Oakville Zen Meditation

#222 EGO: its role in our conflicts with difficult people

                                     Ego: its role in our conflicts with difficult people

Ego-self that is I, me, myself, and mine is absolutely critical for survival, identification, thinking, feelings, behavior at all levels and so on.

However also, ego-self is at the heart of many of our relationships

Because we perceived our ego/self as a single and isolated entity in or society, it may become very shaky and too often take a defensive or an offensive behavior. “ I am myself, then I am not you”.

These behaviors can make us difficult with others and the main source of acute rather than chronic conflicts.

Difficult behaviors are also a hidden factor of unhappiness, dissatisfaction and suffering.

There are many type of difficult people: judgmental, easily irritable, short tempered, non cooperative, aggressive, asocial and so on......... including many psychopath and criminals.

1) If we are in constant need for safety, protection, security or perfection and must scan people and the world around us, we are going to find yourself isolated and in conflict a lot of time, resisting and fighting against whoever and against whatever.

2) On the opposite site, rather than resisting, we are aggressing. Fight is, in fact, a basic behavior to preserve our basic identity and the quest to be right all the time when others are perceived to be wrong. In fact, we are what we are.

Rather then trying to cope with their suffering, difficult people will lash out, making our relationships almost impossible.

All of us are, at times, defensive, overreacting and even aggressive when we feel under stress, threatened, misjudged , cheated, putting down and ignored.

The word ”feeling” is critical because this feeling of t is just another ego-made perception.

This ego-made perception that all of us experience is unpleasant if not painful and will trigger inappropriate self-defense or aggressivity reactions, sometimes out of proportion and very detrimental not only for self but mainly for others.

How to deal with difficult people in acute situations?

Whatever you try to do will be probably perceived to be wrong.

If you accommodate with them, they may take advantage.

And, if you resist or strike back, it only fuels their attack.

The biggest trap is to believe that, in this precise and hot moment, you can do something to change them.

The only option is the hardest: trying to understand and appreciate why they are as they are in this moment as long as your safety is maintained.

This is not an impossible task to achieve, because you are also a difficult person at some point!

With the help of meditation and teaching, we should learn to :

Being mindful and accept ourselves as we are without been on the defensive or thee offensive most of the time.

It does not mean to be self-complaisant and there is always room for improvement. It means having some self-compassion.

Being mindful in accepting others, then let go the storm before looking for solutions.

Difficult people are not happy people. Knowing this is helping us to become more receptive if not compassionate with them.

Final words:

The Buddha said that difficult people are “treasures” Is it paradoxal? Not so: difficult individual force us to pause, be mindful of not reacting negatively and aggressively but more constructively. Maybe they are difficult because they are struggling from stress or other causes.