things. And I can only imagine being targeted for the color of my skin and having to deal with those experiences. And, and all being stuffed in our subconscious. And then living in this fear of these things can happen. These things can happen, you know, and it affects our beliefs about ourselves, it affects our beliefs about the world around us.

Claudine
Yeah, that’s those are great points. And, and I do believe you know that we can be the light. In this dark time I had a great friend two weeks ago, I was talking to her about it. And again, she’s a person of color. And I said, Well, what do you think what’s needed? And she said, You know, there’s been a lot of talking, now it’s time to listen. And so I know for myself, I’m really trying to listen to my friends and hear their experiences. I don’t need to comment. I don’t need to share any advice, just listen, and then ask, What can I do? What can I learn? What can I see differently through your lens, perhaps. And so that’s been really enlightening. For me, I prefer to do that one on one. And through social media. I think there’s a lot of that going on, where people are trying to educate the masses through social media, and sometimes that backfires. But having one on one conversations has been incredibly beneficial for me, and uplifting. And I do think about, because I believe that so many of us want to help, we want to be part of solution. And it can be overwhelming, I think I was feeling very paralyzed as well. Like, I don’t know what to do. And it doesn’t have to be this huge thing. It can be a small thing that each of us does. If each of us were to be the light if each single one of us took personal responsibility, to be the light to be a small Spark, there could be massive change in a short amount of time. And of course, it’s Christian women, we can turn to the scriptures and I love this one has been particularly helpful for me, John 1:5, the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. And that’s what really helped me because I was trying to feel overcome by everything I was overcome by my own emotions, I was overcome by the pandemic, I was overcome by the riots and the looting and the violence in it was overcoming and hate. Remember that the light the light within me the light within you. And of course, the ultimate like Jesus, He shines in the darkness does not overcome it. And so I’ve had to just, again, dig deeper in my faith, okay, there is one bigger than all this. And that’s how I’m going to be able to rise up and shine through all this, it’s not going to be on my own strength and my own power. Other than the power I have to change my thoughts, I really need to lean on God at this time.

Ashley
Yeah, God gives us the hope when we feel hopeless, God is our hope and just always keeping him in perspective and knowing that he is working things out for the good, even when you go through pain and even when you go through suffering, God works for the good and just to keep that in mind to help us keep going you know, because then we can be the light because if we are filled with fear and negativity and anger, it’s not going to serve us well. It’s not going to serve the Christ absolutely effective way and we all want to be part of effective change and so it’s important to remember the good and keep our mind set on the hope set on you know what we can do set on being the light and being the example really paying attention to what we’re giving focus to in our minds and also what we’re doing with our emotions you know, it’s okay to feel angry You know, it’s definitely okay to feel angry reactions are a god given gift I don’t know if we can always say gift but it’s part of the human experience you know, we are going to feel these emotions and when you experience such an injustice and pain, let’s use that anger for the good you know, channel it into healthy outlets that will be more effective and not be more damaging to yourself and just even your own well being.

Claudine
So to all our listeners out there if anyone feels the need to talk, we are here we’re here to listen, you can contact Ashley at her website mindoverchaos.com, and you can contact myself Claudine at claudinesweeney.com we also both have resources on there for emotional and mental well being that could be abuse and of practicality now during these times, but as always, we are here to help you rise up and shine and live your best life.

Ashley
Friends, thank you so much for tuning in with us today. We hope this episode has brought you one step closer to living the life you love. Until next time, remember the world needs who you were made to be.