Have you ever seen those people who seem to live from crisis to crisis? Always the victim, and seeming to thrive on the attention they receive from the chaos that swarms around them like a tornado. Today I want to focus on what we can do when we encounter these people (for my theory of why they are the way they are see: https://400daystil40.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/394-days-til-40/ )
The hardest part of dealing with these crisis creators or crisis addicts is to NOT get hooked. Once you allow yourself to be pulled in, you are stepping onto the roller coaster ride that is likely to be long and nausea-inducing. Once I had an employee who fit this crisis crazed description. Always the victim, always wronged, always forgotten, etc. This individual came to me full of emotion with a laundry list of issues, each one carefully cataloged and tracked in their mind.
The first thing I noted was how many of these issues were not based in reality. When people are chaos lovers it seems that the facts need to be changed in order to fuel the crisis and chaos. The interesting thing is, the minute their version of reality has been redefined, they believe it – they TRULY believe it.
So how does one distance themselves and not get hooked? I believe the first step is to understand that if the person in question is someone who thrives on crisis situations, they are not healthy. When you understand they are not healthy, you start to see that getting involved will probably not change the situation.
The next step is to remind yourself that you are not in the company of a rational person. This helped me incredibly with my employee. If I could tell myself not to get hooked because my chaos driven employee was not mentally stable it changed my levels of patience and tolerance. I could let my employee project all sorts of verbal vomit without any emotional reaction because I was able to contextualize the situation. I clearly understood that the chaos was about the employee and NOT about me, and then could conclude it was not worth the loss of even an ounce of my energy.
By determining that the person and their crisis was not worth my energy, it allowed me to fully disconnect and leave the emotional stress and connection behind. It was freeing to realize that the person had their issues and that it was okay to let them hold on to their issues without my choosing to embrace their issues and chaos as mine.
I often tell the teachers at our site not to get emotionally hooked with chaotic teachers, parents, or students, to keep focused and understand that human nature is to complain, twist stories, etc. When people approach you with heightened emotions, who yell and scream and are full of anger step back and understand that it is okay to not engage (emotionally or physically) with these chaotic people. When you do not engage, the people back off as they will look for someone else who is willing to feed into the chaos that makes them thrive.
Calm down, do not take it personally, take a deep breath and know – you do not have to allow chaos into your life. It is okay be distant and give yourself permission to gently walk away.