8 signs that you are actually dealing with a very difficult person, according to psychology

There’s a thin line between a challenging personality and a downright difficult one.

Psychology helps us understand this difference. It tells us that while everyone can be challenging at times, some people have a tendency to consistently make things harder for those around them.

I’m talking about the folks who seem to thrive on conflict, who can turn a simple request into a major drama, or who always seem to have a critique ready for you.

If you’re wondering whether you’re dealing with such a person, psychology can help. There are some clear signs that you’re dealing with a truly difficult individual.

Let’s get started. 

1) They’re always right

You’ve probably met someone like this. No matter what the topic is, they always seem to have the last word.

Psychology tells us that this rigid insistence on being right can be a sign of a difficult personality. These people are typically resistant to new ideas and unwilling to consider alternative viewpoints.

It’s not about having an educated debate or a healthy disagreement with them. It’s more about them needing to assert their dominance and show that they are ‘right’, even when they’re clearly wrong or when the topic at hand is subjective.

The fundamental issue here is not about them being knowledgeable or confident. It’s about their inability to respect differing opinions and their refusal to engage in constructive conversations.

So if you’re dealing with someone who always insists they’re right, even in the face of clear evidence to the contrary, you might be dealing with a difficult personality. But remember, it’s not your job to change them. It’s essential to maintain your peace and not let their rigidity affect your wellbeing.

2) They frequently play the victim

I remember dealing with a colleague who seemed to be perpetually stuck in victim mode. No matter what happened, she somehow managed to portray herself as the wronged party.

Even when things were clearly her fault, she’d twist the narrative to make it seem like she was being unfairly targeted or misunderstood. It was frustrating for everyone around her.

Psychology tells us that this ‘victim mentality’ is a clear red flag of a difficult personality. These individuals often use their perceived victimhood to manipulate others, avoid responsibility, or gain attention.

It’s important to remember that while empathy is crucial, you can acknowledge someone’s feelings without endorsing their distorted view of reality. If you find yourself constantly being drawn into someone else’s drama, it might be time to step back and reassess your interactions with them.

3) They’re notorious blame-shifters

In psychology, there’s a term called ‘projection’. It’s a defense mechanism where individuals attribute their own undesirable feelings, thoughts, or behaviors onto someone else.

A classic behavior of difficult people is to shift the blame onto others. They seldom take responsibility for their actions and are quick to point fingers when things go wrong. This blame-shifting is an offshoot of projection, where they’d rather believe that others are at fault than accept their own shortcomings.

This constant evasion of responsibility not only creates a toxic environment but also hampers personal growth and development. So if you notice someone always blaming others and never owning up to their mistakes, you’re likely dealing with a difficult person.

4) They lack empathy

Empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of others – is a cornerstone of healthy, positive relationships.

However, difficult people often struggle with this. They’re so wrapped up in their own world and concerns that they fail to see things from another person’s perspective.

If you’re dealing with a person who seems indifferent to your feelings, or who consistently ignores or dismisses your emotions, this could be a sign of a difficult personality. Such lack of empathy can lead to one-sided relationships where your needs and feelings are continually sidelined.

Remember, everyone deserves respect and understanding. If someone consistently fails to show empathy, it might be time to reevaluate your relationship with them.

5) They’re consistently negative

Life is a mix of ups and downs, and it’s normal to have bad days. But with difficult people, it often feels like they’re perpetually stuck in a raincloud, even on the sunniest of days.

They have a knack for spotting the negative in every situation and tend to focus on problems rather than solutions. This constant negativity can be draining for those around them, often leaving you feeling deflated and pessimistic.

It’s important to remember that their negativity is more about them than it is about you. While it can be challenging, try not to let their gloomy outlook taint your positivity. After all, the world is full of beauty and joy, even amidst the challenges – and you deserve to experience every bit of it.

6) They’re controlling

There was a time when I found myself in a friendship where my choices, opinions, and even my time were constantly being dictated by the other person. At first, it seemed like they were just really passionate or opinionated. But over time, I realized that their need to control was stifering my individuality.

Psychology tells us that this need for control in interpersonal relationships is a sign of a difficult person. They want things done their way and struggle with compromise or flexibility.

If you find yourself walking on eggshells around someone to avoid conflict, or feel like your decisions are constantly being overridden without your consent, you might be dealing with a controlling individual. It’s important to remember that healthy relationships involve mutual respect and freedom for both parties.

7) They’re extremely critical

Criticism, when constructive, can be a valuable tool for growth. However, difficult people often use criticism as a weapon rather than a tool for improvement.

They have a habit of pointing out faults and shortcomings, often in a harsh or belittling manner. This constant stream of negative feedback can wear down your self-esteem and create a hostile environment.

If you’re dealing with someone who seems to find fault in everything you do and rarely has anything positive to say, you could be dealing with a difficult personality. Remember, no one is perfect, and it’s okay to make mistakes. Don’t let anyone’s harsh words dim your shine.

8) They refuse to change

Change is a part of life. We all have areas where we need to grow and habits we could improve. But difficult people often refuse to acknowledge the need for change, even when it’s clear their behavior is causing problems.

If someone consistently dismisses your concerns, resists feedback, or makes excuses for their behavior, this could be a sign that you’re dealing with a difficult person. The most important thing to remember is that you can’t force someone to change – they have to want it for themselves.

Final thoughts: It’s not personal

Navigating the complexities of human behavior can be a daunting task. When dealing with difficult people, it’s important to remember that their behavior is often a result of their own inner struggles and insecurities, and not a reflection of your worth.

Psychologist Carl Jung once said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” This perspective invites us to view these encounters as opportunities for self-growth.

If you find yourself dealing with a difficult person, take a step back and try to understand where they might be coming from. It’s not about excusing their behavior, but about empowering ourselves to respond in ways that preserve our peace and dignity.

Remember, we can’t control how others act or think. But we do have control over our own reactions. And that’s where our real power lies.

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

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