Are You a Difficult Person?
Dealing with difficult people is always an interesting workshop topic and many books (including one by me) have been written on the subject but what I have discovered is that before I could deal with the difficult people in my life I had to look in the mirror and ask a very important question. Am I a difficult person? So to help you (and all the people around you) here is Part 2 of the Ten Signs of a Difficult Person. (The link to Part 1 is below)
Ten Signs of a Difficult Person
6. You can’t seem to control your emotions at work
Whatever is going on in your personal life will affect your work life. That is absolutely true, all of the time. There are however invisible lines that you should never cross at work, most of them relating to your emotional behavior or how you let your personal side and/or problems out into the workplace. Everyone will understand a period of grief or loss. Everybody, except the old and grizzled, will appreciate new love. Almost all will get the fact that a sick partner or a new baby will bring sleepless nights and increased irritability. It’s when these emotions are manifested in a way that is inappropriate and involves other workers who chose not to be involved, that it becomes a problem. You are a difficult person if you cross those invisible, but very real lines at work.
- You can get angry very easily
There are incidents and events in our lives that legitimately arouse our ire and anger. When they happen we feel a rush of adrenaline that produces the “fight or flee” instinct. A normal person will judge the most appropriate response given the extent of the situation and act accordingly. Sooner rather than later the anger will subside a little, at least enough to allow us to continue on with our lives.
A difficult person only has one response to such situations. They get angry very quickly regardless of the situation and they hang on to that anger for days and days. They try and hold it in but at some point their anger, that by now has been turned into resentments, explodes. If that has happened to you more than a few times then you meet the basic qualifications of a difficult person.
8. You over-drink or abuse substances, legal or otherwise
This is the classic “chicken and egg” question. Do you over-drink or use other substances because you have difficult situations in your life or do you become a difficult person because you use and/or abuse substances? The answer is that it doesn’t matter. Abuse or addiction is an unhealthy way to cope with life and the others around you almost certainly will think you are a difficult person. That is the nature of the disease of addiction and abuse, even if you don’t recognize it.
There is lots of help available to help you deal with this issue and you will be wise to seek that out and take advantage of it. Those around you, especially at work, will be eternally grateful if you do.
- You are paranoid and think “they” are out to get you
It is not easy to self-diagnose paranoia, since it is an ailment that you have created with your own imagination. But if you find that you are spending more time thinking about what “they” are going to do, versus what they actually are doing, then you are at least a little paranoid.
Paranoia is another form of fear and it can paralyze you if you let it run free. It does not necessarily make you a difficult person unless you apply your paranoia filter to everything that people say or do around you. Even worse is to act on your paranoia by building walls, real or imagined, around you. If you find that you are you doing that you are probably a difficult person.
- People tell you that you are “difficult” to work with
Most people don’t lie and if you ask them the straight up question, “Am I a difficult person?” and they say yes, maybe, or sometimes, then at least part of the time you are a difficult person. If someone volunteers this information, especially a close friend or colleague, then you can be pretty sure that as much as you may be trying not to, some of your difficult personality is leaking out. The good news is that you have friends who care enough about you to want to make suggestions to become an even better person. Thank them for their honesty, and keep reading this book. Just substitute I for them every time you see an identification of a problem and see the solution inside of yourself.
Here is the link to Part 1
Mike Martin is a writer and the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People.
You can buy Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People from the publisher in print or e-book:
or from Amazon.com
Also check out my fiction writing at
You can follow Sgt. Windflower on Facebook at