How To React When Faced With an Irrational Person

Over Looking The Sea

Article by Wendy McCance

I was talking with my kids this morning about how to feel some peace when you are faced with an irrational person.  I’m sure you all know someone who lives a life of drama.  Nothing is ever good enough.  They feel people are out to get them and they must always be in defense mode.  Chaos reins whenever they are present.  The worst part is you get sucked into their hellish state of mind.  What do you do to keep your sanity and protect yourself from falling into defense mode yourself?

This is the example I gave the kids to give them some perspective.  Lets say you are in a room with several people.  The lights go out.  You aren’t sure why the lights went out, maybe it was a power failure, but in any case, the lights are out.  That person who gets excitable very easy and is always searching for that worst case scenario begins to freak out.  They start flailing their arms around and screaming.  This is life or death for them and they must get out, NOW.  You are in the way and get smacked a few times by the person who is getting hysterical.  That person starts screaming at you and everyone else near you.  You hear the person scream, “whose fault was it that the lights went out?  I knew this would happen because of irresponsibility.  Look what you have done to me.”  Or any other strange and outrageous statement that comes to their mind.

Okay, so now you are getting frustrated.  No, actually now you are getting downright angry.  None of this was your fault.  Who knows why the lights went out.  The person was so upset that you were in their way that you got smacked a few times when they were trying to get out.  What do you do?

Well, here are two scenarios.

1.  You are upset and yell back.  You got smacked so you smack back.  You’re in the dark and smack the wrong person and have extended the chain of people who are becoming upset.  All chaos breaks out.  There are people everywhere yelling and screaming.  Physical fights have broken out.  The situation keeps escalating with no end in sight.

2.  Let’s say you remained calm.  The person is obviously upset.  Yes they are irrational and you don’t like what they have said, but you want to keep some peace in this situation.  You say something like,”here let me take your hand.  Everything will be okay.  Let me help you find the way out of this room.”  You are defusing some of the chaos.  You are neutralizing the bad with the good by what you are throwing out there.

Look, let’s be honest.  You can’t change people.  Some people are like a broken record and feel most comfortable when their lives feel like they are spinning out of control.  Crazy, yes but that’s what they are used to.  There will be times where unfortunately these people can not be avoided.  In the face of these people, you need to stay true to you.

Part of finding happiness in your life is by finding ways to remain peaceful in the face of chaos.  The only way to do this is by giving back positive where there is negative.  You may not say anything, but if deep down you really feel hatred for someone (for instance), the vibe will still go out there and there will be more clashing with that person no matter how hard you try to hide your feelings.  If you can realize that the person living in a drama filled world really lives a hellish life, you can more easily forgive some of your bad feelings and instead feel a sense of empathy for that individual.  It’s hard to fight with someone who shows kindness and decency and means it.

In the end, I told the kids that complaining would only make them feel worse and more helpless to the situation.  Instead, they must relax, feel the peace they have in other areas of their life, and be grateful for what they have.  Then think about the life of the one they are complaining about, see how empty their life is in comparison and feel compassion for the person.  No matter what, the answers aren’t ideal, you’d rather just not be around it.  Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way a lot of the time.  Finding ways to feel stronger and more at peace with yourself in these situations, these coping mechanisms are what I want the kids to learn about.  Their life will become so much fuller in the end.

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Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 9 local papers online, including the Oakland Press. The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: mccance.wendy@gmail.com

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5 thoughts on “How To React When Faced With an Irrational Person

  1. I feel I need to point out that being positive isn’t often the right way to handle such people. People do change its just glacial slow, and the only way to effect this change is to quite literally force it in some manner.
    If you were to follow the idea of rational irrationality you can see that people generally behave irrationally when the “cost” of doing so is low. Of course the “cost” is different or nearly no exist for some of us but those that behave irrationally will no doubt see no issue with behaving in such a flawed manner. By challanging them and making them consider their line of thought you can slowly force them to adjust into more rational human beings. It takes time no doubt about that, but you can improve such people.

    This is good advice for people who you are not close to, but to those you spend time around often, leaving them as such flawed individuals is both annoying for you and sad for them. Push their boundaries and make them consider things correctly, without such guidance the worlds going stay a much worse place for a lot longer.

  2. Ok my sister isn’t that bad but she is also an irrational person more often the not and her life is always a drama of some description or other……………..living with her at times is exhausting……..
    the advice you have suggested here is good advice irrational people need to be handled in a calm manner

  3. This is a great lesson for all of us to heed. As you said, we can’t change other’s and how they react to any given situation but we can change how we do and are in any given situation. Finding that peaceful place is so very important. :), Susan

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