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Karen's Blogs

Blogs are brief, to-the-point, conversational and packed with information, strategies, and tips to turn troubled eaters into “normal” eaters and to help you enjoy a happier, healthier life.Sign up by clicking "Subscribe" below and they’ll arrive in your inbox. 

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Difficult People

We all have difficult people in our lives—family members, neighbors, co-workers. Notice that I didn’t mention friends or romantic partners because we can choose them and shouldn’t be cozying up to folks who are regularly hard to deal with and don’t bring us oodles of joy and pleasure. One of the triggers that provokes you to abuse food might be the difficult people in your life, so it pays to learn to how to handle them effectively.

Let me say straight off that VDPs—Very Difficult People—are just that. They rub many, if not most, folks the wrong way. Sure, they may have a few die hard fans who defend and embrace them out of fear, warped loyalty, or entrenched dysfunction, but most mentally healthy people steer clear of them. Unfortunately, shutting them out of your life isn’t always possible, particularly if one is a boss, sibling, parent, business associate, or next door neighbor. Sometimes you can change jobs or departments or move out of a neighborhood to get away from them, but generally you’re stuck having this person in your life and need to make the best of it.

It helps enormously to realize you’re not at fault. VDPs are tough to be around, but expecting them to change and hoping for more than they can give makes a bad situation worse. To understand your mutual dynamics, you must know yourself inside out and be vigilantly self-observant of your interactions. View VDPs honestly and recognize their limits—and don’t try to pretend that their shining qualities negate their troubling ones. Most VDPs have good points as well bad. Respect their limited emotional capacity and hold low expectations even if they sometimes exceed them. They’re bound to disappoint you the next time around or the time after that.

Because VDPs may be intimidating—under all that bravado, they’re fragile, self-centered, manipulating, and willful, easily fly off the handle, blame you when they’re at fault—it’s important to strike a balance between ignoring some of their offensive behavior and calling them on actions that really hurt or are woefully inappropriate. Don’t shame or go off on them; simply explain how what they did or said hurt you and avoid an argument about who’s at fault even though they may wrongfully blame you.

Realize that we all have people in our lives who generate agita. When you must be in relationship with VDPs, lighten up. They can’t hurt you unless you let them. And, for goodness sake, don’t mistreat yourself with food because they’ve riled you up or hurt your feelings. Prove that you’re healthier than they are by not abusing food or yourself.

Fear of Failure
Forgiving versus Forgetting

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This website is owned and operated by Karen R. Koenig, M.Ed., LCSW. It contains material intended for informational and educational purposes only, and reasonable effort is made to keep its contents updated. Any material contained herein is not to be construed as the practice of clinical social work or of psychotherapy, although adherence to applicable Florida States, Rules, and Code of Ethics is observed. Material on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment for mental health issues or eating disorder problems, which should be done only through individualized therapeutic consultation. Karen R. Koenig, LCSW disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained on this website. This website contains links to other sites. The inclusion of such links does not necessarily constitute endorsement by Karen R. Koenig, LCSW who disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained in this website. Further, Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, does not and cannot guarantee the accuracy or current usefulness of the material contained in the linked sites. Users of any website must be aware of the limitation to confidentiality and privacy, and website usage does not carry any guarantee or privacy of any information contained therein.  Privacy Policy