8 signs that your partner is a very difficult person, according to psychology

Navigating relationships can be tricky. Sometimes, you might find yourself dealing with a partner who seems especially tough to handle.

But how do you know if your partner is just having a bad day or if they’re genuinely a difficult person?

Psychology offers us insights into behaviors that can classify someone as ‘difficult’. And believe me, knowing these signs can make all the difference in your relationship.

Stay with me as I walk you through “8 signs that your partner is a very difficult person, according to psychology”. Trust me, this knowledge could be your ticket to a smoother relationship journey.

1) Constant criticism

We all have our moments of critique. But when it becomes a constant drip, it’s a sign you’re dealing with a difficult person.

According to psychology, those who consistently point out faults and shortcomings, even in the smallest of things, are often tough to please.

It’s a behavior that psychologists relate to perfectionism or an inflated sense of self-importance. They believe they know best and aim to ‘correct’ others in line with their views.

If your partner is always pointing out your ‘flaws’, rarely appreciating your strengths or efforts, you might be in the company of a difficult person.

But remember, understanding this trait is the first step towards forging a better relationship dynamic. Don’t lose heart!

2) Poor listening skills

Communication is a two-way street, but sometimes it feels like you’re talking to a brick wall. I remember an ex-partner of mine who just wouldn’t listen.

She’d nod and make all the right noises, but I could tell she wasn’t really taking in what I was saying. Conversations were always about her interests, her day, her problems.

Psychology tells us that people with poor listening skills can be difficult to deal with. They’re often self-focused and lack empathy, making it hard for them to understand your perspective.

If your partner seems more interested in their phone than your words or never remembers things you’ve told them, it might be a sign they’re a difficult person. It’s frustrating, I know – but recognizing the issue is half the battle won.

3) Overly defensive

We all get defensive now and then, it’s a natural response to feeling attacked. But when your partner is always on the defense, even over minor issues, it can be a sign of a difficult personality.

Psychologists link this trait to high levels of anxiety or insecurity. People who are overly defensive often perceive criticism where there is none, seeing even well-meaning advice as an attack.

Interestingly, a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that people who are overly defensive are more likely to perceive ambiguous actions as hostile. So if your partner blows up over the smallest of things, they might be viewing the world through a lens of defensiveness.

4) Unwillingness to compromise

In any relationship, compromise is key. It’s about finding that middle ground where both parties feel heard and appreciated.

But when you’re dealing with a difficult person, compromise can seem like an alien concept. They stick to their guns, insisting on their way or the highway.

Psychologists attribute this behavior to a need for control or fear of vulnerability. Giving in, in their mind, equates to losing or showing weakness.

So if your partner always insists on having their way and rarely considers your needs, wants, or feelings, it’s a classic sign of a difficult personality. But don’t lose hope – understanding this is the first step towards tackling the issue.

5) Lack of emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage our own emotions, as well as empathize with the emotions of others. It’s what allows us to navigate social situations, build strong relationships, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results.

When someone lacks emotional intelligence, it can feel like you’re dealing with a brick wall. There’s little empathy for your feelings and little understanding of their own.

I’ve seen relationships strain under the weight of this lack. It’s heartbreaking to watch two people who care for each other fail to connect on an emotional level.

Psychologists often associate a lack of emotional intelligence with difficulty in handling interpersonal relationships. So if your partner seems oblivious to your feelings or struggles to express their own, they might be a difficult person to deal with.

Remember though, emotional intelligence can be developed over time. Don’t give up hope just yet.

6) Inability to apologize

Saying sorry is hard. It requires humility, vulnerability, and a willingness to acknowledge our faults. I remember a time when I found it hard to utter those three simple words: “I am sorry”. It was as though my pride was choking me.

In psychology, an inability or unwillingness to apologize is often linked to a difficult personality. It’s seen in individuals who struggle with humility and find it hard to admit their mistakes.

If your partner rarely apologizes or does so reluctantly, making it seem like a chore rather than a sincere act of contrition, it could be a sign they’re difficult to deal with.

But remember, apologies are learned behavior. With patience and understanding, it’s possible for someone to change this habit.

7) Frequent mood swings

We all have our ups and downs, that’s just part of being human. But when your partner’s mood swings like a pendulum, it can be hard to keep up.

Psychologists often link frequent mood swings to emotional instability, which can be a trait of a difficult person. One moment they’re happy and loving, the next they’re angry or upset for no apparent reason.

If you find yourself constantly walking on eggshells around your partner, unsure of what mood they’ll be in next, it’s a clear sign of a difficult personality. But remember, with the right help and support, mood swings can be managed effectively.

8) Lack of empathy

At the heart of every strong relationship lies empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Without it, connections can feel superficial and strained.

Psychologists often link a lack of empathy to a difficult personality. It’s like trying to connect with someone who can’t or won’t put themselves in your shoes. The disconnect can be painful.

If your partner seems indifferent to your feelings, struggles to comfort you when you’re upset or doesn’t seem to understand why you’re hurt, they might be a difficult person.

But remember, empathy can be nurtured. With patience and open communication, it’s possible to foster greater understanding in your relationship.

Final thoughts: It’s about understanding

Understanding human behavior is a complex task. We’re all unique, with our own quirks and idiosyncrasies. But psychology provides us with a lens to view these behaviors in a new light.

Recognizing the signs of a difficult person doesn’t mean you have to sever ties or give up on the relationship. Instead, it equips you with knowledge and understanding.

Remember, behaviors can change. Psychologist Carl Rogers once said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

So if your partner exhibits some of these signs, take it as an opportunity for growth – both for them and for the relationship. With patience, empathy, and understanding, you can navigate the choppy waters of a difficult personality and find calm seas ahead.

After all, love is not just about finding the right person, but also about working together to create the right relationship.

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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