When You Are A Hammer...
This past year, due to several situations I had run up against, not the least of which is my relationship with my boys, I began to read all I can, from a Biblical worldview, about dealing with difficult people.
First of all, allow me to say this: we are all dysfunctional. Every single one of us. We were born in sin, born wrong, and we will be growing and struggling out of that wrong-ness until heaven...until we "know as we are known". We all see through a glass darkly.
The difference between a normal level of dysfunction, and a toxic level of dysfunction, however, is the acknowledgement of dysfunction's existence. Some people just won't own up to their stuff.
Those of us who know we can be whack jobs have the unfortunate experience of having to work through dealing with those who insist they are far too __________ (fill in the blank with "educated" or "spiritual" or "affluent" or "happy") to be a whack job. Or, we have the unfortunate experience of dealing with those who insist it is our fault they are a whack job - or, richer still, the difficult person insists they are the normal one, and you are the whack job. And they can be very convincing.
It is confusing, because dysfunctional, difficult people can be so likable and seemingly functional with everyone else but the people they torment. (Which, by the way, is the textbook definition of dysfunctional...when a person does not function normally in many of their significant relationships, or does not function normally for very long - for example, they make it one to five years in a new friendship, but cannot be consistent beyond that set point.)
One symptom of a dysfunctional person is when you notice that, over time, everyone in their life has an issue with the truth. Their father is a liar. Their brother is a liar. Their daughter is a liar. Their boss twists the truth. Their girlfriend is a manipulator. Old friends lie about them. Everyone manipulates. Everyone lies.
Everyone looks like a nail, when you are the hammer.
Be assured that the person with the lying issue is the one pointing the finger. And don't even bother confronting them unless you are very, very vested in the relationship, and are willing to be mistreated, because another symptom of a dysfunctional person is they don't change their mind. Talking does nothing for them, long term. Talking only brings about short term relief...after a matter of hours or days, the dysfunctional person just resets to the old thought patterns.
There's more symptoms - very eye opening. I'll share them in another blog post. But for now, if you are dealing with a difficult, manipulative, controlling person, you aren't crazy. And there is help, just not necessarily what you think help looks like.
Hang in there. Relationships, healthy ones, are so worth it!