Dealing with difficult characters


Why is it that some people get their kicks by being difficult? Difficult people are a major roadblock to your efforts to building. Dealing with them requires an ability to avoid the traps they lay.


Have you ever dealt with someone and later discovered the individual had relational difficulties with everyone? Some people apparently get up in the morning intent on having a bad day and their goal is to make sure everybody has a bad day as well. In order to help you deal with difficult people, we would like to introduce you to seven character types, who represent a majority of the difficult people you encounter.

The Saboteur (Sabotage)

●On the surface, saboteurs seem pleasant enough.

●They often give the appearance of being quite friendly. (But therein lies the problem).

●They operate with a double agenda, appearing to be an ally while at the same time undermining the people and circumstances they do not like.

●A saboteur may tell you how well you are doing, dressed, how well you performed, then tell someone, “Children what a terrible performance!”

●Saboteurs penetrate your defenses and do their damage before you know what’s happened.

●Saboteurs typically nurse high levels of anger, but are very cautious in exposing it.

●Saboteurs are afraid of direct confrontation, and so they use indirect means of pushing their agendas.

Other qualities that are common in the saboteurs include:

●They will often say what people want to hear.

●They will fluctuate in their opinions, depending on the “atmosphere”.

●Saboteurs often give their loyalty to the one’s who are currently in power or in the know or limelight.

●They somehow seem to be up-to-date on all the news.

The Fireworks People

These display explosive eruption. Persons with this disposition often express strong displeasure with little provocation, leaving people wandering, “where did that come from?”

●Fireworks people also struggle with anger and their anger is more blatantly displayed.

●Fireworks people often comment “people don’t respect me”.

●Usually they believe that people will not respect them or listento them unless they are angry and emphatic.

●They live with fear of not being thought of as significant.

●They will not take responsibility for the damage they inflict, often saying things like this, “look what you made me do!”

●In their minds they are rarely at fault.

●They have a strong sense of correctness.

●They have an ongoing feeling that others just can’t be trusted to do things right.

●They have difficulty saying, “I was wrong.”

● They have no people skills.

●They believe in intimidation.

●Power is their ultimate thrill.

The Helpless Controller

Young children learn quickly if they whine, someone will pay immediate attention. We may excuse this behaviour with children, but not so with adults. It’s called manipulation. People with long-standing insecurities often fall into this category. Controllers develop a strategy of helplessness whereby they play upon the sympathies or the good nature of others to get what they want. Controllers are high-maintenance takers who use others to elicit constant reassurance. These people are virtually impossible to satisfy since they always want more. Controllers have anger, but they are skilled in covering it up.

Common tendencies of controllers

●A charming style of relating.

●Frequent smiles accompanying flattering statements


●Comments of appreciation that actually reflect great need

● A “what have you done for me lately” attitude

●Open self-doubt

●Moving on once a relationship has been sucked dry

The General’s Assistant

They are often called the general assistant’s (GA’s). The GA’s attache themselves to people of power, realising that they themselves can’t be able to attain power. While GAs may appear confident, even arrogant, inwardly, they have a low value of themselves.
Common traits of general assistant

●An “us versus you” manner of thinking.

●Blind loyalty, even with sin.

●Being very turf conscious (territorial behaviour)

●Feelings of jealousy or possessiveness toward the general

●A frequent tattle tale

●A clique mentality

●A major need to appear important


These have a basic problem of not telling the truth. These people have a problem of one lie after the other in order to stay ahead of their lives. These people have serious problems with relationships in general.

These people feel they must spice up their reports or achievements in order to appear successful like all others. Often their need to delude others is a direct by-product of their own self-delusions. They cut corners and tell half-truths.

Common traits of liars

●Making good first impressions.

●Making grand promises they cannot fulfill.

●Keeping unnecessary secrets

●Exaggerating personal achievements

●A strong need to be approved

●Assumes that people should be impressed with them

●Shifting opinions, depending on who they are talking to

The Hyper-controller

Hyper-controllers need to be on top of everything. They are fearful, distrusting people who feel others should not have an opinion. They tend to attract weak individuals who are pliable, because these people don’t threaten their egos. Hyper-controllers have a critical spirit. Though they won’t admit it, they are terribly insecure people who dread being “found out.”

Common traits of hyper-controllers

●Inability to find what is good in others

●Deep distrust of others.

●Frustration when others share different perspectives

●Ability to simply cut relationships off when they are no longer suitable

●Stubborn even when it leads to defeat

●Not team players

●Insensitive to the hurt they cause others

The Boomerang

(A curved wooden missile which when thrown, returns to the thrower) A boomerang is a stick (item) that you throw and watch it return to you. In the same way, boomerang personalities always find a way to turn a conversation back to their favourite subject (themselves).When told that someone else won an award, the Boomerang might reply “that reminds me of the time I won the top employee award”.

Then they launch into a story about themselves. Boomerang believers believe they must take focus off others and put it on themselves, where it belongs. They love the centre stage.

Common traits of the boomerang include:

●An inability to stand with others

A history of broken relationships.

●Extroversion, accompanied with shallowness.

●Easily upset when the spotlight shines on someone else.

●Requires constant attention and affirmation.

●Expects special favours and can be angry when they are not given.

The common desire of all these people is control, manipulation.

Therefore, there is need for them to understand that people are different.

●Colin Nyathi is a senior pastor and founder of Harvest House International Churches. email