“I just do not understand how they can be so self-righteous and arrogant…” “Why is it they cannot see how damaging and hurtful they are; it is awful how they treat people!”
Within these two sentences my client was able to move from a place of helplessness to a state of healthy anger. She is referring to people in her life who are judgmental and think they are better than most of us. She describes them as all too quick to point out what is wrong with people in a very derogatory way; either directly to someone but and often behind people’s backs.
My client works hard to keep assertive with them and does her best to not put up or allow this behaviour to impact her and those around her by telling them they are inappropriate. She struggles though. They are mean and miserable to be around and they do nothing to give back to society, yet they insist on letting their meanness affect other people and hurt them believing the rules and expectations do not apply to them. They use physical problems to always be the reason they are late and why people should feel sorry for them and allow them to not have to adhere to the proper social nuances that the rest of us follow. They believe that they are special and should always be the center of attention and have no interest in others. Using people and justifying is what they are about… My client drops down into exhaustion. We sit and just be with all her emotions and her physiological reactions to these people that are in her life as a way to learn how do manage them without losing her sanity.
I understand my client. I too have a person like this in my life and, unfortunately, I have to put up with them for a while to come. I am not going to be the one to enlighten this person regardless of my efforts and the fact that I am right in what I have said to this person. Many others have tried before me, and it is hard because I see how much they are so negatively affecting me and so many others and causing so much pain and they cannot (and will not) see it.
This type of defense is a major one. They have to start from the premise that they are special and unique in an egocentric type of way, and that because of this they have an automatic free pass to always be late, to make others wait, to constantly use people for favours but never returning the favour. Essentially, the world owes them and the social expectations that the rest of us live by do not count for them. They can do whatever they want, whenever they want, never having to support others or give back or contribute to society in anyway shape or form because they are disabled.
Like my client’s struggles with her difficult people, I too strive to understand. What I have done is come to the realization that they are suffering in a pitiful way.
These types of people spend an enormous amount of time convincing themselves that they are above everyone else and justify how they live and how they are. There is no room for truth, compassion towards others, or authenticity. If there was it would disillusion and challenge their entire notion of them believing they are good people without actually having to contribute to society or being able to be there for others in a truly caring way. It is everyone else’s fault. They cannot see how they are contributing to any problems or issues that people try to talk to them about. They do not pick up on subtle social cues that they are inconveniencing people with their constant one way requests and self-centeredness.
I tell clients who have people like this around them or in their lives that it is sad really. These people do not have whole healthy full lives. They are not able to truly connect with themselves and with others in the world, and that is very sad. Not sad in a feel sorry for them sad, but sad in that they choose this way of being which is pathetic and empty. They are missing out on many wonderful things in the world and true loving authentic connections with themselves and others.
If you know of someone like this in your life, try to remember this and keep being assertive and strong in your boundaries. Keep telling them when they hurt you or others, not to enlighten them, but to maintain your authenticity and as a way to not let them negatively hurt you and others and get away with how they are behaving.
It might just start to sink in and at the very least they will learn that you have taught them how to treat you and that your life of commitment to growth, compassion for others, and service in all we do is truly missing for these individuals – but not for you.
Sheri, owner of Sheri Phillips-Snaychuk Counselling Services in Vancouver, BC has been helping people in the field for over ten years working in a multitude of capacities from individual counselling, research, assessment, and foster care support. Her passion, experience, and expertise focuses mainly around trauma, suicide, and depression, however, she has helped people with other or similar issues.
Sheri deeply believes, and is committed to, the healing ability of people and that people can overcome great pain and suffering through one’s own strength and through dedication in relations with other people and within the therapeutic relationship.
She is highly regarded for her compassion, care, curiosity, non-judgmental stance, insight, dedication, and patience among her clients.
Sheri's goal is to help clients to reconnect with themselves and to come to a deeper understanding and way of being in the world. Pain and suffering can be transformed by developing a different way of being with one’s self that is nurturing and caring.