In my last post Living With a Prickly Person, I described the prickly person and shared SIX ways to handle that relationship without getting angry or letting them pull your spirit down. My last point was: Recognize what triggers their prickly responses.
What are some common triggers that sets the prickly person off?
1. Unexpected changes in routines or plans
Usually the prickly person thrives in a set routine, and is easily thrown when the normal order of things changes, or you do things in a different way.
When you know something is going to change, try to prepare them for it ahead of time. Expect them to sput and fume about it until they get used to the idea, or comfortable with the change.
2. Feeling like they are being attacked
Be careful how you word things with this sensitive person. If it can be taken as critical or attacking, they WILL take it that way!
How you words things is so important! Make sure you sandwich criticism with positive words, and think carefully what the best way is to approach it.
3. Fatigue or stress
All of us tend to be more easily irritated when we are tired or feeling stressed. Be aware that this growly person struggles with that a little more than normal! If they are tired or stressed about something be extra encouraging and kind with your words.
4. Feeling misunderstood
It is common to want people to listen to us, and understand what we are trying to convey or communicate. With the prickly person, be sure to listen carefully and understand not only their words, but the emotions they are trying to convey.
Are they feeling mad, scared, excited, etc? Saying back to them what they are feeling or saying makes the feel understood, and helps them to stay calmer.
5. Being grumpy to them or complaining about what they need from you
It’s really rather amusing that the prickly person can be all grouchy, but if you respond to them with the least sign of grumpiness they respond with, “Wow, what are YOU so grumpy about?!” not knowing that they are acting the same or worse.
Complaining about having to help them or do something for them will also trigger bad responses. I understand that! If you love someone you should be willing to help them without complaining.
The challenge is that often the prickly person DEMANDS rather than asks, and it’s then hard to willingly help without resentment or complaining.
6. Not being thankful when they pitch in and help.
I can remember it well, because it has happened more than once. I came home after running errands, and my kitchen had been cleaned. Maybe I didn’t notice right away, or maybe I just didn’t say anything. That brought the prickly person to shoot out the words “You’re welcome!” in a bit of a loud, irritated tone.
The prickly person probably senses that they are often treated differently than others in the home who are more pleasant. Therefore, it is important to them to be recognized when they do something to help. It’s important to watch for opportunities to express your thanks to them whenever they willingly pitch in.
Living with a prickly person presents challenges. Make it easier by being aware of what sets them off, and try to avoid those triggers! It will make for a more peaceful and happy home.
If the prickly person in your home happens to be a child, you will be encouraged and get lots of practical tips to help you deal with that child in my ebook: Dealing With a Difficult Child.
Next post: How To Respond to The Prickly Person