When I speak about dealing with a difficult child, I often describe that child as prickly. Perhaps you live with a prickly person, whether it be a child, spouse, or some other relative.
Are you wondering what I mean by a prickly person? This person may be described in some of the following ways:
- Hard to get along with
- Easily offended
- Often growly and snarly
- Negative about things
- Critical about people and things
- Angry in spirit
- They often put a damper on things by their unhappy disposition
Living with a prickly person isn’t easy, because you feel like you always have to be on guard not to say or do the wrong thing, and inadvertently get them started with their angry, unhappy responses. It’s also hard to live with someone like this and keep your own spirit up.
How do you deal with it and keep them from bringing YOUR spirit down, or making you stressed or angry in return?
1. Don’t take it personally.
These kind of people really don’t have it in for you, despite the fact that it may seem as though they do. Realize that they are hurting, or struggling and unintentionally lashing out at you.
2. When they have been extra prickly and it’s getting to you, stop and say a quick prayer for them.
It is very hard to stay upset at someone when you pray for them! This will help your spirit in a HUGE way, and will help you feel more loving towards them.
3. When they are grumbling and putting a damper on things, turn on some GOOD uplifting Christian music.
My favorite at these times is to listen to Scripture songs. God’s Word quickly works to lift my spirit, and keep me calm.
4. Realize that often a tough prickly exterior is hiding a soft, sensitive heart.
Bristly people often put up a shell to protect themselves from hurt, but they are really very tender and soft-hearted. When hurt, they cover it by lashing out and acting rough and tough. What may seem to you as an attack is simply them trying to handle their hurt or worries. (Go back to number one, and remember that it’s not personal!)
5. Don’t engage during an outburst.
Let them know that you will talk about it later, but not till they have calmed down. Then walk away from it. Refuse to be drawn into conflict when they are being prickly.
6. Recognize what triggers their prickly responses.
If you know what is likely to set them off, then it’s easy to be more aware and careful. You can also talk to that prickly person when you know what their triggers are, so they can work to control their reactions when they recognize a trigger is about to set them off.
In my next post, I will share what some common triggers are for the prickly person.