I reined myself in last week when dealing with my difficult encounter, but I could have done an even better job. I should never have criticized the woman back and instead should have followed the advice here:
I’m not beating myself up over it too much though, as, like the majority of people out there, I don’t have an advanced degree in psychology, and it’s only after I’ve been spurred to seek help in dealing with a difficult person that I learn what I should have done and thus what I can do better next time.
I’ve encountered enough difficult people in my life– (I believe) some with narcissistic personality disorder and others with borderline personality disorder– that I’m slowly learning and getting better with my reactions each time. What does this have to do with this blog? I guess that I find those types of people to be quite canny at spotting the vulnerable spots, and being single is being vulnerable. I try to be honest about the pros and cons of single life, and that’s a definite con.
I do get defensive if friends suggest that somehow I bring these situations on myself. It seems to me that is a case of blaming the victim. We can all improve our reactions, but none of us can completely predict who is a time bomb or what will set them off.
Also, I’ve read that people with personality disorders are drawn to the very qualities that healthy people treasure– strength, competence, kindness, empathy, charm. They prefer to feed on a healthy host, after all.
Unfortunately I’ve had to become less open, friendly, and empathetic with people I don’t know well, but I can’t and don’t want to completely shut off those qualities. It’s definitely tricky!