Colleagues driving you crazy? Or is it the kids? Or is your family driving you crazy?
The good news is: it doesn’t have to be that way.
The bad news is: if you want to change it, you’ll have to take some action.
Stop “wearing the victim t-shirt” and start the diagnosis. Or you could just let them drive you crazy…
No? Worth a try then.
Life isn’t perfect. You’re not perfect. Even I’m not perfect. We make mistakes, we annoy people. We feel angry, frightened or cross. But sometimes we don’t want to acknowledge that things aren’t the way we want them to be, so we ignore our mounting fears or rising temper. Then we can’t think straight. So what do we need to do?
The first thing to do is to notice that you’re being driven crazy! Research by Matthew Lieberman at UCLA proves that when people put words to their emotions the primitive brain calms down and the logical one starts to take over.
So is it anger or embarrassment or loss or fear or hurt or what? Work out what buttons are being pushed. Put a name to your feelings
Reassure yourself that it is okay to feel that way. If you trivialise your feelings, it will reinforce them, and you will also struggle to control them.
Dr Jill Bolte Taylor found that anger, can be “set off” automatically, but that within 90 seconds,
the chemical component of my anger has completely dissipated from my blood and my automatic response is over. If, however, I remain angry after those 90 seconds have passed, then it is because I have chosen to let that circuit continue to run.
She on to say that every moment she has the choice to “either hook into my neurocircuitry or move back into the present moment, allowing that reaction to melt away…”
Recognise and name your feelings, but don’t get stuck in this phase. Remember this is the first rush.
Push the pause button
If you feel that people are driving you crazy, you can’t think straight. So stop. Back off.
Yes, I know you can’t walk off and leave a two-year-old in the middle of the supermarket or walk out half way through your boss’s lecture. What you can do is take a couple of deep breaths, and create an imaginary force field around you. Deep breathing and mentally stepping back can do wonders–it activates your vagal nerve and slows and steadies your heart-rate. This helps you think straight.
Take another look
Now that you are a bit calmer, look at the situation again. Is the story you’re telling yourself about the situation really true? Could there be a different interpretation? Maybe your colleague thought they were being helpful, not micromanaging because they didn’t trust you. Maybe the kids are hot and tired, not spoiled brats. Look at the other person as though their intentions were good. We only see the behaviour of others, and guess the meaning–but what if we guess wrong.
What can you do to improve things?
Instead of moaning about the other person, think about what you could do to make things better. (And the consequences of your actions…)
It’s easier to put on slippers than to carpet the whole world.
Want to change people who don’t want to change? It isn’t easy and you’ll need some help. So, instead, why not work out what you can do without them, or think about what might make them willing to change?
Ask them what they need, explain what you need. Ask for a solution, but don’t demand. Sometimes things don’t work out. Taking control at least gives you a chance to stay sane…
If you’d like some help with taking control of relationships with difficult people, or managing difficult situations with lovely people, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on 447980920078.