Have you ever had the BEST of intentions of addressing an issue with someone and yet, somehow things just went sideways into poor communication and a negative outcome?
If you think about your experiences with people at work or home…
- …Have you ever found yourself feeling more and more annoyed and irritated by someone who was being critical or negative to the point that you started to AVOID them… even if avoiding the situation meant an issue didn’t get resolved or a relationship suffered?
- …Have you ever felt controlled by someone and that THEIR wants and needs always seemed to be more important than your own, but you felt helpless to find the right words to say?
- …Have you ever felt hurt by someone who didn’t accept you or didn’t include you when they SHOULD have?
- …Have you ever needed to address the mistakes someone was making, but your anxiety caused you to procrastinate until your stomach turned somersaults? (and you beat yourself up for it later on?)
The Big “Catch 22” Mistake We All Make
In the past, when I was confronted by someone who was being difficult or challenging, I did what most people do.
I saw the other person as being the cause of my frustration, anxiety or stress and I either avoided them or tried to get them to stop doing what they were doing so that I could feel better.
You know what I’m talking about because you’ve probably done it yourself… I’d say things like:
“When you ___________, it makes me feel ________”,
or, “I don’t like it when you _________________”,
or the big kicker, “If you cared about me, you’d _________________.”
I even memorized relationship rules and techniques from the courses I took, but I found that when the other person “pushed my buttons” I’d end up doing or saying the wrong thing AUTOMATICALLY despite my best intentions!
Eventually, I began to see that this approach wasn’t working very well. I realized that whenever I expressed unhappiness or dissatisfaction it would come across as negativity, criticism or disapproval.
Now, who really WANTS to respond in a positive way to criticism or disapproval? Well, actually… NO ONE!
But it’s so hard… because you literally CANNOT see the right way to approach things when you’re emotions are blinding you.
All you can think about is getting the other person to change their behavior and stop being so difficult!
So, if you try to get the other person to change their behavior when you’re feel stressed or upset, you just end up aggravating them and making things WORSE for yourself… a nice little double bind.
So, what’s the answer?
Well, the solution that I came up with is very interesting, not the way you would usually think about dealing with difficult people. And it’s something that I think might help YOU deal with YOUR difficult people or challenging situations….
The Insight That Changes Everything
Several years ago, I was particularly distressed about a relationship issue, which resulted in me being in a very difficult situation.
It was really getting me down, so I started using a particular therapy method on myself that I had learned.
Instead of trying to come up with a technique to get the other person to stop their behavior (in order to make me feel better), I decided to go the OTHER way… I imagined the WORST case scenario and played it out into the future!
At the beginning things felt worse, but THEN… there was a sudden change… a feeling of calm came over me… followed by a feeling of strength welling up from within me… and then I KNEW that I wasn’t afraid of the worst case scenario any longer.
I later called this experience “the wellspring phenomenon”.
Not being afraid of the worst case scenario allowed me to deal with the situation FAR more effectively after that.
You see, the ONLY power that a difficult person has over you, is to trigger your fears and scare you off… or to trigger your anger and throw you off your game. (By the way, I don’t think they do it on purpose, either. I think it’s just something they learned to do unconsciously because it works.)
Once I realized that the place to start when facing ANY obstacle or challenge (such as a difficult person or a stressful situation), was WITHIN myself, then everything changed.
Instead of focusing on the other person’s difficult behavior, I started focusing on my reactions to their behavior FIRST. Once that was dealt with, the rest was MUCH easier.
This simple shift in thinking changed my focus, took me in a new direction and ultimately led to my success in dealing with people of all kinds… difficult or otherwise.
A Breakthrough In Personal Effectiveness With People
Once I recognized the importance of the wellspring phenomenon, I wanted to see if I could help my patients experience it for themselves… Maybe it would help them deal with difficult people and stressful situations more effectively too.
So, I decided to see what would happen if I blended together as many personal empowerment and success methods as possible into a structured step-by-step process for dealing with difficult people and stressful situations.
The methods that I used included goal setting, hypnosis techniques, mental rehearsal, motivational techniques, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), neurolinguistic programming (NLP), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), stress management, affirmations and several other personal success strategies.
I called it “The Wellspring Method”.
Not only did I find that this blend of strategies helped ME deal with my life challenges easier, but when I used it in my office, my clients LOVED the rapid results!
I now use the Wellspring Method in my office every day to help people deal with ALL KINDS of difficult people and situations and to create positive changes in their interpersonal issues much more rapidly than with regular approaches.
Next, I recorded the Wellspring Method onto a set of audio CDs called ‘Shrink in a Box’ and included several more stress management techniques and assertiveness skills simply because we are far more capable of solving problems and taking effective action when we feel strong and confident instead of stressed, anxious or upset.
I refined this system through 58 revisions to include only the most essential and powerful strategies and the most clear and easy-to-follow instructions.
Then… I tested the audio recordings of this guided step-by-step process in a field study with the general public (with people like you) who were facing difficult real life situations…
- 88% expressed a high degree of satisfaction with the program,
- 87% expressed a significant or complete resolution of their difficult situation within a few weeks,
- 88% experienced significantly greater confidence in dealing with their challenging situation or person, and
- 100% experienced a reduction in stress emotions (anxiety, overwhelm, frustration, stress, etc.).
These results were impressive because with this method most people were able to deal with a difficult person or clear up a difficult situation in their lives about 4 times faster than regular counseling!