Tips for Difficult Relationships

Are you having difficult times in relationships with friends, family, work colleagues or your partner? Here are some useful tips for difficult relationships to help you navigate your way.

Strategies to Help in Difficult Relationships

This is a huge topic and my aim here is to share with you some of the perspectives and strategies that my patients often find helpful. And in a summarised format, so do feel free to explore any areas that interest you further. This is a checklist of tips for difficult relationships to refer to when you feel like you are struggling and need ideas! Or to remind you of what you already know and understand, but might forget if you are stressed.

Different Kinds of Relationships

Most of these ideas are useful whether you need them to help in a family, friendship or work setting. We are all different – our personalities and histories. Some people we click with, others not. And we might not be everybody’s cup of tea either. And that’s ok.

When it’s really difficult, and we need or have to have that connection and contact, that’s a good time to gather resources to help us. We need to accept people as they are, knowing we cannot change them, but we can work with how we respond.

This list is not a panacea, difficult relationships can be a part of most of our lives. Navigating them as best we can may minimise the stress and any fall out. And sometimes things can even improve. But if it is an abusive relationship, in any setting, then please do seek help to support you.

Dealing with their negative opinion of you

  • Their agendas, timeframes and opinions of you are not about you. It’s their perception of you. It is about them.
  • We see each other through the filter of our own lives. Our struggles and strengths, our experiences and internal scripts, etc.

A wonderful quote attributed to many great minds is that:

“we see the world as we are not as it is”.

  • People can often project what they believe about themselves, or are struggling with, on to others. They are often unaware of this and that can make it difficult for them to address. However, if you can see it, then you can separate out what might have grains of useful truth in it and what might be projection.
  • Many years ago a colleague and I were discussing this. She mentioned this quote and I often suggest it to people I’m working with. Of course, this presumes that you are living a good life and treating others as you would wish to be treated. But what it does do is release you from your sense of self being propped up or battered down by other people’s opinions.

“Your opinion of me is none of my business”

Separate things out – like laundry!

Don’t let what other people throw at you get mixed up with and feed upon your own stuff. If you have things you struggle with or need to address, that’s fine, but keep their stuff separate.

You can see it as a useful indicator of what is and is not “live” for you to work with by how much it triggers you.

Their stuff is theirs – don’t let their red sock send your whites wash pink!

Be Realistic

If someone is behaving badly towards you this is probably coming from a place of struggle within them. Most likely a young place. Conserve your mental and emotional energy, it’s precious. By all means think about what is going on for them and you, and draw what useful insights you can. But spending fraught hours, days and weeks trying to get your head around why they are behaving in a particular way might not lead you to a resolution. And it might make you feel worse.

Generally, these situations are not born of logic – they come from a different part of ourselves. Trying to logic it out won’t work and is exhausting.

If you catch yourself trying to rescue, fix or change them, step back and check the dynamic. This is a really important realisation if you are here in any relationship. It’s worth exploring more!

You only have control over you. Use your mental and emotional energy for you.

Remember Your Resources

  • Although you might feel at a loss, remember all the struggles and challenges you have already overcome in your life. What helped? What was constructive in finding ways forwards?
  • Give yourself time – time to think, to regroup. Time to gather information and get clarification.
  • Seek out your family, colleagues and friends who will support you in whatever way you need.
  • Self-care is important – getting decent food, staying hydrated and having enough sleep are crucial in keeping us well and able to function. Exercise too plays an important part. Whether it is a gentle walk, a dance class, or a full-on work out at the gym – it helps keep you physically and emotionally fit.
  • Allow yourself a creative outlet. As well as being wonderful for our emotional well-being, it can also help our sense of perspective and enhance our ability to problem solve.
  • And remember resources for self-management like Box Breathing for calm. Working on Communication Skills to help reduce conflict and increase harmony at home and at work.

Expand Your Range of Options

When we feel under fire the world can feel a very polarised place. Sometimes people will try to pressurise us by giving us only two options – do what they say or want, or the alternative is awful. Which is not a choice, it’s bullying.

As I mentioned, take a breath, open up your timeframe – check whose deadline it is.

And open up the range of choices available to you. Get off that one way track and explore.

What happens if you look at it in a different way? What other possibilities are there?

If it all feels to much – try Chunking!

Chunking down just means breaking things down into smaller units, whatever those units are. Whether it is time, or jobs to do or work projects. Focus on the things you need to do now but in smaller chunks.

If you need inspiration then you can try chunking up. Think about what you want, what you are doing things for and how you want to live. If you struggle to connect with that, a way in can be to think about doing the things that you like. Even if they feel like small things – a walk by the sea, a chat with a supportive friend, and of course that universal solution a cup of tea. A step at a time to help you feel as ok as possible, and move forwards in the longer run.

If using techniques like Chunking, Reframing and other NLP approaches interest you I’ve written many blogs you can find on my website.

Difficult relationships can be stressful in themselves, and can make a stressful situation worse. If you are struggling I hope using some of the ideas here help you find your way through more quickly. To navigate this in a way that not only supports you but allows you to move beyond the limitations of that difficult dynamic.

Tips for Difficult Relationships – Chantry Health

I hope you have found these tips for difficult relationships to be of help. If you would like to explore more about my approach, we can book a free of charge mini-consultation.

Please contact me, Lynne Russell, or give me a call on 07970 245118.

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.