Unfortunately, there will always be people in your life who you cannot stand, you cannot kill and you cannot get rid of. In-laws, co-workers, ex spouses; they will always be in your life, so it pays to understand how to deal with them.
The most common complaint I hear about dealing with difficult people is that they are irrational. They are difficult for no apparent reason, it is hard to understand what fires them up and it always inspires fear and confusion in others.
People come in all shapes and sizes and varying degrees of complexity. However, it helps to understand and be aware of some of the below energy sucking folks.
Angry People. Anger is a chemical reaction and is perpetuated by the fight or flight response. This anger is intense and it tends to go away quickly. Yet it leave consequences, like broken relationships in it's path. Some people wear anger like a T-Shirt or an Armour to protect them. In other words, they may flare up but more likely they wear the anger around with them in a cold stare or easy dismissive behavior of others. This regular anger can take a long time to recognize the pattern as it is controlled and deliberate.
Insecure People. These people may seem fragile, take things personally and can be easily hurt. You may find yourself being cautious and deliberate with them so as not to upset them. Many people can cast pity or feel sorry for these souls however understand they are getting some kind of reward for their meekness. For instance, your cautiousness may exclude them from heated discussions or tough projects. There is an overall cost to the workplace in lost productivity as people tip toe around trying them to avoid discomfort.
Apathetic People. These people often give off the attitude that they just don't care. They seem reluctant, uncommitted, unwilling, uninvolved or disinterested. These people need to spark a sense of curiosity and wonder about the work they do. They need a renewed sense of purpose and meaning in their work.
Patronizing People. Some people have a way of belittling others and making them feel unimportant. They operate through a smoke screen of importance, talking themselves up and putting others down. Patronizing people either really feel superior to others or they need to act like they are to cover up their insecurities.
Usually, emotional outbursts occur because a person feels threatened. Something about the people involved or the situation causes the irrational person to reel with insecurity and lash out. However, don't take it personally and take on their guilt trip, as it is their insecurity, not you.
Next, give up trying to change them. It is a losing battle. Why is it so important to get this irrational person to be rational? Especially if you have seen this pattern replay over and over, you know they don't change. So, give up trying to change them.
Your best option may be to lower your expectations. Ultimately, the goal should be peace. Ask, what am I willing to give up to get peace?
Ask, what am I willing to accept? From this standpoint, you can enter a more healthy negotiation.
Find out what the other persons real issue is, what is making them so miserable? Most of the time, they feel unappreciated or threatened, so find out what threatens them. If you dig a bit, you will discover the reason they are hurt is they don't feel heard, they feel insignificant, powerless, excluded, or undermined by others. If you really want peace, take time to hear them out, quench their fear and you can finally move on!
Just be cautious not to feed unhealthy behaviours. People are also difficult because we let them get away with it. If unhealthy manipulation, lies or anger are ruining your life, you need to set a clear boundary and communicate it.
If someone realizes his manipulation won't work on you, he will ultimately stop doing it.