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Are You Putting Up With a Difficult Person at Home or Work?

November 30, 2017

Did you know that your upbringing can affect what you put up with? True!

If you find yourself with children running roughshod over you or a partner whose inexcusable behavior continues or a workplace colleague who continues to be harassing, it just may be that you grew up in a family where there was yelling and screaming between your parents, belittling, hitting or pushing or a parent with a drug or alcohol problem.

Growing up in a home that was marked by excessive and/or abusive behaviors can create the conditions whereby you, the adult child of that family has learned to walk on eggshells or consider extreme behavior while not necessarily acceptable, normal or usual.

Childhood exposure to such behavior can create the condition whereby you wind up tolerating excessive behavior in adulthood because you have grown accustomed to it, even if you don’t really like it. As such, it may take a higher degree of distressing behavior before you may feel the right to address it. Even when you do address it, because you may be either passive in your approach, or alternately harsh, the message you seek to deliver isn’t received as you intended and thus the objectionable behavior continues.

Because you may not get fully activated until matters are extreme or because your feedback about such behavior isn’t received as intended, then inadvertently you may even be enabling such behavior, as odd as that may seem. This doesn’t mean that you are to blame or at fault for the poor or abusive behavior of the other, but that your growing up experiences may make it more difficult for you to address effectively.

In situations like this it is not uncommon to seek help for the other person whose behavior is excessive or out of control. However, regardless of the help that person receives, the behavior may yet continue until you learn how to set meaningful boundaries and expectations when the behaviors of concern occurs at a much lower level of intensity.

If you were raised in a home marked by yelling, screaming, belittling, pushing, shoving, problematic alcohol or drug use and you are having issues with a child or partner or work mate, then you just may want to examine how you are managing yourself in the situation.

Learning to address matters forthrightly and communicate firmly and effectively may help resolve the issues you are having with the other.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.


Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW


Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

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