Episode 98 of the Your Empty Nest Coach Podcast
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast with Coach Christine, episode number 98: How to Deal With Difficult People. I work with mothers of high school students and beyond, who are in the trenches with sad and possibly, overwhelming thoughts about what their life will look like when their baby heads to college and begins to leave the nest. My clients’ big question is what will I do with my time? Is this you? I’ve been there, and I get it. Empowering you to write the next jaw-dropping, amazing chapter in your life is my passion. I am energized by leading you in the process of exploration and am thrilled when you unlock the power that lies within you. This podcast is my gift to you.
Hello, my empty nest friend and CEO of Your Life! I’m going to share some personal updates and changes around the podcast with you before I dive on into the topic of this episode. If you want to skip this part, skip ahead a bit. I was all ready to get back into the quick tips episodes but then I realized how much time I was spending on them; a lot of time. I do everything on these episodes, from emailing the team to gather submissions, editing through all post-production including all the social media posts. Here is the thing, I do really enjoy that work, probably because I’m collaborating with a lot of amazing women, but I spent some time recently checking in with future Coach Christine and guess where I ended up? I was led to this statement: let it go, Christine, so that you can spend your time being the best coach and serving others well.
It also became apparent to me that I was unconsciously using this work for the Quick Tips Episodes as a time filler, or almost as an excuse or buffer. Have you been there before? Meaning that, if I’m not successful in my coaching plans, then I could always blame the time I put into this as why I wasn’t successful. Oh, my goodness! Have you ever immediately known the answer to something, but because of promises you had already made or because you know it’s going to make you super uncomfortable, you decide to still keep on doing what you are doing? Yes, it happens to me, too, and I want to share those moments with you, because these are the moments where we learn the most about ourselves. These are the moments where we have the ability to level up. After a few weeks of checking in with myself, doing thought work, working on my CEO Toolbox, I’ve decided to let go of the Quick Tips episodes. Originally, I was going to do two more in June, but alas, they are no more. It feels really good, too. Once you work through it, get to the other side, it’s like yes, I’ve committed to myself. This is great.
It was meant to be a year-long experiment. Well, that’s ending early. I’m really happy with the results, and the work. It is a bittersweet goodbye to a project that I’m crazy proud of. Now, if you have a quick tip to share with my audience, all hope is not lost. What I’m going to do is have a brand new section of my Friday episodes for these. Today is our first one. Let me know what you think of the new section.
On another note, if you would like to be a guest on this podcast, I’m looking for listeners who have applied lessons from the podcast and would like to share your voice and experience with others. Is this you? Reach out to me, today. A quick reminder, that if you find yourself talking back to me at any part of this episode, or if something resonates with you, please take the opportunity to leave me audio feedback, either through SpeakPipe or my Google Voice number. You’ll find the information to do this in the description of this episode: on Apple Podcasts click “Details”; on Spotify click “See More”; on Overcast press the I for information button. Get the idea? Of course I always have full show notes with links to anything I discuss in the episode, and a full episode transcription on my website.
Those reside at YourEmptyNestCoach.com. I can’t wait to hear from you!
Thanks! Thank you! It’s time to thank our sponsor. This episode is sponsored by my membership community, The GPS Support Flock; Your Flight to Success in the Empty Nest. If you are ready to find the GPS of your life, sign up to receive an immediate and free download of my PDF, "How to Find Yourself in the Empty Nest," our GPS Life Principles document. You will also have the opportunity to learn about our community. See the link in this episode's show notes or fly on over to my website, YourEmptyNestCoach.com. Click the GPS Support Flock button. See you soon!
To continue some thank yous, one of my clients sent me this recently.
“So glad to have your podcasts and love the way you’ve adapted to the "not so empty nest". You have been of TREMENDOUS help and I've applied your advice and approach with great success. I am starting a part time job that is exactly what I have dreamed of!! Can't believe it. Applying the idea of keeping the "protectors" at bay was very instrumental. (Long-winded note - but I really want to share with you how valuable your support and overall approach has been from the very beginning)."
Thank you, amazing lady, for your continued encouragement. You know who you are.
Ah, isn’t it wonderful that your life is peaceful? It is incredible that you don’t have a single person that ever drives you crazy, grates on your nerves, annoys you, or you simply can’t stand. That you shower every human you meet with patience, grace, mercy and love. How can you not love them? They are a beautiful human and wonderful.
Okay, back to reality. I’m going to make the assumption today that what I just described to you sounds like a fantasy-land. That you can’t imagine anyone living like that. I’m also going to assume that you do have a handful of individuals in your life who you would consider to be difficult to be around. If that sounds more like your life, then this episode is for you. If you are a loyal listener, I’m willing to bet you already know where this is headed, but I want to give you extra imagery to assist you in moving forward. To assist you when you do, heaven forbid, run into difficult humans.
I will be using vocabulary in this episode that I use often, but may be new to you, should you be a newer listener. If the mention of thought-deliveries, your Protector, and the fence that you have in your life makes you wonder what I’m talking about, I recommend that you check out some of my earlier series of episodes for clarification on how I use these terms. Links are in my show notes. High-level, though, and a quick refresher for everyone: your thoughts are something you choose. Imagine that your mind is like a house; that it’s fenced in. Imagine also, that you have a Protector, a security guard of sorts, who protects your mind’s property, everything you can control in your life.
Your Protector distributes your thought-deliveries and does one of three things: handles the thought-delivery for you; provides you with a status report on what has arrived; or forces the thought-deliveries into your property, making that all that you see. How your protector handles your thought-deliveries has everything to do with how well you have trained them. Ultimately though, you control everything within your fence, and that is all you control.
With that high-level review, let's return to the difficult people in your life. There are two things at play here, one, your thought delivery about the difficult person and two, other humans have their own Protector. Let’s look at your thought-deliveries first, since that is what we are able to control. Remember, another human in your life is always outside of your fence. You can’t control them; you can’t control their thoughts or their actions. What you can control is your thoughts about them. If the moment they appear in your life, you have thoughts such as: she drives me crazy; he is awful; this human gets on my nerves so bad; why are they so annoying; I can’t stand them. Well, my friend, those are all thoughts. Thought-deliveries that your Protector has marked high priority and forced in for you to open and deal with. Ask yourself if any of those thought-deliveries bring a positive sensation to you?
Actually, try something for me? Imagine a rock; a smooth grey rock. You find it on the ground. You pick it up, and think to yourself, this is a lovely rock. How do you feel imagining this?
Now, what if you picked it up the same rock but this time think to yourself, I can’t stand rocks. Do you have a different sensation? I sure do, and it’s a rock. It hasn’t done anything to me outside of being a rock. With that rock in mind, imagine the thought-deliveries you label around difficult humans, and the impact it has upon your life. The rock isn’t impacted by your thought, and neither is the difficult human. Also, the moment you label someone as difficult, you’ve jumped right from a human being outside of your fence all the way into your thought-delivery and sensation. We can assume that your Protector is not well trained.
Understand that there’s a difference between observing Jane Doe as talkative, and then finding a thought around it, versus observing Jane Doe and thinking she’s annoying. Another thing, did you, by any chance, notice that one of the thought-deliveries that I listed initially is a question? We have to be very careful with questions sent in as thought-deliveries, and should train our mind to return those to sender immediately.
The question was, “Why are they so annoying?” My friend, your brain is an amazing machine and it wants to serve you well. If you ask it a question, it’s going to try to find an answer for you, so when you ask it, “Why is Jane Doe so annoying,” guess what you’re going to get back? All the reasons you can find that makes Jane Doe a nightmare for you to deal with. If you were instead, to catch yourself in something like this and flip the question around to say, “What are strengths that Jane Doe has?” or “What challenges does Jane Doe have in her life that I can assist her with?” Now you are putting your brain to work for good. Let’s save our mind’s energy for consciously choosing to solve things in our life that impacts us the greatest.
Now to pop back to the second concept at play, when we have “difficult” people in our lives. If you are still listening, you more than likely understand your Protector and how to (or that you should) train them, which allows you to keep in mind that other humans have a Protector, also. This allows you to lighten up your interactions with your designated humans and I encourage you to have fun with this. Remember, most humans have no clue that they have a Protector of sorts. They are not present enough in their life to observe their thoughts, to consider their thoughts as optional, which means they live in an obscured, reactive mode most of their life. They react to others without any thought as to the why. Sometimes they react a certain way because that is what they are supposed to do, it may not even be a conscious choice for them.
You can understand this because you lived most of your life living this way, and you now see the impact this, and knowing this, has made into your life. Knowing that Jane Doe coming up to you and you don’t have to think she’s an awful human, you can choose a different thought. That, my friend, is life-changing. I share this with you not for you to start going around and telling people everywhere that they have a Protector and that they better start proper training to get a handle on their life. No. This isn’t something you can throw at someone, run away and expect change. I mean, I guess you can do that, but it’s not something I recommend.
I say this often, but remember this work is your work. Those other humans are outside of your fence. You can’t make them understand this and you certainly can’t make them want to hear it. What you can do is begin to be curious about their Protector. Keep it to yourself, in your mind. Begin to notice that the difficultness you see in them isn’t them. It isn’t their underlying essence of who they are. Actually, they probably have no idea who that would even be if you asked them. No, you have the pleasure of interacting with their Protector who is on high-alert, takes their job seriously, and bosses them around. Which allows you to approach your future interactions with this human in some new ways to make your life more peaceful.
One way is that you can find a way to imagine their Protector in a way that makes you love who the person is underneath, in a way that helps you to want to know more, to listen and to reach out. This is all for you to keep to yourself. For some people, I’ll imagine a five-year-old in a sandbox throwing sand. They think that sandbox is all they have and they are protecting their work, not knowing that there is a whole huge world outside of that sandbox, and thank goodness it’s only sand they are throwing. For others, I imagine a flat-out bully for their Protector. I imagine that the human underneath is cowering in a corner, afraid to push back on their Protector because if they did they might have to face who they are, and they have no idea who that would be. You can imagine anything you want here. The goal is to bring peace to your life, friend. That is what this is for, not to have the knowledge to educate them. Tricky, isn’t it?
The second thing you can do when imagining another human’s Protector is to remember that when their Protector comes at you, they are looking for energy. Their Protector wants to prove their worth; to let their human know that they do such an incredible job that they’ll always need them. Should you now begin to react differently to this Jane Doe human, and provide them with no energy back, their Protector will become bored with you and will search out others to kind of feed off of in a way. Isn’t there a book out now about energy vampires? There is a character in the show “What We Do In The Shadows” who is an energy vampire, and his introduction to the office I found hysterical. It is like that though. Imagine that their Protector is normally on high-alert with you.
The Protector is the one you deal with after all, and that that Protector is looking for reasons to send thought-deliveries to their human who they protect, but if you stop giving them reason to do so, one of two things will happen. One, the human will go find someone else to be around (you won’t even have to ask them to leave, it will happen. It’s looking for other energy). Two, the human’s protector will be curious, and maybe confused, and you may find, over time, that your relationship with this other human completely changes in a positive way. As someone who has been noticing this for a while now, what is super interesting to me is the people who will disappear from your life and the people who will change naturally. It is absolutely fascinating.
My theory, after seeing this enough in my life and in my client’s lives, is that those who move quickly to others are so controlled by their Protector that they can’t for a moment consider anything else, and all they know is that you aren’t providing them with the energy you used to. Life, everyday life, becomes entertaining when you begin to see Protectors for others. Some lovingly hug their human and respect their human knowing they know what is best. Others are a big old bully. They are ten feet ahead of their human clearing the way for anything that could possibly be an obstacle for them. No one, not even that human, knows who is behind them.
Between that image and the image of different Protectors, yes, I’ve been highly entertained. There are days, of course, when I forget all of this and react. But thankfully, the change, of course, is usually fairly quick now, because I see the energy exchange clearly, and it becomes much more fun to throw people off course with unexpected reactions, than to hand them over control of my emotions and to give them energy that reactively comes right back to me. Give it a try. Let me know if anything in this resonates with you. Also, please notice that I didn’t title this episode abusive people. I titled it difficult people. So use this in relationships that test you, and that you are stuck in for now, to gain peace in your life. With this knowledge and the ability to set boundaries for yourself, there is a chance that you will gain clarity on relationships that you have been confused about to date. This takes time though, friend, so have fun with it, don’t be surprised when relationships change, and see where it takes you.
Of course, should you need help with this, I am available to the GPS Support Flock Members in multiple ways: workshops, group coaching, forum questions and more. I have also created an online quiz for you to discover if the Support Flock is a good fit for you. If you are curious, fly on over to YourEmptyNestCoach.com/community for the quiz and another community option for my podcast listeners, or send me a private message on the socials. You’ll find me @emptynestcoach. Message me the words Flock membership and I’ll send you the link to learn more. See you online, friend! [Music]
The questions I have for you in this episode are, who did you have in mind when you began listening to this episode? And, how may you picture their Protector in a way to provide peace in your life?
Christine? Christine? Christine? Where are you? Have you had a chance to read Judy Holland’s book: Happinest: Finding Fulfillment When Your Kids Leave Home? I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to review her book, and found my name on the back cover as an endorsement. How fun is that? Judy has expertly curated information for anyone adjusting to the empty nest. Definitely check it out. Link will be in my show notes. Hashtag, not an affiliate. [Music]
My Empty Nest friend, today’s quick tip comes from Laurie of Travel Tips by Laurie. Her tips were submitted before our physical restrictions went into place, and as someone who follows Laurie, I can tell you if you are looking for the most recent updates to airline travel, definitely follow her. She has up to date information. Thanks for sharing your tips with us, Laurie.
Laurie: Hi, Christine. I thought some of your empty nesters have saved money to spread their wings, now that their kids are spreading their wings. I have six travel tips and tricks for hotel rooms, in case they want to now visit their kids or visit the world. I’m a Houston-area pilot’s wife, and I share tips and tricks on my “Travel Tips by Laurie” Youtube channel to help people travel the globe without a worry in the world.
My brilliant subscribers have shared their travel hacks with me, and I have learned some from the many mistakes I have made while traveling. The number one tip or trick for a hotel room is to use the paper coffee cup in your hotel room for makeup brushes. Just put them in a plastic baggy, in your suitcase, and then when you get in the hotel room, just drop them in that paper coffee cup. Number two is a travel hack that a mother of three grown daughters gave to me. This hack is to use the ironing board as an extension of your countertop for your toiletries, your makeup, a curling iron, but be sure to use a washrag or a towel to cover up that ironing board, in case someone’s trying to iron a white shirt later, and they’ll get makeup on it. My pictures and my videos do this a lot more justice.
The number three travel hack is to put the Do Not Disturb sign on the doorknob, even when you’re touring the city, to deter burglars, because they think you’re in your room, when really, you’re out touring, but you’ve put that Do Not Disturb sign on the doorknob. The fourth travel hack is to point your shoes in the direction of the nearest stairwell, in case there’s heavy smoke from a fire in the middle of the night, you know where that elevator is, but you might not be thinking clearly in the middle of the night to remember which stairwell is the closest.
Number five is to use the hotel dry cleaning plastic bag to pack your bathing suit, or hiking shoes that are still wet, and my favorite travel hack of all times is number six, and that’s to use the pants coat hanger to keep your hotel curtains closed, so that that bright sunshine light does not wake you in the morning when you wake up. You can find me on Youtube at “Travel Tips by Laurie.” I hope these help. Thanks again, Christine.
Christine: Well my empty nest, CEO of Your Life, friend, if you enjoyed this episode, I invite you to take a moment to subscribe to this podcast. It is free after all! As always, I provide content to make you think. My hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life. I saw writing in the sky today that told me that you are amazing! See ya!